Monday, September 26, 2016

My 2 cents

I've been paying close attention to what the people in my life say. Not that it's a really big deal. I haven't been LOOKING for specific things, just been paying attention to the words that leave their mouths.  Here are some things that have caught my attention:

"I don't read my Bible everyday. I know I should, but I'm not much of a reader and, well, I just don't."
"Well, they're kids, they're gonna get in trouble"
"If you can't tithe, you can give of your time"
"You can worship where ever you are, on the soccer field, at a bass tourney, at the deer camp. You don't have to be in Church."
"I don't pray out loud"

I've rolled these things around in my head for weeks now and I've made some decisions.

First, it's not okay to not read your Bible. Really. It's not okay. When things go bad in life, we cry out to God for help. Many troubled times can be avoided when we follow God's Word, but we can't follow God's Word if we don't read it. We cannot know the character of God without reading His Word and we cannot fully trust Him unless we know His character.

I'm not going to expect my kids (or you or your kids) to get into trouble. I am going to EXPECT people to do the right thing. I am going to EXPECT people to behave properly. I am going to expect people to make good choices, and treat others with respect. If they don't, forgiveness, grace, and mercy will be offered, but I am not going to EXPECT people to do the wrong thing.

If you can't tithe, give what you can and make changes in your spending until you can tithe. It is hard to not spend the money you have to buy the things you want, but God gave you the money in the first place. 10% isn't all that much. Your life will be less stressful if you live so that every dollar isn't spent before you make it. Trust me...I feel your pain on this one. There are few things worst than having more month than money.

You need to be in church. Yes, you CAN worship anywhere....but DO you? Do you have a worship GOD at the game? Are you worshipping GOD on the lake and in the deer stand (or are you worshipping nature)? Scripture says not to forsake the gathering together. The early church spent much time together. We grow, learn, and bond while we are TOGETHER. One of Satan's greatest tactics is to separate a Christian from the body of believers. Separated, we fall victim to Satan's lies and deceit. Go to church. Make it a priority. Get involved. Find a church where you fit in, where you feel comfortable and can be yourself while you grow in Christ.

Finally, praying out loud isn't a big deal. Be like Nike and just do it. I am an introvert, so I get it. Praying out loud is daunting. ESPECIALLY if you are praying in front of seasoned "pray-ers". Really, I get it. Here's what helped me: I started praying. The more I prayed, the more natural it felt. Now, talking to God is just what I do. I can pray silently, out loud, in a text, email, or on Facebook. People will tell you this, and it is true, no one really cares how you fumble through a prayer. I have NEVER heard ANYONE say "good grief, he really botched that one!"  Know what I HAVE heard? I have heard all manner of comments about people who pray all high and mighty and pray differently than they talk. My personal favorite was a guy who would start every prayer with "ourrrrrrrr Faaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhtherrrrrrrrr aaaaaaaannnnnnnnd ourrrrrrrrr Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhd." Oh! I wish I could write it how he said it! He was a quiet man...until he prayed in church. Anyway, my point is, no one is going to think anything about your talking to God unless you go all King James on them. Just talk to God. Share what's on your heart. That's all there is to it.

That's all I got. I'd love to know your thoughts.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

There will come a day when everything is made right

I still watch Disney Channel. I get teased about it a lot. I find great comfort in shows like "Girl Meets World" and "The Middle" where problems are solved, misunderstandings made right and relationships are restored within each 30 minute episode. (Reminds me of the sitcoms I grew up watching - the Brady Bunch, BOY Meets World, Saved by the Bell, Facts of Life, and Full House)

I also enjoy Hallmark Channel movies. They are predictable. Girl meets guy. They have a conflict. Both fight their desire to date. Something tragic happens that causes them to realize they love each other, (mutually and equally). They get married and live happily ever after. There is no massive baggage brought into the relationship, no unsolvable disagreements, oh! and did I mention that they are ALL absolutely G-rated? No expletives - even when they squabble and nothing more physical than a kiss - which is almost always after they declare their undying love for each other.

I watch other things too, but these are my two "go-to" things to watch It comforts me that each episode or movie is wrapped up and tied with a nice pretty bow, because in reality, life just isn't like that. Life can be messy. People can be difficult. Relationships can be strained. Circumstances can become hopeless.  Problems aren't always resolved neatly. People are not always quick to see the best in others, to forgive, or to give the benefit of the doubt.

Life is just... hard.

I guess that's why I watch G-Rated stuff, listen to Christian music, and do my best to steer clear of, well, most everything else I guess. The real world is dark enough for me.

There will be a day when everything is right and good and holy. There will be a day when there is no sin, no sickness, no guilt or anxiety. One day there will be no rape, murder, divorce, adultery, sex trafficking, birth defects, cancer, or broken hearts. One day everything will be as it should it was INTENDED to be when God first created the world and man, but not here. We won't experience the peace our souls crave until we reach heaven.

I am so thankful for the promise of heaven. My heart hurts for those who believe that this life is all there is. My life is great and I love my family, career, friends, church, etc. but oh my goodness, my heart LONGS for heaven.


Monday, September 12, 2016

How to Share Christ with Someone who Doesn't Want to Hear about Jesus

I filled a guest spot over at (in)courage on Saturday. (Sign up here to receive free daily notes from (in)courage, sent right to your inbox! ) I've shared my testimony before and will likely do it again (and again). If you are shy about sharing the Gospel, just share your story. Jesus changed your heart, right? Share that. you've seen God work in the lives of friends and family, right? Share that. My point is, share what you know. There are people in your life who need to know Jesus. Tell them. In every way you can, tell them. I am so thankful that someone told me. Even though I didn't want to hear it at the time, I am SO thankful that someone saw my need for a Savior and didn't pass up any opportunity to share His love with my hurting soul.

How to Share Christ with Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Hear about Jesus

I remember how the office smelled. I remember the rough feel of the table under my hands and the tears stinging my eyes. I remember exactly what his voice sounded like — gentle, soothing, pleading, and full of a passion I did not understand.
“I can’t”, I whispered.
“You can.”
“It’s not that easy. You don’t understand.”
“Do you believe that God can forgive you?”
“Yes . . . but . . .”
Continue reading here

Thank you for stopping by. I pray that you will be encouraged, challenged, and uplifted. I'd love to hear from you. Leave me a little comment and let me know how you share Christ with people in your life who don't think they need Jesus.

Much love and big hugs!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Where's your Mission Field?

Please join me today at Internet Café Devotions. God teaches me so much. SOOOO much. HE is faithful to keep His promises and HE blesses us when we are obedient. I am overwhelmed by the peace and comfort I've felt knowing that we were obedient to God's nudging to share the Gospel with Tyler all those years ago. The longer I serve Christ the more overwhelmed I am by how He works things together for good. Good things, bad things, seemingly insignificant things...He weaves them all together to bring about HIS plan and purpose. In the days since I first wrote this, I've found myself wondering "What's God doing here?" in so many different situations. My relationship with Tyler has encouraged me to be more aware of the people in my life and the impact being in my life could have on them. I hope it does the same for you.
Much love and BIG hugs!

Our Mission Field

Brian (my oldest) and Tyler are seniors. Tyler works at Sonic and the only time I see him these days is when I go for a half-price milkshake, but there was a time when he was a big part of my life. Tyler and Brian played little league baseball together when they were boys. Tyler lives with his grandfather just down the street from us, so many times the boys would ride to and from baseball together. After baseball, they’d climb trees and race bikes and do whatever little boys do on Saturday afternoons. In Brian’s words, they were “tight.”
Now, Brian had a system when he was little. When he realized that one of his friends didn’t know Jesus, he’d invite him to spend the night on Saturday so they could go to church with us on Sunday. He’d just keep inviting him to spend the night until we had opportunity to talk to them about Jesus. This was easy with Tyler because he usually Continue reading here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

5 years Cancer Free

I took my last dose of radiation and was declared "in remission" 5 years ago today. 5 years. Goodness, that's a long time.

They say if you make it 5 years cancer free, you are considered "cured." Cured sounds really good to me. I don't see Doc for a few more weeks, so it isn't OFFICIAL yet, but I feel fine, my voice is fine, and I have no reason to think that he will find anything questionable when he looks at my cords in a few weeks. So, I'm  going with "cured."

I remember so vividly asking God to walk with me through the valley when I was diagnosed the second time. I remember how frightening the unknown was. I remember how my heart sank when they told me that the radiation would cause me to completely lose my voice and "we hope that it will come back." I remember hating this road. I remember asking God "Why?" and not getting any answers. I remember thinking that it was terribly unfair to ask me to travel this road twice. I also remember asking God to use my situation to bring about something good. And he did. Because of that, I am thankful that I had cancer. It's one of the best things that happened to me.

I learned so much about myself and about God and my relationship with Him when I was in that valley. I learned that I am strong. I learned that God is trustworthy. I learned what it means when we say "God's plans are bigger than ours." I learned that God will allow pain and suffering and that His ultimate goal is not for us to be "happy."

Most importantly, I learned that sometimes things just stink. Honestly, there is nothing "good" about having cancer. When things stink we have some choices to make. We can wallow in the stink and be all "poor me" or we can suck it up and say "ok, this stinks. Use me so that something good will come out of it." When I don't focus on me and focus on what God is doing in the middle of the stink, well, I get to see Him work....and THAT's amazing. When we focus on what God's doing in the middle of our stinky situation and when we seek to be in the middle of what He's doing we are able to look back on the stinky bad situation and say "this really amazing thing happened when..."



Friday, August 26, 2016

Let Your Light Shine

Please join me today at on her Sharing Life series. Super excited about what Leah is doing on her website on Fridays. Please join us as we Share Life.
Sharing Life Let Your Light Shine Kris Williams

We all go through periods of time when our light flickers a bit. If we aren’t careful, our light fades so much that people think it has gone out completely.

Is that because there is no light left in us?

No, just like the lamp in my living room, our light won’t shine if we are unplugged! Every time my light has dimmed, I’ve been unplugged from the source of power that makes me shine. Every time, without exception, I have distanced myself from God, and, just like the lamp, I can’t shine without being connected to the power source.

Continue reading here

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What does Commitment LOOK like?

Ask me anything you want about diet, health, losing weight, and exercise and I will know the answer.  I know all the rules, benefits, and drawbacks to all the most popular diets. I know exactly how many calories I should consume in a day. I can tell you how many points are in any given meal. I can tell you how to build muscle, burn fat, get lean, and get skinny. I know the proper way to lift weights, which muscle groups to work together, how long to rest, and what to eat/drink after a workout. I can give you a detailed breakdown of what to expect when you fast, and discuss at length the benefits of the practice of  Intermittent Fasting. I can have an intelligent conversation with anyone at anytime about nutrition, exercise, dieting, and overall health. I have studied it at great length. I've been a member of a gym for over 15 years. The membership I have gives me access to 3 gym locations so that I can workout no matter what part of town I am working in on any given day. I don't bother with these new pop-up gyms with the fancy commercials. "My" gym is full of meat head body builders. The pool is designed for swimming laps (not sunbathing). The air is filled with the sounds of clanging weights, and smells like... sweat and chlorine. There is a Physical Therapist on sight, but it does not have a spa.
I am 80 pounds overweight. That's no exaggeration. I am 5'9'', 43 years old, and I weigh 240pounds. My "normal" healthy weight is 160. Do the math. 80 pounds. Now, everything I told you about what I know about health and fitness is absolutely true and also not exaggerated. I KNOW how to be healthy, fit, and trim. I have all the tools at my disposal to be completely in shape.
But I don't apply any of it. I KNOW what to do...but I do the opposite. I WANT to be in shape, but I don't DO anything to make that happen.
I am bearing my soul, being brutally honest, and offering up my greatest insecurity for one reason... change the focus from exercise, health, and dieting to Church, Christianity, and Jesus.
I know too many people who can quote scripture, have been a member of a church for years, are on committees, do mission work, can give you the long list of the sins of the world, can tell you all the reasons God isn't pleased with you and the ways you need to clean up your life. They can give you links to sermons on You Tube, post scripture on their Face  Book and tweet encouraging thoughts throughout the day but there is no tangible evidence of Jesus in their lives. They are no different than me and the whole gym, exercise, diet situation.
The Fruit of exercise and healthy diet is excellent blood pressure, strong muscles, healthy heart rate, good cholesterol, good circulation, healthy skin, low body fat, strong bones, and a trim figure. The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
If I am committed to the things that I know will make me healthy, it will be obvious to anyone who sees me. It will be obvious that I am someone who takes care of her body. People will see it. I won't have to tell them that I am fit. It will be obvious. Same with a being Christian. If I am committed to following Christ, Committed to submitting to His Lordship, then it will be obvious to anyone who sees me. My life will be characterized by the fruit of the Spirit. I wont have to tell them that I am a Christian...they will know, by my fruit.
Now, just seeing that I am healthy will not make someone else healthy. I will have to invest time with them and help them along to become healthy. I will need to walk with them as they work toward becoming obviously healthy themselves. Same with a Christian. Just seeing that I am a Christian is not going to make someone else a Christian. I will need to invest time with them to help guide them as they get to know Christ. I will need to walk with them, guide them, encourage them and challenge them and they become obviously Christian themselves.
I know too many people who say about Church the things that I say about diet and exercise...
"I'm not getting any results"
In almost every case, their commitment to their relationship with Christ is much like my commitment to diet and exercise...they KNOW what to do, but they aren't committed to actually DO it.
In both cases, you don't get the full benefit unless you are 100% committed. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Why do "Good People" suffer while "Bad People" prosper?

I struggled with this month's post at Internet Café Devotions. I've been challenged recently with questions from people trying to make sense of how our God, who is defined by Love, would justify allowing "good" people to suffer...and why He would seem to bless "bad" people. It's hard for us to wrap our brains around.
So many things come to mind when I think about the apparent "unfairness" of God, namely the whole concept of Jesus and His Crucifixion and Resurrection, which we base our entire faith on. I cannot understand why God would sacrifice Jesus for those horrible people who screamed for His death, who mocked Him and spat on Him and beat Him and killed Him, but I am so thankful that He did...because in doing so, He also provided Salvation for me.
Even so, it seems somewhat "off" to say that God would intentionally allow His people to suffer...but again, so many things come to mind...Paul's life, The Disciples' lives, Job, and verses like "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8) and "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8).
So, here are my thoughts, encouraged by my sweet friend Shellie, on

Why do “good” people suffer while “bad” people prosper?

Recently, a co-worker gave me a wonderful perspective on this dilemma.
Maybe the seemingly unfairness of “bad people” appearing to be blessed while “good people” suffer is evidence of God’s love for those who do not know Him.
MAYBE He is allowing unsaved people to be blessed now because HE truly understands how terrible hell is and knows that their eternal fate will be horrendous.
MAYBE  He knows that the only joy they will have will be in this life and so He, in His abounding love, allows them joy and success here on earth.

Continue reading at Internet Café here 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Why Wait on God's Timing?

I want to tell you a love story.
My friend has been divorced twice.  As her second marriage crumbled, she reached out to God. She used that trial to draw closer to our Lord. She used that time to allow God to fill all the empty places in her heart. When she wanted to fight, her heavenly father gave her Exodus 14:14: "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still." and when she hit rock bottom, having all her hopes and dreams ripped from her grasp, He gave her Joel 2:25: " I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust have eaten."
She believed those promises as her marriage finally ended in divorce despite all her efforts to restore it. She believed those promises as she moved out of the home that once held so much promise. She believed those promises when she moved into a little farmhouse...alone. She believed those promises through lonely days and nights and trusted God to fill the void her failed marriages left. Through these years, she learned to talk to God and filled volumes of journals with the conversations she had with Him. She recorded the things he revealed to her through Scripture, sermons, and godly friends. She recorded the deepest desires of her heart and praised Him as her desires became more and more in line with His.
She trusted that God would sustain her, even fill her to overflowing, on His own. She trusted that HE would meet the needs in her heart for validation, security, and a sense of value. And He did. As the years passed, she embraced her identity as His daughter and found comfort and security in knowing that the Lord of all creation took time to talk to her each day.
She met a couple of nice guys along the way, but her heart, unwilling to settle for less than the love she'd found in the embrace of her Heavenly Father, would not allow those relationships to grow.
Then, one day, God opened the floodgate and poured all the blessings of heaven over her. He introduced her to the man He'd spent time preparing for her and the man He'd spent time preparing her for. Separately, they'd spent the past few years seeking God's face, God's will, and God's plan. Separately, they'd struggled against the world's way of doing things so that they could have a deep meaningful rich relationship with Jesus. Separately, they gave their entire lives to Him and chose to live for Him. Separately, they turned to God for healing, having no idea that God was preparing them for each other. Over the past few weeks, God has used him to shower her with love in so many beautiful ways. Through this man, God has wrapped her in his love and  covered her with His protection. He has made her feel valued, cherished, and adored.  God has spoken to my friend's heart and met her deepest need for security and value through this wonderful man...and God has used her to do the same for him.
I have been blessed to watch this beautiful story unfold since before my friend's divorce. I have prayed with her, cried with her, and encouraged her through so many stages of this journey.
I am overwhelmed by the love God has shown to her in this new relationship. She says "It's like he read my journals. He speaks to my heart." This makes my heart smile as I am overwhelmed at the promises of God.
"I will restore the years the locusts have eaten"
The "locusts" ate her value, her worthiness, her self confidence and left her lonely, unable to trust, and empty. She believed that God's promise was that HE would restore...and He did. God restored her, healed her, and made her that HE could give her this beautiful gift...this man seemingly created just for her heart...this man who daily is restoring the years the locust have eaten in ways more wonderful than she could have dreamed.
Dear reader,
Wait on God's timing. So many times we become impatient and settle for less than what God desires for us.
It's always worth the wait when we wait on God.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Studying Acts

I just finished studying Acts. Every time I read a book of the bible, I come away with something new. The thing that stayed with me this time reading Acts comes from Chapter 19.
Here's the backstory:
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,  so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Acts 19:11-12
So Paul is totally filled with God. Doing all kinds of miracles. So filled with God that even touching his handkerchief would heal you! That's serious stuff!
Now, as is most always the case, trouble arose:
Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. Acts 19:13-16
I LOVE this! Oh my word! HOW many times do we try to claim the power of someone else's faith in Jesus? This is another way of explaining why you cant get to heaven on Grandma's faith.  These guys thought that faith in Jesus was nothing more than one of the charms and spells they used to cast out demons. Since Paul's worked so much better than theirs, they figured they would just do what he did.
Thing is, Jesus doesn't work that way. HE wants each person to know Him fully and to have faith in Him.
And just like these guys, if we try to fight Satan by claiming the faith of someone else, we are going to lose the battle, every time. We will end up beaten and bloody. We have to know Jesus for ourselves and fight in the faith we personally have in Him.
Now, I LOVE what comes out of all this. As is ALWAYS the case, God is glorified!
When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. Acts 19:17-20

Friday, July 15, 2016

Who gets the effort?

I have prayed with and talked with too many women who feel that they are expected to make the "big effort" and invest in people who consistently choose others over them. These women feel like they are expected to put first people who have consistently put them second.
Honestly, I don't know what to tell them outside of "Jesus puts you first. HE is always worthy of being first in your life. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He will ALWAYS be there for you." I believe this completely and find so much comfort in these promises, but feel that, for someone who doesn't follow hard after Christ, more "tangible" suggestions, thoughts, etc. are needed.

So, I'm curious, who gets the effort in your life? How do you determine who gets the effort? Why do you invest in the people you invest in? These are the questions that come to mind:

 "WHO do you invest in?"
  • Who gets the effort?
  • Who do you drop everything for?
  • Who do you adjust your schedule to accommodate?
  • When making plans with multiple people, who's availability determines the date and time?
  • If time is synonymous with value, who do you value most?

"WHY do you invest in them?"
  • Because they need you most?
  • Because you have a deep meaningful history with (and love for) them?
  • Because they are family?
  • Because they share your life daily?
  • Because they invested in you?
  • Because they make your life difficult if you don't put them first?
 Finally, what would YOU tell someone in this situation?

I'd really like to know various thoughts on this. Feel free to comment or, if you don't want to publicly comment, contact me via email.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Who Needs Jesus?

Looking back over my life, I am sad to say that there really were not that many people who openly and boldly intentionally shared Christ with me. We went to church when I was young, but moved and dropped out when I was a teen. I went to church off and on with my Nan my first years of college (mostly just to make her happy.) To be honest I wasn’t particularly interested in the rules I associated with Church. It was easy to apply sermons and Bible lessons to everyone but myself. It was easy to dismiss and justify my own sin because people spoke about sin in generalities. I didn't have anyone who was willing to consistently tell me personally that I (me, Kris, not "everyone", but ME) needed the forgiveness, grace, love, and mercy Christ offers. It wasn’t until my early-mid-twenties that I met someone who explained Jesus and my need for His presence in my life. He showed me the love of Christ in every way he knew how. He applied Scripture to most every situation. He helped me see my need for a Savior and my life changed forever.
I am so thankful for the one who saw my need for Christ above everything else. I am so thankful for his intentional prayers during small groups. I am so thankful that he showed me Jesus in many different ways. I am so thankful that he took the time and made the effort to show me my need for a Savior. Of all the gifts I’ve been given and all the friendships I’ve had, this is the most precious because he gave me life.
I have to wonder what my history would look like if someone had boldly shared Christ with me earlier.
More than that, I wonder who in my life needs that same gentle, patient push to know Christ. I wonder who in my life needs more than an invitation to church. I wonder who in my life is waiting for me to tell them that they need a Savior.
I know that Jesus changed the very fiber of who I am and, because of that, I do believe that our greatest need is Jesus. Nothing this world offers has any value if we spend eternity in hell. I do want the people in my life to know Christ. No, that’s not right. I want the people in my life to have a deep, passionate, and meaningful relationship with Christ. I want them to have a living, growing, active relationship with our Savior that colors every moment of every day of their lives. I want them to bask in the beauty of His perfect love. I want them to find absolute peace and comfort in His embrace. I want them to find courage in His strength.
But enough about me…
Who in your life needs to know Christ?
Who needs YOU to show them, tell them, and tell them again that they need a Savior?
Better yet,
Do you know the Savior I spend so much time talking about? We're not talking about your neighbor, teacher, student, best friend, spouse, sibling, or coworker. Do you personally have a growing, active, meaningful, passionate relationship with Christ Jesus that colors every moment of every day of your life? Do you rest in the assurance of the promise of heaven and the forgiveness of sin?  Do you find comfort and peace in knowing Him? Do you draw our courage from His strength? If not, may I offer this to you? There is no one too good or too bad for Jesus. He loves you and wants a relationship with you. He can restore you and soothe all the broken places in your heart. He offers forgiveness for all things and promises eternity in heaven for those who believe in Him and turn from their own way of doing things and follow Him and His ways.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sinners in Need of a Savior

Sinners in Need of a Savior

black-and-white-person-woman-girl-large copy copy
I was out of town last week and didn't share my devo from The Internet Café.
You can read it here.
Still sorting thru my thoughts on the youth trip we chaperoned last week. Will share later this week!
Much love,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I Never Knew You

We all know someone who works too much. We all know the story of the wife who sits at home while her husband works long hours to give her everything she wants only to discover (after their divorce) that what she really wanted was time with him. There is a story about a child who asks his dad “How much money do you make an hour?” When the dad told him the $$ amount, the child went to his room, emptied his piggy bank, and then asked his dad if he had enough to pay for an hour of his time.

We all run the risk of forgetting that the best thing we can give the people we love is ourselves. Our time. Our attention. Our affection. The people we love need to know that we will put aside our agenda, our to-do lists, calendars and schedules to be with them. Without putting effort into developing a meaningful relationship, the stuff we do for the people we love is just more stuff. We can work 60 hours a week, bring home a 6 figure income, have the biggest house on the block and the newest car in the drive way, be PTA president, Scout Parent, Dance mom, Team dad, and many other things that keep our calendar full, and still not give the people we love what they want most.

We know this.

So, why then do we cram our lives full of “church stuff” and leave little or no room for time with God? I have been guilty of this myself on more than one occasion. Writing for God, leading VBS for God, Teaching Sunday School for God, teaching Ladies Bible Study for God, serving on the outreach committee for God, singing in the choir and on the praise team for God, leading Children’s choir and Children’s worship for God. Lots of stuff. Just like the husband that works 60 hours a week, I had little TIME for God and my relationship with Him suffered.

This isn’t new, or surprising. Scripture puts it like this:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:21-23 NIV

Of course God wants our service. If we are going to carry out the Great Commission, we must work. Even so, our works should not take priority over our relationship with Christ. Our time in service should not outweigh our time in prayer and our time in God’s Word.

Our service, our works, all the things we do “for God” are meaningless if He doesn’t have our hearts. I’ve learned from experience that when He has my heart and my relationship with Him is strong, the joy and fulfillment I experience from serving is exponentially greater than when I spend ALL my time and energy serving and neglect my time with my Savior.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Parable of the Weeds

Over the past few months, I have been faced the challenge of choosing how to react to certain issues. It’s caused me to dig into the New Testament and see how Jesus dealt with normal, everyday, sin-filled people who didn’t follow Him.
Last week I wrote about 3 Bible stories that helped me understand Jesus’s heart for unbelievers. Over the weekend, I was also reminded of Jesus’s parable of the wheat and the weeds:
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30 NIV
We have weeds everywhere, in our churches (even in our small groups), in our schools, at work, in government, in every group we are a part of. I admit, my natural response is to pull them…get them out of my “wheat”. After all, we all know that weeds suck up vital nutrients and can even choke out the things we are trying so hard to grow.
Jesus says no. HE says to leave them be. Why? Look at it again:
“‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
Oh my goodness, how many young Christians have been hurt by church turmoil? Church splits destroy young, immature Christians. Jesus says, “let me deal with the weeds when I get ready. YOU focus on the task at hand…growing wheat.”
Another interesting little nugget… notice that the weeds aren’t separated until the wheat is ready to harvest. Thinking about people I have known throughout my life and ministry, I can think of several  who LOOKED like “weeds”, but were really just very immature, new Christians.
We have to give everyone time to trust Jesus and to mature in their faith.
Our job is to grow wheat. Give them good fertile soil. Water them and let them soak up the Son so that they grow deep strong roots and are able to withstand all the storms of life.

We can trust Jesus with the Wheat...and the Weeds.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Heart of a Christian

There is much in the news about hate-filled, judgmental “Christians”. They are loud and want to speak for all Christians, but they don’t speak for us. They aren’t even the majority. Just like extremists from other faiths, these are a handful of people who use their “faith” to justify hatred in their hearts. They hide behind their “faith” as an excuse to do unspeakable things to other human beings because they aren’t brave enough to admit that they themselves are conceited, hate-filled, and judgmental. They blow up abortion clinics, march, carry signs, and spew hate all in the name of Jesus. Many justify their actions by citing one incident from Scripture (Mark 11:15-17) where they say Jesus “lost his temper", forgetting that Jesus was rebuking the Temple leaders (religious people) for misusing the Temple.

Followers of Jesus do not spew hate. We are not loud. We don’t post passive-aggressive comments on social media. We don’t feel that another person’s lack of faith in Christ is an insult to us or to God. We know that, were it not for a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, we’d be just like them. We just want everyone to know Jesus. Why?

Look at John 8. The religious leaders caught a woman in adultery. They stood her before Jesus and said that the Law commanded she be stoned, then asked what Jesus said about it.  Jesus responds, “Let anyone of you who is without sin throw a stone at her.”  It goes on to say that “Those who heard began to go away, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left with the woman.”  Then Jesus asks “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” to which she replies “No one sir” and he responds… not with a monologue on why she is so bad… He simply says:

“Then neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.”

THAT is who I serve, the Savior I love. I’ve been on both sides of the story. I’ve been the girl, condemned by religion, knowing I am “bad” and that they are justified in their judgment of me. I have also been the religious person with the weight of a stone heavy in my hand, ready to punish someone who chose to disobey God’s law... and I have felt the weight of that rock become too much to bear as I remembered that I received forgiveness I did not deserve.

In Mark 10, we discover the Rich Young Ruler. The young man asks Jesus what he needs to do to be saved. Jesus responds that he must obey the commandments and the young man says he has. Jesus then tells him to sell his possessions and give to the poor, “and come, follow me.” God’s Word then says that the man went away sad.

Jesus gave the woman caught in adultery the choice to leave her life of sin… or not. He gave the rich young ruler the choice to sell all he had and follow Him…or not. Just as He gave me a choice, just as He gives you a choice. You can follow Him or not. You can’t continue to live contrary to God’s Word and follow Him, but the choice is yours.

When Jesus sent out the 12, he told them how to deal with people who didn’t want to hear their message: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” (Matthew 10:14 NIV) I only include this to explain why I don’t get all worked up when someone doesn’t believe like I do. I believe God’s Word. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the forgiver of sins, and I believe that eternal life in heaven is only available through Him, but I know that others believe what they believe just as strongly as I believe what I believe. I tell people about Jesus, about what He has done in my life, and explain the Gospel. From there, it’s their choice

Just as it was mine.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Thoughts on the Orlando Shooting

My heart is broken for the families of the people murdered in Orlando last night. I've heard snide remarks about the fact that this occurred at a gay bar. I am overwhelmed by the hate that defines our society. These people died. They are people. Just people. I assume that they are gay, since they were in a gay bar, and I believe that homosexuality is a sin...but i do not hate them, nor do i think they are any more sinful than i am. If my sins were broadcast for all to see, i would be hated by many, I'm sure.

See, someone hates you. They may hate you because of your skin color, because of where you were born, or because of your level of education. They may hate you because of who you worship or who you vote for. They may hate you because you believe you have a choice in whether or not you have an abortion...or they may hate you because you want to take away their right to choose. They may hate you because you are homosexual, transsexual, transgender, or heterosexual. They may hate you for any number of ways that you are different than they are. Someone hates you...possibly enough to kill you.
It's like a cancer eating our souls.

I believe that God is our creator. I believe that God is holy and that He cannot be in proximity of sin. I believe that we are sinful by nature and i believe that this separates us from God. I believe that God hates sin because it separates us from Him and because it causes us pain. I believe that God loves the human race so much that Jesus came from heaven, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life and was crucified to pay the penalty for our sin... for all our sin. For the murderer, the embezzler, the rapist, the gossip, the adulterer, the person filled with hate, the homosexual. I believe that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and therefore I believe that Jesus died for every single person on earth. I believe that Jesus died, and that paid the price for my sin (and yours) and I believe that He defeated death and rose from the grave 3 days later and that gives me (and you) victory over death.

I believe that God went to great lengths to restore people to Himself. He did that out of love for them.
I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to choose to trust and follow Jesus for themselves and I believe that since God provided a way for our restoration to Him out of love, then it is by His love that those of us who are restored to Him should be known.

I also know that not everyone will choose Christ. I know that others believe what they believe just as strongly as I believe what I believe. It makes me sad, not angry. I don't hate them. My heart breaks for them. But...I respect their choice.

I believe that the Bible is  God's revelation of Himself to us. I believe that God's Word tells us of His character and of His will for us. I believe that God's Word is clear about His expectations of us, of what He delights in and of what He calls sin. While some people's sin is more evident and more socially controversial than mine, i know that God sees it all and condemns it all. I also believe that Jesus died for all.

Someone in my life made choices that were against the things that God's Word says are good. She lived a life that was characterized by rebellion. Several years ago, I realized that I hated her sin more than I loved her and I was devastated. I believe that God does not accept sin...I believe that He hates sin... but He provided the way for us to be restored to Him out of His love for us....He does not hate us, even when we hate Him.

None of us are innocent. We all fall short. Thankfully God loves us despite all our many faults, flaws, and sin. He saved me...From my rebellion, from my sin, from my determination to do things "my way" ...from myself.

It is not out of hate that I tell others about Jesus. I tell them about Jesus because I love Jesus and because I love Jesus, I love who He loves....

and He loves you.

I am so sad for the families who lost loved ones last night.
I am so sad that there are people who hate sin more than they love people.
I am praying that those of us who have experienced the love of Christ have a burning desire to share His love above everything else.
We're all just people, fighting our own battles.
Our enemy is Satan not each other.

Sending love and prayers for those who are suffering tonight,

Friday, June 10, 2016

Lessons from and Encourager

 Please join me today at the Internet Café.

Lessons From An Encourager

flowers-desk-office-vintage copy
I recently met a tremendously encouraging woman. Well, I haven’t actually “met” her. We’ve never talked or had coffee. I’m not even sure what state she lives in. Still, she is my encourager.  She encourages me with a few simple words…
“Great Post.”
“Thank you for this.”
Or my favorite:
“Bless you, dear one.”
Continue reading here

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The greatest responsibility of motherhood

There’s this little girl I know. She has brown hair that bounces when she runs and brown eyes that sparkle with mischief. Her laugh is like bubbles dancing on the breeze. She is passionate and fierce, and at the same time, gentle and nurturing. She is shy...and silly. She is a lover of Jesus, her daddy, animals, dill pickle chips, flowers, veggies, and old folks.
Her name is Izzy, and she is mine.
For however long He sees fit, God is allowing me to share my life with her. For reasons I cannot understand, He has entrusted her to me and for that I am eternally grateful.  
Last night I realized that she needs more from me than clean clothes, reminders to brush her hair and teeth, and advice on how she should handle conflict with a friend.  She needs something infinitely more important than the things I have always thought she needs from me.
See, last night I realized that my little girl has an enemy. Not a playground bully. Not a girl who calls her names and hurts her feelings. She has someone in her life who wants to hurt her, who tells her that we love her brother more than we love her, that we are unfair, that we don’t understand her, and that we don’t care about her feelings. This person tells her over and over again that she is misunderstood and that the disobedience we punish her for is not really disobedience at all, but rather an example of us being unfair to her.
Last night, I saw in my little girl the things I see in so many grown women: anger, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, denial...the list goes on...and it hit me:
We have an enemy.
I’ve known, taught, and written about this for years. His name is Satan and he is very real. He wants to absolutely destroy you, me….and my little girl.
I realized last night that my daughter’s disobedience, defiance, and rebellion, are all a reflection of Satan’s schemes and the lies he is telling her. I guess I thought “she’s too little” for Satan to really attack her.
What a fool I am.
What better way for Satan to destroy the woman my little girl will become than to start working on her now?
He is filling her head with lies and breaking her little heart and I didn’t see it because she is a child and…well, children are just disobedient, right?
No. Not right.
Sin is sin, no matter how old, or young, we are. The one fueling our sin is Satan and my job as mom is to teach my little girl how to fight the enemy of her soul.
More than anything else I can teach her, she needs to know that her Father in heaven, the creator of the universe, loves her and created her. She needs to know that God will fight for her, that the One who watches over her does not sleep, and that HE who is in her is greater than he who is in the world. She needs to know that God sent Jesus to pay for her sin so that she doesn't have to. She needs to know that she is valued by God and that following HIM is what will bring her peace and joy and satisfaction.
So, I am declaring war on Satan. Hands off my little girl. For every lie you tell her, I will fill her pretty little head with the Word of God. Every time you break her heart, I will guide her back to her Savior and He WILL restore her.  I will pray for and with her so that talking to God is as natural for her as talking to her daddy. You cannot have your way with her Satan.
Because she is  mine  God's.
And for however long He sees fit, He has allowed me to share my life with her. For reasons I cannot understand, He has entrusted her to me and for that I am eternally grateful.
I won’t let her down.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Guest spot with Maria I. Morgan

This week I was able to share on my friend Maria's website. It's interesting to write for someone else. I pay much more attention to sentence structure and stuff (and try not to use words like "stuff").

While I am not personally the caregiver for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer's, I am surrounded with those who are, and have had the privilege to pray with and for them as they have shared their struggles.

Huge thanks to Maria for allowing me to share my heart on this difficult subject.

God Knows

Honor parents

It seems impossible that a loving God would allow our aging parents to spend the last years of their lives without memory of the life they’ve lived or the people they’ve loved. Yet He does… and we struggle. As dementia and diseases like Alzheimer’s take over, we say things like, “Dad’s fine. He doesn’t know what’s going on. I’m the one struggling.”
And it’s true, isn’t it? Once the disease takes hold, it’s the caregiver who struggles.

Continue reading here

Friday, May 20, 2016

Being a Good Christian

I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere, but here in the south, it seems that the deciding factor for being a “good Christian” is whether or not you attend church. The more often you attend church, the better Christian you are. Now, we all KNOW this isn’t true. Anyone can go to church. Even people who don’t love Jesus go, they  just don’t LIKE going to church…unless they have some other reason for going…but that’s a topic for another day. I will go ahead and throw this out…I don’t know any on-fire, growing, evangelical Christians who aren’t serious about attending church regularly. Again, a topic for another day.
So, here in the south, going to church – especially if you go more than once a week- gets huge points on the “how Christian are you” quiz. If that’s the standard to be judged by, my score is off the charts. I’m married to the pastor. I am LITERALLY at church all the time. Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and any other time we have something to do there. I use my vacation to chaperone the youth trip. If this is the “how to be a good Christian” grading scale, I’m an absolute saint!
Except that I’m not. At all.
And I KNOW that I’m not, because scripture tells me what things characterize a Christian.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
These are the things that tell off on the condition of a person’s heart. We can modify and control our behavior so that we LOOK like good Christians, but we can’t fake joy and we cant fake peace. We can’t control what comes out of our hearts and, if kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, self-control, joy and peace aren’t in our hearts…well, that’s not what’s gonna come out.
So, when we inspect "fruit"…ESPECIALLY our own… let’s take the focus off of Church attendance. Instead let’s focus on the Fruit of the Spirit. Let’s ask God to grow and cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control in our hearts, so that these are the things that pour out of us.
I have been asking God for this in my life. I cannot imagine what a wonderful witness I could be for my precious Savior if my life were characterized by:

Monday, May 16, 2016

Answered Prayers

When we prayerfully ask for things that are in line with Scripture, God will give us what we ask for. Many times we think that God isn’t answering us, or even hearing us, but the truth is, sometimes what we ask for isn’t what we really want.
I constantly ask God to fill me with His love, mercy, and grace. I ask Him to cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit in me so that my life is characterized by Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.
What I WANT is for God to miraculously transform my heart into something beautiful and pure, filled with joy and peace; a heart that is good, faithful, gentle, and kind, and emotions that are self-controlled. What He gives me, time and time again, are situations that require me to choose love, opportunities to choose to show grace.  I find myself in the midst of people and circumstances that try my patience and force me to choose whether or not to respond with kindness, gentleness, and goodness. I am tempted over and over again and forced to choose self-control over self-indulgence. And, little bit by little bit, God gives me what I asked for.
What are you asking God for? Are you missing out on God’s workings in your life because you are asking for the right thing, but wanting really wanting something else? If so, join me in prayer
Father God, I love you and I know many of the areas in my life where I need your help. I know the things I should ask you for. It’s hard Lord, to see beyond that I want to what your Word says you want for my life. Help me Lord to see where I am missing your workings in my life because I expect you to answer my prayers a certain way. Help me to look for your hand in my life and to see where you are working. Help me to become a more mature Christian who absolutely delights in YOU Lord. Help me to truly desire the things you want for my life Lord.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (ESV)