Tag Archives: Christ

Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?

Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?
Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?

I read plenty of blogs and books about forgiveness and grace and how the Father’s arms are open wide.  I also read posts about hope for children as they grow and how everything will be ok. Really?

But what if you are in the position of the Dad in that story.  (Luke 15:11-23

) What if your child is still out there in the pig pen, even though you did the best you could. How do you get to the place of daily living and being ready to open those arms when and IF they return?

I love that picture of love, grace and forgiveness for the returning son.  I am a true recipient of it.  I was in the mud and the muck and my heavenly father lifted me right out of it.  (Ps 40:2

) I don’t even remember running to Him – He was just there, pulling me to himself, washing the grime and shame right off my face.  He beckoned me and I went.  Without that daily grace and love in my life I just know I would curl up in a ball and never function.

It’s that unconditional love that I have been given that stirs the desire in me to share it with everyone, especially my children.  I want to be that person, patiently waiting with open arms, filled with love and grace.  But what if that child doesn’t want it and what if they never come?  And what about those times I just don’t think I can?

Nothing in life guarantees that the sweet toddler you can’t get enough of will grow into the adult you have envisioned.  The reality is, they will grow up and be the person they want to be, and God will allow trials and consequences to grow and shape them.  (James 1:2-4) You can love them till it hurts and it might not make a difference for a very long time or seemingly never at all.  How then do you have hope and patience?  How do you get through those times of blaming yourself, fear or regret?

One of my favorite verses is Phil 4:13. “You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you.” We can do all things. We can love when it seems undeserved. We can bite our tongues when all we want to do is scream.  (Col 3:12-13

) We can pray continually and feel the flood of God’s peace fill our hearts and minds when all seems lost. (Phil 4:6-7) We can rest in the real hope that God is sovereign, and He can and will take care of everything, either in this world or the next. (Rom 8:28) We can cast our burdens on Him, and He will take it. (Ps 55:22) We can be that person, with open arms, without judgment, when the prodigal returns.  Even if that child doesn’t return, we can cry out in the stillness of pain, and know that God is God and that can still be enough.

Find your peace and hope in the eternal Abba Father that is worthy of it. Love your children and enjoy the moments you have with mother prayingthem. It’s the closest example we have of how God loves us. Just never forget they belong to Him first, last and forever.   We can do our humanly best

, and even our worst, and God is still in control.  I believe that’s how the Prodigal Son’s father did it.  His hope was always in the sovereign One who made us all.

One of my favorite quotes is this: “Everything will be ok in the end.  If it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.” Fernando Sabino

Sometimes the end takes a very long time to get here and sometimes it’s here in a flash. Either way, it’s never quite what we expected.  But, if we’ve spent time dwelling in the awareness of the ever-present God, and we’ve learned to acknowledge Him in all our ways, when that end finally does arrive, we will be ok… And what a celebration it will be!…Really.


My Blingy Cross

My Blingy Cross

IMG_8859For those who know me, I am kind of famous for my “bling”.  My motto is, “If you can’t lose it, decorate it!”  I am also just drawn to the sparkly and girly.  I just can’t help it.   My most favorite accessory is a pair of earrings that dangle.  They have crosses that are gold with little diamonds in them.  I have had hundreds of compliments on these earrings over the years, so their beauty isn’t restricted to just me.

The thing with those earrings is not so much that they are pretty, but that they are crosses; which can be easily dismissed behind all the glitter and my impeccable fashion sense. (Ha ha ha!)  I see a lot of cross jewelry in my excursions and I, myself have missed the point behind the fashion at times, so I thought I should write about it…

I would be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate fashion, or compliments.  The reason I actually wear the cross is much deeper than those two reasons.

I grew up in a culture that frowned upon wearing the cross.  It was almost taboo.  I remember when I first became a true Christ follower; I still wouldn’t be caught dead wearing one!  As a new believer, I realized the gift of grace and eternal salvation.  I was amazed and in awe of the Cross and what happened there!  It had always been a part of the salvation process to me, but I hadn’t grasped the reality of Christ’s words, “It is finished.”  (John 19:30) When Christ died on that Cross, He literally took my place for all my sin – what I had already committed and what I would still commit.  When He died, the penalty was complete!

What I deserve for my pride, covetousness, lying, gossiping, theft, fornication, disrespect, slander, and greed is death and complete separation from a holy God.  (Romans 6:23) (Those are just some of the sins I have been guilty of.)  Any sin, as small as you may think it is, keeps us away from God.  The Creator of this earth is perfect and holy.  By His very nature, He cannot commune with us eternally as we live in our sinful state.

So, being the very definition of LOVE, God sent His one and only son – to take all of our sin to the point of punishment and death on a cross.  And it doesn’t even end there!  To fully beat sin, He died, then rose again, for us to have eternal life!  Without death, and removal of sin, there cannot be eternal life in the presence of God.

The Cross isn’t an idol that I worship, pray to, or even just consider a pretty accessory.  It’s the very representation that demands me to remember who I was and who I am now, in Christ.  It reminds me that Christ took my place.  It reminds me of how loved I am, and that I have the power of Christ in me.  “The very power to overcome sin and death and walk humbly with my God.” (Micah 6:8)

I hope that when people see the crosses dangling from my ears, they see Christ in me and not just my bling.  My prayer is for everyone to see the point of the Cross in all of the various fashion statements this world has made out if it.

Becoming a Christ follower doesn’t magically make me perfect, or even less hypocritical,  HA, I wish! But it does make me a new creation from the inside out.  The Holy Spirit has moved into my heart and is transforming me day by day.  I still sin.  The difference is that now I know I am forgiven and I have His Spirit convicting me and working in me.  It can only be by and through Him that this transformation can happen!  Honestly, just the fact that I am forgiven, and my punishment has been taken, gives me peace and fills me with gratitude, that is hard to ignore.  I can testify that my sin isn’t as easy to walk in, and my hearts desire is to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, which makes all the difference.

I know God has given me the gift of bling… (stay with me here.) Having an eternal perspective almost demands it! (tongue in cheek) Heaven is described pretty “blingy”:

Revelation 21:18-21 The wall was made of jasper, while the city itself was made of pure gold, yet it was as clear as glass.  The foundation stones of the wall of the city were decorated with every kind of jewel: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.  The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate expertly crafted from a single beautiful pearl. And the city street was pure gold, yet it was as transparent as glass.

As long as my outer adornment doesn’t take away from the Spirit of Christ in me – (1 Peter 3:3) then I am just displaying a little piece of heaven! Really. (see what I did there?)

If you have not trusted in Christ to be your Savior, it’s not hard!  He not only died for me, but for you too! If you want forgiveness of your sins and to be filled with the peace that only God can give, then just pray to Him.  Confess your sin, tell Him that you need Him and ask Him to take over your life.  I promise you that He will and it will be worth it.  Really.

What do you think of when you see the cross?

Looking for Hearts

Looking for Hearts

heart collectionI am on the development team for a ministry called NBS2go. (Neighborhood Bible Study to Go –www.NBS2go.com ) The founder of this ministry is kind of obsessed with rocks, shells, and just about anything that look likes a heart. She loves to share how God revealed to her through these hearts that God is awakening hearts all around the world, through neighborhood Bible studies. She has quite an impressive collection to say the least! It’s always exciting to see another heart shape in something… She seems to find them EVERYWHERE!

beach walkingYesterday I was at the beach with my family. My husband  and 2 of my kids went walking after dinner, and my husband asked me if I was keeping my eyes open for “hearts” for my sweet friend. Wow. Honestly, I hadn’t been looking. I was too concerned with walking in the sand and not stepping on something sharp. So, I begin looking. My husband found one right away! I kept walking and walking, and looking. I would see one, that kind of looked like a heart, but not a really good one – I wanted a totally obvious one – no imagination required!

We walked for quite a while before turning back. I kept looking and passing over the partial looking hearts… and then it hit me. How many times am I too busy or concerned with my own walk or my own safety (mental or physical) to seek out hearts for God? How did my heart look when someone shared that love with me?  Then when I do finally decide to look, it doesn’t matter how long I walk, or have walked… How many hearts have I walked right passed, and not shared the love of Christ with because I didn’t think the circumstances were “just right”? Imagination required. Or better yet, faith required.

I didn’t find a heart yesterday, but my husband did. I was bummed, but then I was also reminded that one heart is just as important to one heartGod as a whole bucket full. (Luke 15:3-7)I love how the Spirit reminds me of truth, and opens my own heart and eyes to the love He has for every single heart out there.  The good news is that it’s never too late.  My prayer is that I will find one, either on the beach tomorrow, or back home in my very own neighborhood. Really.


Africa Update or Mama Smiles… Whichever you prefer

Africa Update or Mama Smiles… Whichever you prefer

If you’re familiar with my blog, then you know that my one and only daughter, Katie, is spending 2 months is Swaziland, South Africa this summer.  I posted about it HERE, when I was still nervous, and she was still fund raising.  Then I posted HERE when the fund raising was over… She has just passed the half way mark, so I thought it might be fitting to post about it…

I thought we would not be able to communicate with her, at least not often, but to my pleasant surprise, we have been able to “chat” on facebook about once a week.  Her team is keeping a BLOG, although they don’t get to post much, and one of the girls in her group has the international phone plan, that works occasionally, so I also get a random text once in a while.  This morning, I was blessed to get some “face time” with her because she was able to use an ipad and was in a South African mall with wifi… So, needless to say, my worrying has been at a minimum.

Her updates have been wonderful, and I can hear her excitement even in the words she types.  They are staying in a homestead in Swaziland.  There is no running water or any modern conveniences.  She has mentioned a time or two her grievance over not having real toilets, or showers.  They use baby wipes, and buckets of well water to clean with.  I’ve been instructed to have the tub cleaned and ready for her when she gets home.

She loves the people and her team.  The scenery is breathtaking and the children are her joy.  They work at “care-points” each day, feeding and caring for the children in the surrounding communities.  They have found several places to just help where needed, and they are always thinking of how to make a lasting impact.

She has been trapped in the shower shack (see the picture) by a heard of cows.  They have had some things stolen, by the cow herder.  He got caught, and fired, so everything was returned, but they woke to a dead cow in the front yard the next day.  So, since there is no refrigerators, they had the pleasure of watching the cow get cut up, and passed around.  Her exact words were ‘EW Gross!”

They went into a mental hospital, which was more of a hospital for the demon possessed.  It was the most terrifying thing she has ever experienced.  They managed to pray, and then get out, but it has stuck with them.  Katie told me today that she has planned a “Joshua” attack… since they can’t go back in the hospital, they will walk around it and pray till the ‘strong hold” comes down.  Prayers from here would be welcomed too…

They have been on safari, and have visited the mall.  They have fallen in love with the sweet bread that is sold through the jail-like bars on the windows of the stores throughout the area.  For the 4th of July they went to a party in South Africa… she said she hadn’t seen that many white people in one place since she got over there, and it actually felt weird. The food hasn’t been as bad as she feared and she misses chocolate more than anything…

One of the things she has learned is how simple sharing Christ really is.  She was preparing to say and do all the right things… And when it came down to it, she didn’t have to really say much, if anything at all.   She has been ministered to as much, if not more, then the people she is serving.

I must say, before she went, she had been living in a big city, doing the city life college thing.  I was concerned that maybe her heart wasn’t ready for such a big adventure.  Wow. I love being wrong sometimes.  Really.

Please keep her and the team in your prayers! Thank you!



What’s Your Prozac?

What’s Your Prozac?

I’ve recently posted on social media about my little dog, Sam, and his unacceptable issues.  We started him on Prozac a few weeks back, as well as suiting him up with a nifty “Thunder Shirt” and a pheromone collar…  We’ve also isolated him to 2 rooms 24/7… All for the purpose of calming his little doggie demons and extending his life in this world.

We have had Sam since he was a wee little pup, when we rescued him from some neighbors.  He was abused his first few weeks of life, and has struggled ever since.  His past obviously haunts him, as he doesn’t trust anyone, especially boys.  He shakes, paces, scratches, relieves himself at will, and occasionally bites.  At this point, you’re probably wondering why we have kept him all these years.  Well, we wonder the same thing most of the time, but we actually love him and he was originally my daughter’s (aren’t they always?)…Even though we have paid for him, and ended up taking care of him 99.9% of the time, she swears that she will take him after she graduates from college.  So, the new routine will hopefully get us through the next 3 years.

All of this dog business got me thinking about human nature and how we deal with stressful situations or even just life…How often do we let our past, or our fears, dictate our behavior, subconsciously or consciously?  We can wrap ourselves in any kind of “thunder shirt” or take any kind of pill to try and numb the fears, but they always seem to come back, don’t they?

There is a way to be free from all of your fears though, and it doesn’t cost a thing.  There’s a love out there for each one of us, no matter how bad our past has been, or how many people we have bitten.  It’s the love of Christ.  He wants to adopt you, fleas and all.  (Romans 8:15) He can wrap you in a thunder shirt of his grace, that forgives you permanently. (Acts 2:38) When the storms come, and the fears surface, you can pray to Him, in faith, and his Spirit will comfort and restore you every single time. (Romans 15:13)

So, what’s your Prozac?  Consider trying the love of Christ.  That prescription never runs out.

Life Scales

Life Scales

Thinking about what to post this week was difficult.  There are so many things on my heart, but I never feel lead to share them – I usually write when I feel pressed upon – or pressured, whichever comes first.

I asked my husband what I should write about and he went off on the upcoming election… I just turned around and walked away.  I asked my college kid, and she said, “Broke college kids”… I said, no, so she said I should write about, “The increase of younger people getting married”… I responded, that I didn’t really know anyone that has done that recently.  So, then she told me to write about prostitution.  Really?  I then got a text from her, informing me that I was the blogger and I should figure it out myself.  My youngest son, in his obvious humbleness, told me to write about how wonderful he is….  I’m not going to ask anyone else.  I’m realizing that it probably wasn’t a good idea to ask them in the first place.

So, I figured it out on my own and here it is…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my life “scales”.  One side being worldly, responsibilities, hobbies, entertainment, etc., and the other side, kingdom work.  Now, don’t go jumping on the “covered by grace” train, I know I can’t earn my salvation, (Eph 2:8) but I am called to participate in the work of the kingdom.  Wearing the Jesus Team jersey comes with responsibility.  (Rom 12) The reasoning for the work can’t be driven by the belief that your salvation depends on it.  It’s supposed to driven by the Spirit that you have dwelling within you, and your gratitude for salvation – and the love you have for your Savior.

I used a marriage as an example when I explained it to my kids.  If you marry someone, (enter into a covenant relationship) and you never spend time getting to know them better, (reading the Word) or doing anything they asked you to, (kingdom work), or even talked to them all the time, (praying), how good would that marriage be?  Makes sense, right?

Reading the Word isn’t as hard as it used to be.  I look forward to it.  I can’t describe the peace it has brought into my life…  Praying without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) has always been easy…If you know me, this shouldn’t be a surprise.  Sometimes I feel like that verse was put in there just for me, “Sure God! I will talk to you ALLL day!” I so got that one.

It’s the kingdom work that I stumble on.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to serve. But it’s more like, depending on my mood, or the need, time, location, energy level, schedule,  is it in my “gifting”?  Do I do it for the glory or for God’s glory?

I do believe that running our company with Christian values makes a difference.  Serving in our local body of believers is very important, (Rom 12) and just being pleasant, does shine a light for the most part. (especially while driving in the Atlanta area) I even try to scatter seeds by mentioning my faith often, and I offer to pray for those that seem to need it.  But do I do what Christ himself as asked me to do?  (Matt 28:18-20) Have I shared the gospel lately or served when it wasn’t so easy?  Ah… No.

It’s the going out and sharing the reason for my hope that trips me up.  It’s stepping out of the boat, when it’s not convenient, or easy, and maybe it’s even a little scary…But that’s when God will get the glory, because you couldn’t have done it without him.

We told our youngest son that he couldn’t have a fantasy sports team this week, because his scales were already too “sports heavy”.  You might think we’re mean, or too strict, but we are trying to teach him to manage his time wisely, and to be aware of the delicate balance of it.  As a young Christian man, he has the same responsibilities that I do in the Kingdom.  

We are never given a redo of time.  We will not wake up on Ground Hog Day, over and over again.  But even though days have passed, God, through His grace, gives us brand new ones.  With each tick of the clock, and breath in our lungs, we can adjust our scales (Pro 16:11) as often as we need to.  I’m putting sharing the gospel back on mine.

Do you know that Christ loves you so much that he died for you?

How do you make sharing the gospel a regular practice in your life?