Thursday, July 29, 2010

Finishing Strong

1 Corinthians 9:24 (MSG) You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally.

In the game of life as well as serving the Lord it is not how we start the race but how we finish that matters. There are seasons of life where everything goes right. We are on a winning streak, make good choices, make right decisions, and take wise steps. However, this season does not last forever. Eventually seasons change and we struggle. Perhaps we have problems within our families. Injury or offense comes. We get injured by a bad deal ,a harsh word, or the loss of a career. Instead of pressing forward toward the prize, we are tempted to give up.

Paul encourages us not to give up or give in but to finish the race. In other words, it is not how strong we start, but how strong we finish. It is not how a marriage or family began; it is how strong our relationships grow. It is not who or what may hinder, bring us down, or when we messed up. It’s about pressing on and winning the prize. However, in order to win the prize we must finish the race we began.

Living for the Lord everybody wins. It is different than earthly games where only one person or one team can win the prize. I Corinthians 9:24 explains “There are many runners but only one prize.” In the Christian race all may obtain the prize which is the crown of life. We are chosen to be on God’s team – the winning team. As children of God, it doesn’t matter how many times we get knocked down. We can still finish the race as strong winners

Life is going to bring us down from time to time. The Bible says because we live in a fallen world, we should expect adversity. If you are on a winning streak right now; look out! Adversity may soon be running behind you. It takes a made up mind to stay in the ‘game’. After being knocked down you may need to forgive someone who has hurt you or prevented you from playing well. Stay focused on the Word it adds power and endurance to finish.

Get rid of weights which will hinder your ability to finish:
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (NIV)
Make up your mind to persevere:
Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” (NIV)
Keep pressing, you are going to make it:
Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"Imagine a person who lives well, treating others fairly, keeping good relationships…doesn't live by impulse and greed, doesn't treat one person better than another, but lives by my statutes and faithfully honors and obeys my laws." Ezekiel 18:5 (MSG)

After taking a few days to write my previous post on “Friendships” one word began to dance in my thoughts – ‘impulse’. Our senses bombard us to become impulsive. At one point or another everyone has been impulsive. We want to look right, enjoy certain smells, taste something particular, enjoy how something makes us feel, and enjoy hearing compliments. These 5 senses many times are unbridled causing us to make poor impulsive decisions.

Ladies, how many times have you at the last minute decided to purchase a new outfit because you had nothing to wear that looked right? Better yet, shopping with a friend not needing to spend money a friend told you how beautiful you looked in an outfit you tried on for fun; you loved what you heard and gave in to impulsive spending. As a result the item still hangs in your closet with the tags because it is not your style. Maybe you were attending a wedding or special event and ‘needed’ a new outfit. Regardless that you couldn’t find what you really liked you settled not really liking the purchase. The money was a waste because you never wore the outfit again. Possibly a friend got a new gadget and you decided you ‘needed’ one, too.

Often the same impulsive nature exists in our spiritual lives. Many pray in a crisis or run to church when there is a problem, yet others stay home and hide during a problem. Impulse prevails for the moment rather than a consistent walk with God. Decisions are made impulsively that must be lived with. Life is not like a new gadget, clothing article, or car. It can’t be put sold on Ebay, Craigslist, or a garage sale. In fact it can’t be traded with a friend. An impulsive nature in spending, habits, hobbies, and friends uncontrolled will definitely began to form our character. It is impossible to separate an impulsive physical nature with an impulsive spiritual nature

Well planned decisions add balance and consistency to our daily lives. Decisions are made with a plan to execute the goal. Every decision may not be easy, however regret or frustration will not exist and a strong mind to accomplish will prevail. We can give God what He desires of us and not just a quick impulsive prayer or Christian service. I want to live by His statues and faithfully honor and obey Him as Ezekiel 18:5 suggests.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thoughts on Friendships

Friendship, a complex word used to describe relationships ranging from mere associations to very intimate or close relations is intriguing. While marriage relationships, business relationships, and even some family relationships have fallen apart; a true friendship will last forever.

It is impossible to change friends abruptly, forge deep relationships quickly, maintain a friendship that lacks loyalty, or embrace someone without knowing them. Many times people seem inconsistent or always involved with a current fad or hobby trying to connect with someone they call “friend”. While everyone is influenced somewhat by those we associate others seem greater influenced. Some change hobbies or interests, purchase or decorate homes like friends, acquire similar vehicles, dress similarly, or fashion hair styles to their ‘friends’. Simply, a person involved in this confusion is really not a friend rather endeavoring to satisfy an inner longing never satisfied with things, hobbies, people, or careers. These persons are disastrous or dangerous full of inner turmoil. The threat that is created by this type individual is more a self destruction or a threat to their immediate family members. Some may try to argue the person is not a leader rather a follower. Another may argue “I’ve always wanted to do what I’m doing and I’m finally in a setting allowing me to be the person I’ve always been”. However, I contend it is impossible to vacillate quickly without the possibility of self destruction.

A short time ago I discussed with someone the difference of a true friendship and a mere association. I explained my perception of a relationship this individual had was a relationship built around an association created by location rather than a “friendship”. One may ask, “How did you base your opinion?” Simply, I recognized one of the persons in the friendship was simply involved due to location and nothing more. While the person I was endeavoring to help had a true feeling of friendship toward the other person it proved difficult for him to comprehend my feelings. Time, however, has proven my point. The friendship has not remained loyal or committed.

Regardless if a person is of the generation preferring the hymn "What a Friend We have in Jesus" or the praise and worship chorus "I am a Friend of God" hopefully we recognize the true meaning of ‘friend’ not confusing it with an association or casual relationship. Though distance and life separates friends; friends will always remain friends. Likewise, nothing should ever separate us from Him. Today, I will endeavor to strengthen my vertical relationship so every horizontal relationship will be correct.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My World

After several pleas for me to blog here goes.....

I've got much I'd like to say. Much has been in my thoughts and heart. I just haven't slowed down long enough to organize my thoughts. What a pitiful excuse, huh? Actually, it's the truth.

Each January I establish personal goals. Some years the list is long and very detailed other years it is much shorter. This year I simply put three goals on my list. Little did I realize the amount of effort and prayer that would go into ensuring I accomplish my short list. Following is my 2010 Goals.doc

increased prayer for my children
aggressive in teaching/training
aggressive in studying/preparation

The goals were formulated with prayer and meditation. I wanted to write meaningful things that I truly would work to accomplish. Things that would help me yet have a positive effect on others.

First, let me say when you make a STRONG determination to commit things to God and see His will accomplished expect opposition. Later in January we hit our first obstacle. It was quite a challenge but we made it through. Then our family attended Because of the Times in Alexandria and were blessed. We fight battles and win victories as a family. Surely, victories were gained at BOTT.

In the Spring I went through a major surgery. A few weeks into the recovery I questioned if I had done the right thing by going thru the surgery. Later I realized God had ordered my steps. The recovery process allowed alone time at home to reflect on God. During this time I truly feel I grew closer to Him. Through the first quarter of the year the church continued to grow and the ministries of the church strengthened.

One Thursday morning in late May I was awakened by a God dream. At the time it felt more of a nightmare. Might I add every Mom's nightmare yet I knew it was from God. I dreamed my beautiful unwed daughter was with child. I lay still in bed weeping and talking with God until Kent awoke. I apprised him and immediately made my way to our daughter's room. I told her the dream and she began to weep telling me her fear. This began the longest weekend of my life. We went that afternoon to the doctor only to get a positive test. We shared the news with our parents and siblings immediately. We found great love and support. We had some ministry friends to come to our home and pray with us and our three children. Friday and Saturday we took time telling the ministers and church board. Then on Sunday night Kent told our entire congregation with our family sitting on the front pew. I can't explain the great amount of love and support we gained from our church family. The ONLY negative remarks we have received are from a few persons who no longer worship at CUPC.

The first few days were like a death had occurred in our family. Thankfully, we made it through those dark times with the help of our church, family, and friends. A couple of weeks later we went as a family to Texas District Camp Meeting. We were overwhelmed with the love, prayer, and support we received from the ministers and wives. On Wednesday morning the minister knew NOTHING about our circumstance and prophesied to Kent. Then we had a couple of other very evident divine moments. Each of us left refreshed in the Lord.

The first month I could not have made it without my friends, Jerry Ann Guidroz, Renee Flowers, Judy Gandy, and Karen Wehrle. They continue to call or text to check on us. Then there is Sis. Benson, Sis. Russo, Gena Caruthers, and others who have gone out of their way to make sure we are ok and to encourage our daughter.

Immediately we got busy making sure our daughter is well taken care of. Bro. Wayne McClain, our pastor, told us she was forgiven before we even knew. He knew she had already made things right with God. Bro. McClain admonished us to love her and continue with life as it were prior to our knowing of the pregnancy. He said if God forgives then we as well as others should. While we knew he was right we also knew we had a church to protect. We wanted our church and daughter to know she didn’t just do wrong but she committed sin against God. Much to our surprise we didn't have to protect the church. They protected us. What awesome saints! Friends as well as saints told us God had arranged for the right people to be in our lives for this time. I know they are right and stand amazed at God.

Now, we are enjoying watching our daughter plan for her baby by preparing the nursery, choosing names, picking out which outfits the baby will wear at the hospital, etc. She is going to be an awesome Mom. Of course we don’t know the gender so final plans can’t be made.

Someone not knowing anything about our circumstances told me God had given them a word for me. "The problem that has robbed you of your joy is going to bring you the greatest joy." I stood and wept and wept. The lady did not even know our daughter. When I told her what we were dealing with she cried. Then replied, "God is right a grandbaby will bring you the greatest joy you have ever experienced"

While I wouldn't wish this crisis on an enemy I am thankful that we see how God prepared us for it. We are doing great and we know great days are ahead for our daughter and grandbaby.

I work with many unwed Moms in bus ministry. I love these dear Moms and their children so much. Just as I have shown mercy we are receiving mercy. Thankfully during this time CUPC has continued to grow and prosper. In fact I believe even greater things will come thru this process that we have experienced. I now love with a new love and show mercy with a new mercy.

I'll try not to be the insane grandmother and let every post be about the baby but as Kent told our church...."Our grandbaby is going to be cuter than yours" :)

Keep us in your prayers.....