Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just as I am

Woke up to a song that we sang last week in Church...its one of my utmost favorites, but with it a question. Are you ready for Home?

 I have to say that in all honesty, if Christ took me Home today, I would be sorely lacking even though I would then be free.

My thoughts went to my almost 32 years of salvation and I could not put my finger on one thing that I've done that I remember for the Kingdom, although behind the scenes I'm sure I've done some.
Then I thought about a young man of 16 years old...Chris Carswell, and his foundation 1Boy4Change.org​, and I look at the mountains that he's moved and I think...in three short years, this young man has done more for the Kingdom than I ever have. And then, I'm admonished...I'm not Chris Carswell and I never will be. God created him to do just exactly what he's doing and for a reason.

Again my thoughts wander to another spiritual giant that I know...Her given name is Marilyn, but I call her Duck. We go back a very long way, to a Pond where camels have marshmallow wars right along side Rednecks, and Ducks, and other not so normal people. People who have come together to share their lives, their hopes and their love for the Risen Christ with those who could be Left Behind. She is an inspiration to me in so many ways, and yet we've never met. We will, one day, but until then, for over 15 years and counting, we are Sisters in a Land that we are only visitors, travellers who one day will be Home. Today she wrote about being on a Transition Team and having "cats paws" kneading at her heart about what her mission is and I thought, "That is the question that was presented to me this morning." Now tell me, who says that God doesn't move His Children?

Still, I'm admonished...I'm not Duck and I never will be. But there's one reassurance that we have in this life, that God knows our beginning and our end. He knew that even before He said, "Let there be light." He knows that sometimes our hearts ache because we feel like we aren't doing enough to spread the message of the Gospel. He knows the joy we feel when we see our efforts come to fruition, or when we give of what we have so that others may see Jesus in us. And then, the song comes back, but not all of it, even though surely I know every word.

"I come broken to be mended. I come wounded to be healed. I come desperate to be rescued. I come empty to be filled. I come guilty to be pardoned, by the blood of Christ the Lamb. And I'm welcomed with open arms. Praise God! Just as I am."

Just because you're saved, doesn't mean you're done. You have a mission to be fulfilled and maybe all you can do is to be a prayer warrior, then do it!

So you're not saved because you think that you have done too much, said too much, gotten so dirty with this world that you would never be accepted. Remember the words of the song...Just as I am, and know that Christ died for you, too. He'll take you, with open arms...PRAISE GOD! Just as you are.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The darkest day in human history

Yesterday was an interesting day.

Having had a nasty panic attack the day before, I was still pretty tired and really wanted to sleep, but I had errands to run. I knew my Little had had precious little sleep the night before, so Mouse and I decided to stop at Starbucks and get her something, as well as ourselves. After bringing Little her specially made frap, Mouse and I took off to get what needed to be done, done.

When we returned, Hubby was pretty much on our heels, getting home from work within about a half an hour after us. Once all of the niceties were done, I began to get ready for my evening.

I came out all dressed in black, mumbling that I look like Morticia. Hubby looked up about that time, mentioned that I looked fine, but that I looked as if I were going to a funeral. In a sense, I was.

Good Friday, if you're not familiar with it, is the day that we as Christians remember Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross. All four of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) give a recount of the crucifixion. As a Sunday School teacher, I also taught this to my High School class, giving them the gory details as well.

On that day, two thousand years ago, Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross. This punishment was meant for only the vilest of offenders, something the Son of Man was not. Prior to this act, Jesus was subjected to the worst of torture. The Sanhedrin gave him over to soldiers who beat and tortured Him, they blindfolded Him, spat on Him and demanded that He tell them who hit Him. In the morning, He was brought before Pilate, who initially found no fault in him, but when pressure from the chief priests and elders became overwhelming, he stood, washed his hands and proclaimed that Jesus' blood would not be on his hands. After having Him scourged, he then gave Him back up to the soldiers.

The soldiers were expert in torture. They beat Him with a flagrum, a whip with many thongs on it. Attached to each thong at the end would have been small balls of lead. Jewish law held that a prisoner may not have more than forty lashes, however, it is often believed that the Roman soldiers dismissed this and flogged Jesus until His back was shredded.

The soldiers, finding humor in a supposed King of the Jews being beaten, found a purple robe and placed it on His profusely bleeding back, twist thorns into a crown and shoved it on His head, making sure the thorns were deep within the skin and scalp. They give Him a stick to make the mockery complete, then surrounding Him, mocked Him. They slapped Him, pulled his beard out and then tiring of the mockery, they took the stick from Him and beat Him over the head with it, driving the thorns even deeper into the scalp. Finally, they ripped the robe from His back. The bleeding, which would have been clotting and drying by that time, stuck to His back. When they tore the robe from His back, it reopened the wounds, causing the bleeding to begin again.  By this time, the soldiers become tired from the beating and decide to march Jesus to Golgotha.

The soldiers returned His garments to Him, then tied the heavy cross beam across His shoulders. It is said that the beam would have weighed in excess of 100 pounds, and on The Man who is having His blood pour out of Him and had had no sleep, this was beyond inhumane.
Despite His efforts to stay upright, He was unable to and Simon of Cyrene was selected to finish carrying the beam up the hill. Sweating, in shock from the beating and the loss of blood, Jesus is forced to walk the remaining 650 feet to the crest of the hill, where He was laid on the cross beam. The soldier felt for the space in His wrists and then ran a square, wrought iron nail through each wrist. The beam  then was raised to the vertical beam where it was secured. The feet of Christ were then forced together, toes down and a nailwas run through both.

At this point the One who was crucified must  push up on His feet to get even a small amount of air. The excruciating pain combined with the small amounts of oxygen was tiring. When Jesus cried out (translated), "My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" the soldiers again mock Him. When He cried "It is finished" and dies, the skies darken and the veil in the Temple was torn in two.

When Jesus is removed from the cross, Joseph of Arimathea placed him in an unused tomb and a stone is rolled to the mouth of it. A seal is placed on the rock to assure that none may enter it. On the third day, according to the Scriptures, the stone had been rolled away and Jesus was no longer in the tomb.

Many have said that the Apostles had taken Him, or that the Sanhedrin had relocated His body, but there have been numerous writings, specifically from non-Christian sources, that show that Jesus was seen by hundredds for forty days after the Crucifixion.

So, in answer to my Husband's statement, yes, I did in a sense go to a Memorial, but I did not mourn. Instead, I sang of His sacrifice on the cross...to take away my sins; past, present and future, and I sang of the glorious resurrection that  was to take place three days later. Am I perfect? Ask anyone and they will tell you with a resounding no. As much as I try, I can never be perfect, but that doesn't mean I continue to sin. Do I have times that one cannot tell me from those who are not followers? Yes, but I strive to love those around me, to give of my abundance when I can and to treat others as I would want to be treated.
As a result of my salvation, I rejoice in the fact that when I pass from this life that I will be perfected and will join those who have gone before me...and I will see the risen Christ face to face.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Light in darkness

Did you know that the human eye is a marvelous thing? We've all seen the commercials of the woman who sees a flame in the dark from quite a distance. In fact, the human eye is able to discern, on a dark night, a flickering candle up to thirty miles away. According to scientific research, the human eye can detect between five and fourteen photons (the activation of five to fourteen rod cells). That's pretty impressive.

I say this because it sort of leads into my subject at hand...sort of. Actually, I thought it was a cool bit of trivia...now when you play Trivia Crack and the subject of how far the human eye can see, you have the answer nailed.

Anyway, I came across an article by Kevin DeYoung about John the Baptist. He made mention of how he was created to be the prophet fore-runner to Jesus, the Light of the World. John 1:6-8 says:
 (KJV) (6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (7) This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. (8) He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

That Light that is spoken of, of course, is Jesus Christ. The cool thing is, John was sent to bear witness to the light, to talk about Him, to prepare others for Him and to lead people to Him. Jesus is the Light that you can see better than you can see the Andromeda Galaxy, which is the furthest that the human eye can see in space. What do I mean? How can I see someone who can't be seen? Tough question.

The Christian is called to bear witness of the Light (sound familiar?), to prepare others for His coming and to lead people to Him. In doing that, people who aren't saved should see Jesus in them. The compassion, the love for others, the drive to see that no one perish, that is what should be seen.

I saw a video within the last few days of a young boy about 13 maybe, standing on a sidewalk in I think was New York City. The temperature was 5 degrees, and he had a sign, a t-shirt that had holes in it, jeans, shoes and a black garbage bag. He was asking for help on the sign, but no one paid any attention to him. People would walk by, a few looked at him and his sign, but no one stopped to help. All of these folks were bundled against the cold, and no one stopped to make sure this one boy was taken care of. Finally, the boy, who was shivering, crawled into the garbage bag, curled up and laid down on the sidewalk. Finally, a man came by, took his coat off and put it on the boy, and gave him some money. It was later determined that this man had once been homeless. This man showed the compassion that we should all have. It is not known how many of the people who passed this boy were confessing Christians, but this one man, Christian or not, showed the world what living like Christ is like. This man showed the boy Jesus.

Jesus spoke about the time when He will return and judge all of the Nations. In Matthew 25:35-36

(35) for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; (36) I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.

then in Matthew 25:37-40 He answers: (37) Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? (38) When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? (39) Or when did we see You sick, or in prison and come to You?' (40) And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

Clearly, this man in the video ministered to the least of these, or at least who he thought was the least of these. At the end of the video, the man was blessed with much more than he gave by the ones who were filming this piece.

So, do we do these things just to receive the blessing? Certainly not! Yes, sometimes blessings are realized straight away, but more often than not, the blessings will be a long time coming, perhaps not in this life. We should not be doing this for the blessings anyway, but because Jesus encouraged us to do so...because we are the light in this darkened world that leads to the greater Light, Jesus. We are not that greater light, we are the ones proclaiming the coming light, but because of who we are, Jesus shines through. For loss of a better analogy at the moment, like moths to a porch light, others will be drawn to us, then we are able to proclaim Jesus risen and coming again...to judge the just and unjust. Jesus will come like the Lion He is..the Lion of Judah, to correct that which is wrong.

"So, Lois....what if you're wrong?" So what if I am? I will have lived a good life, one that shows compassion, one where I did my best to show others who Jesus is by living the life He encourages us to live. To help others who have nothing, whether I get a pat on the back or not. Then I will be remembered as one who lived out loud, who helped and loved others and did her best.

If, however, I'm right, then after doing all of this, then, with Jesus as my Advocate,  I will stand before God and may have to answer for the times that I failed, but will be commended for the times I stepped up. Then He will usher me into Heaven where I will live for eternity. But for those who have not accepted Christ in their lives, they will be judged, with no Advocate but themselves, and sent to eternity in Hell, and trust me, it ain't going to be a picnic.

The choice is simple. Ask Jesus to come into your life. You don't have to clean house, you don't have to be perfect, because Jesus takes you where you are, as you are, but the cool thing is...He won't let you stay there. Because He comes into your life, you will want to change...you will want  to be more like Him.
"What about going to church? Why should I go, it doesn't make me any more of a Christian."
No, going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than being in a garage makes you a car, but here's what going to church does for you: It gives you people who have been in similar situations who can help you through them. It gives you learning opportunities, helping you to know Scripture and how to apply it to your life. It helps you to live life larger, and fully. Yes, you're going to run into the Cr-Easters...those that only come to church on Christmas and Easter. Yes you're going to run into those who have a mask for Sunday and then another for the rest of the week. That's unfortunate, but happens in all realms of society. But you're also going to run into those who genuinely want to be like Jesus, and want to tell others what He's done for them. Those are the ones that you want to know, those are the ones who will teach you more than you ever thought you would ever know...not with book smarts or street smarts, but with God-smarts.

Whew! That's a lot to take in, and I hope it is crystal clear and not muddled. Dear Ones, it is my desire that those I love, whether I'm family or if I've never met you before, will come to the saving grace of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Have a wonderful Palm Sunday weekend and a beautiful Easter.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rain, rain go away...sheesh!

Who am I kidding? This is Houston!
Seriously, though. I don't think we've had more than twenty four hours of sun since late January. I'm beginning to understand what its like to live in Seattle...no offense to my Washington State fans, but constant rain? Ugh!

I feel like I'm developing webbing between my toes and I wouldn't be surprised to see feathers growing out of odd places. There's a stretch of land just outside of the subdivision that's been cleared and leveled...it's right by a retirement apartment complex and not too far from the railroad tracks...If I start to see mass amounts of lumber hitting the ground...much more than for the complex next to it, I might be raising an eyebrow. When the animal sounds start, I'll most likely start to get my affairs in order and pack for the journey Home, because sure as shootin', the Lord will be coming on a cloud out of the Eastern Skies!

I'm worried about my cats, though. They still hate water. Maybe I can built them some little life rafts that they can sit on and observe the deluge...maybe some Plexiglas in the center so they can watch the fish and whatever else floats under their raft. They are, after all, a curious bunch.

Don't think Bailey, my mudding Duck Tolling Retriever Mix will have many issues with the rain and sludge, the others will have to learn to tread water. The Rat (translate: Daughter's Min Pin)? He might just shake himself silly and hope the cats will let him on their raft after they're finished laughing at him in his raincoat.

By now, I'm sure you're wondering if I'm tired of the rain...Nah! Not me! It waters the lawn, the flowers, the weeds, the mud puddles, the cement, the car stuck in an intersection because "the car is taller than that puddle is deep..." (famous last words) and the tree-trash all over the place. My flag got shredded with the wind and rain and is currently snagged on the pole out of my reach. I could get the ladder to get it down, but the ground is so soggy, the ladder will sink and I still won't be able to reach my flag. Going to have to wait until the ground hardens some.

It's rained so long here, when Mouse sees the weatherman on the nightly news, she shakes her head, makes a face and says, "he's sooo fired." Yeah. Its that real.

Okay, so I know some of you are out there either giggling yourself into a depends necessitating fit or you're shaking your head. Either way, I'm willing to bet you've been entertained. So, can you do me a favor?

Pray that the rain will stop. I don't look good in duck feet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

When Authors meet Authors...

Especially in Austin, Texas...well, lets put it this way. Way too much fun was had!

So, I went to a writer's conference last week, my first ever. I really wanted to go to the conference, but the cost of it wasn't in my foreseeable future. Praise God for contests and scholarships. I was awarded a scholarship (does that make me an award-winning author now?? Hee, hee!), and was able to drive the couple of hours it took to get to Austin. One observation here...rush hour traffic there? Oy!
Anyway, got there, checked in and because the hotel is a popular place, had to wait an hour for my room to be ready. It was worth the wait. Gorgeous room. If you're ever in the Austin, Texas area and want a room with the most comfortable beds and nicest rooms. the Renaissance Austin is your place to stay. The fact that the conference was there was icing on that particular cake.

So, looking at my conference stuff, I noticed that I kind of messed up on the dress code, so out the door I went to find business casual. Found a couple of things and bright and early Friday morning, I headed down, my poor swollen feet in heels. I get to the check-in table and look to see other attendees milling around wearing...wait for it...jeans and tennis shoes. Yeah...slightly over-dressed. The sweet girl at the table suggested since they weren't quite ready to check in yet that if I would like to go and change into something comfortable, that I had plenty of time to do so. Guess who high-tailed it to her room! This girl!

When we finally got into the conference room, I was in awe. Easily a couple hundred people were there from just about anywhere in the US and probably elsewhere in the world as well. The morning was jammed packed with information and fun and give-aways and of course, Ted Dekker. The man is flat out funny. When our first break came along, I accidentally (yes, it was sort of an accident) bumped into him and let him know how grateful I was to be a winner of one of the scholarships. I also let him know he is one of my most favorite authors. No, really...he is. I can't tell you how many of his books I own.

Julie Lyles Carr was another of my favorites from the conference. She is what she herself referred to as the Cruise Director. A mom of eight (I know, right? I commend her...I barely could handle two!), it boggles the mind how she has any time at all to do any writing. And funny? She's hilarious!

Sandi Krakowski, author of BeMore knocked my socks off. Yes, another funny woman who dug deep into my soul and touched a couple of things that the Holy Spirit has been nudging me on as well. Fantastic speaker.

James Rubart was another speaker that day. Something just occurred to me...I think they scheduled all of the funny people on the first day...but that isn't to say the others weren't funny...there definitely were some light-hearted moments, but the ones that got me to snort a couple of times were on the first day of the conference. Y'all know who you are....keep spreading that sunshine!

The day wrapped up with an Author Panel comprised of Ted Dekker, James Rubart, Susan May Warren and Mary DeMuth. This was pure wonderfulness and there were tons of laughs.

Oh...I forgot to mention. Before lunch, I ran into Ted Dekker again. Yeah...really this was a true accident because he turned around and started to walk when I was walking past. He was talking to someone else and I didn't want to bother them, so I started to go around. Anyway, we ran into each other and talked for a few minutes. Definitely a foot-in-mouth discussion for me. He asked where I came in from and I told him Houston. I joked about our traffic here and then made my faux pas...I mentioned that Austin drivers were crazier than Houston drivers. His response? "I live in Austin..."
I closed my eyes, pressed my lips together and nodded my head in shame...yeah, I was sure I just insulted him. I left the hotel shaking my head as I went to take back the business casual clothes I'd purchased the night before.

At the end of the conference, true to our southern Texas weather, a monkey wrench was tossed in.
You have to love our weather. Truly the old adage fits here...if you don't like our weather, wait five minutes...it will change. We were having freezing rain. One inch thick ice on my car. By afternoon it was melted, but by two o'clock the barometer was doing its funky stuff again, and the fibro was kicking in. Nothing like an organic weather machine to tell you when the weather's changing. I waited the conference out as long as I felt I could without running into the slick roads. Left early, but not without a few pictures...one with my favorite author.

Did I have fun? To quote Sarah Palin..."you betcha." Did I learn a boatload?  Absolutely! Did I make some new friends? I did indeed and I look forward to next year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"When did we see you a stranger and take you in?"

"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' " That quote is from Matthew 25:37-40.

This last week has presented me, and quite a few other Brothers and Sisters in Christ the opportunity to be who we have been called to do.  A family in Christ has fallen on an extremely difficult situation, in fact it can be considered a crisis situation. Up until last night, I have been in continuous prayer for them and the situation.

About ten hours ago, a gofundme account was set up for this family and as of this writing we have collected a small amount, which is an awesome achievement considering the time it went active. However, that said, the goal is a very high one and a bit daunting at that. Prior to this week, I could have gotten discouraged by what I'm seeing, but since last week with interceding for them as well as another friend, my faith is as strong as it ever was. I can see God's hand moving.

This is not going to be a long post, this is just going to be one of sharing. This gofundme is urgent and I am asking that you prayerfully consider donating and definitely share wherever you can. It only takes a small thing to turn a family's balance into something tragic...whether it is an accident, a death, prison, addiction, etc., and it could be your family in need. Wouldn't you want your friends and family to do all they could to help?

Thank you dear friends not only here in my hometown, but around the world.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I always thought I would have a dull life...

Trust me, I didn't disappoint myself!

I mean, seriously...when one has eight cats, four, sometimes five dogs, two toddlers/preschoolers and the Mouse in the house at one time, well, life isn't dull.

Case in point. Sunday.

A bit of background first. My house is over forty years old. Its wiring has little to be desired. There has been more than one occasion that I've had issues with the outlets, not to mention sometimes the kitchen light. That, however is for another blog and another day. Needless to say, I've begun to think this house has a mind of its own and doesn't like me.

That brings me to Sunday. I turn off my ringer for church. Always. Which means that anytime someone calls I usually don't get it until after church ends. Well, I've begun to take my Kindle to church because there's an app that allows me to make notes with the sermon. If you haven't seen this app, check it out, its called YouVersion and has the option to find a live sermon. So. I set up a mobile tether to my Kindle so that I can get the live version of our Pastor's sermon. Sunday I was about to set up my tether when I see that my Hubby called. This doesn't happen, so I left the sermon to call.

I went out to the foyer and tried calling back. No answer. Gut tightens. Call the house phone, gut tightens more...goes to the answering machine. "Hello? Hello? Hello?" finally an answer. The outlet where the computer is has sparked. Yay. Well at least the house didn't burn down.

Problem is, I smelled plastic when I got up that morning, but figured something plastic fell on the heating element in the dishwasher, it was that kind of smell and I dismissed it.

When I got home, I turned off the power to the house and tried to get the surge protector out of the outlet. No good, it was fused to the housing of the outlet. I ended up pulling too hard and pulled the outlet apart. So, I cut the cord to the plug, inspect the surge protector, which is totally fried as well, unplug the computer which is thankfully unharmed and tape up the exposed wires. Out comes the duct tape and I tape that up as well, because, well, sometimes my cats are stupid and fried cat couldn't possibly smell good.

Head back out and turn the power back on, go to check the tape on the wall, push on the outlet and Oops! Flames shoot up the wall! Blow those pups out, turn the power back off and call an electrician. They can't get out until Monday (seriously...what was I thinking?? LOL!) but they tell me to call the fire department because there was a fire. Now comes the good part.

No sooner do I hang up with 911 when a huge rig pulls up to my driveway and six...count 'em, six taller than my house firemen hop out, one of them in a mask. A small snort pops out of my mouth as I get a mental picture of the many commercials and memes with firemen, as Hubby and Mouse scramble to contain the dogs. The cats? They usually scatter and I don't generally worry about them.

Blushing pretty heavily, I open the door and all but one of these guys bend their heads to walk in. One of the cats, Snickers, gets this look like "oh....@&^%$!", growls, fluffs to five time her size (which is pretty big in the first place) and backs into and up the Christmas tree. Ornaments rain down and I lose at least two of the bulbs. Next thing I see is a black and white streak hauling hiney out of the room.

 The guy with the mask (who still has it on)and the rest of them check the walls, outlets and attic for hot spots, then the guy in charge tells him he can take his mask off. Me, always the mouth says "unless you're allergic to cats." He smiles, says he isn't allergic to anything and takes the mask off. One of the other cats cautiously peeks around the corner, sees the guy remove the mask and a grey streak flashes by. I have to shake my head, these cats are something. It took me over a half an hour after they firemen left to get a head count, two of my furbies hid under the couch (how the heck did those chubs get under there??).

I get that this is may be only slightly funny and perhaps just a bit too much of a look into my house, but I had to get it out. My life is never dull. If the two Master Minds aren't being sillies, the animals are doing their best to practice for Barnum and Bailey. I have dogs chasing cats, cats chasing dogs and on at least two occasions, cats chasing kids, only once did the kiddo have a string, but both times play was involved.

I have to wonder at this point...what is 2015 going to bring! ;)

Happy New Year, folks! May it never be dull and may the smiles be abundant!