Monday, February 27, 2012

Seek ye First the Kingdom ... and NOT Diet Mt. Dew~

I love love love "Diet Mt. Dew" and God was able to show me just this week that I love it so much so that I have allowed this powerful 20 oz. drink to cloud my view of the very work He is doing in my midst. I hate to admit to you, but I must...I'm so ashamed!

Here's the deal...

I have been living at a Hilton in New Jersey 3 nights each week since the first week of November. There is a gift shop located in the hotel right next to the elevator and I would frequent this locale daily for the purchase of my diet mt. dew stash. There was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-6 different employees that waited on me during the duration of my stay. I always paid $2/bottle except for when this one guy checked me out...he charged me $2.50/bottle. He was from India and spoke with broken English. I speak with country English so you get the picture... I asked him one day if the price had gone up and he insisted that they were always $2.50/bottle. I tried to explain to him that I was being charged $2/bottle by all of the other employees working in the gift shop. I was never able to get the message through to him without seemingly offending him. I finally decided that this must be a cultural barrier and perhaps he perceived me as a female questioning him which was not settling well. Sooo, in my persistence, I decided to let the front desk at the hotel know that this was happening. I assured them I was not angry just wanted to understand the correct pricing of diet mt. dew if I was going to continue purchasing them in the weeks ahead from the gift shop.

Fast forward to our final week at the Hilton...

My friend and co-worker came to join us for the final week of the project to complete some computer training. She is a Christian and so full of energy while also never having met a stranger! She bopped into the gift shop first thing in the morning on her first day with us and began talking to the gift shop worker. She actually shared her morning devotional with the gentleman working and on the way to the hospital shared her experience with me. She told me that she had a great morning devotional that she wanted to share with me, but couldn't because she had left her book with the man in the gift shop to read today. He is Hindu.

After we arrived back at the hotel at the end of the day we stopped into the gift shop and much to my amazement there was the guy that always charged $2.50/bottle for diet mt. dew. He was smiling from ear-to-ear at my friend as he slid her devotional book across the counter. The book is titled "Jesus Lives" by Sarah Young.

My stomach ended up in my throat and I made an about face to exit the room. I honestly could not believe that my friend had been successful in connecting on a relational level in a few short minutes that morning in order to afford her the opportunity to place a "Jesus Lives" devotional into his hands for the day. He told her he wanted his own copy and she immediately told him she would mail him a copy if he would provide her with a mailing address.

Needless to say, I felt like the ultimate failure! I was so overwhelmed with sorrow and shame that I immediately went to the Lord in prayer over my horrible shift of focus. I asked for the Lord to forgive me and expressed my deepest sorrow to my merciful Lord and Savior.

Through this experience, I was able to see how not paying attention to God's kingdom first results in missed blessings. I wanted that blessing so much when I watched the slow motion replay in my minds eye of that man sliding the "Jesus Lives" book across the counter to my friend.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

I missed it folks...

I was so focused on the fact that diet mt. dew was being sold at a higher price. I forfeited my opportunity to befriend the gift shop worker and share Jesus.

I praise God that He is able to teach me such a valuable lesson in the midst of my boo boo and still accomplish His will of planting the seed of Jesus into the life of that Hindu man.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Be Mine

Happy Valentines Day! I have been thinking about this day for a few weeks now. There is a great deal of hype that comes with this day...all in the name of St. Valentine! I am sure it is a day that stresses most men out far greater than they care to speak about, but oh what a debt they fear paying if they don't somehow rise to the occasion!

Really ladies? Let's take a moment to think about how ridiculous this whole thing really is! What we really want surely doesn't rest on one day of the year set aside to acknowledge by default what we long to celebrate with our spouse all year long.

Can I get an Amen?

After all, how many of us really need a box of chocolate candy to promote an increase in dress size? Flowers on the other hand, are much nicer coming on a day when there is no special occasion. A surprise out of nowhere is a mind blowing treat in my book! What I really just a heartfelt love letter to remind me of those little things I long to hear all year long, but because men are only good at expressing emotions like tired and hungry...the love letter never seems to come or does it?

There is a love letter written to you specifically and it is called God's Holy Word, the Bible! Every longing your sweet little heart desires can be filled from the life giving words that leap from those pages. We just get so busy and bogged down that we fail to get into the word and drink in that life that fills every longing our heart has ever felt.

The best Valentine ever is told in John 3:16!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

The eternal life-giver wants to be the lover of your soul and fill every facet of your heart with just what you need if you will surrender and receive. You may be saved, but find yourself floundering about in a life that still feels like bondage.

Until we stop trying to meet our own needs and run to the one who is our only need, we will be unable to truly love.
Your heart desires it, the world tries to celebrate it, but you won't find true love until you give your heart to God...then follow your heart!

Jesus just may be saying to you, "Be Mine"!

Happy Valentine's Day 2012!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sins of omission… are they really that bad?

A resounding yes, yes, and yes because it is SIN!

For the last couple of weeks I have had this nudging of the Spirit to go to the local nursing home and just visit with some of the ladies. This came to me out of nowhere, which always raises my eyebrow as to what God could possible be up to now... I decided to wait and go during the week I would be off from work travel (this week) because I would have more time. I decided on Sunday night that I would go on Monday. Monday came and I remained busy at the house all day. Guess what? I didn’t go to the nursing home.

I went to the grocery store Monday evening and in the checkout line a few people ahead of me stood an old friend who works in the office at the nursing home…yes that is right…God was yet again reminding me to get to the nursing home! I actually stopped my friend and told her that God was really leading me to make a visit to the nursing home and asked if she would get me a list of ladies that would enjoy a visit and some conversation.

Did I mention my Sunday school lesson for the last couple of weeks has been about sins of omission taken from the book “Return to Holiness” by Dr. Gregory R. Frizzell?

Luke 12:47-48
“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Tuesday rolls around and without further delay I made my stop in the nursing home office to get a list of ladies that I could visit with. I had two in particular on my list and wouldn’t you know they were gone to the beauty shop.

As I was making my way back down the hallway, I happened to notice the sweetest little lady in her wheelchair heading into her bathroom. She appeared to need a bit of help and there wasn’t anyone around. The nurse in me just kicked into action and I assisted this lady to the bathroom. She was okay with it and so was I… kaboom a very intimate friendship born! This lady was so witty and such a joy to be around. In fact, when I was helping her straighten her clothes after being in the bathroom, she laughed about all the fat she had to cover. I said, “well that is funny…I have that same problem.” She then added, “There is one thing for sure…I know I’m not pregnant!” Of course I replied, “Me either!” We both had a nice laugh out of that one!

We continued to visit with each other and throughout our conversation I learned many neat things about my newfound friend. She shared with me that she was still a member of our home church where Greg got saved and the very place he announced his call to ministry. She told me that she had been a member for 80 years and still to this day continues to send her tithe money to the church. This lady was amazing because she was not sad to be living in the nursing home. She was very happy and grateful. She bragged on the meals, staff, and even her roommate. Not one bitter word proceeded from her lips. In all situations, this sweet lady knows contentment through Jesus.

I shared how God had placed it upon my heart to make a visit to the nursing home and I really wasn’t certain as to why. I told her about running into my friend at the grocery and then finally committing to make my visit. Big tears welled up in her eyes and she said, “I guess God knew I was ready to receive from Him and He sent you.” She kept telling me she would pray for my husband and me, but she also kept telling me how the Lord was proud of the work we were doing and she was too. It was so encouraging to have a lady that is in no way attached to the work we do for the Lord to speak such affirming words to me. God wants to bless us in some of the most unique ways if we will just let Him.

I share this story not at all to boast in anything we are doing for the Lord. The Lord does not “need” anything I have to offer, but I have learned He loves each of us so much that He desires us to be a part of His business. He desires you too friends…yes you! My complacency and lackadaisical approach to God’s call for me to visit the nursing home could have cost me a tremendous blessing, but He continued to pursue me until I surrendered to the message and call. Thank you Jesus for your love and patience in all things regardless of how big or small.