Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Christmas Wig

"But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

Christmas time is over and the world will soon get back to normal. 

Not you. 

For a few short weeks, the world smiles and sings and goes out of its way to be unusually kind because it's Christmastime. 

Not you.

Folks play the part to the fullest on the Christmas stage because at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, the wig must go back in the box and a full year must pass before this opportunity rolls around again. 

You know better. 

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you know that joy and kindness and holiday cheer is not an annual event but a daily joy. Because the baby Jesus grew up, died, and rose up, you have lifetime season tickets to the beautiful drama of "Christ in You, the Hope of Glory!"

 While the world puts its Christmas wig back in the box, remember that Christmas cheer is not an act for you. You don't have a Jesus wig, no, you have His very life in you! 

The rest of the this year and all of the next is your time to shine. Be a puppet on His string and let Him show the world what Christmas looks like on the off-season. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

God's Refrigerator

"When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty." Jeremiah 15:16

You can't help but smile as you predict the look on the faces of those for whom you've Christmas shopped. 

I know you're enjoying too much of the wonderful foods you only eat during the holidays. 

Warm fuzzy feelings flood your heart as you watch Christmas shows and movies you watched as a child. You relive the excitement you felt when you first saw them. Double that pleasure if the joy is reflected in the faces of your own children or grandchildren. 

Relatives you don't see near enough come to town, and you are thankful to make another happy deposit into your memory bank. You realize time will inevitably change the family picture, so you drink deeply of these precious gatherings. 


Something is missing. As good as all of the above is, there's a growling in your spirit that refuses, no, CAN'T be satisfied with all these emotional sweets and savories. No.

What you need is a trip to God's fridge: His Word! 

Nothing satisfies your soul like a happy hour visit to the Scriptures. 1Peter 2:2 says to earnestly crave the pure milk of the Word. A few verses before that, Apostle Peter described God's Word as a seed that never perishes . This seed will make you love the unlovely.  (I'll take mine roasted, please!) Wise is the woman who partakes of that seed what with visits with challenging family members, long lines, and holiday traffic!

King David declared God's Word  as sweeter than honey from the honeycomb.(Psalm 19:10) No calories, either! 

The Christmas rush is fun and exciting, but it can run you down physically and emotionally. Make regular pit stops to the well-stocked fridge of the Word. It'll rejoice your heart, enlighten your eyes,  and most of all, restore your soul. Why? It's because these visits are really divine dining with your Wonderful Counselor, your Might God, your Precious Prince of Peace.

Bon appetit and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sunrise at Christmas

 Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, 
TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-79

Sunrise. It is a daily invitation to begin again, to view life with fresh try again. 

 When God pressed the button to unmute Zechariah's mouth, this priest spoke about the Sunrise from on high who would shine on us and light the roadway that leads to peace. 

  Don't miss the Sunrise this Christmas season. Let Him guide you as you shop, bake, give, and visit. 

We are children of the light! We are not like those who walk in darkness, who stumble around and are overwhelmed. 

No more confusion about handling difficult family relationships. The Sunrise has shown us clearly what is good and what the Lord requires of us. Simply yield and agree, with His help, to do what we've been told. This way, the Sunrise not only lights our path, but He warms our hearts and emits the fragrance of what Christmas is all about: hope and redemption . 
   Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Get Off the Bench

"Holding on to faith and a good conscience.  Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith." 1Timothy 1:19

"No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:27

Few verses make my blood run cold like the two above. My heart's cry is, "Oh God, don't let that be me!"

Aside from missing salvation altogether, what could be more tragic than being permanently benched by God--never to be called upon as a vessel worthy to be used to do great things for Him? For the enemy never to hear the Father say, "Have you considered my servant Georgia?"

Lord, don't let us get flabby and jiggly with cellulite in our soul! Save us from ourselves! Fan the flame of passion for You in our hearts. Forgive us for being too lazy to spend time with You daily when all is going well, and then having You on speed-dial when things go bad. Pardon us for prostituting our energies on everything else and throwing you the leftovers after all you have done for us.

God, we call you Lord, Lord! Help us to do what you say.

How do we keep from being spiritual lightweights?

The 1 Timothy verse says to hold on to faith and a good conscience. Have you been taking your faith to the gym of God's Word everyday? What about your conscience? Are you drowning out that still, small voice that gently tries to pry away the deep-fried gristle of compromise? Ignore the Voice long enough and you won't hear it at all.

The 1 Corinthians verse suggests it's possible to be busy helping everybody else to the neglect of our own spiritual health and be disqualified. What area of your life needs to be adjusted so the scales are balanced with self-care and care for others? Running on fumes works for only a short time before you crash.

Notice also that Paul has to show his flesh who's boss. Like a fat lazy child, the flesh wants everything to come easy with no effort on its part. Self-control ( a fruit of the Spirit) drags the flesh off its bed and makes it do what's needed until it becomes what's wanted. Can you relate?

We all get off track sometimes, but we should never be content to stay there. Are you ready to get off the sidelines?  You know what you need to do.

It's time to get off the bench!

Talk About It: How can YOU tell you are getting away from God's best? I can tell something is wrong when my patience starts getting short with people,  and I lose the spirit of gentleness.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Let's Do It Right This Time

"Be still and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3

You have a choice in how you will respond to this trial.

 You can freak out.

You can stand up in your going-every-way boat and make emotional decisions doused in out-of-control emotions. You can behave like the heathens do who have no concept of a loving  God whose heart of compassion is as big as His ability to come to your aid.


You can give God (not always yourself) time to calm you ( not necessarily your storm). You can position yourself under the umbrella of supernatural wisdom about how to do this trial right this time.

It's time to put all those promises you believed so sincerely on the sunny days to the test now.  Acknowledge God's right to do whatever He wills. Then trust Him to do what is best. This is part of being still and knowing He is God.

Being still also involves listening for His guidance, and not moving until He says.

I know everything in you is advising the exact opposite, but you've obeyed those voices long enough. Weather this storm God's way, and see what a difference it makes.

Pray With Me: Yes, Lord, I need you to help me do this trial right this time. Remind me Who You are, what You can do, and what You promised. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Help me to cooperate with what You're doing in my  life through this difficulty. You said Your strength is made perfect in weakness. I sure am weak! Thank you that in You I am strong. Allow Your Spirit to flood my soul, my mind, and my heart with Your peace as I fix my thoughts on You. Lord, help me to go through this storm in a way that pleases You this time. Amen.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Answered Prayer: It's in There Somewhere

Have you ever been at the grocery store and found that something you really needed was out of stock? You were already tired and didn't want to have to drive to another store. So, what did you do? You asked the stock boy if there was more in the back. You believed there was a chance that what you needed was in that store somewhere.

That's what the Syrophonecian woman did in today's scripture.

I LOVE the Syrophonecian woman! She had a very real need,  and she came to Jesus to get that need met. Jesus gave her a holy blowing off. He told her that her need was not on His agenda at that time. It wasn't that He didn't care, it was just that His energies had been reserved for others.

What would you have done in her shoes? Would you have sighed, hung your head and reasoned that the answer you wanted must not be God's will? Sometimes we use that as an excuse to give up. Persevering in prayer is hard, isn't it? Praying for rain without seeing a cloud in the sky feels like a waste of time.

Oh, but you don't know what God's got in the back!

Don't make the mistake of reading God's delay as if it was a no. Just as trials are designed to build character in you, so  silence from heaven is designed to get a rise out of you. Will that rise be a wailing whine, or will it be a holy boldness that says there's no way you're letting go until He blesses you?

Our Syrophonecian sister chose the latter. She agreed she was not on Jesus's original printout, but she knew He could still pencil her into the margin.  That's not arrogance, folks, that's faith!

 You don't let an empty grocery shelf be the final word. Don't let an unanswered prayer be the final answer either. Don't be so quick to give up. Keep searching, keep asking, keep praying. When God denies your request outright, He replaces it with something better. Either way, His "yes" is in there somewhere.

Talk to me: Your answer hasn't come yet. Now what  are you gonna do about it?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Live Intentionallly!

We live in a "leave me alone" culture. Nothing is anybody's business, and frankly, we kind of prefer that. That way, we feel justified in following our own pursuits and agendas.

The only problem is that this mentality is the polar opposite of the way God calls Christians to live. We are not our own, we have been bought at a precious price and, in that transaction, our personal rights were sold as well.

People are our business.

The Great Commission cannot ever be fulfilled if we excuse our way out of other people's business. Like a child who balks because her mama puts limits on her sugar intake, people don't know that a life without God  is not what's best for them. This is not to say we have no boundaries with those who are obnoxious in their resistance of the gospel, but most people haven't been given the chance to resist because we over-predict that they won't want to hear us out. What a cunning ploy of the enemy to deprive a blind soul of a chance to receive his sight!

What is a Christian to do?

Let us follow Apostle Paul as he followed Christ. He said to the Philippian believers,

 "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:9)

If someone is to learn, teaching has to happen.
Receiving must be preceded by giving.
Hearing means someone is speaking.
Seeing  something in someone means spending enough time together so it can be seen. Sounds like relationship!

Forget all the highly structured methods of reaching people. Maybe that armor isn't the right size for you. Minister to people by teaching, giving, having conversation,  and relating dressed as yourself.

No perfection required, but you must do it on purpose or it won't happen.

Be yourself.
Be faithful.
Find a  way to involve yourself in lost people's lives.
Be intentional.

How about you? Do you struggle to be intentional in this area like I do? What helps you with that?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fumigating Your Prayer Closet

 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16

Have you ever dreaded something  you needed to do? You put it off until it simply had to be done, but once you did it, it was not nearly as bad as you thought it would be.

We can be that way about prayer sometimes. We know it is important, but we fear running out of words and feeling guilty about it. We know our minds tend to wander, and so we don't pray to elude that spiritual embarrassment. Then there is that terrible feeling when we try to pray about a seemingly insurmountable problem and our faith falters. In discouragement, we sigh,  "What's the use?"

How do you overcome these obstacles and move on to a victorious prayer time?

First, always remember Satan invites himself into your prayer closet. He perfumes the air with the stench of discouragement, lights the black candle of doubt,  and plays the subtle background music of lies about God's ability to answer audacious prayers.

Hidden in the folds of today's verse is the key to victory. Read it again. Do you see it? The key is humility. When your mind wanders, own up to it right away and get right back to praying. When you run out of words, humbly ask the Father to put more words in your mouth. Pray through your roster of friends and family.

 What can be more humble than confessing your sins? Confession relieves the guilt that tries to stifle your prayers before you even start.

Another way to express humility is to take your eyes off yourself and  adore Him for who He is. Adoration magnifies the Lord to His proper size,  and your big requests don't seem such a drain on your faith.

Humility lets fresh air into that prayer closet, banishing discouragement, doubt, and drowning out the the voice of your accuser. The fervor will be there and God says it availeth much (does a lot of good.)

Your prayer closet awaits. Fumigate it with humility and I'll see you at the victory party!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fan It Into Flame

"I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God..."2 Timothy 1:6

This morning I stopped by a coffee shop at my church. I'd seen the young man tending the coffee bar many times, and he did just what I hoped he would.

He sang.

In a voice so beautiful it was almost painful to hear,  he sang stray verses of whatever song was in his head.

 I ordered my coffee and sat down. Whenever he had an idle moment, he'd mindlessly allow the wind in his lungs to caress his vocal chords,  and a glorious sound would grace the atmosphere. I found myself wishing he'd have more idle moments so he'd sing more. Each time he sang, my heart would squeeze. Nothing romantic....more like worship. Something about beautiful music made with the human voice evokes worship....know what I mean?

Finally, I asked the young man why on earth he is not singing solos in our church. He looked a little sheepish and muttered something shyly. That voice was given to him by God, and it seemed a shame that the coffee cups and the odd customer were the only ones privileged to hear it. I am not playing the Holy Spirit in this young man's life. I'm just saying. Gifts are meant to be used and shared.

What about you? What are you hiding that God intended for the world? To say you have nothing to offer is to call God a liar. You were made for His glory. Is He getting any by way of the gift He placed in you for that purpose?

I have a friend who grew frustrated with me when I slacked off writing my blog. I did not realize it mattered enough. It dawned on me that she felt the same way I feel about that young man's voice. We often discount the influence we have on people. Much more, we sit on our gifts thinking they are neither good or important enough.

Maybe Paul knew Timothy was not using his gift to the fullest. He  admonished him to fan it into flame. Maybe Timothy was unsure where to start, and Paul said those words to show him he already had what he needed, he just needed to do his part by putting it to use.

 Jeremiah tried to sit on his gift, but it was like fire shut up in his bones, and he just had to let it out. Maybe you already know what your fire is and you have been trying reignite it, but fear and insecurity stand guard at all your attempts and you say it's no use.  Yes, there is a use. Keep fanning, My Sister. You are making a bigger fire than you think. God is pleased.

Maybe your gift is just a tiny flicker right now. That's OK. Add the oxygen of practice, effort, and consistency to it.  You will have a bonfire in no time. The best part is that the bigger the fire, the more people you draw to come warm by it. They will meet Jesus there, and isn't that what it's all about anyway?

What is God prompting you to fan into flame this year for His glory?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Connect the Dots in 2015

 I know you have somewhere you want to go this year. Maybe you want to become someone by December that your January self is not.

How are you going to get there?

Take a lesson from today's passage. Did you notice that God did not tell Joseph to go straight to Nazareth? Prophecy said he would end up there, but God drew the dots and allowed Joseph to connect them.

How can you connect them in your life so you end up where you are destined?

God spoke through Joseph through dreams, but that is not the norm for today's Christian. He speaks primarily through His Word; therefore, if you want to know what dots to connect in 2015, you've got to be in His book. Reading the Word is part of God's ongoing conversation with you about your life and His plans for it. It's exciting because you never know when you will come across a dot with your name on it.

God spoke to Joseph twice via dreams in this passage. What if Joseph had not obeyed the first dream? Do you think he would have obeyed or even gotten the second one? The path to connecting the dots in this new year is littered with  signs marked "obey". The wise traveler will be careful to obey each one.

Finally, notice that after Joseph obediently went to Israel, he found a circumstance there that I am certain caused him to ask God what to do. Joseph prayed and God answered through a dream. Reading the Word is God's part of the conversation and prayer is yours. No dots will connect without prayer.

Read, obey, and pray and you are sure to reach your destination. Send me a postcard when you get there!