Sunday, March 16, 2014

Strength, courage, and faith.

There is a beautiful young woman in our church.  Her name is Charolete.

She is a shining example of faith, strength, and beauty.

She always has a smile.

She is at church as often as she can be, even though there are days when she probably doesn't feel like sitting on a pew for an hour.

Charolete has cancer.  She has been battling this disease since she was 13.  She is now in her mid 20's. (I think?)  She is taking high doses of chemotherapy to shrink the tumors in her body.

Her hair is gone, but it only accentuates her beautiful face.  Today she was in the "High Profile" section of the state newspaper.  Our pastor had a copy and recognized her, and I watched her pale skin turn bright pink.  It was precious.

Swiped this from a friend's Facebook page…because I didn't get a paper today.

Even in tough times, she is doing so much to help others.  In a time when so many dealing with cancer or other serious illness struggle to disguise side effects of the chemo under wigs and scarves,  Charolete doesn't hide it.  It's inspiring.  I would only hope that I would have that confidence and courage.  She gives people hope, though she may not realize it.

March 8th, 2014 a ball (The Hope Ball) was held in Little Rock.  Proceeds benefitted the 20th Century Club, which is a residential type hotel that provides free nights for patients taking cancer treatments.  Charolete starred in a promotional video.  (link below)

HOPE BALL 2014

Cancer is a terrible disease.  It would be difficult to find someone who hasn't been touched in some way.  Not only does it affect the patient, but friends and family as well.

I wish I could eradicate cancer from the world, but all I can do is pray.  Pray for Charolete, and for Racheal (another friend in our church just beginning her treatments).  Pray for researchers, and doctors, and patients.  Pray for hope….but at long as we have people like Charolete, it isn't difficult to hold on to hope.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Let the change begin in me...

“If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”  Ephesians 4:21-23

Peace roses I planted in my yard to remind me of the peace that only comes from a personal relationship and fellowship with Christ Jesus.

 This morning, our Sunday school lesson was from Paul’s letters to the church at Ephesus, and how he admonished them to pray for a change in themselves; focus on changing their individual hearts and minds, and God would take care of the rest.

So often (preaching to myself here, too) we have the tendency to pray for God to “fix” someone else…as if we don’t need to be fixed.  Often we fall into the trap that if God would just change the heart or the attitude of the other person, things would be just right.  It reminds me of the old Irish curse:

  “May those who love us, love us, and those who don’t love us, may God turn their ankles so we will know them by their limping.”  

Why do we have the mentality that the problems in our lives would magically disappear if God would just change the hearts of those with whom we disagree?

Are you guilty, too?  I shamefully admit that I had the same problem.

Just over a year ago I felt like my world was crumbling at my feet.  Things needed to change.  I prayed for change in another person because I honestly thought that would fix the problem…until one night when God revealed that I was the problem.  
One evening, in the desperate cry to God to change the heart of another person, His voice quietly asked, “What about you?”  

Ouch.  Sometimes the truth hurts, but it was truth I needed to hear.

From that point my prayers changed.  Rather than asking God to fix someone else, I began earnestly praying for Him to change my life so that it would be pleasing to Him. (It’s a good thing our Lord is still in the business of miracles!)  In His faithfulness, God began to change my attitude and my heart.  I was able to release much of the anger and bitterness that had been building up like bile in my soul, stealing my joy and delight in the Lord and in life.  As God began to make changes in me, He also began to change my circumstances.   The pieces began falling up.  (I was reminded of high school when we watched a 9mm film of an earthquake, then watched it backward as it rewound onto the reel, buildings lying in shattered ruins on the ground began falling up, back into place….wow, I just really dated myself with that last comment, my kids think a VCR is ancient technology.)

When we are miserable in our current circumstances, the real change, the change from sorrow to joy, cannot come from another.  We must allow God to change US before He can change our circumstances. 

We have to let go of our “righteous indignation” (which I learned this morning is just another word for sin), admit that we are probably a major part of the problem, and allow God to work in ways we can never imagine.

King David had to learn the same lesson:

Have mercy upon me, O God, 
According to Your loving kindness; 
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, 
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, 
And cleanse me from my sin.  For I acknowledge my transgressions, 
And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, 
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.  Psalm 51:1-4


When we finally reach the place when we can get over ourselves, God will come in and fill the void.

Yes, there are days when I find myself wishing that He would change the attitude of another, but He gently reminds me that I am not blameless and I never need to forget how much He has done in my life. He reminds me that I need to mind my own business and trust His judgement.  He knows best.

In my classroom I have a quote, which reads: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Allow Him to be the change…after all, this world desperately needs more Jesus!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jumbled thoughts

Never have I been more determined to write something worth reading, something inspired, something….profound.(?)  I have draft after draft of what began as a good idea (at least in my head), but fell flat when it landed on paper.  I hate that!

Instead of locking myself in a room with my thoughts, I just placated myself with mindless television…and when I say mindless, I mean MINDLESS!  Seriously, I'm losing faith quickly in the Discovery Channel!  "Clash of the Ozarks"?  Really?  If you haven't seen this show (which aired for the first time last night) don't watch it.  I think my IQ dropped during the course of the show.  Why did I watch it?  There's a very good reason, it was filmed 40 miles from me in Hardy, AR.  Chris (the hubby) grew up very near there (and his parents still live about 10 miles away from there), but never heard of the big feud between the two families.  I have yet to find anyone who has.  What saddens me most is the fact that Discovery had to search long and hard to find the most toothless people available!  I'm a native Arkansas, I don't drink moonshine, I have a penchant for shoes, and I still have all my teeth!  How about a show that really digs into the seedy side of Hardy, AR….you know, the place filled with antique shops and retirees! (although there is a tattoo parlor and a store named "Goths R Us"…though I haven't browsed their merchandise.)

I guess it's all about the image you project.  People really do believe what they see.  Your words can say one thing, but you actions and image speak volumes.  Today has been a very classic example of just that.  Today someone told me, "I'm a good person, I really care about people" then turned right around and told the sweet little girlfriend she's stupid (repeatedly) and to just shut up.  Good person? I hope that isn't the true definition of a good person because I would really hate to see the bad one!
As you can imagine, a long tirade from me about showing respect ensued.  I don't think it sank in because the response directed toward me was disrespectful (from a high school kid), too.  This may have been the point when I may or may not have said he should be thankful he wasn't dating my daughter.  Of course, my daughter would have knocked him out in floor long before I had to step in. Less than an hour later another student was speaking to his mother on his cell phone (in class, no less, no respect for classroom rules), using language directed toward her that infuriated me even more.  I don't care how smart you think you are, or just how mature you think you are, you have no right to call your mother a name! (especially one that could mean the animal Jesus rode into Jerusalem on was not very smart.)  Given the course of the days events I may or may not have told him it was a good thing I was not his mamma.  (just think of Bill Cosby's statement "I brought you into this world, I can take you out!")  And it was only a few minutes later when I told yet another student to do something and his reply was, "No.  You didn't say please."  I gave him "the look" and melted him on the spot.

I guess today was just one of those days when I'd just had it.  All those thoughts that you don't have time to worry about crowded in.  I'm tired.  I don't sleep well, but nights like this it's much worse. Why can't I just turn off the brain for a little while.  I don't want to think.  I don't want to worry.  I don't want to be disappointed.  I just want peace….and quiet….and sleep.



Monday, February 24, 2014

Pray for our kids

I have first period study hall.  I hear many conversations of events and happenings over the weekend and I am more convinced than ever that we need to pray for our youth.  They need positive role models.  They need to know that alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, and foul language do not lead to a happy life...both on earth and for eternity.  

Please pray for the kids...the future of our country.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Don't take His beauty for granted.


The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Psalm 19:1



So many times I'm in such a rush in the mornings that I forget to take time to give thanks to God, but there are some mornings when He does something so amazing that you just have to stop and soak it all in, like the sunrise on Thursday morning.  Thank You, Lord.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Time to Fight



Salem First Baptist Church, Sunday, January 12, 2014:

Elbow to elbow, crowded pews, 479 people gathered for a single purpose, to worship the I AM, Jesus, the ONE TRUE GOD.  The sermon was powerful; God-breathed, "It's time to stand and it's time to fight! … Men, God created you with the heart of a warrior!" Words spoken with conviction and a passion that only comes through a personal relationship with God.  It was a challenge, a directive, to the men present to stand up a be MEN.  To fight for family and faith.  To fight to return this country back into 'one nation UNDER GOD…'.  To fight for the moral and family values that now seem to be looked upon with ridicule and scorn…deemed as antiquated and outdated.  It was a challenge to the men present to once again be the spiritual head of the household.  It was a directive straight from the holy book, the Bible.

Though it was directed toward the men, it ignited a flame within the women as well.  Everyone listened, even the 9 year-old on the pew next to me who usually spends his Sunday mornings drawing wolves, longhorns, and deer on the back of the Sunday bulletin.  He asked questions on the way home.  The 17 year-old listened.  On the verge on manhood, he listened.  He was moved.  He is ready to fight.

We are becoming a nation desensitized to the collapse of good moral values and beliefs.  The sitcoms make the husbands out to be bumbling idiots who can't do anything right.  What happened to "Father Knows Best"?  I'm sure Ward Cleaver, John Walton, and Andy Taylor would be aghast at today's prime time programming.  Yet we accept it as something we cannot change, turn a blind eye, and continue in our daily lives.  We have traded "The Walton's" for "Modern Family", all in the name of progress.

I was guilty of it, too.  Yesterday a flame was ignited.  Small and flickering, but a single spark can start an all-consuming fire.  Yes, you will encounter opposition.  Yes, you will be ridiculed by some, but that is what Jesus dealt with on a daily basis.

"For where two or more are gathered together in My name, there I will be also."  Matthew 18:20

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear them from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14

It happened, the altar was full, men were kneeling in the aisles, humbled, seeking God, asking Him to heal our land.  Return us to that ONE NATION UNDER GOD.

To watch the sermon delivered by Brother John Hodges from Salem First Baptist Church in Salem, AR, click the following link.  You will be blessed.  Time To Fight. SFBC, January 12, 2014

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Epiphany!

Occasionally I have one of those epiphanies that just make me sit back and think, "Wow!"  Usually they occur while I'm in the midst of cleaning something and don't have access to pen and paper…which is what happened today…but this was just too good to let pass.

Picture this, (sounds like Sophia from Golden Girls) I'm scrubbing the laundry room sink, since we no longer are giving the calf a bottle (he isn't happy about that, either) I decided it was time to get rid of the dried milk replacer and stinky calf bottle that has lived there for the last several months.

As I reached for my mondo-sized can of Comet (you need the giant Sam's Club economy size around here) I noticed on the side 48% Mas.  Being the exceptional Spanish student I was, I rotated the can to see if there was a translation on the other side.  Yep, there is was 48% More.  Mas=More.  (I should know that from the "No mas pantalones" commercials).

It was then the epiphany happened.  Mas means More.  We are now in the Christmas season, and I thought of the word Christmas…ChristMAS.  More Christ.  The real meaning of Christmas.



I don't know about you, but I was ChristMAS every single day.  More Christ on a daily basis.

Every time I see the word Mas, I want to think of having more Christ in my life.  What about you?


Merry ChristMAS!.