Get out your favorite version of the Holy Scriptures and turn to 2 Chronicles 7:14

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Submit therefore to God.

"This time he had her, dead-to-rights. He bounded down the hallway, ready to drag the truth out of her. His fists were clenched. His stomach in knots.

Headlights flashed in the foyer mirror. Ron and Indi were here. And Edward was primed for battle.

"Where are you?" His anger undisguised. "They're here, woman."

He steeled himself against the sight of this wanton woman he'd married, as she hurried out of the kitchen. Of course she looked sweet and innocent. Didn't she always? One would never know, to look at her, what kind of a woman she really was.

Casey breezed into the foyer and glanced at her reflection.

Edward's heart was pounding. His face was flushed. The sight of Casey sickened him.

Why did I invite these people over? Tonight of all nights. I'll have to handle her later, when they're gone. She'll be so sorry when I get through with her.

He pasted on his best smile, smoothed his trousers, and cleared his throat. He looked terrific. His head was splitting."

Does this scene from Handful of Demons sound familiar? Has Satan ever played tricks with your imagination, filled your head with lies, primed you for battle, only to put you on hold? It's his way of chipping away at your peace. Your very sanity.

The battle is so real, friends. It is not your imagination. It is not a coincidence.

So, what can you do when he attacks your most precious relationships, in your most vulnerable moments?

James 4:7 - Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Global Warming

I'm not worried about global warming.

You see, I believe every word that comes out of the mouth of the Lord. And Genesis 8:22 tells me: "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

It's the promise God made after the flood. Verse 21 says: " . . . I will never again curse the ground on account of man . . . "

To back up a little bit . . . I don't deny the reality of global warming, just as I 'm aware of global cooling. It's been going on since creation. First one and then the other. I don't pretend to know why. I only know it's a part of God's design for the earth. And that's good enough for me.

I also believe His word in Peter 5:8: "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."

But He doesn't leave us without hope. Check out Ephesians 6:10-12. "Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces  (italics mine) of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Two facts jump off this page. #1. God says to be on the alert. Well, first we have to be aware there really is an enemy out there seeking to devour us. Get our heads out of the sand. #2. Our struggle is not againt flesh and blood, but against spiritul forces of wickedness.

That's God telling us the Battle is real.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Roller Coaster Day

Here it is, Friday morning, and I just realized I didn't post on Wednesday evening. Wednesday was a roller coaster day for me, and by the time we got home from church at almost ten . . . the only thing on my mind was dropping into my wonderful pillow-top bed and covering my head.

Satan and his imps were on my case all day long. "Handful of Demons" is out in paperback form, but it seems that everything that can go wrong is going wrong in getting out the hardcover edition. I've promised copies to several people who were important in the production of "Demons." And I'm feeling so guilty that I have paperback copies to sell (and give away in some instances) but I have no hardcovers to offer. Also, I have some people who are waiting to buy hardcovers. I don't think Satan wants this book to get out.

Then, my granddaughter called me during church to tell me that someone had tagged me in a lewd photo on FaceBook. I gave her the necessary info to login and get it off for me, and to unfriend the brand-new "friend" who did it. (Of course, he may have been hacked, who knows?) But it threw me for quite a loop. Threw me into a depression, truth be known. The presence of evil does that to me. (Until I come to my senses and call on God.)

I'd planned to give a copy of "Demons" to my pastor that evening after church. He didn't even know I was an author. But last Sunday - not knowing how it would impact us -  he spoke a word over Dee and me: " . . . The words you have to say will be heard by many . . . " That was exciting.

So, I decided Wednesday evening was a good time to let him know I'd been published, and his words over us were an encouragement and confirmation. But then Satan popped his ugly head into the picture with the FaceBook situation, and I was once again deflated. Decided to give the book to him another time, when I was feeling more chipper.

However, Brother Lee brought a message that sounded like perhaps he'd studied for it out of my book . . . fiction, though it is, it is chock-a-block full of Scriptural happenings. So, it was back on for giving him a copy. I didn't know how he'd receive it, since it's fiction, and he obviously spends a great deal of time in the Word. Some Christians don't "waste time" on fiction.

My, oh my. He was so excited. He held it up. Prayed for it. Called others over. Prayed for me and my book. Told me he wanted me to be on the church TV program. They had to pull me down from the cathedral ceiling to send me home.

I decided to get off FaceBook because it really causes me much consternation. So many things are posted that are not God honoring. I was spending hours a day sifting through it, gleaning out the good stuff. But invariably came away under a dark cloud.

Thursday morning I woke up with terrific back and shoulder pain, and Satan told me that I was too old and tired to be doing what I'm doing. Of course he did. He doesn't want me, or anyone else, exposing him for what he is. I did get off of FaceBook. Those hours will be better spent writing, or in the Word.

This morning the devil's still bouncing up and down on my shoulders. And he's telling me that getting off FaceBook was a terrible "career move".  But you know, God didn't put these stories on my heart in order to put me in bondage to the world (via FaceBook). Most people on my friend list were trying to sell their own books. They were not potential readers. God is going to lead me to my readers.

I'm looking for the people whose hearts are open to what God wants them to hear through me . . . that Satan roams the earth, seeking whom he may devour.

A warning that the battle is real.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Personal Miracle, Part 2

If you've not read My Personal Miracle, Part 1, then Part 2 isn't going to make a lot of sense. I'll give you a very quick synopsis, but I really wish you'd go to the last posted entry and read it first.

~My first husband vehemently hated creamed corn. (I'll not go into how one manages to hate an innocent can of vegetables.) My six-year-old  son loved it. To keep the peace, I didn't buy it. My mother was incensed that my son had to do without. She sneaked it into my shopping cart and fed it to him when she baby-sat.~

One Saturday my mother's doctor called me and after establishing he had the right person on the phone, he said "I'm sorry to tell you this, but your mother's dead." Ten words, blurted out with all the compassion of an answering machine.

Had the doctor been a little kinder, I'm not sure it would have helped in the long run. Mother and I were close, and I never felt like I'd done enough for her. She was young . . . 69 . . . and I always thought I'd have time to do some great things for her.

It never happened.

She was the first loved one I'd ever lost. And I didn't handle it well. I was a new Christian, and I'd tried to witness to her in a very clumsy manner. I didn't handle that well either.

About two weeks after her death I was shopping at eleven p.m. at an all-night grocery store in what was not the most savory section of Houston. It was dim and dingy in the store. The shelves were sagging and the floor boards were buckled. Running the cart over them was like navigating a wash board.

I was, and had been for two weeks, a guilt-ridden, bawling, unkempt mess. I should have been there with her. It wouldn't have happened.

I struggled with the shopping cart, tears flowing down my cheeks, taking my mascara with it. And I prayed. I begged Jesus to "give me a sign." I didn't know enough about the Word to know I wasn't supposed to ask for a sign. "Please let me know she's with You." I cried under my breath, over and over. "Please let me know she's with You."

I don't think I really expected Him to give me an answer. Frankly, I don't know what I expected of Him. But what He gave me was beyond anything I could have hoped for in my wildest dreams. New ignorant Christian or seasoned Bible scholar, Jesus meets us where we are.

A couple of customers came and went while I stumbled up and down the aisles. I think I was wishing someone would ask me what was wrong and hug me until my tears subsided. But no one did. The cashier eyed me suspiciously.

Finally, the only customer left in the store, I approached the check out counter. The cashier greeted me in broken english and began ringing up my purchases. Two full large paper sacks later I paid him, pocketed my change, lifted one heavy bag in each arm, and headed for the door.


I swung around. The cashier was motioning for me to come back.

Apprehension gripped me. It was late. There was no one else in the store. "What do you want?"

"I forget something."

Thinking he'd given me the wrong change, I walked back to the register. He reached under the counter and pulled something out, which he immediately dropped into the top of one of the bags I was carrying.

"What is this?" I couldn't see in the bag, and both my arms were full. "I didn't pay for it."

"Just go!" He motioned me out of the store, hurriedly.

A little worried about leaving the store with something I hadn't paid for, I left at his urgent request.

It wasn't until I'd struggled to get the groceries in the back of my station wagon that I was able to examine what he had put in the top of my bag.

A can of creamed corn.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Personal Miracle, Part 1

It's Wednesday evening, August 15 . . . my husband's birthday. My pastor husband of almost 33 years.

I haven't always been the wife of a pastor. Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, I lived another life. Sometimes it's hard to fathom, and painful to remember, but there was a time when I lived a life that didn't include the Lord.

It was shortly after making a committment to Him that I received a spectacular miracle. There are those who say miracles aren't for today. And they reason away all miracles as coincidences. Well, my personal miracle can't be reasoned away. It can't be explained away. And no amount of manipulating can morph it into a coincidence.

It was a full-fledged Jesus-Is-In-The-House miracle.

I've only shared this story with the public one time, in a small church Dee and I attended a few years ago. And I've been saving it for a bigger blog audience. I only have eleven followers (whom I prefer to call friends.) But my "page view totals" indicate I'm getting quite a few other readers. And from the urging I'm getting to share my story again . . . this must be the right time.

                                                                 *  *  *

My six-year-old son loved creamed corn. My first husband hated it. So much, in fact, he vehemently forbid me to serve it at a meal. Avoiding putting creamed corn on the dinner table seemed like a small enough thing to do to preserve the peace, so I never bought it. Of course that wasn't sufficient to keep the peace, but one must learn to "pick one's battles" and creamed corn didn't seem worthy to fight over. However, my mother - not knowing the gravity of the situation - was quite unhappy that her precious grandson was being denied one of his favorite foods.

Mother went grocery shopping with me every opportunity she got. Probably a couple times a month. We had a terrific relationship. Laughing, joking, singing. She was a joy to be around. And she was, unknowingly, my anchor on earth when times were rough. I say unknowingly because I never told her how rough times were.

One day as I was checking out I was suprised to see the cashier ringing up a can of creamed corn. "Where did that come from?"

My oh-so-innocent mother began whistling a little tune and looking anywhere but in my eyes. "Mother, did you put that in the basket?"

This cute, little, curly-headed person I called "Mother" looked up at me and blinked her big blue eyes, and I began laughing. Nothing further was said. I paid for the corn, took it home, and hid it in the pantry.

The next time she baby-sat for us I checked the pantry when I got home. The can was gone. It was in the trash, empty. Billy had eaten creamed corn for supper.

This became a regular routine that went on for a couple of years - until Mother's death. Sometime during every shopping trip, while I wasn't looking, Mother would sneak a can of creamed corn into the shopping cart. I'd pay for it without saying a word. And each time when I got home, I'd hide it in the pantry. But not so well she'd have trouble finding it.

We never discussed it, not even with each other. It was our little secret tradition.

                                                                  *  *  *

Be sure to visit again on Monday, after I've written Sunday evening's blog. You don't want to miss the second half of this story. It's so awesome that if it hadn't happened to me . . . I'm not sure I'd believe it myself.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

God doesn't take sides!

Assuming the guest speaker in our church this morning had his facts straight . . . I found out a few things that should make us all sit up and take notice.

According to the Quran, Allah has never forgiven Eve for her sin. And women are the essence of evil, which is why they must walk ten steps behind their husbands. The only way a woman can make it to Heaven is if her husband will vouch for her and tell Allah she's been a good and faithful wife, and the husband would like for her to be accepted into Heaven.

And the word "Love" is found only one time.

Compare this with the teachings of our Holy Bible. Our God is a forgiving, loving Creator. And He certainly doesn't need us to tell Him how another individual has behaved. He is omnipotent and omnipresent.

And He is Love personified.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. If the things you see and hear don't line up to His word. they have no place in your life. And don't ever ask if God is on your side. God doesn't take sides. Just be sure you're on His side.

You need his never-failing protection. Because the battle is real.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beauty and the Book

Ooops! Messed up and missed my Wednesday post. Boo Hoo! And I was doing so well . . .

But I do have a wonderful excuse. Had a fabulous time at church last night and got home late. Will that do?

Hope so, because we got there at 6:00 p.m. and ate for an hour. Well, not the whole time. There was a lot of cameraderie and hugging going on, also. Then we sang praise and worship for another hour. Yep! And it was so good I could have gone on and on.

A little time for some beautiful testimonies and good stuff straight from the Word from Brother Lee. First thing we knew it was after 9:00 p.m. A little more hugging and the drive home made for a long and beautiful night.

And maybe . . . just maybe . . . I was supposed to wait until this evening to post. So I could talk about my day today.

Drove to Jefferson, Texas to visit with Kathy Patrick of Beauty and the Book. What a ball of fire she is. She has so many things going on I couldn't keep up with her. Beauty Shop, Book club with over 500 world-wide chapters, Author, organizer of amazing events like "Girlfriend Weekend" . . . But her main goal in life is helping new authors make their mark. And she's outdone herself there.

Thanks, Kathy for a sweet visit.

Than I went on to meet Ms. Willa Bose, Director of Waskom Public Library in Waskom, Texas. What a delight. We sat and had a cup of coffee in one of the many rooms of the library. And it was like "coming home." Thanks, Ms. Willa for your hospitality.

Got home to find my beautiful friend, Valleta Lanier (The Lanier Company . . . check out their FB page) has posted the announcement of the release of Handful of Demons everywhere except on her husband Gary's  forehead. And I'm not too sure it's not there, too. I love you, Valleta.

Got an order for six books from one sweet lady, whose name I won't mention right now on the outside chance it would spoil a surprise. But when I'm sure the books are all delivered, I'll tell you who she is, and how much I appreciate her!

So . . . I've had a grand day. I sang praises all day long. I guess that's why the Enemy couldn't get his talons on me!

But he's out there. Keep him at bay by praising the Lord. Because the battle is real!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Nike Message

Those of you who know me well know my husband is a career pastor. He surrendered to serve when he was sixteen. That's sixty years ago this month. And his first "congregation" was comprised of the patients at a local home for the mentally challenged. I'm not making light of that. It was a wonderful place for a very green, young "pastor" to learn the ropes. His audience was made up of grown people. But their attention span, for the most part, was that of a group of children.

He ministered to them and loved them. And they loved him in return.

There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then. He'd already been in the pastorate for almost thirty years when I married him. His messages were always well-studied and just lively enough to keep the congregants' interest piqued, without losing the spirit of reverence that should prevail in a church sanctuary. I was always very proud to be "the pastor's wife."

But . . . there were some messages that stood out from the others. Ones that stay with me to this day because of their pertinence to our daily walk with the Lord.

"The Nike Message" was just such a teaching.

I'll not try to pass it on to you. I couldn't do it justice. (Perhaps someday I'll talk him into writing a guest blog for me and share the message.) But the main gist was "If the Holy Spirit tell you to do something . . . Just do it!" (Hence the title, The Nike Message.)

And just this morning, I had a reminder of how current that lesson is. It's as unchanging as Jesus Himself. I got up about 7:30 and had my coffee. Dee had to work this morning, so I was going to church alone. As I sat there drinking coffee and contemplating how much time I had to shower and dress, a thought popped into my mind. (Or should I say the Holy Spirit dropped a thought into my head.)

"Ask her to go to church with you." Her being a friend who's very much on my mind these days, having lost her husband recently.

I knew she and her husband had been looking for a church home, but didn't know if they'd found one yet. Their denominational preferences were different from ours. So I wondered how wise it would be to even ask her . . . knowing that in the past they hadn't really enjoyed the services we'd invited them to.

So, I more or less decided against inviting her. She'd never been to the church we're attending now, because we're fairly new there ourselves. But the style, the music, and the doctrine were our preference. Not hers.

However, if they hadn't found a church home, that meant she was alone on this Sunday morning. All alone. So the Lord tapped me on the shoulder again.

"It's too early to call." I argued.

"Not any more. You've already stalled for a good thirty minutes."

"Okay, I'll try. But she's not going to want to come."

"Try Me and see."

I called. She readily accepted, and we made a date to meet in town and drive in together.

You probably already figured out the end of this story.

The music, the service, the message, and a testimony given by a young lady were tailor-made to minister to my friend. She was loved on, hugged, prayed for, and made to feel welcome by some of the sweetest folks I've ever met.

And she's coming back!

When the Holy Spirit tells you to do something, don't make excuses . . .  just do it!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Think I've Learned My Lesson

 . . . Well, maybe not.

Arguing is an exercise in futility. Today I waited for an hour and fifteen minutes in line at Chick-fil-A. Enjoyed a good meal, and came away feeling like a million bucks. Such beautiful camaraderie among like-thinking people, all out in support of either freedom of speech, Biblical traditional marriage, or both.

How can you say anything bad about such an occasion? Well, upon arriving home, I soon found out . . .  when I participated in what I thought was going to be an uplifting discussion about Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

A fellow Christian said - in so many words - that "voting" for our traditional values by eating a chicken sandwich was a waste of time. Time that should be spent seeking out the lost and leading them to the Lord. He pretty well labeled us all as wannabe Christians. Sure took the shine off my wonderful afternoon.

I pointed out that it's possible to show your support for something you believe in, and still be a worker in "God's harvest field." We have no idea how many of those who participated in what he termed the "demonstration" are very zealous soul-seeking Christians. But my opinions cut no ice with him. He said we did more harm than good, by convincing homosexuals we hate them.

And Christians care more about the Constitution than they do the salvation of individuals.

Am I to gather we must lie down and be trampled upon in order to not hurt anyone's feelings by disagreeing with them? Or be labeled "uncaring Christians?" Woe is me.

I exited that post and took a few minutes to reflect on what had just taken place. I had argued fervently for what I believe in and he had adamantly refused to budge from his position. And this is two Christians arguing. Supposedly on the same side.

But isn't this what all arguing amounts to?

No argument that anyone could present could ever convince me to try the Muslim religion, to become a lesbian, to move to the left side of the aisle, to support freedom of choice, to deny Christ, to hate any race of people, to trash the constitution, to defile the American flag, or to shed innocent blood.

I happen to think this is a good thing. But, sadly, I'm beginning to realize that everyone feels their beliefs are a good thing. And no matter how eloquently I put my argument to them, I can never change that which is embedded in their hearts.

Only God can change a heart.

So, here's what I learned today. Argue less and pray more.

The battle is real.