Sunday, March 11, 2018

Option for a Re-ride

Yesterday at Rodeo Houston, a cowboy's horse fell and he was offered the option for a re-ride. His score was 81 which was not enough to advance to the semi-finals so he chose to ride again. 

When we are contrite and confess our sin to God, we turn away from it, we get a "re-ride". 

I John 1:8-10 reminds of us this:

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

Start today with a clean slate, take your re-ride and confess to God what you need to confess.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Do you see this woman?

Luke 7:36-48 is a familiar passage for many of us. Jesus is dining with a Pharisee when a sinful woman drops by, she brings with her a contrite heart and a costly flask of fragrant oil. She was behind Jesus weeping. She washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair and anointed them with the fragrant oil. The Pharisee was perturbed, to say the least. 

NKJV: Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.  And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,  and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.  Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

The Pharisee knew the woman was a sinner, why didn't Jesus know???

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”  Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.  You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.  Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
 Jesus asked Simon, "Do you see this woman?" Simon saw her and he formed negative thoughts about her, he judged her. How often in this life have I been a Simon? Whether towards another person or myself. 
Jesus saw the woman with love and mercy. He saw her contrite heart. He forgave her sins. We are called to love people, we are to see them with the eyes and hearts of Jesus. That includes ourselves. 
When you look at yourself in the mirror who do you see? A child of God or a divorcee? The apple of God's eye or an adulteress? A precious pearl or a failure?
God loves you. He is El Roi - the God Who Sees. He knows your heart, He knows your pain. 
If you struggle with seeing yourself as redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, please talk to your pastor, please ask trusted friends to pray for you, and or find a ministry which schedule prayer time with you. There are many such ministries out there, I can recommend CHM and CHC :
Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, FL - 904-765-3332, Mon-Fri 9a-4:30p EST. 
Christ Healing Center in San Antonio, TX - 210-930-7760, I do not have their office hours. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Patience & Grace

A loved one forgot to pay her phone bill, I tried to pay it by phone and online. The phone company's record of the last 4 digits of her SSN does not match what is printed on her SSN card. I suspect the phone company has her deceased husband's SSN on file.

I wanted to shout to no one in particular, all I want to do is PAY her bill!!!!

Technology is a wonderful thing, but at times I want to ditch it for a simple cabin in the woods or a hut on the beach with a few modern conveniences.  You know, be a hermit until I emerge to have my hair colored.

I often wonder if the smart appliances and smartphones add to our quality of life, or are they an equivalent to a butter churn in the long run?

We have grown used to high-speed Internet, high-speed trains in a few countries, zapping coffee in the microwave to warm it. We don't wait often these days unless we are holding for a government agency.

Do we have the same attitude concerning answered prayer? I prayed it 5 minutes ago, where is my answer God?  Obviously, there are some situations in which we need an instant answer because we are in danger or that sort of thing, but mostly we want answered prayers asap because we are no longer accustomed to waiting. I think about my uncles sending my father Victory Mail during WWII, people waited for the mail to arrive from Europe & the Pacific. No phone calls, no e-mail, no FaceTime. Hard to imagine.

Do I think waiting patiently has ever been easy for any generation? No. I do think it is harder today. I think we want grace without making changes in our lives. Many times we want God to act on our behalf without sacrifice and repentance. We imagine a god tailored to our needs instead of knowing Him through Scripture and prayer.

We begin our walk with God as baby Christians, the walk is meant to progress as we mature in Him, we are not meant to coast on our walk with Him. We mature as we wait, as we face disappointments, challenges, and hurtful situations in life.

Remember these words:

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

II Cor 4:7-9
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed

I Tim 6:11-12
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

I Thess 1:2-4
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,  remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,  knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.

We need to pursue patience and be patient in hope. We need to calm down and be still. His grace is sufficient. We need to know Him and believe Him.

I pray 2018 is the year I truly know Him better and pursue patience while I patiently hope.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rodeo 2018

Rodeo Houston begins next week, 20 days of rodeos, livestock shows, carnival, shopping, and every food you can imagine fried and served on a stick! 

Over a million people will attend the livestock show and or rodeo. Big money will be raised at the livestock auctions for college scholarships. 

It is fun to see the children dressed in western wear. They are so cute in their hats and boots, usually with cotton candy in 1 hand and their other hand held tightly by a family member.

Have you ever thought about the Lord holding your hand? John 10:27-29 (NKJV) tells us:

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

Jesus tells us we cannot be snatched out of our Heavenly Father's hand. We may loosen our grip, we may let go, but we cannot be snatched from His grasp. 

Remember when times are tough to hang on to the One Who loves you so much, He sacrificed His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will spend eternity in heaven. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

We had Plans

Well over 25 years ago I had 2 jobs, office job by ay 9a-4p, ballet and pointe teacher by night 6p-9:30p 4 nights a week. After a few months of working this schedule, I dropped the ball with housework and my husband hired a maid to come once a week. Her name was Lupe. She arrived after dropping her children off at school and worked until it was time to pick them up in the afternoon.

She would walk in with a big smile on her face and say Good Morning, Mrs. Harper and I would tell her to call me Annette, have a great day, your money is on the table and I was out the door for work. She cleaned my house for years, yet I barely knew her, I knew other people she worked for the other days of the week, but I did not know her. Then one weekend I saw her in a restaurant, she joined me and we discussed everything under the sun including the Lord. We discussed the Bible, talked about Christian books, and prayer. That day a friendship was born. I am the richer for it.

She was married to a naturalized citizen who wanted to move back to his hometown, so off they went. When she came to our area to visit her children and later on grandchildren, she called and we would meet and sometimes for extra money, she would clean her former clients' houses during the day since her children were at work and grandchildren were in school. Her husband died from complications of diabetes and she moved back to America. Lupe found a job she loved at a Christian school. We would meet for coffee at the donut shop. She loved coffee, she loved donuts, about the only time she ate junk was at the donut shop a couple times a month. 

Every now and then, I needed help with housework and would call her. After Harvey, her school was closed for a few weeks and she called to see if she could come help me, and I said yes! 

We had plans to get together this year, she retired from the school at the end of 2017, she wanted to work part-time during the day, preferably not past 4p. I asked her if she would be interested in helping my family care for an elderly relative 4 to 5 hours a day, Monday-Friday. She said yes. 

I contracted pneumonia in January, was too sick to talk to her when she called me, I told her I would call back when I was well. Toward the end of January, she called, I was almost fully recovered, I apologized for not calling, she said she had been in the hospital for 2 days. Her neck began aching so bad one night, she could not stand it and went to the ER. She was diagnosed with Stage 4, Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer. She had no symptoms until the neck pain. She could eat, sleep, work, had not lost weight. The doctors were shocked how well she felt. 

She breathed her last breath as she slept a few days ago. She did not suffer from horrendous pain and side effects from treatment for which I am so grateful. But my brain cannot quite comprehend I will not hear her voice on the phone or see her again on this planet. 

She was the loving hands and feet of Christ in her everyday life, no pretense, no legalism, she loved Him with every fiber of her being. What you saw in her was the real deal. 

I am so thankful I had the opportunity to thank her for being my friend and tell her I loved her days before she was diagnosed with cancer. So what is my point with this rambling blog??? My point is this - live out the Gospel, let people know you love them, stay close to God, we never know when we will take our last breath on this planet and the next one in eternity.

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.