Saturday, September 26, 2015

Grace vs Karma

Have you ever been shocked by a person's reaction to a trivial traffic incident? (Think road rage over a driver pulling out of a parking place or something equally harmless, but it delayed said driver from pulling into a parking place and the driver is livid.) Of course, it looks much worse when the offended driver who is now honking, racing down the road to pull in front the offender to slam on his/her. brakes to make a point has a bumper full of God Loves You stickers. I've never once heard anyone utter Hypocritical Jew, Hypocritical Muslim, Hypocritical Athiest! (I am certain there are hypocrites in all faiths and walks of life.)

Why not extend a little grace to the offender instead of gleefully posting Karma will slap the offender and you are sorry you will not witness it? In the grand scheme of things - do you really need to lose it over something so trivial? Did it really, really, negatively impact your life? Does the Bible call us to honk, call someone names, give the offender the international salute or forgive?

Of course situations in life cause us to become angry and or upset. How do we deal with them? Mercy and grace or sin? Possibly all 3. (Think repentance after passing the slow driver on a mountain pass on the Labor Day weekend and finally praying for him because obviously he was frightened driving over La Veta Pass at 30 mph.) Did I honk or salute him? No. 25 years ago, I would have made sure he understood he annoyed me, I've learned a lot since then. People have extended grace my way. The Lord extends grace to me each day.

The Bible tells us:

For by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive. Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while there is a beam in your own?

Be a blessing, extend grace today.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Ever notice in some churches reverence (Deep respect and awe for God.) is a thing of the past? I am not saying contemporary services are a bad thing, I've seen a lack of reverence in very traditional services too. In America, people seem to think they are sitting in their living room whether in their living room, at a theater, or in a sanctuary. Many times checked out - talking, texting, looking at their watch hoping the pastor winds it up in time to flip on the tube and see the kick off.

For those who will be worshiping in a church tomorrow, I pray we are all filled with awe and respect for the Lord and His house. I pray we remember we are not in our living room; conversations can wait; cell phones and Ipads will still function when turned back on after the service.

So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort—for the sake of his good pleasure—is God.

You must follow the Lord your God and revere only him; and you must observe his commandments, obey him, serve him, and remain loyal to him.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Life & Weather

Like weather, life can be dramatic, life can be be beautiful, life can be boring, life can be inconvenient (think blinding rain at rush hour). Summer weather patterns in southeast Texas are fairly routine - hot & humid. Yesterday it was 106 and sunny, then late afternoon severe weather warnings were issued for our area. As the sun set, wind gusts of 62 mph were recorded, vertical and horizontal rain began to pour from the sky, plenty of thunder and lightning and of course a little hail to add to the mix and drama.

We can be in the midst of a tranquil season in life - maybe even boring when the phone call comes which turns our world topsy turvy, or your spouse walks in the door from work and announces he wants a divorce. At times, life is filled with drama. How we react is to the situation is very important. Do we press into God? Do we act like we star on a reality show - being paid to behave badly? Or are we somewhere in between?

I think somewhere in between describes many of us at times. I've reacted badly - sharing my judgmental, critical opinion with anyone and everyone. I've reacted by immediately seeking God and staying close to Him and keeping my mouth shut when required. I've also reacted badly initially and then turned to God and His wisdom, seeking Him and staying close to Him which to me is the "in between".

Remember ladies, we need to press into Him, not share all on social media. We need to seek Him in prayer and the Word. We may need the counsel of a couple godly friends or pastor as well as asking a couple of discreet friends to be in prayer for us.

The Bible tells us:

And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body.

I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you. In a little while the world will not see me any longer, but you will see me; because I live, you will live too.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cafeteria Christians

Cafeteria Christian is a new term to me, it is another term for Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. An extensive survey among American teens who professed to be Christians was conducted 10 years ago. A majority of the participants said they like the Bible but could not recall a verse or anything from it. They also think Jesus is a great guy but they knew little to nothing about the Cross or the purpose of Christ's death and resurrection. Their basic beliefs are:

A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.

God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and most world religions.

The central goal in life is to to be happy and feel good about oneself.

God does not need to be particularly involved in one' life, except when God is needed to resolve a problem.

Good people go to heaven when they die.

I see many adults with the same beliefs, much of what the teens listed as their beliefs parallel many of the mega churches in America. What a watered down God, no Savior, and inwardly focused list.

We are to love and serve the Lord and others. Our focus is on the God and His glory as well as the Cross and the debt paid by Christ Jesus. The only inward focus should be searching our heart for sin so we may repent.

The Bible tells us:

I Cor 8:5-6 If after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live.

Matt 18:14 In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.

John 13: 34 “I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."

Phil 1:6 For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.

Rom 3:21-24 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (although it is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed— namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

I pray for those preaching this type of message to repent and return their focus to God, the Cross, and the Bible.

Remember Ladies: It is not about me, it is about Him.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Renewed Focus

“Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

What is it I value in this life? Do I treasure the things of this world or do I seek to accumulate treasures in heaven? Honestly, I think some days I accumulate things the world values and other days I stay focused on my eternal home.

A couple of weeks ago, I had spent little time in the Word and I was distracted when I prayed. As I asked the Lord to heal my Cousin Bill's body, I thought I need pineapples, raspberries, and spinach which brought perspective! I needed to purposefully return my focus to the Lord and open up my Bible and read. I decided to read the Bible in 90 days for the second time this year. I also need to spend quiet time with Him. No music, no devices, no distractions - solitude.

We have examples of Jesus spending time with the Father in the Gospels:

Yet Jesus himself frequently withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.

And after he sent the crowds away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

Now it was during this time that Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and he spent all night in prayer to God.

Thankfully, the Lord's mercy is great and His love is never ending.

A new week with renewed focus.

Blessings to you, my sisters in Christ.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

3 Amigas

Karen, Wendy, and I meet for lunch most Wednesdays for an hour of conversation, laughs, and a book discussion. Currently, we are reading Searching for and Maintaining Peace - A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Father Jacques Phillipe. It is an excellent book so far.

As I grow older, the peace of the Lord becomes more and more important to me. Life brings constant change. Change can be good, but it can also be horrendous. God does not change, He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. An important key to peace is abiding (Merriam-Webster defines abide as to stay or live somewhere, to remain or continue) in the Lord.

Ladies pray, stay in the Word, and keep your eyes on Him. The Bible tells us:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.

Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God.

SSMT July 1, 2015

My verse is:

For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith.
Romans 12:3 NET

I think it can be hard at times not to think too much of ourselves or at times think too little of ourselves. Society certainly wants us to think very highly of ourselves. I think we need to focus on what the Lord thinks of us. Do I live for Him or myself? Easy answer - I live for Him some days and for myself other days. At times, I am led astray be feelings which cannot be trusted. Fatigue and stress can be stumbling blocks as well.

So this day, I commit to living for Him. Ladies, let us use the faith He distributes freely to us and serve Him with joy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Because I am Fat

For years I've blamed almost everything on being overweight. I am _________________ because I am fat. Turns out I have Hashimoto's (sounds like a wonderful Japanese restaurant) which is an autoimmune disease (not serious) and causes the list of symptoms I blamed on being fat.

After I began taking mega doses of Vitamin D prescribed by the doctor last year, some of the weight dropped off quickly. Now I take 1 pill a day for the thyroid, I've lost some more and will continue to do so. I am carrying 10-20 LBS of fluid. (I hope it is 20 - less fat to burn!) Looking back, the doctor believes I've had this for at least 25 years along with another autoimmune disease and I agree with her.

I will continue to take the medication, pray for healing, and follow the Hashimoto diet - no dairy, grains/grain products, corn/corn products, gluten, deli meats, fresh water fish, all seafood, sugar, soy/soy products, condiments, and iodized salt among other foods. Restricting the types of food I eat is easy compared to what many people endure due to serious illness. In fact talking about thyroid trouble sounds like whining when I think about people I know who are really ill.

Over the years I have prayed with people about many topics, for some reason I never prayed about the cause of my weight. It is a wonderful example of practicing what I preach!

Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 1, SSMT Verse

My verses are Romans 13:9-10. NET

For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Love is a word which is thrown about casually these days. I think sometimes it is hard to remember love is sacred. Love is constant, it is not conditional, it is not based on the emotion of the moment.

Our love deepens as we spend time with the Lord in prayer, in His Word, listening to Him, following Him, living for Him, worshiping Him. We are changed daily by His love. It is by and with his love we minister. We are called to love the unlovable which we cannot do in our own power.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 15, 2015

Today is Tax Day, the 2nd Anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the day on which President Lincoln was assassinated, and thankfully something joyful - time for another SSMT verse.

April 1st, the verse I chose was Romans 12:12 NET: Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. Today's verse is chapter 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality.

Contribute to the needs of the saints is a no brainer, but pursuing hospitality is not on my radar, (I love to extend hospitality - but have never pursued it.) The Amplified Bible words this this way: pursue the practice of hospitality. Hospitality in defined as the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers and the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.

As I contribute to the needs of the saints, I must endeavor to pursue hospitality. Hebrews 13:2 advises us regarding hospitality as well:

Do not neglect hospitality, because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. Verse 13 reminds us to: Remember those in prison as though you were in prison with them, and those ill-treated as though you too felt their torment.

Ladies - May we extend hospitality to those we know and those who are strangers to us as well as remember the forgotten.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1st

I truly cannot believe April is here and Easter is on the horizon. Time for another SSMT verse. I have been praying for a loved one diagnosed with a dreadful disease in 2002. Sometimes it can be hard to continue to pray in faith. If we have not done it ourselves, we know Sisters in Christ who have prayed over needs for decades. This verse about prayer resonated with me this morning. Romans 12:12 NET:

Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer.

Persist is not a word we hear often in this instant satisfaction world. Some ministers preach all should be good all the time. I think if that were true, the Bible would not mention we must endure in suffering or need to persist in prayer or other verses calling us to pray, contend,endure, and hope.

Ladies, I hope the remainder of Holy Week and Easter bless you beyond your imagination.

He is Risen!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March 15 SSMT

Time for another SSMT, my verse is Psalm 73:26 NET - My flesh and my heart grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability.

Rodeo Houston is on the home stretch, it ends this weekend. A few nights ago, it was 40 degrees and raining as we walked into NRG Stadium and colder when we walked back to the car. Today it was 80 and quite humid, I was happy to remain home tonight. The weather changes in the blink of an eye this time of year. Life presents constant changes - some bring much joy, others bring heartache and leave a wake of devastation. No matter what life throws at us, no matter the circumstances in the USA and or around the world, God is there and He does not waver with the whims of man or the forces of nature. I take comfort in knowing He never changes.

He is my fortress, shield, and refuge. Sometimes I find myself looking to someone or something other than God as tough circumstances present themselves which will always fail. When I falter, I know I need to spend more time in the Word and in prayer. I may need to ask others to pray for me.

Take comfort in the following words:

So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.

The Lord is my high ridge, my stronghold, my deliverer. My God is my rocky summit where I take shelter, my shield, the horn that saves me, and my refuge.

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spring is Near

It is March 1st and time for another SSMT verse, I chose Psalm 73:25-26, NET:

Whom do I have in heaven but you? I desire no one but you on earth. My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability.

It is RODEO time in Houston which means hats, boots, riders, ropers, and winter's last gasp. By the end of the rodeo it will probably be 80 and humid. Spring in Houston is very brief but quite beautiful, blossoms and lush green foliage all over the area.

As I commit Scripture to memory, I want to transform the dark places inside me to something living and as pretty as spring blossoms. I want to live out God's Word and not be a legalistic hypocrite. Of course all Christians sin, but many are so busy pointing out the rules they never pour out the love of Jesus on hurting people in this world. When Christians are cruel, condemning, and or holier than thou - they do nothing the advance the Kingdom.

Ladies, I pray God's Word is alive and active in you. Planted, transforming, and blooming.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


How is it February 1st already! Time seems to be passing more quickly this year than last year. I am quite tired at this season of my life and finding it hard to love difficult people - both family members and strangers alike. The verses the Lord has led me to so far this year are about loving and serving. My SSMT verse for February 1st is:

Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11, NET)

Today is such a beautiful day, I hope to work up the energy to drag a chair outside and soak up Vitamin D as I read a book and watch birds. (And maybe drink another cup of coffee.)

So ladies, let us serve Him with gladness and pour out His love wherever we go.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Time for the 2nd SSMT verse, mine is Romans 12:10 from the NET: Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another

Many churches preach love and grace and not much else. Yes we live in grace and yes we are to love, but many times I hear Christians say the only thing they hear about love at church is from a few key verses which led to me search for verses containing the word love which led to my choosing Romans 12:9 for my first verse and 12:10 for my second.

Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another.

I think as Christians we are most certainly to love all people, but we need to know how God wants us to love. We must not love conditionally, we must not love evil, we must cling to good, we must be devoted to one another and honor one another without seeking something for ourselves. We need to seek what God says about love for ourselves and not wait to hear what our pastor/priest/minister/Bible study teacher might have to say about it.

Ladies pursue God and real love because love is the greatest.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rear View Mirror

I cannot believe Epiphany has come and gone, before you know it Bluebonnets will be in bloom! I am reading through the Bible in 90 Days (instead of a year) which means I am not bogged down in Leviticus because I read 14 chapters of it today and should finish it tomorrow. It is almost time for the second SSMT verse. Seriously, the holidays are so far back in the rear view mirror, all that remains are a few flecks of glitter on the floor which to date have shown great resistance to the mop and broom. Must be a signal to hire a maid...

The weather has caused me to be indoors a great deal over the last 2 weeks, as a result I feel a great need to pare down our belongings. We have too much stuff or as my English godson says - Surplus to Requirement.

Time to:

Sort through seasonal decorations - keep what I used this year, save the rest for a garage sale.
Donate books to the library and or Good Will.
Donate clothes that are too large.
Organize cabinets (Ugh)
Improve my knitting skills.
Cross books off my reading list.

I want to remain focused on the Lord and His plans for me as well as spend time with friends and family. Life has come with many thrills, chills, and spills just as it has for everyone. As we deal with sickness, disease, and loss - We must stay focused on the Lord. As terrible news is reported from around the world - We must stay focused on the Lord. Ladies, don't get stuck in the little things - Keep your eyes on Him!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me—and I in him—bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing."

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

How is it January 1, 2015? Seems like I just celebrated July 4th, 2014.

I don't make resolutions, but I do set a few goals:

Spend more time in person with family and friends. In January 2013, Kathleen and I said we were going to get together more often. She departed this world in December of 2013. We saw each other at Bible Study that year but never found the time to meet for lunch or dinner and just catch up with one another.

Run another 5K or 8K with my girlfriends.

Be diligent exercising the entire year instead of fizzling when the heat arrives in southeast Texas which could be in March, April, or May. (It will remain through October or so.)

Get back outside and garden again, I've always loved it, but in 2013 I let grief intrude in my life and the result was ignoring something I loved.

Diligently take the vitamins prescribed by the doctor and not let a day or 2 or 3 slide by without taking them.

Find a senior citizen pas de deux class. (OK maybe not, ballet can still be a part of my life, but I am not so sure about overhead lifts.) Though I do hope to see my former ballet partner and have some fun in the ballet studio once more.

Be devoted to prayer and serving in the Kingdom.

Memorize at least 24 Bible verses with Beth Moore and the SSMT. I always do well at memorizing from January to May or June, have 12-20 verses under my belt and then I simply stop memorizing more.

Live a more Christ like life each day of the year.

I hope 2015 is filled with the things which really count in each of your lives: faith, hope, love, peace, and joy. Happy New Year ladies! To 2015 and the blessings to come.