Me or Us?

Everything can’t always be about what you need or want.

If you are married, sometimes you have to pray and ask God to help you see what is going on in your spouse’s life. How can I be a blessing to them. What do they need from me? How can we be successful and fulfill God’s purpose for our family together.

If you are a single parent, what does your child/children need? Realize your children will only live with you for a short time. If you live to be 70, which is not old at all in today’s advance world of medicine—your child will only be with you 18 of 70 years. Make the most of that time. You will have plenty of time for you. The time you invest in your child will be a blessing.

If you are single with no children. Do you have parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, neighbors or friends who could be blessed by you? Like Paul, where are you suppose to be?

Your life is a gift don’t waste it only thinking about what you want.

What has God purposed for your life?

Jesus came to be a servant.

42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10

Are you willing to push me aside to do what is best for us, or others?

Rise Up

Your mind is the biggest battlefield that Satan will ever attack you on. He will do everything he can to discourage and defeat you through your own thoughts.

Jesus warns us of the tactics of Satan, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10.

Be careful, dear friends who you listen to. Be alert, pay attention to whose voice you believe and listen to:

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. John 10

If you aren’t careful, Satan will convenience you that you are defeated. Rise up in Jesus Name and refuse to accept the lies of Satan.

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and HE WILL DRAW NEAR TO YOU!”

James 4:8 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

RISE UP!

You will never be able to be a blessing as long as you keep accepting Satan’s lies!

Hot O’Clock

 Hot o’clock is already here and it’s just the middle of April! 

Georgia weather is awesome during the Fall, Winter and early Spring, but once mid-April strikes the temperatures start going into the high 70’s and low 80’s. From then on until October, hellish hot temperatures have no mercy on post menopausal women like me

By the time I walk from my back door just a few yards to my mom’s house next door,  I am as sweaty as an overweight professional wrestler after three rounds of wrestling! 

The good Lord knows there ain’t no need in me ever fixing my hair. It will be wilted by the time I get out of my car and click the lock button and start walking away.

I have a fan sitting on the side table next to my recliner in the living room, another one sitting on my desk in my office and a big cycling fan in my kitchen. And of course, I have a fan in my bedroom both in the ceiling and one on the floor aimed right at my spot in the bed! These fans are there year round. It can be 30 degrees out and I will still be hot! Isn’t that just sad. 

Both my mom and my aunt are cold all the time. It can be 100 degrees and they still will need a sweater and a blanket. SOOOOOOOO……I am looking forward to growing older and being colder. I can’t wait till I can complain about how cold it is!

Sally & George

His stiff lower lip and judgmental look of prideful indignation were familiar to her. Sally had seen it enough times to know George would not give an inch.  Once he had summed up his judgement upon someone or something, he was immovable.  He was unfazed by facts or emotions, his opinion was all that mattered. No one was smarter or wiser than him. No one!

Years of living under his controlling ways had not been easy, but it was comfortable to her; it was what she had grown up with-a controlling angry, emotionless mother. She had married her mother. George was like her mother controlling, unloving, hardworking, dependable and harsh. 

How can any young girl make healthy, wise decisions based on a life that has been filled with such twisted reality? She couldn’t and she didn’t. And so began the twisted tale of her life.

Keep reading to find out how God moves in this situation.

Questions

You and I all have the right to question why or how anything is being done.

You have the right to ask your doctor why he is ordering an MRI.

You have the right to ask your dentist why you need a root canal!

You have the right to ask your child why he needs $150 dollars for one pair of shoes.

You have the right to ask your boss why he keeps dumping his work on you.

You have the right to question your politicians and to hold them accountable.

If anyone feels their actions are beyond question something is wrong.

Always be brave enough to ask why? 

Why are you doing this?

If you don’t understand — ask?

You have that right and NO ONE has the right to make you feel quilty.

Comfort Hug

Two years ago, after attending the 10 a.m. Service at The Jefferson Church —Bobby, Memaw and I went to eat at the Braselton, Cracker Barrel. We were feeling great after a powerful sermon and were sure we would beat the church crowd and just slide right into a table at the Cracker without any hesitation.

WRONG! OH! MY WORD! It was only 11:22 a.m. and the place was covered up like ticks on a Madison County coon dog. Bobby let me and Memaw out to get on the list why he searched for a parking place.

I see the little hostess upfront, tell her we have three in our party and give her our name, “Standridge, yes, Stand – ridge spelled just like it sounds.” She replies back “It’s going to be a 35 to 40 minute wait, we have a party of 19 ahead of you.” Memaw needs to go to the bathroom, Bobby is still circling the parking lot like a police helicopter trying to run down a criminal so I just say – “thank you,” and rushed Memaw to the bathroom.

When we came out of the bathroom, I finally spotted Bobby, but there wasn’t anywhere for us all to stand together. Everywhere I went somebody was touching me, bumping into me. I was having a hard time trying to keep up with Memaw. She’s only 4’11’ and she has shrunk a little at 80 years. I literally couldn’t see her over all the people and merchandise for sale.

Lord, knows my good sermon feelings was done flying right out of me. My anxiety was kicking in. I was so agitated. Bobby asked me a question and I near took his head off with my sharp answer. I began to pray and take deep breaths, “God help me to relax.” I moved back to the baby section of the store and began looking at little boy shoes. I spotted a pair of Choo Choo Train Sneakers. They were so cute! I picked them up and thought’ “these will be perfect for Calum .”

I headed to the check out, got in line and when my turn came I proudly put the shoes on the counter and said “my baby girl is having her first baby and it’s going to be a boy!” The cashier congratulated me as I beamed with motherly pride, then she told me the total of my purchase. I reached in my purse and searched for my wallet.

No wallet! I had no wallet. I suddenly remembered I had left it on the dining room table. NOW PANIC sets in! I have no idea where Bobby and Memaw are I am anxious, but sane enough to realize I can’t beller out Bobby’s name like I do at home over the lawn mowers. The lady behind me says, “Honey, don’t feel bad I did the same thing the other day with a buggy full of groceries.” I ask the cashier could she void the transaction and Bobby would pay for them when he paid for our lunch. She agreed and placed the shoes behind the counter.

I quickly took my high anxiety, embarrassed self to the only place I could find that wasn’t filled with people —the hallway of the bathroom entrances. I stood there and thought to myself “Girl, what did the pastor ask in his sermon this morning? —”Has there been a marked change in your life?” I cried, Lord, help me to trust you. Help me to look to you for peace! Holy Spirit work a miracle in me.”

As I was standing there alone, I see a woman approaching me holding a bag. She hands it to me and says “This is for you. I paid for your shoes.” It was the woman who had been standing behind me in the checkout line. I hugged her as tears flowed from my eyes.

Now, I was dressed in my Sunday best! I did not look like I was financially struggling. I do not believe this woman paid for the shoes out of pity. I have no doubt the Holy Spirit led her to pay for these sweet baby boy shoes to show me how much HE loves and cares for me. He loves and cares for you and me even in the midst of our storm. He will do whatever it takes to speak peace to our hearts. He hears our cries. The last three days had been extremely hard on me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I had spent the last three days seeking God for wisdom and direction but, I also need his comfort. I needed a hug.

I am so thankful for God’s love and his compassion for me. My God is worthy to be praised!.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me. And delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

Nannie’s House

Nannie Jackson always had an apron tied around her waist. The apron was always the one she had made herself with two broad pockets in the front. One pocket always held her handkerchief, the other usually contained safety pins, a few clothes pins and a pocket knife. 

Her work room was the kitchen. I can still picture her rolling out dough and making pies.

I didn’t realize until she had already moved to live with Jesus that some of God’s  greatest ministry work had been done in that small simple country kitchen and home.  

Nannie didn’t hold any positions or titles at the United Methodist church she was a member of. She did not attend or participate in local social fund raisers or charity events.

She didn’t visit the sick in the hospitals or nursing homes. She was a poor widow woman who didn’t own a car, she didn’t even know how to  drive. She lived off of a small social security check that just barely covered her basic needs. She made her own clothes and was smart at being thrifty and resourceful.

Nannie’s only self indulgence was snuff. She dipped snuff. Similar to chewing tobacco, but dustier. I don’t know anyone personally who still does it now, but back in the 40’s it was popular to do! Yikes!

I do not remember her ever cussing, complaining about being poor or talking about how unhappy she was because she didn’t have fancy dresses, shoes or jewelry. What I do remember is how I and my baby brother felt when we were at her home. She always made us and all of our cousins feel loved and cherished beyond measure.  She invested unconditional love and attention in each of us. She cooked us our favorite food with joy and delight and she was never too busy to teach us about loving and sharing.

She always said a blessing over every meal. After lunch was her Bible time everyday, during this time we were to be quiet and listen as she read her Bible study and devotion. No exceptions. When bedtime came it was prayer time. We didn’t pray out loud. Each of us prayed silently, when one of us had finished we would say “Amen” out loud, but remain quiet until everyone had finished with an “Amen.”

Jesus called Simon Peter and his brother Andrew to come be “fishers of men” in Matthew 4:18-22.  Not everyone is called to be a Billy Graham, Beth Moore or Jentzen Franklin. I believe my Nannie’s calling was to be an example of faithfulness to God and a giver of love to those close to her. By doing so, she planted seeds of faith and prayers of protection in the lives of her family. 

Mark Mobley has a quote I love “The most important small group that you will ever be a part of is the one you sit at the dinner table with every night.”

Who gathers around your table? Being “fishers of men” should begin around our table.

Misery Remembers

The quiver at the corner of her lips threatened to betray all she’d hoped to conceal.

Karen quickly turned her face toward the airplane window as Phil Lange passed her seat.  She did not want him to have an opportunity to see her face.

His tall, six foot four stature had not bent, but his once dark black hair was now mostly gray. He made his way two rows behind her. She still recognized the sound of his voice as he asked the female flight attendant “How soon can I get a drink and your phone number, sweetheart?”

Twenty one years had not been enough time to erase the sea of fear within her. Waves of panic began to erode Karen’s confidence. “Breathe, just breathe!” she said to herself. “Keep calm. You aren’t young and easy to intimidate anymore.”

He was 32 years old and she was only 19 when they met while she was working her way through the University of North Carolina.  They both worked at Wilmington Boat Marina, he was a salesman and she a receptionist. His consistent sexual harassment had made going to work miserable for Karen. 

The flight from Baltimore to Atlanta seemed to last for eternity. Phil’s voice bounced off the walls of the plane as he laughed and talked, slapping Karen into a fevered resentment. Finally, they landed in Atlanta.

Karen waited for the passengers in her row to leave, then stood facing the front of the plane until Phil exited. Staying several feet behind she followed him as he headed to baggage claim. 

Phil’s long leg stride made it hard to keep up with him, but as he neared the escalator leading to the transit train Karen began to speed up coming up close behind him. As Phil stepped forward with his right leg on to the down escalator Karen leaned into the knee of his standing left leg as though she had accidentally slipped. Phil’s body, face first plunged down the escalator, his dress jacket hung in the wedge grids. 

Karen was still crumpled down at the top of the escalator.  A young man reached to help her up as security was running to help Phil. She dusted off her pants, stood up and walked toward the elevator to transit. As the elevator doors opened Karen smiled and whispered to herself “who needs ‘Me Too!'”

No Idea

“I don’t want or need anything from you,” Cassie yelled, “You are pathetic to me!”

Beth realized with great heartache, her daughter Cassie had no idea who she really was. The anger and resentment that so easily spewed from her daughters mouth was all the confirmation Beth needed.

Cassie saw Beth as old, weak and out of touch with the real world. Beth feared for Cassie. Her greatest fear was that Cassie would make the same mistakes she had. Love blindly, believe without boundaries and then be abandoned and left to suffer the brutal consequences of her naive and foolish choices.

Beth’s words of warning and advice to Cassie were as futile as trying to drain water out of the pacific ocean one bucket at a time. Cassie had closed her mind and heart. She had decided she never wanted to be anything like her mother. She did not want or need her mother’s advice.

Cassie has no idea that the very things she despises her mother for believing in is what gave her the strength to survive. It doesn’t make Beth weak, but strong. Beth’s faith in God has carried her through more than loss love. It has sustained her through the death of her only sibling, her father, the terror of losing her own child, serious health issues and much, much more. She wishes Cassie could know how much she loves her.

The chapters of Beth’s life were not easy reading. How do you explain living in constant fear. How can your children understand how you really did do better for them? Why does it take so long for us to realize it?

I encourage you today, dear friends, we all face times of discouragement, but we can be confident in the one who promised, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 20:18

In Matthew chapter 3 John the Baptist had baptized Jesus. “As Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.’”

We are now reading in Matthew chapter 11. John the Baptist has been put in prison for rebuking Herod in public for marrying his sister-in-law. As John sits in prison, doubt and discouragement begin to plaque his mind. He begins to wonder if Jesus really is the Messiah.

2 John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, 3 “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting,or should we keep looking for someone else?” Matthew 11 NLT

John must have wondered if Jesus really was the Messiah, then why wasn’t Jesus taking charge and overcoming Herod? Why was he (John) in prison when he could have been out preaching. This was Jesus’ reply back to John:

4 Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— 5 the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” 6 And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.”  Matthew 11 NLT

Jesus answered John’s doubts by quoting prophecies John would have known were being fulfilled by Jesus. Jesus was healing those who were blind, lame, deaf, or had leprosy, raising the dead, and preaching the good news to the poor. With so much evidence, Jesus’ identity as the true Messiah was obvious.

John the Baptist heard the voice of God speak over Jesus Christ as he rose from the waters as he was baptized and yet, Satan was still able to plant the seeds of doubt and discouragement in John’s mind. 

How did Jesus counteract John’s doubt? He brought prophecies (scripture) to his remembrance. When the enemy comes to you and tries to fill your mind with doubt and defeat you need to remember what the Word of God says. Look in the Word of God at all Jesus did and reflect on the changes and work he has already done in your life. Remember who Jesus is. Remember he is the true Messiah, the Son of God, Emmanuel. 

Be encouraged today, dear friend, we all face times of discouragement, but we can be confident in the one who promised, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 20:18