Sunday School 4/12/2020

Mrs. Joyce Hicks

April 12

Thought I would start off with a funny story.

The Reverend Billy Graham told a story about a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. He wanted to mail a letter first so he asked a young boy where the post office was. After the boy had told him, Dr. Graham thanked him and said, “If you’ll come to the Church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to Heaven.” “I don’t think I’ll be there,” the boy said. “You don’t even know your way to the post office.”

Luke 15:1-10

  • Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
  • And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
  • And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
  • What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
  • And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
  • And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
  • I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
  • Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
  • And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
  • Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

God loves each of us like there was only one of us!

One little lost lamb!

Lost and Found!

God’s Relentless Love!

I once was lost but now I am found!

God Pursues!

Search and Rescue!

Joy, Joy, unspeakable Joy!

As I was sitting here reading the scripture, all the above sermon titles, sayings, song lyrics, came into my mind.  

God loves each of us like there was only one of us!  That is so hard for me to fathomYet I know it is trueI am so thankful that “He loves us, O how He loves us”! There is no way to describe this love.  We love our spouse, we love our children, we love our grandchildren, we love our family (most of them – some of them we have a hard time liking but we do love them!).  But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  (this is one of our VBS verses this year – look on our facebook page, there is a song to help you memorize it).

One Little Lost Lamb!  In reading the scripture it says that the Shepherd leaves the 99 sheep and goes to look for the one little lost lamb.  I remember studying the 23rd psalm years ago.  In that study it painted a picture of a lamb that was constantly wandering away (like us) from the flock and the Shepherd would have to go out looking for him.  The story goes, that the Shepherd finally took the little lamb in his arms and as gently (if it is possible to do this gently) as he could, broke his leg.  He then carefully wrapped the leg.  He then would carry the lamb until he was able to walk again on his own. The little lamb would not be wandering away anytime soon and hopefully learned his lesson.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not wantHe maketh me to lie down in green pastures.   Sometimes the Lord has to “break our leg” (so to speak) so that we will stop wandering away from Him.  Hmmm, this “social distancing” and “stay at home” stuff could be his way of reminding us we need to lie down in green pastures, safe in His Arms for awhile.  Now I’m not saying that the Lord caused this stuff, but I know he can use it to bring back some of the “little lost lambs” to Him.  Bro. Charlie shared a post on facebook that said “So, Corona has us homeschooling, praying, spending time with the family, praying for others, and being sober minded.  Sounds like God is in control.  This isn’t a plague, it is an awakening.”

Here I am, here I am!  I’m the one the Shepherd left the fold and found.  There were ninety and nine, but He left the fold to find, One little lost lamb, and here I am.

Lost and Found!  Ever lose something.  You search “high and low”, in “every nook and cranny”, “inside and out”, “upstairs and downstairs” (for those of you who have upstairs!), “everywhere I know to look”.  And then you find it!  Hallelujah!  You put it on facebook, you do your happy dance or whatever you do when you are excited about something.   Our scripture says “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” and “joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over the ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance”.

During Monday night prayer last week, “one little lost lamb” was found.  Robbie Walker is now in the fold.  The angels were rejoicing.  Were you?  I’m afraid we just casually say “Praise the Lord”, but we should be rejoicing! Doing our happy dance!  Another soul has been saved!  (this was an ouch for me).  God really hammered me as I was typing this.

God’s relentless love! 

Relentless.  : showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace : unrelenting

Synonyms:  determined, unflinching, unrelenting, unyielding

So thankful for this.  Where would we be without it?

I once was lost but now I’m found!  I hope this describes you.  We need to be vigilant in our prayers in this crazy time that we are living in.  There is so much at stake.  We need to take every opportunity to make sure our family and friends know what it is to be found!  If this doesn’t describe you, then please do something about it before it is too late.  (I am available to talk and pray with you – just call).

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see!

God Pursues!

Synonyms for pursue:  Bird-dog, chase, follow, hound, run, shadow, tag, tail, trace, track, trail.

Just as the Shepherd in our scripture “goes after” the one which is lost, God pursues us.  Ever feel like every sermon the preacher preaches is directed solely at you?  You think, how did he know that?  Has he been following me around?  No, he hasn’t but God has!  He is on a Search and Rescue mission.   As the song goes, “There’s no shadow You won’t light up, Mountain You won’t climb up, Coming after me.  There’s no wall You won’t kick down, Lie You won’t tear down, Coming after me.”

Joy, Joy, Unspeakable Joy!

Joy, joy, unspeakable joy, Hope like never before, You came for us, You are our freedom.

Our scripture talks about the Joy in heaven and it also talks about the rejoicing of the Shepherd when he found the one lost sheep and the woman saying “rejoice with me”. 

Even in these trying times, we can have the Joy of the Lord. 

Nehemiah 8:10  The Joy of the Lord is our Strength

Romans 12:12   Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Joy is a deep and enduring state of our soul that no circumstance, event, or human can steal away from us.  It’s delighting in God and choosing to rejoice in all things.  Because our circumstances don’t rule us, our mood swings are nonexistent.  This doesn’t mean we are always in a “good mood” but we can remain in an unexplainable place of contentment.  Joyful people don’t allow misery, sorrow, sadness, or despair to rule their thoughts or actions. (from Fruit of the Spirit devotional).

MacArthur says this….God’s joy is the source of believers joy; it is a component of the kingdom of God dispensed by the Holy Spirit to the redeemed.  While Christians are blessed with a rich measure of joy in this life, the full joy of eternal perfection awaits them in heaven when as faithful slaves they “enter into the joy of their master”.  Believers’ highest joy in this life does not come from the trivial, insignificant, temporal things of this world, but in the spiritual life and fellowship of lost sinners found, restored, and united in Christ’s true church.  Believers’ joy, as God’s joy, is the result of the greatness and glory of God’s saving work.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

(I can hear Hannah Poole singing this…such a beautiful voice and such a beautiful song – miss them!)

This song really says it! 

Ok.  So, back to the scripture. 

In today’s scripture Jesus was accused of receiving sinners and eating with them. The rest of Chapter 15 is Jesus’ response to this accusation.  The Pharisees and Scribes just didn’t get the fact that God loves EVERYONE and wants EVERYONE to be saved. I’m sure the parables about a Shepherd (on the lower end of society) and a Women (Oh my goodness, not a woman!) were not what they were wanting to hear.

MacArthur says:  The Scribes and Pharisees did not find joy in Jesus’ mission of saving sinners.  They claimed to know God, but in truth were ignorant of the heart of God toward the lost.  They were just another generation like those whom Isaiah described as hypocrites who “draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me.” (Isa. 29:13).   

“Joy” in seeing sinners being saved.  

Are we really “joyful” when a sinner comes to Jesus?  Oh sure, we say the proper things but are we really “joyful” or are we thinking in our hearts something different?  “I hope he’s serious”…”I hope this lasts”…”I hope she understands what she is doing”….Does our hearts feel differently depending on who it is? OUCH!  I am more like the Scribes and Pharisees than I want to admit.   Please forgive me Lord!  Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O, Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Vs 7 says I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth…

Vs 10 says Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We all are a “WHOSOEVER” no matter WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY.  Jesus makes the difference!

Joy, Joy, Unspeakable Joy! 

Let’s share the Joy.

Remember, God loves each of us like there was only one of us! We were once one little lost lamb, lost and then found because of God’s Relentless Love.  God pursued me, sent out a search and rescue, and now I can have Joy, Joy, Unspeakable Joy.  Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God!

P.S.  As I am writing this, it is more than a week until you will read it, in fact, it will be Easter Morning.  I know that this will be a different Easter than usual.  No “breakfast on the ground” at church after the Sunrise Service (which will be a “drive in”). No Easter Play at church on Sunday morning (I’m hoping this will still happen at a later date – who says you can’t have an Easter Play any Sunday of the year?  Every Sunday should be Easter!  No gathering with family to eat, visit and hunt eggs. Of course, I’m sure parents will get creative with their egg hunting this year.  But maybe, just maybe, this will be a special Easter to remember.  The year that we really took the time to discover what Easter really means. (No excuses this year, you can’t go anywhere). My prayer for you this Easter morning is that you will read God’s Word, Meditate on it, Pray, and discover the Victorious Story of Jesus and how He died for each one of us like we were the only one.  But, the Story doesn’t end there.  Up From the Grave he AROSE!  Hallelujah, Christ AROSE!  

Sunday School 4/5/2020

April 5, 2020

As we are still “social distancing”….Good Morning (or whenever you are reading this).  Sure hope this stuff ends soon.  I would much rather be in our classroom with all of you. I feel we are doing the right thing by not meeting, but I do miss the interaction, discussion, and laughter with you.  I really appreciate your input so much more now!  As I was telling Bro. Charlie, I have a NEW appreciation for him putting his notes on line for us each week!  Thank you Bro. Charlie and those who help him with this! 

On with the lesson…

So, Jesus leaves the Pharisee’s house and continues on his way to Jerusalem.  Scripture says great multitudes were with him. 

Luke 14: 25-35

  • And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
  • If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
  • And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
  • For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
  • Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it all that behold it begin to mock him,
  • Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
  • Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
  • Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
  • So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
  • Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
  • It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

There is more to following Jesus than just accepting an invitation.  Discipleship costs.  It is not for “sissies” as we have heard many times.

Verse 25-26 says as he was walking along with the multitudes following him, all of a sudden he stops, and turns to them and says:  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Wow, that would be enough right there to make you say, no thanks Jesus, I love you but…..

If you have been involved with the “Not A Fan” lifegroup that Robert has been teaching on Sunday nights, you already know quite a bit about what it takes to truly be a follower and not a fan.  Really enjoying this class, hope we can get back to it soon even though it has been an “ouch” book. 

Hate is a pretty strong word.  Dictionary says:  feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone).  Hard to imagine that Jesus wants us to dislike our family.  Scripture says we are to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), husbands are to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25), wives are to love their husbands (Titus 2:4) and parents love their children (Titus 2:4). John 13:34-35 says:  A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  (vs 35 is one of Mrs. Judy Ann’s favorite verses). 

So, how do you hate your family and love them at the same time? 

John MacArthur’s commentary gives this explanation…Anyone who comes to Jesus for salvation must prefer God over his family…To hate one’s family is to prefer God over them by disregarding what they desire if that conflicts with what God requires; it is to love God more and them less. 

David Guzik says:  Jesus used the word hate to show how great the difference must be between our allegiance to Jesus and our allegiance to everyone and everything else. 

The greatest danger of idolatry comes not from what is bad, but from what is good – such as love in family relationships. The greatest threat to the best often comes from second best.

Wow, did you read that last line from David Guzik…The greatest threat to the best often comes from the second best. 

We have to also take into consideration what it meant to the crowds that Jesus was literally talking to.  Following Jesus (being his disciple) would more than likely mean that their family would disown them!  So, Jesus was trying to tell them, hey, this is not an easy road that you will be taking.  Consider the cost.  (more on this later).

And then, Jesus says…and his own life also.   What does he mean, hate your own life also?   Die, flesh, Die (to quote Lynette).  We have to daily die to our flesh and allow Jesus to have full control.  I don’t think we do a very good job of this (or is it just me?)  We must allow Christ to be first in our life, not the top priority on our list of top 10 priorities, He should be the only priority.  Once again, Jesus is making sure that the people know that this is not going to be a bed of roses, no peaches and cream, no cherry on top, no cream in their twinkie (Bro. Charlie), not an easy road.  Remember a few weeks ago we talked about the narrow road.  Unfortunately, at this point, a lot of the multitude probably said, hey, this is not what we signed up for, see ya.

MacArthur says…The call to salvation is a call to self-denial; it marks the end of sinners being the reigning authorities in their lives and calls for them instead to submit as slaves to Jesus’ authority as Lord, King, and Master.  That selflessness extends to the point of death, as Jesus’ next statement, Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple, makes clear.  The heavenly treasure is so valuable (Matt 13:44) the pearl of salvation so precious (vs 46), that true disciples are willing to give up their lives, if God so wills, to gain eternal life.  Jesus calls for complete self-abandonment.

David Guzik says…. Bear his cross and come after Me: Here Jesus said to the great multitudes something very similar to what He said privately to all His disciples in Luke 9:23 – that being a follower of Jesus is something like bearing a cross.

This probably horrified His listeners.  As Jesus spoke these words, everybody knew what He meant. In the Roman world, before a man died on a cross, he had to carry his cross (or at least the horizontal beam of the cross) to the place of execution. When the Romans crucified a criminal, they didn’t just hang them on a cross. They first hung a cross on him.  Carrying a cross always led to death on a cross. No one carried a cross for fun. The first hearers of Jesus didn’t need an explanation of the cross; they knew it was an unrelenting instrument of torture, death, and humiliation. If someone took up his cross, he never came back. It was a one-way journey.

Sure hope you were able to watch/listen to Bro. Charlie’s message this past Sunday morning.  His visual of carrying a cross (during the invitation) really brought it home.  I would encourage you to go back and watch (or rewatch) at least that portion of the sermon.  “In order to live, we must die” – daily.

Jesus goes on to give a couple of examples of counting the cost – Building and Battles. They both cost more than you ever imagined.   Ever start a building project and your cost exceeds much more than you had originally planned (usually the case!!).  Battles always costs more than planned (lives included).

Jesus was making sure the disciples and multitude of people with him, knew what they were getting into and were prepared to go all the way.  No going half-way and then quitting.  No saying….I didn’t know it involved this!  I’ll have to rethink this.   We must carefully consider the commitment level that it takes to follow Jesus.  Too many people don’t mind signing their name to a commitment card as long as they don’t really have to be committed!  We are so good at starting something and not finishing it… we are like those represented by the rocky and thorny soils in the parable of the sower (Matt 13:20-22). 

Chuck Smith says…Now, you count the cost. Unless you are willing to forsake everything you can’t be My disciple. Unless you are willing to take up your cross, you can’t be My disciple. Unless you love Me supremely, you cannot be My disciple. The terms of discipleship are harsh. They are severe. And it is wrong when people tell you just accept Jesus and you are not going to have any more problems. Listen, many times when you accept Jesus your problems are just beginning. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy. The Lord doesn’t say it is going to be easy. He said it is going to be tough and you better sit down first and count the cost. You better not get started in it if you can’t finish it, or are not willing to finish it. You need to make an accounting here and determine whether or not you are really willing to pay the price to go all the way through, because unless you are willing to forsake everything, really, you can’t be My disciple. These are heavy, hard words.

John Stott writes……The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers – the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish.  For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so.  The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called ‘nominal Christianity’.  In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity.  They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable.  Their religion is a great, soft cushion.  It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience.  No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.

Verse 33 says, Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 

Forsake all that he has – Greek phrase had the idea “to say goodbye to”.

So, does this mean I have to sell everything I have and live in poverty if I am to be a disciple of Jesus.  Probably not, but who knows.  Your willingness to do so says it all.  It says who your priority is.  As Bro. Charlie has said many times, your checking account says a lot about you.  Now, don’t go saying that I said you have to sell everything in order to be a disciple.  That is certainly not the case, but you better be willing to if Jesus were to ask you to.  You can’t take it with you.  All that we have is His anyway. We are stewards of everything and owners of nothing (MacArthur).  If your money, or “things” are more important to you than being a follower of Jesus, then, Houston, we have a problem.  You may be a fan instead of a follower.

The lesson is plain.  Jesus does not want followers who rush into discipleship without thinking of what is involved.  And He is clear about the price.  The man who comes to Him must renounce all that he has…These words condemn all half-heartedness.  Jesus is not of course, discouraging discipleship.  He is warning against an ill-considered, faint-hearted attachment in order that men may know the real thing.  He wants men to count the cost and reckon all lost for His sake so that they can enter the exhilaration of full-blooded discipleship. (The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries).

I think that when we are witnessing to people, so many times we make the mistake of not warning them of the costs of discipleship. Salvation is free. But it costs to be a follower.  We are so anxious to get them to commit that we mistakenly mislead them into thinking that their life would be so much easier with Jesus in it. (it actually is easier with Jesus, just not the way they thought it would be).  And then when they do accept Him, immediately they begin to be tested and so many times, they say, no one told me this would happen.  And off they go – off into the wild blue yonder or wherever it is that people disappear to when things get a little rough.   Commitment, it hurts to see such a lack of this vital component of Discipleship.  I can’t imagine how it feels to the LORD.

Verse 34-35

Salt is only useful when it has the nature of salt.  A Christian is only useful when he or she has the nature of Christ. (David Guzik). 

He who has ears to hear, let him hear…

  • Listen up
  • Pay attention
  • Embrace the message
  • Listen to me
  • This is important

Sunday School 3/29/2020

Luke 14:15-24

Who would have thought that we would be having Sunday School online.  I’m not sure how this all works (Holly is taking care of the logistics) but am hoping that we will be able to have a little discussion on the lesson. I count heavily on class discussion!  I will try my best to give credit to the different commentaries that I use in our lessons.  It’s one thing to lead a class discussion, but having to put it all in writing…..OH MY GOODNESS!  Please pray!!!  I usually scribble and draw and cut and paste so this is going to be….not sure of the words.  Also, please do not pay attention to my grammar or punctuation. I usually use my hands a lot in class…oh my, getting nervous just thinking about it!  Okay, here we go…

Last week we were in Luke 14:1-14 and we concentrated mostly on verse 11…For whosoever exalted himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  Spurgeon said “Humility is the proper estimate of oneself”.

Ouch!  Need to ponder on that for a while. Praise God that his mercies are new every morning! 

This week we continue on with Jesus, still at the home of a chief Pharisee’s, eating dinner. (by the way, I don’t think the Pharisees were enjoying the company too much!)

Luke 14:15

And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

 The Lord’s reference to the resurrection of the righteous as a banquet was not lost on the guests, who thought of that great future heavenly gathering.  That connection prompted one of those who were reclining at the table with Him to say in response, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”  This was a beatitude; a toast directed at himself and his fellow Pharisees, affirming that they will be among the blessed at the heavenly banquet in the kingdom of God…..Not only did they fully expect to be at that heavenly feast, but also to be in the seats of honor. (MacArthur).

We talked about those seats of honor in last week’s class. I am sitting here trying to visualize the man’s face as he made this toast.  I don’t think he really got the part about the humility that Jesus was just teaching about!  I’m thinking he was pretty smug with his toast.  I’m afraid that many of us look and sound just like him some days!

Luke 14:16-17

Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

So, Jesus begins another story to try to drive his point home.  In most of the commentaries that I have read, it is my understanding that when a banquet (feast, supper, wedding, etc) was planned and you were invited, you were not given the exact time and possibly not even the exact date of the event.  But you RSVP’d anyway saying you would come, Cause who would turn down an invitation to such a big event!  Anyway, when all the preparations and the food was ready, a second invitation came saying….Come; for all things are now ready.  (hmmm this sounds familiar – I wonder where I have read this before). And of course, usually everyone would come.

John 14:18-20

And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

And so the excuses begin. 

Gonna camp here for a minute.  Anyone good at making excuses? 

Working at the school for 30 years, I could probably write a book on excuses (from students, parents and teachers!).  Anyway, we are all pretty good at excuses.   I asked Google for some quotes on excuses.  Here are a few

  1.  Excuses will always be there for you, opportunity won’t.
  2. In back of an excuse is a lack of desire (Morgan)
  3. He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else (Ben Franklin)
  4. Never make excuses.  Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them (John Wooden)
  5. To rush into explanations is always a sign of weakness (Agatha Christie)
  6. If it is important to you, you will find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse (Daniel Decker)
  7. Excuses are lies we tell ourselves so that it doesn’t have to be our fault.
  8. Sorry, I can’t today.  My sister’s friend’s, grandson’s uncle’s fish died.  And yes it was tragic.

Any funny stories of excuses that you have heard? To quote Bro. Charlie…”My hair hurts!”

During this Corona Virus, I read a news article about a man that actually lied that he had tested positive for the virus so he wouldn’t have to go to work.  Wow, what an excuse!  He probably won’t have a job to go back to now.

Back to the story, Can you imagine what the servants were thinking…How are we gonna tell him that no one is coming! 

Luke 14:21

So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

Ever have a dinner or party or some kind of event and hardly no one shows up?  You’ve planned for weeks for this special event, put in lots of hours prepping and cooking and cleaning….only then the excuses begin coming in….We can all probably relate to the Master of the House becoming angry!  Especially if the event we planned was for one of our children and no one showed!  (actually, this story is about the Master’s only Son and how the Jews rejected Him! – I will let John MacArthur explain this to you later in this lesson.  I am so thankful for the men and women whom God has blessed with the insight and ability to expound on the Word)

Luke 14:22-24

And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Before I turn to John MacArthur to explain all this, I want us to look at the word compel. 

I can’t remember where I read this (maybe David Guzik)…..Jesus said “compel” to indicate God’s great desire to fill His House, and because these wanderers and outcasts needed to be convinced that they were welcome, compelled by love.

In the culture of that day, only the rich and famous (so to speak) were invited to the banquets and such.  And only those that could return the favor of an invitation to their next event. The people that were compelled to come in from the street didn’t have such.  I’m sure it took some convincing that they were actually invited!   Can you image their faces?  Me? You want me to come? I can’t come, I’m not good enough to be at that banquet.  Besides, I can’t pay back the favor…People will look at me strangely… I don’t have anything to wear…I could go on and on with the excuses that were probably given. 

So what does that mean for us today?  Compel.  Are we taking on that challenge to compel people to come into the Kingdom.  Compel by love. Think about it. Yes there will be excuses, our feelings will probably get hurt, but we still need to compel them to come in with love.  This should be an everyday occurrence in our life, compelling, telling others about Jesus and His love.  Are we doing this?  When we hear the words, Come, for all things are now ready! Will we be ready? Will our family be ready? Will our friends be ready? Will our neighbors be ready? Will that person we meet at the grocery store (6 ft distancing please) be ready? 

I’m now going to leave you with John MacArthur’s comments on this section.

John MacArthur says…The head of the household represents God, who issued the invitation; the banquet represents salvation in His eternal kingdom; the pre-invited guests are Israel (and Gentile proselytes); the first invitation was delivered by the Old Testament prophets. The guests initially said yes to God’s invitation; they accepted the Old Testament revelation that they were God’s chosen people and would therefore enter the kingdom (even though they rejected and murdered the prophets (Luke 13:34).

At the dinner hour which Jesus called the “favorable year of the Lord (Luke 4:19), the second invitation was delivered by John (Matt 3:2) and Jesus (Matt 4:17) .  Everything was ready. But like the fictional guests in Jesus’ illustration, those invited refused to attend.  They had no interest in the banquet of God if Jesus Christ was the door to the banquet hall.  They were not interested in Him, or His message.  When He presented the true gospel of salvation, they sought to kill Him (Matt 26:59; Mark 14:1; John 11:53).  And like the guests in the illustration, they offered foolish excuses.  Two of those excuses had involved material possessions, the third a relationship.  Both of those types of excuses have been offered throughout history by those who are more interested in the things of the world than God’s invitation to salvation.  For that reason Jesus warned “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple….So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Luke 14:26,33).

Like the guests in the illustration, Israel said yes to God’s original invitation, and no to the second invitation; they said yes to God’s promises, but no to His Son. Uninterested, indifferent, and self-satisfied, they clung tightly to the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world (Luke 8:14; Matt 13:22; Mark 4:18-19) and missed God’s heavenly banquet.  As a result, God was angry with them and abandoned them to judgment, leaving their house to them desolate (Luke 13:35).  Spiritual judgment comes on all unbelievers at death.  Physical judgment fell on that generation in AD 70 when the Romans massacred tens of thousands of Jews and destroyed the temple.  Judgement continues to fall on all who reject God’s invitation to salvation in Jesus and thus dishonor His Son.  In John 3:36 John the Baptist warned, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him”. 

Instead of experiencing God as gracious host, those who reject His invitation to the heavenly banquet will one day face Him as sovereign judge and forever be shut out of His heaven (Rev. 20:10-15).

But the spiritually bankrupt, destitute, and humble, symbolized by the town (the believing Jewish remnant) and highway (believing Gentiles) dwellers, will be included in the banquet.  These are repentant sinners, who acknowledge that they have the attitude of the publican, who “was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13).  They are so acutely aware of their unworthiness that the gospel messengers will have to compel them to come; that is persuade strongly, urge, and constrain them to respond to God’s invitation to salvation.

Everyone who refuses God’s invitation to salvation will be excluded from the kingdom.,  Like the foolish virgins, they will be left outside in the dark when night falls on the day of opportunity and the door to the kingdom is shut. (Matt 25:1-12)

Why am I?

A few weeks ago we started the “Not a Fan” book by Kyle Idleman for our Life Group class on Sunday nights. Usually we have a Life Group at 5 pm and then an evening service at 6 pm. Well as usual, during the winter and every few years, church attendance drops on Sunday nights. So we decided to try something different this time around and combined the two services. Also my father-n-law, a.k.a. the pastor, had surgery recently. You see how this worked right?
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The book is good. It hits on some hard questions. Questions we as complacent North American Christians don’t want to think about and probably haven’t even considered until digging into this book. The main question or theme is, “Are you a fan or a follower of Jesus Christ?” Throughout, the book helps you understand the difference and to determine where you are in your walk. I’ll admit I have my fan moments and days, then conviction sets in and I remember and am reminded why I’m a follower. Those truths that have rooted me in my faith of who Jesus is to me are what makes me a follower. They are unique to each person, because each person is different. There stories are unique unto themselves.

I love at the end of each chapter there are personal stories titled “not a fan”. They are from people who are followers of Christ, telling why they became that way and still are. Last night we finished up Chapter 4 and our class leader, who also loves these stories, ended with a question, “Why are you a follower? If you were asked to write one of these, what would it say, just a thought.”

So, why am I a follower?

The minute he asked that my immediate answer, in my mind of course, was “Because He has never left me!” As loud as the day is long. He has never left me! The little girl inside me, 6 years old, freckle faced and brown hair stood up and yelled at the top of her lungs, “He has never left me, everyone leaves me, they all leave, even if they said they loved me and would never leave, it doesn’t matter they did anyway. They walked out the door and left, they died, they ran away, they didn’t want me, they didn’t care and they left! He has never left me! He doesn’t care if I say the wrong thing or break something or if I cry too much. He doesn’t care if I don’t love him the most all the time. He doesn’t care if I don’t put him first all the time, He doesn’t even care if I scream and yell at Him because the people who left me have broken my heart, He has still never left me!” Yeah that little girl right there is why I am a follower.

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So many people throughout my life have left. When I say left, I feel like I need to clarify. I mean walked out of my life, in some form or fashion, whether it was physical, mental or emotional (yes you can be in the same room with a child and still that child can feel alone), having nothing to do with me as a child and then later on as a teen. My life as an adult, I have made some decisions, too, of my own to leave people I love due to their life choices and the negative effects it had on me and my immediate family.  Even those closest to my heart, dearest to my heart, had their own personal selfish desires and would not or could not put me first, and in the end they left me.

My Papa passed away 6 years ago, he could not stay with me, he to had to leave. Yes I will see him again, but it still hurts and that pain of being left is strong with this one. Even now in our church, since I have been a member for a good 10 years, I find it hard to become attached to new members. I feel horrible sometimes because I don’t want to come off as cold, and I do pray that God heals my heart. People these days, who claim to be Christians and followers of Christ have no problem doing what I call “church hopping”. Which is going from one church to another because they don’t agree or they got their feelings hurt or they didn’t like the music, what was preached cause it felt like it was directed at them. Yeah that is a heart problem not a church problem. This means you have a problem loving other people and you really don’t understand the Word of God. I can’t get close to these people, they will leave. Sorry, soap box rant over now. Back on subject

Jesus has never left me. He has never left that little girl. Even though there are times when He is not first in my life, and times when, yes I totally forget about Him because I am so caught up in the world, yet He is still with me. Those moments of shear agony when my heart renders a cry of pain that no words can describe and no one is around to hear, He hears me. He holds me and He comforts me. He always has. So when I look back on my life and even forward because it will happen when my children leave for college and get married, though that will be a happier time of leaving, He will still be with me. More loved ones will pass away and friends will leave for their on personal reasons and selfish desires because, well other peoples’ worlds don’t revolve around me, (I do understand that, I am not that selfish) He will still be with me, even in death and new life. That is the best part, right there. I hope you caught that.

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(Something I will miss! Legos, Yes Legos! This is Baby Dinosaur who was found during a shake down before entering daycare one morning! He was confiscated from Jedi Skywalker’s pockets and jailed in Mommy’s purse until bail could be posted after school.)

I can’t express to you how much it means to that little freckle faced, brown haired girl, with tear filled eyes, staring at a door, out a window or sitting on her bed alone and knowing that He has never left her and He never will!

My name is Holly Walker, and I am not a fan.

I encourage you to grab a copy of this book. It will make you think about things you might not have considered before. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you have a great day. May His Son shine on you and yours!

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand

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You’re thankful for who?!

Most people when you ask them what they are thankful for they will say, “I am thankful for my family!” Little children will name off a list of toys and toss mommy and daddy in there. Most Christians will start off with being thankful for the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the list goes on from there.

November will be here before we know it and Facebook will be loaded with the “what I am thankful for” ever day for a month, from who knows how many people. Almost everyone one who does this names the wonderful blessings in their lives, the people they love and who love them back, the vacation they got to take this year or the one coming up. You get the gist. It’s always positive stuff. No one ever says I’m thankful because my husband had to go to the hospital this year, or my sister got shot this year, or that I have a humongous wart on the bottom of my foot that makes me limp. Nope, not gonna hear that from people. At least not social media people.

I refer back to Sunday School a lot these days. This is where it really starts! The building blocks, or Legos of a Christians understanding of the Bible. But you can’t just go to Sunday School and expect to gain expert knowledge of Scripture. You have to do some studying of you own, and pray for understanding. Lately though in Sunday School we have been in Luke, we have made it to Chapter 9. In a week or so we’ll get to Chapter 10. Jesus is going to start his journey to Jerusalem. So I decided to stop, go back and do a recap.

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Listening this morning about when Jesus called the twelve, all the names were read, the last of course being “Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.” (Luke 6:16) Then my brain, lovely creature that it is, had multiple thoughts at one time. Which I am sharing with you now.

Jesus chose Judas, I believe knowing what he would do. Jesus knew why He(Jesus) was here, He came here for a purpose. He knew who Judas was in his(Judas’) heart, all the time. He still chose him to be apart of his ministry, to be in charge of the money, to be close by his side.

Yet when we as Christians read about Judas we sit back and think how could he, why did he? If we were that close we might have done what Peter did but we would never have done what Judas did!! We think so low of Judas, not realize where we would be with out his part in all of this.

I’m sure if he had not done what he had done someone else would, but that is speculation and we aren’t going there. My point in all of this is, yes I am truly thankful for My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and everything he has done for me, and continues to do for me, on a daily basis, but have I ever thought to be thankful for Judas.

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I spoke earlier about a husband in the hospital, a sister being shot and a wart on a foot. These are all bad things that have happened to myself or someone I know. I have watch though as Jesus has taken the messes we have gotten ourselves into picked us up, brushed us off and not only were we and our family better off after the fact but our relationships are growing in a better direction.

It is hard to see the big picture when we can only see straight ahead. Good thing Jesus is in heaven and can see the whole thing. It is awesome for us to be thankful for the things in our lives. But when it all starts hitting the fan and splattering on the walls, remember that the clean up crew is going to be thankful, because that’s job security for them. When the garbage is piled up and you’ve taken it out, the trash pick up guys are thankful as well.

Our perspective on things and how we think about them needs to change I believe. November is approaching fast, so when those thankful list start popping up take time to truly be thankful for the things that made a difference in you life this year, not just the things that made you happy. Be thankful for the those people that you might not like and who test your patience on a daily basis, because they have made you a better person.

Thank you for reading, may His Son shine on you and yours.

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Returning Home

Been reading a devotion taken from Kyle Idleman’s book AHA (Awakening, Honesty, Action). Today was the last day of it. It talked about the prodigal son throughout and how he went through those stage. How all three were required. A three ingredient recipe in which if one ingredient is left out, the whole thing is a bust.

This last devo brought out something completely different. It talked about the good son. It said that the bad son was lost in his badness or something like that, but the good son was lost in his goodness. He was doing everything right. All the right actions, working in his father’s field and house, but he had no awakening or action towards his father’s love. Yet he was there in His house the whole time “working”.

I was recently called a “Miss High and Mighty”. I took offense to this. I still take offense to this. I don’t like being put on a pedestal. It’s kind of like a turtle on a fence post, you know a person put it there and it doesn’t belong and it will fall off eventually! The reason being, it’s not what God intended for it.

Turtles are slow creatures, slow to speak, slow to act, slow to react. As much as I try to be like the turtle I’m not there yet. As Mandisa says, “He’s still working on me!”

Turtles are low to the ground creatures. That being said, I consider myself a servant. I’m not the best servant and I can get a little dictatorship sometimes with my directions, Jesus will then spiritually pop me in the mouth and I return to my turtle mentality. Thats how it is suppose to be. That’s how I like it. I am a behind the scenes person. I’m a director not an actor. So I guess sometimes I do get the older brother syndrome, I’ll need to reflect on this more.

Back to the son’s, the good son brought me back to myself though. I am in my Father’s house. I get to work and minister for my Father. So am I lost in my goodness? That “Miss High and Might” comment has been nagging at me ever since. Conviction of the heart not a bad thing, so I’ve heard.

The devotion finished by saying they were both prodigals. One who had been in a foreign land and one who had been at home the whole time. Both had lost touch with the Father who loved them dearly and wanted His children back!

Rethinking…a daily challenge

Life is never what we plan. I don’t know about for boys, but for girls we spend a lot of our afternoons daydreaming about what our life is going to be like when we grow up. We imagine what our husbands are going to be like, we plan our wedding, we plan what our children are going to look like, what we’re going to name our children, where we’re going to live, we even design on houses. According to what decade we grew up in our wardrobe can be quite immaculate as well. As most of us who are now adults can attest, none of what we planned came true.

If it did, it’s because we try to do it our way and make it come true the way we wanted it and it ended up going the way of a ruptured duck. Kind of like trying to shove a Buick in a dog house. Something’s going to explode and someone’s going to get hurt. Some of us as kids just knew we would be living by our best friend the rest of our lives, and now they live in state away and we only see them once every decade. For others we knew that they would stay married forever because they were high school sweethearts and they are both now on their second marriage.
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Our problem is we think we have it all figured out. We think we see all the details. We think we know what everyone wants. We think we know where everyone should be. We need to correct our way of thinking. Because we are not in control of anything. It took me a long time to figure this out. If you’ve read anything I’ve posted before you know I went to counseling. It’s called Celebrate Recovery. Something that we learn there is that we are not in control. God is in control. Yes we have self control, but we struggle with that and we need help with it. Addiction for example, and not just in big areas of alcohol and drugs but video games and tablets, small things like that. Addiction is rampant and self-control is almost non-existent where those things are concerned. So even though we have self control, we don’t exercise it and we still need help with it. So in the end God really is in control. We have to rely on him for all of our strength. Once I realized that, and that I myself also could not control and manipulate other people or their lives, things got a lot easier. I realize that God himself had a better plan for all of us. I needed to see Him and see where he was leading us. Not where I was leading, which was off a short cliff. 

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Most people don’t realize that they are relying on the person next to them for their strength, confidence, wisdom, encouragement, discernment and even love when in reality the first place we should go for all of that is God. The strain we put on those close to us for those needs can become a heavy burden at times. When you are expecting things out of your loved ones that only the Creator can provide not many relationships can survive it. You may think it sounds mean and if you do then you need to dive into the word a little more because you haven’t grasped the concept yet, but your spouse can’t provide you with all the love you need, nor any other human. Even a group of people fall short of the amount and right kind of love a person needs. You can’t love the people around you till you have the love of Jesus in you heart.

We are selfish by nature. Born selfish little babies, we have to be taught how to love and respect others. To fully love someone the right way we have to be loved the right way first. We have to know and trust that unconditional, never ending, never failing love.

I’ve had a lot of people that I love and trust in my life leave me. I felt abandoned and alone. I’m not talking as an adult I’m talking as a child, at least it started as a child it kept happening as an adult. It has been less frequent in recent years. Growing up someone was always leaving me for one reason or another. Eventually that pain was just an open wound that never healed. It still breaks open and bleeds and I cry. I found looking back through ever thing that Jesus was there every step of the way protecting me. I see stories now of what some little girls go through and I realize how much worse my life could have been, just how much I was protected from.

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He never left me. He has never left me. He is still with me. Y’all I ain’t perfect! Those who know me personally know, I can tear up an anvil with a rubber mallet. Yet He’s right there to set another anvil in front of me to say “Try again Holly.” Needless to say I’ve been through a few anvils.

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Are you willing to give Him control though? That was the hardest question I had to answer. My biggest fear was that he was going to send me to some Godforsaken country. He didn’t. I married a preacher’s son, who then became the music leader and is now a deacon. Along that path, I got into children’s and women’s ministries. So not quite a foreign country but definitely has the occasional wildling. I love it. Turns out leadership is something I have a knack for. I still get scared at times. While I still do my best to lean on Him for understanding and direction which is not easy with a high dose of ADHD in my system, I make mistakes and people look to me for direction and advice. So if I’m not seeking His Kingdom first, if I’m not in the word, if I am distracted by the everyday hustle and bustle it can go all wrong. I’m still me, and some days I find it hard to believe I’m not that 16 year old snot nose brat driving a beat up mercury around a one red light town with nothing better to do but burn gas in between daylight hours. Yet here I am, and when that thought hits home, I’m amazed every time at how far He has brought me.

It’s not just that but my marriage and family, willingness to turn over those decisions about finances and all the small things. I like being in control, not a very submissive girl here so this was a challenge. I had to realize I can’t see the big picture. Literally. When you get a new book, sometimes there is a map on the inside cover and you can see the whole story there. The characters in the book travel on that map. They can’t see through the forest, they aren’t sure how many leagues it is to the sea. I’ll let you figure out the rest of that analogy.

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Going on what I know from the past and everything Jesus has done for us. The crap shoots He has gotten us out of, that were of our own making, why would I not continue to trust Him in every detail of our lives. It’s not easy I won’t lie. I struggled with it every day. I was created this way, I was created to be a strong leader, I’ve learn that as long as I continue to seek Him first then we can stay on the same page, and I won’t get so distracted by what this world says I should be doing.

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Thank you for reading, may His Son shine on you and bless you and yours!

Promises Kept

The top photo of us in red was taken at his mom’s, around the 4 year mark when we were having issues. Only a few people knew, that I know of. What follows is personal and dear to my heart.

I needed counseling. That was all there was to it. I didn’t know it. I didn’t think I needed it. I honestly wasn’t going for me. To be fair, we needed counseling. After 4 years our marriage had hit not a bump in the road, but chasm. I was willing to go to get him to go because I believed that he was the problem. Not saying that I was the problem. I am saying that we both had issues we though pre-marriage counseling dealt with, apparently did not.

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(Pre-wedding, we were out shopping for tuxedos for our groomsmen.)

So I took the first step and approach our person at church who heads up that department and asked what we had to do to get us, mainly him into counseling. She had herself, another lady and a gentlemen, just recently complete a counseling program that would be perfect for us. You see, to facilitate the program you have to complete it first. That began our first step into a year-long process of Celebrate Recovery.

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www.celebraterecovery.com

 

No I have no idea what he talked about in counseling because the men’s classes are separate from the women and everything is strictly confidential. I can sit here and tell you about my personal issues that I dealt with and put to rest. Honestly because of Celebrate Recovery I can talk about my issues freely now. I can discuss things that happen to me as a child, that haunted me and dogged me, openly without regret. These were things that I had carried with me thinking they were my fault, when in reality I was a child/teen. I had no control over the things happening to me or the adults in my life. Being able to let those things go and put them to rest lifted a weight off my shoulders and allowed me to take on my true task in life. That which was loving my husband without preconceived notions, loving my children without exceptions and serving in my church with out running myself ragged because I was over compensating for all the years as a kid I missed out!

I was fighting with my past daily, using past experience to determine how I went about daily task and took on new challenges. I was not brought up in a Godly home, nor a stable home for that matter. FYI you can be raised in a stable home and it not be Godly. I wasn’t raise in either. So it was mortal chaos and Hell all at the same time. I expected reactions out of my husband and while expecting those reactions, he was reading my emotions and going off into left field because he could not understand why I was acting how I was acting. I had been programmed and brainwashed to expect certain things out of certain people in my life. This just pushed us further and further apart. Celebrate Recovery showed me that the way I was raised did not determine the rest of my life. My upbringing did not determine how I was going to conduct myself within my marriage.

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(Our 9th first date anniversary, he recreated the date, took me to the same Chick-fil-a and movie theater. Thank goodness the same movie wasn’t playing. The first one was so bad we walked out on it and drove home slow. Following that trip though we now ride with the windows up in Gainesville. He was doing he cool country boy thing with his arm hanging out the window and a rogue palm tree attack him on a back street just past the theaters. I didn’t know a person could become so irate at a palm tree.)

I did have some good examples growing up. I did have a few good loving people in my life. As I got older and got to know people this group grew. These are people I have grown on to look up to and respect. Some have passed on now, but I still look back on the time I spent with them and the wisdom they passed to me. I realize now, how valuable it is, just the example they set with their life. People who show/ed me exceptions, that rare jewels are less rare if you pay closer attention to the people around you. The funny thing is these are all older ladies and a few gentlemen. By older I mean older than me by 30-50 years. Some are widowed, some were not at the time I met them first. I got to see them interact with their husbands and families. I still get to see some of them interact. FYI my husband will celebrate 11 years this coming June. These ladies though they don’t hold back when it comes to showing affections or generosity. They don’t waver in their faith through the hard times. They don’t waver in their faithfulness to their husbands, even if their husband has passed away 30+ prior. The men are the same, but in a different way. They are courteous, respectful, honorable everything I want my boys to be when they grow up.

About 6ish years ago my marriage was headed for the toilet. The thing is I made a vow. I don’t make those lightly. My husband made a vow and he is a man of his word, one of the reasons I married him. Our marriage was broken to a point, yes. It was not however unfix-able. We were still breathing, and we both still loved each other very much, we both still wanted to make a life with each other. Frankly we are tougher than most people, or at least that is the way we think of ourselves and our marriage.

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(Doing his superhero thing and having lunch with the boys!)

I think that is the way everyone should think about their marriage. Theirs is the toughest out there. It might get broken, put a cast on it. It might get bruised, there is an oil for that. It might get shattered, put some super glue on it. It might be just falling apart, patch it up with some duck tape till you get to the ER(CR). Eventually though you’ll have it patched up, repainted, polished, the dents buffeted out, maybe not in that order, but looking like something new. You won’t be your old selves. You will be something new. Because you will have whether a storm of catastrophic damage and survived, and you will be stronger for it.

In this case there’s a saying that hold so true it is not even funny. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I think Needtobreathe “Hard Love” is a prefect translation of this sentiment. Follow that up with Casting Crowns “Broken Together”.

My heart goes out to those whose marriages are in jeopardy. It is never easy to confront those you love or battle the baggage from the past that it threatening what matters now. But know that the battle is worth it, because it does matter, and it is so worth it.

Just as a FYI update, we still have our days when we fight and disagree and sometimes we might go a day or two when we are not happy with each other. We eventually work it out. Make up sex is still the best. I love him now more than I ever thought I could. You might not think it to look at him, but to me he is the sexiest man alive. I don’t want, and could not be tempted by anything else.

I hope you each find a love like mine. May His Son shine on you!!

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(Our 11th Proposal anniversary Beauty and the Beast happen to be appearing that weekend. He surprised me with tickets to the movie, the dress you see here, in my size, no I did not try it on before hand, it was on the bed when I got home from town that morning after a few errands, dinner at a really nice restaurant, a hotel in the same town, his parents to babysit, a photo shoot schedule just prior to leaving for the dinner and show. We also had a couple of friends join us. It was a great night! I even had some little girls and some adults that wanted to take a picture with “Belle”. Another FYI, this has been my favorite movie since I was a little girl. It’s not his favorite movie, he’s not really a fan, but because it is mine, he went all out!)

Rough Start

This morning I had a rough start. On holiday to see family. Not on my normal routine. My sugar is wanting to give me a fit. My head is spinning, think I’m ovulating which if you are a female of any kind this comes with a whole bag of side effects. I was hoping to have a regular morning with no issues personally anyway, just hanging out and enjoying family. Instead I end up dealing with myself try to figure out what my mental and physical problems are. Then I realize what I did wrong.

Its 11:30 and I have yet to have a conversation with Jesus. I’m so caught up in getting the boys straightened out and making sure everything is all good and trying to figure out what my problem is, I missed my most important engagement this morning and it has thrown my whole day off.

I’m behind on one of my Christmas devotions so I’m going to share a couple of versus because I honestly was just floundering around. That focus and purpose was missing.

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If you think your quiet time isnt important, your are gravely mistaken. It can change your world. Moments in prayer, refocusing my day, gainig perspective on my weakness, realizing that I’m ok and it’s not the end or worst day ever, yeah makes a big difference in how the rest of my day/holiday will go.

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I have a post I’m working on about how a lot of people seem to think I rely on my husband to keep me going or that I lean on him or that he’s my rock. Well he is my husband, but he isn’t what sustains me through the roughest, toughest, times. I not such a horrible person as to put that responsibility on him. He’s a man’s man by every definition but he is still a human being. My rock and foundation is Jesus, I go there first. I am weak, feeble and frail in my humanity as is every human. The man of the house included, so that weight of holding me up and keeping me together when nothing else can falls on the creator of the universe. If he can hold our existence in balance surely my personal ecosystem is no big. So I leave you with the last verse.

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Cold Days, Warm Memories

As the days grow colder, my heart grows heavy, as the memories are harder to contain. They bust forward in my mind in a flash of light, they consume every space available. The detail depicted is ever so bright. I remember the smile, the laugh. Those calloused hands as they taught me things no one else cared enough to teach me. The love and the patience that was passed to me through those hands, still resides in my heart. The lessons and knowledge I gained at the very large feet of him who knew no end to a day, still teaches me every day. Never raising his voice, never raising his hand to me in anger. Ours ways a relationship like no other and one that I miss everyday. My heart aches as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. With the year coming to a close, my mind cranks out these memories more frequently. The pain and love coming back, opening up old hurts anew. Reminding me of a time when I was the center of someone’s world, or thought I was. Then as the pain fades and I get back to today, remembering where I am and what I am doing. I say thank you to the One who matters,  because my love is safe and I’ll see those hands and that smile again, I can here that laugh again. As it settles, that peace that surpass all understanding quiets my heart, my tears dry, and I go on with my day.

On December 19, 2013 the man who I thought was invincible and would never leave me, passed away. Because of my faith in Jesus and the fact that before my Papa passed away he assured me that he knew Jesus and had accepted Him, I have that faith and belief that I will see him again. I don’t believe myself or my sister would have been able to survive his passing otherwise. I know that for most families December is a time of celebration, and for the most part it is for us. We have that peace. We also have an ache though, as anyone does who has lost a loved one, and for those who have lost loved ones close to Christmas, a time when families should be coming together, the pain can be even greater and harder to bear.

My heart goes out to those who are spending their first holiday season without a treasured loved one. My prayers are for peace and perserverance. May your memories comfort you in the cold and warm your heart for a brighter future.

May His Son shine on you this Christmas and keep you and yours safe and warm!