Crucial Questions

On Thursday, while watching the news, I heard a reporter ask a student, “What are your drills like for an emergency?” One of the students answered something to the extent of: They don’t do anything to prepare you for a school shooting like today. After I heard that question and response, I thought I am going to ask my kids the same question when I pick them up. So I did, and they said the teacher turns off the lights and they close the windows and try to go into a corner. I asked, “What if you are not in a classroom? What if the door didn’t get closed in time? What if the teacher is in shock or hurt?” As I continued to flood them with different scenarios, they said, “Well, I don’t know?” I responded, “I don’t know either.” One thing I do know is when you don’t know what to do, ask God. So I urged them if you are ever stuck in one of those situations, I want you to ask, “God, what should I do?”

I think even as adults; we don’t ask that question enough. We stress about things and may ask for God’s help, but we don’t directly ask, “God, what should I do?” For instance, today, I wanted to hurry and go to the next thing in my day, but I heard, “I want to talk with you, but I want to hear you first.” Then I opened up my Bible and read 1 Kings 3:5, where Solomon had a dream that God said to him, “Ask what I should give you.” That’s a specific question, just like “God, what should I do?” Asking these questions brings wisdom because it’s a question that requires more than just a yes or no answer. These types of questions put us in place to receive instruction, and instruction is what we need.

What are you asking God today?

James 1:5 TPTAnd if anyone longs to be wise. Ask God for wisdom, and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures, but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace.

Blood Suckers

Giving is a necessary part of life. In fact, if you are reading this post, you have been given something, you were given life. From the moment you and I were conceived, we were given nourishment, time, and room to grow in our mother’s womb. This conceiving process of giving and eventually laboring occurs every day throughout the world. In fact, you may be very familiar with this fatigue, pain, love, sleepless nights, heartache, joy, cost, sacrificial giving and so much more that comes along with having a child.

I remember when I was pregnant with my firstborn, I would often say, “This kid is sucking my blood! He is taking EVERYTHING from me!” This statement wasn’t always a complaint, but a reckoned truth. I was GIVING my all, my everything, at every moment. There wasn’t a minute in which I wasn’t giving. Even in my sleep, I was providing nourishment for my son to grow and develop.

A  paradoxical analogy that has recently come to me is pastors give this same kind of constant nourishment. Being a pastor is like being pregnant ALL THE TIME! They are fatigued, experience pain, have sleepless nights, anticipate the future with both joy and hesitation, sacrificially give and so much more.  Each congregation is a growing body that continues to develop and receive from their pastor(s).

As I conclude this paradoxical analogy, my plea is simple. Although we are a body, a body of believers, we aren’t stuck in a womb. We are out, and we can give back! This month, October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and since pastors give their ALL, let’s give to them in return. Let’s appreciate our pastor(s)!

If you are in need of some ideas, here are a few:
1) Cash – green goes with everything!

2) Gift Cards – find out a place your pastor likes. Ask them! I know my pastor like Chic-fil-A.

3) Speaking of food who doesn’t like food?!? We all need to eat. Bring a meal or take them out for lunch, coffee, tea, etc.

4) Presents – again ask! If you are in a large congregation and you don’t personally know your pastor call his or her secretary. Maybe your pastor likes movies, archery, books, football, or collects small antique cars. Amazon is always there for you. You don’t have to go out of your way to get a present!

5) A card, phone call, text or thank you in person is a refreshing change from all the other Monday (or any day ending with y) emails regarding some complaint. Seriously pastors get more complaints than thank you’s. Give a thank you!

6) Team up with your home group or entire congregation to give your pastor a much-deserved vacation!

7) Last but not least, pray for your pastor! Prayer could be the greatest gift of all.

Life is a Highway

Often, when I take my dog out, I pray. Today was no different. When I heard my dog bark, my natural routine took place. I got my dog’s leash, and I told him to sit. Once he sat, I gave him a treat.

When I walked out my front door, I thought about texting my husband, but then I remembered how much I’ve been wanting to “stop before texting” I decided to change my plans. I didn’t text my husband. We all know we shouldn’t text and drive, but I’ve been thinking about stopping before I walk, sit, stand, or do anything.

Actually, STOP.

All this to say, I have wanted to question the moment, the necessity before I text and ask myself these questions: Do I need to text him/her at this very instant? May this wait, and I talk to him/her later? Do I even need to say this at all? Could I just stop and pray?

Since the text, I was thinking about sending my husband wasn’t urgent and didn’t matter at all. My next thought was the goal I’ve been trying to reach – Will I stop and pray? Will the moment I grab my phone to text, someone, be a trigger for me to pray for someone?

This idea to stop before texting is kind of a form of fasting because it is saying no to something we do so easily. Without much thought, we grab our phones like we grab food. In fact, I might say it is harder for some to fast their phone, then to fast a meal.

As I put away the idea of texting my husband, I started to pray.

This one person came to mind, and I didn’t know precisely why I was praying for this individual, but I did. I prayed for her, her daughters, and her son.

As for a funny paradox, when God puts someone in my mind I often text the person and say, “I am praying for you.” I hope to encourage the individual as maybe they are having a hard day? Some days I never know. So after I technically stopped. (I put down my phone to pray.) I started again. I texted the individual who I just prayed for. I didn’t say much of anything, but, “Praying for you as I take out my dog.”

Ironically, all of a sudden my dog decides to stop, and sit right next to the black hot pavement.  He didn’t even go pee. I began to laugh, and texted the person again (along with the picture below), “I guess God or my dog wants me to pray longer.”IMG_2841

I needed to stop again. I needed to keep praying.

There are so many times in life where we need to stop. Alternatively, our society has been trained to move fast. It’s even declared in our music, “Life is a highway, I want to ride it….” I’m convinced that life shouldn’t be a highway ALL THE time. That is chaotic.

We need to stop.

We need to stop and pray.

I Want to Sit on my Daddy’s Lap

Today I sat next to a dad who was holding his little girl in church.  She probably was around 6 years old and it made me think how I would like to sit on my Dad’s lap.

Earlier this morning I woke up pondering the difference between seeking and praying.  I feel as though I have been praying a lot, but not truly seeking.  This afternoon I spent a little time looking up scriptures on prayer as well as what it means to seek.  One definition from (http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=seek) caught my eye as it said “go to or towards.”

That is what I want to do when I pray this week.  I don’t want to just say a prayer.  I want to go towards Him.   I want to sit on my Dad’s lap.

No Wonder Why Wheaties is the Breakfast for Champions!

I was driving to the beach with my mom & we saw so many wheat fields. Then as we are passing by my mom quotes Mt 9:37 “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (NIV). I have heard that scripture numerous times, but it never occurred to me until yesterday driving by masses amount of wheat fields that there is a lot of wheat out there! The harvest was and is so plentiful. As I continued to drive, I thought if one piece of wheat represented one life wow- that is a lot of lives. What a BIG harvest! In my mind, the harvest represented millions of people, and as I write this, I am thinking I just drove by. I don’t want to just drive by any more, & pass so many people in life. What I want and wanted to do yesterday, was get out of the car & run & grab the biggest amount of wheat I could carry. I wanted my hands to have a HUGE amount of wheat – more than I could carry & then I wanted to do it all over again.

There is so much harvest & there are few laborers. Let’s be labors. In The Message, it says, “pray for harvest hands!” Mt 9:38. That is what I want – harvest hands! Then in Mt 10, Jesus calls The Disciples, The Twelve Harvest Hands. He gives them this charge:
“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.” Mt 10:5-8

I want to be the hands that are working in the harvest taking piles of wheat to Jesus. I am going to be this! Let’s be this together!

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