Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Beginnings

Are you telling everyone that your jeans shrunk two sizes in the dryer last night?
Are you wearing anything with elastic around the waist?
Are you tucking more than just your shirt into your pants?
Is Santa not the only one in the neighborhood with a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, then welcome to the day after Christmas in America. Where the average person puts on a whopping five to eleven pounds over the holidays. FIVE to ELEVEN pounds? This is one time I don't want to be above average! How about you?

In all seriousness, we as believers, must pick ourselves up and live as the citizens of Heaven that we are. So get ready for transformation!

Philipians 3:18-21 "For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

Don't you just love it! Our Lord, Jesus Christ, intends on transforming "our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body". I don't know about you, but this one "lowly" body is ready. I pray that you will consider joining me. Let's surrender to HIM. Let's stand up and be proud citizens of HEAVEN. Citizens who are recognized quickly by just one glance. No sense in putting it off. Let's get started.
New beginnings! That is why He came!
Praise HIM!

P.S. If you are looking for a way to get rid of excess weight, live well, and grow in your walk with the Lord, look for a First Place meeting in your area. Live in Columbia, South Carolina? New First Place sessions will begin in January and February at Spring Valley Baptist Church.

Monday, December 24, 2007


May the love, hope, joy,
and peace that is
Christ Jesus be yours!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Making Time

I once heard Governor Huckabee interviewed about his weight loss. The interviewer asked " Governor, with your busy schedule, how did you ever find time to exercise?" The Governor responded and I paraphrase, " I don't find time. I make time. If I waited until I found the time to exercise I would never get it done". How true is that! If we wait until we find the time to do anything with our busy schedules, especially during this harried week, we would never get it done.

I am reminded of that when I lay down my Bible until later. Or when I pass by my running shoes on the way to put another load of laundry in. Or when I grab the snacks that are easily available instead of sitting down to a healthy meal.

This time of year is busy. Making our lists and checking them twice. Digging out from under heaps of wrapping paper. Scurrying to deliver the last gift. Places to go. People to see. But we (I) must make the time for those things that honor our Lord. I think He would prefer His temple in good repair. Don't you?
So, pardon me while I head out for my run! See you later!

1st Corinthians 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

Praise HIM!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Going "through it"

"Five year old boy shoots and kills a bear twelve times his size! Story after the break" announced the anchor on Fox News Sunday morning. I did not hear the story but it flooded me with memories of working with three and four year old children in the preschool where I helped teach. We used to play a game called "I'm going on a bear hunt!" Maybe you remember that game. The leader of the game would start the hunt by saying "I'm going on a bear hunt!" Echoes of children repeated "I'm going on a bear hunt". "I'm not afraid!" "I see a cave" the leader continues, followed by the quick repetition by the little ones. "I can't go over it, I can't go under it, I can't go around it, gotta go through it!" The eyes of these children would widen with excitement. They stomped their hands as they marched into the make-believe cave. "Gotta go through it!"

Being the third Sunday in Advent, we lit the joy candle yesterday. This season is full of joyous celebrations. Christmas music resounds in every car, home, or mall. Christmas parties each evening in someones home. Preparations for the annual family turkey dinner. Cards from distant family and friends with wishes of joy for the season.

But like me, you may have people in your life today who are not experiencing joy. Who, instead of hearing "Joy to the World" replaying in her mind, recalls a phone call notifying her of her young adult sons death in a motor accident. A young father who instead of rsvp'ing to a Christmas party, stands in a solemn office making his next chemo appointment. A middle-aged wife, who instead of planning her annual family Christmas dinner, soaks her pillow with tears because her husband of 20 years has left her alone. Christmas cards that won't be arriving. Music that won't be played. Loneliness. Hurt. Anger. Grief. An abundance of emotions, but for many, joy is not one of them.

I am reminded by these that sometimes we can't go "over it" or "under it" or "around it". Sometimes we just "gotta go through it". But I am comforted that I don't go through anything alone. Neither do any that know and trust HIM. Dear friend, maybe it is you that is hurting. Know that we have a God that if we "gotta go through it", He will go through it with us. Psalms 9:9-10 says "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." The Message says it this way: 9-10 God's a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you're never sorry you knocked.

Lord, help me be mindful of those whose sorrow is great. Whose pain is deep. Whose loss is unbearable. Let me shine your light into their world. You, who came into this world to bear all our sin. All our sorrow. All our pain and loss. Father let your love penetrate to the very core of those deep emotions. I pray that the hurting amongst us may fall into your hands. Hands that are big enough, gentle enough, compassionate enough, and faithful enough to carry them "through it". There is joy in that. In knowing you are our strength! The "joy of" you O Lord "is my strength" !(Neh. 8:10)
Praise HIM!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Joy: as defined by
1.the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation
2. a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated

Joy as defined by me:
A newborn babies first cry.
The doctor saying "it's a girl" or "it's a boy".
Hot chocolate on a cold day. (sugar free, of course!)
Cold lemonade on a hot day ...made even better while sitting on a front porch swing!
Camping trips complete with songs around the campfire.
The feel of warm sand between my toes while taking a walk on the beach in the early fall.
Hearing the rustling of the leaves on a quiet mountain.
Making it to the top of the mountain.
Making it back down again.
Watching a young child, a teenager, or an older adult step out from the pew and walk to the front of the church to confess their belief in Jesus and make a public profession of their faith.
Hearing "I love you".
Saying "I love you!"
Hearing a big ole "HEY MOM" on the phone!
Watching the night sky while lying on the dock at the lake.
Hearing my three children in another room giggling together.
The Christmas Eve Candlelight service.

But neither nor I can adequately describe the joy that appeared one night over 2000 years ago. Just a babe? No. Just a man. Hardly! God in the flesh. God here on earth. A joy so great that only a heavenly host would do it justice.

Luke 2: 10-13:"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Lord Jesus, I thank you for your arrival here on earth. I thank you that with it you brought hope, peace, joy, and love. I thank you that these gifts of Christmas are still available to those who seek you. Father, help me to remember that these gifts are also mine to share. Help me to deliver them..your hope, your peace, your joy, your love.Praise HIM!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Not on my own

I spent an entire day this past weekend with 60 students at a rally with over 25,000 people, collecting canned goods to give to our local emergency food bank. This was a student-led project, but they needed their sponsor there as well. Don't get me wrong, although it was hectic, and at times a bit chaotic, it was a joy to work alongside them. These high school kids eagerly gathered well over 4000 cans in eight hours of labor-intensive work to help feed the hungry. (Kids are really so much more caring than we often give them credit for.) But I must tell you, this middle-aged body came home exhausted. Bone-tired. Worn out enough to weep. And weep I did when I walked through my doorway.

I left my kitchen before 7am that morning, and I left in a hurry. Walking out on counters cluttered with dirty dishes, dirty laundry, and emptied boxes that needed to head back to the attic. It was all I could do to pack up the items I needed for that day. I expected to return to the same dirty dishes and cluttered counters that I left before sunlight. But joy of joys, I walked into a spotless kitchen. Laundry...cleaned, dried, and folded. The empty boxes from the Christmas ornaments... packed away. The things I KNOW that I could not have done on my own were done for me. Sweet husband!

We have a God like that too. One who reminds me often that I don't have to do it all on my own. One who has done the hardest work for me. I don't have to face a "cluttered with sin" past. It is as "far as the east is from the west" from me. (Ps.103:12) Could not have done that on my own. I don't have to face my own "dirty laundry". He has washed me "whiter than snow". (Ps. 51:7) Again, done by Him. And He continues to "pack away" the pride, selfishness, and other assorted character issues. All the things I KNOW that I could not have done on my own. Done for me. Sweet Heavenly Father!

Father thank you for your work on the cross, for your work in me. I thank you for reminding me that YOU alone have saved me. I praise You for the peace You offer as you guard our hearts and minds in You. For doing all that none of us could ever do on our own. Praise YOU!

Praise HIM!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Nativity

Like many of you, we have slowly been getting our house and yard decorated for Christmas. Many years ago my husband's grandfather, who we called Papa K, built a beautiful and very simple nativity scene for our yard. Papa K's hands were worn and strong and talented. He, a carpenter by avocation, carefully crafted many gifts for us over the years. There is no question that these three, Mary, Joseph, and the Jesus manger, are probably the most dear to us. We spotlight them out front this time each year.

Here in South Carolina, we tend to have fairly mild weather. The last few days have been the exceptions. Wind gusts strong enough to take two wreaths right off my windows. Blasts of cold have strewn anything not bolted down all over the yard. So, Tuesday at work, I had a call from my neighbor and she asked, "did you know your Joseph has tumbled over?" "No" I replied, "I didn't", but I wasn't surprised after the winds we had experienced that morning. That afternoon when my son arrived home from school, he ran inside. He voiced what my neighbor had called about earlier, "Joseph is on the ground". Again. But then he added, "Mom,it looks like he is worshiping the Lord." I went outside to look for myself and found that Chad was right. The wooden Joseph's face and body fell prostrate at the foot of the manger.

Sometimes there are no words that can adequately express our adoration and worship. Sometimes we just need to fall prostrate at the feet of our Lord.
Praise Him this Christmas season! Praise His Name forever!

Matthew 2:11 "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. ..."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Partner

This past weekend I did something I didn't think I could do again. My dear friend and fellow FPer, Pam, and I ran a 5K together. I won't tell you we won. We didn't. I won't even tell you we ran a great time. We didn't. But we did run the race that both of us were, or at least I was, more than a little apprehensive about completing.

The weather could not have been more delightful. It was cool, but not too cold. The warm sun elevated the temperature enough to thaw our toes and nose. It was an absolutely marvelous December morning! The sidelines were full of cheering crowds. Clapping. Arms waving. Cheers of "Go, Go, Go". (It is possible that the crowds were just in a hurry for us to pass so the Annual Christmas Parade could begin, but the encouragement was welcome just the same.) But the very best part of the race was having a running partner!

Pam's continual encouragement is what made the race doable for me. We talked a bit. We laughed a bit. We slowed down for each other...OK, she slowed down for me. We kept each other going.

Down the first hill. Confidence. Back up another. Urging. Marking our distance. Reassurance. Simultaneously grabbing our cups at the water station. Refreshment. And finishing. What a great feeling to finish something you aren't even sure you can begin! All along being lifted up and encouraged by a fellow runner, a fellow sojourner. All the way to the finish line.

So it should be no surprise that this encouraging business is of HIS design! And it is not just for running a 5K race. It is for losing the weight. It is for being disciplined to study the Word. It is for tackling the job hunt. It is for facing a dire illness. It is for waiting for the right time or the right thing or the right person. Encouragement. It is for living the life.
Give it. Receive it. All the way to the finish line.

Romans 1:11-12 "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith."

1 Thessalonians 5:11"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

Praise Him!

P.S. By the way, Pam and I did outrun one of the younger ladies.(so Pam, do I tell them she was six?)

"Weighting" on the Lord

Let this be a place of encouragement for you in your own walk!