“You smell good. You’re tall. That’s a pretty name.”
Is it just me or do you sometimes feel compliments ring of empty flattery? Maybe we receive or even give insincere comments meant to gain favor or win someone’s approval.
But this time the words came from a sincere place. You see, a special young man, Jason, spoke the words to me during a ministry event—authentic and from his heart.
And by the end of the night, the Lord not only nudged my soul about the deeper spiritual meaning, but He also asked me to write about it…how to smell good and stand tall and be known by name.
Flattery and Smooth Talkers
The Bible warns of flattery and smooth talkers who dazzle with flowery verbiage. (Psalm 5:9, Psalm 12:2) Yet as believers, Scripture encourages words spoken in truth and speech full of grace. (Ephesians 4:15, Colossians 4:6)
A few years ago, I spoke at a women’s event where I met Jason. Jason’s mom brought him along to help tear down and clean up at the conclusion.
When the program ended, I mingled and chatted with the ladies.
But then I noticed a young man in his mid-twenties blowing out the autumn candles decorating each table. Smiling, he approached me and the pastor’s wife. He possessed an endearing charm and a fun persona.
And Jason has a unique view of the world. He overcame tremendous disadvantages and obstacles in life. A childhood full of abuse and heartbreaking circumstances.
Still, Jason loves to tell his story and the good life he has now. God used this man to teach me a few lessons.
That is so like God. To use those dear to His heart to show us the way. So…
October 12, 2017 at 10:24 am | Uncategorized
I had another article planned for this week’s blog post. But then my local Christian radio station, WCQR, reminded me of a special day near and dear to my heart…appreciating my pastor.
And not only do I appreciate my pastor on this particular day but on every day.
A Cheerleading Story
“We’ve got spirit, yes we do. We’ve got spirit, how bout you?”
To be a spirit girl would be so cool. Therefore, I tried out for cheerleader in high school.
After the first round, it came down to three of us vying for two available spots. They nixed Yours truly. While disappointed, honestly, the other two girls proved far better at rah-rah stuff—flips, jumps, and everything. (Marnita and Belinda, you girls rocked!)
And my sister, Wendi, ten years younger, grew up blossoming in dance and gymnastics classes. So she was a shoo-in for cheerleader.
But, guess what? I am cheering these days, just in a different way and for a new cause.
I’m my husband Mike’s biggest cheerleader. His cool-spirit-girl. It’s a place I’m blossoming and it rocks!
October 5, 2017 at 9:32 am | Uncategorized
Do you enjoy having to pause? Not me.
But I am excited to welcome back my friend, Cathy Baker, with thoughts on pauses good for our soul. Cathy is the author of sensory-based devotionals and wrote a guest blog for this community about her first e-book in the series for the beach. Read her post here, The Vacationing Soul: A Beach Devotional by Cathy Baker. And her second book, a devotional guide for the mountains, released last week.
By Cathy Baker
In the mornings, a small 1940’s ice cream parlor table greets me at the window that faces the mountains. In the foreground, a bluebird house is perched as pretty as you please on the trunk of a pear tree. With my Bible open, I read and then rest⏤both mind and soul.
The bluebird, without fail, catches my eye as I marvel at God’s artistic touch. His peacock-blue body boasts a flush of pink covering its breast. My flesh, it tugs like a 2-year-old clinging to the leg for ice cream, “Come on, let’s get the day started!” but my spirit, it wants to pause.
The struggle comes as no surprise. The pace of life desires to swallow us whole. But thanks be to God, we have the opportunity⏤the privilege⏤to pause, ponder nature’s beauty, and praise the Creator.
September 28, 2017 at 12:00 am | Uncategorized
We’ve heard it said that all is fair in love.
But what does God say?
Is real love about fairness?
We often want our way in relationships and expect everything on equal ground. Yet what if true and unconditional love was never meant to be this way?
Even the term “unconditional” conveys no conditions or rules are attached. Google lists these synonyms: “wholehearted, unqualified, unreserved, unlimited, unrestricted, unmitigated, unquestioning.”
Since unconditional love does not keep score, then we can’t play the fairness card.
The truth? All is not fair in love, not in unconditional love.When we demand fairness in #relationships, we put conditions on #love. Click To Tweet
Extending unconditional love covers every kind of relationship: marriage, dating, children, siblings, extended family, fellow Christians, the unsaved, our neighbors and friends. Jesus also included our enemies.
We can love others even when we don’t like what they do or how they hurt us. But sometimes it needs to be from a distance and through prayers spoken over them. And the world says this kind of love is not fair or right.
Still not convinced?
Perhaps we need to revisit the greatest words ever written about love.
September 21, 2017 at 10:00 am | Uncategorized
A classroom comes in many forms.
I see myself as a life-long student. Training classes, the learning curve for a new job, ministry and leadership seminars, writing conferences, spiritual retreats, and Bible studies include some of my favorite ways to learn…to take in new knowledge.
But, how do you imagine God’s classroom? Is there a white board? What about globes, pictures of the world or His students? Does He give hall passes and wait on tardy students for important lessons?
I’ve written about the mountains before. Yet, if you follow this blog, you know I give student reports from the mountains, the beach, an amusement park, or life events and experiences.
Each a classroom where God taught me valuable lessons.
So this week I traveled with two friends from high school to the Great Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg, Tennessee) for our annual girls trip. Four nights provided the perfect getaway for fun, shopping, and good food and conversation.
But the trip also supplied time to rest from the daily grind and hear from God on matters of the heart. And, of course, I came back with a student report.
September 14, 2017 at 10:29 am | Uncategorized
I desire to walk the line.
And, of course, you know I’m not the late Johnny Cash.
But I read the back story behind Johnny’s musical hit, I Walk the Line. As a newlywed, Cash wrote the lyrics as a promise of devotion to his wife. (Wikipedia.)
So what does walking the line have to do with you and me?
Walk the Line in Devotion
Mike, my husband, performs marriage ceremonies as an ordained minister. He even officiated our daughter Megan’s wedding.
During the vows, Mike mentioned our son-in-law’s favorite movie, I walk the Line, the life story of Johnny Cash. After a slight pause, my husband said these words to the groom, Tyler. “And that’s what I expect you to do—walk the line.”
You see, we invested years in our daughter’s life, devoted parents who wanted God’s best for her. So, now, we wanted the same devotion and sentiments from Tyler to Megan.
In the same way, God wants my total devotion and allegiance.
September 7, 2017 at 10:14 am | Uncategorized
Sending text messages to God.
It sounds ludicrous but not that far-fetched in the digital habits and minds of today’s young people and adults.
Sure, it seems like a reasonable question in a culture where personal communication is going out of style. No one wants to look us in the eye and tell us how they feel about themselves or about us. Or communicate face-to-face to resolve a conflict.
So it’s not surprising as I sat in a meeting a few weeks ago and learned of high school students who admitted they don’t know how to pray. But the same students know how to text and spend hours each day talking to others this way.
Isn’t prayer simply talking to our heavenly Father? Communicating with God on a deep-soul level.
A Do-not List for Sending Text Messages
August 31, 2017 at 11:01 am | Uncategorized
Is there a volume button for our noisy world?
Because the noise drowns out my favorite parts of life:
1) Peace and quiet for my spirit.
2) Deep-rooted solitude in my soul.
3) The ability to reflect without distraction.
4) In-person intimacy and heart-felt conversation among my closest friends and family.
I wear a title in my family, AKA “noise manager.” So I send out memos, audible and text, to my people requesting they make adjustments to the loudness.
Turn down the television.
Please lower your voice.
Your music’s too loud.
But sometimes I misplace my own remote control in life. When I find myself smack dab in the middle of the world’s noise—among the clamor and racket—I search for an escape. I even want to run away. But where do I go? How can I rise above the noise…the roar?
Restless in a Noisy World
There’s so much noise tugging at my heart these days. Twirling in my head. The loudness of it all suffocates the quiet.
A gazillion shouting voices. And the words spill out on social media. Rhetoric screams on every street corner.
August 24, 2017 at 10:21 am | Uncategorized
“They’re splitting up.” A picture-perfect couple. The news sent shock waves.
Nobody—for one nanosecond—thought it would happen.
A romantic storybook flashed through my mind. A fairy-tale slide show portrayed on timelines, rolled through the news feed on social media.
Starry-eyed followers viewed a plethora of images labeled “in a relationship with” and “date night.” To keep the pot boiling, engagement pictures topped any Hallmark movie we’d ever seen.
A Picture-perfect Union
Enduring wedding pictures captured marital bliss—the tagline for each anniversary to come. Would this honeymoon never be over? The attractive couple knew what they wanted. A match made in heaven.
August 17, 2017 at 9:30 am | Uncategorized
Today I welcome a guest author and my sweet friend, Nan Jones. A kindred spirit, Nan often writes with a message of hope. Not just any kind of hope, expectant hope. Let her words reach deep into your heart.
By Nan Jones
Three years ago, life as I knew it fell apart.
Jeremiah understood the feeling. Most of Jerusalem lay in ruins, the temple set ablaze, the people carried captive into exile. God’s chosen people lost everything and found themselves in a hopeless situation. Life as they knew it fell apart.
Even the prophet Jeremiah struggled to hang onto hope.
But then he remembered something.
August 10, 2017 at 10:04 am | Uncategorized