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MawMaw Sandwich

MawMawsandwich

This evening being alone at the house, I decided to fix me a “MawMaw Sandwich.” I call it that because it’s what my grandmother would fix on Sunday evenings. If you stopped in for a visit, she would insist on assembling you a sandwich too, even if you weren’t that hungry. It consisted of toast, fried bologna, cheese, and tomato. Tonight, I added scrambled egg on mine to give it some extra oomph. I lived with my grandparents for a few years when I was in college and having this simple meal with them was a highlight of my Sundays.

My grandparents are gone now, but those memories linger. They were so hospitable and kind, if we had friends with us, they’d extend a sandwich to them as well. We’d sit together, talk, watch tv and enjoy the pleasure of a simple sandwich. It’s those small things that you remember when time passes. I miss those times. I miss them.

My grandparents taught me many things. They taught me to look out for others. They taught me to keep God first. They taught me that God’s love never fails. They taught me the importance of prayer. They taught me that church is important because we need each other….we need community. Nowadays, we have so many ways to communicate. But, my heart longs for old fashioned communication. My heart longs for breaking bread with others. My heart longs for knowing people more, hearing what they struggle with and really listening to them. I’m guilty of being selfish though. I get tired, come home, connect to the internet, and disconnect from those closest to me. I don’t want to keep doing that. It’s time for me to reconnect to the simple things instead.

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Visiting or Inhabiting?

I grew up and still attend a Pentecostal church.  When outsiders hear the word, “Pentecostal,” they immediately think of weird people that do unusual things during service.  When I was a kid, I saw all kinds of weird behavior, I think some was genuine and others not so much.  I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, but I guess I don’t see it the way others do.  There are things I hear a few people say at our church that I get tired of hearing like, “The spirit isn’t here like it used to be.”  I don’t agree with them at all. 

I will admit that I’ve had strange things happen to me that I know was the Holy Spirit.  When I was in college, I was very down and depressed.  I had been running from God and had given into some bad habits.  But, one Wednesday night at chapel, I felt God’s love smack me right in the face.  I started laughing uncontrollably and couldn’t stop.  God gave me His love and His joy, I was overwhelmed.  It was definitely not me, because I was the cool kid, I didn’t want to look like a fool.  If I was in my flesh, I wouldn’t have literally kept laughing out loud.  After I gained my composure I felt led to go to my old boyfriend who hurt me and I told him that I forgave him.  That was monumental because I was hurt greatly by him, I hated him.  But, that night things changed and I saw him as a human who made mistakes.  That was God, not me.

In my adult life, I’ve felt the Holy Spirit during different services.  One service, my shoulder was healed.  It had been aching for a long time.  God touched it and that pain hasn’t returned.  I’ve spoken in tongues a few times, but it’s been mostly at home during my private prayer time.  I’ve attended long services where the spirit was thick and people kept falling out.  I know the Holy Spirit was there, but this is where my thoughts start to shift.  I don’t believe the Holy Spirit visits the same way every time the church doors are open.  In fact, I don’t think the Holy Spirit comes and goes.  Once you receive Him, He’s there.  He doesn’t go on vacation.  He doesn’t move to another church down the road.  He’s in you.  He’s in me.  Here’s the key to the Holy Spirit, He doesn’t travel like a ghost possessing Christian people. He comes inside you and you become the vehicle of transportation.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t want to be confined to a church, He wants to go out into the world and touch lives.  You cannot have the fruits of the spirit without first having the Holy Spirit. 

So, to make the statement, “The spirit isn’t here like it used to be,” what does that say about those that think that way?  This is how I think it is.  I think those who feel that way are looking for a quick gratification.  I don’t think they realize it either.  I think it’s like someone who wants sex and not a relationship. They want to feel good, but don’t want to carry out the good.  I know that’s a jaw dropping statement, but it’s just my thoughts.  Why do I say that?  Because when the Holy Spirit comes and resides in you, others should see Him.  Others see it by the fruit it produces.  If someone lives in my house, others know because I talk about who lives there.  Jesus said go and make disciples.  How do we have the motivation and determination to do it?  The Holy Spirit instructs, convinces, and aids us to do so. 

There are moments in my everyday life that I get sidetracked.  These moments are the Holy Spirit guiding me to do something that my flesh doesn’t want to do.  Those moments include things like, stop everything to give someone a ride to the store that doesn’t have a car, smiling at the cashier that is slow at checking out while I’m in a hurry to get out of the store, giving money to someone when I don’t think I have enough for myself, listening to someone hurting, writing a note to someone, or just saying hello to someone passing by.  But that’s so small, you might think.  But it’s not, its little things that open doors for bigger things.  When I carry out these moments, I feel satisfied.  When I ignore doing what the Holy Spirit wants me to do, I feel frustrated.  So, my final statement is this, are you looking to meet the Holy Spirit or carry the Holy Spirit? 

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Promises, Promises

“You have heard that it was said long ago, ‘You must not make a promise you cannot keep. You must carry out your promises to the Lord.’  I tell you, do not use strong words when you make a promise. Do not promise by heaven. It is the place where God is. Do not promise by earth. It is where He rests His feet. Do not promise by Jerusalem. It is the city of the great King.  36 Do not promise by your head. You are not able to make one hair white or black. Let your yes be YES. Let your no be NO. Anything more than this comes from the devil.”  Matthew 5:33-37 NLV

 

Words used to mean something to people.   I remember when I was a kid, I was told not to make promises that I couldn’t keep.  So, I’ve always tried to be cautious of what I would say.  I don’t like to commit to something that I’m not going to follow through with.  Loyalty and commitment seems to be lacking as well.  I guess we live in an age where everything is disposable.  Marriages can be tossed to the wayside if you’re just tired of being with that “true love.”  How many true loves does a person have to go through before you actually find the one that truly is true?  Marriage isn’t easy; it takes two people who are genuinely committed to one another.  My marriage hasn’t been all roses and perfect days.  Life just isn’t that way.  I am blessed enough to have someone that stands by me and will ride the storms of indifference, trials, and life.  Both people have to be committed to the relationship.  Both have to be willing to let go of selfish desires and bend every now and then for the other person.

I find it funny how often people change their “BFF.”  I wonder if they truly know what the acronym means.  People treat relationships the way Baskin Robbins declares, “The Flavor of the Week.”   Friendships become disposable.  If someone is aggravating you too much or doesn’t pay you enough attention, it’s time to trade them in for someone else.

I even see it in the church world.  We treat church like Walmart…..give me the best product at the least cost to me.  Is that even close to what Jesus wants the church to be?  We shop around churches and if they aren’t giving us the deals we want, we find one that will.  Isn’t the church body supposed to be living sacrifices?  Do we even know what a sacrifice is?  Loyalty and commitment is a sacrifice.  Honor and integrity is a sacrifice.  Given up self-agenda is a sacrifice.

I pray that people will start to remember the value of their words.  I pray that people will remember that genuine character is commitment, loyalty, and service.  I pray the church will awaken to the truths of the gospel. 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Writing

 

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Balancing Act

I’ve been reflecting on this thought for a week or so.  I used to be pretty bad about putting all my thoughts and energies on one thing or person.  I don’t know if it’s age or experience that has taught me that it’s best not to do that.  When I was first married, everything I did was for my husband.  I was constantly trying to create the perfect marriage, relationship, and be the best wife.  The downside to that was that anytime he was late coming home or had other things he had to do, I felt alone and disappointed.  My identity was wrapped up in our marriage.  So without him, I felt like I was nothing.  I did the same thing when my son was born.  I strived to be the best mother.  I wanted to be available to him at all times.  After doing this for years, I suddenly felt disconnected from anyone who wasn’t a parent. I’ve consistently moved from different people or things to focus all my energy on until the past few years.  I feel that I balance my life pretty well now, I have time with God, my husband, my son, myself, and with others.  It is so easy to become completely consumed by your job, a ministry, a hobby, or a person.  But, it isn’t wise because if that something or someone disappears, then you feel devastated.  God has taught me so much within these last five years, I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m listening more or just experiences have led me to notice things differently.  Either way, I’ve learned that life is more full when all your eggs aren’t in one basket.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Writing

 

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100% Love

imagesCANR42GWThis week I read about a pastor who wrote something rather rude on a receipt to her waitress. She said that she only gives God 10% so why do you deserve 18%? The waitress shared her experience on a social network site which in turn went viral. The pastor called the restaurant and complained, which in turn caused the waitress to loose her job. There are so many things wrong in this picture. First, shouldn’t a representative of God display love and respect toward her server? Second, how many of us only give God a small portion of ourselves. I know the Pastor was speaking in terms of money to the church, but I begun thinking how much actually is 10%. It’s really only a small portion. How much percent of our income do we spend on entertainment? Is it only 10%? In terms of time, how much time do we give God? Do we allot Him 10% of our time? What is required? How much time do we use to serve others? Shouldn’t we give most of ourselves if not all of ourselves to God and others? How do you represent Christ to those who are outsiders? The third thing that upsets me with this situation is the waitress lost her job. How much more is she going to resent Christians because of the incident that happened to her? If you are a christian you are supposed to be a light. Please think about this when you are out in public and in your private life. I love the song “People of God,” by Gungor. Read the lyrics below and think about shining love of Jesus on others.

We could have tongues of angels
We could move mountains with our faith
We could give everything away
But if we don’t have love
We’re left with nothing
We could see blind eyes opened
Know all the mysteries of our faith
We could sing all the highest praise
But if we don’t have love
We’re left with nothing
People of God rise up
Rise up and shine God’s love
We are the light of the world
Of the world oh
We are the light of the world
Of the world oh
Love is what holds it all together
Love never fails, it never dies
There is no deeper truth
We know God is love, our God is love
Tear down the walls that divide us
Let love rebuild and unite us
All we need is

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34 (NLT)
All we need is love

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Time Keeps On Ticking

“There is a special time for everything. There is a time for everything that happens under heaven. There is a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pick what is planted. There is a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up. There is a time to cry, and a time to laugh; a time to have sorrow, and a time to dance. There is a time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to kiss, and a time to turn from kissing. There is a time to try to find, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away. There is a time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; a time to be quiet, and a time to speak. There is a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
It is time for a new year to begin. This year may have been a hard year for you or it may have been a beautiful one with many memories. So, as most of you, I am reflecting on the year that is ending and wondering what the new one holds. This month, my husband and I were surprised by news that his sister was having twins. So, we were blessed with twin nieces. I’ve also had several close friends have babies this year. In April, my grandmother passed away. She was one of the biggest influences in my life. I love and miss her greatly, especially at family gatherings and holidays. I miss her smiles and giggles. I miss her hugs and her advice. I miss her gentle spirit and big heart.
The first half of the year I thought our business wouldn’t make it to the end of the year, but it did and there is renewed hope that it will survive a little longer. Our church has grown; I’ve seen new faces come into the youth group. I’ve had teens graduate out and teens graduate into the group. Our format changed in the fall, we meet on Friday nights and it has grown our group some. I’m learning alongside the teens, God has new things for us to learn each day. Sometimes it’s a repeat lesson, but it’s always a needed one. My son transitioned from elementary school to middle school. He’s growing up quicker than I want him to.
Every year we make resolutions or promises of change. How often do we keep the resolution? Why do we usually not? Do we just slip back into the routineness of life? Do we have things happen to us that knock us off of our hopes of change? Regardless, of whether you keep the resolutions or not, life still happens. If you wake up, there is a day for you to live. Every day consists of time to be spent. There is time each day that is allotted for a specific purpose, time you have to use for only that purpose, such as work. But, each day also consists of free time. How do you spend your free time? I’ve wasted a lot of time. I’ve also made memories with others with my free time. God gives us all time on this earth to use, to learn from, to spend, to do, and to be. What does 2013 consist of? We shall see.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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April Showers bring May Flowers

On April 1, the weather was nice and spring was in the air.  Instead of a lesson, the group decided to work on the prayer trail behind the church.  We met late afternoon with our machetes and hedge clippers in hand to tackle the thickets and thorns that stood in our way.  We trail blazed for a little over an hour, by clipping, tossing, and digging out roots.  A few days later, we discovered that poison oak or sumac had sprouted out in the mess on the hill because Dave and Cristal started itching and breaking out into a rash.  They both had to see a doctor to get relief from the outbreak. It took approximately two weeks for them to get rid of the rash.

Personally, April was a tough month for me.  My grandmother had been ill for over a month and passed away on April 11.  She was the most influential person in my life.  She taught me so much about living and loving  God and others. She was the one person I went to whenever I needed a helping hand, my tears wiped, encouragement, prayer, comfort, or advice.  That’s what grandmothers are supposed to do anyway, right?  To me though she was an extraordinary grandmother, she continually sacrificed for her children and grandchildren. She imparted into me a lot of her compassion and made me who I am today.  I miss her greatly.

The last Sunday of the month after our lesson, we wondered how many people we could stuff into Katrina’s P.T. Cruiser.  The answer was 9.  We traveled a mile, stuffed into the car, and tagged the way as “Clown Car.”  It was a fun night with lots of laughter, something I felt we all needed.

For the month of May, we planned a food drive.  We asked for donations of non perishable food items and monetary donations for the purchase of meat and dairy products.  We used a wheelbarrow to take groceries to families in need on May 27th.  We were able to provide for two families.  It was a privilege to lead the teens in this way.  I hope that we can reach out to the community in more ways like this in the future.

Matthew 25:34-36

34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

After the last delivery, Landon rode in the wheelbarrow and Brian and Cristal took turns pushing him.

Later that evening, we went to the carnival that was in town for the Memorial day weekend.  We rode all the classic turn your stomach upside down rides.  My stomach reminded me that I am not a teenager anymore.

April was a tough month, we were attacked by the poison oak/sumac, my grandmother passed away, and my husbands businesses were suffering.  But May bloomed with several flowers throughout the month.  On May 9th, the youth aired their first live internet radio show called “Getting Vocal.”  This was something that was thought and dreamed about for several years. Almost a week later,  one of our teens was in a car accident, he flipped his truck several times, and went to the hospital.  The hospital x-rayed his back and said he fractured several of his vertebrae, so they sent him to another hospital an hour away to do further treatment on him.  They suspected that he would have to have back surgery.  Before he left the local hospital,  the Pastor, his mother and I prayed for him to be healed.  The rest of the youth group showed up after I left and prayed for him as well.  When he arrived at the hospital that was an hour away, they did another X-ray on him.  Here’s the awesome part, they couldn’t find any fractures.  It was confirmed there were some at the local hospital, but by the time he arrived at the other hospital, God healed his back.  Therefore, protection and healing bloomed that day.   Compassion for those in our community was another flower that sprung in the heart of the youth group when we delivered the groceries. 

Next week is our Extreme Voice Summer Retreat.  We are looking forward to all that God has to teach each of us during this time away.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Spiritual Reflections, Youth

 

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