Saturday, February 25, 2017

The High Maintenance Missionary and The Frontal Assault

I'm using the photo of the empty tomb today because it's a symbol of the resurrection power available to us. When Jesus arose, He conquered sin and death. He defeated the enemy of our soul. 

When He ascended into heaven, He made it perfectly clear. That same resurrection power is available to us.

"All authority is given to me... I am with you..." (Matthew 28:19-20) 

"Anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father." (John 14:12)

He's with us. We can access His power. That's the truth in which we're supposed to live.

Paul also shared some truth that highlights how much we need Jesus' resurrection power. Ephesians 6 tells us, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)

The struggle is real. The power against which we battle is strong. 


He has all the power we need to defeat this dreadful foe. We simply need to don our armor, stand firm, and use our only offensive weapon, which is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. 

I've had to remind myself of this truth over the last two days. As you probably know, if you've been reading my blog, I'll soon be leaving for the Middle East, where I'll be encouraging the remnant of the church and praying God breathes life back into the fading embers of faith that remain. I believe He will. I also believe He will use it to help trigger worldwide revival.

I knew, when I started speaking this out loud, that the enemy of our soul wouldn't be happy. I'm not surprised that crazy things, seemingly designed to stop the progress of the plan, have begun to happen. 

In case this ever happens to you (which I kinda hope you will experience, because that will mean you're doing something useful in the kingdom of God), here's what you do.

Mentally put on the girdle of truth, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of peace. Pick up the shield of faith and hold it in front of you. When you do, the fiery darts of the enemy will bounce off.

Here's how that looks for me right now: I'm positive that I'm supposed to do this, and I'm doing it if I have to crawl to the plane and crawl off again. I'm going. 

Determining to persevere is critical. 

Once that decision is made, it doesn't matter what tactics the enemy uses. I'm still going. I've thought through all the things that could happen, and determined that I can press on anyway.

The safest place for a warrior is in the midst of the battle, not looking off the housetop. King David's experience with Bathsheba taught us that. 

Armor, though, is only for defense. 

If we want the fiery darts to stop, we have to use our only offensive weapon, which is the Word of God. 

Speak aloud all the verses you've memorized. Say them with conviction. Claim them for yourself. Wield your sword.

Look up and read aloud all the verses that relate to your particular battle. Today, I'm reading and speaking the verses about health, because that's the kind of battle those who are participating in the upcoming trip are experiencing (including me).

It's pretty simple. We have an offensive weapon, but we seldom use it to great effectiveness. Why not? I'm afraid it's because don't know the word of God well enough to wield it like a sword. It's why I stress Bible study so much. You can't use what you don't know.

If you're going through a fiery dart, all-out-assault time, it's certainly wise to don your armor. If you want to win the battle, rather than merely outlast it, you will have to use the Sword Of God, which is His Word.

Today, use a concordance or Google if you need help finding useful verses, but start praying Scripture. 

Claim what you read. Live what you know.

If you don't need warfare verses, I certainly do, so spend a little time praying for me and the upcoming mission. (Even if you do need warfare verses, please pray at least one of them my way.) 

We don't have to live under siege. 

We can stop the fiery darts with our shield of faith. We can stop the dart-thrower, at least temporarily, with our Sword.

Warriors, take your places. Don your armor. Hold your shield. Slash away with your sword. We face a real foe, but a defeated one. 

Choose to live in victory.
If you've been touched or encouraged by this post, please share it. Your likes and shares, offered as a kind of digital mission work, greatly increase our reach.

In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: The High Maintenance Missionary 

This ministry is so much more than a blog. Speaking. Teaching. Hands-on outreach. Connecting with and encouraging missionaries around the world. It's only possible because of the generosity of your support. 

Together, we're making progress, but help is still needed. (I don't get a salary until this ministry is funded) If God has called you to help, here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 or you can mail your  check or money order to:
Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.


Friday, February 24, 2017

The High Maintenance Missionary

I emailed Dianne at the church. "Your high maintenance missionary here with another need," I wrote, and explained why I needed prayer. 

As you might imagine, some of the most incredible needs imaginable come my way. I can't bear all the burdens alone, so I constant turn to the body of Christ, inviting them to help me shoulder the load.

They always do.

Later, I confessed to a friend that I'd begun to feel like a high maintenance missionary, always needing prayer, always with a desperate situation. She laughed. "You're the prayer missionary. You're supposed to need prayer." We talked a few minutes then she said, "You should start another blog. Call it the High Maintenance Missionary" and talk about being a missionary.

I'm not "high maintenance" because I have a lot of needs or demands or even wants, but because I have such a desire for answered prayer. When the need's too great for me, I "need" others to pray because I have such a craving for God to move. I think it's a good kind of "high maintenance". 

The very thought of writing a third blog made me shudder, but I want to tell you about my sweet missionary day yesterday, and the answered prayer I believe we'll receive.

There were the usual emails, phone calls, and writing, but there was also something wonderful.

I spoke at Calvary Baptist Church's Senior Friends group and it was the most fun I've had in a while. I was a part of Calvary for more than 20 years, and I still am, in my heart. We're family. 

Yesterday, we had a big family reunion, but it was more than that. God had gone before me and orchestrated the entire day. The devotional, the music, the facilitator's words, and my presentation all flowed together to present one solid theme. "No matter how old you are, you still have something to give, because prayer is the most important work of all."

As soon as Dick Guyton started speaking, my friends on either side of me turned my way. "Oh, this is so God." We couldn't stop grinning. It was evident God was about to do something beautiful. And He did.

We all left challenged. Empowered to make a difference. Connected to the body of Christ at large. Ready and willing to do something that matters.

Before we left, we did do something that matters. I talked about my upcoming Jordan trip and igniting the embers of faith again. 

"Who would like to see the fires of faith spread in a worldwide revival?" People raised their hands all around the room.

"No. I'm serious. Raise them high if you truly want worldwide revival." Too many hands to count went high in the air.

"Is that something God wants?" Heads began to nod. People called out their agreement. 

Of course that's something God wants.

"What does Scripture say about two or three people gathered together, praying for something that's God's will?'

One lady in the front called out, "He will do it." 

A holy hush fell over the room for a moment and a wave of hope flooded through me. 

He will do it.

We prayed. God answered.

We asked God to start a flame of revival that spreads around the world, and I believe we can count it done.

Revival is not often birthed into times of great prosperity or ease. I don't believe this coming revival will be birthed in ease, either, but I do believe it's coming, and I know it will be worth it.

This morning, I had an email from a friend who's on mission in Africa right now. "Saw 1030 patients yesterday with ~ 500 people receiving Christ." 

Today, let's join in the work of God by praying He begins His revival in us. "Forgive us. Cleanse us. Make us usable, Lord, then put us to work in the fields that are already white for harvest."

Revival is on its way. Let's live ready.

"You may ask Me for anything in My name and I will do it." John 14:14 niv
Please like and share. It greatly extends my digital reach.

In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Where I'm Going, What I'm Doing, and How You can Participate

This ministry is so much more than a blog. Speaking. Teaching. Hands-on outreach. Connecting with and encouraging missionaries around the world. It's only possible because of the generosity of your support. 

Together, we're making progress, but help is still needed. (I don't get a salary until this ministry is funded) If God has called you to help, here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 or you can mail your  check or money order to:
Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Missionary Life: Where I'm Going, What I'm Doing, and How You Can Participate

The Christian church began in the Middle East and spread around the world because of the efforts of the early disciples. When Jesus said go, they went. When persecution came, they left their homelands and, as refugees, shared their faith wherever they moved. 

Believers in Israel and Jordan and surrounding areas made our faith possible because of how they lived out their own faith. They were on fire, and they shared that fire freely with the world.

A few decades ago, the church there was vibrant, alive, unstoppable. 

And now it's not. 

Only a remnant of believers remain in the area to which I'm going next week. They're discouraged. They fear that the embers of their faith-fire is "almost out."  

My friends in the Middle East have spent many hours with the handful of believers who still remember that beautifully alive church. One of the questions they've asked is "What do you need?" "Prayer" is the answer they always receive.

It's the reason I'm going. 

I will not be evangelizing unbelievers. That's illegal for a foreigner. 

My purpose is to encourage the church, pray with discouraged believers, gather and document their stories, and till the soil with prayer. I'll be prayer-walking the areas in which the church formerly had strength and influence. I'll pray with believers, and, probably teach about prayer. 

That's the plan for the first week. There are two more weeks after that, and they, too, will be filled with prayer.

If you've ever participated in the ministry of intercessory prayer, you know that it's hard. Gut-wrenching, exhausting hard. It requires the intercessor to bear the burdens of those for whom they pray, embrace humility, and pour themselves out in spiritual warfare as a kind of sacrificial prayer offering. 

If you've never done prayer ministry, there's no way to describe the kind of hard this is. Exhilarating and agonizing. Joyful and heartbreaking. 

The fruit of your labor may not be visible for years. It's hard to measure success. If you've done it right, at the end, you're completely drained. 

Despite all that, it's worth it, because time spent in the presence of God is the sweetest time of all.

The job of igniting the fires of revival is too big, too hard for one person, even with other people there helping. I can't do it alone. No one can. 

It will take the body of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit to make revival happen, so I need your help. 

I believe the fires of revival can sweep through that tiny remnant and bring a blaze of faith and fervor that could spread throughout the world again. Imagine that for a moment. 

I'm not praying for revival to start in one town. I'm praying for it to spread throughout the world.

It's an insane, ridiculous goal, and I know at the start that it's impossible, at least for me. There's good news, though. It's the kind of huge that our God loves to do, and He loves to use us, the hands and feet of Christ, to do it.

I need you to participate with me/us as I go, and I'm counting on you, my brothers and sisters. I need you to fast with us, pray with us, hope with us, believe with us. 

I need you to help revival come.

FAST: Isaiah 58 describes the fast God most wants, and it's a sin fast of removing our judgmental, critical spirits. That's a good place to start and much more effective than fasting chocolate or coffee.

PRAY: I've written about prayer countless times. My motto is, "If you're going to pray a little prayer, do it for someone else's missionaries. If you're praying for my missionaries, pray big." If you're praying for me, definitely pray big. 

BELIEVE: Never is praying big more important than for this trip. Consider the biggest possible outcome and ask God for it. Even a mustard-seed of faith in the possibility of world-wide revival will be enough. 

ASK: Ask big. 

How big? I'm asking that the fire of faith will be rekindled and spread throughout the world. That's a big as I can imagine, so join me in that request.

PERSEVERE: This trip begins February 28, 2017 and continues through March 20, 2017. Consider printing out this blog and putting it where it will serve as a reminder for prayer. 

Check the blog daily, because I'll be sharing photos, stories and prayer starters while I'm gone. Because of the time difference, it may not appear at the "usual" hour, but there will be something every day. (As long as I have wifi)

INCLUDE OTHERS: Invite more believers to help. When you like and share this blog post, it increases the number of views dramatically. When more people know of the need to pray, more people pray. It's that simple. 

You, my precious friends, determine how far this invitation to intercession spreads, so like, share, and comment. 

It's hard for me to comprehend, but we can participate in the same kind of expansion of faith the first century Christians did. It will only happen, however, if we live like they lived, believe like they believed, sacrifice like they sacrificed, pray like they prayed. 

Join me. It's gonna be fun, and God might use us to change the world. (I believe He will.)

"You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Acts 1:8 nasb
In case you missed yesterday's blog post, here's the link: What I Do and What I Need

This ministry of prayer and outreach (digital and in-person) is only possible because of the generosity of your support. Together, we're making progress, but help is still needed. (I don't get a salary until this ministry is funded) If God has called you to help, here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 or you can mail your  check or money order to:
Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Missionary Life: What I Do and What I Need

I had an epiphany yesterday. It may not seem like much to you, but it was big to me. 

These days, I write a lot about what I think, but seldom about what I do. That's not completely accurate, of course. I used to write about what I did fairly often in the before-I-became-a-missionary days.

Today, I'm giving you a day-in-the-life glimpse of my world. There'll be a little lesson at the end, so keep reading all the way through.

Almost every day, I'm up at 5 am. My first stop is the coffee pot. No surprise there.

My second is quiet time. I'm doing the James study, journalling as I go, and there's something that convicts me in those words every day. 

You might not recognize it, but that quiet time is the most important hour of my day. It sets the tone. It gets my heart in good working order. It prepares my attitude for whatever lies ahead.

By 6am yesterday, I was hard at work on my blog. I like to get it posted earlier, but I took longer in quiet time than I intended. Still, it flowed from my study on humility and, amazingly I had it posted by just after 6:30. 

I use Hootsuite as a scheduling tool. I schedule the blog to post three more times in the next few days and again in three months. It takes a little time, but it's still the most efficient way of scheduling that I've found, so I do it just after I post the blog. 

I spent another half-hour or more answering emails and messages, then dressed and drove the 22 minutes to the Global Outreach office. I was there just in time to join the daily staff devotions at 8:30.

On Tuesdays, Scotty Shows teaches us from the book we're studying together, Secrets of the Secret Place. We finished our lesson and prayed for our missionaries. (We have prayer cards with names and photos so the missionaries are more than names to us as we pray.)

As soon as we were done there, I had a meeting with my mentor, Judy Shows. We usually study 1 John together, but yesterday we spent our time in prayer for my upcoming trip.

I took a few minutes to answer medical questions from a friend and make some recommendations before I went from the meeting with Judy into a meeting with Anna Grace, for whom I'm serving as mentor. We reviewed a report/presentation she's giving as part of her internship program, discussed the topic of the goodness/wickedness of our hearts, her possibilities for a summer internship, and discussed our upcoming trip to Jordan. 

The minute we were finished, I headed out to meet a friend for lunch. (I rarely eat out, so this was a huge treat.) Among other things, we talked about my ministry, and she had a few suggestions that were really helpful.

I went straight home and started back to work. When missionaries email me their upcoming events for which they need prayer, I write it down in my lizard-green organizer. Several missionaries had needs for yesterday, so I emailed to check on them. I also emailed the missionaries we'd prayed for. 

The "we-prayed-for-you" is not a simple hello email. In general, I try to share something about our devotional that day, and draw prayer starters from it, then inquire about their situations. Usually, I review the latest email from the missionary to be sure that I'm following up on their needs. (When we pray for ten or more missionaries, this takes quite a chunk of time.) 

By that time, I had more emails to pray over and answer, more missionaries to contact about the Taste and See project that starts on Sunday, more prayer partners to email. 

I spent a few minutes considering the possibility of doing a Mission Dine-Around program. It's percolating in my mind and will soon be fully formed. 

I'm speaking Thursday to the senior adults at Calvary Baptist Church in Tupelo and needed to make a PowerPoint presentation about my ministry. Steadman Harrison (CEO of Global) had shared gorgeous photos from Jordan and Israel, so I reviewed the photos and spent a few hours working on the presentation. 

When I was in Israel in 2013, the one thing I was desperate to do was to go to the Bedouin camps. Of course, we didn't go, but God knew my great desire. To my utter astonishment, I'm spending one night in a Bedouin tent camp while I'm away. I didn't have any photos of Bedouins for my presentation, so I did a quick search. I found a photo of the inside of the tents and was dumbfounded by the rich colors and tapestries. 

I spent a short moment savoring the sweetness of God in giving me one of the desires of my heart, then took a few minutes to eat a quick supper of leftovers.

After that, I prayed about the need for prayer coverage for my trip, considered the implications of posting the dates I'll be gone on the internet, and decided that the need for prayer was greater than the risk for vandals to take advantage of my absence to break in my house. 

I turned to Facebook and spent some time recruiting prayer and asking everyone who commented on my post about the trip to add me to their church's prayer list. (If you haven't added me, please do. I'll be in the Middle East for three weeks starting next week. I desperately need prayer... more on that trip in the next few days.)

I went back to my PowerPoint, empowered by the prayers that had already begun, and finished the PowerPoint presentation, then considered how I could adapt it as a virtual prayer walk. 

I write a story of the week most weeks for distribution to the missionaries and board of Global Outreach. (I'm not actually sure where it goes.) My job is to write it, so I do. It took me another chunk of time to write the story of the week and turn it in.

By that time, it was 8:30 pm. I'd been nonstop for thirteen hours.

I spent a few minutes playing with my dogs, loaded dishes in the dishwasher, and headed upstairs to get ready for bed. I considered doing some long-overdue dusting but decided against it. I don't know what time it was when I finally climbed in bed, but I had more messages and emails to answer before I turned out the light. 

"Lord, I've spent an entire day answering emails and working on presentations. What kind of missionary work have I done today?" I prayed.

"Check the numbers," came the whisper in my heart. 

I clicked on the Blogger count (I have multiple other programs that also count blog views... when added together, the total is a lovely number). On Blogger's count alone, more than 500 people viewed my blog yesterday, literally around the world. (United States, France, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Estonia, Jordan, Philippines, United Kingdom) I corresponded with multiple missionaries. I prepared to speak to dozens of people on Thursday. I prayed my way through the day, in constant contact with the Most High God. 

It's not the typical missionary kind of work. I don't have an orphanage, a feeding program for widows, or an evangelistic outreach, but this unique ministry is touching hearts and lives around the world. 

It takes long hours to connect virtually with this many people. It's more than full-time. Most weeks, I'm at it at least sixty hours. When I'm writing a Bible study, it's done on top of the usual sixty hours. During the James study, I worked ninety hours a week.

Has a blog ever touched your heart? Caused you to consider something in a different way? Prodded you to take an action? Encouraged you to pray for someone? Forgive someone? Help in a new way? 

Consider that impact multipled by thousands of contacts every month. 

Blogs. Emails. Messages. PowerPoint presentations. Even when I speak, it usually begins as words on a page. In a way, I write as ministry and it's fulfilling the Great Commission in a unique, and surprisingly effective, way. 

When I post the "you can partner with me" message at the bottom of every blog post, it's a request to partner in the entire ministry. The outreach in long-term care facilities, schools, churches. The outreach to countries like Ireland and France. The digital outreach around the world. 

I need volunteers willing to help with coordinating the prayer partner ministry. I have a new project that I'll need hands-on help with in a few months.

I need financial partners who are called by God to assist in the expenses of ministry. Wifi isn't free, nor is the scheduling program I use. Website hosting costs money. Travel to nursing homes, schools, and churches all costs money. Basic living expenses have to be met. (I've used my own funds to do this so far, but it's not a sustainable plan for the long-haul.) 

Here's the good news. God has begun to bring partners to help. The upcoming trip to Jordan/Israel (more about this later) has been fully funded by the generosity of God's people in response to His prompting. I've begun to receive reimbursement for mileage expenses. Soon, I believe there will be enough to receive reimbursement for other ministry expenses. I'm hoping that, before the year is out, there'll be provision for a small salary to supplement my own funds.

Why am I stressing this? Because it's a requirement for being commissioned as a Global missionary. Once appointed, a Global missionary has 12-18 months to raise the financing for their ministry. To be commissioned, this is one of the things that must be done. 

I joined Global in August of 2016 and hit the ground running. The ministry has blossomed and God has blessed in amazing ways. BUT... I'm closing in on the 12 month mark at a faster rate than I realized, and I have some serious work to do in this area. I need your help. No gift is too small.

There's an equally (if not more) important need that you can meet, no matter your financial situation. I need your prayers. 

If you're not praying for me every time you read a blog post, please start. The spiritual warfare is intense. The battle is real and there's a struggle of some kind every day. The needs are great and I agonize over the words that must provide balm from a distance. What you read may look like a polished conversation, but it isn't easy. 

I've written a lot about me today, but what about you? As Christians, we're called to be disciples, but we're also called to be disciple-makers. That's what the Great Commission is all about. Making disciples as we go. If your "going" is in the United States, there are disciples to be made in your home town. In your sphere of influence. 

Ask God to send someone your way, but get ready. If you're willing to be a disciple-maker, He'll send someone ready to be a disciple.

You can't make a disciple if you aren't one yourself, so take a close look at your life. Are you using the gifts and resources God has placed in your hands to touch the world for Christ? If not, what do you plan to do about it? 

One day, we'll enter eternity. I haven't always used my time for Christ, but I want to use the years I have life to make an undeniable difference for the Kingdom of God. I want to leave this world a better, more godly place because of my influence here. I want to hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Don't you? 

There's work to be done, children of God, and we can do it, if we all do our part. Whether you partner with me or start a ministry of your own, let's make doing what God has commanded us to do our first priority. 

"Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 NLT
ps the photo above is of a recent prayer retreat. I'm sitting on the floor in the center, my favorite position for teaching.
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Why We Should Chose Humility and Let Pride Go
This ministry of prayer and outreach (digital and in-person) is only possible because of the generosity of your support. Together, we're making progress, but help is still needed. (I don't get a salary until this ministry is funded) If God has called you to help, here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 or you can mail your  check or money order to:
Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why We Should Choose Humility and Let Go of Pride

I'm slowly working my way through James and I've come to the Humility section. The examples of Moses and David have left me wondering if I'll ever be truly humble. 

Moses, Scripture tells us, was the most humble man on the face of the earth. Despite the thousands of years since then, I doubt anyone has exceeded him in humility.

I'm not sure Moses was the most humble man on earth when he was a youth in Pharaoh's court, but forty years in the wilderness, tending sheep, provided a much-needed lesson in humility. 

Chasing sheep over the rocky hills, tending them, and guarding them are not pride-building exercises. It's hard work, often frustrating, and sometimes heart-breaking. 

During those years, Moses left his life of elegance and glamour behind and embraced simplicity and faith. It changed him at his core, and he never went back to his old life.

The word translated as humble indicates a person with a modest, lowly opinion of himself, someone who would prefer to bear an injury than to cause one. We might call a person with that mindset a "wimp," but God would call them great.

Our culture rewards those who are confrontational, arrogant, and speak with derogatory words toward others. We need look no further than the plethora of "viral" posts on the internet to see the truth of our craving for word-bashing. We think we know best. Always. 

Pride abounds.

In the perfect culture of God, we, His people, would recognize that He knows best. We would bow to His authority and treat each other with respect and honor. 

I believe that's how it is in heaven. God is on His throne and everyone behaves as if they know it, because they do.

We, the body of Christ, could adopt the humble mindset now, if we would grasp the enormity of God. Moses didn't wait for the Red Sea to part to become humble. It was burned into him through years of sacrifice, simple living, and hard work.

That's how humility comes to us, too, not in fancy clothes, bespoke suits, or big bank accounts, but in the simplicity of a life of faith. It comes from following, not demanding the right to lead. In seeing ourselves as we are before a great and mighty God. 

There was a time in my life when the simple life seemed foolish to me, strange and unwieldy and senseless, but those days are long gone. I crave a return to living on the land, a vibrant community of like-minded individuals working together to accomplish a greater good, a life of simple faith lived simply. 

Even in this busy, mixed-up world of ours, we can embrace a heart of humility. I believe it begins by doing what Jesus said. Loving God more than anything else and loving our neighbor as much, and in the same way, as we love ourselves. 

Why bother with love and humility? Scripture tells us pride comes before a fall but God gives grace to the humble. I'd much rather have grace than a painful fall, wouldn't you? 

There's something that, in a way, is even better, though. The seeds of humility in Moses' heart grew into a deep relationship with God in which they spoke as man to man, friend to friend. No one else dared to risk it, but Moses walked into the presence of God. It's grace on an entirely new level. We can have the same relationship, if we're willing to let go of pride and embrace humility. 

Today, let's ask God for an humble, gentle, Moses' heart. It will change our lives, for it's a request He's sure to honor. 

"But He gives a greater grace. 
Therefore it says, 'God is opposed to the proud, 
but gives grace to the humble.'" 
James 4:6 nasb
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: President's Day Ponderings
This ministry of prayer and outreach (digital and in-person) is only possible because of the generosity of your support. Together, we're making progress, but help is still needed. (I don't get a salary until this ministry is funded) If God has called you to help, here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 or you can mail your  check or money order to:
Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents' Day Ponderings

Today's not really "Presidents' Day" but, for some reason, which I suspect has to do with advertising, that's what we call this day. 

The third Monday of February is the day designated as a federal holiday to celebrate George Washington's birthday. Because he was born on February 22nd (Gregorian calendar) and Abraham Lincoln's birthday is February 12th, we have, colloquially, begun to call the federal holiday "Presidents' Day" to honor them both.

I don't know how we originally celebrated the day, but the holiday has devolved into a national sales and shopping day. 

I'm not sure that's an adequate way to honor the man who is known as the Father of Our Dear Country. He was Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, one of our Founding Fathers, first President, presided over the Constitutional Convention. 

Washington's wisdom guided our country into existence and helped to preserve it during our first fragile years of existence.

Among all his great deeds, he also established the Purple Heart medal for meritorious military service. Eventually, the Legion of Merit replaced it as a meritorious award and it became an award for those who have been wounded or died in battle.

My daddy was shot in WWII. A fellow soldier, probably suffering from PTSD, shot him early one morning as he was preparing coffee at the campfire. He was awarded, but declined, the Purple Heart. It wasn't meritorious to be shot while you're making coffee, he said.

"Meritorious," according to several on-line dictionaries, means "deserving of honor or praise." My daddy was right. Making coffee doesn't fit that definition, even if he was shot while doing it.

That brings me to an important question. What is meritorious behavior?

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 NLT

If we want to adequately honor our first President, we should do it with acts of meritorious behavior. 

We honor our true King, Jesus, the same way. Fix our thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable. Allow our thoughts on those lovely things to drive us to action.

Today, let's celebrate by offering a helping hand to those in need, blessing our enemies, being kind to those who aren't, speaking the truth with love, focusing on the lovely things of life and faith and freedom.

Honor Christ. Honor the legacy of leaders to whom He has entrusted this country.
ps - that's my daddy in the photograph, recovering from the campfire shooting.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post:  When You're Stuck in Writer's Block and Find the Road Sign Out
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

When You're Stuck in Writer's Block and Find the Road Sign Out

Writer's Block. After twenty years of writing almost every day, it was long overdue. 

For the last two weeks, a kind of writer's block has been steadily creeping into my typing fingers and my brain. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to say, which for a woman with many words, is remarkable.

My blog posts have been a struggle. I've rewritten old posts from years ago. Given them photos. Dressed them up a bit. Still, they were warmed-over-leftovers. Not fresh meat. 

"I'm tired," I complained.

"You need to rest," my friends said.

I spent an afternoon resting and rambling in the woods. Hours of Bible study. Extra time on my knees. Visits with friends. Nothing seemed to help.

Had I written all I'd ever write? I considered announcing that I was discontinuing my blog. (I'm not...)

This morning, I scrolled through photos hoping and praying for a writing trigger. When I found the sign for Thankful Baptist Church, just outside Atlanta, I laughed out loud. It reminded me of some of my favorite verses.

When you quote a passage of Scripture at least once a week, it should come back to you when needed. It's taken a while, but I finally have it again.

"Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving... I shall rescue you and... I shall show the salvation of the Lord." Psalm 50:14,15,23 nasb

Giving thanks is a God-directed path out of trouble, including writer's block. 

Today, I'm giving thanks for many things. The discipline has lifted my spirits already.

Ryan. Family. Old friends and new. Vision. Upcoming travel. Provision. Snuggly dogs. House. Land. Daffodils in the spring. Azaleas. My solar clothes-dryer. Horses. Barn. Sunrise. Sunset. The internet... 

God's given me stories, both poignant and funny, and He's given me an abundance of readers, for whom I'm especially grateful. 

As I've surveyed the things around me, I don't see anything for which I'm not grateful. 

God's been good to me. I, among all people, am especially blessed.

Today, I'm thanking my way out of writer's block and humbled by the blessings God has already bestowed upon me.

Are you discouraged? Has your hope begun to waver? Are you overwhelmed by trouble? 

Why not take the God-directed path out of difficulties? Spend today offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving. You'll be so glad you did.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Grocery Cart Inspector