Eat your vegetables, and then you can have dessert.
It is mantra of moms everywhere. The plate is colorful with broccoli, carrots, corn, and a side of cornbread. Oh, and don’t forget the meatloaf. Definitely eat the meatloaf! And if you eat all of everything that is on your plate, then you can have dessert.
It is bribery of the highest order. That delicious coconut cake is sitting in the corner, calling my name, tantalizing me so much that my mouth waters just looking at it. But, in order to get to that little slice of heaven, I must wade through the green, orange, and yellow on my plate. Every bite of those vegetables is a little bit of torture for a girl with an incurable sweet tooth. Yet, because I am a Type A who has to do everything well and right, I rip my gaze from the coconut cake and focus on the vegetables and meat loaf. Let’s get ‘er done!
Meatloaf. Check! Check! (I do love me some good meatloaf.)
Now, the pièce de résistance. Coconut cake!
For a girl who is very much a productivity addict the idea of ‘finish your vegetables before you eat dessert’ can be crippling?
Oh, I see you frowning and wondering how I turned vegetables into a handicap. Let me explain.
As you know, if you have been around these parts for more than a few days, I am on a journey toward rest (it was my OneWord 2016) and observing Sabbath regularly. Part of that journey is navigating the tension of completing my checklist of things to do each week before my Sabbath begins on Saturday evening. I’m doing really well at it now, but that has not always been the case. You see, as a productivity junkie I reasoned that there were things that needed to be accomplished (i.e., all the veggies eaten) EVERY. SINGLE. DAY or the world might implode! So, while I desperately needed a day to rest (coconut cake), the veggies that needed eating (tasks on my to-do list) never ended. Which meant that I never set aside a day to rest (enjoy my piece of coconut cake).
Is that clear as mud? What I am trying to say is that the eat-your-veggies-before-you-eat-cake principle works well with a child, but for an adult with a need to always be productive, it doesn’t work so well. There has to be a point at which I say, ‘enough veggies!’ and settle down to enjoy my coconut cake.
May I share with you the part of all of this that makes me clap my hands in praise to my Jesus?
When I am obedient to carve out that Sabbath rest, the world does not implode, nor does my to-do list become an unmanageable Goliath. In fact, quite the opposite takes place. I am much more able to do what needs to be done in six days, and I do it with a greater measure of peace than I had when I was frantically striving seven days a week.
No one on the planet has ever had a greater agenda and to-do list than God:
Monday – Create light
Tuesday – Create the heavens
Wednesday – Create the earth and the seas, plants and trees
Thursday – Create the sun, moon, and stars, and set the seasons in order
Friday – Create sea animals and birds
Saturday – Create livestock, beasts of the earth, creeping things (eekk!), and Man
Then, on Sunday, the seventh day, God blessed His work and rested. If God decided to rest on the seventh day, who in the world am I to decide that I do not need rest? The Sabbath is for me, not for God, because He knew that I would need that rest. And oh, how desperately I need it! I need that time to slow down so that I can hear His voice in the stillness and silence of rest. I need that time for my physical body to decompress and relax. I simply need that time…..and so do you!
I want to encourage you to make Sabbath rest part of your week. I promise you will be glad you did.
Tell me about your Sabbath observance. How do you prepare? What does it look like?
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
I am linking to two books that have been great influences on my life this year in regard to making good choice and to observing a Sabbath rest. I hope you will check them out!
Ladies! The Come Away retreat is less than 2 weeks away but I have one space open and I would love for you to attend. Click here to find out more or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post has been bubbling in my head for a while now. As often happens, a book that I have read prompts lots of pondering. In this case, the book is Chip Ingram’s Good to Great: 10 Practices Great Christians Have in Common.
In this book, Ingram outlines ten practices that are present in the life of Christians who are really walking out a Jesus-like life. Now, not all 10 are evident in every great Christian, but more often than not, many of them are. Some of these practices include thinking great thoughts, reading great books, praying great prayers, taking great risks, making great sacrifices, and the one that has prompted today’s post is PURSUE GREAT PEOPLE.
In the chapter entitled “Pursue Great People” Ingram shares an exercise that helped him identify those people who have poured into his life and shaped him spiritually over the years. He called that portion of the exercise looking in the rearview mirror of life. Ingram also used a visual to help the reader with this exercise. In South Dakota (USA) there are four faces carved into the granite of Mount Rushmore. Four men are represented who are part of the history of America: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each of them contributed to the fabric of America in a unique and special way. In this ‘rearview mirror ‘ exercise, Ingram encouraged the reader to develop their own Mount Rushmore by identifying four or five people whose ‘influence has been positive and indelible.’
He also encouraged the reader to look out the windshield of life and identify three other groups of people: a Paul who has been or is a mentor, a Timothy who would benefit from being mentored, and a Barnabas who consistently encourages your faith walk.
I was completely drawn in to the stories Ingram shared about these important people in his life. I was also spurred to begin thinking about my own life and the people who have molded and shaped me, as well as those who I have the opportunity to pour into.
Today I would like to share briefly the people on my Mount Rushmore. To be honest, this was a tough exercise because there are many people who have poured so much into my life over the years, but after much thought I was able to narrow it down to the following (in the order in which they came into my life):
My Daddy was my first hero and the man who taught me about generosity, perseverance and determination. Having lived almost his entire life with the residual effects of polio, he overcame so much to live a full and productive life. He was an astute businessman and a devoted husband and father. He taught me a strong work ethic ~ give a good day of work for a good day of pay AND if there is a job to be done, do it, even if it doesn’t fit your job description. Daddy was incredibly generous and felt that it was important to help others who were in need.
Grandma Eula Colwell
Grandma Eula loved Jesus unlike anyone I had ever met. She talked about Him as if He was right beside her. I didn’t understand that He actually was living in her heart until later in my life. Jesus was very real to her and she walked out a relationship with him that was born of time spent in His Word and prayer. As I child I recall her saying that she was looking forward to going to heaven and seeing Jesus. My twelve-year-old self thought, “Whaaat? That’s crazy to wish for heaven!” Now, my fifty-three-year-old self completely understands her longing for heaven. Grandma Eula had a deep and abiding faith that I wanted for myself.
Uncle Jack Parker
Uncle Jack came into my life when I was in middle school. He and his family had always lived in New Jersey, so I did not know them that well. In the mid-late 1970s they moved back South to my hometown and Uncle Jack began teaching in the middle school. He taught, what was then called, the gifted class. I was not exactly sure what my gift was, but I ended up in his class and I am so much the better for it. He formed a debate team, I signed up for it, and there my love of public speaking was birthed. He also encouraged me to write creatively, and that is where my gift of writing first blossomed. All the students loved him because he was such an encourager, pushing and prompting us to think bigger. Today, Uncle Jack is near 90 and still going strong. I am so grateful to him for cultivating my passions for speaking and writing.
My Husband, Greg Adams
Although I had known Greg since I was about 15 years old (he dated my best friend in high school), I really did not know the kind of man he was until we married. He is a man of deep devotion to those he loves and unswerving character. Over the years of our marriage he has pushed me to examine my character and lifestyle choices and to bring them in line with the standards of Christ. Believe me, I needed that early in our marriage. I had really gone off the rails in my 20s in regard to character choices.
Greg’s dedication to his son is something that is rarely seen in today’s society where everyone is all about themselves. Every other weekend for 16 years Greg drove to Birmingham, AL to see Charlie. Depending on where we lived, that was either a 2 hour drive each way or a 4 hour drive each way. Nothing prevented him from going and investing that time in Charlie’s life. For sixteen solid years….every other weekend. Today, Charlie is 25 years old and he and Greg have a close relationship because Greg made the choice to do the right thing in a tough situation.
Greg has taught me the importance of doing the right thing even when it is not convenient or fun.
I have never met Beth Moore, but she has had a profound and lasting influence on my spiritual life. In 2001 God gave me a hunger for ladies’ Bible study. I had not the first idea how to feed that hunger. Thankfully, my friend, Kennetha, suggested we form a ladies’ Bible study group and use material by Beth Moore. I had no idea who Beth Moore was, but I was soon to find out. We started our group in January 2001 and studied Moore’s Jesus The One and Only in-depth study.
Rarely had I seen someone so in love with Jesus and the Scriptures. Beth Moore was a woman whose heart was, and remains, sold out to Jesus. Her mission is biblical literacy and it was contagious to me. I wanted what she had. I wanted that hunger for the Word, that intimacy with Jesus. Our group went on to use most of Moore’s resources and with each study, my faith and desire for Christ grew.
Although I will likely never meet Mrs. Moore, one day in heaven, with tears in my eyes, I will thank her for her faithfulness to write material for women’s Bible study groups.
There you have it. My Mount Rushmore. Some of the people in my life who have left an indelible influence on my heart and life.
Who is on your Mount Rushmore? I would love for you to share in the comments or via email at email@example.com.
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Good morning! I will just go ahead and warn you…this is a multi-purpose post. I’m all over the board with it, so hang on.
I’m pretty excited that it is Friday and the weekend is here. Really, what I am excited about is Sabbath and a day of rest and worship. Y’all, I am leaning into Sabbath like my life depended on it. Because really, it does! After reading Shelly Miller’s book Rhythms of Rest TWICE, I am absolutely convinced that Sabbath is an all-out necessity. So, on Friday I change the sheets on the beds. On Saturday I do a couple of loads of laundry and prepare food for us to have on Sunday. Then, at 7pm on Saturday I settle in for Sabbath. No laundry is done on Sunday. Very little food is cooked on Sunday. I gather my book and quilt and spend Sunday afternoon reading and resting. Sometimes I sit on my deck and pray, while other times I visit with family and friends. My Sabbath rest re-charges me for the week ahead and draws me closer to Jesus. I really, really want to encourage you to lean into Sabbath. You can do it, even if you have littles in your home. It may be a Sabbath hour while they are napping, but you can carve out some Sabbath time for your heart.
Ladies, there is still time to register for the Come Away [retreat}. I have a couple of spaces open and I would love to have you join us September 15-17th for some intimate time with Jesus. It is a time when we will study the Scriptures, worship, pray, rest, and just cozy up next to our Lord. Would you join us? Go HERE to learn more about the retreat and how to register.
Finally, I wanted to share something with you that I heard on the radio this week. It impacted my heart greatly, and I hope it will be a blessing to you, as well. The pastor on the radio was named Randy Snyder and he was speaking about how parents can impact the lives of their children. This is not the word-for-word quote, but it is close.
As parents, we go to war for our children every time we pray for them. It is the most important thing we can do for our children.
It really is true. While I have no children to whom I gave birth, there are a handful that of young adults that I love with all my heart. Charlie, Bree, Parker, Coleson, Kalem, Erika, my Compassion daughters, and a few more. It is privilege to go to war for them on a regular basis. I ask the Lord to give them hearts that love Him deeply and to bring them spouses that love Jesus more than he or she love them. I ask Him to guide them and lead them each day. I go to war for these young adults because I love them as if they were my own.
Do you have children or young adults for whom you go to war? Suit up! The next generation needs our prayers.
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I am not a quitter.
I was taught from an early age to stay faithful to my commitments, even when it is hard. But in the past couple of years I have wanted to quit the hard stuff, like ministry. In fact, in the spirit of transparency, in the few couple of weeks I had decided to do just that. Later this year, after the Come Away retreat was in the books, I would quietly step away from writing and speaking and mentoring in order to ‘just be’. My heart craves ‘just being’ right now like you would not even believe.
November will mark 10 years that I have been in ministry. God gave me a clarion call in late 2007 to a speaking ministry that shared Jesus and His grace. That ministry bloomed into a writing ministry that has allowed me to publish a few books. That ministry blossomed into a mentoring-in-the-kitchen ministry that has been the most fun thing I have ever done.
So, how did I arrive at this place of wanting to quit? I’ve pondered deeply whether it is a result of God withdrawing my calling to ministry. I’ve even secretly hoped that was the root of it all, yet each time I have tried to settle into that, God has sent something or someone along my path to point me in a different direction.
Like a Scripture: For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable ~ Romans 11:29
Well, okay, there is that!
Months ago I sat with a wise and trusted counselor who reminded me that perhaps I have not allowed my heart to heal from the traumas I have experienced over the past 3 years.
Almost nothing in my life right now is the way I had envisioned it would be. Loss upon loss. Hurt compounded like interest. There have been blessings come out of it but, like a good ‘bootstrapper’, in the beginning of it all I soldiered on, feeling the pain, but not allowing myself time and space to move through the stages of grief. Is it any wonder I have nothing to pour out?
Still the desire to quit nearly suffocates me on a regular basis. I feel as if I have little of worth to give, and the words that once flowed easily now seem to have dried up. I even have trouble coming up with a worthwhile Facebook post.
Maybe you, too, have wanted to quit. Maybe you want to quit right now. Your job, your marriage, your ministry, your mothering, a friendship, a hobby, life. You want to quit because it has become too hard, too painful, too exhausting, too _____________________. I get that! I really do.
May I invite you to do with your ‘quit’ exactly what I did? Take it to Jesus. Ask Him if He has ‘quitting’ in the plans for you. Ask Him to give you wise counselors. Ask Him to speak to your heart over the whole thing. Ask Him for books to read or music to listen to or walks to take that will help you find His plan for your ‘quit’. Ask Him for peace and healing, for heaven’s sake.
I don’t know what He will tell you about your quit, but I know that He gave me encouragement through Dr. Tony Evans to not completely throw in the towel. He is encouraging me to hop out of the rat race for a time, come to Him, and allow Him to heal my heart. I am re-reading Shelly Miller’s wonderful book entitled, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, and realizing that perhaps part of my ‘quit’ is my disobedience about observing a Sabbath rest each week. God instituted Sabbath for us, and the fact that I do not regularly observe a Sabbath rest smacks of self-sufficiency and pride. And we all know how God feels about pride!
So, where does this leave you and me, dear reader? Well, I might be here with a post, but I also might not. And I am okay with that even though the ‘experts’ tell bloggers that you MUST post regularly in order to get/retain readers. Y’all, I will be here when the Holy Spirit tells my heart to write, and not until. I am grateful for you, and I hope the Spirit gives me permission and desire to return to this space regularly one day, full of His words to share with you. I would be so grateful for your prayers.
Please do not forget about the Come Away retreat! Registration is still open, but there are only a few spaces left. So click over to THIS POST to find out more information about the retreat and how to register.
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Friends, summer is here! While I do not have children to tend to, summer does beckon me to a different pace of life. To that end, you will not find me here tapping out posts on a regular schedule for a couple of months. I am going to offer myself grace to rest and read a few books and visit with friends and loved ones. I am also going to spend a fair amount of time and energy this summer writing the teaching sessions for the Come Away retreat (Want to know more about the retreat? Click HERE). Oh, I will be posting, but it won’t be three times a week. It might only be once a week. Now, on to today’s post!
For 17 months I have known the day would come when we needed to peel back the layers of Scripture and look at one of the most hotly debated topics therein….the Rapture. Well, people, today is the day. In fact, we may take several weeks to explore this topic.
Some folks have strongly held opinions on the rapture that have caused divisions among churches and friends. May it not be so in this space. Prior to my in-depth study of Revelation, I was one who simply hoped for a pre-tribulation rapture in order to avoid the intense suffering that is detailed in Revelation. I really had little Scriptural support for my stance. After spending time in Revelation and other books of the Bible, I feel like I have a better understanding of when the rapture MIGHT occur. I say ‘might’ because there are cogent arguments for each of the possible times of the rapture….pre-tribulation, mid-trib, post-trib, and pre-wrath. I will also tell you that my guess about when it may occur MIGHT has changed over the years.
Today we will take a couple of excursions outside of Revelation to gather Scriptures that pertain to this most interesting topic, but first let me tell you that the word ‘rapture’ is never used in Scripture. Nope! Not once. This word comes from a Greek word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 that means ‘to seize, catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force). (Strongs)
Let’s take a quick look at that broader passage:
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Let me explain the context of this group of verses. Paul was teaching the church at Thessalonica concerning what happens to believers after they die, a topic about which there was some confusion. Scholars believe that someone was teaching that all those who had already died would miss the second coming of Christ. Paul was seeking to set the record straight.
So, what we have in these verses is this:
- Jesus descends from heaven and issues a command, presumably “Come up here”, “Y’all come”, or something similar.
- Those who have died in Christ will rise first.
- Those believers who are alive at that time will follow and be ‘caught up’ (rapture) together with the dead in the clouds (not on the earth, so this is not the second coming of Christ to earth) to be with the Lord.
A passage that corresponds to the 1 Thessalonians passage is found in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. Let’s take a look at it.
51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
Again, this is Paul speaking about what happens to the mortal body of a believer in the end. He addresses both those who have already died and those who are alive at the time. Everyone will get a changed body. Here is what happens according to this passage:
- A final trumpet will sound (can we surmise this is the 7th trumpet? Perhaps.)
- Things are going to happen F-A-S-T
- The dead in Christ will be raised and changed
- The living will be changed
Okay, let’s put a wrap on today’s study. What do we know about the rapture at this point that establishes it as a fact?
- A trumpet is going to sound
- Jesus will descend from heaven and call his children to meet Him in the air/clouds
- Those who have already died will rise first
- Those who are still alive will rise next
- We will all get new bodies
Pretty stout evidence that the rapture is a real event, I’d say. I hope you will join me next time as we look at an event that is closely tied to the rapture. Until then,
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I don’t know about you, but for me, it is so easy to fall into the world’s line of thinking.
I got mine, you get yours.
It’s all about me.
What’s in it for me?
Problem is, for a Christian, this way of thinking is completely contrary to what Jesus taught. It is also contrary to what I had modeled for me growing up. Although I never fully realized the scope of what my parents did for others until they were gone, I knew they were generous toward those who were in need…both in the body of Christ and outside of it.
At my Daddy’s funeral, my Mother, Sister, and I greeted hundreds who came to pay their respects. Over and over people told us how my Daddy had helped them.
He paid my house payment when I was about to lose my home.
He came to my appliance store, bought a refrigerator, and told me where to deliver it. But he said that I was not to tell the recipients who provided it.
When my electricity was about to be cut off, he paid my bill.
He bailed me out of jail when I made a poor choice.
Then, when my Mother died, many shared similar stories of her love and generosity.
These testimonies, and so many more, were evidence of Romans 12:13 in the life of my parents.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
I love the reminder offered by John MacArthur in his commentary on the book of Romans.
The flow of the supernatural life is outward, not inward.
It is true. The life modeled after Jesus is not a life of selfish ambition, but one of self-less sacrifice and offering.
Billy Graham said:
The smallest package I ever saw was a man wrapped up wholly in himself.
As I think about the life that Jesus lived, I see a life of service and hospitality to others:
He restored life
He ate with the outcast
He never heaped shame on those who sought Him out
He took my place on the cross and paid the fine for my sin
So, really, how can I justify being selfish and self-serving? Everything I have…my body, my money, my talents, my time, my home, everything…..is on loan to me from God. None of it is really mine, so if the Jesus-life tells me to be generous in giving and hospitable to others, how can I do otherwise?
The question then becomes whether the flow of my life is outward or inward. It is the question for your life, as well.
Outward or Inward?
One of the ways I seek to help women develop that outward flowing life is to encourage them to walk more intimately with Christ. September 15-17, 2017 the Come Away retreat for women will offer ladies an opportunity to lean into Jesus in a beautiful, relaxed setting. In our world of constant stimulation and social media, one must be intentional in their pursuit of Christ. Come Away with Jesus for a weekend! Click HERE to learn more.
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