Tuesday, April 27, 2010


A week from today, a team of four of us will be heading to Nicaragua to minister to Medical/Dental missionary women in that area. This is not a Pure Joy retreat, but several of us from the Pure Joy ministry staff have the privilege of making this trip. Please pray for Jessie Graham, Central Baptist Jonesboro, Wendy Stotts, Pure Joy staff, Patty Shipp, Pure Joy staff and myself Pure Joy staff. Jessie, Wendy, and Patty will lead in worship as I minister from God’s Word. God has impressed upon my heart the theme of “Living As Aliens” from the words of 1 Peter 2:11. I have given the NIV reading and The Message (TMSG) reading as well.

Dear Friends, I urge you as aliens and strangers in this world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. NIV

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. TMSG

I love that word “cozy” used in the TMSG reading. It is so fitting for what I sense goes on in our lives in the body of Christ today. I think we have gotten “cozy”.

Another way to say that would be “comfortable”. We go to church, worship, get on our prayer lines, go to Bible studies, attend retreats, etc., and we are comfortable with our Christianity. The problem is that following Christ isn’t exactly something I would define as cozy/comfortable. Why?--because truly following Christ means living outside your cozy/comfortable zone. It means putting others first, sharing the Good News of the Gospel, allowing Him through the power of the Holy Spirit to root actions and behaviors out of us that are not in alignment with who we are as Children of God, extending forgiveness to those that have hurt us, and much, much more. It means dying to self! Nothing cozy about that feeling is there?

If you have gotten cozy/comfortable as a believer in this world…”Wake up, Sister!”

"If Christianity has never disturbed us, we have not yet learned what it is."

Sir William Temple (1628–1699)


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spirit -- Flesh...

Sunday our message in Big Church and our home cell was on Peter and his denial of Christ. I absolutely LOVE Peter! He is so much a reflection of so many of our lives! Here is a guy who loved Jesus to pieces! His heart was incredible for Jesus but his flesh was challenging him continuously.

Remember when He walks on the water. Wow! Talk about a heart for Jesus! He trusts Him, but then his flesh kicks in and he starts thinking like the world. Fear sets in and his thinking changes, “I can’t walk on water, people don’t walk on water” and he begins to sink, but Jesus takes his hand.

What about when he steps out when the army of soldiers come to get Christ from the garden of Gethsemane and he immediately cuts the soldier's ear off. Peter stepped out with his heart for Christ and no thought of what might be done to him in return. But then as they lead Jesus away, his flesh kicks in and he starts thinking like the world and fear sets in and his thinking changes, “what if they find out I was with Him, will they take me too”, then he begins to follow from afar.

All the way up to Peter’s denial of Christ, we see these flashes of heart (Faith) and flesh (Fear) at work in his life. Isn’t that so like us! Our heart wants to be used of God for His glory and so that others might know Him. But, we don’t want the people that we work with or the people next door to think we are too radical. Spirit and Flesh at work.

Peter experienced something --the day He denied Christ and the following days before Christ ascension to heaven-- that I believe set Peter's heart in place in such a way that his Love and Faith in Christ outweighed his Fears and Flesh for the duration of his life on this earth.

These same truths can set our Love and Faith in Christ on solid ground for our daily journey while serving on this earth.

First Truth: Peter saw his sin through the eyes of Christ.

Luke 22:59-62
“Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

Can you even imagine the eye contact that took place between Jesus and Peter? I can see Christ's eyes full of compassion looking at Peter. He tried to tell Peter, but Peter wouldn’t listen. Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him.

Then Peter, seeing his sin through the eyes of Christ, went out and wept bitterly. When we really see our sin through the eyes of Christ, we experience the same thing that Peter experienced --we want to get away; we can’t stop weeping. That is what happens when we truly experience brokenness. I remember the first time as a believer I truly experienced brokenness because of seeing my sin through His eyes. I felt like my heart was crying and would never stop because I had denied Him by my actions. Yes, when we blatantly sin against Him we are denying who He is in our lives. We feel like a failure and we are of no use to Him any more just as Peter did. But, then comes the …

Second Truth: Forgiveness, He is a God of second chances plus! Peter do you love me?

John 21:15-19
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

So here Jesus and the disciples are following His resurrection and before his ascension into heaven. Just hanging out having breakfast together. Then he looks at Peter and says, let’s talk. Do you love me? Feed my lambs. Do you love me? Tend my sheep. Do you love me? Feed my sheep.

Can’t you hear Jesus saying, Peter I chose you and asked you to follow me and I would make you a fisher of men. I assured you along the way that you are mine. I told you the enemy wanted to sift you like wheat but I’ve already prayed for you that when you turn back to me, warn others so they don’t make the same mistakes. I even told you that you would deny me those three times but you wouldn’t have it. But, I forgive you. I wasn’t surprised by any of this. Now can we get back to kingdom work? “Follow me”.

Is it time for you to get back to kingdom work? Have you denied Him and allowed the enemy to convince you that you are of no use to Him and the kingdom. Precious one……Ask for the forgiveness promised you. Accept the work of the Cross and “Follow Him”. There is kingdom work to be done!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pass the Salt Please...

When was the last time you experienced disappointment because what you thought and what was were two different things? Ever fixed a bowl of your favorite cereal and milk and realize with the first bite the milk is headed south! Yuk! Just ruins the whole breakfast idea. And what about smelling popcorn popping, you take a bite and realize it has been popped in a hot air popper with no salt and butter added. Totally boring!

I suspect that is what Jesus was trying to communicate to us in the passage from

Luke 14:34-35 which reads:

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Barclay tells us in his commentary on Luke 14:34-35, Jesus is using salt as a symbol of the Christian life. He points out three essential qualities of salt used in Palestine.

1. Salt was used as a preservative
Salt preserves and keeps fresh. Do you live your life daily in such away that it helps others to desire to preserve the things of God over the things of the world?

2. Salt was used as a flavoring
Salt is used in most foods as a flavoring. Do you bring flavor into the life of those around you through your words and deeds? Do others see a joy in you that seasons your life in the middle of conflicts and storms? Do others desire what you have?

3. Salt was used on the land
Salt was used on the land to make all good things grow. Do you live a life around others in such a fashion that it challenges others to grow in the things of the kingdom?

The enemy wants you to lose your ‘saltiness’. Salt Without Taste Is Worthless! Be on guard for the kingdom's sake!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Three Days...

Don't know about you but I have heard a lot of preaching on Matthew Chapters 27 and 28 these past three days concerning the Resurrection of Christ. I mean I have heard some incredible preaching from Pastors on television, radio, and my home church! I am always amazed at the wisdom that God pours out from His chosen vessels who proclaim His Word. I love how they challenge me to grow!

Not only have I heard the Word on the Resurrection, I have also been keenly aware of experiencing the Resurrection of Christ this weekend. Saturday began with me preparing to take my mom to the airport. She goes to California every year at this time for three weeks to visit my brother and sister in-law. Well, after driving her to Little Rock, Arkansas and dropping her off at the airport, I headed home to spend the afternoon fishing. Okay, I did have to make a baby stop because Patty and Kenny had their little granddaughter Arden in for the weekend along with all their kids. Of course Arden needed me to hold her for a while. I then proceeded to the homefront to settle in for the day. I got three fishing rods, minnows, jigs of every size color and shape, my lawn chair and headed to the boardwalk to fish. We live on a peninsula of the lake. From 12:45 p.m. till 8:15 p.m., I sat out on the lake fishing, watching the clouds, ducks, turtles, bugs, boats, birds, water, fish moving on the lake, sunshine, and all the sounds to go with the environment. It was awesome! God and I together spending the day! Because He Lives I can know Him intimately. He is as real to me as holding that little Arden in my arms. Later in the afternoon, some friends brought their son out to fish with me for a few hours, and even he was just part of the Awesomeness of God! Let me close with the following picture because it truly was HIS grand finale of my day with HIM.

I pray that each one of you who reads this blog KNOWS THE POWER OF THE RISEN LORD IN EVERYDAY LIFE!!! HE LIVES!