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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Friday, June 30, 2006

Planting Seeds

Before I became a Christian, at the age of 26, I was an atheist. Raised that way. I believed that people who needed to lean on a god were weak, too weak to take responsibility for their own life. I believed that their "faith" was their crutch.
I was an idiot.
I was so out of control, that I couldn't see all of my crutches. Drugs, sex, alcohol, all the cussing I did...all just a mask for a life that was leaving me empty and wanting more than I had. Nothing was ever enough. Ever.
I had so many trust issues. How could I begin to place trust in someone when I couldn't trust myself. If I couldn't keep from letting myself down, how could I expect others not to? I never told the truth to anyone, especially myself, how could I trust anyone else to be honest with me? I cheated in every relationship I ever had, so how could I ever have faith in anyone not to cheat on me?
The night that I gave God a chance to show me He was real, was more of a challenge than anything else. People had been witnessing to me in a bar I was bartending and something about the way that they didn't react to my insults, the way they came back night after night after night in spite of how badly I made fun of them or how foul my language was, cracked that shell that I had protected myself with all my life.
All by myself, in the corner of my dark apartment, at 3 a.m., I challenged God. God is always up to a challenge. I asked Him, if He was real, to prove it to me. He did. I've told this story before, and I don't mean to repeat myself, but He left no doubt that He is an awesome God that night and that there is NOTHING that He can not do.
Something I've learned from that night so many years ago, is that faith is not easy. It's not for the weak. Faith is an action, it takes second to second renewing of the mind. Believing in something that you can not YET see is not easy. No, faith is not a spectator sport. It's much harder to love than hate. It's harder to forgive than to resent. It's harder to tithe than to go shopping.
Living for yourself is easy, living for Christ is not. It wasn't easy for those guys to come into that bar all those many, many nights. Being kind to me when I was hurling 4 letter words at them couldn't have been something they were looking forward to. But they came nightly and loved me. They didn't pressure me, they were kind to me. That's exactly what they were. They didn't spew condemnation at me, they loved me with their words and with their deeds. They changed my life. They changed my life. They planted that seed within me that perhaps there was more than what I empty bitterness so deeply rooted in my core that I didn't even notice it anymore.
I am so thankful to those Christians who walked into the pit of hell and witnessed to me. Each and every single day of my life is a witness of their love for Christ Jesus...and for me, a stranger.

Forgive me Lord, for the wrongs that I have done. For the thoughts that were not of You, and words that hurt rather than bless. I thank You for Your forgiveness, and for the mercy You show me.
I thank You, Lord, for those who witness, especially when it is outside of their comfort zone. I pray that You would bless them and reward them greatly for their commitment to You, and to Your word. Help me to be a light unto others, and not simply keep them company in their darkness.
With all my heart, I love You. I thank You for those You have sent to me. I thank You for what You have brought me out of and what You bring me into with every breath I take. I praise Your holy name. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Trust. I would think that with all I have been through in my life, that trust would come easy to me by now. But, I'm human, and I mess up all the time.

Trust. God has never that first time failed me. He has never once not been there when I called on Him. He has never turned His back on me.

Trust. It's not God that can not be trusted, but me that has a hard time trusting. Am I confusing God with the people that have let me down? No. What I'm doing is turning to my emotions rather than my faith. Emotions are not of God, because they change and our God is constant. Emotions are fleeting and our God is steadfast.

Trust. I will trust God with all that I am. I will give Him direction over my feet. I will set my sight upon Him, and not on what I see. I will trust Him with all that I am, because all that I am is because of Him. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows the result of all my decisions before the choice has even been given to me. And that choice is mine to make.

I choose to trust. He holds me in the palms of His hands, and there is no safer place to be.


I ask You to forgive me of my sins. I acknowledge my errors, and I know there are many, but You are a mighty God with more love than this world can understand. I thank You that through Your son, Jesus, I can confess my sins before You and be forgiven.
Father, I ask that I will remember to trust You with my life. Changes are coming my way, Lord, and on my own, they seem to be more than I can handle. They are more than I can handle. But, Father, nothing is impossible for You. This is one thing that I know beyond a shadow of doubt. This is the knowledge that I must keep first and foremost in my thoughts.
Carry me, Lord, when I fall. I don't wish to fall, but right now, I can't seem to help myself. I will trust You, Lord. I will trust You.
In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

We All Fall Short

We make mistakes. All of us. Some are small, like forgetting to shut off the water and flooding the kitchen. Some are larger, like releasing a built up anger and hurting someone physically. I've done neither of these things, so don't try stretching your imagination. I'm using them as examples, because the mistakes I've made are between myself and God. And, so are your mistakes...they are between you and the Father.
When we confess our sins, to the Father, and ask His forgiveness, not only does He forgive, but He rejoices, because we have reconciled ourselves to Him once again.
Sometimes, when we make mistakes, we condemn ourselves. God never does. We feel our shame, and we may turn from Him. But make no mistake, He never turns His back on us.
The shame and torment that we are going through, it's not of God. We feel guilty. In our spirit, we know we've done wrong. Every time we look at ourselves in the mirror, it's that mistake we see. It's our own shame we see in our eyes. Not Gods.

I'm not a theologian. I've never claimed to be and if you've ever came here thinking I was, you've made a mistake. I pray, and I testify. That's all.

With that said, I wonder if when God created Adam and Eve, and they disobeyed Him, if perhaps He couldn't fully understand why or how they could do that to Him. He sent them from the garden of Eden. Over time, as man continued to go his own way, rather than God's, He sent the flood. I wonder if perhaps that is the purpose and the need to send Christ. No, I know that it was for us, our salvation. But, for the first time, God was man, and He lived as a man. There had to be a reason, and I honestly wonder if it were so He could first hand know our temptations and understand our failures, to feel what we feel. And He wept, Jesus wept.

I don't know if any of that makes any sense whatsoever, but because of God having lived as a flesh and blood man, I KNOW that he understands my feelings. I know that He understands my trials and my tribulations, my success and my failures. It's why I feel comfortable to go before Him, to cry and confess my wrongs and ask Him to forgive me. Because I know He's been here and been through what I've gone through, and that He understands. I know that He is simply glad that I have gone through what I have and still call upon His name. He rejoices that though sometimes I may go off course, I always find my way back to Him. And every time, without fail, He has forgiven me and replaced my sorrow with joy. His joy.

I make mistakes. I can't believe how many I can make in 24 hours. I ask You to forgive me, and I thank You that I can come before You at any time and lay those errors of judgment at Your feet. Not only lay them there...but leave but leave them there.
Father, I ask that those who come across my words will leave their burdens at Your feet. I pray that they will be led by Your Holy Spirit to give you their wrongs and walk away with Your love, with Your joy and with Your peace. Help me, Lord, to share what I have of You every day of my life.
In the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We're Called To Help, Not Hinder

In the effort of proving to the world, to themselves and even to God, what good Christians they are, some people step on others. They cast their words as stones and hurt others. In their attempt to desperately separate themselves from the world, they also separate themselves from the Word of God. They present themselves as a stumbling block on the path that others are on to yet find their place in Christ. That path is a difficult one to many. The Word tells us that not only is it a narrow road, but that Satan will be coming at us with every road block possible to keep us from reaching our place with the Father. It is sad that Christians, knowingly or not, aid Satan in placing those road blocks in the way of those who are yet to believe, those who have yet to accept Christ as their Savior, those who are still being lured by the temptings this world has to offer.
I remember clearly being on this road. I am thankful for those Christians that visited the pits of hell, to witness love and acceptance to me. It had to be uncomfortable for them. It must have taken much prayer and putting on the whole armor of God to walk into the places where I was. But they did. The Word also tells us to avoid threatening (Ephesians 6:9), that there is NO respect of persons with the Father.
I think, perhaps, that some Christians forget that they are not coming against the person, but against "principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world..." (Ephesians 6:12)
Many times the Word instructs us to love one another. It is by His grace that we are in Him, not by anything of our own. Not by our own works, not by whom we choose to surround ourselves with, but by HIS GRACE. What good do we do to spread His Word to those who already know Him, to show His Love to those who already love Him or to be an example of Him to those who have already accepted Him? And what good do we do to be a stumbling block to those who have yet accepted Him into their hearts?

I ask You to forgive me of my sins. I acknowledge the many mistakes I've made, the hardness of my heart which is in no way of You, and thank You for that forgiveness, which is through Your son, Jesus Christ.
I pray for those, Lord, who have already distanced themselves from the world in which they live. Though we are not of this world any longer, we are still in it and we exist to give witness of You. I pray that we would be sensitive to the leading and guiding of Your Holy Spirit as we encounter those who are still lost, and that we would witness to them in love that they may see You in us. What an awesome privilege that is for us, Father.
I give you thanks for my many blessings, and for the lives that I may touch today. In the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Many, many years ago, Mark and I lived next door to a precious Christian family. Now, Mark and I were going to church every Sunday, following the Word in every way that we were aware of and yet, still, we were having a lot of problems come our way. This was before children, so at least 18 years ago. Our car quit, our air conditioner went out in the middle of the Texas summer, I was having serious health problems and we didn't have any medical insurance. If there was ever a 'woe is me' situation, that was one of them.
The husband of our Christian family next door came over while Mark was outside one day, and told Mark, point blank, that we were not right with God. Mark was instantly offended. But, our neighbor didn't point his finger at Mark, he didn't say it with a mightier than thou attitude, in fact, he said it in love, with concern and with kindness.
I began praying for God to show me where we were failing Him. After awhile, Mark, too, started praying with me that God would reveal to us where we were failing Him. It wasn't long before Mark and I, both, came to realize where we were falling short in our walk with the Father. We asked Him to show us, and He did.
When Mark and I told each other what had been revealed to us, and it was the same area, we first asked for forgiveness and then we changed that area of our lives. Mark also asked our neighbor to forgive him and thanked him for his obedience to God, because it couldn't have been easy to approach Mark and tell him what God had instructed him to.
Things didn't change that very moment for us, but our attitudes changed, and steadily our situation improved.

Sometimes when we are lost in our own dry desert, God will send us someone to point us toward an oasis. It's up to us whether or not we will listen. It's up to us whether or not we will follow directions. It's up to us whether or not we will accept what is graciously available to us, or if we will die of thirst because of our own stubbornness and pride.

I constantly fall short of the person I want to be, and I ask You to forgive me for my errors, my shortcomings, my stubbornness and my pride. I thank You for Your grace that covers me, and for Your Son, my salvation.
I thank You, Lord, for those here among us who will risk ridicule to follow Your lead. I thank You, for their heart and obedience. I pray, Father, that I, too, will be strong enough to follow Your directions, when so instructed, regardless of the personal sacrifice or however much it may be out of my comfort zone.
I love You. I trust You. I surrender to You. In Christ's name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Casey's Gift

Casey asked me Sunday, if I was going to volunteer at our church to help out at this summers bible school for ages 5 years old through 5th grade. I've never been fond of little kids. I substitute high school age kids, and only high school kids, since finding out how little I like younger kids after subbing for them for about three years.
I asked him if he thought that I'd be any good at that, knowing how I didn't like them and how I use to tend to make them cry so much when I subbed those ages.
Casey said "You should be, you led me to Christ when I was younger". This stopped me. I asked him what he was talking about. He told me that I was the one that always prayed with him, read to him from the Word, and when he was ready to give his heart to Christ, that I was the one that lead him in prayer.
I'm sorry to say that I don't specifically remember that prayer, but I suffer from a medical condition that takes many of my memories from me.
But when Casey told me this, and that he remembered it clearly, I cried.
This is possibly the best thing that Casey has ever given me.
To know, that I am the one that led my son to Christ, seeing what a great Christian this young man is, humbles me beyond description.
Thank you, God, for allowing me to be the one to share this priceless gift with my son.

I ask You to forgive me of my sins. I want to come before You, clean and washed in the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
I thank You for Your forgiveness and for Your love by which I am able to have hope for all of my tomorrows, and for all of my children's tomorrows. I know, that You alone save. I thank You, Father, that You allow us the priviledge to lead others to You. That they, too, shall know You, and love You and live forever with You.
In all things, I thank You and I give You, and You alone, praise and glory. In Christ's name I pray, Amen.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lessons, Painful...But Worth Learning

I understand that not everyone that reads my blog is a believer, but I've got to post this today as it is related to yesterdays post...and a post from a few days ago.

I'd posted about a friend hurting me. I'm not a 'friendly' person ( and don't waste time telling me that you can't believe it, because, TRUST me, it's true). I don't have enough friends to where I can lose one and it not hurt. But, when this all took place with my friend, my heart hardened. That isn't a good thing. A hardened heart will destroy your spirit without your understanding what's wrong.
A few of my posts were negative, angry. Most of you asked about it, some of you emailed me about it. I thought that I was okay, and that's what I told all of you. I couldn't understand why I felt angry. I began praying about it a few days ago, and God had been waiting on me to turn to Him because in a few seconds flat, the Holy Spirit revealed myself to me and it wasn't a pretty sight.
I was carrying a grudge against my friend, I was holding onto anger and the hostility that came with it was stealing my joy. Truly, stealing my joy. This is what prompted the grace and mercy post from yesterday. I had forgotten that lesson that I tried to instill in my boys. When the veil was torn down, after I had prayed about it and God had revealed to me my mistake, it was like a wonderful down pour of refreshing rain after a months and months of hot sun. This is what I was trying to tell in yesterdays post, that I needed to apologize to my friend for holding her mistake against her. We are all human. We all err. We all put ourselves before others sometimes and sometimes we don't realize how it might hurt someone.
This morning I walked out my front door and there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a card from my friend. I didn't open the card, but took them all next door to my friends house and told her how sorry I was that I'd hardened my heart against her. That I loved her and I forgave her and asked her to forgive me. Then I opened the card in front of her. It was a precious heartfelt apology. We cried together and we healed.
If my friend had brought over the flowers and card last week, or anytime before my praying and before God's Holy Spirit had revealed the error of my ways, I'd not been receptive to her apology.
God's timing is PERFECT. This was a lesson I needed to learn. And, regardless of how painful it was for me to learn was something that has taught me something. Actually, taught both my friend and myself an important lesson.
That's it. Love you all. Thanks for bearing with me and loving me. You are all precious to me.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mercy, Mercy Me

While the boys were young enough for Easter baskets, we'd fill them up with the usual stuff like candy and toys. But we'd also put those plastic pull apart eggs in them with slips of paper inside. On each slip was written something different; stay up late one night, snack, movie, foot rub, and mercy or grace. Grace could be used as a total forgiveness, or a 'get out of trouble completely' card and mercy as we'd show mercy on them or a 'much lighter and reduced punishment' card. We didn't do the Easter Bunny, but still wanted to celebrate the sacrifice God made for us, as well as Christ's love for us. We wanted to teach the kids about God's grace and mercy. As they got too old for Easter baskets, we'd still give them the eggs with their slips of paper in them.
Now, most years, Charlie would have his grace and mercy slip used by the end of the day. And, that's okay. Casey would save his for the big things. He'd wait so long, taking his small punishments without using them to where we'd forget all about them, and then when he'd make that really huge mistake months after Easter, he'd pull out that grace or mercy slip, depending on the severity of the punishment. Every single year when one of those slips came out, we'd nearly want to say "NO WAY", but every year those slips became as big a lesson for us as they did for him.
I remember one year, maybe when Casey was 13 and Charlie 12, we were leaving a Main Event in the middle of a very hot summer and Casey had lost to Charlie in front of his friends at laser tag. This put Casey in a really bad mood. In the parking lot, Charlie just kept teasing Casey about it and Casey threw a punch. Well, it was on. In the parking lot of Main Event with all their friends and their parents getting into their cars around us. Now, I can count the number of times the boys have fought each other on one hand...and for two boys that close in age, that's not bad. But I yelled at them to break it up, saw Casey whaling away on Charlie (though Charlie was getting his punches in too) and I stepped in the middle of them trying to break them up. At that time, Casey was taller than me and Charlie not quite. When I tried to push them apart, I caught a punch intended for Charlie, right in the eye. The realization that I'd been hit is what stopped the fight.
Now, I was seriously injured. I had a swollen and very black eye. Neither one of them had a mark on them, go figure. Anyway, yeah...I was mad. They got in the car, and no one said a word all the way home. Oh, Casey was sorry. But he was also still angry and he was a 13 year old boy with all that changing going on in his freakishly tall body. So, his 'sorry' was more like "I didn't mean to hit you". When we got home he went straight to his room and didn't come down until after Mark had came home from work, saw my eye and we discussed what had happened. Mark doesn't get mad often, but this was one of those times he did. We finally called Casey down from his room and we told him he was grounded from tv, radio, video games, or going out side to play with his friends for the rest of the summer. Something like a month, I think. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the mercy slip of paper. He said that he didn't want to walk away scott free from what he'd done so he was using the mercy slip. Mark and I both wanted to say "NO WAY", that he deserved to get the full punishment for what he'd done, but...we had to honor that slip of paper. We had to learn that lesson of mercy, as well as Casey did.

I know this post is getting long, and I'm sorry. Even though I spent most of it telling you about how we tried to teach our kids the importance of God's grace and mercy to us, all of us, what I wanted to say most was that I'd forgotten that importance lately. I like to think I'm a pretty good 'Christian' example, but in reality, lately I've not been. Through prayer and conviction of the Holy Spirit (and for those of you who are not sure what I'm talking about, just suffice to say it ain't pretty) and with ~deb bringing it home, I realized that I've not showed mercy to a friend of mine who recently did me wrong. It was revealed to me that I can't pick and choose whom I show God's grace and mercy to, just as He doesn't pick and choose whom He shows it to. It's a gift given to all of us and we're to, in turn, show it to others. It's easier to show someone mercy when their transgression is not against you personally. This is what I have learned. I'm not a quick study, apparently, but I do learn eventually.
So, to the friend that I have hardened my heart to, I will now apologize and ask them for their forgiveness. I love them, as God has loved me through all my many mistakes, and I will continue to love them as He continues to love me.

Forgive me my sins, oh Lord. I acknowledge them, and I lay them at Your feet. I thank You, for Your love. I thank You for Your forgiveness, for Your grace and for Your Mercy, Lord. Help me to not only set aside my pride, but to bury it. I want to be a witness of You, Father. Of Your love.
In all my ways, may I be an example of Your Word and Your Love. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Fellowship & Testify

My oldest son, Casey (16) , is leaving this Sunday for his first church retreat. It's for high school aged kids and they're going to the Gulf Shores in Alabama where they've rented condo's for a week. Mark was raised Baptist and went on youth retreats every year. I was raised atheist and, well, they didn't have a camp. :)
We belong to Fellowship Church, which is a non-denominational church. Casey goes with us every Sunday and he takes Charlie every Wednesday for youth group. (I say 'takes' because sometimes we kind of have to give Charlie a nudge to go on Wednesdays) Casey also goes every Sunday night to a Baptist Church that some of his friends belong to. He never misses these three services a week. If we don't go one Sunday, Casey will go alone. If Charlie can't go on Wednesday, Casey has no problem going without him. The Sunday night teen service at the Baptist Church had been discontinued for the summer, so Casey got kids together to play football or basketball at the church with the church's permission.
We had a parent meeting last Wednesday at the Baptist Church, to get all the information turned in and everything settled. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was so overwhelmed at all the kids there, and...yeah, the kind of kids. I guess, from the way I was raised, I was thinking there would be a bunch of geeky kids there. Not that Casey is geeky...nowhere to go with that that keeps my foot outta my mouth, huh? But anyway, my point is, they weren't geeky. Some of our schools best athletes were there, girls with too many piercings for me not to stare at them were there, kids dressed in what I considered rebellious clothing and even 'goth' attire were there. When we walked in, they may have all looked different, but they all treated each other the same. They'd all greet each other in a hug, and not just the southern hospitality but keep your distance kind of hug, I mean big ole 'give me a hug brother' kind of hugs. It was awesome.
When the youth pastor opened with a word of prayer, I saw every kids head go down and I saw some hands raised, I saw kids holding hands and I saw every kid there showing respect to their youth pastor and more importantly to God, their Father. I began to cry. Openly, yeah, I did. I cried. I don't know when I was last touched by His love so much. I couldn't contain it. It overflowed and I wept.
I am so thankful for the love of God these kids have. I'm thankful for whoever or whatever brought them to the Lord and I'm thankful for all the lives they've yet to touch themselves. How amazing it is to see the Word of God being planted and sent forth to bear fruit in these young men and women. How thankful I am that my son is in the midst of them.
Friday I went to one of our local Christian book stores and bought Casey his first adult bible. He's had his children's bible and he had his teen bible. They told us at the meeting they'd like for the kids to bring the NIV version if they had it, because that was what they would be teaching their lessons from. I bought Casey a beautiful black leather Life's Applications Study Bible, and his name is being engraved (imprinted) on the cover of it. I get it on Tuesday and I can't wait to surprise him with it. I hope it will be used, written in, prayed over and witnessed from for many, many, many years to come.
Casey graduates high school next year (May of 2007) and I am so proud of the man of God I see him becoming every single day. I see that it's not something that he's stumbled into, but a decision he makes daily. His spirit cries out for fellowship with the Father, and I am so thankful that the Father has provided a road for him to follow. I'm thankful that I've been allowed to witness it, it truly is one of my greatest blessings.

I come to You humbled by Your love. I lay my sins at Your feet and ask for Your forgiveness.
I ask You, Lord, to provide a safe trip and haven for this group of young adults and for those who have given of their time and money to make this trip possible. I pray that Your Spirit will be received by each person attending this trip, that Your angels will provide safety for them every second they are gone and that they will be a blessing and a true witness of You to everyone they meet on their journey.
I thank You, Father, for my son and his desire to know You more. In the name of Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen