Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Still He Walked"


"Still He Walked"

He could hear the crowds screaming "crucify" "crucify"...
He could hear the hatred in their voices,
These were his chosen people.
He loved them,
And they were going to crucify him.
He was beaten, bleeding and weakened...
His heart was broken,
But still He walked.

He could see the crowd as he came from the palace.
He knew each of the faces so well.
He had created them.
He knew every smile, every laugh, and every shed tear,
But now they were contorted with rage and anger
His heart broke,
But still He walked.

He felt alone.
His disciples had left, denied, and even betrayed him.
He searched the crowd for a loving face
And he saw very few.
Then he turned his eyes to the only one that mattered
Knowing that he would never be alone.
He looked back at the crowd...
At the people who were spitting at him
Throwing rocks at him and mocking him
And He knew that because of Him,
They would never be alone.
So for them, He walked.

The sounds of the hammer striking the spikes
echoed through the crowd.
The cheers of the crowd,
as his hands and feet were nailed to the cross,
Intensified with each blow.
And God's heart broke.
He had let His son walk.

Jesus could have asked God to end his suffering,
But instead He asked God to forgive.
Not to forgive him,
but to forgive the ones who were persecuting him.
As he hung on that cross,
dying an unimaginable death,
He looked out and saw, not only the faces in the crowd,
But also, the face of every person yet to be,
And his heart filled with love.
As his body was dying, his heart was alive.
Alive with the limitless, unconditional love
he feels for each of us.
That is why He walked.

When I forget how much My God loves me,
...I remember his walk.
When I wonder if I can be forgiven,
...I remember his walk.
When I need to be reminded of how to live like Christ,
...I think of his walk.
And to show him how much I love him,
...I wake up each morning, turn my eyes to him,
......And I walk.

Author Unknown                               

"I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!  I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."

                                                                       Philipians 3: 10-14  (NLT)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Resting In Heaven.............

March 23, 1997
40th Wedding Anniversary Celebration
Five years ago this week (the 20th, to be exact) Momma went home to be with Jesus.  In so many ways it seems like so much longer, yet it sometimes hurts just as badly as if it had been just yesterday.  We miss you Momma, we always will, and we love you.  You were the glue that held us all together.  Thank you for giving us the roots to be a family and the wings to be individuals.  There was never, and will never be, another like you!

Our Family
March 23, 1997
Back (L-R) Terry Chandler, Momma, Ricky Watkins, Daddy, Dwade Howell
Middle (L-R) Katie Watkins, Me, Charlotte Watkins, Debra Howell, Adam Howell
Jacob, Caleb and Jared Watkins

Daddy & Momma
March 23, 1997

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life....
Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”.....
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

Proverbs 31:  10-12, 28-30   (NLT)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Believe.....................

"That you should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them."

Precious Lord Jesus, help me to remember that the words of my mouth have the ability to speak life into the lives of others.  Conversely, I also have the ability to speak death and discouragement if I do not allow You to control my tongue.  May my words glorify You and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ.  May they help to lead those who are lost without You to the cross and to repentance and salvation.  AMEN....

The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain;
the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.
Hatred stirs up quarrels,
but love makes up for all offenses.

Proverbs 10: 11-12  (NLT)

How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!

Psalm 133: 1  (NLT)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Believe...............

"That it's taking me a long time to become
the person I want to be."

Even more than that, I'm finding it's taking me longer to be what God wants me to be!  I often wonder when I'll ever become a 'grown up Christian'?!  When will I set aside petty prejudices, pride, jealousy, arrogance, fear and excuses and just be the woman of God I know He created me to be?! 

He must get so annoyed with me.  How many times have I gone whining to God about all my little insecurities and complaints and questions "Why, God, why?"; "When, God, when?"; "Where, God, where?"...........the list is endless.  Yet, He is always loving and never turns me away.

I remember as a child going to Momma and asking "Why, Momma?", only to be answered with "Because I said so, that's why.".  I knew better than to say another word after that.  It was highly inadvisable unless I was ready for the consequences; and I most definitely was not ready for the consequences!

Why do I continue to push God, question God, when I know the consequences if I don't just do what He says?  Yet, it matters not how many times I ask or how often I complain, God's endless grace covers my iniquity.  In the immortal words of Paul, the Apostle.............

9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need.
My power works best in weakness.”
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ can work through me.
10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses,
and in the insults, hardships, persecutions,
and troubles that I suffer for Christ.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

II Corinthians 12:  9-10  (NLT)

Friday, April 8, 2011


I have been so absent for the past several days!  Daddy hasn't been well and so has required more of my time and attention.  Also, I have been working on a couple of projects for our church.  This gives me such great pleasure!  For so long, I was so consumed with taking care of my late husband that I simply did not have energy or time to devote to the church.  I have loved Jesus and tried to serve Him for most of my life, but I could not feel as though He wanted me to neglect Terry in order to take on jobs in the church. 

Also, quite honestly, we had been involved in a really bad experience in our former church and I simply didn't have a desire to become involved again.  My life was just too difficult already without adding the drama of dealing with carnal Christians who cared more about how things looked than winning people to the Lord.  So, the joy of again being involved in a loving church and serving Him with people who have hearts driven by their love for Him and for His creatures is such a sweet experience to me now.

So, the projects are off the ground and I can get back to my blog and to each of you!  Nothing earth shaking has been on my heart, just the joy of living and serving a loving and gracious God who teaches me more every day about who He is and helps me find who I am in Him.  That has been a struggle to me since becoming a widow.  Since I was 15, I was one half of  'us'; suddenly becoming only 'me' has been a trial.  However, as always, God is faithful and has guided me along this path into a greater understanding of what He has in store for me and where He wants me to go from here.

I am so much more thankful for that direction than I will ever be able to express with words.  There were times when in desperation I cried out to God that I felt so completely alone and useless.  He never left me there; He always lifted me lovingly and carried me until I was again ready to walk, even if most gingerly, with Him.  The journey has been a halting one, but one that has drawn me in to a place with the Lord I'm quite sure I would never have known had I not walked this path.

Don't you love how God does that?  Your life can feel like it's flying apart at the seams and will never be good again.  But God...........God steps in and reminds you of His love for you and of the numerous times in your past He has carried you through trials before.  Your faith is strengthened for a few more steps in your present trial and so you walk forward.  I'm so thankful He has kept me walking forward instead of turning back.  I never want to turn back, to be unfit for my Lord and His service.

When I come to the end of my earthly existence, I want my life to be a continuous journey forward for the Lord.  I want my legacy to be one of service to God, to others and for His glory.  In the words of an old gospel song.............I've come too far to look back.

8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
10 Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
11 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
12 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,

34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

36 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting!

I Chronicles 16: 8-13, 34, 36  (NLT)

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:
for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life,
which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

James 1: 12

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Believe.......

"That just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to,
doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have."

33 Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer.
 And as I told the Jewish leaders,
you will search for me,
but you can’t come where I am going.
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment:
Love each other.
Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
35 Your love for one another
will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

John 13: 33-35  (NLT)

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.
2 For you will be treated as you treat others.
The standard you use in judging
is the standard by which you will be judged."
Matthew 7: 1-2  (NLT)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Too Much, Too Little.....Is It Too Late????

Josh Pastner
Head Coach
University of Memphis Tigers

This devilishly handsome young man is the Head Coach of the University of Memphis Tigers basketball team.  He was hired in the summer of 2009 after John Calipari suddenly resigned and took a job with Kentucky.  Cal, as he was affectionately known, left a bad taste in the mouth of Tiger fans not only because he left, but because of the way he left and the things he said as and after he left.

When Josh Pastner was hired, he was young (31) and a virtual unknown to fans.  He however has shown himself to be more than adequately qualified for the position.  In two seasons, he has brought the team back to the NCAA playoffs and has won more games in his first two seasons than any head coach in the NCAA.  His recruiting accomplishments are perhaps some of his greatest successes.  Fans love him, players love him and women REALLY love him.  Unfortunately for the women, Pastner is a happily married man with morals; a dichotomy in and of itself these days.

I like Josh Pastner.  I know absolutely nothing about basketball nor college sports, but I like what I see of him on the news reports.  He seems to be honest, humble and dedicated to doing what is right.  He has a reputation for being passionate about his sport, but also as being a 'nice guy' even where his team is concerned both on and off the court.  No expletives flying through the air, no name calling or ranting and raving at players, peers, refs or fans.  A real nice guy.  Who knew they even existed any more?  A very rare find indeed.

After taking his team to the playoffs after just two seasons with them, and rumors flying of other teams desire to steal him from the U of M, folks in Memphis decided they must plug the leak before it sprung.  In interest of so doing, they offered Pastner a contract extension for an annual salary of 1.7 million dollars through the 2015-2016 season.  Pastner has said before he had no plans of leaving U of M.  However, his Momma didn't raise no fools and when the deal was offered, he signed.  Smart move for Pastner and quite possibly for U of M as well.

So, what exactly is it that makes the whole thing so unpalatable to me?  Just this, what man at age 33 who coaches a college sports team is in reality WORTH 1.7 million dollars a year?  As I've said, I like Pastner; I even admire him.  I think he's a great example to his players, his peers and his fans.  Think about it for just a minute though.  This is one man on one team the school supports.  There are multiple supporting coaches, other teams with head coaches and supporting coaches, as well as whatever else comes with supporting sports in college.

How can a school justify such an expenditure when kids are foregoing higher education at the college and/or university level due to the affordability of said education?  What are the salaries of tenured professors in lesser fields such as say, molecular biology or quantum physics?  What are the salaries of professors helping to educate the future teachers, scientists, physicians and law enforcement personnel in our country?  If they are commensurate with the sports salaries, the school's salary expenditures alone must be astronomical!  No wonder scarce few can afford a degree anymore!

How many of these athletes go on to careers with earning potentials that are even vaguely commensurate with the cost of their education?  Keep in mind, you must not only consider the costs of their scholarships, but the costs of their coaches, equipment, etc.  How many athletes are even considered an average in any graduating class?  Does anyone even keep up with these facts?  Does anyone know the real cost of the athletic programs in these schools?  I dare say, they do not.

In my opinion, it is but another indication of how skewed the thinking of this society has become.  Our heroes are Hollywood types who have no idea what the real world is like and sports players who have no idea what the average man has paid for his/her quite expensive opportunity to party hearty and live immoral lives.  I know these are quite general statements and do not apply to every college athlete.  I am convinced, however, that it is more the norm than the exception.

We're forcing our grade school and high school students to push farther, work harder to learn the necessary math and science skills to be competitive in their future endeavors.  We've even gone to year-round school classes in some districts in hopes of accomplishing this.  Then, we send these wonderfully intelligent and highly educated young people off to college (if we can afford it) and what happens with all that hard earned knowledge?  Are we over-educating the younger children only to feed them to the wolves of the sports-generated dollars flooding into our institutions of higher learning?

What if our very intelligent child isn't sports oriented?  What if they enjoy books and poetry?  What if science is their forte, or perhaps they're a whiz at math?  Where are the huge scholarships for those children?  I know scholarships exist in almost any and every field of interest; but are they on equal footing witht he athlete?  I think not.

There's nothing wrong with athletics and I highly admire someone with athletic abilities.  I myself once enjoyed running very much.  However, those big scholarships were none-existant to runners in my day.  If, however, you were great at basketball, football or even baseball, numerous colleges were knocking at your door with offers.

I have a friend who was highly intelligent and loved reading and science.  She wanted to become a doctor and practice in an underserved community.  She did so, but at massive expense to herself.  Her student loans will take years to pay off.  Granted she was forgiven for a good portion of her loans for serving in an indigent area and she got many scholarships, however the amount of loans she was left to pay off were astronomical.

In the area where she practices, she can barely afford to pay her meager staff and keep her clinic operating at current Medicare reimbursement rates.   She lives a very frugal lifestyle and totally dedicated to her work.  She is immensely happy doing what she does, where she does it.  However, she has bills to pay like everyone else.  Her clinic is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until the last person is seen at night.  A few of those sports-generated dollars spent on her education would have certainly made her life easier and I dare say there are multiple thousands in very similar situations.

What a shame that a society places greater value on playing a game than on saving a life, teaching a child or training an individual who may one day be your local sheriff or police chief.

God help us to see the foolishness of our ways and thoughts, to renew our minds to align with Your ways and Your thoughts.

6 Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
7 Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55: 6-9  (NLT)