Saturday, July 30, 2011

I've Got A Name.....

Jim Croce had a great song entitled "I've Got A Name" released the summer Terry and I met.  We both loved Jim Croce and his music.  From the first time I heard this song, I loved it.  A very dear lady used to say to me all the time "Diane, remember whose child you are".

Genealogy is important to me.  I enjoy history and love finding out where I came from.  I have always believed that we can't be who God really created us to be unless we know where we came from.  Now, for some the degree of that knowledge is less important than to others.  To me, the more I know the better I like it; even if the things I learn aren't necessarily good things.

I have spent time pondering that over the past few days.  I want to bring honor to my family name, to all the names attached to my family tree, and to those I inherited when I married Terry.  That is important to me.  When future generations read about me, I want them to be proud to know I am a part of their lineage.

I began to think about that in the context of my Christian walk.  Remember whose child you are.......what is my Christian lineage?  I particularly hate reading those parts of the Bible that says so-and-so begat so-and-so, and on and on, just seemingly mindless reading.  (See Matthew chapter 1)  Then, I began to try to concentrate on the names I was reading and who those people were. 

What is my Christian lineage?  I am a child of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe.  As God the Father, he has no lineage, yet as the Son, he has a very specific lineage.  "Of the house and lineage of David" (See Luke 2:4).  I've always loved the Christmas story, but often wonder if we really stop to think about the story.

I don't know about you, but David is one of those Old Testament heroes of the faith that I look forward to getting to meet face-to-face in heaven.  I want to know what made David tick; I want to hear him tell the story of facing Goliath in his own words.  I want to hear about the faith it took to do such a thing!

I often think of Rahab the harlot, who was the great-great grandmother of David and who is also in my Christian lineage.  What must it have felt like to be a woman of such station in life to have the God of the universe declare your faith as worthy?  Worthy not just for you, but those who follow in your lineage?  What a joy this woman must have felt to know that the Lord of Heaven had counted her faithful!

I think of Abraham and the faith it took to keep believing God when everything reasonable said His promise was never to be.  Of Sarah, when the years of childbearing were past and yet she continued to believe in the promise.  Yes, they wavered, who am I to judge?  I waver almost daily.  Yet, their faith was so strong that these thousands of years after their entrance into their reward, we continue to talk about their walk with God and to be encouraged by their story.

Then, I think of all those people who influenced my life as I was growing up.  Some were badly misled in their beliefs, but they served the Lord with a zeal none could question.  Did they make mistakes?  Certainly; who am I to judge, I make mistakes daily, sometimes minute by minute.

Yes, I've got a name....a name countless numbers have given their life to proclaim; a name given by a Savior who shed every drop of His precious blood in order to pay my sin debt.  My Christian lineage is marked with saints and sinners, those who loved God with their whole heart, who made mistakes, who sometimes wavered in their faith....yet, here we are, still believing in that same God and still willing to serve Him.  Those folks who came before us must have done something right, wouldn't you say?

As I think about it, that's the thing that impresses me the most.  They did SOMETHING right!  Jesus tells us that faith so small as a grain of mustard seed can remove the mountains that interject themselves into our path.  (See Matthew 17:20)

What are your mountains?  Hopelessness, anger, doubt, fear, a prodigal child, an unbelieving mate, an abusive person who stole your joy, a struggle with substance abuse that has you captive, a broken marriage, a church that has hurt you....the list could go on and on.

The important thing is not what your mountain is, rather who your faith is in.  A minute amount of faith placed in God the Father, the Creator of the universe and His Son, Jesus Christ can give you new life and new hope.  Will your problems be automatically solved?  No, but you will a have resource not yet tried.

You will have a name, a name passed down by generations of others who faced just such as you face and who remained faithful through every battle.  Your problems won't end, there will be no easy answers.  You will make mistakes, your faith may grow weak, trails will continue to come your way.  When those things beset you.....remember whose child you are and that you've got a name. desire and strive to be like Christ...I've got a name!

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Phillippians 2: 5-11  (NLT)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

God's Sticky Notes................

"I tell you, love your enemies.
Help and give without expecting a return.
You'll never—I promise—regret it.
Live out this God-created identity
the way our Father lives toward us,
generously and graciously,
even when we're at our worst.
Our Father is kind; you be kind.

"Don't pick on people,
jump on their failures,
criticize their faults—
unless, of course, you want the same treatment.
Don't condemn those who are down;
that hardness can boomerang.
Be easy on people;
you'll find life a lot easier.
Give away your life;
you'll find life given back,
but not merely given back—
given back with bonus and blessing.
Giving, not getting, is the way.
Generosity begets generosity."

Luke 6: 36-38  (The Message)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thermometer Or Thermostat????

THERMOMETER-----An instrument for measuring and indicating temperature.

THERMOSTAT-----A device that automatically regulates temperature, or that activates a device when the temperature reaches a certain point.

Based upon those definitions, we can confidently say that a THERMOMETER is a device used to measure the environment surrounding it and a THERMOSTAT is a device which not only measures the environment, but activates something which will make proper adjustments to that environment based upon the settings that have been given it.

So, what are you?  Are you a THERMOMETER or a THERMOSTAT?  Do you measure your surroundings and then go about your business, or do you measure your surroundings and then set about doing something to change them based upon your 'settings' as a Christian?

"Simply put, if you're not willing
to take what is dearest to you,
whether plans or people,
and kiss it good-bye,
you can't be my disciple.

"Salt is excellent.
But if the salt goes flat,
it's useless, good for nothing.

"Are you listening to this?
Really listening?"

Luke 14: 33-35  (The Message)
Now, if I read this passage correctly, it tells me that I am of no use to the Lord, or to the advancement of His Kingdom, unless I am willing to forsake everything and give my life over completely to His control.  If I do that, I automatically become a THERMOSTAT because I have no choice but to do so. 
If I am to be a device of change, however, my will must be put under the submission of the will of the Lord.  Therein lies the problem.  I am so sure I can do it, I know what's best, I've got the answers, I've got "a plan" and surely God wants me to use my plan.  After all, He did give me a brain to think with and the ability to make plans and the desire to have direction in my life, right?
We go so far away from the Lord when we begin to think that our way is better than His way, or that we can even understand which "way" is right without submitting to Him.
Seek God while he's here to be found,
pray to him while he's close at hand.

Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.

Let them come back to God,
who is merciful,
come back to our God,
who is lavish with forgiveness.

"I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work."

God's Decree.

"For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.

Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don't go back until they've watered the earth,

Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,

So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.

They'll do the work I sent them to do,
they'll complete the assignment I gave them.'

Isiah 55: 6-11  (The Message)
We will never fully understand the ways of the Lord as long as we inhabit this mortal body; nor will we understand His thoughts.  Accepting that truth is essential to having peace about surrendering our will to His.  Just as we accept His love for us through faith, we must accept His omniscience....His infinite knowledge of us and all we think, do or feel.  Because He knows us so well, He knows the plans that will foster the greatest potential in His Kingdom.
Isn't that what you want from your life as a Christian?  Don't you desire to be and do the very best for the Lord?  Isn't that what our daily striving is all about?  Yet, the answers are there, within each of us who know Jesus Christ and we have only to surrender to Him in order to realize our greatest potential for Him.  It's really quite a simple and uncomplicated concept when you consider it.
In my own life, I have no problem with the concept; it's the practice of the concept that brings me difficulty.  Yet, when I surrender, there's no peace quite like the peace that fills my inmost being when I know I am surrendered to Him.  Isn't it so completely human to know that peace, yet rail against it over and over again in our daily walk with Him?

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
Luke 18: 16 & 17   (NLT)

Precious Father, once again I surrender myself to You, completely and wholly; all that I am, all that I think, all that I feel, all that I do.....these I surrender to You.  I want to be Your instrument of change in my world.  I want to bring comfort and hope to those who so desperately need it.  I know I can only accomplish that when I surrender to You and allow You to work through me.  Thank you for Your precious mercy and grace that allows me to come time and time again to present myself as Your servant.  Thank you for Your loving kindness that never turns me away nor reprimands me, but forgives me and draws me back into the fold of Your loving arms.  Help me to mirror You to everyone I meet, talk to or interact with in any manner.  In the precious Name of Jesus I ask these things..................AMEN.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

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

"That life is more precious than money
will ever be able to be."

I've always said that I believe this statement to be true.  Yet, I must admit to the times in my life when I have fretted over wanting things I didn't have.  I've never been without what I needed, but I've often wished for things I wanted.  Momma used to call them our "need-cessities".  We had those things needful to sustain life.  I wonder sometimes if most people even understand the difference between what they need and what they want anymore?

I don't consider myself a rich person.  I have a modest income and my monthly bills are paid.  I can buy the food I need to nourish my body, plus some of the things I just want or enjoy.  I have clothes to keep me covered and warm, plus some of those shoes I drool over!  My car isn't new, but it's in good running order and paid for.  My house isn't grand, but it keeps me warm in the cold, cool in the heat, and dry in the rain.  And, it's almost paid for!  I can't take extended dream vacations, but I take getaway trips to relax and regroup almost any time I want.  All in all, when you stop to consider it, I'm much more wealthy than first thought.

Yet, with all that, the things that bring real joy to my heart can't be bought and sold.  No financial sacrifice could restore my husband's health once it was gone.  Heaps of money shoveled to various medical providers could not deliver me a baby when I so wanted one.  Even all the money saved and ear-marked for that adoption couldn't buy my health in order to make me feel dependable enough to care for a child.  When the people I love are hurting, mountains of money can't stop their pain.

My one hope, my sustenance, in all of that is the Lord.  Without Him, I would be hopeless and helpless.  I often find it ironic that we run about our little lives so desperate to make money, only to find that all that money can't give us the things we need or desire in order to live with quiet contentment and a peaceful countenance.

As I age and as disease takes more of me each day, I find strength and encouragement in the gold only Jesus Christ can give..........a quiet spirit, a contented heart, a peaceful soul and sure hope for the future.  Oh that each individual could but realize money is only paper, but Jesus is eternal LIFE!

"You say, ‘I am rich.
I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’
And you don’t realize that you are wretched
and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
So I advise you to buy gold from me—
gold that has been purified by fire.
Then you will be rich.
Also buy white garments from me
so you will not be shamed by your nakedness,
and ointment for your eyes
so you will be able to see.
I correct and discipline everyone I love.
So be diligent and turn from your indifference."

Revelation 3: 17-19   (NLT)

Friday, July 1, 2011


Jared Watkins with daughters Kayleigh and Allyson
Christmas 2010

Ten years ago today my family lived out a nightmare.  My second nephew, and the oldest son of my middle sister, Jared Watkins, was in an auto accident that left him comatose and clinging to life.  As each day dawned, it seemed the news only went from bad to worse.  The coma lingered and brain functions were dropping.  We were told the right and left hemispheres of his brain had been severed and that, if he lived, he would no longer be able to care for himself or ever be Jared again.

We prayed and tried to give support to my sister and BIL and to Jared's siblings in the best way we could.  People from so many places prayed with us and for us.  The days seemed to be never-ending.  Then, miraculously, Jared opened his eyes one day. Not long afterwards, he began to talk.  He wasn't the same Jared who entered the coma, he was more the Jared from many years prior.  He was child-like and couldn't remember several years of his more recent life.

Gradually, his memory returned and his body regained strength.  He was discharged home and began his life again.  I wish I could say there was some sort of great epiphany that changed his life completely after that, but it didn't happen that way.  He returned to many of the same activities that had landed him in the coma.  However, he was spared and for that we are eternally grateful.  Like many people, Jared is a rebel to his core.  He now has two beautiful daughters who adore him and whom he loves most dearly.

Thank you, precious Father, for allowing us to have Jared for these added ten years.  He has a good heart and honorable dreams.  Unfortunately, he hasn't yet learned that the answer to his questions lie in You and the source of his dreams should lie in You.  Thank you for dealing so tenderly with his heart.  I earnestly pray he will someday see You for who You really are and see the love You have for him and submit his will to Your Will.

I love you Jared, with my whole heart.  I am so thankful to have you still be with us so we can tell you how much we love you, hear your voice, the sound of your laughter and even the frustration and anger that so often erupts from within you.  You are a workmanship of the Lord, still in progress.  I am eager to see what He will reveal in you in His time.

Now God has us where he wants us,
with all the time in this world and the next
to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.
Saving is all his idea, and all his work.
All we do is trust him enough to let him do it.
It's God's gift from start to finish!
We don't play the major role.
If we did, we'd probably go around bragging
that we'd done the whole thing!
No, we neither make nor save ourselves.
God does both the making and saving.
He creates each of us by Christ Jesus
to join him in the work he does,
the good work he has gotten ready for us to do,
work we had better be doing.

Ephesians 2: 7-10   (The Message)