Friday, May 29, 2015

On Mission

I am writing this post a few days prior to leaving for a ten day mission trip to Brazil.  I have a ton of packing to do and my list of what needs to be done before I go is growing.  Also, it seems at every turn our team is dodging Satan’s darts.  We have people sick, some with family issues, and my extended family is facing a major financial burden.  Then, we are still waiting on the approval of our Visas.  However, our team is excited.  Why?  God has called us to go and share His love. 

I love the fact that Jesus commands us to “go.”  He does not want us to sit in our church pews and do the “church” thing.  Yes, Jesus wants us to be faithful to his bride the Church but He also wants us to get our hands dirty in ministry. 

In order to get our hands dirty in ministry or missions, we must be willing to leave our comfort zone.  Now, the Lord has not pricked my heart to go to the deep jungles, but He has given me a heart to go and tell the world about Him. 

My first visit to Brazil took place about ten years ago.  I traveled with my husband, then the Partnership Missions Director for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.  He went to set the groundwork for future mission groups.  It was then that God opened my heart to see the hungry hearts of the Brazilian people.  They are deeply spiritual; however, they often combine Christianity with cults, witchcraft, etc.  Because of this issue, the Brazilian Baptist Christians are intentional in disciplining their new converts. 

As we leave in a few days, I covet your prayers for our team.  Pray for our safety, health, and for our families back home.  (My husband and I are expecting our second grandchild on June 18th so we are praying Baby Lee #2 does not come while we are gone).  Pray for the Brazilian missionaries and pastors as the share Jesus.  Pray for open hearts to come to know Christ as their Savior. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"What! You Too?"

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:  “What! You too?  I thought I was the only one.” C. S. Lewis

Recently, I had lunch with one of my new staff wives .  However, while we were discussing where to have lunch, we both commented that we hated making decisions no matter how big or small.  At the same time, we laughed and said, “What you too?”  With the fact that we hate making decision and that we are both chocoholics, we can firmly say our friendship is sealed.

It does take time to forge a friendship especially when you are ministry.  You must test the waters to see who can be trusted.  You must spend some time with the person to decide if this relationship could be of mutual encouragement or a toxic one. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have started investing in a friendship only to discover the person is simply using me to get the “inside scoop.”  I have walked away from a very toxic friendship with a fellow pastor’s wife because she was draining me of my joy in ministry.  Friendships should never seek to destroy or to get information for gossip.  Friendships are to build one another up through the good times and the difficult times. 

That is why I love it when I know a friendship is going to work out.  As we get to know one another, the discussion often comes around to silly questions or things that we do.  That is why I know my friendship is secure with my new staff wife.  We HATE making decisions.
I would love to hear your “What! You too?” friendship story.  As for my new friend, we did decide one thing at lunch today.  We will let someone else tell us where to have lunch next time.

Be Blessed!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Swimming Upstream in Treacherous Waters

As a minister’s wife, I often find myself in battles.  I fight a daily battle in limiting my chocolate intake.  I rage war against the daily duties of juggling home life, family life, and church life.  I wrestle against the ruler of the world for my spiritual life.  What happens when our plans for the day do not match God’s plan for our day?

Let’s break it down a minute and see if any of these scenarios sound familiar.  (Every one of these scenarios has happened to me). 

*You really want to travel out of country for a mission trip and start the paperwork.  A couple of weeks before the trip, you get sick or suffer an injury that keeps you at home.

*You work hard all day at your job and want a quiet evening at home.  Instead you spend your evening at the hospital with a sick church member or your child informs you that he/she has a huge project due the next day.

*You are in the midst of spring cleaning the house.  Closets are emptied and the contents on the floor.  Bed linens are washing.  There are boxes marked for Goodwill, trash, and keep in the living room.  In other words, the house is a mess.  The door bell rings.  You open it to find friends who are passing through town and have decided to come for a surprise visit.

To be quite honest, often I begin my day without seeking what the Lord might need me to do.  I simply start my day “swimming upstream” thinking I can manage the current.  Before long I am in some treacherous water.  My patience runs thin.  I am irritable with my family.  My stress level is at the explosion point. 

I am slowly learning that doing things my way is not the Lord’s way.  When I start my day without spending time with the Lord, I fight a never-ending spiritual battle.  While Satan pulls at me one way,  the Lord is calling me to surrender to Him.  Some days I am so in tune to the Lord that I can feel Him next to me.  On other days, I barely keep my head above the crushing waves of life.

As a pastor’s wife, I have discovered that when I am in those treacherous waters of life and doing my own thing, I can desperately utter the name of Jesus and He will throw me a rescue ring.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Prayers for Jamaica

My sisters, I would like to request your prayers for an upcoming mission trip to Jamaica that I plan to take along with my husband and youngest daughter. The Lord has once again given me an opportunity to go to this beautiful country, to the inland community of Linstead, to be used by the Lord to be a witness for Him.

I believe that our Father will indeed bless our time there, and that He will be honored and gloried through the entire mission trip team. I do have some specific requests that I would like for you, my sisters in Christ, to be praying for:

•Safe travel for all the members of the team coming from different parts of the state of Tennessee

•The Lord will prepare hearts as we go to various places in the Linstead community sharing the Gospel

•This will be a life changing experience for not only my daughter, but others who will be experiencing their first mission trip overseas

•We, as a collective team, will be a blessing to everyone that we encounter

•The Lord will be glorified in every presentation of the Gospel, every testimony, every sermon preached, and every act of service

Also, I am asking the Lord to truly do an impacting work in the hearts of two of our church members who will be a part of this mission trip team.

I am so excited about all that our Savior will accomplish as we go to another part of the world to serve others and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be witnesses for Him. To God Be the Glory for all that He will do in Jamaica!

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pockets of Peace

A smile
A hug
A loving card or text message
An encouraging phone call
A small unexpected gift

What do these things have in common? I know them to be instant agents of joy that bring “pockets of peace” when I may be having a really, really bad day!

I define a “pocket of peace” as those seemingly insignificant things that the Lord drops into your day when you least expect it, but the impact that they have is priceless. We all have really, really bad days occasionally, even though we know that we belong to Christ and are secure in Him. At times, simply living life throws us curve balls, and we just don’t see them coming!

Yes, Jesus said that in this life we will have trouble, but He also told us to be encouraged because HE has overcome the world. Yes, the apostle Peter told us that we are to not think it strange when fiery trials come upon us, but he told us that we share in the sufferings of Christ and we are to rejoice. Yes, as Christians we are going to suffer, yet also the apostle Peter tells us that we are not to be ashamed in our suffering, but to glorify God.

Life can get very hard at times, but the one thing that I have come to rely on and appreciate more in my life is the peace of Christ as I am living through difficult situations. Before He went to the cross, Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27 Anything the world wants to give us pales in comparison to what our Savior can give. His peace is lasting, His peace is genuine, and His peace will melt away distress and fear in our hearts. I know that to be so true in my life, as I have experienced that very recently.

The apostle Paul urged us to,“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 Nothing can rip peace away from us like an anxious heart, a heart full of worry, doubt, fear, and unbelief. The best thing that I have found for calming a troubled heart is found in prayer, talking with my Father, through prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and petition, telling Him the things that are burdening my heart. When I do this, the promise found in Philippians 4:7 floods my mind and spirit, and I do experience a supernatural peace that is so incredible.

So when you are having a bad day, look for those “pockets of peace” that our Loving Father sends your way; receive them with joy. May the Lord use them to whisper to your heart, in a still small voice, that you are loved, perfectly and completely.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Until Next Time

You Never Know

You just NEVER know......

I know that you are like me and see death and sickness all around you.  It is everywhere.  BUT....lately, it just seems like we have experienced more and more strokes.

January 4th, one of  our 48 year old ladies suddenly could not feel her foot or legs and had tingling.  She called her doctor and he told her to go to the ER.  There they stablized her and sent her to a larger hospital, where they did an MRI.  The doctor read the MRI and came and to talk to her and her boyfriend.  In short, she was told she had a large navel orange size brain tumor.....and it was cancer.  They has gone threw radiation and chemo.........they did more tests and are giving hr 6 months to a year to live.

A week and half ago, the twenty year old cousin of our daughter-in-law  was rushed to the hospital and then airlifted to UT Hospital, where they found she had a large blood clot at the base of her brain.  They decided to try to dissolve it since surgery would be so dangerous  They were able to dissolve it and she is doing much better.

A week ago, a 42 year old daughter of our school janitor was found knocked out and non-responsive.  She was taken by ambulance to the hospital and then airlifted to a larger hospital.  She did not make it.  She left three children.

Sunday, more of our members Nanny had a massive stroke.  She is 81 years old and the doctors only gave her a 10% chance of surviving.  Today, she responded on command and even weakly said the word stroke when asked if she knew what happened to her.

It doesn't matter how old you are or how young you are.  It does not matter how rich or poor you are.  When it is your time for sickness or even death, there is nothing you can do.  

We should all strive to live our lives to the point that if Jesus came back today, we would be ready......because.........

You just Never Know.