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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Freedom in Forgiveness


When I was a young buck, my friends and I decided to head down to my "clubhouse" which was an abandoned old family home. Somewhere in there we decided to hop in the truck with some friends and go riding dirt roads. When I say hop, I don't mean in the extended cab buckled in my seatbelt, I really mean hop, like in the bed of the truck sitting on a greasy tire and ol leaky cans rolling around.
Mind you, I was 14 and couldn't even date much less be out past 10 p.m. in the bed of a truck.

My brother comes in and mama ask him to ease on down to the clubhouse and check on us. Since I didn't let him know I would be out joyriding with my hair in the wind and he should cover for me, he tells mama we aren't there.
Now, I'm a mama and I just can't imagine what I would've done, I'm sure I would've cut a switch and whooped my friends and I like we were 9, but she didn't.

The next day, she took all of my friends home, told their parents what happened and on the way home she gave me my punishment. She said I would be grounded for what felt like the rest of my life. But, what she said that I'll never forget was this: "You lost my trust." Y'all that rocked me, I never wanted her to lose trust in me. I worked hard over those 3 months to earn her trust and somewhere along the way, I did.

She forgave me.

That sentence stands alone because it's the most important part of the story and the longest life lesson and one of the hardest for me to experience.

Now that I'm grown folks I run into situations and obstacles all the time that call for forgiveness, me to forgive someone or someone to forgive me.
The word in Greek is aphiemi, meaning to send away. Refusing to carry something instead choosing to send it away. When we struggle to forgive it affects everything, mostly our hearts.
 Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone else free and realizing that we were the prisoner.
God speaks on forgiveness many times in the Bible, I love this one, the scripture plainly commands it.
Ephesians 4:32 "Instead, be kind and tenderhearted to one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ."
If God can forgive the sinful life I've lead and the times I've let Him down, then I can do the same for others.
Now, when we are talking about an unkind word someone has said, a white lie, or smaller offenses it can be relatively easy to forgive but those are not always the case.
We may stumble upon more serious cases such as unfaithfulness, drunk driving taking our loved one away, or someone hurting our children, those are doozies.
Is it possible to forgive these?
Yes, Jesus Christ can help us to forgive the smallest and largest sins. He can help us to see our offender through His eyes.

We don't have the right to not forgive, we owe it to them, our own heart, and more importantly we owe it to The Lord to seek him deeper and forgive what is burdening our hearts.
If you are having a hard time today trusting, forgiving someone, forgiving yourself, or moving on let me show you where to turn.
Those are a few that I lean on, earmark them in your Bible and seek His word, council, and strength.
All can be forgiven.

Mama forgave me and eventually trusted me again, I had many years left to mess up but I always tried to maintain her trust.
Life is hard but as always we have someone who is so mighty that we can turn to.
Forgiveness equals freedom, what do you need to let go of today?

Have Zest and Forgive as He does.



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"She picked them, He chose me."

It was a breezy April evening, lately our Mississippi weather has remixed on us leaving our flowers so confused.
The Sharks (my son, Xander's soccer team) were playing an excellent game, they are in the fundamental stage of soccer so watching it click for them is so entertaining.
 

Meraleigh, our sweet 3 year old found herself skipping and picking clovers in a nearby field. She popped up beside me with her hands behind her back smiling with bright blue eyes blinking at me and said, "you'll lub these little yellow flowers." With surprise I scooped her up and my bushel of handpicked flowers and thanked her over and over.



As she danced back to the clovers I thought about how above all, she picked and gave those flowers to me. With intent, she chose them, arranged them, and decided to surprised me.
All that she had, she gave with pure gratitude.

Quickly, I was reminded of another time that has happened.
God gave us the greatest gift He had, He gave us eternal life.
An instant gift, the moment you believe that Jesus is God's Son, and accept Him into your life.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Where are you, right now, where are you?
There isn't a sin that will not be forgiven. We aren't picked apart or picked on, we are chosen by God with purpose and we can't find his purpose if we continue allow sin to separate us from Him.
Jesus died so that we could have everlasting life, He did that for all of us but He would have done it for just you alone.
Have we truly accepted Jesus Christ?
Are we longing for peace, great love, or a love that is unwavering?
There is something more than the physical you, there is the spirit-it lives inside and it will never be satisfied or be whole with things of the earth. It must have things of the spirit and that is God.

We are ALL sinners, we have all lived for ourselves and disobeyed God, we have all fallen short but that's not where it ends. We have the same opportunity to have everlasting life by saying a prayer of salvation, confessing our sins-where we fell short of the mark, professing faith in Christ as our Savior and Lord, and pray this prayer.
"Father, I know my sins have separated me from you. I'm sorry and I want to walk away from a sinful life and walk towards you. Forgive me. I believe your son Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, and He is alive and hears my prayers. I'm inviting Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Amen."

Meraleigh gave me a gift, all that she had, it was her best, and she chose to share them with me.
God gave His son for all, not a few, but all and that was His best most perfect gift. We don't have to win it, earn it, or work for it, it is free. God freely gave to all who will receive Him.

If you don't know Him as your Lord and Savior, I want to help you get there.

"Have Zest and Receive His Gift"


Monday, August 15, 2016

"Play Me a Song..."


“Play Me A Song…”


 

August, the official last month of summer and the month that gave birth to a legend…or to me! This year I decided that I would learn to play the guitar. I’ve always been really in tune with my musical side, I love something about pretty much all genres of music. Playing the guitar and singing in the past has always been a daydream of mine until late July I decided to treat myself to an acoustic Urban guitar with a 30 lesson dvd set.

Just like a kid, I watched from the window waiting for it to be delivered. Finally, it came and I tore into it as if it were just as happy to see me. It was perfect, shiny, and new. I was almost instantly disappointed when I strummed it and realized that I had absolutely no idea what anything on this instrument was, what each parts purpose was, or where to even begin. It’s much harder than the pros make it look.


Let’s rewind about 15 years. I had just decided to give my life to Christ because I wanted to experience the everlasting peace of knowing that each day of my life I would serve Christ and he would be my guide.

Just like that shiny new guitar, I got myself a shiny New Living Translation Bible and from front to back it was untouched, undiscovered, and it was mine.

I was raised in church and with the bible and all of the wonderful stories that it holds just as I was raised with musical influence but it didn’t mean I was versed and it didn’t mean I could grab it by the back and show you what it was made of.

Much like the guitar, I had to get to know it, study it, and spend moments each day with it.
I started with a reading plan and to this day I use some sort of reading plan. Because I’m a planner and planners dig plans. Word.

As I read it I grew closer and closer to Christ and as I read I felt good, and then somewhere along the way I realized God was setting the stage for my role as a Christian.

Fast forward 15 years and here I am today. I listen to the Lord, read my Bible, and I pray. But, I’m still learning.
Just like I’ve heard musicians say to me “I’ve been playing for (fill in the blank) years and I still don’t know it all.’ That’s the same for my walk with Christ. I’ve been doing it for over 15 years and I too still don’t know it all, I’m a work in progress.

The bible does wonderful things. It gives faith, causes new birth, equips, guards, guides, restores, enlightens, and has the power to save.

When God is involved anything can happen. He has a spectacular way of making good ol’ music out of broken chords. The key is to get started today, choose your path with Christ and let him be your guide, your teacher, and your hope.


Have Zest and Make a Joyful Noise!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Convenient Christian

Convenient Christian
Have you ever headed out to shop and found yourself wrapping around the parking lot for 20 minutes for that close spot?
I have, we live in Mississippi and our hot is different, you might pass clean out just from heat. I'll be that car sitting in the isle with my blinker on directing traffic around me while I wait for Paw and Maw to attempt to load up and back out. Kids will be in the backseat cutting up like cheetah and I'm all "shhh, mama got us a real good parking spot."
My Mom on the other hand will park 12 1/2 miles from the store for what she calls "a piece of shade" just so that her car isn't 400 degrees when she gets back in.
Those are both convenient ways to park, one works for me and the other works best for her.
We can be convenient with a lot of things that we do and that's perfectly fine but we can't be convenient Christians and expect covenant blessings.
In Paul's lifetime he traveled over 10,000 steps to preach the gospel. Would those lives ever been changed had Paul been a convenient Christian?
Acts 20:24 "But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God."
Paul knew he was headed for hardships, his goal was to fulfill the mission of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul lived his life to please Jesus and he walked the talk.
We are imperfect and we fall short of the glory of God daily but that shouldn't deter us from a constant effort to walk our talk.
We can change the lives of others when our walk is real. Jesus didn't die on the cross for us to pick and choose when we would follow him, he died for us so that we could be set free and have everlasting life.
We are busy and we get enveloped in ourselves and what we have planned and sometimes we miss the opportunity to transform someone's life or our own because it wasn't convenient for us.
So, yes, choose that close spot or that "piece of shade" but don't choose to be a convenient Christian.
It doesn't always benefit us in the present but God doesn't call us to move without complete fulfillment in the end.
It wasn't convenient for Him to die on the cross, but He did it anyway and now we have new life.
Have Zest and Stay Conveniently Cool!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Pearly Mess



Saturday seemed like perfect day for me to pull my summer box from the attic, out with the sweaters and in with the strappy dresses!

I was glad to spend a few hours organizing my closet, in my mind it looked like HGTV came but in real life it is just a mama closet where my everyday stuff hangs hoping to still fit.

There was a slight breeze Sunday morning, I grabbed a bright yellow cardigan to pop over my strappy dress.
As we were on the 4th stanza of Holy Holy Holy I felt my strap pop in the back. My face was still smiling and singing but in my mind I looked like a donkey chewing on barbed wire. Panic mode.

I was never more thankful for a breezy morning that called for a cardigan than I was right then.

What would the folks on the fifth pew think if all of a sudden they saw the last few threads on my dress break loose like a southern mama on opening day of the county flea market.

That's one of my favorite dresses so when I got home we headed to the sewing room. As I stitched my dress back to life I looked over and noticed my thread box looked like someone with sun in their eyes organized it. I lined my colors and noticed one almost perfect spool of pearly white thread.

Then I noticed a ball of thread that looked like my 2 year olds hair after a good night’s sleep.

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 (ball of mess...Meraleigh's hair)

Through social media, we everyday people have a way of making things seem like a pearly, perfectly lined spool of thread. But, in real life or on the inside we feel like that ball of frazzled, uncut, all out of whack mess. It can be so tiring trying to appear perfect. Keeping our homes clean, making Pinterest dinners/crafts, making sure our body stays in the muffin category instead of the busted can of great value biscuits category.

There is middle ground! Humility and balance, we have to be aware that at some point we are all the perfect thread and the one that is a pure mess.

Through Christ we find balance.

We have to value our flawed self and our flawless self. By accepting both and knowing the truth through Gods word, then we can see the light within ourselves that both are totally normal ways of life. Let's not set ourselves up for disaster, let the perfect moments be what they are and also accept the mess.

"A false balance is an abomination to The Lord, but a just weight is his delight." Proverbs 11:1

So, shine in the frazzled times through your personal relationship with The Lord just as bright as you do in the perfectly placed times.

Don't let social media be at the forefront of unattainable expectations.

Start your day with The Lord and allow Him to be the one you impress and let Him be your balance.

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Have Zest and Be a Pearly Mess!

-Kristin Tate