Thursday, August 17, 2017

Could you find Jesus in a bar?

The place was familiar, it was what I would consider "my old stomping ground." As I sat there spinning on the stool slightly uncomfortable swigging my ice water and lemon, this particular spot was new to me but pretty much the same as all of the other bars. The lights turned down low, you know so low that everyone looks good, tunes flowing through the speakers, people were laughing and mingling while there I sat awkwardly smiling.

An older man comes by and asks "What do you do?" I replied, "I write a Christian devotional style blog about real situations with a dab of humor and a heap of the truth. He smiles and shakes his head. "Can I get you a drink?" "No, I'm fine thanks" I say, he then asks "Do you not drink because you're a Christian?" I said "No, I don't drink because I don't like the decisions I tend to make when I do and what would a Christian blogger look like with a longneck bottle, swinging from the rafters, and praising The Lord look like?"
He laughs and so did I.

We moved on to other hot topics like the Bible. He was very knowledgeable, he recited stories, and even knew about different religions and belief systems. All along I was feeling the pull, God was right on my heels nudging me. Questions on my mind were "is he saved, does he believe Jesus died for his sins so that he can have everlasting life?" So, I asked him.

No, he replied. "I believe Jesus was a good man, and I try every day to help someone and be kind to others.
If there is a God in heaven, I hope he will see what I have done and let me on in."
I said, "You know the bible and you know that it says "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
"Yes", he said "but if there is a God and he is the man the bible says he is then he will see what I've done."

Friends, it's not "He will see what I've done" it's not about us. He saved us, not "take a look at me and what I've done." We don't get the glory, He does.

This is the logic of many others and it pulled me into a place I pray to be in daily. I wake up asking The Lord to put someone in my path that I can point to Him. He lead this man to me or me to him either way I'm praying that the information given to him, the kind hearted, non-judgmental way that I talked with him, planted a seed. That situation wasn't about him or me, it was about Jesus. The easy thing to have done would've been to just smile back, never opening the discussion up about Jesus but I felt the Holy Spirit leading me and I went there.

Have you ignored the call to testify?
Do you know someone or are you someone who lives by their/your own light and does good but is without Christ present in their/your life?

We don't have to argue the bible, this man knew things about the bible that I've yet to discover. But, I listened, responded with love, and walked away praying for this man and I haven't stopped.
The Holy Spirit will do the heavy lifting.

We don't have to know it all to talk with someone about the Lord, your testimony is enough.
Ask Him to prepare you. He lead me to this man and if one more person can be saved by a seed that is planted then should all get to tilling.
Jesus was a man who would've sat on that bar stool just like I did, he associated with sinners, Luke 19:10 we are all sinners.

Don't let social status or cultural norms or even locations dictate relationships with people-we have to go outside of the church walls.

The sick need a physician and the lost need a shepherd.

Have Zest and Be willing to go there!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

From Orphan to a Queen

When I was a little girl I remember my parent’s telling me I could be anything I wanted to be. 
Do you remember what that felt like? 
For me, it was pure satisfaction, I wanted to be a giraffe. My mama said I told the pageant judge at the ripe age of 7, when ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded with “a giraffe, because they are tall and can see everything.”
26 years later and here I am 5’6” tall, not giraffe stats but just enough that long pants are too long and regulars are too short
I’m in my thirty’s now and I’m not sure if it’s a thirty thing but all of a sudden I feel empowered and comfortable. Something about this age I’m settled in has given me a new confidence. 

Esther was a young Jewish girl who lived with the exiles in Persia, she was an orphan who then became queen of the empire and it was revealed to her that the Jews would be destroyed by her husband, the king. Esther was aware that going before the king could potentially cost her, her life. She was the woman that God prepared to save her people.
She was courageous, He used her and He uses women today who are also willing.

Philippians 3:8 “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my LORD, for whose sake I lost all things.” Esther counted everything as a loss because she knew God had prepared her and had great plans for her future, she was a woman of faith and courage. 
As a Christian, He wants us to be comfortable with who we are. I’ve been able to completely let go of things holding me back and give the control to God because He has great plans for me.

Do you have something inside yearning to get out? Friends, let me encourage you today; you are never too old, too stuck, or too far into something to change it and attain your dreams.
Don’t get this confused with being old thinking you can still pull off pleather skinny jeans and a crop top, we have to let that stuff go, I mean dreams and goals.

It’s never too late to be who you want to be. No matter if you are in your 30s, 40s, and 50s or above, you still have your chance.
 Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until she was 40 and Sarah gave birth Isaac at age 91. 
Don’t allow fear to paralyze you from not taking action, go to the Lord in prayer, you won’t go at it alone. 
As MaMaw Peggie says as she is getting out of her recliner, “Let me wind up my leg.”
Do that today, wind up your leg and put your best foot forward, there are goals to achieve and tools readily available. 

Have Zest and Be Bold!

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"