Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Seasons

We understand the changing seasons.  Even though you may have a favorite and a not so favorite, it's inevitable they will still happen.  We can find something good and not so good about each one.

Summer with it's late sunsets and bright sunshine smiling down on bright flowers and fresh cut grass. Sunscreen for protection but welcoming a sweet kiss of sunshine.    It also, depending on where you live, brings high humidity, mosquitoes, extreme heat, and sunburns. 

Fall has a smell that just screams FOOTBALL!!!! The beautiful changing colors of all the trees just make you feel like you are in a Hallmark movie. It just feels so cozy!   The only negative I can think of is you might feel bi-polar with your it summer? is it fall? cold in the morning? warm in the afternoon? (I'm sure that's just Oklahoma!)

Winter brings hot cocoa, soups in the crockpot, Christmas decorations, sometimes snow, and my favorite....A FIRE in the fireplace!  As much as I love this season, I HATE TO BE COLD!  The chapped skin, crusty lips, layers of clothes to put on (and to keep up with), and cold feet.  (Why doesn't my husband like my cold feet on him?)

Spring is a sign of life again.  After what seems like a long winter, we find hope in the rain and flowers that pop up around.  However, this season  (for many in middle America and southern states)brings more apprehension than the others with deadly and destructive tornadoes and flooding.  The constant rain can also impact people's mood and it feels like you're surrounded by gloomy people.  At this point, I am praying for sunshine! 

I did not share anything that you did not know already, but you probably didn't realize each season can also be just as real in our spiritual lives.  Just as God created the world and everything in it, He also created the seasons.  He sees good in each one, even if you don't!  Season's represent a time for something:

2 Timothy 4: 2
"preach the word; be ready in season and out of season"
Here Paul is teaching us that there will be a season that people will receive the teaching and a season that people will only receive what feels good....But regardless PREACH.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven"
Celebrating, mourning, abundance, very tight, mountains high, valley low, birth, death, planting and harvest are all words we will experience in our lives at the right time (and yet we welcome some and question others)

Galatians 6:9
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
This just confirms that God knows they'll be seasons we won't He tells us to do good.

I wanted to sum up your spiritual seasons in comparison to our earthly seasons:

A Season of Pleasure: This is your summer of abundance.  The sun is smiling all over you.  Things aren't just growing but are beautiful.  Breathtaking sunrises and peaceful sunsets, which are all the things that make you smile, feel proud, and even at peace, are bringing you closer to your maker.  Who wouldn't want to stay in this season forever?  God knows that it would not be healthy to remain here, never to be taught, stretched, and challenged. 

A Season of Pushing/Prompting: This is your Autumn.  You are feeling cozy, enjoying the smells, watching the beauty of nature around you and the Lord starts pushing you out of your comfort zone.  He understands that all the beauty that you are looking at, took a lot of hard work to get to that point.  He sees potential inside of you.  He knows that you'll have to rely on Him and He will reward your obedience.  When He pushes...don't push back.

A Season of Preparation: This is your winter where everything feels dead but it's very much alive.  Things may seem dormant in your life but God is preparing you.  Preparation is overlooked.  Without preparation, there can be no victory, no celebration, no relying on God and only relying on our self. We can not grow and mature without preparation.....we only complain and remain until He sees that we are ready to move forward.  In this season don't overlook the mentors and opportunities in your path.  They are there for a reason. 

A Season of Planting and Pruning: This is your spring.  Both planting and pruning require your time, hard work, and don't always feel good.  I see this season when God is asking much from you.  He is cutting things back.  None of it feels good and He is keeping your focus on the work rather than on yourself.  It can get messy.  It can feel gloomy if we let it (remember this is the season I am praying for sunshine). 

The seasons will come and will go so don't fight it.  Just as we find something good in each of our earthly seasons, we need to embrace our spiritual seasons. 

I can boldly say that I appreciate and look forward to each season.  I hope that means I'm maturing.  At one point in my life, I was a whiner, for every season except "pleasure".  If things weren't showering me with abundance.....It must be a spiritual battle....or so I thought.

Yes, our enemy, would like nothing more than to kill, steal, and destroy us.... BUT GOD has the ultimate plan and say.  Give Him more credit than that!  Trust Him. Obey Him. Listen to Him. Serve Him. Look to Him. Honor Him. Thank Him.

Embrace the Season,
Mrs. Pastor 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Driving a Parked Car?

Think back with me when you couldn't wait to drive.  Go ahead......think way back.  You'd get in the drivers seat and imagine how great it would be.  If you were lucky, you lived in the country and got to drive the old pick-up in the field.  When my girls got their permit, they always wanted to go get the car right after church and drive around the church parking that's desperate to drive!

Finally, the day arrives and you are driving.  Time moves on and you are living life and you get in an accident.  You become a reluctant driver and would rather someone else drive.  The problem is that you can't stay that way forever.  You eventually need to move forward.  You can't drive a parked car!  Unfortunately, there are many who want to move forward but are just sittin'.....sittin' while time is passing and purposes need to be fulfilled. 

There are things at this very moment that the Lord has in mind for you but there are certain things holding you back.  I've made a quick list of some things that put a person in a parked car:

1. Pride:
 Probably the number one killer of any success in relationships, careers, ministry, family, parenting, and leadership.  Pride is a form of self-preservation.  You think you are protecting yourself but in actuality you are hurting yourself.  It might feel very comfortable in that parked car but you are getting no where.  The enemy is winning on this one....and we are letting him! 

Proverbs 11:2
"When pride comes, then comes shame;"

Proverbs 13:10
"By pride comes nothing but strife,"

Proverbs 15:25
"The Lord will destroy the house of the proud"

Proverbs 16:18
"Pride goes before destruction"

2. Teachable:
This one is closely related to pride.  In fact, they are probably brothers.  We were created to have a teachable spirit, an obedient spirit.  The problem is that we get a little momentum, a little successful, find our voice in a leadership position and BAM we are listening to the wrong voice.....our own.  We have made "experience" or "age" or even "time" our god.  This will park you faster than you know.  It may look like on the outside that you are busy making things happening but in reality you are just sittin' in a parked car.  God can not use people who are not teachable.  Being teachable is not only receiving instruction (whether from God's word or people He places in our path) but also correction (from the Holy Spirit or people).

Psalm 32:8-9
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.  Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come."

Proverbs 4: 3
"Don't be wise in your own eyes."

Proverbs 5:12
"How I hated instruction, and my heart despised correction!  I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers , nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! I was on the verge of total ruin..."

Proverbs 5:23
"He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray."

Proverbs 13:18
"Poverty and shame will come to him who disdain correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored. "

3. Fearful:
When we take a step forward, anything and everything could go wrong. YES, it could.  But it also could go very right.  This is where pride and not being teachable come into play.  WE ARE GOING TO MAKE MISTAKES.  If we have a growth mindset, we are learning from them and making them less often.  We are being humbled and used and molded at every moment.  There is no shame in that.  There is shame when "pride" is your best friend and you think more of people's opinions than God's.  When you can't forgive or apologize and move on.  God honors obedience and if you believe His word you have nothing to be afraid of!

Hebrews 13:5
"I will never leave you nor forsake you."

2 Timothy 1:7
"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind."

Proverbs 14: 26
"In the fear (respect) of the Lord there is strong confidence."

Psalm 32:7
"....You shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance."

and last, but certainly not least is....

4. Contentment:
What???? What's wrong with a state of peace and happiness? Nothing is wrong with this.  As a matter of fact, we pray for this in all of our lives.  The problem is that we get so cozy that we don't move.  We can't "drive the car" to a place we've never been before!  We might get lost, we feel uneasy, there might be a lot of traffic or.....PEOPLE!  We might have to interact with PEOPLE that we don't know or even like.  We might have to sacrifice our time to do good.  NAH.....I think I'd rather just stay here in my parked car and take a big whiff of "new car" smell. 

Proverbs 3:27
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so."

James 2:26
"For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead." [you gotta get out there and DO SOMETHING .....possibly for SOMEONE ELSE.....not about YOU].

Go ahead, start the car and start moving forward.  You can not go wrong if your heart and steps are being obedient to God.  Don't over-think it.  Just look to His word and be obedient. The promise will follow if you are letting wisdom, understanding, and knowledge guide your steps:

Proverbs 3:21-26 [YOUR PROMISE]
As I keep sound wisdom and discretion, they will be life to my soul and grace to my neck. I will walk safely in His way and my foot will not stumble. When I lie down, I will not be afraid; yes, I will lie down and my sleep will be sweet.  I will not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from  the wicked when it comes; The Lord will be my confidence, and will keep my foot from being caught."

See ya on the Highway,
The Mrs. Pastor

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Laughing Place

Have you ever walked into a really nice restaurant or a really nice home and something is missing?  You can't put your finger on it, but it just isn't complete.

This is how I've felt lately.  As I evaluate myself during my quiet time, meditating on God's Word, I find something missing.  I pray and seek His face, because I know He already knows the answer, and He is faithful to reveal it to me.....The Laughing Place.  The laughing place is missing. 

The laughing place is that part of your soul,when it hears or sees something funny, you laugh where it just feels so good.  Sometimes even to the point of crying and that REALLY feels good.  This is not man made but orchestrated by God.  He says in His Word:

Proverbs 17:22
" A cheerful heart is good medicine..."

Psalm 126: 2
"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy..."

I think we all can agree that life can seem heavy:

controversy of the police and race.....HEAVY
the upcoming election.....HEAVY
the weather on the east coast ......HEAVY
the people we know who are hurting and having problems......HEAVY
Health problems......HEAVY
Financial struggle....HEAVY

For me, I have caught myself trying so hard being "excellent in all things" that I've forgotten the most important piece....laughter.  I've made being excellent.....HEAVY.  Laughter was the quality that drew me to my husband when we started dating (besides his charm and good looks).  He was naturally funny and quick witted.  He is that guy they write Hallmark cards after.  So this got me thinking about things that have made me really laugh.

Like the time my husband was a youth pastor.  He came home for lunch and one of the girls put a sticker on his forehead and he forgot about it.  He then went straight to a meeting with the football coaches.  He sat in that entire meeting, with that sticker on his head, and not one coach said anything.  He got in his truck and saw that sticker still on his head.  Seriously....that's funny!

Or even a very recent happening that "my friend" had at her work.  What makes this so funny is that she would be the first to tell you she was last in line to have the funny gene.  Her toilet at her job doesn't have strong flushing power.  On a regular day, the toilet requires two flushes and still will not flush the economy toilet paper.  This bathroom is only used by a few people, so on this particular day she had too much flax seed and chia seed in her yogurt.  She KNEW it would be more than a two flusher.  But to her horror......after flush #4.......#5.....#6......#7.........#8......#9 (at this point she is praying and sweating thinking about the humiliation because remember she doesn't have the funny gene).....#10.......#11.......#12  "SERIOUSLY", she was thinking! ......#14........#15 and she finally gave up.  She had to own up to her colleagues.  She took a situation and just had to laugh, not ignore the elephant in the room, but just laugh.  (for those of you who are wondering, she came to work the next morning and it was a nice shiny, clean toilet with nothing in it) It was a teaching opportunity to teach my friend to lighten up and just laugh!

God wants you to be hard working and purposeful people but He also wants you to laugh.  Laugh at yourself and any opportunity you can to make someone else laugh. A scripture to stand on for the believer, when you are letting things get too heavy:

Isaiah 35: 10
"they will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing (heavy things) will flee away."

It might take the next morning to flee away....but it will!

Go Ahead and Laugh,
The Mrs. Pastor