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Thoughts on Facebook?

So yesterday.....it was brought to my attention that an old classmate has made his share of comments of how he can't stand the fact that I post Scripture or my thoughts on Jesus often as my Facebook status. Normally I would be quick to get defensive, but instead, I had a big smile on my face. You see, ironically GODronically.... earlier that morning, I did my "flip open the Bible and see what God wants me to see"..... and fell upon this Scripture:

"Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be innocent and without any wrong. You will be God's children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you, among whom you shine like stars in the dark world. You offer the teaching that gives life. So when Christ comes again, I can be happy because my work was not wasted. I ran the race and won." ~Philippians 2:14-16

(This was the New Century Version, from one of my sons' Duct Tape Bible)

So I am guessing that God wanted to reassure me to continue to do what I do. I am not here to shove a Bible down someone's throat....or come off as the "holier than thou" Christian who sits behind the stained glass windows and judges others. In fact, I'll be the first to know and remind people that I am "the wretch" that the song refers to. I am a great testimony that God can work through anyone......no matter what your past tells you that you are. Almost like if He can turn *my* life around.....then for most everyone else, it's is a piece of cake.

My intentions for posting positive/uplifting messages on Facebook.....is not only to possibly shine a little Light to anyone who reads it as I also do not solely post Scripture or prayer.....I've been known to have my share of "you can't make this stuff up" events that happened or some random musing. But most of the time, it is something that has been placed on my heart *for me*. And as I have often referred to my desire to spread the Good News as like having the most awesome chocolate-decadence dessert.....you just cannot convey how unbelievably delicious it is. So you just want your friends to take a bite to experience it themselves.
(*hopefully God has a sweet tooth and can excuse this analogy)

I don't claim to know it all, I don't know my way around the Bible like many Christians who can recite verses or the Books of the New Testament in order. I don't claim to know which denomination is "better" than others. I don't claim to know how to live the perfect life, surely I am struggling with my own.

...I just claim to love Jesus.

Now yesterday, when I had heard about what was mentioned about me, I had run inside to grab the Bible and share with my friend what I had read earlier that day. Funny, I had the Bible still opened to that page and the verses were highlighted. (gotta love how God keeps me organized and prepared as I would have never found that verse so quickly). Anyway.....I ended up leaving it by the fire-pit overnight and this morning......well, "dew happens" and those tissue paper pages needed to dry out.

So I decided to grab a book off of my shelf just to have something positive to start my day with. I grabbed this book, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, that my brother-in-law had given me years ago. As you know, I am not a "good" reader so I limit myself to about 5-6 pages at a time because usually my brain cannot download any more than that.

And normally I would by pass any Preface or Foreword because......well......"not-so-good" readers tend to do that. Today, I took it up a notch and dove right into that Preface.

......and I am glad I did.

Check this out.....my brain is still processing it a bit....and not sure if I am going to be able to "handle" reading this whole book.. I am guessing he is referring to people calling themselves/using the general term "being a Christian"? ACK....see?? I guess I will have to go back and re-read it....but this jumped out at me.

......It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in......

......When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still In the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.

I hope and pray that I can lead even one person into that Hallway.....

How about you? What are your thoughts about Facebook in general? If you have a FB account, do you "use" your status as an opportunity to spread the Good News? Do you think it turns people off if/when you talk about your faith? More importantly, do you care about that?

*On a side note, this classmate and I have the "agree to disagree" understanding.....he is a good person who just has different views/opinions on the subject of Jesus. Of course I couldn't keep myself from razzing/reminding him that at our next high school reunion/get-together, I'll be sure to wear my "Jesus Loves You" tee just for him. ;)

and on one more side note......I found this and had to share:

Have a great weekend, my friends~


Proverbs 19:17 (repost)

It has been almost a year from when I originally shared/posted this story.......a story that definitely caused some reconstruction in my heart. I am re-posting it as I join in with the folks over at Bridget Chumbley's place where the carnival topic is "brokenness".

(*this is a longer than usual post from me.....I babble and ramble as I usually do.......but I promise I deliver a good message if you stay with me)

"He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will reward him for what he has done."

~Proverbs 19:17

So at first glance....this almost can contradict one thing I was always told "do not give to receive". But as I am digging deeper in my walk with Jesus....receiving doesn't necessarily mean in the tangible materialistic way that the world has us programmed to think. No, our God rewards us in so many more wonderful ways that far outlasts any money, treasure or possession. Yes......ways that you cannot put a price on such as peace and joy.

It is no mystery that money cannot buy things such as happiness and real peace......(sure, it can help when the electric company is calling for their money or the oil tank is low)....but just turn on the TV or flip through the latest edition of People magazine and see how miserable and lost many superstars are, who have all the money at their disposal. I wouldn't trade my shack on a Rock for their castles built on sand ever! (and for the record, I don't live in a shack....I live in a cute and cozy 1800 sq ft. contemporary ranch that yes, can get a little tight with the six of us and it might not be full of lavish furnishings and expensive collectibles....but it's full of comfortable furniture, hand-made art due to years of creative little hands.....and busting out the seams/walls with love.)

So getting back to being kind to the poor.....I'd like to share something that Josh and I experienced over the past weekend.

We saw an ad on Craigslist for some barn/fencing supplies. Not sure if you've ever priced livestock feeders, hardware and gates before, but finding them used at a good price is a score! So I gave the lady a call and made arrangements for Josh and I to go over her place the following day. (because surely I am not stupid or brave enough to go answer an ad ALONE that talks about someone needing some cash as they are getting out of the horse business, barn is starting to fall apart, etc. To me, that might indicate that there is a lot of space up in the abandoned hay loft for a body to be found, no?)

So we headed out first thing Saturday morning. We were on a time crunch, so I told Josh that when I originally called on the ad, the woman, Franny (not her real name of course) sounded a little rough....I just assumed I woke her up or maybe she was a little under the weather. But I gave him the heads up because it seems that we always run into some nice, but quirky people in our travels who love to talk and talk and talk. And it seems that God has my path cross with people who always want to talk about what is going on in their life to me. I guess I must have something on my forehead that says...."tell me what you are going through."

Most of the time, I am thankful that people feel comfortable enough to share what's on their heart and I know that God wants me to use this time to witness.....but if I am gonna be straight with you, sometimes I just want to buy my nachos and salsa and get home!

(this is in reference to a cashier who told me of how she just had nachos with an old friend who she hooked up with due to FaceBook. And how if she didn't take her step dad's name when she turned 18, then she would have been in contact with so many other friends on Facebook. In fact, she wouldn't have missed her 20th reunion if she had her original last name that she had in elementary school. But she hated that name because her dad walked out on her mom when she was seven....so no-one knew how to contact her.

Hmmmmm, all I said was that I needed my nacho fix while paying.

*note to self.....if in a hurry, do NOT make eye contact or speak.....just smile and say thank you while walking away)

Back to recapping the conversation on phone...

Franny told me that she was getting rid of the items due to an impending divorce and how she needs to start getting rid of stuff because she is planning on moving. But first she needs a job because she has two older children, one who has a broken pelvis due to a motocross (but he was wearing his helmet) and the daughter doesn't work because she is on drugs. She wants to keep some of the feeders because she plans on moving to another place and get horses again and maybe start breeding Mastiffs again. She used to breed Labradors because they were a sure flip for money, but her Lab died last year from a tumor they found in her uterus.

Yes. I got this all in the first three minutes and here I was only calling to get a deal on some feeders. I can not make this stuff up.

We arrived at the driveway and it had wrought iron gates with gorgeous stone columns. The gates appeared that they were rusted open and there was brush growing through the broken iron wagon wheel accents.

We drove up the dirt driveway.....it was probably about 1/6 mile before we saw the barn on our left. First thing we notice is the roof, or what was left to it....it was collapsed in some areas, and the tarps that were covering the other part were flapping violently in the wind. There were pastures on each side of us.....individual grazing areas that you could tell have been neglected over the past year(s) as fencing was down....overgrown brush everywhere.

Then we saw her.

Franny was a middle age woman with long frizzy hair who was dressed in ripped jeans, flannel shirt and had a baseball hat on. Perfectly normal for a farm gal (infact, looking at how I just described her....I kinda fit that description). But as we got closer, she looked alot older....but not in a typical natural aging way....more of a hard life "older". She appeared to have mascara/eyeliner on from the night before....slightly smudged. She held a coffee cup and cigarette in one hand and waved with the other. She started walking over to us, then bent down to grab a branch out of the way and her hat fell off. There was a line where golden streaked hair met three inches of gray and black roots. She grabbed her hat, stood up while adjusting her pants and her top button popped open on her shirt, exposing her bra a little bit. She didn't notice or care.

oh boy. I whispered to Josh......let's make this QUICK. She looks like she is still loopy from the night before.......Grab the feeders, pay her and let's get out of here.

But as I got to shaking her hand....I looked in her eyes and the only word that came to mind was broken. Although they squinted a bit with her smile as she said hello.....all I saw was sadness and emptiness in those eyes. It was then that my conviction began. A feeling of guilt, sadness and pity started to come over me.

We got to talking with Franny as we were walking along her property to look at some other gates/equipment she had available.....and found out more of her story. She told us about how her husband walked out on her and her children and left them with nothing. Apparently he was a prominent business owner who made some poor decisions with his company and was charged with some other crimes as well. She spoke about how she's been scraping by this past year and it's time to sell the farm/house and find a new place to live.

As she was talking about her hardships....and there were many, including an affair and abuse.....I started to think about how she must have been living to where she is now.

As I looked around, I could tell that this property definitely was a gorgeous 150 acre farm at one time. I imagined perfectly manicured pastures and horses grazing.... an equestrian paradise.

And to look at it now.....the dilapidated barn, rusted lifeless tractors and the overgrown pastures was a representation of Franny's life. I can imagine her to have once been dressed in high end clothing, hair and nails kept neat and walking about her property with pride and joy. The breed of horses she mentioned that they raised are a very expensive elite breed. And now she tells us that she gave them all away for free.....in fear that she would not be able to feed them over the winter.

Before we knew it, an hour had passed. Franny poured out her deepest secrets to us. At times she welled up with tears.....and at times, I did as well. We exchanged contact information and Josh told her he would see about any job openings that might be available at the casino. I gave her the number of my friend who does real estate.....not to pour salt into her wound, but to know that my friend is honest and fair and would not take advantage of her in the desperate situation she is facing. I ended the conversation by hugging her and telling her that I would be praying for her. She lifted up her eyes, now sobbing and told me that she prayed everyday too.

We left Franny feeling heartbroken. We talked all the way home about her and her hardships. Something was weighing on my heart. I just felt that although we don't have much, I wanted to help this woman some how. We talked and prayed and decided that we were going to visit her again this week and tuck a little extra money in an envelope for her. Matthew 6:1-4 reminds us to not talk about or announce what we are giving.....so forgive me for mentioning this.....(and believe me, it isn't anything to boast about)...but I wanted to talk about how we are supposed to/commanded to reach out to poor, broken and lost as Followers of Christ.

Now when we got home, I called my friend (realtor) to let her know that I passed her number along. She too had heard about the story of this family.....but also heard a different version. Her version was that the wife of this prominent business person had issues with drugs and alcohol and drove the business into the ground.

Of course, from what we saw and being completely honest.....this was not a story that could not also be true. And it very well may be.

But we are still heading over tonight.....to drop off this gift. It is not our job to judge this woman....it is our job to give/help without expecting anything more from her. In our hearts, we pray that she uses this money to put a dent in her electric bill or buy some groceries. If she chooses to use it for drugs/alcohol.....then so be it. God knows our heart and intention.

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. ~Mark 2:16-17

And who are we to judge? And can I tell you something else that has been placed on my heart after meeting this woman? Who are we to think that what happened to this woman, could not someday happen to us? Not necessarily turning to drugs/alcohol if that is indeed the case......but being in this state of helplessness and desperation? Franny is just one example of the bondages that the enemy sneaks in and holds us captive. She is displaying it for all the world to see.....how many of us have our own private hells and bondages? We all have times of feeling broken and desperate, it doesn't only have to be a financial brokenness. And while we are on the subject, in this fallen and unstable world, I believe that we all are one or two mistakes, weaknesses, screw-ups, poor financial decisions, lost employment, or unexpected sickness from our worlds being turned upside down like Franny.

Think about it.

So with that.....I'll leave you with this.....

Proverbs 19:17 tells us that when we give to the poor (or the lost, the broken, the desperate).....we are lending to Him. And from what I know about our God.....He never leaves a debt unpaid.

Peace and love~


So the other day I was at the store and embarrassingly was $3.57 short. Trying to stay on a "cash diet" I purposely left my debit card/checkbook (and who uses checks anymore?!?) at home.

I was a little embarrassed, but reluctantly asked the clerk to take a couple things off of my order as I rambled on and on explained why I only had cash on me so as to keep me from overspending. She was probably about 17 years old at the most, looked like she wanted to be anywhere but behind this register. I also could tell she had a very important text to return as she kept looking into her smock pocket that was glowing from her phone screen. Obviously she could care less about the financial advice I was trying to share as she resembled a deer staring into headlights as I was talking. I think I gave her another reason to hate her job even more when I asked her to price check the dish-washing detergent, the paper plates and Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream.

Before she could get the last eye roll in.......a very nice woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked how much I was short. I told her it was less than $4 but no big deal because I really didn't need that ice cream......I started rambling mentioned I was going to start running again because of the extra few pounds I packed on over the summer. Before I could get to the part about how the all the local summer fairs' food was the culprit.....she handed me a five dollar bill and told me that she would take care of it. I thanked her but told her I really didn't want her to do that......but she insisted and told me to accept it as a gift. I was floored by her generosity. I asked her if I could have her address to return the money but she told me not to worry about it and just to pay it forward someday.

How awesome was that? Here is someone who doesn't even know me......yet graciously helped me out when I was in a pinch. (or maybe she just wanted me to stop babbling so the five bucks was worth it!) Either way.....she gave when she wasn't asked nor expected anything in return.

As I was driving home, I thought about how Jesus teaches us in Matthew 25:35-40

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

I love hearing about random acts of kindness........have you been the recipient of someone's kindness.....or can you share something you did to make someone's day a little brighter? Please share!

Have a great weekend, friends!


The WOW factor

So I was listening to this preacher, Jeff Shreve and he was talking about the Grace of God. Then he mentioned this particular Scripture

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.~2 Corinthians 8:9

Think about this:

Rich is described as having wealth or great possessions; of great value or worth; valuable; abounding in natural resources.

So here is God sitting on His Throne in Heaven (and according to Isaiah)......His train filling the Temple with the angels singing and praising Him singing "Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His Glory".

He has everything, He is rich beyond rich in all ways......yet He steps down off of His Throne and enters the world. He didn't even choose to be born in a prestigious influential family.......no, he was born in a barn. He slept in a trough. His parents were poor and came from Nazareth, a very small and insignificant town. (John 1:46 reminds us that this was probably on the wrong-side-of-tracks kinda town....."Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?")

Then, at the height of His ministry.......He is imprisoned, mocked, beaten beyond imagination, spit upon and scourged. He has stakes nailed through His hands and feet, and then has a crown of thorns smashed into his skull. He is then hoisted up between the Earth that He created and the Heavens that He reigned. He took His last breath and said "It is finished". Jesus paid our ransom to free us from sin and death.

The ransom (a price paid to achieve some one's freedom) was Paid in Full.

For me.

For you.

I don't know about you, but my stomach has been in knots when I really really started thinking about this. Not just taking for granted and knowing that "Jesus Christ died for our sins".....but really bringing me back the awe factor on what God has done for us.

I guess this message brought me in the WOW factor mode.

And I don't want to ever leave.

**I believe this message can inspire and bring hope.......so I linked it on up with all the folks over at Bridget's place . Hop on over for more great posts on this subject!

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