And the Answer is “YES”

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Some of you may have been noticing that I have been doing a number of blog posts about answering the call from God. Pastor Ray usually will include in his prayers on Sunday that we should open our hearts and clear our minds. The reason he does that is because we need to be paying attention to what God is calling us to do. I will be the first to admit that I get very distracted during church. My mind is always thinking about what it is that God wants me to do.

God has put on my heart to get off the pew and reach out to other people. As I look around to those sitting in the pews at church, I often wonder how many of those sitting there has been called to “make a difference.”My heart has been on missions since I was little. I was set on going to third world countries and do whatever it was that God wants me to do.

That dream was dashed when I came down with Guillian Barre Syndrome. Well, at the time it did. I was extremely disappointed that I couldn’t do that. Since Jesus went out and seeked people, which would include me, then I should be doing the same thing. I had to trust God and God has never failed me.

A couple of weeks ago I was told that it is going to do no good to try to reach out to the students at Dixie State University. They went on to say that my church is full of old cranky people and how some doesn’t even know how to smile. This person came to my church as a guest. Usually I try to listen to people who are new to the area and to our church. When they said this about how it will never work to get students, there is nothing for them. Well!!! That pretty much made me want to dummy slap them, but I didn’t. How dare he judge my church in just an hour. I could imagine the headlines on St. George’s News page, “Christian Woman Arrested Because She Smacked Down Grumpy Man.” What I did consider when he said that is that He wasn’t shown the loving and friendly church. He was honest when asked how he liked the service.

This person motivated me to seek God’s Word and to put the wheels into motion. We all can make a difference in someone’s life by introducing them to Christ. God has made it apparent to me that I can make a difference to others in my own city.  Each and everyone that is a Christian should be on a mission to serve God and to serve others. How awesome is it that we can make a difference to others by sharing the GOOD NEWS that they can live forever and that Jesus Christ died for them.

 

  • 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed,Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service;you are God’s field, God’s building.

I have no doubt that this ministry will be difficult, but I know that God is at work and I am hoping people join in. I am excited to see new faces. When I consider the obstacles that are ahead of me and the ministry team, I realize that if we give of ourselves we will be a witness to something much bigger at world. Without a doubt God is working n all of us, through us all we will be impacting the lives of people by sharing the love and truth of Jesus Christ.

As I continue to seek Gods advice on what direction is the best when it comes to Dixie State University students and the families that surround our church. I will be praying for the students, families and young adults to come to the realization of what God has done for them because Christ died for them.

When I was the Young Adult and Youth leader we started with just my daughters. Each and every week we came prepared. Within a few months we had about 15 students, families and children. Our church became the church where they didn’t feel like they were discarded and hopeless.  A couple of the ladies each week served hot meals to the students. Many of the young adults, college students and so on had home lives that broke them down. As friendships formed they felt safe. God told me by putting it on my heart that we need to do something. Not just we or someone else, but I also need to do this. Each and every person can be used by God. All you have to do is say “YES.”

When we reach out to those who are seeking, hurting, lost and has pretty much given up. This may be something new to you or out of your comfort zone. You make a difference because God is making a difference in you.

There was many people in my life who helped me learn about God. There is a song called, “Thank You” that pretty much sums up what a difference each of us can make. God is speaking to us and it is our responsibility to make a difference in someone elses life. God put many people in my life and they weren’t telling God to send someone else. They stepped up to the plate and because of that my life was given to Jesus Christ. I will also be one of those people who will say, “YES I WiLL!” We can’t keep expecting everyone else to say something needs to be done. Well, if God put in on your heat, that someone becomes you and I.

We humans waste a ton of time because we are fulfilling our own desires. I would hope that I fill my days serving others and loving God. If we were to our time and energy helping others and serving God, could you imagine how awesome that would be?

There was a movie that came out eons ago. It was where people had to defend their lives in order to go on. It was like a trial to see if you are worthy to go to a much better place or you were punished for not living your life. The show was kinda out there, but what I remembered about it is that when I look back and review my life, I would love to know that I made a difference and impacted someones life.

Discussion Questions

  • If God asked you to give up everything and follow him, would you?
  • Do you believe there is opportunities to reach people where you live?
  • Have you ever had a chance to make a difference to someone else? If so what happened?

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10 

In closing I just want to say that I can’t save those who I reach out to,  Jesus is the only who can save. It doesn’t take very much to reach out to people. Even if it is out of your comfort zone it is something we need to do. I have chosen to make myself available to God. He can use me in whatever capacity he desires. Here are some ways you can serve others in your community.

  • Smile
  • Pray for a person
  • Visit someone homebound
  • Share a meal
  • Hold someones hand that is hurting
  • Listen

Keep your eyes open today to seek people whom Jesus can touch through you. Be willing to be right there when He wants to use you.

 

Christians Have No Fun?

shutterstock_103672964A long time ago, I would say around 15 years ago, my sister-in-law Carol asked me a question about my faith in Jesus Christ. She was pretty direct with her questioning as she was spewing some unknown alcoholic beverage all over herself. She asked me why I would want to be a Christian because they are boring and don’t have any fun. As she was vomiting and spitting all over the place, I asked her what was it about what she was doing was fun?  I was waiting for her head to start spinning around like in the movie “The Exorcist.” She didn’t make it that far though since she passed out while laying in her own bodily fluids.

I have had other non-Christian friends make similar comments , but not as they are about to pass out. A long time friend of mind has it in their head that people who are Christians doesn’t get to have fun. I have tried to debate friends and strangers, but it stuck with me and there were times I would wonder if there was some awesome fun activity I was missing out on. I know there are a lot of things I don’t like to do, but was there something wonderful waiting for me as I went to church and studied the Word of God?

Not only did Jesus attend the wedding celebration, when they ran out of wine, he made more wine (John 2:3-10). The problem is not with attending an occasional party, the problem is with centering your life around attending parties. The problem is going to a party that results in our losing control and doing things we would not normally do.

  • “We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don’t participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy.” (Romans 13:13 NLT)
  • Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (Timothy 6:17).

As I reeled over this whole notion that my life must be boring and I was destined to live my life in a way where I wouldn’t be able to enjoy life, I had to laugh about that, lol. At-least to them I was living a life that seemed boring. If we are honest about things, sin can look fun at times. But! looks are deceiving. My sister-in-law Carol has been gone for a number of years. I think around 10 yrs or so. She and I are very different because of our lifestyle choices and faith wise. We are worlds apart.

We had many conversations about my seemingly lack of fun in my life. One night while I was on the phone to her, which was rare since we didn’t have any common ground besides my husband Chuck is her husband’s brother. I figured this night I would humor her and ask her to point out to me what it was that I was missing in my life because I am a Christian. So, here is her list of things in a nut shell.

  1. I can’t go to the bars and hang out with friends while drinking. If I got to drunk the taxi cabs will give me a free ride home.  OK
  2. There are all of these casinos and if you are playing the games they will give you free drinks. OK
  3. Strip Poker is a ton of fun and the more friends you can find to play, the more fun we could have. OK
  4. She says that it is fun to be able to have sex with those that was at the strip poker game. Nobody looses, well, except the clothes and then we all win. OK
  5. I wouldn’t be able to wear cute cloths since I must have certain parts of my body covered. OK
  6. Drugs, Sandie, Drugs. You can’t even get high with us because you don’t want to have fun. Pot doesn’t hurt anyone and here are some shrooms. Yep, she told me that. OK
  7. You can’t even smoke? Why? Why can’t you smoke? She said this as she was smoking a joint. OK

The above list is things she actually told me. Some things I left off the list because she was throwing a lot of bad language into the conversations. Eventually her need for me to take on a more fun lifestyle ended on a sour note since she passed out and eventually died.

When I was able to answer her questions or questions that other non-Christians had about my beliefs, I would pretty much tell them that we obviously have different priorities and standards. There are many things that people do that may look like fun, but they aren’t necessarily fun or right for us to do. There are consequences for everything. Some of the consequences in the name of so-called fun can end up causing more problems and even cost us or someone else their lives.

I can’t say there wasn’t times when I wanted to do certain things. When I did do things that I knew were wrong, I usually have had to pay the price for it. It is tempting to want to do things that God says we shouldn’t be doing. Time and time again I haven’t regretted doing what God has instructed me to do. I don’t think that God “tells” us what to do anyhow since we have free will.  God is helping me to live my life the best I can. He knows that there are going to be things I want to do. The things I enjoy doing obviously are different from what others do.

I will have an alcoholic beverage from time to time. I just don’t get drunk. When I think about how Carol would comment about the fun I am missing as she is downing the last of a 18 pack of beer, I don’t see that I am missing out on anything. I prefer to remember things in the morning. I prefer to be talking to God, not the porcelain god.

The more I hear from others that Christians have no fun, I  basically feel that Christians do have fun-the difference is they have fun without the things that some non-Christians find fun. I have chosen to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God and by a different standard. When people say they are living the “good life”,  I don’t buy into that.

There are many who will debate and argue with you no matter what. It doesn’t do any good to argue with anyone since they can’t really understand where I am coming from. Many will say, “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you will die.” Or, you will hear some say, “you only live life once, so make it good.  When you hear someone say this it usually means: eat to excess; get drunk; and do stupid things you’d never do if you were not drunk. It also refers to the belief that life based on doing whatever makes you feel good, without regard to anything else.” My sister-in-law would say these things also. I found it incredibly sad that she thought she was happy and having fun as she was checking out of reality because of the drug induced haze that was going on in her mind and life.

God is the center of my life and when we allow things that are so-called fun, we are allowing those things to pull us away from Christ and that hurts us. There are many things like that may give us pleasure and we have short-lived fun, but it isn’t going to last forever. Eventually you are going to crash and burn. During some of my conversations with Carol when she wasn’t plastered, which wasn’t often, she had a hard time being happy in her own skin and life. She was unhappy and unfulfilled.

I have no problem honoring God, even if that means I can’t do certain things. I mean, I could do whatever, but they wouldn’t be fun for me. I prefer to please God. I try not to become judgmental or condescending of my non-Christian friends. Sometimes it may come off that way, but it isn’t intended. I guess I just don’t get what is fun about partying and playing games that could cost you your life.

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 reads, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” In other words we can glorify God by enjoying the meal I am about to sit down and eat. I can glorify God by simply appreciating His blessings and being human.

In closing,  For some like my sister-in-law Carol fun means drugs, premarital sex and gambling and so on —  Since these were the things she was concerned about I would telling her that if you aren’t happy and having to do the things she is doing to be happy, then her true result is that she wasn’t happy. She felt good when she was high, but empty when it comes to her life. I do hope she found a true sense of peace before her passing.. This is not the way God intended us to live. God has a better plan for my life and our life.

Missions and Outreach

I am writing a bit more about this subject on my blog since I know many from my church that does subscribe to this blog. If you don’t attend my church or you live in areas outside of my town, you may want to see what your church offers.
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Matthew 28:18-20 

  • And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
If you have a heart for local and international outreach, this may be something you might want to look into and become involved.
The Missions Ministry team believes that being the “hand and feet” of Jesus lends itself to two distinct categories – local missions and outreach.
The Missions and Outreach team will work on meeting the needs of those who live right here in our very own back yards whether it is working with the homeless by handing out “Tide You Over ” bags or reaching out to the students at Dixie State University, we will be doing what we need to do in order to reaching them.
Our Local Outreach team works on meeting the needs of those right here in our own back yard – whether it is the homeless, the hungry or those who need shelter. This group works hard to meet the specific and broad needs of those in our community.
There are a number of things St. George Community Church would like to get involved in and with. There will be many opportunities to let those in our community know about us. This is something that anyone of any age and fitness level can get involved in. Some areas will take a bit more work. For those who want to help, I would like to say that we will do our very best to not overwhelm you.
It is said that people get burned out because they are doing everything. In my opinion it shouldn’t be just a few people doing everything. Those who would be members of this team will not be expected to do it all. Prayer partners are needed and an invaluable assets in any church. While some of the things we are going to be brainstorming over may seem like a lot, I can guarantee you that while some things take a bit more, it will be rewarding at the same time.
We are looking for volunteers with a good attitude and a willingness to serve. I love Missions and Outreach. When I can looking into a persons eyes while listening to them, I feel incredibly blessed. As a Christian, it is important to understand what it means to share God’s love with a hurting soul.
God has been putting many things on my heart as many can tell. As I was pondering what it is that God is wanting me to do, I guess for the most part I am committed to helping children, college students and families know God’s love, follow Jesus and dive into His Word (The Bible).
Since Dixie State University is due to start pretty soon, it is time for St. George Community church to reach out to the lost. Not only are we to reach out to those around the world like the Fowlers in Ethiopia, we need to reach out those around us. Part of the responsibilities of the Mission and Outreach Team at my church is to regularly pray for, communicate with and be sure to oversee the funding of the missionaries that our church sponsors.
Since the budget has been already done for this year, we will be seeking private donations for advertising and other materials. I know that God will provide what we need. I have zero doubt that God will provide the people, funds and support that we need. I have a bit of a pet peeve when it comes to people who think that a check is all that is needed. While we will be needing monetary donations, donations of time and service will also be needed. We don’t expect those who are unable to hand out flyers and to talk to those who we need to talk to do that. Praying is a huge huge part of Missions and Outreach.
I will be having a special meeting at my church for those who want to become involved. Each and every persons voice will be listened to and respected. This isn’t my team. God is over our team and each and every person has good ideas and experiences. If someone has a heart for Missions and Outreach, then God has more than likely put someone on their heart.

The church I attend we take seriously what Jesus has commanded us to do, “Go into All the World.” As Christians and because my church is a Christian church, we believe that it is important to come to church, but we are also to BE the church to those in our neighborhood, community, area, country and the world. God has blessed us in so many ways and because of those blessings we also have a great responsibility.

I will be giving out more information about Missions and Outreach as we go along. I hope and pray that people at church will sign up and volunteer to answering “Gods Call”, not just mine.

In closing I just want to say, that we strive to share God’s love with children and lead them to follow Jesus in obedience to Jesus’ command to “let the little children come to me and not hinder them” (Mark 10:14). We work to help people of all ages to meet God every day through Bible reading and prayer because God’s word is truly “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” for all who read and obey it (Psalm 119:105).

 

Reaching Out To Others

Today I have been working on stuff for my church today. Really I have been thinking on things for some time. Friday I went to Pastor Ray to discuss a few things. I’m sure he was wondering what I had up my sleeve since I wanted to call a meeting.

112For a number of years I have been on the Missions and Outreach Team at my church. I was the Team Leader for quite some time. After a while I became frustrated with it since I couldn’t get people to understand that there is more to Missions and Outreach than just writing a check. Yeah, sure, money is great, but there is more that is needed. We all need to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are hurting physically, emotionally and spiritually.

When I consider what it means to focus on Missions and Outreach, I feel it is equipping ordinary people like myself to go out and do awesome things in the name of Jesus Christ so that all can see, hear and experience God’s love.

  • In the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), God gave the Church its marching orders: Go—to the whole world, to the end of the age. While in the original Greek, poreuomai is a participle, it shares the force of the imperative command to “make disciples.”

It was difficult to get people to join the Missions and Outreach Team. I guess it is intimidating when you think about it. After a while people would tell me that they aren’t able to go here and there. They aren’t physically able to go out and dig wells. I guess they were watching too much TV or listening to visiting missionaries. As I talked to them I would let them know that each and every one of us lives in a mission field. There is always going to be those who needs to experience God’s love.

While my friend Lisa and I were discussing things prior to talking to our pastor, we really wanted to keep our focus on what is important. After many discussions, it became apparent that it is important that every Christ-follower discover what their unique gift is and to use those gifts when witnessing and glorying God. Each and every person has a God-given gift. when I look around those who I go to church with, I realize that many have forgotten how special they are and what gifts God has given them. If there are those who would like to help with Missions and Outreach, I would love to hear from you. Well, those that goes to my church🙂.. But, we could use prayers from all over the world.

My friend Lisa has a deep desire to be a part of Voice of the Martyrs. She has a big heart when it comes to serving others and sharing the Gospel with those who have never heard the Word. I never knew that she was as involved with Voice of the Martyrs till a couple of weeks ago.

My daughter Jessica loves children. She teaches the children for our Mid-Week Service, VBS and during the Worship Service if there are children at church. Jessica doesn’t really have the gift of marketing and getting the word out to those who needs to hear it. But, that is a gift that I have. I have never been taught computer, it just happened. I did work in sales for many years and I would train people to become better sales representatives, rebuttal (stand your ground). I did this directly and indirectly. I never really thought it would come in handy until I moved to my town. I left that part of my life behind when we moved to Utah.

As I got to know more people at church, it boggles my mind that there are so many talented and gifted people. I can totally understand that people are tired and not feeling good. You don’t have to go out knocking on doors in order to reach those who need to know more about God. I think sometimes we are so much into our comfort zone that we are frozen like statues in our seats. I honestly don’t think God intended us to just sit there and be quiet. If we are breathing, then God isn’t done with us. He still has a purpose for our lives.

Here are a few questions I have been asking myself lately;

  • Why not use your skills or special abilities to reach others.
  • Why not invite people to church?
  • Why not get involved in Bible Studies? 

As we were sitting down with Pastor Ray, a few things came to mind. One of those things is how Satan is our true enemy. Satan is our accuser, tempter, deceiver and adversary. Satan is working overtime to try to convince us to doubt God’s truth and he wants us to believe his lies. It seems as if Satan is deliberately attacking those who believe in Christ.

I say this because there has been some crazy things happening lately. There has been a lot of squabbling over various things. I know there are always going to be differences and differences of opinions. I do feel that there is a spiritual warfare going on and I don’t know how people can’t see it.  Maybe I just see things from a different perspective. While our church is a very loving church, there have been some that aren’t acting as if they are loving. Maybe this is why I have been having all of these Mission and Outreach things on my heart right now. When there are people who are involved in conflict, it discourages those  who are seeking  and searching.

As for my own personal feelings, I done with those who gripe and complain constantly. When they keep saying, “we need to change this”, or “we need to do that.”. Well, the “WE” is “ME and YOU“. It is vital to run as fast as you can away from temptations to sin and to focus on praying against Satan’s plans to hurt you and to hurt other people.

I asked a few questions earlier about why not use your skills and special abilities to help others. Why is it OK to just sit there? It isn’t OK. Even if you can’t physically go out of the house or to donate your time or money, you can pray. Prayer is the most powerful tool there is. Our church offers opportunities for people to come to the church and pray for students and community members. I wonder how many people realize that Pastor Ray goes out to the parking lot, sets up a table, gives away Bibles, water and tracts. He prays for each and every person. Since Stan passed away, it has only been Pastor Ray. I get a bit ticked over this one as you can tell. I don’t get why there aren’t others that are willing to help pray. It doesn’t cost a dime. I didn’t even realize that he has been the ONLY one to show up and pray for the students at Dixie State University. I hope on this next one in September that there will be a few others that will help.

Where: Church Parking Lot

When: Tuesday, September 6th and Weds, 7th from 9am-11am.

Then as I was talking to Pastor Ray, something else came to mind and that is the Mid-Week Bible Study of Ephesians. I never really paid much attention to this little tid bit till my friend brought it up. Why is it during the summer months that people feel it is important to take a three-month break from Bible Studies. I have been coming to my church for over 20 years and I have never really noticed that. But, literally people stop living in the summer months. I wonder what God would think about taking a three-month break from Him. Sorry, another one of my triggers.

I wonder what the Fowler’s in Ethiopia would do if they could only have studies on nice days where no air conditioning was needed? The Fowlers are missionaries that live with the Gumuz people. They live in a shack basically. None of the modern amenities that we have.Yet, the tribes they are reaching will walk hours to go to church. They sit on dirt floors.  I know I may offend some people by what I am saying, but I just don’t get it! We stop going to Bible Studies because it is to hot outside or that we have a disagreement. Shoot, I disagree on many things. I use those times as a learning tool. I crack open my Bible and I ask God to show me what the truths are. If I don’t understand what my pastor is saying, I ask him. Lord knows I don’t like the music that is sung all the time. But, at least I can go to church and I’m not there for the music.

I was pretty shocked to see that there was only 6 people who came out for the Bible Study. The way I see it, it seems evident that Satan is trying to wage war and we need to be standing firm against him. If you would like to go to the mid-week Bible Study at my church, it is;

St. George Community Church, 95 South 800 east

  • Wednesday–1:00 PM – Elliott Hall, Ephesians, Pastor Ray teaching all summer.

Ephesians 2:1-10 – Exhibitions of God’s Grace

Observe Paul’s flow of thought: You were dead, but God made us alive and raised us up with Christ. You deserved his wrath, but now you’ve been saved by grace. Amazing. And why did God do it? Verse 7: “So that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

In closing I just want to say that  as Christians we are engaged in war. We need to keep in mind that Jesus will be returning soon and our time is limited, so is the time that we have to live on this earth. I know my days are numbered, just like anyone else. I plan on making the most out of my time by fighting evil and sharing the Gospel with anyone and everyone. 

 

 

Mattie Bennett

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Mattie Bennett

When I was in high school in the 80’s I lived in Willcox, AZ. There were many people who helped me get through all of the things that was going on in my home life. Even if they didn’t realize how things were within our home, they knew something wasn’t right. One of the many people who was literally person of joy was Mattie Bennett. Mattie went home to be with the Lord in 2006.

Her son Harry Myers was the pastor of the Church of the Nazarene in Willcox. Her grand-daughter Diana was a good friend of mine. Since my family was off their ever-living rockers, there was the Myers Family which included Mattie Bennett.

My friend Shirley Morganti posted this picture. I know many who don’t act their age. I hope I am one of those people. When I seen this saying posted on Shirley’s wall, I immediately thought of Mattie. As I write this, I have a smile on my face when I think of her.

I had to have been around 14 yrs old when I first got to know Mattie. I was over at the Myers house like I was most of the time. Mattie comes into the house with this big smile. Mattie had this presence when she entered the room. I don’t know exactly how to word that since Mattie was Mattie.

She and I got to know each other quite well. It is because of her that I write poetry. One day after Mattie came to pick me up from my house to take her to hers, she and I sat down in front of her sewing machine. I was hoping to God that she wasn’t going to make me sew. The only time I ever sewed anything, it fell apart. I didn’t realize that there is a temporary stitch on sewing machines, lol. Well, I will leave the rest up to your imagination lol.

While Mattie was sitting in front of her machine, she was sharing her poetry and how her poetry and writing helped her deal with things in her life. She would write down her prayers or whatever came to mind. To this day I wish I would have saved some of her poems for my own use, but that isn’t possible.

After she and I went through her poems she invited me into the kitchen where Dink (her husband) was making homemade cornbread. I’m sure there was some soup in the meal somewhere, but the simplicity of Matties words really spoke to me. Mattie took my hand into hers and told me that no matter what anyone else does to me in this life, that God loves me and He won’t leave me. Of course I just bawled. It was the simple gesture of her holding my hand and sharing her words that touched my life.

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We got on the subject of age somehow. She was telling me that I believe she was in her 60’s. I was in shocked. She lived her life in such a joyful way.  I’m guessing she had a bit of a ornery streak, which is OK too. I have seen many people who were younger than she was that was cranky, beaten and obviously never took care of themselves. Mattie was far from what I would consider old. Mattie had a youthfulness about her.

I know many women that are like that and it blows my mind when they say how old they are. I think that people needs to stop counting the years and live each day in a way that is joyous. Mattie showed me that even at 60 you can be 16 lol. She would tell me all the time she was like a 16 yr old. Even though her hair was salt and pepper, she had the heart and joy of a 16 yr old. She did tell me eventually she will be 40 and that will be at the end of her life. She was larger than life in my eyes in so so many ways. There are so many stories I can share about Mattie.

Mattie took me home around 4 in the afternoon. She knew if I was gone to long that I would be in deep trouble. Not a little bit of trouble, but a lot of trouble. I ran away from home a few times till I finally made it out of the abuse and beatings.

But, on the way home Mattie asked me if I was going to go to church the next day. I told her I would be, but I have to be up around 4 or so to do that. She asked my why so early. I told her that my parents did not want any of us kids going to church. They do allow it to show face, but the only way I could go to church is if all the chores are done. Not just my chores, but all chores. So, that was hanging cloths on the clothes lines and whatever else.

Then she told me as she was hugging me, she said I will show up to pick you up and you will go to church. I did my chores and Mattie showed up and honked the horn. I told mom and dad that I was going to church now since Mattie was there to pick me up. I got yelled at and all kinds of other profanities. But, Mattie and I knew that mom and dad weren’t going to stop me because it would look bad. Mattie made it possible for me to be able to go to church.

I don’t know if many knew some of these things about Mattie. One of the ways she would make it possible for me to go to church was that she would use her sewing as an excuse. She would tell me that I should bring cloths with me to church and tell my parents that she was going to sew them up for me. There were many Sundays that I would go home with Mattie, have cornbread and fresh chicken eggs from her eggs. As I think of this memory of Mattie, I wonder if she ever told anyone why I was over there all the time. I confided in her more than anyone else. I felt safer with my words when I talked to her.

Mattie got to the point where she would call over to the house to tell mom and dad what time they would be there to get me. She didn’t ask if I could go or not. She just assumed I would go and told mom and dad good night and that was it, lol. Over time, it was easier to go even though I still had to do all the chores and I was half-dressed running out the door. Which I got in trouble at church a few times for not wearing appropriate cloths. Dixie Myers didn’t know my situation and I wasn’t about to share it with anyone. I just told her I would try to do my best next time.

Matties youthful attitude and the love she showed me molded me in a way that still touches my life today. The Myers Family was the family that I used as an example for how I raise my kids and live my life. To me, they will always be family. Mattie taught me to stick up for myself. She made me stronger when it came to how I talked to my parents. There were times I had to literally fight to get out of the house. It was a physical and emotional departure each Sunday and Weds. I wish my sister Joyce could have found this kind of support outside of the house.

When I finally left the house for good when I was in my teens, I let my parents know that while I loved them, I couldn’t continue living my life this way.  Even as a young teenager, I knew that I had to do something. Something had to change. It took a number of people to help me get out of the house and get to where I would be safe. There were a number of people who took a chance to help me, even knowing they could get in trouble with the law. I wish I could have taken my sister Joyce with me. I had to leave her behind and unfortunately she got the brunt of the punishment after I left. I have carried a great deal of guilt over the years about leaving Joyce behind. I can’t go into what happened to her since that is her choice to share, but she carried the brunt of the abuse after I left in so many ways. I knew what the Bible said and I knew something big had to happen.

Nothing in my house was Godly. It was a battle each and everyday when it comes to fighting to even talk about God. Mattie told me that one day I should write and make sure to always stick with God. God would see me through everything. I thank God for all the people it took to raise the person who is writing this. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all the Matties, Myers and secret helpers to get me out.

One day I hope and pray to see Mattie again. She went to be with the Lord a number of years. It broke my heart when I heard she is with the Lord, but at the same time I rejoice that she is with the Lord. She probably looks like she is 16 again, lol.

 

 

 

Eye For an Eye- Tit For Tat

With all of the craziness going on right now Exodus 21:23-25 came to mind. I would think all Christians would know this verse since it is used for the most part the sense of punishment. As I was listening to the DNC/RNC sides and why they think they are the best candidate, this verse is known as the “an eye for an eye” concept.

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My brain has been working overtime on this verse, and that is because I have been imagining all kinds of craziness. So, let me take you on a stroll down my crazy lane thoughts and then I will go into what the concept of “an eye for an eye.”

So, here it goes;

  • If someone stole a candy bar or another item, then they would have their hands chopped off. It is better to lose your hand instead of loosing your life.
  • If you broke someones leg or other bodily part, then they would lose their leg.
  • If you lusted after a man/woman, then you would lose your site. I would think we would have a lot of people running around with no eyes. Not what I want to see.
  • If someone a county bombs us, then we are to bomb them in return.
  • If someone kicks you, then in return you would kick them.
  • If someone burns you, then in return you would burn them.
  • In Exodus 21:16 it states that whoever kidnaps a person then they should receive the death penalty.

The idea of “an eye for eye,” which is also called jus talionis or lex talionis ( Latin, ‘law of retaliation’), may have originated in ancient near-Eastern and Middle Eastern law, such as Babylonian law. Basically what they are saying is that the punishment must fit the crime and there should be a just penalty for evil actions. If we were to take “an eye for an eye” alone, we would find people with no eyes, hands or fingers missing and heads rolling around because their mind was thinking about things it wasn’t suppose to.

Again my thoughts return to the phrase”An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The whole world would be blind and have no teeth. I guess that would be a good way to lose weight, lol. If you can eat since you have no teeth, then you may have a problem.

Old Testament Times

In  Deuteronomy 19:20-21.  The “eye for an eye” points out where God was pretty much letting them know what the punishment would be for anyone who gets into their mind that they would injure another person in a physical way.

The follower of Christ lives by the law of forgiveness.  Not only are we to avoid seeking revenge on our enemies, but we are to show them love (Luke 6:27).  I have a bit of a problem in this area. I know that we are supposed to love our enemies, but I have a hard time doing that. The way I respond is that if they are going to do this to me, I am going to get even and make them pay for what they are doing. It’s pretty easy to justify doing to them what they did to me. However, that those who are believers in Jesus Christ, that we should NOT be revengeful since that God is in charge.
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While I was looking into the whole ‘eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ I decided to venture in the slapping of the cheeks.I would like to add that if someone slapped me,  I may have to deck them, lol.  We are also told to not resist evil. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”

When we read about God in the Old Testament He spoke about an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I’m willing to bet that God wasn’t intending us to retaliate if anyone does something to you. He isn’t giving you the green light to get even with them if they would poke your eye out. And when they do that, you go chasing them down like a mad woman so you can poke his/her eyes out. I would guess it would be hard to go running after them if you had no eyes. Hmmm! If he knocks your tooth out, then you best be getting some pliers and get his. Hopefully they will fit in your mouth lol. Seriously, don’t go chasing down people so you can poke their eyes out or to get their teeth. That’s pretty barbaric if you ask me.

I think I have problems with the turning the other cheek thing because I am an American. In our society we are conditioned to think that we all have certain rights. Which we have probably more than any other country. I can’t help but feel that while we are demanding all of these things that we are missing the point or grace and forgiveness. I honestly feel that we are the ME society instead of focusing on love. We are conscious of what our rights are. The mentality is that “you’ll never get away with that.” All the while under your secretly plotting on how you will get even.

With the presidential elections coming up and all the campaigning, my heart and mind is distracted. While I was watching the conventions for the Republicans/Trump and the Democrats/Hillary, I couldn’t help but notice how on the outside they look courageous, strong and made of steel. While I am watching this fiasco happening before my eyes, it became apparent that there are those who look down on the people. I find it shameful that there are those who would sell their souls in order to be part of the inner circle.  I can’t stand in unison with someone or associate with someone who goes against what is right. I’m not willing to choose the lesser of two evils. It doesn’t matter who the lesser of the two evils are, evil is evil no matter how you spell it out. You have those who look up to these candidates as if they are going to be their savior.

As I looked at all of the people in the crowds during the conferences and in our country,  I couldn’t help but think about Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Those who were welcoming Jesus wasn’t proud nor over the top, but simply humble. Jesus, the King of Kings, chose to demonstrate His humility by riding on a humble creature. As He rode into Jerusalem, they were cheering him. As I watched these historical moments that were spread out for days, I would listen to the crowds as they praised and worship the candidates as if either of them greater than Jesus, it makes me ill.

One of the things that I have noticed lately is that we have groups that are fighting for their rights and these fights take place in our society. As we see these things play out, lawlessness becomes the norm. People are demanding their rights and selfishness is taking place. We all have certain rights, but when those rights hurt others, then we need to re-evaluate them. Just because we have a right to do something, that doesn’t mean we should. People are loosing sight of who and what is important. The ugliness of the human heart struggles to get even with mankind and anyone who thinks differently. Morals are being thrown out the window .

As I ponder the meaning of “an eye for an eye,” and “turning the other cheek,” I go to Romans 14-15, where it says, “Don’t use your liberty to make anyone stumble.” Yes, we have rights, but there are times that those rights are offensive to others and not pleasing to God. It seems like people are seeing how far they can push the envelope and fight for what our rights are. I guess I have the mentality that I live here on this planet, but it isn’t my home. As I look at how society is unforgiving, vengeful and retaliate it makes me want to see Jesus Christ coming in to save the day.

As I think about the Sermon on the Mount, I couldn’t help by notice the similarities of our time. The scribes and the Pharisees believed they were self-righteous based on their own merits. They beleived that they could enter the Kingdon of God because of their own self-righteousness.

FYI- What’s With Turning the Other Cheek?

In Western society today, one person spitting on another is a contemptuous, especially offensive insult. In the time of Jesus, being slapped on the right cheek was similarly offensive. The average person was assumed to be right-handed, thus the perception was that striking a person on the right cheek required with a backhanded slap. That action was one of the more egregious insults in the ancient world. It communicated utter contempt toward someone considered inferior. In fact, it was such a serious offense that both Jewish and Roman law allowed a victim of this kind of slap to take his abuser to court and demand restitution. Source- Beliefnet.com.

Answering God’s Call

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For about 10 years now, I have been have been having a difficult time when it comes to local missions and outreach. I live in a town that has so many outreach opportunities that I can’t even wrap my head around it. My friend Lisa and I have been having some discussions on how to reach out to those in our area that needs to know about Christ.

I use to be the team leader for the Missions and Outreach board at my church. I am still on the board, but there has been very little going on with it. I stepped down as team leader because I was really bothered that most of the ones on the board has this thought that signing a check and giving people money is all that is involved with Missions and Outreach.

I asked my previous pastors about going into the community and talking to those around us. God put it on my heart that something else needs to happen.We need to be reaching the unsaved, lost and broken people and families in the area. Over time, I became frustrated and pretty much threw in the towel. I wasn’t seeing anything done that I would consider reaching out to those in our area.

Even though I remained on the board, I was no longer active when it came to reaching out to those who have been beaten down physically, emotionally and financially. I was at a point where I couldn’t see some of those at church wanting to really do anything. They were in their comfort zone and they were happy with check writing.

I totally get that there are people who can’t physically go out into our community. But, there are other opportunities to serve. I sincerely believe that God has given each and every one of His children unique gifts. We should be finding ways to share the Gospel by serving others in the name of Jesus Christ, and by making a difference to those who are homeless, hungry, depression and have lives that are broken and shattered.

When I first moved to St. George, it was like a foreign country. My daughters were upset that we moved to a state that was for the most part “Mormon.” It was a hard transition for all of us. My husband was on the road most of the time and would be gone for weeks and sometimes months. We didn’t know anyone when we came here. Thankfully when we were getting my husband ready to start his job we found a church.

Since I already met the pastor while we were here, it was a plus. The only negative about the church was that there were no kids or young adults. For the most part, there was only seniors there. My daughters couldn’t make friends since we weren’t “Mormon”. I knew I needed to get something going at church. They needed friends and so did I. I talked to Pastor Keck about getting something started. I didn’t know what, but something had to be done. My daughters were treated as outsiders and many of the parents that had children that were “Mormon” wouldn’t let the girls associate with their kids.

Eventually we were able to get a youth group going. The youth and young adults consisted for the most part of those who were shunned by the community. They didn’t feel like they fit in anywhere because they weren’t the normal for around here. It took probably about a year to get something going, but it did happen. The reason it happened is because we kept on keeping on.

After about 6 months, we had 4 kids, mine included to be part of the youth group. Within a year I would say there was about 10 kids. After a year or so, I finally met someone my age that was also Christian. She would help me with lessons and the kids. Little by little the group grew to around 3o children and some families with children. I didn’t feel that outreach was a gift that God gave me.

We have been going to my church for over 21 years now. When we first came here, there wasn’t much diversity. When we started the youth and young adults, we had many at church that would go out of their way to reach those who many gave up on. Most churches didn’t want the kids and the young families that came to the weekly meetings and to church. The reason why some churches didn’t want them there was because they couldn’t really pay tithes because they had nothing. Many of the kids were abused and for the most part the streets where raising them. Some of the kids came from alcoholic families and some were involved in drugs themselves.

One young man was into music that was very dark. He would challenge me and would try to shock me by coming to church wearing gothic clothing, piercings and so on. I would never comment about what he wore. I wasn’t interested in that. I was interested in his soul and sharing the Gospel with him and the other children. After a few months he stopped wearing gothic cloths and was more respectful of those around him. He had a smile on his face. He even got to the point where he was the first one to church for our evening Bible Studies and times or worship.

None of the other churches wanted them. But, I welcomed him with open arms. What was awesome also was that the people at church would do whatever it took to help. We had some who would frown when the families that lived on the street came to church, but for the most part the people at church welcomed them with open arms.

Barbara Antrim mom Ann would be there each week to help serve snacks and would give the children rides to and from church. Each month we would have a simple dinner for the children and the family. It wasn’t the church that paid for it, it was the people who volunteered. If people couldn’t cook, they would provide pizza or whatever it was that they needed. There was probably 5 or 6 people who would show up to help. Some of the members who donate privately or pay for the kids to do something special.

These children and young adults lives were changed because of people answering God’s call. Some of these children that attended our youth and young adults meetings are now living their lives for Christ. One young man is a pastor. Another child who wanted to commit suicide because he was told that he was worthless and would amount to nothings since he was going to our church is working with children that have special needs. Another young lady that never felt loved unless she was with a man, is now happily married and a mom. Lives are changed when we answer the call and we love those who may not feel love from anyone else.

The reason I bring this up is that there is a need that has to be filled. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do it. I’m going to talk to Pastor Ray about some things that God has put on my heart.

In a world that is filled with pain and darkness it is our responsibility to share our experiences of God and to reach out to those who are in pain. We aren’t doing anyone any good if we just sit in a pew each week and let live pass us by. I feel very stong about answering the call. Even if a person will pray for others, that is awesome.

We don’t need to go to another country in order to be involved in “Missions and Outreach”. We all can make a difference by meeting the needs of our community and world by sharing God’s love in a variety of ways that build relationship and provide opportunities to share God’s plan of salvation.

  • Isaiah 6:8“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me”
  • Matthew 25:37-40, Jesus said, “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’”
  •  Luke 18:16-17, Jesus taught, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Some of the areas that I would like to talk to Pastor Ray about and I am hoping that others will join in. I know physically it will be difficult for me to do everything. My prayer is that others will jump on board and answer the call. God puts all of these things on my heart and I know that He will provide those who have a desire to make a difference.

I know that life is busy, but there is comes a time where we need to walk alongside those in our community and help them discover God’s awesome and amazing love for them. When we reach out to those that are strangers right now. It’s time to get off our hinny’s and share the good news of what Jesus hs done. Jesus Christ died for sinners, He rose again and He is alive today. Now is the time to shout from all the mountains about how He changed our lives and how awesome and exciting it is to love and serve others. God has a purpose for each and every one of us.

There are many forms of outreach, but what is important is that we live in the midst of a mission field. It doesn’t matter where you live, each and every one of us has an opportunity and a responsibility to verbally share the gospel and to reach out to those beyond the walls of our church and to serve those who are in need.

There is a perfect song that I listen to on Klove that God spoke to me through. The song is called, “Do Something” and here are a couple of verses.  Once there was a person who prayed, “God, there is so much suffering around me… why don’t You do something?”

She heard nothing. All day, the frustration and indignation continued to grow inside her. Then suddenly, that evening, God spoke to her: “I did do something; I made you.”

I’m going to be praying that God sends the right people to help with reaching out to those in our community.

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