January 22, 2018

January 22, 2018

I hate drinking water. I don’t know why that is. I will walk around thirsty all day, in and out of the kitchen, but I won’t pour myself one glass. I’ll even share my thermos with TD (believe it or not) without taking a sip myself. Not so with my little people. They drink gallons daily; we’re constantly refilling the pitcher. And not only do they guzzle water, they consume every bit of juice, tea, milk, or soda we have in the house. Me? I will nurse my coffee until it’s time to take my meds before bed. Java makes my world go ’round. And that leads me to the woman at the well, the subject of our Sunday school lesson. John 4:1-30 describes how Jesus quenched her thirst—not the kind that you satisfy at the kitchen sink, but the soul-deep need that only the Savior can fulfill. He met that need, and she shared her news, leading others to run and learn about that living water. We should be running, too, sharing “the one thing we know,” what Pastor Livingston taught in church. That one thing is Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. This is Who and What the blind man professed when Jesus healed Him (John 9). The sermon reminded us to look beyond what we see and feel, to be encouraged, healed, and filled by the Living Word that lives within us, just as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for...
December 10, 2017

December 10, 2017

After church today, Songbird and Hubby’s conversation turned to green peas. Don’t ask me why. I don’t eat green peas. Neither does Hubby. We’ll eat them with the corn, beans, and sausage in our soup. We’ll tuck them under the crust of our chicken pot pie with the other veggies. But plop a spoonful of plain green peas beside our pork chops, chicken, ribs, or roast? Perish the thought. Not my fam, Sam-I-Am. My mama cooked field peas or black-eyed peas with ham hocks or other meat, but she didn’t make me eat a lot of green peas. So, I didn’t develop the habit or the taste buds to eat them. And since neither Hubby nor I eat green peas, our little people don’t eat them, and it’s unlikely they’ll serve them to my grand peeps. It’s going to take the love of a son- or daughter-in-law to introduce the hidden beauty of green peas into their life. Now, what does this have to do with Jesus (because you know it does)? I don’t really care if they eat green peas, what some call the “world’s healthiest food.” We supply enough collards, cabbage, green beans, kale, zucchini, and broccoli to make up for it. What I care about most is that they serve the greatest God. I want to witness the blessings of Jesus coming out rather than the benefit of peas going in. My folks passed down a healthy helping of faith. They took me to church—dragged me, if you will—on Sunday mornings, New Year’s Eve, and Wednesday nights. I sang in the junior choir, sat through Sunday school, and attended VBS. I admit I...
October 15, 2017

October 15, 2017

Today was all about transformation. For one, we changed up our routine to have an early birthday celebration. Breakfast was inspired by Chick-Fil-A’s breakfast bowl: a layering of block potatoes, scrambled eggs, chicken, bacon, and cheddar cheese. This breakfast bar pleased everyone (now, that’s a change) because you could get a lot of something, or a little, or none at all. Hubby topped his with diced tomatoes and ketchup (of all things), but I stuck with the potatoes, bacon, chives, and cheese. And don’t worry, my more health-conscious friends, we ended our day with a vegetable: sweet potato pound cake. Change was the subject of our Sunday school lesson as well. We talked about our natural tendencies to satisfy self, “be happy,” and seek acceptance. Then we applied the truths of Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 5:17, which show how God replaces the natural with His supernatural love of others, joy despite circumstances, and rejection of the world’s offerings. The old becomes new. We prayed for this newness of heart, to see more of Him and less of us. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9) Reverend Livingston’s sermon was the powdered sugar on our cake. He inspired me to change my response to testing: to persevere instead of giving up and to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:19) It goes against my nature to seal my lips, not to complain, fuss, or wail, to use my faith as a defense rather than my lips as...
July 9, 2017

July 9, 2017

During Sunday school, we talked about “serving.” When we visualize that concept, we see Jesus turning water into wine, healing the sick, encouraging the meek and poor in spirit on the Sermon on the Mount, washing the disciples’ feet, and ultimately giving His life for ours. But as we chopped potatoes and whisked eggs, Hubby helped the little people grasp servanthood as more than a spiritual ideal. It’s what we do day-to-day; it’s our attitude regarding our work and our calling; it’s a reflection of our relationship with God and a result of our relationships with others. In serving we should…  “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12) Relationships was on the menu in church as well. First Corinthians 10:32, 33 says, Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Sometimes, that passage feels like another lofty ideal. But it’s imperative we live it out in real, practical ways in our service to God and man. That scripture doesn’t mean I should lie about my beliefs and experiences to appease others or ignore my core values to seem chill to my little people. It means I need to live true to my faith—choosing love, not legalism, and “putting relationships over rules,” as Pastor Livingston taught. And I need to do that as a parent, a friend, a child, a believer, and a servant. Yes, we’re breaking all kinds of rules over...
July 3, 2017

July 3, 2017

  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. (Isaiah 55:2) We’ve been ripping and running the past few weeks, and we’ve skipped a lot of things. Sadly, eating hasn’t been one of them. No matter how far we roamed, our stomachs insisted on going with us. Cooking and kitchen cleanup on vacation? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Eating out every meal? Ain’t nobody got money for that either. Ouch…but oh, those Duck Donuts were good. Our comings and goings also impacted our worship. We’ve done devotions standing up, tuned into sermons in the car, abbreviated Sunday school, missed Bible study, and sprinkled prayers over folks as they’ve run out the door. We didn’t dive as deeply as I like, but we kept our toes in the water. I suppose that’s the greatest blessing in this technological age that drives me crazy with all the accessibility it creates: Have Jesus, will travel. Yesterday felt like a “Throwback Sunday.” It was the first in a bit that we sat down and ate and worshipped together, even though it was a missing man formation. And really, I can’t remember when I last had fried bologna with my grits. Talk about memories of sitting around mama’s table–memories that were tastier than than the crab cakes, asparagus, and saffron jasmine rice I enjoyed with Hubby over the weekend. No, that bologna wasn’t the fanciest or the healthiest or the prettiest on camera, but it did my heart good. The sermon also gave my heart a...
June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017

Chocolate chips. Blueberries. And now, honey butter, the latest addition to our waffle recipe. This morning we learned if you just stir in a smidge of honey to softened or melted butter and smear it across your hot waffle, you’ll be in…okay, not heaven, but transported to a comfy seat at our table, right beside a very satisfied Maven. While the batter sizzled we talked about Proverbs 4, focusing on verse 7: “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” That’s an important reminder to us, in our scramble for college degrees, paychecks, publishing contracts, healthy food, friends, peace, exercise routines, sleep, recognition, or even just a Krispy Kreme doughnut to call my own. In all our getting, get understanding. Get Jesus. Jesus—one of the four “main characters” at the feeding of the five thousand. The others were the disciples, the crowd, and the boy with “five barley loaves and two small fish.” (John 6:9) Today, in his message at Central Church of God, Dr. Paul Conn helped us picture ourselves there in this Bible story by asking, “Who are you?” Do you overstep into your Father’s role, taking responsibility for sowing the seed, watering the seed, growing the seed, and reaping the final harvest? Are you one of the crowd, hungry for a Word, in need of a healing, searching for a miracle or just a crust of bread? Perhaps you’re an obedient disciple, anxious to protect your King, ready to obey, grateful to sit at His feet and spread His message. Or you might be “the lad,” holding something precious and willingly giving it up, seeing it multiplied and...