tHaT rOaD isn’t eVen oN tHe mAp!

Warning confusion aheadOn the journey with CHRIST, MapQuest isn’t part of the deal. People refer to the BIBLE as a map, but in my opinion, a more befitting view of GOD’S WORD is-divine compass, spiritual warfare army fatigues, healing balm, joy-meter, hope floater, problem solver, dictionary, unlimited text messages 🙂 It’s an ultimate travel manual full of essential, vital information on the Highway to Holiness, but you’re not going to get precise destinations spelled out nor can you pinpoint a preferred route. Well, you could-but chances are VERY likely that you’ll stay L.O.S.T.  You better pack plenty of BLIND FAITH if you expect to cross the finish line because you aren’t going to know where you are or why you are there half of the time!

One of the most relevant scriptures for my personal journey is, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you aren’t able to hear them right now“. In other words, Lis, if you want to make this leg of the race easier, trust me on this. Don’t stress out trying to map out where this road leads. Don’t ask for details because if I tell you in advance, you’ll be afraid to go any further.LOST to find ourselvesWhat I’ve learned is; don’t waste energy mapping out the destinations; when I’ve done so, it didn’t end well. There are roads that GOD led me down eons ago that to this day, I don’t understand. Detours that HE’S chosen lately have baffled me silly, still I’m confident that what HE does in my life, no matter how HE does it-will always be what HE has determined BEST for me. Blind faith enables me to keep moving whether I see the road clearly or not & in the rubble of the confusing places- dark & painful as they may have been, it’s not the suffering that lingers in my memory so vividly as the indescribable, unique intimacy that evolved when I had no other source but HIM to place my hope.

SHARK in DESERTWhen on scary terrain, places where the fog is so thick it sucks the breath from us, it’s natural to cower in fear, to vacillate from trust to doubt. While the two often cross paths simultaneously, we must choose which is to be our companion. Trust and doubt don’t travel easily together and progress comes to a halt when our soul wrestles between the two. A GOD guided tour of duty is difficult. HE instructs us to count the cost before we start. But, there’s no greater honor in life than to serve CHRIST with steadfast surety that no matter how tumultuous the sea, steep a climb, deep the cavern, barren a valley, you are going to conquer the challenge because HE created this path exclusively for you. SO, when you are in the desert, being shot at by a sniper after you’ve being swallowed by a great white shark, you’ll survive it! 😀 Yep, I’d say this photo just about sums up the blind faith bit! 😀

You can’t follow CHRIST and expect to avoid sorrow & suffering; the most likely reason why HE mercifully didn’t provide a complimentary map for the trip. Think about it. Have you ever gone to MapQuest to request the hardest, most difficult route? Of course not! We want the fastest, easiest, arrow straight way. We can’t help but think it’s all about me whether we want to think it or not. That’s not me talking, PAUL said it first!.

If you don’t mind me saying so-what’s in YOUR wallet-doesn’t impress GOD. From what I read, HE isn’t prone to delving out first class tickets to HIS children. Count on WALKING in areas not hospitable for humans, but never lose sight of WHO you’re walking with as you’re passing through those places. I guarantee, HE rewards every hard trek with a vacation! *Smiles*

dO yOu hAve fEEt liKe a dEeR?

HANNAH H.In 1955, English author, Hannah Hurnard, penned my absolute favorite allegorical novel, Hinds’ Feet in High Places. If you’ve never read it, you must, even if you aren’t typically a book worm. You can finish it in a day, but I recommend that you take your time so you won’t miss any portion of a beautiful treasure.BANNER for HINDS FEET

We lived in New Zealand when a friend and I were talking about favorite books. Knowing I was an avid reader with a vivid imagination, she was shocked that I hadn’t read this one, so the following morning she dropped by her copy. From the moment I began, I couldn’t put it down. It was the story of my life; since that first read, it’s been a-go to-when I need comfort food.

HINDS FEETIt narrates a young woman’s journey away from her FEARING family, to the High Places of the Shepherd. Naive & vulnerable, Much Afraid is accompanied by two-let’s say-most unpleasant companions. She determines bravery while on her quest to meet the Shepherd, but quickly discovers that the mysterious path towards the High Places changes continuously, the landscape grows more treacherous & unpredictable and each time she makes any headway, it’s overshadowed by setback.  You never know what will befall her & question if she can remain strong enough to take another step. The first time I read it, I was practically begging her to end the excruciating pain for both of our sakes, abandon this dream and turn around! It’s spellbinding!

The title’s derived from Habakkuk 3:19  The LORD GOD is my strength, and HE will make my feet like hinds’ feet and HE will make me to walk upon mine high places.  If you venture with Much Afraid, expect this verse to be tattooed on your heart forever.

Aside

leT tHe yOung oNes teAch Us!!!

Today I’m posting the recent blog of Stephanie Nease, a young woman who has followed GOD’S plan all the way to Asia. Many of you remember her mom, Leslie, as the Christian woman who refused to bow in the temple on the reality series, Survivor China. Leslie is now the co-host of the morning show on HIS radio. While my Chipper & I were in Savannah, Georgia, we were privileged to have Stephanie’s South Carolina youth group help us carry out a VBS that targeted a low income neighborhood beside our church. She was amazing with the kids and it was evident even then that GOD had great plans for her life. Read and be blessed.

untilallnationsknow

Alright, so here is the scenario: Moses just finished talking to God through a burning bush. In case you missed that or, like me, unfortunately your amazement of that fact has become numb due to the number of times you’ve heard this story, God was talking through a burning bush. The Lord gave Moses instructions to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. Then the Lord showed him signs to show to the Egyptians that the Lord is God.

Here’s where I’ll pick up: “But Moses said, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” (Exodus 4:10).

Okay, I feel like that’s an honest confession. I would feel the same way, and I actually do as I can relate word for word with his statement as I am a child in this language…

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yOu cAn hAvE iT!

Surely, I’m not the only CHRISTian who has gotten so completely exasperated trying to master something, that I shoved it at GOD begging-please help me with this one more time. We shouldn’t berate ourselves when this happens because it takes a lot of courage to admit an EPIC FAIL, especially if the task is one that we’ve been at for a while and we’re convinced it should be easy by now. Honestly, I believe GOD smiles when we acknowledge our dependence on HIM and admit, I still need YOU to help me with this one.

IMG_1973During The Ladybug’s last visit, I don’t know how many times she handed over something with a frown & disgruntled huff, unable to carry out a task she’d been working on a day, two weeks, a month. She struggled to unlock the crayon case & was too short to grasp toys from the bottom of her toy bucket without it tipping. But, Miss Independent would’ve pushed us away had we stepped in to help too soon. Our smarty pull-ups has memorized pictures on her DVD cases and knows which videos she likes. After watching us load them over & over, she’s identified which device spins them; she just hasn’t quite figured out how to get from A to C yet. But once she voices her need for assistance-HELP is here, baby girl!

GOD is incredibly patient as we attempt to do things that HE knows we aren’t going to be able to do-maybe only for now-but is gracious enough to let us try anyhow. Just as I allow Annalise to take on challenges that are too advanced for her at this stage, I don’t step in until she decides for herself that she needs my help. But as soon as she gives me the green light, I’m there!

I grow weary of repetition; I’m not good at sitting still, but there’s no denying that the mundane things HE requires me to practice over AND over, do indeed make me a stronger, more usable instrument in HIS hand. GOD is in no hurry to RUSH to my aid if I’m not in danger but HE is always RIGHT there.

IMG_1655As Annalise opened a CD case, pulled out a disc, stared at the blu ray player before pushing a button to see if the tray would pop out this time, I only intervened when I foresaw damage to her or the player. See, I know something that she doesn’t yet. One day soon, it’ll be second nature for her to use the TV and everything that goes with it; in time she won’t need me to help her with the very things that for now seem impossible so-I’m perfectly happy to let it happen when it happens. 🙂

Training is never in vain if I am willing to go the distance & learning never stops if I’m willing to muddle through trivial motions to reach triumphant moments. HE knows that I’ll get there so I’m going to try and relax, whether I comprehend HIS ways or not.

Stiffen up those upper lips little soldiers..our time IS coming! 😀

it’s SO quiet I could sCrEaM..

How do you cope with those quiet times when you’re frantically waiting to hear GOD say ANYTHING just because you REALLY need to hear HIS voice? You aren’t requesting an earth shattering roar, you’d be equally excited for just a faint whisper.  I’m talking about the critical moments when you aren’t hanging by a thread–you’re about to lose that last bit of fiber from the thread.

I find these times gut wrenchingly painful. On my hands and knees, day after day, night after night, begging GOD to send any form of reinforcement to bolster my hope. Despite how much I fast, pray, cry, beg, read, writhe & wail in sackcloth and ashes, I FEEL nothing but a deepening despair. The key word? FEEL. Listen, emotions are dangerous when we rely on them heavily.  HE doesn’t check out of my heart and check back in whenever HE feels like it. HE IS always where I am. No matter how I FEEL, I am never left alone.

I’ve never been afraid to try something new, in fact, a steady diet of challenges is my crack. My greatest fear is NOT being the best and measuring up to what GOD and everyone else expects. I’m an overachiever, so I never reach that place because it requires perfection. So there. I’ve told you what my personal weakness is. I’m prone to rely on my laurels to get me where I need to be and its really quite ridiculous to assume I can do that on my own. Moreover, why should I want to try?  HE created me according to HIS purposes for my life therefore, HE has the BEST way to get me there. DUH!!

During quiet times, I tend to assume that GOD’S had enough and given me over to a reprobate mind; I’m forever banished to the shelf of UNWORTHY and INCAPABLE. I’ve messed up too much this time, so there’s no way HE will  risk giving me any more assignments. Nine times out of ten I step into the same trap lucifer has used to snare me all my life. Talk about taking scripture out of context! I fall for the oldest trick in the book.

Frayed nerves only make things worse, but when GOD goes on the silent, I usually scream all the louder. I tell myself the right stuff. I may not see HIM, but HE’S here. I’m HIS daughter, the apple of HIS eye. I’m being prepared for HIS purposes. Truthfully, it’s not that I don’t have the right answers. I just want some additional ones to make me FEEL better. 😀

How do I cope? I remind myself that GOD isn’t breaking me without a reason. HE won’t keep me in an uncomfortable place any longer than necessary. Despite how unimportant I feel, I remind myself that GOD hasn’t lost confidence in me, if HE had-I wouldn’t be taking up valuable space on HIS planet. Basically, I give myself a good PEP talk using HIS words. LOL

My emotions can take me on a downward spiral if left undisciplined. As a whole, my life appears disjointed, mismatched, awkward.  Frequently I fall into the pit of comparison-stacking up what I’ve accomplished to what others have. It doesn’t take long to be buried by bitterness, envy, fear and hopelessness.  Take it from one who knows. You will suffocate beneath that filth. The best prevention is to recall how horrifying the pit was the last time I was trapped inside of it.

The best news? Not one time has HE ever refused to PULL me out of it. After umpteenth times in the hole, you’d think I’d refuse to go anywhere near it-but I’m a creature of habit.  I am slowly learning to stop being so gun-ho to DO things-for GOD- and more content at being-in GOD. I’m striving to cultivate & embrace the quiet instead of fighting so hard against it.  Definitely a difficult task for a chaotic chick like me, but like I said, I live for the challenge.

Precept upon precept. A little here and a little there. Line upon Line. Let patience have her perfect work. Stop being overwhelmed. L.I.S.T.E.N. Be still and KNOW HE IS GOD.

HE IS WITH YOU…

CHURCH CLOTHES…Lecrae

Admittedly, I listen to several artists who most of the church folks wouldn’t deem-fit for the kingdom. We talk about being fearfully & wonderfully made to suit individual purposes that GOD creates for us, but we tend to freak out if a brother or sister breaks from the pack. Ya’ll…we can work for the same GOD but be on opposite sides of HIS work detail wall. Check out the OT book of Nehemiah if you need a biblical basis.

lecrae church clothesLecrae. Chip & I have been to his concerts, buy his CD’s; we admire the unique way he shares what a REAL relationship with Christ is about in a language that society-gets. As a pastor’s kid & wife, I’ve attended concerts of every genre; bluegrass, southern & black gospel, inspirational, contemporary. This dude addresses sin and tackles lifestyle choices as pointedly as any artist I’ve heard. I want to ask a question and be honest. When was the last time you went to a concert or preaching service & in ONE shot, the speaker or singer directly talked about the consequences of drinking, smoking, premarital sex, hanging out with the wrong crowd, girls showing too much skin, guys pursuing girls for one night stands, married people cheating on spouses, the pursuit of money, fame & then shared the NEED for CHRIST? Lecrae covers it all,without beating around the bush or talking with religious cliches.

Please don’t automatically decide NOT to listen because you don’t approve of how he looks. If I do nothing more than persuade a few to open their minds and give this kind of music a chance, I’ll be more apt to comprehend why GOD gave me a  genuine love for it. 🙂 I KNOW most over 25 are NEVER going to go & buy it, I only want to give you a bit of perspective on WHY it’s reaching many who I, as a middle aged person, cannot. I posted the words at the end of the post so you can READ what you didn’t catch as he preaches. 🙂

We were at the kickoff of his latest tour in Columbia, S.C. & I was amazed by the diversity. At thirty three, he’s amassed a fan base that surpasses stereotyping. I can’t tell you how many families were attending and church groups of every denomination and race. I saw a van pull up and out bailed a smiling grandma & grandpa,with two young kids and a teenaged dating couple. Mom & Dad parked across the road before joining their brood. I wanted to present gray haired Paw Paw & Maw Maw with a SWAG award. Heck, they had us beat by at least 15 years! See, these people obviously have given this young man’s message a listen and they want their KIDS and their kid’s kids to hear it, TUNE in and hear it.TY, FELICIA, Me & Lecrae

The LADYBUG has to be one of his youngest fans. Since she was born, she prefers drifting to night night with Lecrae over lullabies. Annalise is just 15 months old, but already has her favorite songs. If she gets restless in her carseat, Poppy jacks up I USED TO DO IT, TOO or WALKING ON WATER & she giggles. I think she’s silently thinking-silly Lolly! Old white ladies can’t dance! 🙂

We’re quick to judge those who dress differently, use a different vocabulary and sing songs about JESUS differently than we do. Two weeks ago as I watched a televised service from a famous, but scandal clad evangelist, his son went on a rant about CHRISTian music other than the kind their church uses. He boasted that they’d never be guilty of compromising their holy music to please the world. He pointed out an extremely talented singer on the worship team & held him up as a standard of what HOLY singers should look like. Sound like. BE like. Why did it bother me? Simply because the teen had not long ago been caught with marijuana at a drug house near the church. Rather than deal with his actions in a loving, but straightforward way, the leadership opted to bury it under the altar so he’d continue to look the part. I don’t fault the singer; I grieve saved and unsaved souls who hear LEADERS say one thing while they watch us do another. How are immature believers supposed to divide the work of truth rightly if their leaders dull the sword all for the sake of IMAGE?

I didn’t go further than facebook to see the youth pastor’s wife-partying with her gal pals at a bridal bash. A few young ladies who I saw on TV singing in their conservative CHURCH CLOTHES, were in these pics wearing their Nicki Minaj, flaunt your hott BODY girlfriend, clothes! They posed with the same gangsta faces & hand gestures that I heard their preacher condemn.

I’m not criticizing what they were doing NEARLY so much as the destructive, blurry belief system that they are being conditioned to follow. Even if you do things we preach against, be sure to wear your CHURCH CLOTHES & act like you DON’T at church.

So, don’t be surprised if you see me with a three finger hand gesture. I’m not having random SEX, DRINKING, doing CRACK, packing a pistol as I plot how to rob your house. Thanks to another favorite, DEE-1-it’s a reminder that the best way to serve GOD is: BE REAL. BE RIGHTEOUS. BE RELEVANT. And, I still love me some peace signs, too! I am a product of the seventies. I like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

AMELIAHere’s one of my chickies, AMELIA, rocking double peace. She calls me THE BIBLE LADY. Told you I haven’t fallen off the wagon, Mels is proof! Ace & RalphI LOVE this little girl to the stars & back. Right are two of my Polynesian boys (they aren’t kids, but I’ll always be their Mums. Ace, holding up a peace sign, is welcoming his 5th child any day. He & Daisy, give their kids a book of the Bible as a middle name-so far Psalms, Philippians, Ephesians, Titus. Could you find a starker contrast than this little girl & these guys? BUT, I know them all & for sure-they all LOVE JESUS!

When was the last time that you checked your own CHURCH CLOTHES? I pray that you find some that fit YOU just right! 😀

“Church Clothes”   (Parenthesis are my translations for the vocabulary difference I wrote of in post)

One time for H-town, one time for D-town, One time A-town, M-town

Yea

R.I.P. to Medgar Evers, R.I.P. to Dr. King

I ain’t tryna’ hate on my own kind

But Al and Jesse don’t speak for me (Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson) 🙂

I’m probably gon’ catch some flack man

But I’m-a swallow this pill like Pacman

Some of these folks won’t tell the truth

Too busy try’na get them racks man (thousands $$$)

Church try’na rob my paychecks

Choir members probably having gay sex

Pastor manipulatin’ hurtin’ women

I wonder which he’s gon’ slay next

Bookstore pimpin’ them hope books (promoting)

Like God don’t know how broke looks

And telling me that I’m gon’ reap a mil’

If I sow into these low crooks

Plus I know ol’ girl a freak (sexually promiscuous)

And how she singin’ a solo

I walked in the church wit a snapback  (backward cap)

And they tellin’ me that that’s a “no-no”?

That’s backwards, and I lack words

For these actors called pastors

All these folks is hypocrites

And that’s why I ain’t at church

Truthfully I’m just doin’ me

And I don’t wanna face no scrutiny

As long as the church keep wildin’ out  (acting fake or ridiculous)

I can justify all my foolish deeds

Smoking weed, pourin’ up

Keep that lean up in my cup  (mindlessly drinking)

Maybe I could change the world

But this porn on my laptop got me stuck

Yeah I know what’s right from wrong

But that there ain’t gon sell a song

I rather sell my soul then save it

If that’s what make my money long

It better not be no real God

With real hope, that heals hearts

That shows me that I ain’t livin’ up

To all the things that He put me here for

It better not be no real church

Real saints, who pray hard

And let me rock my snapback

With the 501’s and the J’s on  (Levis & Air Jordans)

It better not be no real folk

Who don’t think that they better than you

Straight or gay, drunk and high

They walk through the cold and weather wit’ ‘chu

‘Nah we don’t wanna see that

Cause that might mean “life change”

That might mean I’m worth more than money, cars, sex, and pipe dreams

Better not be no real Jesus, real forgiveness, for hurt folks

If God gon’ take me as I am I guess I already got on my church clothes

Video

pOOr & pRoUd!

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Proverbs 14:30

Once upon a time, I would’ve been embarrassed to admit that at this stage in our lives, we don’t have most of what I believed would be necessary if we were to live out our golden years in comfort. My Chipper & I have worked extremely hard throughout our lives, and yet we have little to show for it.  But, you know what we’ve discovered? We lack absolutely nothing that we really NEED to fulfill the purposes GOD has planned for us. By letting go of my preconceived ideas about what I would require to live comfortably, we’ve been able to fully learn how to rely on our security in HIS riches and not our own. It’s been a terribly difficult battle to fight in a world where our success equals acquiring visible proof of our labors so that everyone else can see and verify.  But, I’m no longer sorry for the journey that we’ve traveled; truthfully I am quite relieved to finally stop obsessing about petty and insignificant things such as houses, cars, jewelry and designer clothes. I’m not saying that I don’t WANT them, I’m just saying, that I don’t have to have them to be happy anymore and that is worth more than one can put a price tag on. In fact, buzz over to you tube and give a listen to one of my absolute favorite songs, PRICE TAG by a British artist named, Jessie J.  Just type in her name and PRICE TAG.

For a limited time, I’m offering a FREE charter membership to our..Richest Poor Club! Sign up now and begin enjoying your benefits today! 😀

Health & Happiness,

Lis 🙂

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