Boring.bookstores

Recently I decided to hide away in a book store, gazing at all the books, journals and magazines. Over the years, I have developed a deep love for bookstores. I have no idea why, but bookstores and libraries are the greatest hiding places. So I wanted to steal a little time away, and just meander around for a few hours. I was wandering around, when I noticed the lady next to me seemed lost. I couldn’t stand the fact that she looked lost, and there were no employees around. So I ask, “ma’am, can I help you with something?” “Yes”, she replied. “I’m looking for a book by Jeff Foxworthy.” I glanced around and there were no employees at the customer service desk, but I politely sent her in that direction, and let her know someone would help her there. She thanked me.

When she walked away, I started gazing around, and I looked up to see what section I was in. Believe it or not, I was standing at the Comedy section. So I started looking for Jeff Foxworthy. While thumbing through all of the authors to find her a book, I looked up and there she was again with an employee. I mentioned that I was still trying to look for her a book. She smiled, but then I said “I don’t work here though”. She said, “You could.” I noticed the employee was standing a good distance from both of us. So I told her I would leave her with the employee, since it wasn’t my job and I had not found her book. The employee replied, I would love to help you two, but I have to maintain 6 feet of social distance, so I will need some room. The lady and I backed off, and I walked away and left them to find the book.

The situation highlighted the fact that we are living in this new world order. And to answer your question about my opinion, let me be polite. Yes, I adhere to it most of the time, to ere on the side of safety. I don’t always remember to wear a mask, but I now consider health, a luxury for the most part, after suffering from cancer a few years ago. I am profoundly aware of health issues and concerns, and even the concern of others around me. I’m usually the first one to speak up about health issues, especially now that we live in the world of Covid. I know there are many, many experts in the field, who know so much more than I do. But experience is golden. Our differences of opinion is also a luxury. But life experience can leave such a mark in our lives, that we are confronted with those opinions and belief systems. So I want to be a voice of hope, not just vocal. Not because I need to, but because experience has taught me in the area of health, we need our health to survive this world. Please don’t ask me to speak on the politics of it. I will have to let God sort out those things that I don’t understand. But after suffering with cancer, yes, 18 months of treatments, chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation, I make attempts to try and use a little wisdom. In one situation, I politely ask a stranger that needed to assist me in public, to use a mask, and they did so, and even generously accommodated. I’ve thanked numerous people for their services behind drive through windows, in the doctor’s offices and grocery stores. We are living in a difficult time, we are juggling difficult issues, and we are facing difficult challenges. What we decide to do with those challenges in this hour, will determine who we are as human beings.

I believe that people really do desire to be good human beings.

I believe that people do want to do what is right in the wake of trouble and disaster.

I believe we do share a love for the common good of those around us and those who are less fortunate than us.

I believe that if we do believe in a better tomorrow, a better tomorrow will come.

I believe that if you and I desire to be a better people, a better people, we will be.

I believe that if we shake hands whether with friend or foe, a bond is created that can change our world.

I believe that by design, we have a heart beat to be better tomorrow than we were today.

I believe that tomorrow, we will be better.

I believe if we set our sight on changing the world today, tomorrow, the world will change.

I believe if darkness is addressed today, light will spring forth tomorrow.

I believe that love will win.

I believe that true love will conquer.

I believe that there is love in the truth.

I believe there is a small seed of good planted in each one of us today.

I believe that tomorrow, we will blossom if we water that seed.

I believe slowing down today, will bring us a more peaceful tomorrow.

I believe it is well with our soul, when our soul is well.

I believe our whole being thrives from the issues of the heart.

I believe young children make us laugh, and senior adults gives us wisdom.

I believe that money can’t buy happiness, but it sure does buy a great slice of the pie.

I believe that churches aren’t perfect, but the most imperfect church sure makes a community better, than no church at all.

I believe that rulers and authority figures will not always get it right, but without boundaries, we are a reckless and wretched people.

I believe our society is groaning for something better. I believe that something better may be found deep inside of us.

I believe we’re groaning to know a better way, to do a better thing, to be a better human, and to serve and lead a better people.

I believe we were designed for this by the Creator.

If you don’t believe it, the only thing I offer you is “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart,” which is found in the writings of the prophet Jeremiah.

I believe that before we were borne, we were set apart for something better.

I believe we are called to mountain tops and high places. But those journeys to the peaks, begin growing in the valley. We are called to bloom where we’re planted, until we are transplanted to places where we blossom.

I believe that if you and I can agree to believe together, nothing shall be impossible for us.

So, back to the ladies in the bookstore. I don’t know whether they found a book or not. I left the employee to do her job that she was getting paid to do. And then I went to another section in the store. There, on the floor, sat a young girl, under the Self Improvement section. Beautiful long hair, tattoos all over, black leather boots, and in her hands a stack of books on Tarot cards. So of course, I felt the need to strike up a conversation with her too. I just couldn’t help myself. I try so hard to mind my own business, and I just can’t do it. I can’t. Because I know a better way of life, I just can’t help myself, I have to tell people. It’s the craziest thing in the world. It’s like I just can’t let people go on their merry way when I know they are lost. So I won’t bore you with that story today, I’ll save it for another day, but it was a good one.

Whats.in.your.pocket

Have you recently found yourself thinking about your future or suffering from angst because of the current headlines in our world?   Do you find yourself getting frustrated or emotional at the drop of the hat?   I’m hoping someone is honest enough to say, yes….I am.  The truth is, so am I!


When I was younger I had a “happy go lucky” outlook on life.  Life was fun and I was carefree.  Then LIFE happened… to me.  I wasn’t just observing it any more, I was caught in the middle of it.  Some days were hard, rough, and painful.  But not always.  I have very fond memories of people and places that made me feel safe.

I remember as a child, if I had a runny nose or an ear infection, mom would take me to the doctors …. who, by the way, knew me by name.  Doctors knew my name, and my family, and probably most of my friends.  There were only four doctors in my town, and they knew everyone, and they knew everything about everyone.  It was a safe place for me. A place where I trusted the experts to take care of sickness….and they did.  There weren’t so many opinions and options then. People really mattered.

One story stands out in particular about a wonderful doctor I had until I graduated from high school.  I was headed out for a checkup, old enough to drive myself, and my mom slipped a note in my shirt pocket.  When I ask her what it was for, she told me to give it to the doctor so he could go over everything on her list.  

Well….I was a big girl by now, taking myself to the doctor, and before I made it to his office, I had already decided that I was NOT going to give him a note from my mom!   How embarrassing would that be? Surely I can take care of this myself.

So I went, and when the doctor came in, I never mentioned the note in my shirt pocket.  During the normal routine, he checked my eyes, ears, and nose and just about the time I opened my mouth to say  AHHHH….he saw the note.  He takes it out of my pocket with a quick witted ….”What do we have here?  Let’s see what mom sent me?”
I could have fallen over in the floor.   How in the world did he see that note?  I was so embarrassed.  But it was too late.  So he goes over the checklist from mom.


Now that is a funny story today, but it wasn’t so funny when I was trying to be all independent and grown up.  
I survived, but I’ve been reminded lately that much hasn’t changed.  I’m still that young girl, sitting in a world of people that seem to be much smarter than I am, more confident, wealthier, you know….the cool kids who run with the “in crowd”.  I thought I would eventually outgrow that feeling, but I’m still here, trying to act all adult and smart… with a parent’s note tucked in my pocket. 


Truth is, we all do it, and we do it, all the time.   We hide our insecurities in our pockets, hoping no one will notice, as we act all calm, cool and collective.


But I have learned a little since that day.  I now know that there is a Great Physician. And The Great Physician already knows.  He knows everything on the list that He sees tucked in my pocket and your pocket, or tucked away deep in your heart.  I like the fact that He’s the smartest guy in the room.  He knows everyone, and He knows everything about everyone.  With Him, I feel safe.  With Him, I feel secure.  With Him, I feel taken care of.   With Him, I feel loved.   

I like how these few words say so much! Romans 15:33 sums it up  “The God of peace be with you all. Amen.”  It’s comforting to know the peace of God. But what a deeper joy, to know the God of the peace.

Truth.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared, but I feel the nudge too. I am reminded that God’s promises are true.  God is not a man and He cannot lie. God is also not limited to our time. He set time in place, the sun, the moon, the stars, the seasons. But He is completely free to work outside of our limitations. Hold onto the promises of God. He has no limit. He only wants us to join Him in the journey. I feel Him stirring, things I prayed about years ago are coming back into my spirit. I’m being reminded of people in my life who have at one time or another made a positive impact on who I am today. God will work things out for the good. Know that while you fight your fight, He’s fighting behind the scenes … And His victory will be greater than your battle. His power will be greater than your suffering. His anointing will be greater than your trial. His blessing will be greater than your loss. And His blood will be greater than your sin. His spirit will be greater than weakness. His joy will replace your despair. His peace will replace your confusion. His strength will replace your shortcomings, and His love will replace your longing.
Signing off and sending you love from home tonight. 💗

planting.a.little.seed

I am definitely not a farmer in the natural world, but I understand that all things grow from seed planting.  So tonight, I’m going to plant a little seed.  It may be a very small seed, but I am planting it in a very large place.   This seed tonight is for the small group of readers I have abroad.  I have a very few who read my blog from other places in the world.  I thank you!

So this seed is found in a special blog that I follow….

http://www.pastorkemp.com

I have shared a link below of one of my recent favorites. These blogs are building blocks to life, and you will not be disappointed. So click the link and sign up today.  I’m trusting the seeds planted in your life will bring a future harvest greater than you can imagine.

Today could be different

1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

Enough.is.enough

I wish I had more time to write this evening.  I need to be brief and to the point, but someone needs to know…

Enough is enough.

What I mean is …

You are enough.

You are valued.

You are bright.

You are genuine.

You are hand crafted.

You have amazing insight.

You have a beautiful spirit.

You are a wonderful creation.

You are enough!

Enough is enough!

(if you have trouble believing this….say it again, tomorrow, and the next day.)

Fresh.fruit

     Recently I was in the grocery store buying some fruit; cherries to be exact. I grabbed a bag, quickly inspected them, and went on with the rest of my grocery shopping. Even though the cherries were a little pricey, I bought them because I thought they were worth it. Every day, I would grab a few pieces, usually in a hurry, and enjoy them on the run. However, one morning, something happened. When I reached in the bag, I noticed one piece was moldy. So I stopped and decided to check the rest of the bag.   

     I got out the colander and started sorting the cherries. Of course, that “one” was not the only one with mold. So, I started tossing the bad ones and the others that appeared to be going bad.   

     Enough with the cherry story … right? Not just yet. I took time to wash them all, just in case there was leftover mold stuck to the good ones that I couldn’t see. By now, this had turned into a 15-minute project of washing and cleaning fruit. Why? Because I enjoy them and, they were expensive. 

Why does this matter? 

     Without noticing it, the busy world that we live in rubs up against us. It rubs up against our spirit. It rubs up against our mind. It rubs up against who we are. So every day it leaves a little imprint of its mold somewhere on us like lint on our clothes. It can even happen overnight. We pick it up at the grocery store, at the restaurant, at work, or the gas station. And yes, if we’re not careful, we can even pick it up at church. Yes, God forbid, but it can happen. We all carry a little mold with us wherever we go. I hope you are not offended that I point this out, because I struggle with it myself.      

   If we read the bible, we know that at the end of time, judgement comes to separate. This will be forever. However, that time has not happened yet. We have a great advantage to this moment of grace that we live in. We have time, especially for a little washing. The enemy is trying to tell you that you are too busy to care about a little mold. Do not believe him. He is lying to you.   

What can we do?

     So today, take a little time to wash off the fruit. You know, the fruit that the Spirit has given you. Wash off that speck of mold from your mind today – be fresh. Wash off that speck of mold from your spirit today – be free. Wash off that speck of mold from your clothes today – be clean. Tidy things up a little. You will be so glad you did. We all know how to do this. Take a minute to look up a scripture and let it wash over and cleanse your mind today.   

Your prayer can make a difference.

   Say a quick prayer for somebody. Or better yet, say a quick prayer for yourself. Even the smallest prayer makes a difference. Remember, with Jesus a little usually goes a long way (Fishes and Loaves, John 6:10-13). A little fresh water cleans us all up. It gives us a little more shine. It makes us a little more pleasant. It gives us a better fragrance. Isn’t this the kind of fruit you want? I know I do. Yes, it is more pleasant, tasteful, and enjoyable, without all of the mold. Oh, and by the way, good fruit is expensive. It costs. It comes with a price tag. Just ask the man who paid for it….His name is Jesus. He thought you were worth it!

broken.windows

I’ve recently been thinking of when I was in my teens, I worked in an insurance office. One particular day, I was sitting in traffic, at a red light watching the truck beside me as it rolled back and forth.  The driver was driving a five speed. When all of a sudden, the driver side window dropped. The driver quickly grabbed it with both hands to keep it from breaking. As we sat there looking at each other for a few seconds, you know what happened. That’s right, the light turned green. There, sitting in all that traffic … at a green light … driving a five speed … both hands on the window. I wish I could say I waited to see how it all worked  out, but I didn’t. I zoomed right by, thinking to myself…tough break!

But oh how I’ve thought of that driver many times since then. I have to laugh out loud now every time my car window breaks … and I’m stuck somewhere pulling that window back up. Life’s funny that way. We are all constantly juggling and shifting problems in life. On most days, we all need an extra pair of helping hands. You know…one hand to hold the window up from crashing, one hand on the steering wheel, and one hand to change gears.  

It’s in those times, I can hear a still, small voice inside me say …” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

In verse 1, Jeremiah’s letter says, “This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” I’m guessing, life wasn’t necessarily good for them at that moment.  But verses 5-7 state… “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” God’s promises were absolutely still intact. Nothing about His Word had changed. His promises were still alive and well. God knew life was going to be challenging  as far back as the beginning of time … the moment Adam and Eve stepped out of the Garden of Eden, but He also knew that His promises would continue to unfold, even in the face of adversity.

And so it is with us today. You may feel a little stuck at a green light, unable to move because you are holding onto that window with both hands. Still, you can be assured that God’s promises for you are “Yes and Amen”. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

So, Yes….you will let go of the broken things. Yes…you will place your hands to the steering wheel. Yes… you will move forward.  His promises are true … Yes!

Amen.

Dark

Sometimes God’s greatest work in our life – is done in the darkness. 

Genesis 1:2 states…. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

It’s the dark room of our life that brings the most development and creativity.  
Even our dark moments … Can become our most holy place where the Lord is with us….changing, developing, growing, shaping, and coloring in the events of life.  

1 King 8:10 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness.”

Keep your focus on Him! You will not be aware of everything that He is doing, but trust His nature – He is there with you and He is working.     

Look.up

Good morning….

It’s been a while since writing, but I’m in the middle of taking a break from social media for a little while.  I thinks it’s funny that even though I feel like I need a break … I can’t get you to read my blog unless I’m online….

So let’s get this going….

What can I say to you today that is inspiring and encouraging?

I think, what I want to say is ….

Look up!

First of all, my reason for taking a break from socializing online is obvious.

I need to ‘look up’ from my phone. I need to readjust my perspective.

Looking up from my phone, helps me to notice the people and things right here where I am.

I’ve been a little surprised that it is also bringing some order back into my life.

I’ve been surprised that I feel like I can slow down a little and think about what I really need to do.

I’ve been surprised that I’m worrying less about whether or not my life measures up to those around me.

And I’ve been a little surprised at how God is choosing to speak.  I’ve been on such a quest to seek Him out for so many years.   There joy in the adventure of seeking out to learn something new about an all knowing God, to learn more about Jesus.   I’ve been on an intense quest and thirst for his knowledge for so long….

But now… It’s wonderful, to know that wherever I am … He finds me.  I had a brief encounter recently in Panera bread…it was one of those God moments.   Where He found me.   He spoke to me.   He poured out of someone else into my life.  It was refreshing, it was life giving.  He looked down, and saw me.

So Look up today ..with great anticipation and expectancy, that when you look up…He will see your face.  He will find you in the vast sea of all those faces looking down at their screens.  He will say … “There they are … I want to do something good for them today … I want to give them a little nod, a smile, and a wink of the eye to let them know they are loved, and I am carefully watching over all things they are concerned with.”

Look up.

Abraham got a vision for his life when he looked up…..Genesis 5:5.   “Then the Lord took Abraham outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can.  That’s how many descendants you will have!”