February 24, 2013

It's KINDNESS that Brings Men to their Knees

I believe Jesus had his sights set on Zacchaeus all along:) 
This man did not climb the tree because he was too short. While he was a little man.....and a wee little man was he :p.....I can only imagine that because the crowds KNEW this man...they knew his character, his reputation....they pushed him out. 
The only eyes that met him were eyes of judgment. 
Not kindness. Not understanding. Not grace. I'm sure he felt lonely and isolated. No doubt his own sin and choices brought him to this place but he never found what he needed until NOW. Maybe he was intimated by Jesus. 
But Jesus had an appointment with Zacchaeus that would change him forever. 
We all know the story....he climbed a tree, just to watch. To SEE Him. There's no way He could talk to Him....Jesus would never see HIM!!! But when Jesus approached him.....it wasn't about the money. It wasn't about the sin. He wasn't inviting relationship with Zacchaeus to bring rebuke,chastisement or to teach a lesson. 
*IT WAS ABOUT AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE LOVE AND KINDNESS AND GRACE OF JESUS* 
"I want to have lunch with you. Where YOU live. In YOUR neighborhood. Just as you are." It is the KINDNESS of the Lord that brings men to their knees. It is KINDNESS and GRACE and understanding that leads men to repentance and CHANGE. Romans 2:4
He doesn't ask us to come only once we have our act together.
He LOVES us. In SPITE of us. Just BECAUSE. HE. IS. LOVE. He KNEW what He was getting into when He approached Zacchaeus. He KNEW who Zacchaeus was. He still wanted to spend time with Him. Not to bring condemnation. Just to love on Him. Only JESUS could see where this LOVE ENCOUNTER was going. It was for the sake of LOVE only that Jesus invited Zacchaeus into friendship and fellowship with Him. *AS A RESULT*....suddenly Zacchaeus felt an overwhelming need for CHANGE.
When we come face to face with Jesus and the LOVE of GOD......we MUST change.
It requires change. We'll never be the same again. It's not about who we ARE....but it's about who HE is and HOW HE LOVES US SO.
                                    
                                         
We come "broken to be mended,

                                                  wounded to be healed,
                                        desperate to be rescued, empty to be filled,
                                                guilty to be pardoned......
                                            and welcomed with open arms"

                                                .....JUST AS WE ARE.
Where people need kindness and understanding, they are instead met with judgment and condemnation. That will only drive them further from the cross. But when we approach the others in our lives with that same GRACE and understanding and KINDNESS.....and allow them to ENCOUNTER the LOVE of Jesus....which is a LOVE I cannot explain or ever understand.....
A love so
RELENTLNESS it will chase you DOWN no matter how FAR you run or how FAR you've FALLEN.......
They will come face to face with GOD Himself and feel compelled to respond.

Grace is not mine to decide who to give it to or when. It's just HIS to give through me to WHOMever. Jesus never withdrew His touch from those who needed it most and deserved it less. He made no distinction between social status, peer groups, political standings, the rich, the poor, the sick or the well. He simply gave unrestrained by opinions or judgments. He simply changed lives with an audacious Grace that never showed differential regard for any one person. Perhaps if we all look beyond ourselves and our need for Grace and begin to pour that same Grace we need onto others we will begin to see a supernatural healing permeate the environment.

February 22, 2013

Solving Conflict with a Basin of Water

"I looked for a Bible translation that reads, “Jesus washed all the disciples’ feet except the feet of Judas.” I couldn’t find one.
........Certain conflicts can be resolved only with a basin of water.
Jesus made sure His disciples had no reason to doubt His love."- Max Lucado 


Grace is not mine to decide who to give it to or when. It's just HIS to give through me to WHOMever. Even JUDAS. We are called to make peace. We are called to love. We are called to give. Jesus never withdrew His touch from those who needed it most and deserved it less. He made no distinction between social status, peer groups, political standings, the rich, the poor, the sick or the well. He simply gave unrestrained by opinions or judgments. He simply changed lives with an audacious Grace that never showed differential regard for any one person. Perhaps if we all look beyond ourselves and our need for Grace and begin to pour that same Grace we need onto others we will begin to see a supernatural healing permeate the environment.

February 7, 2013

On Being a Mom Fully Present through Life's Distractions


It requires effort. And I'm guilty of being distracted and allowing other things to capture my attention...but when it comes to my kiddos I pray I make that effort to be fully present, fully aware, FULLY there....with them....in *EVERY* moment. Hear every word...spoken and UNspoken and have discernment enough to pick up on those times when they need me most and not miss a single opportunity to embrace life with them FULLY. Make every moment teachable and ENJOY them while I have them. I don't want to miss out on those moments and want to be a good steward of the time I DO have with them. I'm grateful for GRACE:) and gentle reminders of WHY God gifted me with those 4 little precious lives...............


"Dear Mom On the iPhone,
I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.
But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..
Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her. You aren’t.
Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way. He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.
Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.
Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.
Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.
Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!
Play time at the park will be over before you know it.
The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.
They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”
There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.
Because they know…You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy. I know your heart says differently. But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your ACTIONS are screaming way too loudly.
May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all."

February 4, 2013

Go with the Flow


Proverbs 29:18
If people can’t see what God is doing,
    they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
    they are most blessed.

Musings from my mother......
"My son, John Mattica posted a verse today from The Message Bible, Romans 4:3 "Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point." So often we expect GOD to enter into what WE are doing…even with the good intentions of doing it FOR God, when in reality He is looking for us to enter into what HE is doing in us, and through us. We start our day by giving God a list of what WE are going to do, and say “come on God” and expect Him to follow obediently along while WE run head long into our plans.
Reminded me of going to the aquatic club with Becky one time and there was a part of the pool that had a very strong current that you could swim or walk … good for people who needed to exercise their joints but not strain them. There are those that tried walking against the flow and met resistance. It can be very tiring going against that current…and you aren’t really getting anywhere. Often whether out of being stubborn and willful, or out of plain ignorance, we spend our time swimming against the current, opposing the direction of the flow. We wonder why we are so busy, working so hard all the time and being drained and worn and not feeling accomplishment. We are in the water, we are busy…but not accomplishing anything. We bounce off all the people going with the flow and getting more frustrated all the time that OUR swim is so difficult, life is tougher for us than anyone else. Also akin to going up on the down escalator, all the time complaining that your walk is harder than the ones you are watching going up on the up escalator. “See how hard I’M working? My path is harder than yours..that is why I suffer more.” Yes, there is a means already prepared for you and yet you insist on going AGAINST the flow…doing things by your own works and strengths instead of just stepping into God’s purpose, plan and destiny and allowing His will to carry you to what He has planned for you to do.
Are you looking for a turning point in your life? Then let me ask you, have you entered into what God is doing, what HE has planned for you or are you still trying to do it yourself? Get with the flow…you might be surprised how easy it is to be blessed and happy."

Give without Hesitation. Love without Reservation.

When we GIVE.....even in lack....even in need.....when we feel we have NOTHING to give.....but give anyway.....God has a way of turning that back around and heaping so much goodness back on you in some surprising ways. I'm not talking JUST dollars and "sense";) Beyond logic. Beyond reason. Giving grace. Forgiveness. Love. Even if your heart and spirit have been broken and you feel you've nothing to GIVE. Even if you've got a need yourself.  Give anyway.  He's a GOOD God and His word never fails. He PROMISED....that if we give away our lives....give of ourselves....freely.....even if it means sowing in tears (Psalm 126)....GIVE  Because on the other side of that:) look what He does....He will turn it back around and bless you in surprising ways...beyond your intentions.....with bonus. Luke 6:38. It becomes all part of your testimony.  That God is who He said He is and He's a GOOD God.  Give without hesitation. Love without reservation. Love freely. Give freely. Forgive quickly.  Let go of offenses. Be GRATEFUL in every moment and in all things.  Live with a big and generous and OPEN heart.....And watch Him be faithful to perform His word through you and for you.  PROVE Him!  I dare ya ;)

February 3, 2013

Pick a team and COMMIT




I ENJOY football!  I enjoy the game. And I watch by my own rules!  My house rules:  unless it's the GA Bulldogs, Atlanta Falcons or Pittsburgh Steelers I can cheer on whichever team I choose all the way through to the 2 minute warning in the 4th quarter. I'm never disappointed and whatever the outcome....my team won!  :)  I'm just having a good time but there's a very relevant truth that came to light when I finally decided to pick a team and commit instead of switching my loyalties all the way through. The closer it came time for Superbowl I decided that for once maybe I needed to "pick a team and commit".  I'd done my homework....I could pick a team and "win-or-lose" cheer them on all the way through to the finish. 

Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:21...... "How long will you go back and forth between two opinions?"  How long will you sit on the fence?  Either go with GOD or don't.  Either you believe Him or don't.  Either you surrender ALL and follow Him.  Or you don't follow Him at all.  Make up your minds here and now."  (paraphrased by me for emphasis) 

Joshua said the same thing to the Israelites in Joshua 24:15  But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.  AS FOR ME?------I WILL SERVE THE LORD. Choose HIM and no doubt you'll have chosen the WINNING side!!!!!! :)  Choose wisely.  It's time to pick a side.  And stick with it....all the way through to the last play.
Through every play. 
Every call. 
Every flag. 
Every penalty. 
Every touchdown. 
Every fumble. 
Every interception. 
Every interference. 
Every offensive move. 
Every defensive move. 
.................................................................................Down the last second.

with ENTHUSIASM, CONVICTION and PURPOSE.  And give it ALL you got!!!!  

...............ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!?!?!?!?!!  WHOOP!  WHOOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!