Best Picture

Poor Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. If you haven’t heard, Ms. Dunaway called the wrong name for the Academy Award for Best Picture at the Oscars, Sunday night. No one knows how it happened. Was it PricewaterhouseCooper’s fault; was it Faye Dunaway; was it Warren Beatty? He was totally confused, but handed her the envelope anyway. He knew something was awry. Emma Stone said she was holding the card that read “Best Actress”. I wonder if she knows there are TWO SETS of envelopes? Anyway, Jimmy Kimmel blamed Steve Harvey, bless his heart. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know he announced the wrong name for Miss Universe last year.

There is only ONE Book of Life. No chance of Him missing it, or calling the same name twice, and leaving you out. One thing is for sure, and with absolute certainty: God said, “See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16)

God will NOT call the wrong name. He’s going to get it right the first time, every time. Isn’t it an amazing, glorious thing to realize God has our name engraved on His hand? He really sees us, cares about us, and knows us by name!

In the end “Best Picture” goes to A Place Called Heaven, written, produced, and directed by God. He also has the lead role, as The Almighty, and the Lamb. Heaven is described in the book of Revelation:

11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

22 I did not see a temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Personally, I love turquoise and amethyst. I’m pretty fond of gold, and pearls too, but I think they will all pale in comparison to the Glory of God.

He gets it right the first time, every time.



Great is Thy Faithfulness

I drafted this a few weeks ago, and didn’t publish. Yesterday, our pastor dissected Lamentations 3:22-23. And then again this morning, I received a note from a fellow-worker with this verse. I call it perfect timing.

It’s been on my mind the last couple of days. Great is Thy Faithfulness, the hymn. I’m so relieved that He is. I get to wake up every morning to His new mercies. Just think, with each new day, God gives us opportunities to prove His faithfulness.

Great Is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Though changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!

When we are faithless, He remains faithful. I think He’s trying to remind me that people will let us down. Your husband, wife, sister, friend, or brother might disappoint you, but He never will! The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

My friends, I will let you down, every person on the face of the earth will disappoint you at some point or another, but God does not change His mind, He does not change His promises, He is constant, and can be wholly counted on. 

I was disappointed recently. I did a favor, and expected a kindness in return. It didn’t happen. My lesson: Be kind anyway. I shouldn’t expect anything in return when I do something nice; I should do it just to be NICE. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16)

Believe me, I speak from experience, it hurts when people let you down. It’s inevitable; it’s going to happen. It’s a fact of life. But it’s incredible to realize that Jesus will never let you down. It’s encouraging to realize that it’s impossible for Jesus to be anything less than you think He is. Put all your strength, all your hope, and all your life into Him.

The Red Carpet

Oh, she looked so pretty in that pink dress, and he was incredibly dapper-looking in his tuxedo, but she looked hideous in that striped number, and he was a little under-dressed for the red carpet. And excuse me, they just took off their pants! When you think of the red carpet you immediately think of celebrities, but God has rolled out the red carpet for believers throughout history. We read about it from Genesis all the way to Revelation.

Genesis 3:21 ~ God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. From the very beginning of humankind, it is there. When Adam and Eve sinned, God shed innocent blood to make them clothes. He rolled out the red carpet. This is a picture of us being made righteous when Jesus died for us.

In Genesis 4 we read about Cain and Abel. They wanted to worship God, so Cain offers up fruits and vegetables, but Abel has already figured out that God requires blood, so Abel brought a lamb. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s. Why? Because without blood (rolling out the red carpet) there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22).

Genesis 22 ~ God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Just before Abraham starts to kill Isaac, God provides a ram. Isaac was set free, but an innocent animal’s blood was shed. God rolled out the red carpet.

Exodus 12:13 ~ God wants to deliver his people from bondage. On the night of Passover He told the people to kill a lamb, and put the blood on their doorposts.  “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Red carpet.

And don’t forget Rahab, and the red rope in the window. Joshua 2

And finally, Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. His death was prophecy fulfilled, and promises carried out. He was slain for all of creation. You and me. Red carpet.

Take-aways from the red carpet:  The POWER of the redemptive blood of Christ, reconciliation through the blood, and the relationship we have with Jesus, through the blood.

Now, walk that red carpet, take hold of the ultimate trophy, roll the red carpet out for someone this week, but please dress the part.



Show Them Jesus

My dear friend, Stacey’s, son is missing. His name is Jabe Duncan. Jabe has spent the better part of the last year and a half in a teen challenge program to rehabilitate him from the use of drugs. His parents sold everything they owned, and worked several jobs to get him into this  program. He graduated this past December, and was currently still seeing a therapist. He disappeared today from school around 10:30. School, the place you think your child is out of danger, and unable to sneak away, or be taken.  If you know anything of his whereabouts, please contact someone.  I have encouraged mom that he WILL come home, and to not give up.

Another dear friend lost her high school-aged son this past summer to drug use. He was popular, a great guy, a great athlete — made a wrong choice. After his death, teachers, law enforcement, churches, the community, almost everyone wanted to be involved with the “drug problem” that the youth in our community face every day. They see it at school, at home, on the street, almost everywhere they go.

I have an opinion, and I’ve shared it before. It wasn’t met with great response, but I still hold to that opinion.

People can rally together all they want to, and have as many forums as they want to, and educate kids all they want to, we’re still going to have a drug problem, and kids are going to participate if he/she thinks they will be “left out” if they don’t. Until law enforcement cracks down on the people that are providing drugs, we’re going to have a drug problem. As long as kids see their parents living like it’s okay to do whatever makes you feel good, we’re going to have a drug problem. As long as our city officials are saying, it’s okay to have an alcohol district, (who are you kidding? You can drink between these boundary lines, and at this time of day…give me a break), we’re going to have a drug problem. Kids think you’re lame because you drink alcohol in front of them; they want to do something different, bigger, and better. Something to get a stronger “buzz” than  what you might be getting. As long as our kids are watching people they consider mentors out whooping it up on the weekends, and back to business on Monday, we’re going have a drug problem. Until they decide to put God back in our schools and in the lives of our children (not just taking them to church, but showing them Jesus), we’re going to have a drug problem. It doesn’t take a village to raise our kids, it takes parents. The village idea is an old African Proverb that Hilary Clinton penned in her book. I prefer the other Book for instruction on how to raise a child. Good kids make bad choices. It’s not a village problem, or a parent problem. Until we get rid of the drugs, it’s going to be there, killing our kids. Show them Jesus. It’s not up to the schools, or city officials to fix it. It’s a drug problem. It’s a heart problem. It’s a sin problem. Show them Jesus.

Deuteronomy 6:7-9 ~ Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.

Update: Reported Wednesday evening February 8, Jabe has been found and is safe. We are thankful.



“Get a Planner”, they said…

Someone requested I write about stress. Something I’m definitely no expert on, but I’ve had my fair share. Sometimes, to de-stress, I’ll slam a door, except this one door in my house that won’t close well, and well, it just won’t slam. I try to peel-out of the driveway, but I’m unsuccessful in that too. I never learned how; Coach Taber left that part out of Drivers Ed. I don’t stress-eat, Noah has already eaten all the good snacks. I bought myself a 2017 planner – first time ever. It has two entries. I take so many baths to relax, my skin stays wrinkled. I don’t workout or do yoga. I just  don’t.

My advice to those who have stress, is to get rid of the stressors. If someone in your life is causing great stress, quit hanging around with them. If you don’t have enough time in the day to finish everything you need to do, then you need to let something go.

I’ve found that if I place God first in my life, everything else seems to fall into place. It’s not always pretty, and it doesn’t fall perfectly, in my eyes, but I trust God’s plan for my life. I want a picture-perfect life and family, but oftentimes it looks a little more like this:

…everyone making frownie faces. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can’t make everyone happy. SO QUIT TRYING SO HARD. Focus on doing what God wants you to do, and you and everyone around you will be happier. Examine your life. Are you in love with The Lord, I mean really in love? It took me way too many years to figure out what that really means. Not an amorous love, but an agape kind of love. There’s a difference, look it up.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.”  (Luke 10:27) That’s every part of you – your heart, your soul, your strength, and your mind. What’s left?

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite go-to verses of scripture when I feel stress moving in: Please read all the way to the very last one. It’s a slam dunk!

John 14:27 ~ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Proverbs 16:3 ~ Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Matthew 11:28-30 ~ Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Philippians 4:6-7 ~ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28 ~ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

1 Peter 5:7 ~ Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Romans 16:20 ~ The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

I really, really like that last one. Satan is a liar. Satan is a crafty liar because his lies sound so much like the truth. He wants to deceive you and destroy you and to stress you. He is not only the father of lies, but he lies about the most important subject – God.

We have no need to be afraid. I would never urge you to focus on the darkness, though it certainly exists. Instead, I want you to know the victory that we have in Christ…the truth that is ours.

So slam a door if you have to, or peel out of a parking lot       (watch for the police). Go to the Rock of our salvation before you do either of those, and I promise you will find more satisfaction.

Edit: Tony fixed the door, so I can slam it now 🙂 I’ve grown up a little, and I’ve stopped trying to squeal my tires. Those things can cost a two-week salary or more. Save that rubber







Useful to the Master

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 2:21

Billy Graham was returning to Charlotte after a speaking engagement, and when his plane arrived there was a limousine there to transport him to his home.
As he prepared to get into the limo, he stopped and spoke to the driver.
“You know” he said, “I am 87 years old and I have never driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove it for a while?” The driver said, “No problem. Have at it.” Billy gets into the driver’s seat and they head off down the highway.
A short distance away sat a rookie State Trooper operating his first speed trap.
The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone. The trooper pulled out and easily caught the limo and he got out of his patrol car to begin the procedure. The young trooper walked up to the driver’s door and when the glass was rolled down, he was surprised to see who was driving. He immediately excused himself and went back to his car and called his supervisor. The supervisor asked, “Is it the Governor?” The young trooper said, “No, he’s more important than that.” The supervisor said, “Oh, so it’s the President.” The young trooper said, “No, he’s even more important than that.” The supervisor finally asked, “Well then, who is it?” The young trooper said, “I think it’s Jesus, because he’s got Billy Graham for a chauffeur!”

I love that story. I’ve never verified the validity of it, but it sounds good to me.

If anyone has ever been useful to the Master, it has to be Billy Graham.

Let’s not be useless . If we let Jesus be our driver, we might find ourselves more useful than if we try to drive Him. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24) The Message Version reads like this: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am

“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am

Many times, when we become Christians, we give God the keys, and then immediately we jump in the passenger seat and start telling him where to go, where to stop, when to slow down and speed up, even sometimes to give us the wheel. We need to let God be God, and let Jesus be the driver of our lives.

Then and only then, will we find ourselves “useful to the Master”.

I must give props to BR from last night’s Bible Study, for this blog title inspiration.