Friday, February 19, 2016

A Year Ago Tomorrow

I posted the blog below... a year ago tomorrow. When I posted it, I had no idea that just a year later.... everything would be different.  

I had no idea that a year ago tomorrow would be my parent's last wedding anniversary.  It was their 72nd Wedding Anniversary. I had no way of knowing that our family would never gather around them again and see them kiss one another like crazy-in-love teenagers.  Just a few weeks after I posted the blog that follows these sentences.... we discovered that my mom was terminally ill. It was impossible to believe.  She had been a powerful energizer bunny of a woman.  Taking care of herself... and my father.

But one day.. a doctor told us.. "take her home and make her comfortable.". and everything about my life and Phil's life changed.  

My parents both loved Jesus so much. They both always had their eye on eternity. They both never forgot how temporary life actually is. I know that when two people in their nineties pass away within five weeks of each other.. it is not a tragedy.. it is LIFE. They lived LONG lives of LOVE and FAMILY and GOD and HIS PRESENCE saturating them and anyone who came in to contact with them..  I AM THANKFUL.. to the LORD.. for the LEGACY I have.   I know they are in the Presence of the Lord.  I am thankful for the parents I had. And I wish I still had them. That's the truth.

Thank you for telling me about Jesus.. my whole life. 
We will be together. Forever.
And... "coincidentally"... the florist shop... after being in business for DECADES...went out of business a few months ago.. and no longer exists.  

Happy 73rd Anniversary, Mom and Dad.... tomorrow..Feb. 20th... in heaven.


It's been more than a few years now.. that the owner of the florist shop in our city here in Tennessee waits for me. Wondering if once again.. in January.. I will walk through the front door of the florist shop to order the gardenias.    

And when I do...she smiles with a look of relief, sorta, and says, "Another year?"  And I nod my head with joy and order the gardenias ( a wrist band, a corsage) for my father to give to my mother on their Wedding Anniversary - which is TODAY.. February 20th.  72 YEARS.

On February 20, 1943, my mother's bridal bouquet was filled with gardenias.  The smell of a gardenia always reminds her of her wedding day and makes her smile.  Since making her smile is one of my father's primary goals in life..every anniversary for the past seventy one years. my father made sure she got gardenias.  

Nowadays, he isn't able to drive anymore, but he still makes getting the gardenias his number one priority.  Starting in January he reminds me that February 20th is coming soon and I reassure him that I've got the gardenias ordered.   He makes sure we have the money to pay for them... The florist owner and workers have met them and love them (who doesn't?) and comment - as does almost everyone - how unusual it is for two people their age to still have one another.   It is unusual. It is A BLESSING.  

Later this morning, Phil and I will drive to the florist...pick up the gardenias... bring them to my parent's house.. and watch my saint of a father... hand the gardenia to my saint of a mother.. and she will say, "Ohhhh Honey... You got me gardenias????"  - as if this is the first time ever -  and hug him and kiss him and he will smile.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my parents.  Their lives are worthy of being honored.. and I honor them.

And while the family gathers to sing to them, watch them they blow out the candles on their 72 Anniversary cake, while we laugh and love and gather at their home as a family... my unspoken prayer will be  that next January.... I will once again walk through the door of the florist shop and place my father's order.  

Getting the gardenias again is all I really want.

I love you Dad.  I love you Mom.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


"For I hold you by your right hand - I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, "Don't be afraid, I am here to help you." 
Isaiah 41:13

Israel was about to be invaded by an army that had invaded and destroyed many nations.  And they were afraid.  Who can blame them? And the Lord told Isaiah, "Comfort, comfort my people." (Isaiah 40:1)

And he wrote the words of comfort.  Now, I'm no Isaiah, but I know that some of you reading this feel like an army is coming against you.  Nothing is working out. Everything is going wrong.  And you are afraid. And you wonder if God is there.

And all I can say is that God is holding your hand.  How do I know that? Because He says He is. And He does not lie.

And there seems to be a system that God has set in to place that has not changed.  It has not changed through centuries and centuries. That system?

When His people cry out to Him in desperation.. He delivers them.



I watched my two Godly parents live their lives.  It wasn't about church to them. It wasn't about going to church, working at church, being at church. It was about being in God's presence... about prayer.. about calling out to Him in time of need. It was about serving a LIVING GOD.  Too many of us are disappointed in God because we are disappointed in the people who name His Name.  Who told us to do that? Who told us to expect that people would not disappoint?  Focus on the faithfulness of God.

I want to encourage someone reading this.  As I have had to encourage myself so many times.  God does not lie. 

"God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)

I don't know what you're going through.  But God does.

And He says to you today, "I AM HERE TO HELP YOU!"

You may have stopped holding hands with God.

But.. He has never stopped holding hands with you.
He never lets go.
Even when we do.


Thursday, February 11, 2016


The Benefits of Rejecting Jesus

No Rules
            Even just a quick study of the Bible shows that being a follower of Jesus requires obedience. For example, the whole LOVE thing, the whole “Love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU” issue. If you read His words and take them to heart, then it is going to require energy and power that human beings do not possess.  THE LOVE….quite, frankly, a huge challenge to anyone who would want to embrace Jesus as the Savior of the World.  When you reject Him, you don’t have to be bothered with His insistence that loving Him will result in a lifestyle of obeying Him.  You don't have to ask for Him to send you the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT to have a changed heart.  A heart that loves others. You can ignore His merciful pleas... things like.. to not judge others, to not hurt your spouse by committing adultery, to choose the kind of treasure that no one can steal away from you. You can just close your heart to any suggestion that you should prefer someone over yourself.  And FORGIVE OTHERS?????  Forgive someone who has made you angrier than angry?  NOPE.  You don't have to.   It’s you. You. You. Only you and what you think, and what you want, and what you like. HOORAY!

You can just make up some kind of religion that looks good, looks holy, but you don’t have to LOVE ANYBODY… especially not God.  You are not required to LOVE A GOD YOU CANNOT SEE.   You know, you can go to church on Sundays, sit still for an hour, throw some money in an offering plate, and then get ON WITH YOUR LIFE.  And for SURE you don’t have to OBEY ANYBODY. You can enjoy a life of “lawlessness” which means.. not bending to anyone’s rules. HOORAY.. Make up YOUR OWN RULES.  So MUCH EASIER. Let’s face it, people are so annoying and un-love-able nowadays. People disappoint you.  Especially those FOLLOWERS of HIS.   If you reject Jesus as the Only Way to be reconciled to God, then you can just do whatever you want.  You can rant and rave and criticize others. You can do whatever feels good to you at the moment.  This is a benefit of rejecting Jesus. 

And then.. He expects to be, like LORD of your life. Later for that.  You don't have to believe that this unseen person is ALIVE.. and IN HEAVEN.. and wants you to follow Him because HE created you. And knows you. And loves you. NOPE.. you can run your own life. Totally.  Because it's all or nothing with Jesus. Either you follow Him. Or you don't. Either you find the NARROW way, or you don't.  You can't ride fences with Jesus.  Who wants to ride a fence anyway? Right?  

The Con of Conviction

Conviction? What’s that?  You can tell yourself and others that the whole feeling guilty thing is a con.  You can reason that God doesn’t want people to be convicted of sin. What kind of God is intent on allowing people to die because their inherent SIN is separating the two of them.  Oh, NO…. He wants us to be happy. How in the world can you be happy if you are convinced that you are a sinner who needs forgiveness?  You can convince yourself that the whole SIN THING is a con created by church leaders centuries ago.. to keep the people enslaved to the church.  If you reject the whole idea of a Messiah who came to pay the DEATH for your sin… you can live each day KNOWING that people are created good, and perfect and without any sin or a God who wants to cleanse you from it.   You don’t have to spend even ONE SECOND asking God to reveal this kind of LOVE that would pay the price for YOUR sin. Nope. Just live each day IGNORING that tug of His call to you.  If you ignore it long enough, it goes away.
Forgetting the Future

And then you get to convince yourself that you will never die.  Such fun to believe that you are immortal, isn’t it?  Just live, live, live each day to the fullest.  Meditate in a garden somewhere. Become self-realized.  Eat, drink and be happy. Sure, all around you people die every day. But you? You have never died.  and you probably you never will.  Right? Sure. HOORAY for ETERNAL LIFE.  Not thinking about what happens after you die is so much more peaceful than considering that maybe there is a God and you might have to face Him after all.  Maybe there is sin and you have committed it and you will have to pay for it.  Maybe there are rules and you have to obey them.

The benefits of rejecting Jesus are easy to see…. if you can only focus what you see with your eyes.

You cannot, of course, see that His Love is THE Love you crave.
You cannot see that He sees you so completely and loves you just the way you are.
You cannot feel His Spirit – which He calls “The Comforter” – so you cannot feel the comfort that the Holy Spirit brings to a life that surrenders to Him.
You cannot know Truth because Jesus IS Truth. The Holy Spirit is The ONE from God who leads us in to all truth.
You cannot understand the difference between being condemned and convicted.
Being convicted simply means someone is pointing out to you that the path you are on – your behavior, your convictions, your actions, your sin – are separating you from the God Who Loves You. And giving you time to be reconnected to Him.
And then of course,
One of the down sides of rejecting Jesus is the whole NOW YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUR OWN SIN side.
You will understand someday – if by chance you happen to be one of those humans who actually dies - that SIN is such an vulgar infection in the Universe that God has sent His Son to remove it.

ANYWAY.. thanks for reading this.
I pray you see that there is, actually, NO benefit to rejecting Jesus. Not one.

“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”

John 3:17-19

Friday, February 5, 2016


One of my favorite songs is not a "Christian" song. Shhhh... don't tell anyone... because... I don't usually advocate a steady diet of songs that don't glorify the Lord..  
It gets in to your spirit.. and fills it.. but... not with The Spirit of God.   

Still.. there is something so sad, so raw, so honest, so REAL about this song... it has a very BASIC life lesson that I sometimes overlook. Maybe you do too?   The hook.. the gist of the song is captured in these words:

"Cause I can't make you love me if you don't; 
You can't make your heart feel something it won't" *

And that's the God honest truth.  If someone doesn't love you.. there is really nothing you can do about it.  Nothing.  I have been blessed to have so many people who loved me to the fullest measure of love.  And there have been - ARE - people who do not love me. Do not want me in their lives.  Much of our efforts, much of our heartbreak is that we keep trying.. keep fighting.. to have our love for another person returned to us. We may desperately remind them of what we've done for them, what we've given them, what we've given up for them. They. Don't. Care. One day... a light goes on in your dark and desperate heart and you realize that no matter what you do, what you've done.. HOW MUCH YOU LOVE that person.. they don't love you back.  

So this song takes it a step further.  It isn't just saying, "Oh, I understand.  I can't make you love me."  No the song gives an honest picture of what happens in a relationship where the love is one-sided. The person singing this song is, in essence, saying, "Since you don't love me but I love you - and - since that HURTS so MUCH - I will have to end this one-sided relationship. It's killing me. I will have to give up this fight I have been in - desperately trying to get you to love me the way I love you. I'm done. Goodbye.  These are the final hours of our relationship."

The thing about humans is that when we realize that our love is one-sided adventure... when we understand that the other person DOES NOT LOVE US... then... eventually... we walk away.   Or if the other person has walked away.. we accept it.  We get on with our own lives.  We cannot continue to truly love another person... who does not love us.  It hurts too much to really, really love someone and they don't love you back. 

I've been there.  Done that.  (O.K. Still there. Still doing that for some people).  
I have truly, deeply, utterly wholeheartedly loved another person. I have watched him (her) walk away from me as if that love was cheap. As if MY love for them was worth nothing at all. My most precious gift - TO LOVE THEM WITH ALL MY HEART - meant (means) NOTHING.  Like they are saying, "I don't care that you love me with all that love inside you. I. Don't. Want. You."   


If you think about it the pain doesn't really come from the other person's lack of love for us. 
It's our expectation of love being returned that destroys us. We think that when we love someone so deeply.. so intensely.. THEY WILL LOVE US BACK. 

We cannot make someone love us if they don't. 

But.. I still love him. I still love her. I still do. And he still does not care. And neither does she.


Even though God's love is the love you are craving.. 
and even though you don't care that God loves you...
Even though your relationship with God may be UTTERLY ONE SIDED.. in that HE LOVES YOU.. but you don't love Him..
He isn't like us.
He doesn't walk away from people who refuse.. HIS LOVE.



Isn't. That. AMAZING?

We keep telling Him His love for us isn't important to us and HE KEEPS TRYING TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH US.

.  There will come a day when your time to make the decision to love Him or not will expire.  But not today. Not if you are reading this.  


He loves you with a love that brings life.
He loves you with a love that is so intense that He sent His Only Son to pay the price for the sin that separates you from Him.

He keeps reaching out. Keeps wanting to have a relationship.  Why do you think you are reading this?  So He can let you know He isn't done with the relationship.  He loves you. Still. Always.

He wants a LOVE relationship with you. He isn't counting the Sundays you sit in a church somewhere.
He is listening for the whispers of "I love you Lord. I need you Lord. I love you."


He still loves you.
He still wants you.

"The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

(Thank you to those of you who are signing up to receive this via email. Upper right side of this page.)

"I Can't Mike You Love Me"

Monday, February 1, 2016


Does that title scare you? "God wants to talk to you." Does that create fear? Or hope? 

One of the conundrums of The Call is that it is something God has decided and ordained. We don't like it when Someone else decides something. We were not involved in The Holy Decision to save our souls.  Without discussing it with us, He sent Light in to the world.  Who asked for Light?  Did you ask for it? I know I didn't.  Did you know you were walking in Darkness? No, neither did I. 

We are perfectly content in our sin-induced darkness, not aware that we can live lives of Light.  Our unaware-ness of Light.. and Love... and Holiness... and LIFE... did not change the desperateness of our desperate state.  We couldn't see things from Heaven's vantage point.  We still cannot.  Rarely do we get a glimpse of life as it is.  We just live each day in a life as we hope it should be.  It is not that way.  We are in desperate trouble as we live our busy lives of going to work and coming home. And going to church and coming home. That's the tragedy of people who live in Darkness.  We just don't see.  We never see what we SHOULD see. We see what we want to see.  But we are living in darkness.  So we convince ourselves we are not.  We are NOT living in darkness.  But.  We.  Are.

Light is an irritant to someone living in Darkness.  

We never stop to think as we resist the Holy Spirit of the One True God, who is always calling, always reaching, always wanting to RESTORE US.. as we find excuses to reject Him and justify our reasons why Jesus is just NOT the Center of All That Is....

 that what we are truly saying is, 

"Leave me alone, LOVE!  Stop bothering me, LIGHT   Go away LIFE! I prefer Death."  

Who would say such a thing? Most people.

We whisper whispers that we think God cannot hear.  "Who asked You to save us? Why don't You just leave us alone? Let me live my life in darkness."

He cannot allow that. He loves you.

He is calling you.  It's not by chance you are reading this blog... (to borrow a favorite phrase of my mother Molly).

He knows how churches hurt people because they are more focused on building numbers than building people.  He is not churches.  He is God

He knows that His children often fail one another.  He is not a person. He is God.

He knows that life is often cruel.  He is not cruel.  He is God.

He is love.
He is power.
He is God.
He is real.

I don't know who I am writing this for, but I think it could be you.
I don't have thousands of people signed up to read this blog. 
But.. one thing I know for sure:


If that sentence fills you with fear...don't hide. He doesn't want to yell at you. He wants to say, "I love you.  I love you. Come home to Me. I want to give you Life."

I pray that the power of the Holy Spirit of the One and HOLY God will overwhelm you with His merciful love.  

I pray that He takes these typewritten words and transforms them in to POWER.

I have been disappointed in people.. but never in God.
I have been rejected by people.. but never by God.
I have disappointed people.. but God is never disappointed in me.
You can trust God.
You can trust that Jesus is your High Priest RIGHT NOW.. interceding for you.

Father, let these words become LIGHT to someone today. 

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Ephesians 3:14-10