Monday, October 31, 2011


Lately I have been thinking of the story of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32) The youngest son demands his share of the inheritance and goes off to a far away land. He spends all his money, famine comes, he is need and takes a job feeding pigs. He starts to long to eat the slop of the pigs because he had nothing. He decides to go home and beg his father to let him be a servant.

Meanwhile Dad is at home, watching for His son. He sees him along way off and goes running to his son. He embraces him and kisses him. The son begs for forgiveness and to be made a servant. But Dad tells the servant to prepare a party to celebrate His sons return. He has the best of the best prepared to celebrate.

(Interestingly he didn't say anything to his son. I never noticed that before.)

I have been thinking about someone lately who I think may soon be headed to that pig sty stage or may already be there. I feel pressed upon to pray more than ever and I just feel the time is close. I really pray for the pig sty stage. I hate to see anyway go through it, but if it brings him to God then I pray it will be quick. I pray that he sees the slop as his need for God. I pray that he realizes he realizes he needs to go back to God. I pray that he realizes that He is the only answer. I pray he turns back towards Home.

The best part is that God is looking for him. He is watching for him and when He sees him still afar off He will run to him. He will embrace him and kiss him and welcome him home. He will listen to him ask for His forgiveness and He will respond by planning a celebration.

I am filled with joy just thinking about it. What a celebration it will be!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Waking up to a Song

I am not very musical. I like to sing, but I don't pretend that I do that well. So I think it is interesting that God uses songs to speak to me. I know that if I wake up with a sang playing in my mind then He is talking to me. The really interesting part is once I talk to Him about it, I usually can't even remember the song. Not that I don't know it anymore, I just can't remember which song it was.

This morning I woke up very, very early with a song. The one line kept playing over and over again. I can't remember the words, like I said I usually can't remember. But the words brought with them a strong feeling of conviction. I started praying. Because I had no idea what I was being convicted of  I just started listing things. I also realized that when I pray I don't repent enough. I might talk to God about things I've done wrong or things I didn't do that I should have. Yet, I don't think I repented as much as I talked to Him about it.

That might have been the real reason that I was feeling such conviction. I need to do more than just tell Him what I have done or haven't done. I need to ask Him for forgiveness and repent.

I obviously feel back to sleep while praying because I woke up to the alarm clock and a sense of peace.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More Lessons from Chester

It's been two and a half weeks since Chester got out and ran away. I cried and cried over him in the beginning. I still miss him very much! I had to stop putting food out front for him because the sweet gray cat who looks like Chester was eating it. This caused my cats to go nuts. They thought he was Chester and would run from window to window to see him and meow at him. I still put food in the wooded area behind my fence.

Well, I was talking to God about Chester the other day. I was telling Him that if He has the sparrow then He has Chester. I resigned myself to the idea that I might never see him again. I thought about how I would miss having him sleep next to me whenever I took and nap or at bedtime. Monty, affectionately called Fat Boy, tries to sleep by me, but he isn't the same.

Friday I pulled into my driveway and saw a gray cat sitting on my living room windowsill. I opened my car door and called, "Chester". The cat jumped down and ran. I ran after him, but he was quite a bit a head of me. I saw him go into the ravine area behind my house and I know I wouldn't be able to see him once I got there. I called and called out for Chester but I saw nothing and only heard the birds in the trees. I went back to the house, got some cat food and brought it back to put out there for him.

Later I had to run out to put up garage sale signs and when I drove back into the driveway a gray cat took off. I didn't chase after him. I walked back the way he went and looked to see if I could see him. I didn't get a good look at him so I thought it could have been the other gray cat. I went inside.

Later I needed to go outside and when I did I saw a gray cat go around the corner of the house. I walked over there and saw the cat. My hopes raised, it was getting dark so all I saw was a gray cat. The cat meowed and I knew it wasn't Chester. He came over and I petted the nice gray cat and then I went back inside.

I started to wonder about the whole thing. Why did he run? Why did the other gray cat not run? What was the point of this?

I thought about how sometimes people come back, they sneak around, hoping God won't see them. They want the life but without Him. They spend time looking through the window, into Home, just like Chester did. But when the Master comes around they run away. He calls after them, He pursues them but they hide. They live out in the "woods" where it's cold, their exposed to the rain and wind. They live in the bramble of fallen trees and bushes. They could be living in the Home that God has prepared for each of His children, yet they won't.

They are angry with Him for choices they made. They blame Him for the rain, the wind, the cold. They blame Him for making them hide in the bramble. They blame him for being winded from running from Him. All God wants is His children. He wants them Home safe under His protection. He wants to spend time with them. He wants to have a relationship with Him.

I pray that Chester comes home and I pray that those who need to come Home to God will. I will keep pursuing Chester and God will keep pursuing them.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lessons from Chester

When I lived in an apartment Riley and I had a following. Of cats! The strays loved Riley because she loved them and of course I had food with me. There were some days that I definitely felt God was teaching me something through these kitties. I thought I should write a book called "Lessons Learned from the Strays".

Last night, my sweet Chester and Rosie decided to be adventurous and pushed the screen out of the open window and went outside. I'm not sure how long they were out there but as I opened the front door they were just a little away from the house. Rosie turned around and jumped back in the window, but Chester headed toward the driveway and went under the car.

I went in and closed the window and headed back out to get him. I thought he would be scared but he would come right to me. I was wrong! He would not come out from under the car. I went in and got a bowl of food, he's a skinny boy, but he loves to eat, and set it under the car. He ignored it. I reached under and touched his paw. He moved farther under the car. I sat there and talked to him for a long time, but he wouldn't come out.

I tried everything I could think of. I tried to feed him. I tried to touch him. I tried to talk to him. I opened the window back up for him. I stayed up late and watched for him. But he didn't come back in. Then I felt God speak to me that He understood exactly what I was feeling.

He has all these children who He loves. They breakout of His care and venture out on "adventures". He gives them His Word for food, but they don't take it. He reaches out and touches them, but they pull back and move farther away from Him. He talks to them, but they ignore His voice. He opens up the door to coming back into His family, through His Son, but they won't come back in. He watches over them, always watches over them, and yet they say He isn't even there.

My pain over missing my sweet kitty is nothing compared to our Father's pain at seeing all of His children run away from Him. Thankfully, some of them actually turn back to Him and come back home. I am thankful that I did. I am thankful that He called me and I heard and came back inside to Him.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


So, I have this little problem. I have a little clutter problem. Some might say it's more than little. :)

I have plenty of excuses for the stuff. I'm a teacher and we have a weird sort of thing that we "may need that someday for some lesson". I've moved a lot and right before the move I run out of time to go through stuff so it just gets put in a box. I'm too tired after work to clean up. I could go on and on, but I won't.

I have felt God telling me to get rid of the stuff. I have been working on it. I could be working harder and faster. Some times I just need a reminder to get at what God is telling me to do. Yesterday morning I got two of them.

The first was waking up to the clock radio. It is set to a music station but at 5 AM there is a FamilyLife Today program on. These are the words I woke up to...

"As a single woman, you can accept so many different opportunities at work. Before you know it, you are completely fried because you didn‟t have the built-in boundaries that you might have when you get married. So, right now is a great opportunity for you to go ahead and establish personally, "What are my Sabbath boundaries going to be?"—boundaries, not only in your calendar, but boundaries also in your living space. I mean, you can accumulate so much stuff to where your home isn‟t inviting and isn‟t a place of peace anymore. You are enslaved in your living space. You can't really enjoy anything because you have too much of everything. If you don‟t personalize these boundaries, then you won't have anything to carry you over into the next season of life, as well."

Ummm, I might be thick but that spoke loud and clear....seriously those were the first words I heard. Then I got up and did the normal routine, let the dog out; feed all the furry babies; check Facebook (that part is so sad!) and here's what I saw on there.

"He wants us... to open our eyes and be fully aware & engaged in what He’s doing in this particular season of our lives." -Priscilla Shirer
The funny part is it was Priscilla Shirer who was speaking on the radio too. So I put the laptop down and prayed that God would help me to clear out the clutter. I don't have the desire to clear it out so I need Him to help. I believe He will!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Comfort Zone

I'm a comfy clothes, comfy home, comfy life kind-a person. I love comfy! I can't say I love my comfort zone. I am used to it, but that doesn't mean that I love it. Actually, there are parts of my comfort zone that I really hate!

This year I started the year by telling God I would do whatever He told me to do this year. I became involved in praying at church. I started a Life Group with my brother and sister-in-law. I started going to another Life Group too. I went to Haiti. Next summer I want to go to Kenya (hoping that God makes that happen.) I started attending church at the Monroe campus. And today, I went to a meeting to start a new ministry at church, at the Weddington campus.

There was a prayer group started up in February when Garren Janes' AVM ruptured. It was so hard at first. I have to admit I felt guilt. I had prayed just a few days before that Garren would be a witness to one of his friends. Then his AVM ruptured and I thought, "that is not what I meant!" I cried, a lot! When I shared my guilt with a friend she helped me see that God already had this as part of His plan. Now, I know that God has used Garren and his family to witness to so many more people than just the one friend I prayed he would.

As Garren started to improve the group started to pray for more areas of our church and people and the group got smaller and smaller. It shrunk to the day it was just me and one other. Then it stopped with a promise to make a plan to start it again at some point. Well, this morning a small group meet to talk about a new ministry of prayer.

There were five of us and two pastors who meet and discussed praying during services. There will be people praying at both services and even people to pray at the end of services with people who need it. I realize I will have to pray during the 9 AM service so I can still drive over to the Monroe campus for service, at least that is my plan. Well, this is a little out of my comfort zone, but that isn't the real step out that I made today.

During the meeting we were asked if we would like to be both the ones who pray "in private" as well as praying "in public". My first thought was, "NO!" I am not qualified to pray with other people about their needs. Not only am I not qualified, I am not comfortable doing it. But my answer wasn't, "no". So, I guess I am taking another one of those "out of my comfort zone" steps, and it feels pretty good!

There are other comfort zones I need to get out of, at work, in my personal relationships. I need my steps out in my spiritual walk to transfer to those areas in my life too. I am excited, anxious, and all sorts of mixed up feelings when I think about stepping out in those areas.

I wonder if I will even recognize the me from January 1, 2011.