Your Server Will Be Right With You

I love giving credit to great servers! The best experiences I’ve ever had at eateries are almost always connected to having a fantastic person taking care of me while I am dining in their establishment. We recently took my Dad to a steak restaurant to celebrate a milestone birthday and we had a guy named Jason taking care of us. He was attentive, friendly, helpful in his recommendations and…fun!

When I told Jason that we had a birthday boy among us…he made it his mission to let the whole restaurant know that Charlie was turning 85. He let him ride their stationary bull while everyone shouted out a resounding birthday ‘yeehaw’. My Dad had a great time and for the rest of our evening there, as patrons got up to leave, they would come by our table and wish him a happy birthday.

I’ve never been a server in a restaurant. I worked 3 months in a fast food restaurant and decided that was not for me. That may be one of the reasons I especially appreciate those who serve hungry people. What a mission field! But speaking of mission fields, where we live, and work and shop…where we interact with people…THAT is OUR mission field.

Someone woke up this morning in a world of hurt. Someone that we will connect with today will need Jesus and we get to serve them up a gentle serving or a heaping helping of the Savior as needed. 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) tells us, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” You and I really are servers! We are called to serve others using the gifts that God has given us and to use them well. Let’s show up for the one that’s just hanging on…your server will be right with you!

Be Specific

My mom and I were talking recently about someone we had seen listed in the obituaries. She shared a memory that she had of this man from more than 40 years ago. He was an answer to her prayer.

She shared that one morning as she was driving to work, her car quit. She managed to pull off to the side of the road. This was long before we had cell phones to call for help. So she prayed. She asked the Lord to send her someone who could help her…and…that it would be someone that she knew. Within minutes a gentleman pulled up ahead of her and walked back to ask her if she was alright. She recognized him right away. And he knew exactly what to do to help her!

I love the story of two blind men who encountered Jesus outside of Jericho. You can find the story in Matthew 20:29-34 (NIV). As these two guys were sitting by the side of the road they called out to Jesus to have mercy on them. Everyone told them to be quiet which made them shout louder. Jesus heard them and answered, “what do you want me to do for you?” and they answered, “Lord, we want our sight.” These two were specific in their prayer need with Jesus. Jesus was moved. He touched their eyes…and immediately they received their sight.

Just like those two we can pray specifically when we have a need and Jesus hears us when we pray!

If My People

I love God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Most likely you’ve heard it quoted when the topic of conversation is about how bad things have gotten. How we need God to intervene. Make a way in the desert. Save us from all the evil in the world. We DO need God in every area of our lives and in our world.

I have prayed 2 Chronicles 7:14 for our country so often. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Recently I was struck by this thought. This promise is not for the unsaved. This verse was given to those who call themselves Christians. You and I. He said, ‘If My people’ and then God makes it really clear…’who are called by MY name’.

There’s a pattern that God laid out for us. Humble ourselves. Pray. Seek God. Turn away from sin. When we do this, God promises us, ‘then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’ That’s His promise to respond when we follow His direction.

So as we pray for revival in our nation, this promise from God is a direct link to see miracles happen across our land, for healing in our country to happen and keep happening. Humble ourselves. Keep talking with God and turn away from anything that creates a wedge between us and Him!

Heal our land, Lord. And let it begin with me!

Taking Action

I bought my husband, Ken, a gift for his birthday and I wanted him to have it before his birthday. But he sat it on the counter, along with all the other cards that came in the mail before his big day, so that he would have them all to open on his birthday. Technically, the gift that I bought him was already his. But since he wouldn’t open the gift he had no benefit, pleasure or concept of value of the gift. Ken could have been enjoying that gift all along if he had chosen to receive it. Instead, it sat on the counter for a week or two, wrapped up and unable to bring him joy.

There are scriptures in the Bible in which God clearly requires that we take action. If you do this…then God will do that. Romans 10:9 is a beautiful example. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Our salvation came at a great cost, purchased by Jesus’ death and resurrection. The work was already done. The penalty for our sins has been met.

There is however something that we must do to receive it. We must confess that Jesus is our Lord and acknowledge that we believe that God raised Him from the grave. It is only then that we are saved. Salvation is a free gift. But we must receive it and walk in it for it to affect us. The good news is that when we do – it changes our lives forever!

Fully Known

We check our email, our voicemail, direct messages….and then we scroll. We scroll through what social media calls our ‘news feed’. Before we know it we have scrolled through the feed for hours and still…we are hungry. Hungry for connection. And even when we say we are connected through all these different media outlets…still… we are starving to be known.

Jeremiah 1:5 (NASB) says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you.” When we truly understand that our Creator, the God of the Universe, Jehovah Shalom, the Lord of Peace, knew us before He even formed us in our mother’s womb, we will be able to silence the voices that tell us we are not enough. Knowing that we are known by God allows us to tune out the voice that says you have little significance.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with our communication outlets but we will never find our significance in the number of friends, likes and follows that we get there.

You are of great significance in this story because God Himself is writing you in His story. Before you were born He knew you…and called you by name. As you are taking your next breath, responding to your messages, scrolling through your feed, don’t search for connection and value there. Seek out God. Know that He has called you and set you apart for the plan He created you to walk in. And God knows you. You are His beloved and He is yours. In God, you will find connection and the joy of being fully known.

The Fragrance Of Time Well Spent

Nesting is one of my favorite things to do! When my husband, Ken, and I moved into our first home I began to make that house feel like home. After living on a bus for the first few years, with half a dozen other people sharing that same space, I was thrilled to have our own place…and that it wasn’t on wheels!

One of my favorite authors of that era was Emilie Barnes. Emilie wrote over 80 books and while I haven’t read all of them I’ve read quite a few over the years. She spoke to the busyness and clutter of my life and her book “Welcome Home” taught me some wonderful ways to really create the feeling of HOME in our house.

I’ll never forget one of my favorite stories about her quiet time with God. Emilie would burn a scented candle every day while she was reading her Bible and praying. She said that long after she had blown out the candle and gone back to dishes and laundry and taking care of kids…she could smell the fragrance of that candle and it reminded her of her time spent alone with the King.

It reminded me of Esther who won the heart of the king and became Queen. Can you imagine a solid year of daily spa treatments? Six months of the oil of myrrh and six months of spices and cosmetics. Esther quickly found favor with the one in charge and found herself in the best rooms of the palace with attendants to take care of her every need. I’m convinced that during this time there was something happening in her heart as well. God was preparing her for the purpose and plan that He had for her. It is a beautiful story of courage and honor that is so worth reading from beginning to end if you haven’t in a while.

Esther 2:17 tells us, “The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight… so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen.” 

I believe that the first thing the king smelled when Esther came before him…was her perfume. Her consistent daily regimen had prepared her to capture the attention of the king. And it opened the door for her to find favor with him.

Did you know that we have a fragrance too? Our worship is a beautiful fragrance before the King! And it delights His heart. God’s heart is already FOR us but when we worship the Lord that sweet fragrance connects our heart with His so much that when we get busy in our day the fragrance of our time with God will still be noticeable. Not only will we be reminded of our time with Him…but I’m convinced that others will notice as well!

We Are Ambassadors

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be an ambassador in a foreign country? We would represent our country in a land that is not our homeland. Our home in that foreign land would be called an embassy and considered a safe zone. While it is inside a country with different governmental laws and customs, within the walls of the embassy, the ambassador’s home country laws and cultures apply.

Ambassadors are good negotiators. They are responsible to help with relationships between their home country and the country that is hosting them. And they are charged with the safekeeping of all their fellow countrymen and women who also work in the host country. They must be diplomatic in their interactions with everyone. One summary described it this way: “Ambassadors must navigate complex political and cultural landscapes while representing their country’s interests. This requires a high level of emotional intelligence and the ability to handle difficult conversations and negotiations with grace and skill.”*

Sound familiar to you? As believers, you and I are ambassadors for Christ! We are not living in our home country. THIS world is the host country and often we called upon to navigate through some pretty challenging political, cultural and spiritual conversations. It takes some skill, much prayer and a whole lot of grace to do this well. But do it we must! Our charge as ambassadors to the world that we are living in is to know God…and make Him known. To borrow the mission of Red Rocks Church in Colorado…our mission is to make Heaven a LOT more crowded!

1 Peter 2:11-12 (MSG) gives us this great responsibility: “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life in your neighborhood so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.”

We ARE ambassadors for Christ!


Just Ask

“There are two moments in life. Those you miss and those you seize.” That wisdom came from an unlikely source…a Hallmark movie! Wisdom handed down from one generation to the next about making wise choices. I’d like to believe that we get more wisdom the more we live life, but the truth is, at any given moment, we can miss out on a really important moment, and we can totally seize the wrong moment and find ourselves in a boatload of trouble.

For sure, the only way to know which moment is best missed and which moment should be embraced is to pray…every day!…for wisdom from God. After all, God knows the end from the beginning, and every page in between of our story. There is no one else more qualified to give us counsel, clarity, wisdom and discernment in every moment of our day than God!

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” That is James 1:5 (NLT)

If you’re wondering ‘how do I get everything done in a day if I have to pray before I do anything?’ Here’s what I have learned about talking with God. When I keep an open dialogue with God throughout my day I will have a thought to reach out to someone and text or call them. Or I might be about to do something, go somewhere, speak to someone, and the Holy Spirit will give me just a tiny nudge or pause before I do it. More times than I can count He stepped in to help me avoid something damaging or lead me to step into something that turned out to be amazing.

For all the big moments in life…and the little ones…just ask Him. We already know that we need His wisdom and His promise to us is that He will generously give us the wisdom we need as often as we need it! Just ask!

Fulfilling His Purpose

I had dinner with a friend the other night that I haven’t seen in over 20 years. It was so good to catch up on our families and on life. I was reminded as we shared stories of different things we’ve lived through that there have been a lot of good days and some hard days as well.

We talked more about the difficult parts of our journey for some reason. Perhaps trying to show that we have weathered some storms and we are still going. Maybe trying to encourage each other that we are warrior women and God is helping us to be courageous.

My friend left radio and became a nurse. And at one point in the evening she looked at me with a smile on her face and said, “I’m so glad I became a nurse. I love helping people.” I know she has gone through some big things in the past two decades. But in that moment I could tell…she’s doing what she was born to do…and it is well with her soul.

Psalm 57:2 (ESV) says, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Oh we’ve done some crying out over the years, haven’t we?!! Consider this, that when we pour out our heart to God, He receives our prayers, and our tears, and He fulfills His purpose for me. What a beautiful thought that the hard things we go through are not in vain. That God makes something out of them and we can find fulfillment in His plan for us.

My prayer today is that we are doing what we were born to do, or moving toward that goal! And that it is well with our soul. God IS making something beautiful out of the pieces of our life. We can thank Him in that!

A Lesson From My Pop Pop

My grandfather died when I was about six years old. I only have a couple memories of him and this one made a very deep impression on me. Mom Mom and Pop Pop lived in a house on a bit of a hill. Their house was so fun and they had a nice yard to play in. And I loved staying with them!

On one particular visit, Pop Pop had told me that I could play outside anywhere in the yard but, he said, ‘do NOT play inside the car’. He had left the car outside the garage a little ways down the hill. Well, you know, I investigated the flowers in the front yard and wandered through the garden in the back. I danced around on their back patio a little, but eventually… I got bored. Trying to think of something fun to do I considered my options. Pop Pop said I could play outside anywhere but inside the car…so what did i do? I got in the car.

Oh yeah, this is not going to end well. I don’t know how long I was in the car. I don’t think it was very long. But while I was standing up on the front seat I managed to knock the car out of gear…and it began to roll. Down the hill toward the street that ran in front of their house. The car was stopped before it could roll onto the street…by a telephone pole.

If ever I knew what the combination of fear and trembling felt like…it was at that moment. I remember overwhelming guilt that I had done what I was told NOT to do. I remember a very stern conversation and what kids from my generation would know as the punishment of the switch.

So when I read in Genesis 3 that Eve had all of that beautiful Garden of Eden to live in and could eat of ANY tree in that garden EXCEPT for the tree that is in the middle of the garden…although I get aggravated that we are in the world in the state we are in because she did it anyway…I remember that when I was about 4 or 5 I did exactly the same thing. I didn’t eat a forbidden fruit but I did exactly the one thing I was forbidden to do…get in the car. Both of those were forbidden to us…to protect us.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” Whatever the enemy is tempting us toward today, focus on this: God is faithful and He will make a way out. In the meantime, it is wise to focus on God’s faithfulness and choose to resist the temptation of the enemy. God is greater…but we must choose Him.