Response to these troubled days

 

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Yes, we are living in troubled days. Everywhere we look we see evidence of fallen man. Jesus said that Satan is the god of this world, and we see his fruit everywhere; hate, fear, and death.

How do we keep from getting sucked in to the pit with the rest of the world?

How do we keep our hope in the face of hopelessness?

How do we love when we are hated?

The quick and easy answer would be to pray. And yes, we should pray, but what about when we are so heavy laden, hurt, angry, sad, alone, abused, empty, afraid, blue, and if I can be honest… how about when we are just tired of hearing our own voice and see no change around us? What then?

The world is spinning fast, time is but a vapor, and time is short, and nothing is within our control. We can not control another person or what is going on around us. BUT! There is one thing we can control… ourselves. We can take control of our thoughts and our responses. Then instead of being reactive, we can be proactive.

So, again, how do we do that?

We shift our focus!

 

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SHIFT YOUR FOCUS

A broken hallelujah will be made whole. In your brokenness, offer a hallelujah and He will answer.

In  Hebrew, Hallelujah transcends the languages of the world. It is not translated, it is transliterated.  (click here to read more about praise)

“Hallel” means to boast or to brag on, to make a show, even to the point of looking ridiculous.

“Jah” is the short form of the name for God.

 

What do we tell our children to do when there is a fire? Stop! Drop! And Roll!

 

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty heavens.
 
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to [the abundance of] His greatness.

 
Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.

Praise Him with tambourine and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flute.
 
Praise Him with resounding cymbals;
Praise Him with loud cymbals.
 
Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)

-Psalm 150

So I encourage you… No! I challenge you!  Shut the world out, turn the news off, lay down the paper, hang the phone up, shut down the computer, and Stop! Drop to your knees, lift your arms, open your mouth, and let the praises roll!

You can’t change the world, but God can. You may not be able to change your circumstance, but God can. You may be waist deep in what the world calls despair, but He promises if you focus on Him, praise Him for His goodness, trust Him, give it ALL to Him, when you rise you will rise refreshed and strengthened.

He is still God, He is still on His throne, He has not left you and He never will. Don’t let the world steal your peace. Shift your focus.

 

Be Free & Stay Free

Who is with Me?

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This post is to those who follow Christ; those who are called by His Name, and for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.

Do NOT get side tracked by the pettines that is distracting you. There is very real battle going on and many are falling away; chasing their own tails because the enemy has come in, undetected, and are causing warriors to engage in trivial arguments over offenses to distract from the source of the problem. Men and women of God who were once on fire and bold, are now hiding behind their doors and have allowed their voice to be silent; they have forgotten their first love.

Are we more concerned and focused on the mud on the carpet instead of the thief who has tracked the mud through our house? While we run around cleaning up his mess, sweeping it under the rug, he has moved on to kill, steal, and destroy. Like ostriches, we hide our heads, convincing ourselves if we do not see him then he is not there. We pull our feet under the blankets so the monster under the bed will not grab them, instead of just turning on the light.

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Do NOT be a slacker, with slothful ease, when it is time to pick up our weapons. We MUST hold the arms of our President up. We MUST intercede for our nation. We MUST go to bat for souls.  We MUST stand and we MUST resist!  It is time to choose a side, come out of hiding, and be brave!

 downloadBut I have this [charge] against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and she teaches and misleads My bond-servants so that they commit [acts of sexual] immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols.  I gave her time to repent [to change her inner self and her sinful way of thinking], but she has no desire to repent of her immorality and refuses to do so. Listen carefully, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her [I will bring] into great anguish, unless they repent of her deeds.” -Revelation 2:20-22

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. -2 Chronicles 7:14

 So when Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard about it, and she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked down from the [upper] window.  As Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, “Is it well, Zimri, your master’s murderer?” Then Jehu raised his face toward the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” And two or three officials looked down at him.

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And he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and he trampled her underfoot.  When he came in, he ate and drank, and said, “See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.” They went to bury her, but they found nothing left of her except the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. So they returned and told Jehu. Then he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which He spoke through His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘In the property of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel.  The corpse of Jezebel will be like dung on the surface of the field in the property of Jezreel, so they cannot say, “This is Jezebel.”’” 2 Kings 9:30-37 

We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony!

Jesus is coming quickly and His reward is with Him! Are you ready?

Don’t be fooled! This is not just “politics,” this is an attack against Christianity, against the people of God. This is demonic! Look around you! Jesus told us what to look for as a sign of His return and a person has to be blind to not see the signs!

He who testifies and affirms these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. -Revelation 22:20

Be Free & Stay Free

And Yet…

 

Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?

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The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.

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Your tongue devises destruction, 
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

<> on November 1, 2017 in Washington, DC.

You love evil more than good,

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And falsehood more than speaking what is right. Selah.

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You love all words that devour,
O deceitful tongue.

 

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But God will break you down forever; 
He will take you away and tear you away from your tent,
And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah.

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The righteous will see it and fear, And will [scoffingly] laugh, saying,

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“Look, [this is] the man who would not make God his strength [his stronghold and fortress], But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
Taking refuge in his wealth.”

 

But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust [confidently] in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.

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I will thank You forever, because You have done it, [You have rescued me and kept me safe].

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I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.

Jesus

 Psalm 52

Be Free & Stay Free

No Compromise

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I read an article in CBN News and I have to share it with you, as a warning, and for encouragement to finish the race that is laid out before us.

A United Methodist Church pastor has caused controversy after stating that Christians can support the marital union of homosexuals without betraying the word of God.”

All of the alarm bells are going off! Wake up, wake up, wake up!

Choose this day who you will serve (Joshua 25:15). You can not, as Christians, support something that is clearly against Gods Word without betraying the Word of God. It is NOT possible!

Hamilton believes United Methodist churches must come together now and rediscover the faith that unites them. He does, however, believe that individual church parishes should be allowed to determine where they stand on this most sensitive theological issue. So, he helped set up the group “Uniting Methodists” to encourage local churches to claim autonomy over these pastoral matters.” Let us not fool ourselves, as Hamilton is greatly deceived, the autonomy he seeks is a separation from Truth.

Bottom line… you are for God or you are not. There is no middle ground and no compromise. All or Nothing, Hot or Cold, Life or Death, For or Against… 

We are to be a light in the world; not bring the world into the church. It is love to speak truth and  it is love to care for souls; even to the point of death. The world is lost, they are dying and facing eternal death, and we will be held accountable if we withhold truth.

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I was compelled to write to you [urgently] appealing that you fight strenuously for [the defense of] the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints [the faith that is the sum of Christian belief that was given verbally to believers]. For certain people have crept in unnoticed [just as if they were sneaking in by a side door]. They are ungodly persons whose condemnation was predicted long ago, for they distort the grace of our God into decadence and immoral freedom [viewing it as an opportunity to do whatever they want], and deny and disown our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)

Jesus said, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error] For many will come in My name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many.” And He also said, “At that time many will be offended and repelled [by their association with Me] and will fall away [from the One whom they should trust] and will betray one another [handing over believers to their persecutors] and will hate one another. Many false prophets will appear and mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, the love of most people will grow cold.” See Matthew 24)

And the Lord said, “The outcry [of the sin] of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down now, and see whether they have acted [as vilely and wickedly] as the outcry which has come to Me [indicates]; and if not, I will know.” (See Genesis 18)

I assure you and most solemnly say to you, it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city [since it rejected the Messiah’s messenger]. (Matthew 10:15)

Stay alert! Stay awake! Do not be deceived!

Be Free & Stay Free

http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/2018/august/megachurch-pastor-claims-christians-can-support-gay-marriage-without-betraying-god

This is NOT the Time to be SILENT

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I do believe God answered the prayers of the righteous through the election of President Trump. We have been granted some time to move forward; some breathing room, as President Trump is a friend to Christians and Israel. What we do during this time is important. This is not a time to rest.

Here, in the United States, we are being hit from every side, evil is being exposed, the wicked are drunk in their sin, The spirits of hate, lust, greed, lies, and corruption… lawlessness; cover our nation like a dark cloud, defiling everything and everyone it comes into contact with.

But it doesn’t stop with the United States, the attack is worldwide; pediphilia, crimes against children and the unborn, wars, famine, strange weather (volcanic eruptions, fires, floods, earthquakes, droughts) and it is increasing.

Sin is in the church, the Gospel message is being watered down across the pulpit, itching ears are being served a “feel good” message where there is no longer a call to repentance. Those who were once on fire for the Lord have silenced themselves and opted for entertainment rather than the Word of God and have become so lukewarm they border cold; having walked away from the call of God on their life, they have neglected the only One Who brings salvation. Their hearts have grown weak and instead of repenting and returning to their first love, they have sought after the counterfeit to numb them; addictions, entertainment, unholy relationships…  then when this proves to be empty, leaving them in a worse state than before, many turn to suicide, but it all leads to death.

For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be.  For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark.  And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24 

For those of us who know Jesus, this is not a time to be afraid, this is a time to look up and to get on our knees and plead for souls. This is not the time to get lax, but to put on the full armour of God and wage war in the heavenlies for our nation(s) and souls.

 

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Then the men got up from there, and looked toward Sodom; and Abraham walked with them to send them on the way.  The Lord said, “Shall I keep secret from Abraham [My friend and servant] what I am going to do,  since Abraham is destined to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him? For I have known (chosen, acknowledged) him [as My own], so that he may teach and command his children and [the sons of] his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is righteous and just, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has promised him.”  

And the Lord said, “The outcry [of the sin] of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.  I will go down now, and see whether they have acted [as vilely and wickedly] as the outcry which has come to Me [indicates]; and if not, I will know.”

Now the [two] men (angelic beings) turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.  Abraham approached [the Lord] and said, “Will You really sweep away the righteous (those who do right) with the wicked (those who do evil)?  Suppose there are fifty righteous [people] within the city; will You really sweep it away and not spare it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it?  Far be it from You to do such a thing—to strike the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right [by executing just and righteous judgment]?” 

So the Lord said, “If I find within the city of Sodom fifty righteous [people], then I will spare the entire place for their sake.” 

Abraham answered, “Now behold, I who am but dust [in origin] and ashes have decided to speak to the Lord.  If five of the fifty righteous are lacking, will You destroy the entire city for lack of five?”

And He said, “If I find [at least] forty-five [righteous people] there, I will not destroy it.” 

Abraham spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose [only] forty are found there.”

And He said, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty [who are righteous].”

Then Abraham said [to Him], “Oh, may the Lord not be angry, and I will speak; suppose thirty [righteous people] are found there?”

And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 

 And he said, “Now behold, I have decided to speak to the Lord [again]. Suppose [only] twenty [righteous people] are found there?”

And the Lord said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.” 

Then Abraham said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry [with me], and I will speak only this once; suppose ten [righteous people] are found there?”

And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.” 

As soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his own place.

Genesis 18:16-36

My friends, my brothers and sisters, church… Rise up! Be bold! Do not be afraid! If you love God then you will love people as He loves them, willing to die for them so they may live!

However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?Luke 18:1-8

Be Free & Stay Free

For His People of Valor

1 Peter 3

 

A boy wanted to be a doctor. As a child his parents gave him a toy doctor kit and he would hold the plastic stethoscope to the chest of stuffed animals and give pretend shots to anyone who would allow him to put the plastic syringe to their arm.  As he grew he would watch television shows about doctors; he knew the names and back stories of every major character in his favorite shows.  He would  drive around the hospital and sometimes even go inside.

He bought himself a pair of scrubs, a white lab coat, and a real stethoscope, and he would wear them around town. His chest would swell each time someone called him Doctor. He decided it was not important to go to real medical school, after all, he does look like a doctor already and why go through all the hassle of study when all he needed was the outfit; or so he thought.

One day there was a terrible accident. Upon seeing the young man they urged him to help.

“Doctor, do something!” The crowd pleaded. “Or they will die.”

Of course he didn’t know what to do. He fumbled around and tried his best to re-enact the scenes he seen hundreds of times on his favorite television shows, he yelled “Stat!” and “screamed for someone to hand him a “thing-a-ma-jig.” He didn’t know how to check a pulse, stop the bleeding, or bandage a wound. He tried to fake it, but faking it did not save any lives that day.

Perhaps he should have went to medical school? Maybe he should have applied himself to studies instead of appearance that merely brought him a false sense of security?

Thankfully, this is just a fictitious story. Yet, this scene is played out everyday within the Body of Christ.

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Too many Christians are getting the Word from short blips and memes, or watching t.v. sermons, or worse going to a church where scripture is never mentioned, but my, my, my, what a great time they had, huh. They may own a Bible, but do they read it? They may pick it up occasionally, but do they study it?

If you are a Christian and I ask you where is your Bible and when was the last time you read it, what would you answer?

If someone asked you what do you believe and why do you believe, would you have a confident answer? And if your answer went against the grain of the person asking you, would you be bold enough to still give your answer without wavering? If you were speaking to someone who is well versed in their unbelief, (an atheist, for example) do you have enough of His Word in you to contend for the faith?

This is not meant to condemn anyone, rather I hope if this speaks to you it will encourage you to rise up and take your place.

But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness [though it is not certain that you will], you are still blessed [happy, to be admired and favored by God]. Do not be afraid of their intimidating threats, nor be troubled or disturbed [by their opposition].  But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:14-15

The more time you spend in His Word, in fellowship with Him, then the more you will know Him and become like Him.

As followers, imitators, of Christ, we have been given a commission:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

You have no need to fear! Study His Word, submit yourself to Christ, and when the opportunity comes (and it will) He will give you the words to say. He will bring back to your remembrance all He has taught you. But you can’t remember what you have not taken the time to hear and to know.

My friend, we are in the days where evil is called good and good is called evil, many are falling from the faith, false prophets are on the stage, the wolves are dining on the ignorance of lazy believers, people are seeking to have their ears tickled and there are many out there who will accomodate their carnal desires. Christians are being persecuted around the world, and even here in the USA our Christian faith is being attacked. We must be vigilant!

Difficult Times Will Come!

But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear].  For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane,  [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good,  traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God,  holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. 2 Timothy 3:1-5  

Do these verses from 2 Timothy sound like it fresh out of the mainstream media, Hollywood, your FaceBook newsfeed, or the world outside your front door?

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What is apologetics? It is not apologizing for your faith, nor is it defending God, because He does not need us to defend Him, It is the discipline of giving the reason for your hope, applying scripture, it is combating unbelief.

(Click on the following links for more:   John 14:11, John 20:24-31, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11,   Philippians 1:17,  Psalm 14:1, 2 Corinthians 10:5)

Remember, we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, it is not against people, but against spiritual forces of wickedness.  You are well equip, so you need not be afraid or timid.

There are many resources out there to help you. The Bible should ALWAYS be your first resource. Enroll in a course on apologetics. I have found some really good ministries out there. Check out:

Apologia Church, they also have some good teaching videos on YouTube.

Living Waters Ministry, and Ray Comfort has an excellent YouTube channel, as well.

Frances Chan has a heart for God and people. He is sure to inspire you!

People matter! Souls matter! 

So, the next time you have the opportunity, open up your mouth and let Him out!  We are the light of the world, the salt of the earth.

Stay connected to the Body of Christ, stay in fellowship with your local body of believers. We are not meant to be alone. We are many parts, but one body, we need each other.

Stay in the Word.

Stay close to Him.

Pray, commune with God, through Jesus.

Be filled with His Holy Spirit.

Open your front door and get out there!

And one more reminder… the offense will come, and when it does, lay down your pride, your ego, yourself, and do not be offended, nor lash out, stay in His peace, walk in love, be gentle, yet firm, and may you firmly grasp the knowledge of His love for you.

I close with thisBlessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,  who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

Laughter is Good Medicine

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Thank God for humor! Right?

Sometimes I think my life is an episode of I Love Lucy. Just like Lucy, I often find myself in ridiculous moments.

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One year for Christmas my youngest daughter made me a gift of a decorated jar, filled with 365 notes of encouragement, one for each day of the year. I love those handmade gifts! jar

One note read: What would Lucy do? Don’t do that!

Yes, my children inherited my humor and ability to laugh at ourselves.

God gave us the gift of laughter. Life can be serious and we need the reprieve of some comic relief.

Years ago, there was a women’s conference and I wanted to go. It was a couple hours away drive and I thought it would be nice to have another lady (or two) ride with me. I asked my pastor if he knew anyone who might like to go with me.

Suddenly it became an event and I was appointed the one in charge of all the arrangements. It went from having a lady or two to ride with, to a couple van loads of women. It is never a straight drive from point A to point B with a bunch of women; especially when one woman has taken a fluid pill before departure.

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With each bathroom stop, the fluid pill lady would run into a bathroom while the rest of us watched the clock tick. Of course I didn’t factor in the multiple bathroom breaks when leaving the church parking lot, so I had to make up the time on the highway so we wouldn’t be late.

“Uh, Stacey, the angels don’t fly past the speed limit!” Gotta love the side seat drivers. “Slow down!”

We finally arrive in the nick of time, and all the ladies pile out of the vans like circusClown-Car clowns, making a mad dash to the entrance doors; leaving me, my aunt, and Nancy, behind.

Nancy was a dear friend and sweet woman. She was not in good health and was almost not going to come on the trip because she was worried her handicap would hinder her. I called the event in advance to be sure it would be handicap accessible and she would not have to climb any stairs to her seat. I really wanted Nancy to come with us because I believed it would be uplifting for her spirit. After some coaxing she agreed to come.

So there we are; myself, my aunt, and Nancy, lagging behind in the dust of the other women.

“You go ahead so you can get a seat.” Nancy said. “I will catch up.”

“Absolutely not! We are not leaving you.” My aunt and I assured her.

We made our way into the event and the ushers graciously led us to the special needs section, right up front, to the right of the stage. Turned out to be the best seats in the house!

The rest of the ladies were seated on the stage, behind where the speaker would be speaking. As we were taking our seats, the ladies waved to us, joyful to be on the stage seating. But, when the event began, it turned out they didn’t have good seating after all, they had to watch the speaker from behind. Turns out stage seating is not the best seating after all. There we are; us in the front row and them on the stage, watching us watch the speaker.

Halfway through the event I had to use the restroom, because I didn’t take the opportunity during one of our umpteen bathroom breaks on the road. Hey, someone had to keep the engine revving!

I, as inconspicuously as I could, duck down and creep out of the row, walk all the way to the back exit door of the sanctuary (it was a very large church), and made my way to the restroom. After I exit the sanctuary I hear something drop. I look down and it is a large paper sign:

Reserved for Special Needs  

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Yep, when I sat down I didn’t remove the sign that was taped to the chair, and you guessed it…. it stuck to my bottom.

I laugh to myself, because at this point I didn’t think anyone saw this little blunder.

I get back to my seat and I whisper to my aunt, “You are never going to believe what happened.”

“We know! We know!” She say’s, laughing, tears rolling down her cheeks.

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I look over to Nancy and she is laughing. All three of us trying to control ourselves in this most “spiritual” atmosphere. I look up to the stage and all the ladies are laughing too. They may not have been able to see the front of the speaker, but they sure did get a good view of my back side. Everyone saw me walking, dignified, through the sanctuary with a big ol’ sign stuck to my bottom.

The event was being video recorded and I often wonder what people must think of the ladies in the background of the stage, laughing until they cried, while the speaker was preaching to the audience. Maybe they would think the ladies had a touch of the Holy Ghost giggles.

To this day I look back on that trip with fondness and I laugh at the memory. (I will have to share the adventure of the ride home in another post.)

Yes, laughter is good medicine. We have to take a step back and just enjoy the moments, because those moments are what make memories.

Be Free & Stay Free