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

It’s in the DNA

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My fathers side of the family is recognized by “the chin.” Most of my cousins have inherited this feature, including myself.

When my children were babies they looked like their father. As they grew they developed some of my features; big eyes and dimples. Mostly, they took on my mannerisms, no doubt because of my influence of them. (Insert smile here)

I am known to my friends by my laugh. When I was young I was called giggles. Sometimes my giggle would get me into trouble, I just couldn’t help it, to stifle my giggle I would look like I was having a seizure with my body shaking trying to keep the laugh inside. My family calls my laugh a cackle. My “cackle” was usually heard before I entered a room.

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When my oldest daughter left home I would worry if I prepared her for life. Even though she is a responsible young woman, a mom still worries. To my delight I received a call from her one day.

“Oh no!” She said. “I inherited your cackle.”

She was in school and when she rounded a corner a friend told her she knew it was here coming down the hall because of her laugh. Of course we both got a cackle out of this.

I have told my kids that no matter where I am they will always have a home to come home to. My kids are grown now and spread out, but no zip code will ever change the fact that they are my children. They carry my DNA, they are mine.

This is the same for God’s family. Because of the blood of Jesus Christ, we have His DNA, we are His.

As we grow and mature in our walk with Jesus we begin to look more like Him; we take on His characteristics. The more time we spend with Him, the more we know Him, then the more our thoughts begin to reflect His.

You ever see couples who have been married for a long time? They begin to look alike, right.

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I lived many years in NYC, so there are certain words I say differently than my husband who grew up in the mid-west. Just the other day he caught himself saying something and he sounded just like me. I found this funnier than he did, I think. But, there are some things he does that I have noticed I have picked up, too. This is what intimacy, spending time together, and knowing each other does. You become one.

This is the intimacy our Abba Father desires us to have with Him. After all, we are the Bride of Christ and He is coming for us soon for the wedding feast. What a celebration that will be! Until then, our courtship with Him, through the Holy Spirit, seals us. He loves us, cares for us, provides for us, laughs with us, cries with us, He knows or every thought.

Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];

You understand my thought from afar. 
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

The more we know Him, the more we want to know Him; to be so intimate and hidden in Him that the world no longer sees us, but sees Him. As we receive His love, we reciprocate by loving others. We become His heart extended to a world that truly needs Him. We become His light in a world that is fumbling around in the dark.

There is no shame or fear in Jesus. Let us be the city on a hill, shining the beacon of Truth and Salvation. If you have Jesus then you carry His DNA. Let people see Him before they see you.

By this they will know we are His.

Be Free & Stay Free

Love-O-Meter

 

 

 

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If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction].  And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new homeless-dogs-unconditional-love-best-friend-361__700message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing.  If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not man-holding-woman-armsjealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.  It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail].  Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and da738a2e672662c87d25e6520b7e7a44--black-white-photos-black-and-whiteincomplete].  But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God].  

And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love. 

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1 Corinthians 13

 

Spiritual Father’s Day

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This is for all the Spiritual Fathers out there and to all the men who answered the call and gave…

You may never know on this side of eternity the impact you have had and the difference you made, but God knows, and the fatherless children know.

Thank you for standing up and being the face of our Father when there was no father. You have never looked more like Christ than when you loved a child that was not your own, or when you came alongside a young man to mentor him, or gave validation to a young girl’s worth.

When you chose to stand in the gap and love, sacrificing time, life, finances, and sleep…

You became the shield between the fatherless and hell; you led them closer to the Father. You taught a young boy what a man is, you helped a young girl know her worth, you impacted a generation for the Kingdom of God. It may have seemed like such a small thing at the time, but believe me… nothing done for God’s children is small or insignificant.

To all you spiritual fathers who may or may not have had children of your own-

Thank you! God Bless you!

I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, bereaved, and helpless]; I will come [back] to you. -John 14:18

“I will establish My covenant (everlasting promise) between Me and you,
And I will multiply you exceedingly [through your descendants].” – Genesis 17:2

 

 

 

 

 

Real Love, His Love

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There is comfort in love; safety and freedom.

What freedom and security to be completely vulnerable and naked, knowing you are loved and cared for, no matter the flaws, because your Beloved loves you unconditionally.

Such love is willing to lay His life down for you, defend you, hold you, care for the things you care for- never looking at your concerns as trivial.

This love holds you when you are sick, walks with you, leads you, and wipes every tear from your eyes. He rejoices with you, celebrates you, encourages you, and loves you for you, because He knows you (even the things you try to hide). He is quick to forgive, never keeping tallies of your wrongs, and sees the best in you.

You trust this love, because He always keeps His promises, He is never late, and gifts to you more than you could ever hope for.

He never rejects you, ignores you, or is ever too busy for you. He speaks tenderly to you, His voice resonates within you, His voice is the sound of mighty rushing waters washing over you with waves of peace.

Every need you have, He provides. Every injury, He heals. His love is the most intimate of all loves.

Accepting and knowing His love frees you to love others; including yourself. It chases away every fear and you rest in the knowing, He is always with you. There is true protection in His love.

My friend, do you know this love? Are you truly experiencing the intimacy of Him? Do you desire His love to wrap around you like a warm hug that never lets go? Because He is here and His desire is for you.

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There is no need to search for people or things to fill this need for love. Even mans best effort is nothing in comparison to Him. Once you know Him and how much He loves you, you will no longer be afraid to let go of some things or people. You will humbly hold your head high and walk with dignity, because when you know the King’s love for you you will reject every thought, anything, or anyone who dares to entice you from your birth right as a daughter (or son) of the King of Kings.

The Lord appeared to me (Israel) from ages past, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you…” Jeremiah 31:3

Be Free & Stay Free

 

He Is All You Need

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Sometimes people come into your life and you love them… but, they don’t don’t.

Sometimes you see what could be… but, they can’t.

And you are tempted to hold on a little longer, wait and see, because it is hard to let go.

But, there comes a time when you have to just listen and be obedient. You have to walk in the call God has given you, because time is short and you have an assignment.

But, then those fears tip toe in, what if you are wrong? What if you will be alone?

My friend, God is the author and perfecter of your faith. He will finish what He has began. Sometimes you have to walk alone, although you are never alone because He promises to be with you. Can you see beyond what your eyes can see?  Can you see with the eyes of faith

Anything that stands between you and God and the purpose He has created you for, MUST go!

Sure, it may be painful. Sure, there will be tears. But, you were created for so much more. Time is short, my friend, we must be about the Father’s business.

All you need is Him!

Be Free & Stay Free 

 

Spiritual Litmus Test

 

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If you want to know where someone is spiritually with their walk with God, you do not have to look at the church pews, you only need to listen and watch.

There is a saying, “an apple does not fall far from the tree.”

Jesus said it this way, “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.  For each tree is known and identified by its own fruit. For figs are not picked from thorn bushes, nor is a cluster of grapes picked from a briar bush.  The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart.”

Have you ever noticed married couples begin to look alike, talk alike, and even begin to think alike? Especially those who have been married for a length of time and have cultivated the intimacy through sharing each others hearts and lives. They can be in a crowded room and look into each others eyes and speak a language that needs no words and no one else can hear or understand, because they have an intimate bond that only comes through relationship.  This kind of relationship only comes through investment of time spent together, communicating, talking AND listening, sharing joys and burdens, and trust. It is a well guarded communion that no one or nothing from the outside can penetrate.

You can tell a marriage is in trouble when they begin to seek fulfillment, validation, companionship, etc… outside of the marriage relationship. They begin to esteem other people or things over their spouse. It may start off “innocently,” but I assure you there is nothing innocent about it. Where you direct and invest your time, finances, thoughts, is where your heart is and where your feet will eventually lead you.

This post is not about marriage in the sense of man and wife, it is about the marriage between our Savior and HIs Bride.

We are what we eat. We become what we digest, what we feed our minds eventually makes it’s way into our hearts and our spirits.

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I will use social media as an example, let us imagine it as a spiritual thermometer, OK. Browse through your newsfeed, and if you are brave enough, look through your own posts.

Imagine there are two trees.

dead treeOne tree is dying. It is rotten. Beneath the tree, lying on the ground, are rotten fruits that fell from the tree and the smell from the fruit is not appetizing and the only thing the fruit is good for is for the flies and the maggots.  It no longer produces buds in the spring, the inside is hollow and limbs are falling off. Infact, one of these days a good strong wind is going to come and blow that tree over and possibly cause injury to anyone who is under it.

The other tree is alive with life. Its branches are full of green leaves, the fruit it produces good treeis sweet, the trunk is solid and the roots are deep, no wind or storm will blow this tree over. Birds perch on the branches singing beautiful songs, and small animals play along the branches. Underneath is shelter from the scorching heat of the sun, because the tree is so big and healthy, it’s cool shade offers a place to rest; lovers have picnics under this tree, poets write in their journals, artist paint canvasses of beauty, children play safely, and daydreamers lay back and gaze into the full branches. This tree provides refuge, a place to rest, and inspires.

Now, look at your posts as fruit that fell from one of the two trees. Which tree did it fall from? Because I assure you, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

What is good fruit? Good fruit is: love for others, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This kind of fruit is produced in us only as a result of His presence within us.

Soon, my friends, Jesus is coming back for His Bride. His Bride is faithful, pure, looks, sounds, thinks, and smells like Him. His Bride looks into His eyes unashamed and without fear, because He is her lover and her friend,  and she has not strayed. While His Bride waited for His return no one could entice her away from Him. She kept her heart and mind focused on Him. She lives a life of submission to Him,  through honor and respect, loyalty and love. All that He gave to her she guarded and nurtured. Her spiritual children have grown and they look just like Him.

What a glorious day it will be when He returns and we gather for the wedding feast He has prepared for us.

Please, my friends, be the good tree, producing good fruit. Because we all know what happens to the bad tree.

Be Free & Stay Free