Monday, July 20, 2009


Hope is a funny thing. We just need the tinest bit in order to hang on, in order to start on a different path, in order to... well, hope. And we can all give hope to someone. We can share a story from our own lives or from others we have heard. Our stories of how God came through or how things didn't change but he gave us peace. These can give hope. So tell your story. Tell what God has done for you. At least share it with one person. Sometimes we try and pretend we are perfect and we don't want anyone to know we struggle. But when you overcome in that strugggle, who will rejoice with you? And who will draw strength and hope from your untold story? No one.

You know how when it has been dreary and rainy for days and days and a little ray of sunshine shines through a cloud and you suddenly have hope that maybe, just maybe the sun will start shining again. That is what hope is like. We can come across someone and we can just smile in passing but maybe that person needed that. You just gave a little hope. We can just speak a kind word. Share something happy you heard. Connect with someone on even a small scale. My friend Josie comes by and visits my mom for a few minutes. She brings her some food or a dessert. And on those days that she feels and I feel that no one cares, she shows us someone does. Her reaching out touches us. (We really do know others care. Just on some days doubt creeps in.) Josie gives us hope.
One day we were having car troubles. It had quit outside mom's apartment. And we were really discouraged. I was thinking, Come on God. Help! I don't mean to be disrespectful but Gees, help us out here. A little bit later here comes Josie. She had stopped in the middle of doing her dishes because God told her to come. And when she came in and after a while she said. I think we should pray. Mom's neighbor was there. My daughter who isn't following God right now was there and mom and I. Paul was outside trying to get it to work. Josie just started praying. The best prayer! A prayer that brought hope. A prayer a prodigal and a unbeliever heard and felt God's presence through. When Josie prays you can tell she is talking to someone who she knows well. It was beautiful. And, oh yeah, the car started. But even if it hadn't, we had been in God's presence for a moment and had found hope.
I encourage you give someone hope today. And if you need hope. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Remember what he has done in the past for you and others. He is the same yesterday, today and forever

On Being "Right"

A friend and I were talking and righteouness came up and that reminded me of this article I wrote for our church newsletter. Thought I would share it with you.

On being “right”

In the south we have a saying. When you think someone has problems you say, "He ain't right". (Now I know that isn't correct English but let’s ignore that for now). So if your co-worker suddenly gets mad at you and stomps out of the room slamming the door behind her. You look around and say to whoever is in the room "She ain't right", while shaking your head. Or if some bozo cuts you off while you are driving. You don't get mad you just say to yourself. "He ain't right." Or if your teenager wants something just ridiculous. You look at your spouse and say, “She ain’t right.“ Of course that might be something from your spouse’s side of the family. But that is getting off track… Just whenever someone is saying or doing something entirely off the wall you can refer to our southern saying. “He or she ain’t right”. You get the idea.
Well, today I was reading in the Bible and I got so excited it tells how you and I can be right or righteous. I heard someone explain that righteousness is right thinking, right living, right being, . So we CAN be right. But if you are like I am, you might have a long history of not being right. Maybe lots of baggage from the past. Times when we definitely didn't have a right thinking or weren't living right in anyone's eyes even our own. But I read that if we have faith in Him who raised Jesus from the dead it is counted or credited to us as righteousness. Wow isn't that awesome? We who have a long history of bad choices, mistakes and even out and out rebellion can be forgiven. And than as we believe in God, he takes our faith and see us as righteous or right. Simply amazing! It went on to say that we couldn't work for it. No matter how good we can be, that doesn't count. No matter what good works you do they don’t count. Of course, don’t stop being good or doing good things, just don’t’ think they are making you a righteous person. Only faith in the God who created us counts as righteousness.
I've heard people say that new growth like we are experiencing right now in the spring time, represents when Jesus came back to life from the dead. The trees were asleep, dormant and now they are blooming and living again. And so as I ride all over my county on my bus and see the new multi-colored tulips, the yellow daffodils, the redbud trees (which by the way are purple. I have no idea why), the yellow bell bushes, the lavender lilac bushes, the white dogwood trees and those trees that look like lace is floating on them and all the others that are blooming vibrantly with an outrageous abandon . I am reminded that He lives and I believe in him and God counts that as me being right. I, who sometimes am a mess of a person , am made right before God. So, people may be able to shake their heads at me sometimes and say, "She ain't right“. And sometimes mentally I’m not. But they can't say I'm not right spiritually. Because I am. Doesn't that just blow you away? It's so great it is hard to wrap your mind around it. We can be right before God. Way cool.