Friday, May 27, 2011

Walmart Children - Tony Manley

I learn a lot of things watching children in Walmart!  Children in Walmart tend to be either resistant or running ahead.  Rarely, do I get to see one just “with” Mom or Dad.  Let me explain.

Walmart is overwhelming with distractions – good things, needful things, extra things, and unnecessary things all to be categorized by the shopper.  When going to Walmart there are specific purposes, usually with some type of list – written or mental, and when going with a child, a speech of reminders may be delivered before entering into the mission of Walmart’s purpose. 

Here comes the observation – children are much like me as I enter my day with the Lord.  He and I have sat together in the morning and discussed the purpose, the mission that He has laid out for me that day.  He has explained there are many distractions I will encounter in my day – good, bad, necessary, unnecessary, hurtful…the list continues much like the shelves at Walmart.  I get up and get ready for the day trip, believing I am prepared.  I have heard His heart and I truly believe we are on the same page (picture the unity of adult and child as they enter Walmart) UNTIL I encounter my first “thing.”  I either want/need desperately or do not want.  Meltdown may begin.  Whining, complaining, wrong attitudes – all seem to be escalating.  Other people are beginning to be drawn in as the “ugly” is magnified.  Then there in the aisle, the heart that runs ahead and is constantly being pursued because that heart is way ahead and into things it has no idea will be hurtful or unnecessary.  Again, others are drawn in and affected – annoyance, pity, tired/weary…

I am learning to ask the Lord to help me be the Wal-Mart child who compliantly and joyfully holds the hand of the One who brought me here versus the child who goes resisting (kicking and screaming) or even the child who runs ahead and misses all that was intended for her. 

“When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His word, what a glory He sheds on our way…
“Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus – than to trust and obey.”

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Whatever" - Tony Manley

“…whatever is true…” Phil.4:8
“…forgive whatever grievances…” Col.3:13

Two phrases with one word -whatever…"smart aleck" or all inclusive?!
Short phrases but surrounded with principles to life and freedom?! 
For whatever reason these phrases are as far as I seem to get in these two passages of scriptures as the Holy Spirit calls me into yet another tutoring session!  Yes, I think in teaching terms pretty much all the time! 
Let’s take the “whatever is true” phrase.  I truly believe God was being intentional about thinking on truth as the first step in right thinking.  So much of thinking is not true/truth.  A mind driven by fear, worry, anxiety, anger, revenge, regret – is not thinking on truth.
The “forgive whatever grievances” – another golden phrase that sounds so sweet and religious!  C. S. Lewis wrote, “Forgiveness is a lovely idea, until I have someone or something to forgive.”  A heart that harbors hurt, offenses toward or from someone, or even the plotting of revenge, or the hope of “bad” for some one is not forgiveness and will be incapable of dressing in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience –the rest of the Colossians passage surrounding the “forgive whatever grievances” nugget!
Don’t you just hate it when you want so badly to be given more spiritual meat or you think you are ready for that steak, only to find out you are spiritually lactose intolerant – the milk disagreeing with your heart!  I believe these two principles of scripture – thinking truth and forgiving are being intentionally and unintentionally lived out in our hearts as believers.  The red flags in my heart are – insecurity, fear, lack of desire/power for God’s word/ways, relational difficulties, anger, “hurtness”…you get the picture!  Hopefully, someone else can crawl with me under the bus at this point!!!
Charles Swindoll recently stated, “If I weren’t a believer, the number one reason I wouldn’t want to become one is the way I see them treating each other.”  Wow…could it be that, as a pastor, he is seeing and experiencing the poor thinking and unforgiveness that the chosen, holy, and dearly loved people of God are living as “repellers” and “resisters” of God’s heart for us?
Jesus knew how hard we would struggle with thinking truth and extending forgiveness.  His heart in His prayer in the garden was for unity and truth for us as believers.  Thank God that He is so specific with the Word and work to be done in me!  Now, pray for me to move from milkshakes to steaks!

Friday, May 6, 2011

What's On Your Plate? by Nellita Young

Have you ever felt like the guy at the circus who is spinning 9 or 10 plates on  tall sticks … and, just as he gets Plate #10 spinning, he notices that Plate #1 is wobbling and needs some attention – QUICKLY!! As he runs back to give Plate #1 an extra whirl, Plate #2 seems to be in trouble -- as well as Plates #3, 4, and 5!  It is never ending. 

Have you ever thought that you have so much going on in your life that you can not possibly squeeze ONE MORE THING onto your plate??  Not even a tiny “pickle” or miniscule “olive”!!!  Even the old-fashioned “sideboard” could not contain all that you have scheduled.  I think this pretty much describes the calendars and day planners of most of us these days.  Yet, God sometimes has a way of putting us on a diet that causes us to reevaluate what we are filling our lives with daily!  Case in point … .

Recently I was asked by my friend, Sue, to visit one of our church’s shut-ins with her.  (Sue has a wonderful ministry of checking in weekly on our shut-in ladies.)  Sue had talked so often about a precious 99 year old lady from her weekly visits whom she had absolutely fallen in love with, and she wanted me to go with her sometime to meet this new friend.  On my first visit I, too, fell in love with this beautiful, sharp, godly lady. As we sat in her living room chatting, when she found that I taught a ladies’ Sunday School class, she quietly mentioned that it would be nice if I would come to her apartment each week to teach a Bible study there.  My first reaction was to smile and quickly change the subject!  After all, I had WAY TOO MUCH on MY plate!!  Moments later she made reference to it again:  “It really would not have to be anything very long if you came to do a Bible study, and you could teach anything you wanted to.”  Again, my reflexives had me giving a nervous smile and quickly turning to face Sue.  My adeptness at hurriedly changing the subject was nothing short of masterful!!  In my mind I was thinking, “Oh, my!  I have SO MUCH to do right now; there is NO WAY I can commit to that kind of undertaking!  Maybe there will be someone else who is not as busy as I am who can do it!”  As we said our goodbyes, my new friend mentioned it yet a third time!   I left thinking, “I wonder who we can get to do this for her?”

While driving home that afternoon, God literally “ate my lunch”!!!  He spoke LOUDLY and STRONGLY in my heart: 

“Now, let’s see … what exactly DO YOU HAVE on YOUR_plate that is SO important?”  (“Well, Lord, … I have several club meetings to attend.  Then there is a luncheon date with friends.  Oh … and I volunteered to help someone at a charity event.  I also MUST get my yard cleaned up and my storage shed cleaned out!!  There’s my Sunday School lesson which I need to prepare, and, of course, I have 3 books that I have been trying to finish for over a month now!!  In fact, I have not even had time to read today’s newspaper yet.  Yep!  No doubt about it, I am much too busy!!”) 

 “Did I not speak to you through the Apostle Paul in the book of Philippians … in the very lesson that you taught your Sunday School class recently … that you are to ‘discern things that are EXCELLENT,’ … not just ‘good,’ but the BEST?”  (Ooops!!  You see, God has a way of really putting things into perspective!!)  Speaking of things on YOUR plate, let me give you a little FOOD FOR THOUGHT.  I have offered you a tremendous opportunity to serve Me.  Now, when a 99 year old lady asks you to do something for her, you better do it because that opportunity won’t be available too much longer!!!” 

Before I even got home, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what my answer would be.  I immediately called Sue to tell her that I would go with her each week to teach that Bible study!  Other things would just have to be put on the back burner.  Sue just laughed!!  The crazy thing is, rather than being stressed and anxious - thinking about all that I needed to get done – instead, I could hardly wait until the following week when Sue and I would go back for our next visit … AND for our first Bible study lesson!  I knew that I did not want God to take that privilege away from me and give it to anyone else.  I also did not want that bungle charged to my account!! 

When we met that week for our first lesson, my eyes flooded with tears when my precious new friend spoke in tears of her own: …  “I can no longer see to read much anymore because I have shingles in one eye, and I HUNGER so much for God’s Word.  I want so much to read my Bible, but I cannot see to do it any longer.  Thank you for taking the time to do this for me!” 
Oh, my!  I felt like a small toad when I remembered how I first tried making excuses for not doing this!!  Father, forgive me!  Dear Lord … thank YOU for giving me this wonderful opportunity to serve You as well as to minister to someone else.  Thank You, too, for giving me an extra chance and not letting this be another missed opportunity in my life!” 

I knew at that moment that what I had on my plate right then was MEAT!  Before, it had been literally filled with some appetizers, a lot of desserts --but mostly junk food!  Through this experience God has reminded me of several lessons from His Word:

  1. Isaiah 6:8 … “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’  And I said, ‘Here am I.  Send me!’ 
(If we – His children -- do not do God’s work, then who is going to do it?  Who is going to tell or teach or minister to others if we don’t?  He does not choose to send everyone to Africa to minister, but He needs some of us to be willing to step up to do His work right here – in DeSoto County, Mississippi!)

  1. Proverbs 3: 5-6 … “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” 
(Who makes out our weekly schedules anyway?  Do WE do it or do we even bother to check with God???  If we will just ask Him BEFORE we set our agendas and make our lists, He will probably eliminate a lot that we thought were “so important” at the time!  And, you know, we more than likely will not even miss them!!!)

  1. Philippians 1: 9-11 … “And this is my prayer:  that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”
(This is our benchmark … our plumbline, so to speak.  If we use this as a checklist against those things that we think we have got to do, I think we might find ourselves eliminating half our list!!  There are many “good” things that have filled our agendas, but we need to be so in tune with God that He will show us what is the BEST thing for us to do at that time.  Just be willing to ask … and to be obedient!)

How funny!!!  Once God showed me that this is what He wanted me to do … and once I agreed … I have not missed doing a single thing!!  Now the first thing I schedule on my calendar each week is Bible study with my friend every Thursday afternoon.  Everything else is just worked around it!!  And I have also discovered that along with the meat that I have enjoyed from this encounter, the whole experience has been sweetened with a lot of dessert too!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Recipe of the Week - Sugar Cookies!

We sometimes think of sugar cookies only around Christmas time.  I think this recipe is one of the best I have ever had.

2 sticks butter (softened)
1 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp flavoring (1/2 tsp vanilla + 1/2 tsp almond extract)

4 cups flour (all purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients well------Cool mixture in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (This can be kept overnight, but cover tightly).  Also freezes well.

Spray cookie sheet lightly or use parchment paper.
Drop in small amounts on cookie sheet.  Bake @350 degrees for 12 min or until edges are lightly brown.
For thin crisp cookies, flatten with fork and bake on "Air Bake" cookie sheet or any cookie sheet.

I really really like the thin crisp cookie, so I actually roll mine into small balls and flatten each one with a small orange juice glass dipped into powdered sugar.  IT WORKS. The reason I do that is I can get the cookies flatter.
This recipe makes a large batch.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jewelry-Robics by Kristi Childs


Look longer and leaner in minutes with this revolutionary weight loss plan!

1. Wearing earrings at least a quarter’s size in diameter can take 10 pounds off your appearance. Remember, you want to draw attention close to your eyes and away from your thighs!
2. Wearing a long necklace will create a slenderizing vertical line. It will make you longer and leaner and can give you the appearance of being 3” taller. (And, no, you can’t wear several long necklaces to try to look even taller!)
3. Wearing a long scarf will also create the same slenderizing effect. And, yes, it is okay to wear necklaces with scarves!
4. Wearing pins close to your collar are slimming, too. They draw attention toward your face and away from “problem” areas.
5. Wearing jewelry in proportion to your body size can also take off pounds. For example: If you are “plus sized”, chunky jewelry is a great slimming look. Aren’t you excited that chunky is in?!

Kristi Childs, Premier Designs Jewelry Independent Distributor