~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Easy Button

Don't you wish sometimes that you had a magic wand or could wrinkle your nose like Samantha on that old television show Bewitched? You know...like when you are in the middle of cleaning closets and everything is drug out into the middle of the house and stacked in piles... then your pastor calls and says he and his wife are in the neighborhood and are stopping by in a few minutes... dinkle*dinkle*dink! and everything is back in place, the house is spotless, you are no longer dressed in ragged sweatpants and torn t-shirt, and fresh cookies or cake is just about to come out of the oven. Ahhhh... too bad that EASY button doesn't really work... I'd be over at Office Depot right now so I could pick up a couple dozen!

2010 is shaping up to be one of the hardest experienced in a very long time here at the Kyzer Compound.  Both boys have had some "personal" problems.   True to form, my mother instinct kicked in just like when they were little and I wanted to gather them into my arms, sit them on my lap, and hug and kiss the hurt away. I tell you it doesn't work as well with men as it does with little boys. Add to the mix a cancer scare,  deployment to a war zone and the economic pressures experienced by most businesses, but in particular by small, family-owned businesses.... and well... you can imagine... the stress and pressure.

Those of you  who know me personally know I can be a tad-bit high strung at times... but in a good way... and that Jimmy is so laid back that nothing ever gets to him.  While I will sometimes get on my soap box and rant and rave... he stays calm, cool, and collected. I don't think I have ever even heard him raise his voice.  It is what makes us a great team, the perfect couple... but last night... he kept sighing... over and over again, when he thought I couldn't hear him.  The stress is now getting to him as well and it breaks my heart wide open. Winter is always a little tough on us and it seems we are not quite to the end of this season of trial in our lives and so we bathe each day in prayer and look toward Spring... it is always better in the Spring.

I might not have an Easy Button or a wand or be able to wrinkle my nose and make everything all better but I do have a power that is much better, much stronger than anything we see in a movie or on television... and that is the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!  It is the ability to stand on the Rock...the solid rock which is the foundation of our faith... knowing that the old saying "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" is indeed a true statement.  As we are refined through the fire we, as a family, will walk by faith and not by sight, knowing all the while that on the other side of these trials... we will be stronger individuals, a stronger family, stronger Christians. 
2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we walk by faith and not by sight."

2 Corinthians 12:9 "And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
It is during these times when all we can do is give it all up to Him who is able to do more than we ask or more than we can imagine.  For truly how will we know just how smooth the flight through life is...if we never experience a little turbulence?
 Ephesians 4:19-21 "And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. A-men."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Morning Has Broken

Psalm 5:3 "My voice shall thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."

Palisade Mountain Sunrise Submitted by: Darrell E. Spangler

It never ceases to amaze me how God works. If we just keep our eyes open we can see Him working in and around us almost on a moment-to-moment basis. The sad thing is we, humans, are such an emotional lot that if we don't feel His presence we think He is not around... when realistically HE IS EVERYWHERE!

It has been a pretty stressful two-week period of my life.  Issues, stress, and tragedy come and go in people's lives all the time. It is life... the process... the journey.  Though, personally, I prefer my life skipping through the daisies, watching the little birdies fly... you know like some Disney movie.

Sometimes, I find myself walking the tightrope of life... suspended by whatever particular circumstance that has become my reality for the moment. On one side the Godly action, reaction, or decision...on the other the worldly... There may be a safety net below but there is no guarantee that the fall will not result in serious injury.  So as any good trapeze artist, I keep my eyes fixed firmly forward... watching my partner (which in this case is my Savior) obeying his command.... inching ahead, step-by-step until I am almost to the end of the journey where I quick-step the last few paces and leap into His waiting arms.

As the dawn breaks this morning, I once-again, find myself waking up with a prayer in my heart.  Not just for me and the temporary situation which causes me stress and fatigue but for so many others facing so much more difficult events... always with praise and the acknowledgment that the He is in control...and then the peace comes... for the solution was already on the way before we even new a problem existed!

In the midst of all our trials and tribulations... all we have to do is look up... keep moving forward... keep the faith, walk the walk... and whether we feel His presence or not... we can take assurance in knowing HE IS PRESENT and HE IS ABLE!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Ugly Truth Turns Into A Lesson of Love

Like his father, my oldest grandson has the sweetest, compassionate heart.  He has been like that his whole life. They lived next door to us when he was little.  As a toddler he would bang on their door and yell when I drove up.  Of course, Granna always had time to stop in.  When it was time for me to leave he would sometimes, most times, cry this heart breaking cry and hang on to me...I couldn't stand it.  I would pick him up and take him to my house for 20 or so minutes then he was fine.  This went on until he started school.  I used to say he chose me but I realize now it was just an outward expression of his inward love... his tender heart.

He and his little brother stay with me a couple of days a week after school. I love that part of being a grandmother.  Though, they are already beginning to eat me out of house and home!  Sometimes, on Sundays after church he opts to come home with us.  He knows more than likely Papaw is going to fall asleep in the recliner and Granna is going to lay down for just a little while and without his little brother there is not much to do except watch movies or play on the computer.

Now that it is football season we watch football movies...Facing the Giants and Remember the Titans are our two favorites. I'll never forget the first time we watched Remember the Titans, he cried because of the car accident and subsequent death of football player, Gary.  However, recently, that nine-year-old had another revelation...and was appalled.  For the first time he caught a glimpse of the hate that underscored the picture of teenage boys coming together as a championship team.  He saw the obstacle the team faced but did not understand racism at all.  Needless to say not much napping went on that Sunday afternoon.

He began with the incensed statement: "I can't believe people would treat each other like that just cause they are a different color!" Then the questions began... "That's just not right is it, Granna? Were you alive then, Granna?" Sigh...no it's not right and yes I was alive ...sometimes history is just plain ugly.

I was really fortunate.  My parents shielded us from the repulsive part of the racism that took place while we were little. We heard about Rosa Parks and Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr... we celebrated the Voter Rights bill (my mother still registers voters to this day and she is 77!) and we mourned the loss of great leaders in the battle to change the south.  Though really, we were much to young to understand until we were older.  How much do you tell a fourth grader?  Especially one who has never even noticed skin color?

And so, I breathed a prayer and started with the Bible.  1John 4:19-21 " We love because He first loves us. If anyone says 'I love God' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother."

We talked a little about slavery, about Lincoln and Frederick Douglas and fast forwarded to Dr. King and voter's rights...we talked a little about Central High School and desegregation. We talked about the hate of man handed down generation to generation and how it was hate that fueled a whole country to mistreat, abuse and neglect an entire population of people... and unfortunately some people still have it.

We finished with the love of Christ who sees sinners and saints - good people and bad people and that the color of their skin does not matter to HIM what-so-ever!  That he is lucky to have friends of all colors and that it is up to us; Papaw and Granna, Mama and Daddy, and he and his friends to make sure that it is the love of Christ that we hand down generation to generation.

I caught a glimpse of the realization of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream in the indignation of that nine year old's reaction to the discrimination he saw in the movie. It is my prayer that we Americans, we Christians especially, have finally arrived at the point in time where we truly judge men based on the content of their character and not on the color of their skin. 

I heard a politician say one time, "There is nothing wrong in America that can't be fixed with what is right in America." and I believe that.  What tradition are you passing to the next generation?

Monday, October 11, 2010

8 Questions

I've been tagged by Susan at Penless Writer http://penlesswriter.blogspot.com/.
I'm to answer the following 8 questions made up by Susan, make up 8 questions of my own, and then tag 8 of you to answer my questions.  So here I go....

#1. If money were no object what would you like to do that you've never been able to do or have always wanted to do? I would open a place called 2nd Chance Ministries. I would help women get ready for the work place. It would have a used book store and a place for their children to come while the women were in classes.  The children would have puppet shows or the story lady would read to them.

#2. If you could have "do overs" what is the 1 thing you would never do again? And why? I would never have done drugs or drank when I was young.  It was such a waste of time.  Guess that's why the call it getting wasted, huh?

#3. If you could have "do overs" what is the 1 thing you would want to be absolutely, positively sure you did again? And why? Marry my husband. First of all, because he taught be about the Lord and secondly, I never knew love like this ever existed before.

#4 What is the worst fear? That is a hard one. Technically, I consider myself fairly fearless but I guess secretly I fear loosing my family.

#5. What is your greatest joy? No doubt, loving and serving my Lord... my family is a very close second.

#6. What is your life verse, or if you don't have one, your favorite Bible verse?
John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."
#7. What church do you attend? And why? If you do not attend a church, why not? Right now, First Assembly of God in Lonoke, because that is where our son and grandsons attend.  It is a fairly new church and is growing and they have no fear of ministering to the community at large. Their motto: Every Soul Matters...how can you NOT want to be a part of something like that?

#8. If you knew you only have 1 year to live, what is the first thing you would do?  Now that really is a hard one. I guess I would make sure the people I love knew with out a doubt that I loved them.

Now for my eight questions....
1. What do you think your greatest personality trait is and how do you use it best?

2.  What brings you the greatest joy?

3.  Who has been the biggest influence on your life and why?

4.  What is your life motto?

5.  What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

6.  If you had to sacrifice one thing in order to serve the Lord, would you and what would that be?

7.  What is your favorite praise and worship or old-time gospel song.

8.  If you could change one thing either in your community or the world at large what would it be? [World Peace does not count Ms. Beauty Pageant Contestant!]

Now for the eight...

Amanda at Renewed Each Morning
Mary at Mary's Heart 
Ginger at Following My Heart 
Dawn at Call Me Grandma Dawn
Steve over at Cary's Corner
Indian Lake Papa at Choices R Mine
Sharon over at TechnoNana
GranolaChick at So What CAN He Eat?

You Might Be In a Redneck Church...

1. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if … The finance committee refuses to provide funds for the purchase of a chandelier because none of the members knows how to play one.

 2. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if … People ask, when they learn that Jesus fed the 5000, whether the two fish were bass or catfish, and what bait was used to catch 'em.

 3. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if … When the pastor says, "I'd like to ask Bubba to help take up the offering" and five guys and two women stand up.

 4. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… Opening day of deer season is recognized as an official church holiday.

 5. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if... A member of the church requests to be buried in his 4-wheel-drive truck because "It ain't never been in a hole it couldn't get out of" (Love it!)

 6. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… The choir is known as the "OK Chorale".

 7. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… In a congregation of 500 members, there are only seven last names in the church directory.

  8. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… People think "rapture" is what you get when you lift something too heavy.

 9. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… The baptismal pool is a #2 galvanized " Wheeling " washtub.

 10. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… The choir robes were donated by (and embroidered with the logo from) Billy Bob's Barbecue.

 11. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… The collection plates are really hubcaps from a '56 Chevy.

 12. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… Instead of a bell you are called to service by a duck call.

 13. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… The minister and his wife drive matching pickup trucks.

  14. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if… The communion wine is Boone's Farm "Tickled Pink".

 15. You Know You're in a Redneck Church if... "Thou shall not covet" applies to huntin' dogs, too.

 16. You know You're in a Redneck Church if… The final words of the benediction are, "Y'all come back now, Ya hear".

God Bless and don't fergit ta say yer prayers!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Yes, it is 3:45 in the morning... on a Sunday morning. It has been a long sleepless night.  By now, the coffee has been brewed and the dishes in the dishwasher put away.  I am definitely going to be partaking in that Sunday afternoon tradition called a nap today!

I awoke with the song Great Is Thy Faithfulness running through my head. I assure you... I really cannot sing a lick...I mean, I can't carry a tune in a bucket!  Especially in the morning when I first wake up; as evidenced by the fact that the two little dogs ran into the bedroom as I began to croak out the lyrics. 
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not:
As thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
This chorus, this song, gives such peace... such hope... such assurance!  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever more! How comforting to realize He is the same God that split the waters of the Red Sea, the same God who healed the lame and the blind, who healed a woman by the simple touch of His garment!  That's the same God who takes an interest in us, right now, here today... so much so that He would send His Spirit to live within our hearts to lead, guide, and direct our steps!   

This morning I could have just rolled over... flopped around for a little while and surely, sooner or later, I would have fallen back to sleep; but what a blessing I would have missed!  I thank God for sleepless nights. I thank God for the chance to meet with Him in the still of the early morning hours, while not even the birds are awake.  I have a feeling it's going to be a wonderful day! This day of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-25 "Through the Lords mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are renewed every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion.' says my soul. Therefore I hope in Him! The Lord is good to those who wait for Him. To the soul who seeks Him."

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's Time for a Harvest!

I love this time of year, especially since the dust from all the harvesting is finally settling down and my nose has almost quit running.  Lonoke County is mostly rural and while some of our farmers have moved on we still have thousands and thousands of acres of hay, rice, and soybeans.  It is amazing to see those big tractors out in the fields doing their thing. 

I remember some years back my husband got his first computerized hay baler.  It was kind of funny watching him from the window, tweaking the settings, climbing up in the cab of the tractor, then walking back to the baler; instruction manual in one hand, screwdriver in the other.  Once he got the settings correct that new baler made quick work of the entire field. 

One thing I have learned from Jimmy about farming is that when it is time to harvest you get to it otherwise you either lose your crop or you lose revenue as the price steadily drops from the time the first tractor hits the first field.  In other words... it's all about the timing.  When the crops are ready don't put it off or they will be lost and it will be a long, hard year.  Jeremiah lamented about a different kind of lost harvest.
The harvest is past, 
The summer has ended, 
And we are not saved!
Jeremiah 8:20 ~ NKJ
Jeremiah responded in anguish as he watched a world dying in sin.  We watch that same world still rejecting God... still dying in sin.  How often do we actually mourn for our lost world? For our family, friends, and neighbors? How often do we use excuses to keep from sharing the gospel?  How often do we share part of the story but fall short when it is time to get down to the truth about salvation?  It is only when we share Jeremiah's passion... his anguish... that we will begin to move into the field. Are we properly equipped for such a harvest?

First and foremost, let's be honest here...we can not share what we do not have. If we have not experienced salvation ourselves how then can we lead others to it? Just because one spends their entire life in church, even being a good worker in the church does not make one saved.

Secondly, we must have a passion for the lost. How do we turn the ember of interest into a flame of fervor? It really is simple... ask God that He break our hearts for the world He loves. Make a list of those you would like to share God with and faithfully pray over that list.  Be ready to move when the Holy Spirit gives you the go ahead.  If we could just have His eyes for one moment to get a glimpse of the world around us... a moment would be all we could stand!

Thirdly, we must acknowledge that it is the responsibility of every Christian to be a witness for Him.Not just the Sunday school teacher, the Pastor (or the Pastor's wife) not just the visitation committee... EVERYONE OF US!  God places the unsaved, the unchurched, and those in church smack dab in the middle of our paths for a reason! Let us not be blind... let us not be self serving... let us not be apathetic. Let us take action, now, before it is too late!
Matthew 28:19,20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in he name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen  ~NKJ

Finally, we must not take for granted our Christian walk and what it takes to maintain a good and true and personal relationship with our precious Lord and Savior.  Our prayer time, our study of His Word, our obedience to Him...our trust in Him... our faithfulness to Him. It is only then that we will be like a good working tractor... steadily moving row upon row until the harvest is complete.

Let's just quit using excuses like: I am afraid to say the wrong thing. I don't want to offend anybody. What if they ask a question I don't know the answer to? And the list goes on and on and on and on.  What is your excuse for being bogged down? Whatever it is recognize it...give it over to God...and get on with it, man, we are burning daylight here!

John 4:35 "Do you not say, there are still four months then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for the harvest."