Black Friday

After an amazing Thanksgiving Day with family I threw around the idea of whether or not to do any black Friday shopping. I had studied ads for a week and there was only one thing I really wanted at a major retail store. The sale started at 10 pm Thursday night. I’m not a stand in line kind of person so I laid on the couch trying to decide if I should go or not. Finally at 10:15 pm I thought I’d go. If I didn’t get the item it didn’t matter but it might be kind of fun to see all the people.

I took my daughter and we drove to the store. We found a parking space and as we walked through the parking lot we saw a lady struggling to get a 40 inch TV into her small car. I immediately wanted to help her so I asked her, assuring her that we weren’t there to steal her TV.

After getting the TV in her car, we went inside and of course, it was insanely crazy. Our mission was to keep a smile on our faces and to be nice to the clerks, to be courteous in everything we did. I didn’t get the item I wanted because the in stock was sold out but I did get a guarantee card that assured me they would ship the item, with the bonus 75.00 gift card, and it would arrive before Christmas. We stood in the long line to purchase the card.

When it was my turn at the register, the lady at the register next to ours had the same exact card and it shut down both registers. You can only imagine how the people behind us began to rant as we waited for managers. I kept a smile on my face and told the clerk it was fine, there was no rush even though the hundred people behind us thought there was.

We finally made our purchase and left. I told my daughters it was neat to be nice to others and show Jesus in a very hectic situation. We got home and I had to register my purchase online so they would ship it to the store. Don’t you know the website was down. In the morning when I could get online, I logged in only for it to tell me that I didn’t have enough money on the card to complete the purchase.

The clerk, in the rush of things, had given me the $75 off and said I could forgo the gift card. It didn’t work that way. I was told by customer service that I had to go back into the super store, load the $75.00 back on it then go back home and register it on line, which would then give me the $75.00 back.

I prayed quite a bit before I went back to the super store because it was irritating that I stood in line the night before and the clerk did it wrong which made me have to drive back to the store to fix it. My gas, my time. When I felt prepared, I went.

Thankfully, there was not a big crowd at customer service. I was happy, smiling, nice. I explained that the clerk was busy last night, it was no big deal. I got money loaded back on the card and headed home. I did great at the store. I was proud. I patted myself on the back. As soon as you do something right and feel good about it, Satan throws you a curve.

I stopped at our local fast food drive-thru for a diet Coke for myself, and 2 drinks for my kids. I ordered. I paid and pulled to the window to get my drinks. They asked me to pull ahead and wait.

Now I’m all for fast service but to pull ahead for three drinks when the drink dispenser is right there is ridiculous. The longer I waited the more irritated I got. By the time the lady came out to hand me my three drinks I couldn’t even look at her. When she said have a nice day I ignored her. I knew whatever was going to come out of my mouth was not going to be nice.

As I tried to cool down I knew the Holy Spirit was convicting me of my attitude. I asked myself this question; Why was I so prepared to be nice at the craziness of the super store yet totally lost it at the drive-thru?

I thought about the other disciples at the Transfiguration. Jesus had taken Peter, John and James up the mountain and left the others below. They were brought the demon possessed boy but couldn’t drive the demon out.

After Jesus came down and drove the demon out the other disciples asked why they couldn’t do it? Jesus mentions in Matthew it was lack of faith, Mark recorded that they needed to pray more and John doesn’t mention the question but proceeds to tell us the disciples began to argue about who would be the greatest. Lack of faith, need of prayer, who is the greatest? Jesus was not the center. He wasn’t even in their site.

When I walked into that store I was focused on Christ, ready for the battle, showing Him to others. When I walked out, I was proud. I started to pat myself on the back thinking that I did so well and as those thoughts ran through my head, my eyes went off Jesus and were on me which made the drive-thru a disaster.

We have to make sure to always keep Jesus first no matter what situation we are in or where we are. Whether it’s something as big as a crowded Black Friday sale or something as small as getting a diet Coke at a drive-thru. Show Jesus to everyone.

Reeses

I wrote this one in 2004, I LOVE the reminder!!

My four-year-old son would live on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups if I’d let him.  Often times I buy an extra package of them and hide it in the refrigerator so I am able to surprise him.

This particular morning I needed him to get up and get ready quickly because we had to be somewhere.  I bent down on my knees and said, “Collins, I’ve got a surprise for you but you can’t have it until you are completely ready to go.”

His eyes widened and his face lit up then a smile spread from ear to ear.  “Okay, Mommy.”

He got dressed, ate his breakfast, brushed his teeth then stood proudly before me with a grin on his face.  “I’m all ready!” he proclaimed.

“You sure are,” I said proudly, smiling.  He even had his shoes on the right feet.

He began to jump up and down, the anticipation of the surprise was overwhelming.  “What is my surprise?” he shouted, “Is it a dollar?”

“No, better.”

“Is it gum?”

“No, better.”

He’s now dancing in excitement.  “Is it a new toy?”

“No,” I giggled, “it’s better.”

“Better?” his eyes widened and I knew he’d explode in excitement if I didn’t hurry so I opened the fridge and stuck my hand into the secret stash and pulled out a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

He squealed in pure delight.  “A Reese’s?  Yes, oh baby, oh baby,” he said dancing in the room then reached for the candy bar.

“Isn’t that better then a toy, a dollar or gum?” I exclaimed.

He ripped the wrapper open and shoved a peanut butter cup into his mouth, “Yes, but it’s not better then God or Jesus.”

“That’s true,” I said, in utter amazement at his strong love for our Lord.

I can picture God sitting on His mighty thrown, a greater blessing or two hidden away while He waits for that opportune moment to offer them to us.  Then, one day, He reaches His mighty hand out, grasps the blessing, bends down and offers us something so much better. He says, “Here my beloved, isn’t this better than anything you’ve asked or imagined?”

Do you simply agree with Him or do you squeal in utter delight and shout, “Ah, yes it is better then what I asked or imagined but it isn’t better then You!”

Oswald Chambers says, “The full flood of my life is not in bodily health, not in external happenings, not in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the communion with Him that Jesus Himself had.”

Look for the Reese’s but remember, pure joy is when you simply bask in Him!

The Day After

I woke up this morning with the song Your Love Never Fails by Jesus Culture going through my head even though my heart was very heavy. The heaviness wasn’t so much because of who won or lost the election but because there is still so much hatred and un-unification in our country. I purposefully didn’t turn on the TV this morning because I didn’t want to be inundated with all the talk of the elections. As a mother, I strived very hard to teach my children to be gracious winners and graceful losers.  I just couldn’t see the TV commentators doing either.

I did, however, check out Facebook and was horrified with some of the posts. The most shocking against our military. Someone posted that their husband and about 1000 other military people in another country didn’t get absentee ballots in time to vote. If this is true, that, in itself, is sad, but the comment of the next person brought me to my knees. He said he thought it was crazy that we would think our military should put down their guns to vote. Does he not understand that that is the very freedom our military fights for?

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, whether you wanted Obama or Romney, the task at hand is to set it all aside and unite in loving Jesus and loving people? Let’s focus our energy on showing Christ’s love to others regardless of our political stand then sit back and watch God bless this country.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, If my people, who 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 heal their land.

The key is to do the four things to receive the three.  Humble yourself, pray, seek His face, and turn from your wicked ways THEN He will hear us, forgive us and heal our land!

Mercy Anyone?

I was running errands this week and heading to a store to pick up a few things I needed. In some parking lots, you park your cars at an angle. There are big yellow arrows to show you the right way to drive through the rows.

Some parking lots leave enough room so that if someone does drive the wrong way you could get way over and both squeeze through. Not this store. I pulled in and I’m in a hurry. I felt overwhelmed. I have more work then I have hours in the week. I pulled down the row looking for a spot when a car turns and starts coming straight at me, going the wrong way.

I stopped but the car kept coming straight at me. There was nowhere to go. The car stopped and the lady looks at me, her forehead wrinkled, she is mad. I soon realize she isn’t going to budge and she thinks I’m in the wrong. I knew if either one of us was going anywhere I was the one who was going to have to back up.

I said, aloud, “Are you kidding me?”

I have the right away and I have to back up. The car passed. No wave or mouthing I’m sorry. She drove by like I had totally inconvenienced her. I couldn’t deny my frustration. parked, ran inside, ran out and headed to my next stop.

To get into the parking lot of my next stop, I had to drive through another company’s parking lot. I turned the corner and soon found myself sitting on a big yellow arrow telling me I was going the wrong way. I looked up from the parking lot and I was staring at a car coming straight at me. I quickly got out of his way and mouthed I’m sorry. Instead of frustration or him saying, “Are you kidding me?” he gave me a slight wave and off he went.

I parked and sat for a minute. I began to try and understand why I was so angry with the car going down the wrong way towards me. Was I upset because she appeared to not be sorry or because I was inconvenienced? Both I decided.

I gave an annoying laugh and wished God had turned the situations around. If I had been wronged first I know I wouldn’t shown mercy because I would totally understand the situation but instead God showed me that I have to show mercy in all situations just as He does for us.

“You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” Matthew 6:14 (The Message)