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Flat Tire

The other day I approached an intersection and heard a loud flapping sound. I pulled up next to a six-wheeled pickup truck that had a tire cage in the bed and was hauling new tires. I looked over at the truck and noticed one of his inside tires was blown and the rubber was pounding against the pavement.

We continued down the road. I found it amusing that this truck had a blown tire and he’s hauling around a hundred tires in the back of his truck. He had everything he needed to fix the flat, but never stopped to use it. He drove on because he could. He still had five good tires, but no doubt the ride wasn’t as smooth, enjoyable or efficient.

Often times, we walk around this earth hurt, unfulfilled, attacked or spiritually drained. God has given us everything we need only we never tap into it. We continue on because we can, only we aren’t happy or content.

Do you have a tire blown and you just keep driving using the other five wheels. This leads to a mediocre life. Pull over. Change it. Look up and use the tools God has given us. His Word. Pray. Believe. Trust in Him. He came so we may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance. John 10:10

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Always Take Your Purse

A few years back, one very chilly, drizzly day in March, I went in for my annual mammogram.  I changed into the thin cotton gown with two snaps in front.  I locked up all my stuff in the locker and took the key to the padlock into the waiting room.  Soon, I was taken back into the procedure room.  As I’m waiting, the fire alarm goes off.

My first thought is run to the locker to get my stuff, most importantly, my shirt and coat, so you can only imagine my shock when a nurse came in and said we couldn’t go to the lockers.  There might be a fire.  We had to get out of the building.

There we were.  A group of woman with only a thin cotton smock on as an entire building is emptying.  Sirens got louder as men in suits surrounded us.  I wanted to crawl in a hole as I stood, shivering.  I began to think how stupid it was to have locked everything up.  No purse.  No keys to drive home.  No phone to call someone to come get me.  No coat.  No shirt.

I figured we’d either freeze or die of embarrassment as the firemen searched the building but eventually we were allowed back inside.  It was a false alarm.

I was thinking about that yesterday as I went to my annual mammogram and the nurse told me to lock everything up.  I shook my head.  It doesn’t matter what anyone tells me, I always take my purse.

I began to think about how many times we lock Christ up in a locker and never expect a fire alarm to go off.  We walk out of the house unprepared.  We haven’t prayed, we haven’t studied or even thought about Jesus but we walk out anyway thinking we’re ready to tackle the day.  Only problem is, Satan is waiting to set that alarm off and then we end up trying to fight his attacks with nothing because we have nothing.  We’ve locked it in a locker.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.  Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  2 Timothy 2:20-22  (NIV)

Let’s be instruments for special purposes.  Let’s be prepared.  Let’s always take our purse!

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.

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)

I Got a Golden Ticket

I had put off buying a ticket to a women’s conference that a friend and I were planning on going to because I thought it was still iffy on whether she could come.

When she said it was a definite go I called the venue to buy my ticket. I was shocked to find out that the conference was completely sold out. I’m really bummed because this was supposed to be a birthday present for my bestest friend. I chance to come to my house, spend a couple nights with me and go to an amazing women’s conference so we could spend some time together worshiping God and reconnecting.

I had gotten back from another women’s conference so I’m trying to keep a very positive attitude. I was praying in the car, reminding God that I had given away two tickets to the other conference. I had blessed two people so I asked God if I could have half of that blessing back and get a ticket today. I knew he was going to work it out but I also knew that, normally, God doesn’t just let it fall in your lap. I needed to do some work myself so I started texting all my friends that went to this church to see if any of them had extra tickets. I put a plea on Facebook and Twitter. I was so excited, praying and believing God I’d get a ticket.

I called the venue and they put me on a waiting list. They called me back a few hours later to tell me that they were going to open a second venue on property so I could buy a ticket. The only problem was my friend was in the auditorium and I’d be in a different part of the church. I bought the ticket still believing God would get me in that main auditorium.

My friend and I decided I’d hang out in line with her until the doors opened then she’d go into her area and I’d leave to go into mine. While standing in line for the first session, a friend calls me and asked if I’d had gotten a ticket into the main auditorium. I said no but told her it would all work out. Little did I know it would work out through her. She found me, traded me tickets and I got to be with my bestest friend.

What a blessing it was but I couldn’t help but feel bad for my other friend who was now in another venue away from her friends. God has a cool way of working everything together for good. Before the session even started, the church moved everyone from the second venue into the auditorium. They brought in chairs and we all fit. God it so good!! He’s just waiting to bless us!! Watch for His blessings and then give Him the glory.

Too Comfortable

Last Saturday my son and I woke up with the desire to go the Mizzou game. We didn’t have tickets but were blessed to buy some online for 35 dollars, 9th row center. My son and I loaded the car and head out on the three-hour drive to Columbia. We were excited!

We watched one of the best games ever! Mizzou went from winning by a couple of touchdowns at the half to thinking they were going to loose at the last two minutes to an interception by Mizzou in the Arizona State’s end zone in the last minute of the game to seal the win. One of the most exciting games I’ve ever been to.

After the game, we sat in the stadium for a long time, letting a lot of the 71,000 people filter out then made our way to the car. The game started at 6:00 pm and ended around 9:00 pm.  By the time we got out of the parking lot it was 10:30 pm. We hadn’t eaten dinner so we were starving and we still had a three-hour drive.

We stopped to eat at a burger joint along with a few other hundred people. We finally got our food and started on our way home about 11:15 pm.

I drove with music on and a chill in the air to stay awake. I nibbled on licorice and sipped on a diet coke for the caffeine and had a Starbucks mocha just in case I needed another caffeine boost.

We made it into town around 2:15 am and as much as I’d like to say I was wide awake, I wasn’t. I remembered the days I could drive all night and it was no big deal but I guess I’m old. I let my son sleep because I did feel better with me driving then an eighteen year old.

When we were about five miles from our house I dozed off. I hate to admit it but I did. The swerve of the car jolted me wide awake. All I could picture was our car hitting the cement center divider and us laying there until someone came along, which who knows how long that would’ve took since it was so early in the morning and there were no cars in sight.

That scared me awake and I got us home safely. I told my daughter about it the next day, wondering out loud why, when I so close to home, would I fall asleep?

She said, “It was probably because you were more comfortable, you know the roads, you drive that road all the time.”

I’ve thought about that statement for the last couple days and realized how true that is in our Christian walk. I look back on the times I’ve stumbled or felt out of God’s will and I noticed I got too comfortable, too familiar with my surroundings and I let my guard down.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, Be on your guard; stand firm in your faith, be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.  And who can forget Peter when he said Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8.

If you feel like you’re too comfortable in your Christian walk look at the cement center divider and imagine the crash and imagine how long you may lay there. Then, instead, stand firm in your faith, be courageous and strong, doing everything in love.