Monthly Archives: October 2011

God’s invitation

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God has invited each one of us to be on a journey with Him.  He offers us mercy in the form of healing, forgiveness and grace.  But we cannot attain these things if we choose not to walk with Him.    Folks,there is a war going on all around us- one that we cannot see and most often don’t understand.   In order to understand it we must study God’s Word.  We must increase our knowledge so that we can arm ourselves with the weapons of warfare.  This has nothing to do with us-but everything to do with eternity.  We are merely pawns in satan’s evil game and he knows how to move us, how to make us mad, how to push our buttons, makes us question, doubt and run into the dark.  The leader of this war is devious, sneaky and evil.  He will use our eyes, our words, our actions and even our thoughts to deter us from walking into the glorious light. He doesn’t care about us-all he wants is revenge on God.  He cheats, he lies and he smells bad and when we take his side we cheat, we lie and we stink too. 

It’s up to us to choose.  God doesn’t make us do anything.  He gave us free will to choose for ourselves.  That way we aren’t puppets on a string. God is not a puppet master.  He doesn’t operate that way.  He is Our Redeemer, our Restorer, our clear path to freedom.   He wants us to come running to Him-willingly and freely.    We should run toward Him with our arms flung open wide, our hair flying and our feet pummeling the ground in urgency.  We must reach him before it is too late. 

Too late?

Huh?

Every single day that goes by is another day nearer to eternity. We hear of people dying in natural disasters, fires, accidents, and illnesses.  But do we know where they are going to spend their eternity?  Have we spent time sharing Jesus with people?  If you were to take your last breath right now-would be sure of your eternal home?  I pray it is heaven. 

I heard a story about 911.  A firefighter was carrying a pregnant woman to safety.  They went down many flights of stairs.  The woman and her child made it safely home.  The firefighter died.  Do we know where his eternity is?  Fortunately for the obedience of the pregnant mother-we do.  You see-she had her baby and then she went to visit the family of the fallen firefighter.  She told the wife that she shared Jesus with the fireman all the way down those stairs.  He accepted Christ on those stairs-moments before he died.  He died in the arms of our Savior, thanks to one of God’s obedient children. 

What will you do today?

I don’t know when Jesus is coming and no one else does either, and if they tell you they do-they are lying.  Scripture says that not even Jesus knows the hour. 

Matthew 24:36

36“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.

So what should we be doing? 

Running.  As fast as we can from here to there and there to here.  We should be grabbing people up as we go along-carrying them if we have to, like the firefighter,  But we should not pass anyone by.  We should stop the fighting, the bickering, and the caterwauling.  Instead we should join arms in defiance of the evil one and have an all out tug of war.  We already know who is going to win!  We have the end of the story right here in our hands.  Why don’t we live like we believe it? 

We can’t do it without help.  Pastor Ty spoke on the Holy Spirit dwelling in us a few weeks ago.  The Holy Spirit is our helper.  All we have to do is believingly call out for help.  Help my unbelief, Oh Lord and then carry me there.  We cannot fight this war without help.  We cannot do it alone and we cannot do it with the weapons of the world.  We must use the weapons of God. 

What are they?

Pastor Ronnie spoke of this yesterday.

Ephesians 6:10-18  (GWT)

10Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. 11Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies. 12This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. 13For this reason, take up all the armor that God supplies. Then you will be able to take a stand during these evil days.[c] Once you have overcome all obstacles, you will be able to stand your ground.

14So then, take your stand! Fasten truth around your waist like a belt. Put on God’s approval as your breastplate. 15Put on your shoes so that you are ready to spread the Good News that gives peace.16In addition to all these, take the Christian faith as your shield. With it you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Also take salvation as your helmet and the word of God as the sword that the Spirit supplies.

Ephesians 6:10-18  (MSG)

A Fight to the Finish

10-12And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

God is our light and salvation-the place where our help comes from.  Satan is trying his darndest to keep us from getting there.  The shorter the time we have here, the harder he works to divide us, to keep us from going into the light.  The light shows us TRUTH! 

Our GLORY is in the LORD. 

Psalm 36 says it best:

Psalm 36
A David Psalm

1-4 The God-rebel tunes in to sedition— all ears, eager to sin.
   He has no regard for God,
      he stands insolent before him.
   He has smooth-talked himself
      into believing
   That his evil
      will never be noticed.
   Words gutter from his mouth,
      dishwater dirty.
   Can’t remember when he
      did anything decent.
   Every time he goes to bed,
      he fathers another evil plot.
   When he’s loose on the streets,
      nobody’s safe.
   He plays with fire
      and doesn’t care who gets burned.
5-6 God’s love is meteoric,
      his loyalty astronomic,
   His purpose titanic,
      his verdicts oceanic.
   Yet in his largeness
      nothing gets lost;
   Not a man, not a mouse,
      slips through the cracks.
7-9 How exquisite your love, O God!
      How eager we are to run under your wings,
   To eat our fill at the banquet you spread
      as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water.
   You’re a fountain of cascading light,
      and you open our eyes to light.

10-12 Keep on loving your friends;
      do your work in welcoming hearts.
   Don’t let the bullies kick me around,
      the moral midgets slap me down.
   Send the upstarts sprawling
      flat on their faces in the mud.

 

Open our eyes Lord.  Open our eyes.

All glory and honor to you.

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Art Lady

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On October 31 I am going to be ME-the Art Lady!

Here is my fun hat!

….and here is my mission statement written in chalk…..

I will follow you

I love my Lord and there is nothing that will keep me from glorifying him! 

 

A Walk in my shoes….

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Hi!

Today Susan Clark and I had the pleasure of speaking at Oakland UMC in Piper’s Gap.  The message was based around Micah 6:8. 

8But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
   what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
   be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
   take God seriously.

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Susan gave a wonderful message on shoes and walking with God.

 

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She was filled with the Spirit, energetic and ON!

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I love this woman and I thank God for crossing our paths! 

Thank you Susan for your timely and heart felt message of God’s love! 

You are a blessing! 

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This was  a beautiful flower arrangement.

 

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This is a painting by one of the ladies that was there.

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This was the most unusual purse-which was actually an old lunchbox painted by Willard Gayheart!  One of the ladies uses it as her purse.

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This child is her son- who is now a grown man!  I loved it!

Clever, neat and beautiful!

Thanks to the beautiful ladies at Oakland UMC for all of the food, goodies, and fun!    You have been a blessing to me and I love each one of you! 

D.

Oakland VBS Women

 

“My Daddy’s Shoes” by Donna Godwin

A picture of Love

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a picture of love

Do you love me?

This is how much I love you.

Enough to die for you.

See the red stained hammer and rusty nail?

The bloodstained pages of my story are here for you to read. 

The bible.

This is the story of the God of the universe.  The Almighty Creator who placed the stars in the sky, told the ocean where to stop and tilted the earth just right so you wouldn’t melt at the sight of the sun.  He breathed life into the world.   Into the ground, the seeds, the sun, wind and rain.  Into Adam.  Into Eve.  Into you and me. 

This is the story of a Father who loves you so much that He will never give up letting you know just how much.  Every day is a gift.   Treat it as if it were your last.  Tell your Daddy how much you love Him and if you don’t-at least ask for help.  You won’t regret it.  Ever. 

This is the story of the One who loves YOU.  This is the story of a Father who is relentless, who continues to call His children home-no matter what.

Read it.

It was written for you.

Your name is all over it.

Do you love me?

I love you.

John 3:16

The Chalk Lady

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Little DEE

My Dream and I Have Grown Together

As a child I can remember loving to do what my daddy did-build things! My Dad is a carpenter. He makes things with his hands. My Dad and his Uncle Ralph could always make something from nothing! Their strong and gentle hands are full of creativity and they spend endless hours perfecting their craft. God the Father gave them this gift and they have passed it on to me.

At a very young age I learned to love the sound of the hammer striking the nail. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!

The force of the hammer driving the nail through the wood, binding one board to another to build a sturdy house for us to live in.

PAUSE

Weeks went by and the walls went up, one by one. Before long we had a house to live in. When the sawdust had settled and the air became crisp; the brushes and paints came out and we began to color our house-making it a home.

Years passed.

I began to draw. My Dad made me a drawing table. I’ll never forget it. It was built from the scraps of wood that were left from building the house.

But-you’d never know it!

It tilted so I could adjust it to each project. I remember sitting in my room at night just drawing the hours away.

In high school I took art classes. My art teacher was my hero! He always encouraged me to keep looking and to keep drawing. He was a great man with a huge heart. He too could create something from nothing-he carved carousel horses!

My free spirit kept me from settling down at college. I took courses here and there but could never find my niche. I never quit, I just kept teaching myself new things and kept plugging away at it.

I was raised in the Methodist Church. I attended church and Sunday School every week. I accepted Christ at age 18 and was baptized. Looking back I realize that I had no idea what that really meant. We were a “ go to church on Sunday” only family. The rest of the time life went by.

It wasn’t until I was married and had my first child that I began to feel God really tugging on my heart to get back to Him. He was wooing me closer. All this time I am still drawing and taking classes and being creative.

I can still remember sitting in the Dublin Methodist Church hearing the Pastor talk about a painting during his sermon. It was a painting by the Flemish artist, Peter Bruegel. He painted the life of villagers along with many religious paintings.

I remember how interested I became because the Pastor kept referring to the painting during his sermon. I was hearing AND visualizing God’s Word. This was new for me. For the first time in my life I was realizing how art can be used to teach people about God. I sat there that morning drawing and listening. I drew a sketch of myself looking INTO the church door-

Almost as if I were seeing God for the very first time. I still have that picture in my portfolio. Nothing serious- just a sketch. I believe this was God’s way of showing me the plans he had for my life. Plans to prosper and not to harm. Plans to give me a hope and a future. ( Jer 29:11)

Not long after that I began taking an ART History class. I was amazed at all of the religious works of art that had been painted down through the ages. God was stirring my heart. I fell in love with my Father in Heaven through the works of Michelangelo. The sculpture of a young David and the majestic ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

I started collecting art books to read and study on my own. What I discovered there was the sharing of God’s Word through the art of those who have gone on before us.

I stand in awe.

By this time my oldest daughter, who is now 16, was about 3 years old! We moved from Dublin to Hillsville and I continued to study and draw-always feeling God pressing on my heart. We were invited to Dinwiddie Church and we went. They took us in like we were their long lost family. I became friends with the Slate family. We started going to SS and I began to use my art to share God’s Word. I remember doing a painting of an open bible, pencil and paper for our SS class. It still hangs on the wall today.

My daughter, Corynn began going to the pre-k at Hillsville Methodist and it was there that I met Sharon Gravley. We became friends and it wasn’t long after that Sharon discovered a lump in her breast. The news was the worst.

It was cancer.

One day I was sitting at the kitchen table working on some art and thinking about Sharon. I started to draw the word HOPE and before I knew it I had painted the scripture from Romans 12:12.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

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When I sat down I had no plans to do anything like that. It just came out of my hands and flowed onto the paper. At the time I didn’t understand it-but now I know it was the Holy Spirit. It was encouragement for Sharon on her journey. It’s been 12 years and I am happy to say that Sharon is a cancer survivor. Her story is amazing and I recommend that everyone hear it. She is a gift from God.

Many more years go by and I’m still drawing, painting and sharing. Another dear friend, Karen Slate, was struck with breast cancer. In an effort to encourage her I did a watercolor of the word PEACE with a dove carrying away the breast cancer ribbon.

You see that was my prayer- that the cancer be carried off-leaving behind the peace of Christ.

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I also made her a cross from my woodworking shed.  Today it hangs in her livingroom.  God spared Karen’s life too.  She is an overcomer, a survivor.  I thank God for these two beautiful ladies and for our friendship.  We don’t see each other often, but when we do it is like a day has never passed.  I love you gals and I am so thankful that God has allowed our lives and testimonies to intersect.  One day we will understand it all. 

Over the years I had become like my father making things from nothing. I collect wood. I like to take wood and let it speak to me. Sometimes it is walnut, oak, pine or cherry. When I’m working with it I pray. I pray for the recipient of what I am making. When I am cutting and sanding the wood I think about how God does that to me. He’s constantly chiseling, chipping, sanding, & smoothing my rough edges. Some of the pieces are rough and worn-like a favorite shoe. Others are smooth and shiny filled with color like a bright red pump. Either way they each have a purpose and that is to compel people to follow God. When we are comfortable in our walk with God we are able to share our knowledge more freely allowing others to see God for WHO he is and not who we are. When we are a shiny new Christian, we are excited and filled with a contagious joy that compels others to ask questions. God draws people into His fold in all sorts of ways. My way was through seeing God in art.

Karens cross

God began to show me that I was to become a holy and living sacrifice. But what did that mean? For me it means I am to spend my life on God. It has taken me 49 years to figure out my gift and how to use it. I may not be the best artist or speaker in the world-but God knows the desires of my heart and that is to be ONE with Him.

I am called to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God. ( Micah 6:8)

I am to present myself as a living sacrifice-holy and acceptable to God. This IS on act of worship. My life is to be lived in worship to our Creator, Father God, Savior, Redeemer & Friend. Not just on Sunday-but every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

Do I do this well? No.

Do I stumble and fall? Yes.

Do I get back and ask for help? Yes.

Do I ever look back? No!

Do I quit? No!

Have I wanted to? Yes.

Do I look to Christ for my help? You bet!

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

ALL THINGS! Phil 4:13

I do not boast about myself-but about what GOD has accomplished through me-and that is to get me out of my comfy, warm seat and into the world.

God has used the people of First Hillsville and this District to do just that. 3 years ago I was asked to try something new. I said, “ who me?” Then I said, “ ok, I’ll try.”

So I sucked in my breath and said, “ here we go!”

Did it scare me? You bet!

Does it still? Oh yeah!

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If it didn’t I would be in trouble. It’s been 3 years since I took a piece of chalk and laid a chalk line on a bedsheet to share God’s Word with people. Pretty weird, huh? It has been the strangest, most wonderful 3 years of my life. I’ve been able to experience God in a different way and God has put people in my path for me to encourage, to pray for and even to mentor. If you would have told me, 14 years ago, that I would be doing this today I would’ve laughed! I wouldn’t be doing it without God’s help or without the support of my family and church family. I am very thankful for the people that God has placed in my life for this journey.

Today people call me the “Chalk Lady” and I love it! Do you know why? Because I have realized that my dream and God have grown together.

I’ve realized that NO, I’m not the best at anything and that’s perfectly okay-why? Because God is!

My Dad wears BIG SHOES and they are hard to fill but today I am a little more like my Daddy and I love to do what he does-and that is

to make something out of nothing.

2 boards, a hammer and 3 nails. A drop of blood and a lifeline to eternity. A place to call home, but not an earthly home- a forever home.

Revelation 22:20 says, “ Surely I am coming soon.”

Are YOU ready?

Oakland VBS Women

Peas, pods and God.

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Little DEE

 

So much to take in…so much to let out…

I am humbled to be a pea in the pod of the God’s sweet garden here on earth.  Every pea has a purpose-even this one.  Just when I think I can’t do anymore God shows me that HE CAN when I am willing.  wow. 

I stopped to see my preacher friend in her office on Friday.  After talking for a few minutes she asked me if I could draw during her sermon today.  I didn’t answer right away as I wanted to pray about it.  ( See….I AM learning how to discern!)   So I did.  I felt very peaceful about it and could see how God had worked out all the pieces of the puzzle. 

I did have a commitment to be at our Seeds of Faith class at the worship center, but I wasn’t teaching.  So I went to half of that class and then traveled to Radford to minister through art.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but then I never do.  I always wonder if I am doing the right thing, sharing the right message through the art and if people will get it.  I never have those answers and I have to go on faith that God does.  It’s not about me.  I want people to see so badly, what I see.  Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.  I never know unless someone tells me.  I don’t need to know as long as God does.  But I will say that knowing gives a body great encouragement to keep going. 

We all need encouraging, just likes seeds need water and sunlight. 

I met some super nice people today and I was privileged to talk to a  young, sprouting, artist after the service.   She showed me her sketchpad.  I liked that!  Every kid should come to church with a pencil and a sketchpad.  They should be a standard pew requirement in every single church out there.  Kids get it.  They can share God with their friends  so easily through a pencil and paper.   I encouraged the young lady to learn all that she can by taking art classes in high school and to keep drawing, looking and sharing. 

When I got home my heart was soaring to hear that a new girl in our Seeds of Faith class really loved it and will be coming back!  We had 10 kids in class today!   I am amazed at what God does through kindness, love and little words of encouragement.  I am seeing things a little bit clearer tonight.  God keeps putting these kids in my path to teach me things and one those things is how to be a kid again and how to see adults as the children of God that we are. 

We are all just HIS kids.   Hmmm….I like that. HIS kids. 

My area of ministry is suddenly becoming brighter and I am waiting for God to show me the rest of the plan…in His time…of course. 

*sigh*

 

Father God and Faithful Friends

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(art from internet)

I have a dear friend who challenges me to see beyond the veil of the ugliness of evil.  Instead,  she suggests that I longingly peer into the land of the country where Christ lives today.   “A country far beyond the stars.” 

God knows our every need-of this I am convinced.  I cannot explain what my soul feels in my own words, so let me explain it to you through the voices of the past-of Henry Vaughn, St. Teresa of Avila and Michelangelo. 

 

“Peace”

by Henry Vaughn  ( 1621-1695)

My soul, there is a country

far beyond the stars,

Where stands a winged sentry

All skilful in the wars:

There, above the noise and danger,

Sweet Peace sits crown’d with smiles,

And one born in a manger

Commands the beauteous files.

 

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The Life of St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila  (151-1582)

“It was during mass on the feast of St.Paul, when Jesus Christ deigned to appear before me complete in his very holy incarnation, indescribably beautiful and majestic as he is depicted in paintings of him resurrected…

I never saw this vision with the eyes of my body or any other, only with the eyes of my soul….Sometimes I thought that what I could see was nothing more than a painting; but on many occasions it was obviously Jesus Christ himself;  much depended on how clearly he wanted to reveal himself to me.”

 

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and finally from the beloved Michelangelo…

“Sonnet LXXII”

Michelangelo  ( 1475-1564)

Then let me see you wherever I go.

If merely mortal beauty makes me burn,

How much more strongly I shall shine and glow

When to your fiery love at last I turn.

Dear God, I call and plead with you alone,

For only you can help my blinding pain;

You only have the power to sustain my courage.

I am helpless

on

my

own.

hands reaching

As the new day was dawning I was working in the studio thinking about life.  Life is hard.  Life can suck the joy right out of you…if you let it.  We cannot let that happen.  My friend has a way of telling me this without saying it out loud.  She is God’s messenger.  I know that God has put her in my life to pry my earthly eyes open to the TRUTH that awaits me.  To SEE God for who HE is! 

We cannot let the challenges of this world cloud God’s vision for LIFE.  It’s not life here, but there- in that country among the stars, that awaits us. It’s there for everyone-ALL PEOPLE-even those we find hard to love or even like.     We MUST cover ourselves with a garment of love-the same garment that Jesus Himself was covered in.  It covers a multitude of sins. 

Yes, even the worst kind.

We must pray for the blinding pain of the sin of this earthly life to be lifted and taken away.  We can’t do it by our own power or might.  We can only do it through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and by our surrendering to pray.  We may not know what to say but the Holy Spirit hears the groaning of our hearts.  I believe that in time, and with diligence, our prayers will turn into a fiery and passionate love for all people and that when people look upon us they will see a glimmer of the Light of Christ.  It’s the only light that can lead people Home.  Will you light the way?

 

Thank you friend.  You light the way for many and it is my prayer that many will come Home because of what God is doing through you and your all consuming love for Christ. 

I am humbled to know you.

love me.

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Late night ramblings

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It has been another week full of lessons;they are coming so fast I can hardly think straight.  Lessons on leadership, organization, trust, faith and just being in the presence of God.  He is always with me, but I’m not always with Him.  He longs to feed me the right food, but I often pick the junk food over the healthy food.  Why?   Human nature I guess. 

I worked in the studio all day on Wednesday and permeated my being with the Word of God.  I put my CD’s in from John – Acts and just breathed in the Word of God while I worked.  I had a sense of “ahhhhh, this is just what I needed.”  Peace. 

I looked at scripture from Exodus 18 where Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law comes to visit.  Here is what he says after he realizes that the work situation is not as it should be.  He gives Moses some advice:

“What you’re doing is not good. 18You and your people will wear yourselves out. This is too much work for you. You can’t do it alone! 19Now listen to me, and I’ll give you some advice. May God be with you! You must be the people’s representative to God and bring their disagreements to him. 20You must instruct them in the laws and the teachings, show them how to live, and tell them what to do.

21“But choose capable men from all the people, men who fear God, men you can trust, men who hate corruption. Put them in charge of groups of 1,000, or 100, or 50, or 10 people. 22Let them be the ones who usually settle disagreements among the people. They should bring all important cases to you, but they should settle all minor cases themselves. Make it easier for yourself by letting them help you.”

No matter how hard we try to get things done-we can’t do them alone.  It is necessary to perform as a team, within a team and with a leader/leaders.   Moses was the leader, Jethro was the advisor.  He was advising Moses to get some help-but not just any help-trustworthy help.  Each group would have a trustworthy leader and all groups would work together for the sake of God.   I wonder if this is where the Methodist denomination got it’s “committee” thinking? 

The main point for me this week was this:  “Make it easier for yourself by letting them help you.”  Point well taken, Dad. ( wink wink)

I have also had to take a step back and say, “ ok, what is the goal here and what is the first thing we have to do to reach that goal?  Once that is fulfilled, what is the next and on and on.  Am I making things too hard by going around and around that same mountain over and over again?  OR will I let it go and let God lead?  Me thinks I will let God lead on this one.  I don’t do too well in the dancing department-just ask my husband! 

Father and I have been doing the two step lately- two steps ahead, two steps behind, two to the right, two to the left.  Somehow I wind up right back where I started from.  Am I an Israelite?  I dare say that I could be.  Oh my, here comes that mountain again!   Oh what fun it is!

Last night we had a little 10 year old friend over.  I asked her a question and she replied with an honest answer, ( with a definite southern twang) ” Heck if I know-I ain’t got no ‘smarticles!”   hahahahahahahahahahaha  I laughed at that child for 30 minutes!  I mean I was not breathing laughing-the silent killer laugh.  My family thought I had absolutely lost my mind and maybe I had for a few minutes.  It sure was funny to me and I needed that belly buster gut laugh!   

So, where do I go from here?  Over the mountain, under it, through it or around it? 

Heck if I know, I ain’t got no smarticles, but I do have a map-it’s called my bible-God’s plan for the world.  The plan is this:  get as many people to heaven as possible-it don’t matter what they are wearin’, where they been, or how much money they got-just grab ‘em and get ‘em there-quick!   Don’t waste time because the clock is a tickin’….

tick…tock…

do you hear the sound of a trumpet in the distance?  You better quit going around that mountain and start going over it because ya gotta get to the other side with ever’body with ya…

clomp…clomp…clomp…