Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gratitude 3--Jerry Kelley, My Dad

Gratitude 3—Jerry Kelley, My Dad
My dad did a lot of things right.

If you hear me talk about my dad, you might hear more of what he did wrong or ways I felt he could have or should have done better, but if that is all you know, then it is an injustice to him and you.

There are many reasons I am thankful for my dad. These are just a few.

1. He took me to church.
2. He prayed for me.
3. He prayed with me.
4. He taught me to pray at meals.
5. He put up a basketball goal where he would have rather parked his car.
6. He took me coon hunting.
7. When we talked about wildcats “screaming” at night, his hair on his arms stood up…just like mine.
8. He took me to dog shows.
9. In the early ‘70s he refused to sell a 6-month old pup for $3,000 cash because the man who wanted to buy the dog had children who wore torn clothes that were either way too big or way too small, and when they asked for something to eat, he said he didn’t have money to feed them. My dad bought the children sandwiches.
10. My dad was a blue-collar worker that barely made ends meet. He rarely had new shoes but had his old ones resoled. One year my dad saved all year for a new pair of boots for Christmas. They were the family’s gift to him.

That year a family came to our church. They were from the East in Mill Country. The dad had lost his job due to layoffs. He moved to Texas hoping for a job that never materialized. Without money to buy gas, he walked the 5-15 miles between towns to find a job. The soles of his boots were gone. He was walking on duct tape. His feet were the same size as my dad’s.

My dad never wore his new boots. And he never mentioned it.

11. My dad has the opinion coffee should be strong enough to have the option of crawling out of the cup and walking away if it so desired. Not many folks could handle more than one cup of his coffee. I liked it.
12. My dad liked sugar with his coffee—actually, he liked coffee with his sugar. I think the reason it didn’t crawl away is because of the diabetic coma caused from the level of sugar in it.
13. My dad sat with me on the front steps of their home on fall and spring morning before I had to leave for the day, and we would talk. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished for one more morning or for another cup of his coffee.
14. Hauling hay. When I was little, they still had small square bails, and I would make sure they were lined up with the hay loader so they could go up to my dad and Daddy Norman. My mom usually drove. I still love the smell of fresh cut hay.
15. December 13. My dad’s birthday when I renew my commitment to fulfill my dad’s greatest prayer for my brother and me—that we would be better than him.
Better spouses.
Better parents.
Better friends…
...Better people.

And that isn’t easy because in so many ways, they just don’t come any better than my dad.

Gratitude 2

I'm also thankful for:
21. Albert Einstein who understood, "Imagination is more powerful than knowledge."
22. Coffee.
23. Warm jackets.
24. 38 degrees F.
25. Blankets
26. The sound of my children moving around the house.
27. Majestic leaping.
28. My son's conch shells.
29. Quiet time on my deck.
30. The paradox of feeling so small in the universe and so hugely important to God.
Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Fundamental Difference in Perspective

Last Wednesday I watched the debate. I hope y'all did, too, and I hope you listened closely.
John McCain said Sarah Palin could understand the needs of special needs family. He talked about the need to help these families so that folks with special needs could reach their full potential.

Barack Obama's focus was about the money these programs would suck down.

Do we see a fundamental difference between one who sees imperfect people as still having potential and one who sees them as a financial burden?

That leaves me with some questions:
1. At what point does someone go from being a problem to having potential?
2. Do I want a leader who sees the problem of people (not wanting his daughter "punished" if they get pregnant) or the potential of people?
3. According to Obama, where do you fall? Are you a problem that burdens America, or are you do you have potential to make a difference in your life and others'?

Just so you know, God says you are part of the solution, and He doesn't see you as a problem.

The foundational question is whether you want a leader with God's heart or man's agenda.

Something to seriously consider...

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008

Warfare--Helmet of Salvation

This morning I was praying, and as so many others, I felt the weight of the deception that says this election is lost. I immediately took it to the Lord and confessed it. He told me to put on my armor and stand.

That is what we tend to say, but do we know what it means?

First, the helmet of salvation. What is that, and what kind of weaponry does it offer? The helmet covers our head and protects our brain-the part of us that thinks and responds. Simple. The Salvation aspect means we will think and respond as someone who understands the power in the sacrifice of Christ that bought our salvation. Often we try to make this much more complicated than it is.

Salvation is the defeat of the enemy’s work in our spirits and lives. Period. Salvation means the power of the devil is broken at the very core level of our identity. Simple.

If Christ’s death defeats Satan in our spirits and lives, He must render him powerless in every other way and in every other circumstance.

The KEY is our choice to think, act, and respond accordingly. Salvation does not mean we no longer have self will. It means we are no longer prisoners.

Authority does not mean we cannot hand our spoils over to the enemy as Hezekiah did in the Old Testament, but it means when we choose to stand our ground, our grounds is ours.

What does this have to do with the election? If we believe the same God who loves us so much wants the best for us, wants to lead us in paths of righteousness, wants to give us a godly leader, wants us to use our authority to hold our ground and set free prisoners and captives, we will act, think, and respond accordingly.

We will spend time in prayer. We will fast. We will not give in to the weight of the deception but trust God for a turn around.

Look, folks, there was a Friday when the earth was dark. Folks declared things hopeless. The ultimate battle had been lost. Only two days later, on Sunday atonement was fully declared for all who believed.

Salvation says, “I’ll believe it when I can’t see it.”
I didn’t see Jesus die, but I believe He did.
I didn’t see my sins wiped clean, but I believe they were.
I didn’t see my name written in the Lamb’s book of Life, but I believe it was.
I believe the same God who rendered Satan powerless at a tomb can do it in the elections in November.

Praying daily to keep my helmet on straight and align my thoughts with His….
Jerri

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008

The Real Issue

I like to believe that Christians understand the real issues of this election because we stand again at a crossroad where we can choose a leader whose heart is set on God and one whose heart is set on wickedness. Some might find that statement harsh, but this is way too serious to throw out some subtleties and hope folks get them.

I'm not the only one who thinks so.

There is a video that addresses the issues of the election. I tried to embed the link here, but I think it is illegal for me to do so. I strongly encourage you to visit this video, remember the big issues, and vote accordingly.

Remember, this election isn't about an economic plan or a tax benefit. This election is about whether our nation chooses God or godlessness.

A godless nation will never prosper no matter how good the plans are.
Thursday, October 9, 2008

1000 Gifts--1

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience has started a Gratitude Community. It started with her desire to recognize 1000 Gifts the Lord has given her. Other jumped in and chose to become consciously aware of the gifts they have been given as well. I am choosing to join as well.

In truth, I think I recognize the "small" things the Lord gives me, but becoming more aware and choosing to seek Him in the small things of everyday life can only bring good things to my heart and family. Also, I want to help all of you focus on the 1000 Gifts He's given you.

That is not to suggest you are not thankful. I am, however, aware that some days and some seasons can make it hard to see the good stuff hiding under the demands and weights of life. The irony is, the good stuff isn't hiding at all. We just have to choose to see it and receive it. Prayerfully, in my list, you can see some of your own as well.

Join the community if you want, and if you don't, it's okay. Just don't miss the chance to enjoy your 1000 Gifts.

1. My laptop--it's in my lap, so I thought of it first. :-)
2. The opportunity to have quiet time on my deck without armies marching by or bombs going off.
3. Sweats that keep the chill out on fabelous fall mornings in Texas.
4. My washing machine that I can toss my sweatshirt into so I can get the chocolate frosting off that found its way from the bowl and spoon to the edge of my sleeve.
5. Fall in Texas.
6. My friend Debra, who may show up a lot in here, for giving directions to A Holy Experience.
7. A Bible in my language.
8. Journals that document my journey.
9. The ability to read and write.
10. Joy Davidson, my class called her Daisy because she was as wondrous as one, who taught me to type.
11. A comfortable chair.
12. Fuzzy slippers.
13. Warm blankets.
14. Our sunroom that allows light in while keeping heat/cold in.
15. A kitchen where a knob allows me to cook instead of my needing to build or stoke a fire.
16. The luxury of being a stay at home mom.
17. Coffee.
18. Microwave.
19. Understanding of how to make my sinuses drain.
20. Programs that make editing my posts easy.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Presidential Debate Tonight

Please keep Senator McCain in your prayers today and tonight. This is a huge debate. For specifics needs or suggestions on how to pray, please visit Blessing Sarah Palin.

Also, states to be praying for--Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. These are considered key states that are uncommitted.

I am also posting a request by the McCain/Palin campaign requesting callers.



Dear Friend,

As you know, this year's presidential race is likely to be extremely close. And the stakes have never been higher. Every door knocked, every piece of literature distributed, and every phone call made can literally make the difference in the election of the McCain-Palin ticket. (In 2004 some states were won by less than 2 votes per precinct!)

This election is going to be won in a handful of "battleground" states. That is why we are asking Senator McCain's friends and supporters in other states, states where the polls show the race is not quite as close, to "get in the game" by making phone calls into those battleground states. Your effort could help ensure a McCain-Palin victory. We need your help and we need your help now.

The campaign has organized what we call "Virtual Phone Banks" that you can access from anywhere. You simply need to log onto your computer, sign up as a member of the McCain "social conservative" coalition (Americans of Faith for McCain), pull up a list of potential supporters in a target state, and, with the use of the prepared script that will be provided, you can begin your calls. It's that simple. Click here for direct link: www.johnmccain.com/phonebank.

Please also send an email to Americansoffaith@mccain08hq.com to let us know that you are willing to serve as a McCain-Palin volunteer on our virtual phone bank. We want to make sure that John McCain and Sarah Palin know that you and other conservatives across the country are logging on the "virtual phone bank" to help.

Thank you in advance and may God bless you and your family!

Sincerely,

Americans of Faith for McCain Steering Committee
Monday, October 6, 2008

Debate--Truth

PRAYER FOR SENITOR MCCAIN AND SARAH PALIN

Pray that John McCain will know how to balance the aggressiveness he needs to bring truth to the surface (inlcuding Obama's associations), and still be presidential. John McCain is so gracious that it seems tough for him to be perceived as hitting hard - but I so strongly believe more Americans need to know more in-depth what both Pres. candidates stand for.

John McCain will go through the same thing Sara Palin went through during debate prep - a whole lot of different answers from a whole lot of different advisors... and it could get overwhelming and frustrating. Pray he can just speak truth and that Americans will hear John McCain's heart, his record, his experiences and lessons learned, his intentions, his good character, his boldness...

And also, the mocking that goes on in the media through all of this is funny on the surface, I guess, but pray that it won't affect John McCain or Sarah Palin or supporters or prayer warriors... it may paralyze some because sometimes it makes them want to just close their mouths and not say anything, knowing that whatever they say will be roundly mocked. If it weren't for Sarah Palin's faith letting her know God is in all of this, I know that she would feel humiliated every hour of everyday on the campaign trail. Help her pray through that constant mocking.

And finally, the circus and political goat rope that has become "Tasergate". Truth has not been revealed there, still. It is so wrong, distracting and grossly unfair. Todd and Sarah Palin and her staff have nothing to hide. No one's done anything wrong, but opponents have seized on an opportunity to spin and twist so many things that it's absolutely ridiculous. I know she is sick of what's going on with the false accusations and politics in Tasergate. Please pray that truth will surface! That this will end! That there will be justice and conclusion. Todd Palin had to get off the campaign trail to get back to Alaska because of opponents pushing so hard on this issue in Alaska. Not only distracting, but hurtful and harmful.

Enough is ENOUGH. ENOUGH!

Thank you so much for your prayers.
Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fireproof

Fireproof may be the only movie in which I left feeling like what I learned can have eternal impact if I allow it.

In the movie, Caleb Holt and his wife Catherine are on the brink of divorce. He has a pornography issue, a love for a boat, and the idea he has rights and Catherine has obligations to meet them. She has a full-time job, parents in financial and emotional need due to her mom's stroke, and a desire to be helped and validated. It is the perfect mix for a nasty divorce.

The plot thickens with gossipy gals at work and the attention of a doctor who is all too willing to validate Catherine and give her the attention she is craving. Things look bleak, but there are the heroes...

Caleb's best friend at work shares his testimony of God working in his life, but Caleb doesn't care. He doesn't buy into that God stuff. Caleb's parents step in to help, but instead of simply talking and doling out advice, Caleb's dad gives him a tool--the 40 Day Love Dare. Caleb takes the dare, and the real adventure--and battle--begins.

I tend to be nervous about Christian movies because they tend to be sappy and leave me feeling like things went too right to be real. This movie left my heart in my throat by showing how easily it could have gone all wrong. There were multiple opportunities for the characters to make one choice that would change everything, and that is the life changing truth--life is a series of choices, made one at a time, that determine the end whether it be for good or bad.

In the movie, a marriage is in question, but the truths and tools offered can be related to any relationship. The steps of reconciliation and healing are not given as one magic package but rather broken down into steps, a new one implemented each day. The results are not naively offered as a McDonald's instant fix but shown as a progression of the heart as trust is restored.

Kirk Cameron's performance was powerful. The supporting cast was solid, too. Award winning performances aren't needed to carry this film, though. Truth carries it just fine.

If you choose to see it, and I hope you will, take a few things with you--an open heart, a willingness to hear, and a box of kleenex. I even heard some men sniffle.
Thursday, October 2, 2008

Paradox

I find myself fighting within my mind because an event I did not want has occurred. On one hand, I hate it and wish it had never happened. On the other, my faith leads me to ask with expectation, "What next?"

It is the end of so many things, and yet, I embrace it because I know there is a bigger picture, and nothing ends that the Lord does not bring something new and good out of it.

And in the midst of sadness and questions of today I find joy knowing that this is a step toward tomorrow when more of the grander scheme will be revealed.

It is within this paradox that I find the ability to laugh through my tears because I trust in the greatest paradox of all--my God.

Only God would let one man die so others could live.

Only God would say if you want me to think highly of you, think more highly of others.

Only God would say to have it all I should give it all away.

Only God would love me so much that He refused to let me remain who I was.

Only God would command us to worship Him by resting in Him.

Only God would offer a priceless gift of grace for free.

And only God has the power to redeem horrific wrongs by using them to make things right.

And only God can tell promise to make sense of all this seeming insanity and me believe Him.

And I do.

Wondrously, that too is part of that paradox.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our A-Mazing God

Today The Man of my Dreams took of work, and our family headed to a pumpkin patch about an hour from here. Today was homeschool day, and they were open from 10-2. We were there the whole time. Need I say we had an absolute ball?

I watched my children run, climb, and laugh. We wandered through mazes, slid down a 100 ft. slide (very bumpy but FUN!), and enjoyed a hayride. The three-story treehouse was a huge hit, too. Even the adults were enthralled. And, we got to roast marshmallows over an open fire. Does it get any better than that?

We even brought home pumpkins. Three are bound for decoration, and one is bound for pumpkin desserts.

It was a glorious day, and I am thankful to have experienced it.

Oddly, the favorite part was one particular maze. It was made of tall wooden panels that twisted and turned to make halls that twisted back on themselves. As we were going in, we met a mom who had gotten lost and had returned to the beginning because the end was too hard to find. Still, we ventured in with anticipation of dead ends, backtracking, laughter, and eventually making it to the other side. We were not disappointed.

At dead ends we laughed. When another turn led us into more open area, we cheered. When a panel stood in our way, we were somtimes confused or frustrated, but we kept going. We knew somewhere in those winding passages was the other side, and we found the challenge of finding it exciting.

Some folks didn't enjoy the maze. They tried to get through, and when they couldn't they'd go to the tower and look down to find the path. Then they simply walked from one side to the other, proud of themselves for not guessing or getting things wrong. Some folks would stand on the tower and call down to the folks below, giving instructions on how to get out. Sometimes they made some missteps, but for the most part, they did okay. At least, no one was still missing when we left.

Life is a lot like that maze.

It has open areas, twists and turns, and dead ends, but on the other side of the confusion is a big open place where there is freedom. For some folks, the challenge seems too big, so they try to escape. It doesn't make the maze go away, though.

And then there are those who simply wander, figuring if they wander enough they'll find the way out. Sometimes that works, and sometimes they simply end up where they started.

And then there are those who listen to the voice who sees the bigger picture, the one who says, "Yep, there's a maze, but I know how get to get you through safe and sound." Those people had the same maze, but they moved through far more eaily and with much more confidence. They knew where they were going, and they got there.

In mazes, that might seem light cheating, but in life, it is wisdom. In fact, that is the joy of knowing the Lord and listening to His voice.

Knowing God and listening to His voice does not remove the maze. There are still deadends, changes of course, and questions. He never said He would remove the maze or that the way would be made clear before us. However, He did say if we listen and obey, He'll get us where we need to go, all the way to the end.

Relevant

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"It's not the wind in our hair that makes us free. It's the movement of the Spirit, the growth of our invisible side." --Amber Haines

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