Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Jesus is the Reason...

There is a video on Youtube that is going viral everywhere. You may have seen it. It's a video of unsuspecting shoppers at a mall food court who are suddenly surrounded by people singing the Hallelujah Chorus!

In case you haven't seen it, take a look!

It's amazing to me how the joy of that song begins to cause almost everyone to stand up and to join in with the singing. It brings tears to my eyes to see the joy & amazement on everyone's faces. Even the ones who aren't singing are obviously filled with joy over what they are witnessing.

Isn't that just the way Jesus is... He's joyous, He's uplifting, He brings hope, He's contagious! There is just something about Jesus that makes you smile. Something else I think is really cool... there has to be many denominations in the room. But in those moments, no one was worried about where the person next to them went to church or what denomination they were. They were focused on singing and praising Jesus. Jesus was the reason for the joy in that room and it was simply amazing!

I don't know whether or not this was planned or just spontaneous, either way it should really give us something to think about.

How many times when we feel moved by the spirit do we act on it; how many times do we let that opportunity slip by only to realize later the blessing that we missed. This time of year more people are talking about Jesus and people are open to Jesus more than any other time of the year. I pray that I will not miss out on the opportunities that are brought before me; not only during this Christmas season but everyday. I pray that when I have the chance, I will have the courage to stand up; even if I stand alone. Because as we see in this video, if one person stands up, there will likely be more that follow. And that is just way cool in my opinion!

Jesus is the reason things happen. Jesus causes excitement! If we focus on being Jesus with skin on in this world, amazing things are going to happen! I'm excited I get the chance to be a part of it!

Blessings to you and your family this holiday season!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday... It's the Greatest!! (or at least it should be)

Sunday.... it's one of my absolute favorite days! I LOVE getting together with friends who are like family singing praises to God and worshiping together. And hearing a wonderful sermon from God's word is just icing on the cake. There is just nothing like it! It's what gets me through the rest of the week!

I ran across this cartoon today. I've had it for a while and can't remember where I got it. It makes me laugh; but it also makes me very sad. God intends for us to come together to worship Him, to be built up, to just enjoy being together for the common purpose of being in His presence. How sad is it that sometimes there are those who come together just wondering what there is to complain about today. And like the cartoon says, they complain so much "they can't remember what it is they are not supposed to like".

I know that we all have our days where we do not like something as well other days. One of the songs we sang might not be our favorite, we may not totally agree with something someone has said, etc. But when those types of things take our attention away from the reason we are really there, we miss out on so much. How much joy & blessings do we miss out on because we are so upset that the song that was just sung, was not one of "our" favorites? How much joy & blessings do we miss out on when we are worried about what others are doing or how something looks or "did you hear what he just said"?

If we go to our worship services without the express intent of worshiping our God and if we allow "things" to distract us, we miss out. God is calling each one of us into relationship with Him everyday, worship is a way we can share that joy with other Christians. It's our piece of heaven on earth. How sad when we waste that small piece of heaven by bickering, worrying or judging others unjustly.

We don't know what may be on someone's heart; or the reason they are worshiping the way they are. We don't know what heartaches someone may be feeling or how badly they just need to be in the presence of God and other Christians. I pray that we all go to worship with the sole purpose of worshiping God and building up those we love and building up those who just need to see Jesus with skin on. If we don't, we are going to miss out on some of the most precious gifts that God has to offer us. I pray that we all learn to come together and share and rejoice in our differences instead of criticizing others because they choose to worship differently from the way we do; or because their view on a particular "issue" is not exactly the same as ours. Different is not always bad or wrong... sometimes it's just different.

There are those around us who are hungry and thirsty for a relationship with God. It's sad to me that sometimes those of us that have that relationship, spend more time focusing on the "things" we don't like instead of the precious gift we have in our relationship with God and the freedom we have to worship Him. Sure, things are not perfect; but they never will be. We are people, and people are not perfect. Let's not miss the most awesome gift of worshiping God by being concerned over things that really do not matter. Jesus came to save the lost, that's what matters.

May we all remember to find joy even in the small things! And may we all cherish our time of worship with God's family. Our attitude about worship is a choice. I choose to worship with my whole heart and not miss out on anything that God has to offer!


Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Psalm 100: 1-3

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pinball Machines....

Pinball machines... kind of a weird title I know; kind of random. But random seems to be how my thoughts come to me sometimes. Or maybe not so random, because I always feel like God is laying something on my heart when it's time to write.

As I sat watching the Cowboy game today (by the way... Go Cowboys!!), the announcer made the comment on a running play that "Felix Jones bounced around for 10 yards". I randomly thought of a pinball machine when he said that. Again, maybe not so random; because that is truly how life sometimes feels.

Growing up we used to play a lot of pinball. Pinball used to be "the" game. A simple game with levers, small metal balls, flippers and lots of what I call "mushroom things" (I'm sure that's the technical term!) with rubber around them that would cause the ball to bounce all over the place. Sometimes as you pull the lever to release the ball it smoothly flows out of the shoot and begins a rhythm. Other times, it seems to shoot out like a cannon. And then it proceeds to bounce randomly from one side to the next and you never really know where it's headed.

Isn't that how life sometimes is... some days you wake up and seem to flow right into your day; and everything seems to fall into place. Other days you feel like you are shot out into the world through a cannon. Bouncing around from place to place never really knowing where you are going to end up. And like the pinball machine, just when you think things are about to slow down and you are headed to the end, something "flips" you right back out to where you did not really want to be!

I know that sometimes my life feels like that. Like I am bouncing around from place to place, from thing to thing, and from emotion to emotion. And sometimes just when I think I'm on the home stretch, Satan throws something else at me and throws me right back out into the bouncing around of the pinball machine in which I live.

While sometimes it may feel like Satan is winning the game, I have to remember that he is not winning; that he is not in control; that I am not in control; but that God who Is the Almighty God IS in control. I cannot allow things I cannot control to be in charge of me and how I'm going to live my life for God. The world is full of things that are going to bounce me around like a ball in a pinball machine. I could easily give up; but to give up is a choice. Just like to choose to believe in God and to believe that He is in control is a choice. I choose to believe in God; I choose to believe He is in control; and I choose to claim Him when life is bouncing me around. I've seen the end of the story... God wins!!

I ran across a saying this week; it had no name on it so I don't know whom to give credit but it said... Faith is doing the possible and letting God do the impossible! I just love that quote and I'm claiming it for me! No matter where life may bounce me around, I will work on the things that are possible and the impossible things I will leave to God. Because I choose to believe in God and because I choose to believe that God can do the impossible!

But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible".
Matthew 19:26

For nothing will be impossible with God!
Luke 1:37


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thoughts on Faith...

Faith.... it's one of the things I think comes to my mind the most. Do I have enough? Is it strong enough? Will it get me through when things are tough? I have learned that the answer to all of these questions is yes!! That doesn't mean that I sometimes still don't have doubts, that I sometimes don't still wonder if God is there? But it does mean, that even when I have doubts, I choose to trust in God; I choose to have faith no matter what circumstances might be.

My husband is fond of saying, "What about when there is no plan b? I have to just trust that God is in control." And he's right... Because sometimes, there is no plan b. Sometimes you have to make the choice to trust God. Sometimes you have to trust and have faith that God sees the bigger picture. And sometimes it's the hardest thing in the world to do. But having faith is a choice I choose to make. For me, there is no other choice.

I saw a quote on someone's facebook today and in researching it found it out it that it was a quote by Martin Luther King. "Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the staircase." I LOVE that quote! I can so relate to that quote. There is so much in my life I have no control over. Really I don't have control over anything. No matter how much or how hard I try to control circumstances, it is God who is in control. And because I believe that God is in control, I can take that first step onto the staircase. Even though I can't see the staircase or don't have any idea where the staircase is leading; I trust and have faith that God is there waiting on me. And because of that faith, I have peace that can only come from God; because peace is the presence of God.

I'll leave you with some of my favorite scriptures from Romans which we are studying in our Bible class right now.

The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26b

If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31b

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:18

And my favorite... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Blessings to you as you take that first step onto the staircase!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Come Expecting to Receive Something...

That was the way our preacher, Pat Bills, started his sermon this morning. "Come expecting to receive something". That one phrase has had me thinking all day. You always think about going places... Church, a friends house, the grocery store, etc. Going to me implies I am in the driver's seat, I am in charge. But to say "come expecting to receive something" has an entirely different meaning.

To go means I make the decision to do it; to come means to be invited. Do we really think about God inviting us everyday? Do we really approach every day with the anticipation of receiving something from God? In our busy and hurried lives, I'm afraid we don't. I know I tend to be so busying doing, I don't think I listen hard enough to God's invitation. How much do we miss, by doing. What blessings would we receive if we would simply come with expectation?

We realize we need to spend more time in prayer, more time in the word, more time in general with God. But when we are so busy doing; and I don't mean doing for God, I just mean doing in general; I'm afraid we are missing His invitation to just come. His invitation to come and be still; His invitation to stop and smell the roses as the saying goes; His invitation to come and be still and know that He is God. How much more blessed would our lives be if we started every day expecting to receive something? The blessings I'm sure would be more than we could ever comprehend.

To "come expecting to receive something" is an intentional action. There are so many things we should be more intentional about, but for now, I'm going to try and start every day by answering God's invitation to "come expecting to receiving something". I can't wait to see where He leads me!


I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
Psalm 81:10

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Anticipation and Excitement Are in the Air!!!

I love surprises! I love the feeling of knowing that something good is coming! Things like a vacation you are anticipating, surprising someone else, getting together with friends or one of my favorites, Christmas! Things like that are just exciting to me.

Something else that has begun to excite me is God working among us. I know that may sound a little odd, because God is something that should excite us all the time. And while God does excite me all the time, lately it's different. There is something different in the air, there is a new anticipation and excitement lingering. The excitement of... I don't know what's coming, but I can't wait!

When our kids were growing up one of the most fun things for us to do as parents was to plan vacations and not tell our kids where we were going. They loved waking up in the car to discover where we were headed or not finding out until we boarded a plane where we were actually going. We did that several times and even did that when our kids were pretty much grown for the last vacation we took with just the 4 of us before my daughter got married. They were just as excited about it then as they were when they were younger. The anticipation of them not knowing where we were going but knowing it was going to be good, was almost as much fun as the trip itself... Almost! There was nothing quite like the ultimate destination!

That type of anticipation and excitement is what I'm feeling from God right now! At Highland Oaks Church of Christ where we go to church, God is up to something! There is something different in the air... good things are coming, you can just feel it! The spirit among us is changing, growing, evolving into what I believe God has called us to be. God is calling us out of our comfort zones, out of church, out of the box we've put Him in (as Pat so wonderfully put it this morning) and into our community like never before. The people are excited, the people are ready... the people are ready to let go and let God!

It reminds me of those surprise vacations we took with our kids.... except now, we are the kids waiting in anticipation of where God is leading us! We have no idea where we are headed, but we know that God is in control; so wherever it is... it's going to be amazing!

God is challenging us to stretch beyond ourselves, beyond what may be comfortable, beyond anything we could ask or imagine. God is challenging us to have faith in Him and just follow His lead. He's telling us to trust in Him completely. While the anticipation of where we are going is exciting, it's nothing compared to the destination! I can't wait to see where God takes us... I know it's going to be an amazing journey! I'm ready for the ride... I hope you'll join me!

With God's power working in us, God can do much, much more
than anything we can ask or imagine. To Him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21


Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Power of Trusting in God

During the past several years, we have really felt that through many prayers and tears God has been silent. We decided a while back that the only thing we could do, was to completely put our trust in God. To trust that God could see the big picture. To trust that God is there, even when we don't think that He is. To trust that God will work all things out for good. I'm not saying that at times we don't still struggle, but the thing we do differently is, we don't worry, we don't stress, we simple TRUST God.

This morning as I prepared for worship, I felt so strongly the whispers of Satan. Do you really trust God? Do you really trust Him? We'll see... he kept saying. I kept telling myself, that yes, even through the whispers of Satan... I still and will trust. Even in the darkest of times, when I think God isn't listening, when I think he doesn't hear me cry out... I trust.

We got in the car and headed to church. Something we do every week and something I do almost every day of the week since I work for the church we attend. I travel the same way every week to church and almost every day to work. This morning I noticed something, that I have never noticed in 4 years of driving this path, and yet it has always been there. At the last stop light before turning onto the street where our church is, right dead in the center of the median, was a tall, full, large tree. Actually, the tree wasn't tall as in towering but it was definitely a full sized tree. I travel that way almost everyday and have never noticed this tree before.

But this morning, I noticed it... it was if God was saying to me in that moment, I am here. What I noticed even more that they size and fullness of the tree was the trunk. The trunk of that tree almost seemed larger than that particular tree needed. It was a very round, very strong, very thick trunk. I sat through that light and stared a that trunk and all I could think about was God. Is was if God was saying to me in that moment, look at the trunk of this tree, and remember that I am here. I am stronger than Satan. I can withstand anything he throws at you. Do not forget that the victory is mine!

It was at that moment, that I knew... I really knew, I really DO completely trust in God. No matter what happens, I know that He is in charge. That no matter what Satan may throw my way, I will TRUST in God. God will ALWAYS be my dwelling place, He will be my refuge!

May the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ fill your lives today and always! Because... He is RISEN INDEED!!!

The LORD is my Rock, my fortress, and my deliverer;
my God is my Rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields it's fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
Psalm 1:3


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Honor of Jenny Ross Bizaillion

This will not be a typical post. For the past almost 3 weeks, our dear friend, Jenny Ross Bizaillion was fighting for her life. In the words of her husband on Monday, February 22nd "Jenny Bizaillion. The most beautiful, wonderful friend, perfect mom, best wife a man could ever have. She loved more than I could comprehend. Jenny decided heaven was a better place than earth. Thank u for ur love, support, cries and memories."

Jenny was 31 years old. She went to the doctor a little over 2 weeks ago. She had been diagnosed with the flu and after several days of not getting any better and getting worse she was rushed to the ICU. Jenny's body fought hard and God gave us several miracles, but God decided Jenny had had enough.

But this isn't about Jenny's illness, this about who Jenny was and is. Jenny is a daughter of the King. Jenny's entire life was devoted to her loving husband David, her precious daughter Malaya, her parents Rick & Beverly and her brothers Josh & Jonathan and their families. But even more than that, Jenny was devoted to God. And if you knew Jenny's family, you would know that each one of them are devoted to each other, but even more completely devoted to God. This is about a family's trust in God. A family who refused to blame God for anything happening. A family whose example during a crisis showed there complete faith & trust in God.

Throughout the last 2+ weeks, not one of them ever blamed God for anything happening to Jenny. In fact, just the opposite. Of course there were questions of why and questions of not understanding, but through it all, through every victory and more importantly through every obstacle and heartache, God was praised! This is who the Ross's and the Bizaillion's are... faithful believers that God is always there. That no matter what, God is victorious, and through Jesus Christ we too are victorious. Death cannot take us!

We watched as a husband read lovingly to his sweet Jenny every day, every post on her facebook page and every post on her care page as he cried out to God for Jenny's life. We watched as a mother literally tried to breathe for her precious daughter as she cried out to God, we watched as a father stood over his family protecting them as he cried out to God; we watched as 2 brothers prayed over their sister while crying out to God. As Jenny's brother Josh says, not only were they crying out to God, God was crying with them. And through it all, through every circumstance, they praised God almighty!

We have known the Ross's for over 15 years. We watched their kids grow up. Their son Josh even performed our daughter Ashley's wedding ceremony. We have prayed over each others children for years. We love them dearly.

Jenny was what I would call an angel here on earth. She literally had the voice of an angel. I had the privilege of singing at a wedding with her many years ago. I still think about it to this day. Jenny's smile brightened a room as soon as she entered it. She just radiated God's love. Anyone who met Jenny, got to experience a little piece of God's love and compassion. She was Jesus with skin on to many people. Jenny loved her husband David and her daughter Malaya more than anything in this world. Her family was everything to her.

Jenny loved children. In fact when my daughter was in 6th grade Jenny led her and a group of kids from church at a church convention in chorus. She loved them so much that when she got married she had all of those kids sing a song together at her wedding. I know that Jenny has already gathered all the little children together have gone on to be with God. She has them gathered around her telling them stories and singing over them. And I can guarantee you she is telling them, "Look, do you see Him, do you see Jesus! Come on, let's go sit at His feet!"

Jenny wrote on her blog a couple of years ago that she longed for the day when Christians of all religious walks would unite together. Here is a quote from her blog...
"God began developing a passion in me the past 15 years about the unifying of Christians. I know it seems an impossible thing to happen especially when I read blogs and sorts that do nothing but divide Christians and throw hateful words back and forth to ANYONE that doesn't agree exactly the way one does. I pray we can become a body that can work in "the streets" together, that can do outreaches together, that can do mission trips together, that can do youth rallies together, that can truly be the hands and feet of Jesus TOGETHER. So there goes my naive, dreaming rant:) God is faithful and graceful! Festivals allow people to come together as a FULL body of Christ and not under a specific church name. I LOVE it!!"

While this would not be the way we would choose, Jenny, through her illness, united people of different faiths and walks all over the world. I, along with many others, were posting updates about Jenny on our facebook pages and people everywhere, people who didn't even know Jenny were touched by her story. People who didn't know Jenny got to know the loving person she was, the child of God she was and people were united. Over 10,000 people united over Jenny's care page. I know thousands more were checking facebook pages. Jenny's story touched the hearts of thousands. And many people who didn't know Jenny got to know her and in turn know God & experience God through her story. Jenny's dream became a reality. It is my prayer that Jenny's dream will continue and Christians all over the world will continue to unite and that we will continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus. After all, that is what God has called us to be.

Tomorrow there will not be a funeral; there will be a celebration of Jenny's life. Even though Jenny is gone and we will all miss her, there is much to celebrate. She has gone home to be with God! I am so thankful for the blood of Jesus. I am so thankful that He died, so that we could live! While Jenny is no longer here on this earth, she is alive and whole! And I am thankful for the promise that we will one day meet again.

We love you Jenny, but this is not goodbye... we will see you again! I pray that we all learn from you and your family and ALWAYS remember to give God the Glory in ALL things! Lord come quickly!

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning
or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4