Who’s worse the dog or the kids? Today…the dog, definitely the dog!

Today at 7:30am I received a call from my daughter, Leah. She was at school and told me she had forgotten two very important papers that needed to be turned in today, no exceptions. Ugh! I had reminded her this morning NOT to forget the papers on the counter.

I just had foot surgery on February 17th. I am suppose to be resting and elevating my foot. I’m not really suppose to be up and about yet. But, I finally decided that I would drive my boys to school and then drive down the street to Leah’s school and drop off the two papers.

When the boys and I got in the car, our little nine pound dog followed us out as well and jumped in. The only reason Mocha got in the car, was because she probably thought we were going to our neighbor’s house. They also have a dog, Phoebe. And Mocha and Phoebe love to play together. Never did I imagine in my adult life, that I would be setting up “doggie play-dates.” (Insert eye roll) I told Mocha she was going to be disappointed when she realized we were just going to the school. Never did I imagine in my adult life that I would be talking to a dog! (Insert second eye roll)

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I arrived at the school and decided it would be best to park by the front curb, you know the place it says, “NO PARKING.” After all I was only going in for a second. I also decided I would turn on my hazard lights and leave the car running, and of course I didn’t need to bring my cell phone in the building. It was only going to take two minutes to drop off the papers. I made sure no one was looking as I got out of the car in a cast (on my right leg) and grabbed my crutches. As I made my way around the front of the car, I heard that noise…you know, the noise the car makes when it’s just been locked!  MOCHA!  Mocha had stepped on the lock and locked me out of the car! Never in my adult life did I imagine getting locked out of my car by a dog!! (Insert third eye roll and angry face)

I had no choice but to hobble into the school building on crutches, give the secretary Leah’s papers and then humbly say, “May I please borrow your phone? I actually parked on the curb, left the car running, and my dog locked me out of the car?” They were so nice about it and offered to call the police. I wanted to call my dad.(insert sad face) I was a little concerned the police would wonder about the situation when they saw me on crutches, where my car was parked, a dog inside the car… (insert nervous face)

I didn’t really have any other choice, so they called the police for me. They were told that the officer would call them back as soon as she got back into her car. In the mean-time I sat down to embarrassingly wait it out.

I forgot to mention, given the fact that I recently had surgery and I’m not really suppose to be up doing much, I was not as presentable as I should have been. I was wearing the shirt I slept in, hadn’t brushed my hair, had make-up smeared on my face from the day before, etc…let’s just say I could have really used a shower before going out into public.

After about 5-10 minutes of waiting the secretary got up and looked out the window. As she looked out the window she said, “Wait…WAIT, I think the dog is rolling down the window!” “Yes, YEP, the dog just rolled down the window!” I grabbed my crutches and hobbled out of the office as the secretary held the doors open for me. Sure enough, MOCHA, oh sweeet Mocha, (insert 4th eye roll ) rolled down the window so I could get back into the car!

As I was getting into the car to drive away the Principal ran out and came over to my window and said, “I sure wish we had gotten all of that on video tape!”

I’m thinking Mocha knowingly locked me out of the car on purpose because I took her to the school and not to Phoebe’s house. Thankfully, it only lasted a few minutes before she let me back in! When we got home Phoebe’s mom called to see if Mocha could play. I said, “No, she’s grounded this week!” (insert last eye roll)

Disclaimer: I never leave the dog alone in the car for several minutes or hours in extreme temperatures. The dog was not hurt. The owner, highly embarrassed.

“His Law is Love & His Gospel is Peace”

Behold the King has come! The King of all KINGS. The Messiah, Redeemer, the Lamb of God. Come to us, here with us! God with us! Immanuel! The precious babe of Christ!

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Why my kids don’t believe in Santa…

Why my kids don’t believe in Santa…

Because one quiet Christmas morning when my sweet and innocent children woke up to open their gifts they realized that Santa had not visited our house on Christmas Eve.

It was not Santa who stuffed his big belly down our chimney and indulged himself with the Christmas cookies and milk that my children had left out for him. It was not Santa that left presents under our tree. No, the gifts my children were tearing into were NOT from Santa at all!!

However, they were from a man who also wears a red-suit, but this man does not have a big round belly, nor does he have a soft white beard, or a deep joyful laugh of “Ho-Ho-Ho.”

Instead, this man, carries a pitch-fork and adorns his head with horns. It was not SANTA who left presents under our tree that year, but it was SATAN, himself!!

You see, I had been up late on Christmas Eve and having three young children at the time, my eyes were heavy with a tiredness only a mother can know. I was quickly  addressing my children’s gift tags, one after another, and in my hurry I signed each one,

“MERRY CHRISTMAS, LOVE, SATAN!!”

I did not realize my mistake until the next morning, half-way through opening the presents when my husband said, “Suzanne, stop for a second, and SLOWLY read the gift tags, are you dyslexic!? Are they all suppose to say Satan or did you mean to write Santa?” My poor children were opening gifts delivered from Satan!? What kind of mother secretly puts presents under the tree and pretends that Satan was the generous gift giver!?

It’s amazing how one can mix up a couple of letters and change the entire mystery of the Christmas experience.

However, like a good parent, I have worked this mistake into my favor! For now, when the Holiday season rolls around I can tell my children that, “they better not shout, they better not pout, they better watch out, I’m telling you why, Satan…will surely come back to town!

Disclaimer – Satan did not really visit our house and no children were hurt or have experienced emotional long term effects by this mistake.

 

NO ORDINARY KING

Crimson shades of tattered white,
a moonless night yet all is bright.
An ordinary man who had a dream,
of impossible things, or so it seemed.

A child bride, a mere servant girl,
carrying a baby that would change the world.
Two relatives startling an unborn Son,
only to prove what had actually begun.

A cousin set apart to lead the King’s way,
to turn back hearts that have gone astray.
An order to travel to one’s own town,
a difficult journey with a belly so round.

They could stay in the stable or so they were told,
each innkeeper said all the rooms had been sold.
Shepherds and wise man each brought a gift,
to lay at His feet our sins He would lift.
The King of all kings was born in a manger,
humbled and quiet did his parents realize the danger?

A king afraid of losing reign,
a baby born to carry the pain.
A spirit of death upon the earth,
what Man has come with second birth?

A Godly man holds The Christ,
warning Mary that there will be a price.
A prophetess sees God’s Salvation,
and spreads the hope to a desperate nation.
A mother pondering all things in her heart,
God’s Son would bring joy, but first torn apart.

His life lived for only one reason,
He’s why we celebrate this Christmas season.
A baby born, to live to die,
it’s tempting to ask the question why?

His story doesn’t stop at His birth,
He died on the cross to give our lives worth.
But our story doesn’t end at His grave,
He’s risen again our souls He can save.
So let us bow down our lives to give,
we need to die to fully live.

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus Ain’t Slack He’s Coming Back

Video

In the last year I’ve been speaking mostly to women’s groups, but this last Sunday I was given the opportunity to speak at Community Fellowship; to the  Junior High Sunday School class and later in the evening with the High School youth group. I love the privilege of sharing God’s message with all people and all ages. This is the second video on a three part message about the second coming of Christ.

“If I should speak then let it be, Of the Grace that is greater than all my sin, Of when Justice was served and where mercy wins, Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in, To tell you my story is to TELL OF HIM…” (Big Daddy Weave)

 

Pure White Linen

I am on trial. I stand in front of the Judge. I wear a prisoner’s uniform. My hands are in chains. I am ashamed and humiliated. I am without defense. I am guilty. I am condemned to die.

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I proclaimed faith in Christ when I was a young child, but since that day there have been many times I have strayed from that proclamation. If I didn’t know the truth, if I had not pledged allegiance to Christ as my Savior and Lord, I could say I didn’t know any better. But, I know the truth. I know right from wrong. I can cry out with Paul and say, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”(Romans 7:15)

Every day, every hour, every minute, I must choose to die to myself and my desires and allow Christ to live through me. I want His desires to be my desires. This is such a challenge for me. I am the prodigal child. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” I am like the Israelites in the desert, following and praising God when all is well, and then quickly forgetting God and returning to sin. “Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brother’s and sister’s this should not be.” (James 3:10)

I hate sin and the way I can feel its strong pull, tempting me to give into it’s desires. I hate sin and the way I’ve allowed it to slowly creep into my life. I hate that there have been times I have declared faith in Jesus with a sinful heart and dirty hands. I have been unfaithful to Christ so many times that I wonder how He could still love me. Why would He give me; a stained, filthy, ugly, guilt-ridden sinner, the privilege to share His story? I deserve to be punished. I deserve death.

And it’s here, standing in front of the Judge, in my deepest, darkest, sinful place, that Jesus approaches me. I feel His presence. I am so unworthy that I don’t want to look at His face. But, He lifts “up my head,” (Psalm 3:3) and in His eyes I see love and kindness, mercy and grace. It’s a love so strong that it brings me to my knees. A kindness so sweet it brings me to repentance. A mercy so rich in compassion it brings me to humility. And Grace, amazing grace, full of forgiveness, it brings me back into my Savior’s arms.

He releases my chains and puts on my prison clothes. He stands guilty in my place. Condemned. Ready to die, on my behalf, a sinner’s death to set me free. As He stands in my place, I realize He IS my defense. My ONLY defense. JESUS. My only way to freedom and eternal salvation. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But, if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1) “Look, I’ve stripped you of your sin and dressed you up in clean clothes.”(Zechariah 3:3-4) At that moment, I look down and see that I am no longer dressed as a prisoner, but I am, “arrayed in the finest of pure white linen, bright and clean.” (Rev 19:8) “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) I am dressed in His righteousness.

 

 

(This blog was written in response to a question that was posed to me: “After sinning, what hoops does a Christian have to jump through to reconcile with God?” In short, there are no hoops because “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”)

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“On My Father’s Side”

My Uncle Rolle Rexilius died February 25th, 2014. I had the extreme privilege to give the eulogy at his funeral. He made a huge impact on my life and on my Christian faith. He was a praying man and he lived His life, completely sold out, to his Savior. He was another Rexilus man who left a lasting legacy of faith.

I’m thinking about him today because I received an email from my mom that said, “Rolle played this Easter song for me about 15 years ago. I listened to it today and wanted to pass it on.”

Although I know and believe that Jesus was both Son of man and Son of God I’ve never thought of it in this way before…

“Just a young boy in the temple one day
Shared with the scholars, they were so amazed
Never had they seen, one so young, speak so swift,
They asked Him many questions,
The conversation went like this…

WHAT’S YOUR NAME SON?
On my mother’s side, My name is Jesus
But on my Father’s side, they call Me Immanuel

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HOW OLD ARE YOU?
On my Mother’s side, now I’m 12 years
But on my Father’s side, I’ve just always been

WHERE YOU FROM?
On my mother’s side, I’m from Bethlehem
But on my Father’s side, it’s New Jerusalem

WHAT’S YOUR PLAN?
On my mother’s side, I’ll be crucified
But on my Father’s side, in three days I will rise,
And I’ll sit at my Father’s side”

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He was the Son of God, yet the Son of man.
And I can’t help but wonder,
What Joseph must have felt,
Through an open door that day,
He heard his son reply, He said,
You see, I ‘am the KING OF KINGS
That’s on My Father’s side.”
(The Barn Again Gang”)

We have an awesome God!  Who but He could have made such a plan for our salvation. Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN!

 

Busy Mom Problem #3

 

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Last Tuesday, I woke up in the middle of the night to find my son on his cell phone. He knows he’s not allowed to be on his phone that late, so I took the phone from him and told him he wouldn’t be allowed to have it for one week. I thought to myself, “I need to hide it in a really good spot so he won’t find it.” (He always finds my hiding spots) And that’s what I did! I put it in the BEST hiding spot EVER!

Unfortunately, in my comatose stupefaction, I really did hide it in a good spot because now I CAN’T EVEN FIND IT! I’ve called it multiple times, searched through every single drawer, under every couch cushion, coat pockets, back-packs, every cabinet and every closet in the house. Not once, not twice, but more times than I can even count. Where is  that allusive phone!?  I DON’T KNOW!!

NOTE TO SELF – In the middle of the night, when half-asleep, don’t hide a cell phone in the BEST PLACE EVER…unless of course, the punishment you have in mind is to ban your son from ever using his phone again.

 

 

Creatures of Habit

When I was a little girl I have very vivid memories of my mom gathering us around before bedtime and reading us a book.  All of these books usually had important life-lessons. I loved listening to my mom read and when I became a mother I started this tradition with my own kids. It’s still one of our favorite things to do as a family.

One of the books my mom read to us was, “Where the Red Fern Grows.”  To this day it is still one of my favorite books. A book about a boy named Billy who dreamed of owning his own hound dogs. Unlike today, Billy didn’t have the option of entitlement or immediate gratification so he had to work hard and long days to buy the dogs he desired.  After a couple of years, he finally had enough money to buy his dogs and he named them, Old Dan and Little Ann. He was ready to teach them how to become coon trapping hound dogs.

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One thing from this book that has stuck with me my entire life is the way Billy’s grandpa told him how he could catch a raccoon. First, find a log and drill a hole just big enough for the raccoon’s paw to fit inside. After drilling the hole, pound two nails diagonally into the log and drop a shiny object into the hole. This can also be done using a simple tin can and placing a shiny object into the can. Raccoons are curious animals and they are drawn to bright, radiant objects. That dazzling item is all that is needed to tempt the raccoon to reach his paw into the log or the tin can and wrap his fist around the object.

And just like that, the raccoon is trapped! Can He escape? Of course he can! But he chooses to remain trapped, because he is not willing to let go of the captivating object that lured him there. All he needs to do is open his hand, drop the object, and he’s free. However, the raccoon is often to stubborn to drop the object. He is obsessed with it and becomes a slave to an object that he doesn’t need. An object that steals his freedom and will eventually cost him is life.

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Just like the raccoon, we can gaze upon a bright, shiny  object and all of a sudden find ourselves ensnared into a trap of slavery, a trap that steals our freedom and sometimes our lives. In Romans 1, Paul calls himself, “a slave to Christ,” not out of duty and fear but out of love and gratitude.

If we aren’t enslaved to Christ, we will find another luring, captivating object. It can be an eating disorder, pornography, bitterness, unforgiveness, greed. It can even be a  good object, that eventually replaces Christ and becomes an idol in our lives, such as our kids, our marriage, a job, etc. Again, in Romans, Paul says that people, “Exchanged the glory of God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Our hands desire to be clenched around something, and if it’s not Christ, we will find ourselves in chains that trap us, control us, and steal our ultimate purpose of life; to love and serve our Creator.

If our hands are entwined around Christ and all that He encompasses we will live in absolute, perfect freedom. Beth Moore has said, “Christ is the only one who I can bind myself to and find freedom. He is the only one that frees while binding.”  

Unlike the raccoon, who is bound to a life-threatening object, I want to be bound to Christ. I want my fist wrapped so tightly around Him that I don’t ever want to let go. I want to say I am a slave to Christ. I need nothing more. He is enough. And it is here, bound to Christ that we can live in the freedom He intended for us.

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