Sunday, November 29, 2009

"What can you do with a penny?"

"What can you do with a penny these days?" Well just ask Jacob! Jacob and I got cold at the soccer tournament last weekend so we went to sit in the car. Now usually when we are in the car he is buckled in his seat, but since we were just sitting I decided to let him just sit up front with me as we warmed our frozen fingers. Well apparently his thawed out sooner than mine did because those precious little pinchers were able to pick up 4 pennies and load then into the DVD player. It began to whine and drag and make noises that I was sure would require quite a few zeroes added to the dollar signs. I called Honda and sure enough using the DVD player as a jukebox is not covered under the warranty. Oh how I sighed and prayed. (That I would not hurt him.) What to do? I knew Matt WAS NOT going to spend 100 plus dollars to fix something that had nothing to do with the overall operation of the van. We are blessed to have friends with the fix-it knowledge as well as a love for us so they want to bless us. Mr. Fred came over and in less than 30 minutes he retrieved 4 pennies from the player and it works like a charm. Thank you Mr. Fred! I began to think about what you can actually do with a penny? As my children said, "You can't even buy gum for a penny anymore."  Not that they actually even remember those days, but I'm sure they've heard about them. Something of so little value ($0.04) to some (me) could be worth so much more ($100). It was only 4 little pennies and oh how much fun for Jacob to watch the player suck them right up. It was like magic... Poof Disappear. I was totally helpless and had no idea what to do to fix it, but Fred on the other hand possessed the knowledge and the know how to fix the problem free of charge. What free gift do you possess that would cost you very little yet would be worth so much to someone else? Maybe it is a gift or a talent or maybe it is giving of your time. Without a doubt the testimony of our salvation would be worth life to those who do not know, it costs us nothing to share, but it cost Jesus His very life. The message of salvation is worth far more than any amount of zeros added to a dollar sign, but cost us nothing to share, not even a penny. Share the gift of eternal life this Christmas and also look for ways to serve others just as we remind our children all the time. "Jesus came not to be served, but to serve!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good"

Yesterday we began to play Christmas music in our car. Yes, I know it is a little early, but we are all very excited and a certain Jacob Hawkins put a penny in the DVD player so there will be no movies until that is fixed. We were riding down the road singing "He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good..." Joshua asked, "Mommy, does Santa Claus really know if you've been bad or good?" As I pondered the question, wondering if this was the appropriate time to destroy the dream of Santa Claus for my 5 year old, I did what any caring, honest, godly mother would do...I said, "Joshua, what do you think?" He thought for a minute and then he said, "Well, Santa may know, but if he does it is because Jesus told him, because Santa Claus is not all knowing, only Jesus is." Awesome answer!!! I agreed with him that Jesus is the only one who is all knowing and our obedience or lack there of should be driven by our desire to please Him, not so that we will or will not receive earthly rewards.  I have never told my children if they are not nice Santa won't bring them a gift, because that is a lie. Imagine if we were true to our word on that one. Not one child would be receiving a gift this year. Not to mention it is not biblical. Apart for the whole Santa thing, it is also not in accordance with what Christ did for us..."While we were still sinners Christ died for us." Joshua is right... He is all knowing and yet he hung on that cross and gave us the gift of grace and eternal life in spite of what we had done. It was a free gift. Even our "good" deeds are as filthy rags before a righteous and holy God. This Christmas I encourage you to use every opportunity to teach your children and to experience for yourself the loving grace of our Savior. Good or bad, it did not matter to was a free gift. A gift we needed because we were bad (sinful) creatures. He gave out of unconditional love, not because we were or were not on the naughty list. So as you approach this Christmas season just remember that "He knows if you've been bad or good" and He loves you in spite of it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Gone Fishin"

Our family loves to go fishing. Sometimes we succeed in just feeding crickets to the fish as we throw out our pole and the crickets disappear. Pop pop and Grandma bought Jacob a spiderman fipping (fishing) pole. He was a natural. He learned immediately how to cast it out and reel it in. Over and over again he would throw it out and reel it in. If you have ever been fishing, you know that it takes patience. A lot of patience!

Matt has recently been preaching a series called "Go Fish." Afterall, we have been called to be fishers of men. As I have listened to the Word of God and what Matt has been teaching, I was taken back to that day that Jacob learned to fish. Oh the patience of that little guy to continue to throw out the bait and reel it in. How often do we as believers throw out the bait and actually fish for men? We lack patience. We throw out the bait and we don't get a bite so we quit. As I watched Jacob that day, the first bite he got, scared him so that he threw the pole down and ran. Have we ever done that in fishing for men? We got a bite, now what do we do? We do just what Jacob did, we pick the pole back up and we throw out that bait again, over and over and over again, with patience knowing that the outcome is not in our hands, but in the hands of God. We are just obedient to fish. The funniest part of that day was when Jacob threw out his pole with no bait because the crickets were gone. He threw the line out and caught a fish with no bait, just a hook. Why did he catch a fish? Because he was faithful to throw that line out, bait or no bait, his patience was rewarded. He was ready, he was watching and he was faithful. Oh, that we might have the patience and the faithfulness of a 2 year old as we fish for the souls of men.
Matthew 4:19 NIV

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"We Don't Say Booty and We Don't Shake it in the Air."

Look deeply into the eyes of this precious little boy and you will see a young man who has a heart for obedience and a heart to please Jesus. I wish I could say it has always been that way, but at the age of 3 Joshua really changed and he decided the consequences of disobedience were not worth the temporal gratification. He began to obey and it has just gotten better and better. Yesterday Matt and I picked him up early from school. We had a full afternoon and I was going to be at a Ladies Retreat all weekend, so we checked him out and went to lunch with the 2 little boys. We were talking about his day at school and he began to sing a song for me. The lyrics said something about "shaking your booty in the air and turning around." "Mommy, I did sing the song, but I did not shake my booty because I did not think you would allow that and I did not think it would bring honor to God so I did not do it. I just stood very still." What a proud mommy moment that was. Joshua has been listening to the convictions of our home. We have never actually said, "Do not shake your booty in the air." But we have instructed our boys to honor God with their bodies and conduct themselves in such a way that it would represent their Jesus. Be above reproach. Step out and be different. We have talked about all of these things, but never the specifics of shaking your booty in the air. Joshua had a moment of personal conviction in his classroom. For some reason he did not have a peace about shaking his booty so he decided to be separate. He wanted to honor God and he wanted to honor and obey his parents and he thought this was something we would not approve of. "Mommy at our house we don't say booty and we don't shake it in the air." I love that my 5 year old is developing conviction in his own life. The standards and the convictions of belief that we as a family have recognized for our family through the counsel of scripture are becoming not merely Hawkins' home standards, but they are taking up root and growing within the hearts of our children. That is the goal. We teach our children the standards from God's word and then we pray that they will become deeply planted in their hearts so that as they grow up in Him they might bear fruits of righteousness and conviction. I know it was an innocent kindergarten song where the whole class shakes their booty in the air. Harmless right? Joshua felt a check in his spirit and he obeyed that check. No, I would not have been upset if he had participated, but oh how my heart leaps for joy that he is becoming a young man of personal conviction and he takes a stand when he does not feel it is right. I pray that the word of God would be so deeply grounded in our lives that we to would live as people of conviction moment by moment, day by day.
John 14:23-24 "Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"I Had A Beth Moore Hair Day" I Wish!

If you know Beth Moore, then you know she prides herself in her big southern hairdo. She believes in teasing and hairspray. I find her hairstyle very cute, but as I was fixing my hair today I knew it would be one of those days. I must back up and confess the real problem to you. I cut my boys hair, even Matt's. We do this to save money. After all it is not hard to cut boys hair. I had this bright idea that to save money I would start cutting my own hair. Yes, I know, but I did it anyway. The problem was the back. I could never seem to get it even. I tried getting in the shower and flipping my head over and cutting a straight line. It did not turn out to be such a straight line when I flipped back up. So I did what any intelligent, rational woman would do and I said, "Matt, can you come cut my hair!" Yes, I put scissors in the hands of my husband and I turned around. Anyone can cut a straight line right? He did cut a straight line, but what he did not realize was that when you pull down on wet hair and cut, it springs back shorter. He pulls down on the back of my hair, cuts and then I hear, "Whoops!" Not what you want to hear when your husband is holding scissors to the back of your head. "What happened?" I asked. "Nothing, I think it is just shorter than you had wanted, but it is straight." He did great, but I did have to cut a couple more inches off the sides to even it up. Is anyone horrified yet? The cut actually turned out o.k. if I would sit with my head tilted forward and to the side. This happened in August the week before I was to leave for a conference I had been planning on for over a year. A conference with 600 other women who I did not know. There was nothing left to do but tilt my head and smile. Well, let's get back to today. As my hair has been growing back it is not quite as forgiving as it once was and I am beginning to have what some might call "mullet like" symptoms. The sides seem to be a little shorter than the back. I have tried the flat-iron, I have tried flipping it up, curling it under and even scrunching. (Which I believe was popular in the 80's.) Today I decided that hot rollers would do the trick. You know add that body and shine and put that bounce back into my head. As I removed each roller I began to see an increasing problem. Medusa was staring back at me from the mirror. My hair was so big even Beth Moore would have called an intervention. My day was too busy to spend fussing over hair so I flipped my head over, sprayed a large hole in the ozone layer and went about my day. As the day went on my hair fell into place and now looks like a brown football helmet with short bangs. I need to visit what I think they call a "Hair Salon" and have a professional work their magic, but alas I shall wait until it makes its way into the budget. Each time I passed a mirror or saw my reflection in a window I thought about ALL the hairs on my head. It was definitely a bad hair day for me, but it brought me great comfort because I was reminded of the scripture that says,  "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7 I know that my Jesus cares enough about me that He has every hair of my head numbered. Let me just say that today that was a lot of hair. What a great comfort to know the truth of this verse... "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7  He loves me even when I have Medusa hair. He still cares and He sees my heart, not my hair. I have made a vow that I will never cry over a bad hair cut or a bad hair day. It is just hair. I confess I was frustrated this morning, but oh what joy and comfort my savior brought to me today through a silly thing like having a hairstyle like Medusa.  Does anyone know who does Beth Moore's hair. I need to make an appointment?

"What Troubles Your Heart?"

Is there anything troubling your heart today? Maybe it's financial stress, a physical ailment, a crumbling marriage, loneliness or a rebellious child. From time to time I will ask my children, "Is something troubling your heart?" If your Father were to stand before you and say, "My child, what troubles your heart?" What would you say to Him? As I talk with women all over I am sensing an overall feeling of hopelessness. Hopeless marriages, hopeless finances, hopeless lives seem to be a resounding theme among many women today. So many have just given up and think "It will always be like this!" Psalms 62:5-8 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." I love how David pleads with us by saying "O People; pour out your hearts to him." David got it. He had struggles, he had trials, his heart was troubled, but He knew where to go. Wouldn't you love to say with David, "No matter what happens, I will not be shaken." We run late for a soccer game, burn supper, find cereal spilled on the floor and we are shaken. Come on! He is our fortress and our refuge. David hid out in caves in fear of losing his very life and yet he says he will trust Him at ALL times. When Jesus met with His disciples in the Upper Room he said to them..."Let not your hearts be troubled." He knew when He left they would be troubled, but listen to what else He said, "In this world you WILL have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." WOW, if that does not give us peace, then nothing can. HE has overcome the crumbling marriages, the finances, the ailments, the loneliness. If HE has overcome all of that then why do we fill those voids with books, movies, alcohol, drugs, relationships and other things of this worlds which HE has overcome? We need to RUN to Him and find peace in Him. I heard a quote from a Kay Arthur book that says, "Peace does not come from a denial of reality or an absence of trial, but from a right relationship with Him." Our circumstances may not change any time soon or never, but we can have peace in the midst of the storm if we have a right relationship with Him. My friend, what troubles your heart today? Pour out your heart to your savior, find refuge in Him and let Him be your fortress. Cling to His word! He is our peace!  I leave you with this Psalm and pray that it becomes the prayer of your heart...Psalm 6:1-8"Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Increase the days of the king's life, his years for many generations. May he be enthroned in God's presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day."

Monday, November 9, 2009

"A Precious Friendship!"

"Mom, I am usually so busy running and playing that I tend to pass people by, but I really believe God was drawing me to Momyrt 2 years ago. I really loved her and I know she loved me." Matthew shared this with me the other night after our precious friend Momyrt went home to be with the Lord. Matthew met Momyrt at church a few years ago and they had a bond from the very beginning. Every Sunday after church as I would search for Matthew, I could always find him sitting with Momyrt. They would talk and laugh and just spend time together. Matthew was able to be her escort for 2 different parties she had at her retirement home. He prayed for her and would always inquire about her when she was not at church. Last year he had the privilege of dancing with her at her 85th birthday. Momyrt began to have increasing heart problems a few weeks back and was in the hospital. Matthew was very sad that he could not go and see her in hospital, but with recent age restrictions it was not an option. He prayed and prayed. One night he came to me crying and said, "Mom, I just don't know how to pray anymore. I want to keep her here, but I feel so selfish. I know she would be happier with Jesus and she would not have heart problems anymore, but it is so hard to pray that way." I assured him that God knew his heart. I encouraged him to pray for God's will to be done. Momyrt went home to be with the Lord last Monday night and though Matthew was happy for her I have never seen his little heart break like that before. He lost a friend. He knows he will see her again one day, but he has had some sad, tear filled nights. What a precious friendship they had because "God was drawing him to Momyrt." Oh, how this convicts me. I too am guilty of just passing people by because I am caught up in me and I am busy! Do you ever wonder if we miss out on precious life changing friendships because we don't stop, but we just pass people by? I don't every want to miss a blessing because I am so caught up in myself that I can't stop and be a friend. I know Matthew loved Momyrt, but I also know Momyrt loved Matthew and she was blessed by this precious young man who prayed for her, hugged her and spent time caring about her. Who is God drawing you to build a relationship with? After the testimony of the precious friendship and Matthew and Momyrt, I will be looking and praying for those precious relationships that only He can build. I want to leave you with a letter that Matthew received from Momyrt's daughter the night he danced with her and helped her celebrate her 85th birthday. As you read this I invite you to celebrate her life with us.
Momyrt’s Hands

I have noticed, when I touch her hands, that I can feel her slightly enlarged knuckles, swollen by arthritis.
I have noticed that her skin feels a little bit loose, and that her hands are really a bit skinny.
And I can also feel in her hands that she is fragile in many ways.
But let me tell you about the strengths that I remember in her hands as well.
Momyrt used her hands, when she was a young girl, to pick cotton in the fields.
She used her hands to iron her daddy's shirts when she had to heat the iron in the fireplace because they had no electricity.
She used her hands as a young mother to wash our clothes in a wringer-type washing machine, and then to hang the clothes on the line outside to dry in the sun.
She used those hands to lovingly care for her newborns and young children, and to prepare meals (delicious meals, I must say) for her husband and her loved ones.
And those hands patted out many a biscuit and many yeast rolls.
Her hands have applauded her children and her friends in their many accomplishments, have cleaned many dishes (without a dishwasher), and have tenderly delivered medicines or soothing caresses to us when we were sick.
Her hands have picked out tunes on the piano keyboard, and her hands have written many sweet poems.
And tonight, you held those precious hands, and you helped to make her night!!
You helped her enjoy her 85th birthday, while she was enjoying some of her favorite music, and some of her favorite people.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Alarms in the night"

About a month ago we were all sound asleep, doors locked, alarm set and we were awakened from our precious slumber by this loud "WHWHWHWHWH" Alarm. Matt and I both jumped out of our deep sleep, jumped back into our skin and ran to check the alarm. Matt checked the alarm while I checked the children. Jacob was the only one to wake up saying "Mommy, what's that sound? That loud mommy. It ok?" I reassured him and he went back to sleep. Matt said that the alarm reported "line cut." Oh my word, they cut the line and they are on their way in the house. That was my first thought. I immediately picked up my cell phone and called Brinks and found out that line cut simply means the phone line has had an intermittent disturbance. No big deal I thought and we returned to our slumber. No big deal quickly turned into a BIG deal as over the next month these intermittent disturbances were happening every 30 minutes ALL DAY long. I could handle the day time beeping, but one of the alarm panels is in our bedroom and every time the phone line cuts out the panel beeps until the phone line returns. So every 30 minutes ALL NIGHT long we hear beeping. Can you feel my pain and understand how annoying this could be for A WHOLE MONTH! I communicated with our phone company during this month. They made 6 visits to our home replacing every wire and connector only to find it was a neighborhood problem. I must say I remained very patient and very nice during this whole process. Patience and a good attitude paid off because they resolved the problem and we received a 99 cent coupon for a pay per view movie. I confess to you that I was more aggravated than thankful when I received a whopping 99 cent movie for a month of sleepless nights. There were times when I wanted to request the number of the CEO of this phone company and call him every time the alarm sounded during the night. I knew he would get serious about resolving my problem if he were awakened as often as I was. Once I took those thoughts captive and made them obedient to Christ and realized that I did not want a restraining order brought against me, I decided to be patient and wait. I did have to question my motives for my patience when I received their generous coupon. I asked myself would I have done anything differently had I known the outcome. The conclusion, which I am ashamed to admit took longer to derive than I hoped, was NO I would not have done anything differently. God has called us to be patient. He has called us to control our speech. He has called us to be a testimony of His love and grace to this world. The individuals on the other end of my phone calls did not do anything wrong. The very helpful technicians that came to my home 6 times were doing all they knew to do. Who would have benefited from an attitude outburst from me? I would have still had sleepless nights from the guilt of knowing I was not honoring the Lord with my attitude. Not to mention, I was able to share the love of Christ with 2 different technicians and I pray that the testimony of my life and the love my family was able to share with them will encourage them to a relationship with Christ. I did get aggravated and I did get tired of hearing the alarms in the night, but I took it to my Savior and He used the last month to develop patience in our hearts and to make us sound sleepers as we learned to sleep through the beeps. I pray that my life would be characterized as one who is slow to become angry, one of patience and one whose speech honors God. The next time your alarm beeps in the night, your neighbor's dog barks at the moon, your neighbor decide that 3 am is the perfect time to have a dance party or you find yourself waiting 30 minutes in the check out line remember this verse... James 1: 19-20 "My dear brothers, take note of this; Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Don't Just Sweep It Under The Rug"

Tonight we were eating Santa Fe Soup and tortilla chips. These cool nights just set themselves up for cozy food and soup is a cozy food. I asked Caleb to pass me the chips. He grabbed a handful and walked them around the table. (We need to work on table etiquette.) As he walked around he dropped one and instead of cleaning it up, he crushed it with his feet. (I don't know why. I'm still scratching my head.) Matt said, "Caleb, you don't crush it son, you pick it up." Matt walked in the laundry room to get a broom and when he came back he couldn't find not one sign of a crumb on the floor. "Caleb, where did the crumbs go?" I saw the grin on his face and I knew what he had done. He swept it all under the rug with his hand. Matt made him lift the rug up so they could sweep it up. He then had a talk with Caleb and this is what he asked him, "Caleb, is that how mommy cleans? Do you see mommy sweeping things under the rug?"
"No, Sir!"
"When you do that it is showing a lack of respect for your mommy and it is not honoring to her."
I am glad my children don't think I sweep things under the rug, but when Matt asked that question conviction fell upon my heart until I could feel it sweating from the inside out. I would never dare to sweep dirt under the rug. Heavens no!  But oh how often I sweep the dirt of my heart under the rug. Daily I let things go and instead of cleaning them up, I sweep them under the rug hoping no one will notice and I can maintain my appearance of clean. After all, if it is under the rug who else will know? Which then brings me to the question of why am I pursuing holiness? Do I do it so that I appear holy before others or am I pursuing holiness because He has called me is Holy? If I am pursuing holiness for Him and to bring Him glory then sweeping things under the rug will never work. It WILL be found! The negative thoughts, the impatient words, the lack of trust, the heart of discontentment will all be laid out for all to see one day. Just as Matt explained to Caleb, it is a lack of respect and it is not honoring to my Father to know what He has called me to do and yet still do it my way.  We are called to confess our sins before Him and we have the promise that as we do that He will forgive us, yet somehow it is easier and less painful to sweep them under the rug and never really acknowledge them as sin and follow that acknowledgement with repentance. When was the last time you truly went before the Lord asking Him to show you the sins in your heart and life and you spent time confessing them to Him? We need to be doing this daily...moment by moment, as we recognize those thoughts, attitudes and actions as sinful. Pray with me that we as children who seek to honor and respect our Father will not become accustomed to sweeping it under the rug, but instead we will seek to live holy and blameless before Him.
James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
I John 1:8-9 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Lowes T"

Have you seen the new Lowe's commercial? You know the one where you see the Lowe's logo sign and then you see a capital T at the end of the word. I have been wondering for weeks what that T stood for. I know, I know, stop laughing. My brunette is from a bottle, but I promise it is natural. (I love you all my little blonde friends, but you know the rumors.) Sometimes it takes me a little longer than it takes others. Today in the car Matthew says "Hey mom, what do you get if you add a T to the end of Lowe's." I confessed my air headedness aloud as I said, "Matthew, I have been wondering that for weeks." Matthew immediately yelled out, "lowest." Ding, ding, ding, I got it! All this time I had been trying to find a reason for the T. Maybe they were saying they were the Top. Maybe no one could beaT their prices. It was right in front of me and I honestly never saw it. I was trying to make it mean something that it did not. I consider myself pretty witty, quick and smart, but I could not get this. I would like to say it was bad advertisement on the part of Lowe's but apparently not, since my 10 year old son got it. I wish this was the only time I had done this, but way too often the answer is right in front of me, spelled out even, and I keep trying to make it mean something else. God says to me..."For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
A precious friend and mentor shared something with me recently that has resonated in my mind over and over again. "Whatever your first thought or reaction is usually not the right one. We must change the way we think and react in order to make it come under the authority of the way God would want us to think and react." This verse confirms that. His thoughts are different from ours and so are His ways, but it is before us. We have seen it in His word and in His past actions. Yet, why is it so hard to get it  "this" time? I see it before me and I know what His word says, but I want to make it something else. He IS who He says He is and He CAN do what He says He can do. I want to see Him for who He is!! I don't want to watch, see and study and never "really" get it. The answer is here and it is in the person of Jesus Christ. Why do we make it about anything else???