The Right Place

April:

Spring is here and that means for many it is time for Spring cleaning. We not only need to Spring clean our homes but what about our souls? What do we need to be rid of to make our walk of faith better?

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

This past week I have been busy doing what I call a “moving drill.” No, we don’t actually move but we clean out like we would if we were moving. Growing up in a minister’s home who moved every four to five years, you learn to not accumulate so much “stuff.”  The motto I have for our home is if you haven’t used or worn  it in six months to a year, you are probably not going to wear or use it so send it on out the door.

Along with this “moving drill” comes organization. Yes, I am a person that is particular of where things go and belong. My rule is everything has a place and it is important to put that item back into the right place once you are done using it. Yes, I must confess that there are times when life gets busy…

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It’s All In God’s Hands Now

April:

To all those who are graduating or who have graduates in their family. God Speed.

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

Dear Parents,

Your son or daughter has done it!  They have worked through twelve years of hard work, sweat and tears to reach the moment when they walk across the stage and receive their diploma. As they walk across the stage, you see that little girl or little boy who held your hand to cross the street just a few days ago. 

Not only do you reflect back on the days of raising your child but you look ahead and dream of what your now young adult will be in life. Yes, admit it. You have your set of goals, dreams and hopes for your graduate. But, they have hopes and dreams of their very own. As the tassel is turned, the cake is cut and the celebrations come and go, it is important to remember  that God created your graduate and has his own set of dreams and plans for…

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Tear Down That Wall!!

This is one of the most memorable Presidential speeches in our American history.  I still get chills today when I hear or think of this speech because of what happened as a result.  A wall had been erected in 1961 to divide Communism  from democracy during the Cold War.  A symbolic division among governments and beliefs.

This week I completed the study on Nehemiah by Kelly Minter with my small group. If you are familiar with Nehemiah you know that the Jews had been in exile in Babylon. It is seventy years later and the King is allowing the Jews to return to their homeland. They return to only see that their city had been destroyed and the wall that had once surrounded their city was torn down.

Nehemiah

Nehemiah was so heart-broken when he heard the news about Jerusalem. He prayed to God and sought God’s guidance. He gave up the comfortable life he had been living to go back to Jerusalem to re-build the wall and city.  Yet, there would be a day when a Savior would come and tear down that very wall.

Walls. Walls are barriers. In a home they divide the rooms and each room has a purpose or belongs to a certain member or members  in the family. When someone is building a home it there is usually great anticipation when the walls begin going up. Anticipation takes place because the house is beginning to come together.

walls going up

Though walls in a physical home are needed, there are walls among family members, friends, neighbors, congregations, communities and the list can go on that are unnecessarily built. These walls divide God’s people today.  Friendships and families have been broken because of walls that were built because someone could not see eye to eye. Walls have been built to the point congregations split because of differences in opinion.

wall between people

Anytime, I see disagreement or experience disagreement, it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because I know that is not the way God wants us to live. Just as the wall came down in Berlin and people were re-united, God wants us all united together for his kingdom.  Thus, this is why he sent his Son, Jesus.  Jesus came to tear down  walls and to show us the freedom, the joy, and the peace we receive when we choose to tear down the walls that divide us.

find yourself UMC

I grew up a United Methodist and I still worship in a United Methodist church. A few years ago the United Methodist Church wrote a new campaign for our church; Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors. It is the church’s way of tearing down walls that may prevent people who are hurting, in need of God’s love and are searching to enter the doors of the church. In other words, we want to meet people where they are  on their life’s journey. It doesn’t matter who they are, how they are dressed or the economic status but what matters is that the church wants  the person to  know they are loved and the church is a place where they can come and experience God and grow in their faith journey. (You can see the video of this campaign on the right side bar of this page).

Today, there may be a wall that has been built between you and another person. You may not know why that wall was built. Or, it could have been built because of a misunderstanding of some kind.  A wall could have been built because of a difference in opinion.

tear down the wall for love

No matter how that wall was built, it is time to tear down that wall!  It is time to place the situation into God’s hands. Seek forgiveness from God and from the person(s).  Invite Jesus to come into the situation/circumstance and ask Him to help you tear down that wall! 

Remember what it was like when the wall was torn down in Berlin? There was much excitement and celebrating. There were some families that were united and freer to see each other.  You could see great joy as it was shown on television.

Isn’t it time for you to experience a new freedom? Isn’t it time for you to experience that joy? Take your wall to God. Allow him and His Son, Jesus to take that wall down brick by brick.  Trust me, if you do this, you will find a freedom and joy in your heart that outweighs the bitterness and hurt that takes place when walls are built.

What do you say? Tear down the wall that divides. Experience joy and peace!

Keep Your Eyes Open

 

 

In the summer of 1994, the movie, Forest Gump was released and became an instant hit. As the movie opens, you see Forest sitting on a park bench in Savannah, Georgia waiting for a bus. As he waits he begins to tell people who sit down with him his story. Thus, the movie/ his story begins to unfold before our eyes. At the end of the movie, we see a gentleman sitting with him listening to Forest complete his story. When Forest reveals who he is the gentleman has a hard time believing that he has been sitting with the owner of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  It is beyond this gentleman’s comprehension.

life is like chocolate

Thinking about this scene makes me think of the morning in the garden when Mary goes to the tomb of Jesus. She is upset because Jesus is not in the tomb. She wants to know where he has been taken so that she can care for his body. A  gardener appears before her and speaks to her. At first this person is a stranger to her but then her eyes are opened and she realizes it is Jesus.

empty tomb

Later two disciples are walking on the road to Emmaus talking among themselves. Can you imagine the conversation they were having with one another? I am sure they were in somewhat of a surreal  state of mind. They were asking if they had actually seen/experienced what they had seen in the past days. They simply wanted to make sense out of all that happened.

 We have all had those surreal moments where we ask, did what happen just happen? Yet, in the midst of their conversation, a stranger comes up to them and ask if he can join them on their walk. Of course, the stranger is welcomed and the two men begin to tell what they had experienced in the days past. The stranger listens intently to their story.

road to emmaus

Next scene, the stranger is welcome to join them for dinner. It is when the bread is blessed and broken that their eyes are opened. They see first hand that what had been prophesied was for real. Christ had risen and he was right there before them.

Many times on my Facebook wall, I will post what I call April’s Random Thoughts. It is in these thoughts I encourage my friends/readers to stay in tuned to God’s voice because you never know where you will encounter Him throughout the day.  It is when we stay in tuned to God’s voice with an open heart and mind we discover that we will experience Christ in something we do during the day. Or, we experience Christ through a person that is put in our path. In other words, we can be sitting on a bench and listening to someone’s story and as they finish up and move on, we realize that we had encountered Christ, one of His ambassadors and/or one of God’s angels.

seeking the heart

Starting today, I ask that you approach each day with an open heart and mind. Ask God to reveal himself to you throughout the day.  Be aware of his presence in ALL that you do. If you do this, you will see and experience Christ in ways that are beyond comprehension!

see things worth seeing

Keep your eyes open!

Love God

Looking Back….I Stand Amazed

April:

Sometimes it is good to look back and see what has influenced your life.

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

Jim and me at Bowdon High School Football Game...October 25, 2013

Jim and me at Bowdon High School ( one of the high schools I attended) re-uniting and visiting old friends.
October 25, 2013

There is a reason I started this post out with the video, I Go Back by Kenny Chesney. It is when I hear this song I go back. I go back to some of the same scenes he mentions in the song. For example, the lyrics,  The smell of fried chicken after church remind me of my family driving from Monroe to Athens every Sunday after church. My grandmother would have fried chicken and all that goes with it ready for us to enjoy Sunday dinner and family time.

This song   takes me down a long road of wonderful memories of people I have met over my lifetime. Each appointment my dad served as a Methodist minister holds their own  special memories and footprints on my…

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Mother’s Day

April:

Sharing thoughts from a writer that I follow. With Mother’s Day on the horizon, this is a wonderful story to be shared! Have a blessed day!!

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert

May 2, 2014

A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.

As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.

He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother and I don’t have enough money.”

The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.”

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers.

As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.”

She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and…

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Glimpse of Heaven

April:

While watching the movie, “Heaven is for Real” last night, Todd, the dad/minister, said in his sermon that God gives us glimpses of heaven all the time….it reminded me of this blog post that I wrote two years ago….wanted to share it with you today…have a blessed day!

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

If you are a frequent reader of Thoughts From The Porch, you will know that I used this Bon Jovi song, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” in a previous post. In that post, I share how people leave home sometimes under stressful situations, about our kids leaving home, and the importance of keeping the porch light on. I also shared how we have a home that we are always welcome to come to and that home is in the arms of our Father.

Atlanta Skyline

A week ago today I was on my way home. Yes, I would be seeing my parents, my brother and his wife but I was going back to a home that I had not been to in over thirty years. As I prepared for the trip, and as Jim and I headed down the interstate last weekend, apprehension, butterflies in my stomach…

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Unbearable Obstacles

April:

Sharing from my archive…have a blessed day!

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

If you are familiar with this movie, Here Comes The Boom, you know that Kevin James’ character is a school teacher that decides to prize-fight to keep the arts/music program in the school where he teaches. In this scene we see that Kevin James’ character is being pushed to his physical limits.

In life, there are times when we are pushed to our physical limits and are faced of what we think are unbearable obstacles. Within these moments we hear, “follow my voice, you can’t give up”.  Then there are other voices telling us that enough is enough and to give up. We are pushed to the point that life becomes blurry.

life blurry

It is in that blurred moment where we have two choices. We can…

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Pretty Little Apples

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...

This next week the small group that I participate in will complete a study called, No Other gods” By Kelly Minter. Over the years we have done many studies but this one really touched the heart of the matter for me. This study has shown what we may think are simple collections and likes can be in the way of being a blessing for God and God blessing us.

no other gods

In my previous post, Seek God’s Beauty,  I share how the material world gives us the superficial promise that certain products will make us beautiful. These products and their creators will change our lives. Yet, as Christians we know that the only ONE who can change our lives and make us beautiful is our Creator/ Father.

kelly minter quote

Along with the superficial promises of making us beautiful are the lies that we all buy into that promise to make our life complete. In…

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The Gate of The Lord

April:

Sharing my dad’s blog site “Poems From Morning Prayer”
Have a blessed Easter weekend!

Originally posted on Poems From Morning Prayer:

 A gate I spy in yonder wall,

That marks the bounds of time,

The gate is small but inviting all,

Who will in faith to it resign.

 

The gate you ask, “What is its shape?”

It is a man with nail-priced hands,

His name of course is Jesus Christ,

Whose grace all of heaven spans.

 

By faith we sinners dare to hope,

That through him our souls may pass,

And thus be blameless in God’s sight,

For his life that will forever last.

 

O’ ye  builders here on earth,

Who do on other ways insist,

Repent and seek this one true gate,

Lest your chance for life be missed.

 

C. R. Hill, Jr.

© 04/14/14

 

 

 “This is the gate of the Lord;

the righteous shall enter through it…

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone.” 

 

Psalm 118:20 & 22…

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