Archive for July, 2013

100%

 

 
Since I’ve started this whole blogging thing, I’ll bet I’ve heard/read the same
remark from readers over a dozen times, or variations of the same comment.
“Well, my goodness!!!!   If God worked in MY life as amazingly and as often
as He works in YOURS I’d have no trouble trusting Him!!!”    
And my response is always the same:    If you want to see Jesus move in your
life life I do?    You have to give Him what I gave Him…..100% !!  Lots of
these folks are what I call “Sunday Christians” or to paraphrase from another
blog….LUKEWARM Christians.    They’d never dream of skipping church on
Sunday or not saying grace before meals, but when it comes to interacting with
the Lord on a daily personal basis?    Unless calamity, illness, or some other
type of bad news rears it’s ugly head;  then they’re more than ready to hit
their knees and beg for help!        Not good enough people!!     Don’t kneel down
and say “Our Father” on Sundays if you fully intend to act like an orphan the
rest of the week!
Now, I’m not saying God won’t answer a heartfelt, panic-stricken prayer from
one of His children who’s been blind-sided by disaster….of course He will and
He does!    But prayer should be a daily visit with the Lord….to worship, to
praise, to fellowship, to learn, etc….    Jesus prayed early in the morning, late at
night, all times of the day….because He knew that keeping in close communion
with His Father was the only way to live!     Prayer should be a constant event
in the lives of Christians…..not a sporadic S.O.S. whenever we’re in trouble!!
I speak from experience too.    Until 2006, I was a lukewarm Christian myself.
Maybe warmer than some, but definitely not ON-FIRE like I am today.   A lot
of that was culture-oriented….I’m from New England and up there, while there
are many strong Christians, witnessing and sharing our faith with others was
not something that came easily.   It just wasn’t done much.  
Then I moved to Dixie in the early 80s and found an entirely NEW culture in
place down here!    Here in the South, when two people are introduced for the
first time, “What church y’all go to?”  is guaranteed to be one of the first three
‘lets-get-to-know-each-other questions, without a doubt!  
Now my relationship with Jesus has been strong, personal and very real to me
since I was a tiny girl.    I did, after all, grow up with Grandma Rose….who had
coffee and conversation with Jesus on her front porch every morning of her life. 
I can’t remember a single day of my life when I didn’t pray….it was just a normal
partof the day….brush your teeth, make your bed, say your prayers, do your
chores, etc….but this whole Southern thing of  ‘let’s have an iced tea and talk
about Jesus’ ?
Totally foreign to me….until that day in October of 2006, that I still refer to as
my “epiphany”.    Hubby says I walked up the stairs to my office and came down
30 minutes later as someone totally different!!    I didn’t feel different at the time,
but there was no denying that after that day my life and my faith have never been
the me!      Jesus got Paul’s attention on the road to Damascus and He got mine
on 10/06/2006 while I was  sitting at my computer.    I’ll tell the story of my
personal ‘epiphany’ in another blog on another day, but believe me when I tell
you that Jesus entered my lifeand my heart that afternoon in a HUGE way and
came alive to me like never before!!   The conversation went basically like this:  
          Jesus:   Child, give Me your whole heart & your whole life….I
                       can do so much more with it than you can alone!
          Me:       I’m in, Lord!!!  I give you everything I am….
                       Just show me what to do!  
Once you make the decision to live for, through and with Him?   All I can say
is eat your Wheaties and hang on tight….it’s gonna be a wild ride!!   In a single
heartbeat I went from lukewarm to on-fire for Jesus  and I’ve never looked
back!   The miracles, blessings, grace & Godwinks started coming and they’ve
never stopped!
100% .   That’s what God wants from you.   That’s how much of your heart He
expects you to offer Him.   His Word says He’ll change you….make you a new
creation from the inside out.    In other words?   He’s not going be satisfied
with just spiffing up the kitchen……He wants to launch a complete and total
remodel project of your heart and your life!    But you have to be willing to let
Him take charge of everything….every part of you!     You have to admit to
yourself & to Him, once and for all, that you can’t do this ‘life’ thing on your
own….that you’re nothing without Him!        For some folks, that’s relatively
easy….for others it’s foundation-shaking!   It means letting go of your pride
and admitting that you’re NOT in charge of anything…..and if you’ve spent
your life as a control freak, that’s not gonna be easy…..but it will be SO
worth it!   Take it from me!    Now I can almost hear some of you out there
thinking, “Easy for her to say….but I’d have to change too many bad habits
before I could become that kind of Christian!” 
Let me explain something amazing  that I discovered for myself.      If you
are sincere about wanting Jesus to take control of your life?   That’s where
the whole “new creation” thing kicks in!    If you want to truly change, then
all you have to do is trust the Lord to make it happen! 
Case in point?    I waited tables for almost 30 years, and as those of you who
are prone to hanging out in diners well know, most waitresses have one
thing in common:   BAD language!  Most of them, me included, could make
a trucker blush and a sailor proud without thinking twice about it.     But  
Jesus took care of my language issues almost overnight, with no conscious
effort on my part!  
Now mind you, even on my worst days, I seldom took the Lord’s name in
vain…
Grandma Rose is in Heaven after all…..and some part of me was always
conscious of that fact….so the very last thing I wanted was my Granny
materializing back here on earth with a bar of Ivory soap in her hand
determined to chase me down!   But just about every other obscene, vulgar
and crude phrase you could think up came as natural to me as breathing
until Jesus took the helm!!     And the funny thing was it took me months
to even notice that I wasn’t cussing anymore…..too much else going on
I guess!      You had to know me before to appreciate how big of a miracle
this really was!   
But it’s a prime example of how God WILL make the changes needed to
turn the willing believers into decent disciples fit to witness to others on
His behalf!!  If those believers are willing to let Him be General
Contractor for your heart and your life!!    The results will astound you
and those who know you!!!   Don’t wait…sign His contract today!!  
Time’s ‘a-wastin!!
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PASS THE TORCH !!

Wanna know what really irks me?   The way our society today just seems
to assume that once someone reaches what is quaintly referred to as “senior
citizen status” that they have nothing left to offer;  that they’re used up,
worthless, taking up valuable space and resources, etc.     And what makes me
even more irritated is when people over 50 actually buy into that stuff!!  
Let’s be real folks….by the time we reach our golden years, we’ve forgotten
more about living than the younger generation has even had time to learn
yet!    I heard it said once that every time an old person dies?  A library burns
down.  How true!!   In other societies and cultures old people are venerated,
sought after and listened too!    Family members fight over the honor of caring
for aging parents and grand-parents!!    But as usual, the US is so far out of the
loop that we should be ashamed!!
I’m here to share a novel concept….just because the calendar says that 
chronologically your 51, 61, 71, 81, 91…whatever…. don’t assume that you
have nothing left to offer, nothing left to do!     If God woke you up this
morning and you have breath in your body?    Give praise and  get busy!!
Contact your pastor where you worship….do they have a mentor
program that matches seniors up with youth?   If not, why not start  one?
Or ask if you can attend one of your church’s youth group meetings
as a “guest” speaker?
Even if your ailing, or bed-ridden…..the Internet makes it possible to reach
out to thousands of people across the country and across the world….hope-
fully putting you in touch with young people who are just starting out on the
journey we’ve already taken.    They could benefit so much from the experiences 
and wisdom we’ve acquired along the way!  
I have an Internet pal in Stockholm, Sweden named Miriam….she became one of
my most devoted readers when I first started putting my poetry on line.
At the time she was in her 80s and confined to bed; literally.    Well, she was,
as she put it, laying there waiting to die until one week in the summer of 2005
her grandson paid her a visit, bringing a laptop.   He spent some time with
Grandma Miriam, teaching her all about the Internet and how to use her new
“toy”.     Well, to make a long story short (which is hard for me so pay attention!)
the rest, as they say, is history!    Soon Miriam had friends all over the world, a
new reason to wake up in the morning and what she felt was a new mission from
the  Lord to share her burning passion for Him with a dying world!!    And last I
heard?  She was still going strong…..
So, not another word about how you’re too old or sick or used up to be worth
anything!   Miriam was the one responsible for urging me to even START my
website, Dustys Front Porch.    If not for her?   The idea of building a website
would not even have been on my horizon…..I was still struggling with trying to
read my emails!!    But she learned and so did I!!!      Now, 8 years later, the
site that I thought was simply going to be a database to hold my stories and poems
has grown into a vibrant, online community that’s both a daily inspirational
pit stop for believers as well as a starting place for new converts…..because once
you put Jesus in the mix?   You never know what’s gonna happen!!  
And it probably never would have if not for a sweet, ailing little senior citizen
who was a half a world away from me, but very close to the Lord!!   So don’t
think for a minute you can’t make a difference in the world whatever you’re
situation….  Miriam did and so can you!
Most of you know that I’ve been diagnosed with end stage endometrial cancer
and I’ve heard every possible version of the questions about why would God do
this to you, etc…..     First of all…God’s under no obligation to explain Himself
to me or anyone else.    He has no problems — only plans.    He used the
period from 2009 to 2012 to build the Front Porch in Unbelievable ways! 
Every day He had me adding something new…..a chat box, prayer wheels, an
entire chapel where people could send prayer requests, a daily bible study,
several pages devoted just to who He is & how much He loves us,  a Salvation
Station, a special Good Friday page, the Christmas Carol Corner,  Christian
music pages, etc…..  The doctors say I should have come in way earlier than October
of 2012, but I chose to trust God instead.    My heart told me that if & when He
wanted me in the hospital, He’d get me there.    And He did.   Besides, pain is the
usual reason most folks with my kind of cancer do the “doctor” thing in the first
place and for the whole three years that God had me working on the Porch,
I was in no pain at all;  something the doctors told me wasn’t possible given the
advanced stage of my cancer during that period.
My response?   “Not possible for WHO?”   The Father had plans to use  my illness
for His Glory even back then, because He knew the eventual outcome and He knew
what He wanted the Porch to be….that’s why He kept the pain at bay so I’d be able
to accomplish what He wanted done.     Even today…..after the surgery, 7 months
of chemo ( with NO side effects )  etc….I continue to carry out the mission He’s
given me to show the world what dying SHOULD look like if you’re a believer.
My blogs, the podcasts I’m teaching myself to record,, my speaking engagements,
facebook posts, etc….all keep me busy working for Him as long as I’m able! 
If you’re not sure what to do or how to start?   Just PRAY!!   If you ask God with
a sincere heart to use you to help the ones who are to follow…..He’ll not only answer
…He’ll answer quickly!  Best eat your Wheaties and be prepared to follow where He
leads!
So please, don’t buy into the fallacy that because you’re past a certain age you
have nothing left to offer…..there is SO much we can still do to further Christ’s
kingdom here on earth.   Let’s face it…..in a few years most of us old fogies are
gonna be in Heaven….looking down on the generation we left behind;  rootin’ for
them & praying for them!    And don’t get me wrong — we’re gonna make one
heckuva cheering squad….but let’s not take our wisdom, knowledge, experience
and expertise with us!      Let’s leave it here where it can do the most good!  The
younger folks STILL have to walk the roads we’ve already traveled…. it’ll be a lot
easier if they can use OUR travels as a GPS!!    After all,  we’re headed to Paradise
with most of our struggles behind us —-where we’re going? We don’t need roads!
Can I get a HALLELUJAH?????