Nobody’s Perfect

It is interesting, how we expect people to be perfect. Non-Christians despise Christians because of their imperfections. Christians leave churches because of other Christians’ weaknesses. We cannot seem to get past the fact that man, even Christian man, makes mistakes – sometimes horrible mistakes. Why? Where did we get this idea that Christians are perfect? That any man is even capable of perfection?

Look closely at well-known Bible stories and you quickly discover just how imperfect our heroes really were. Moses, my personal favorite, had such a temper that it caused him to first flee Egypt and then lose the right to enter the Promised Land. Abraham walked in fear where his wife was concerned and practiced deceit as a result. So did Isaac. Jacob deceived his own father. David gave in to base lust, then murdered a man. Solomon… Wow.

From our earliest days, man has been imperfect. This is exactly why we needed a Savior, the Perfect Lamb. Having accepted His sacrifice, His great love that takes me – imperfect as I am – and makes me His own, I do not have the right to hold other Christians’ imperfections again them.

As was true in the past, it is true today. Nobody’s perfect.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

If It Were My Funeral

I swiped the idea for this post from one I once posted to a blog I shut down ages ago. That post was prompted by hearing a minister say, at a funeral, “If _____ were here right now, he would say…”

Why, I wondered, should things I would say wait until my funeral to be said? So, if this were my funeral, I would say…

I hope you miss me, because that will mean I’ve touched your life, but you have no need to mourn. Finally, at last, I am where I’ve longed to be for so very long. I love you, and I’ve loved the life we’ve shared, but I love my God so much – so very much – more. Sometimes, especially in recent years, the homesickness for Heaven has been almost painful.

“I knew you before you were in your mother’s womb,” He says. I’ve believed this for years, and believed that I knew Him that early as well, that I was with Him in Heaven before ever being sent to Earth – and I’ve longed to go back. Paul said, “For me to die is gain.” YES! For the longest time, I’ve totally gotten what he meant by those words!

Loss is hard, and I get that too. “Losing” Mother was painful, but it helped when a friend pointed out that in reality she’d only moved away to a place I couldn’t go yet, that though we would be separated for a while I’d see her again when I made the same move. I’ve really been looking forward to seeing her again, and Daddy, and Granny and Grandaddy, and Mema and Pepa, and…

Now I ask you, please prepare to come meet us again too. If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Savior, don’t know Him as your Lord, accept Him today. I look forward to visiting you in your mansion.

If it were my funeral, I think that’s pretty much what I would say.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

One in a Million

Christian, born-again one, think about how precious you are to God.

Consider a loving earthly father. He values all of his children, would give his life for any one of them. If all but one walks away, however, the one who remains becomes especially precious.

Since God created man, most of His creation has turned away from Him. If you count all those who were destroyed in the flood, it may well be that only one in a million has been true to Him.

You may well be one in a million, and that makes you VERY precious to your heavenly Father.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Hallowed be Thy Name

When you put a bumper sticker on your car, people associate you with whatever that bumper sticker represents. Did you cut them off in traffic? They’re probably disparaging your preferred university. Even worse if you’re a Christian, when they see you behaving badly while driving a car that labels you as a Christian or a member of a certain church, they are quite possibly using your behavior as an excuse to judge God and your church.

You think I’m kidding? I know someone who will not put one of her church’s bumper stickers on her car because she’s heard, too many times, “Those ______ drivers are some of the worst on the road!” She doesn’t want to risk her driving reflecting badly on her church, so she won’t advertise where she goes.

I think of this sort of thing often as I pray the Lord’s Prayer. I wear the label “Christian” and, whether or not anyone around me sees that label (And they do!), I know there is a multitude of other witnesses both angelic and demonic that do. Even more so, God does. God’s name is holy, and my desire is to always, even in the privacy of my own thoughts, reflect His holiness, not giving the devil or man any reason at all to judge God poorly based on ME.

As I pray “hallowed be Thy name,” I renew my commitment to keep His name holy, to do nothing to sully or stain it. I remind myself that every little thing I do and don’t do DOES matter, and that even a moment of giving in to the flesh can have a terribly negative impact on people around me, putting a wedge between them and my God and, yes, between them and my church if they know where I go. What if my church is the one God has been calling them to and my actions make them turn away? God has said in His Word that He holds me accountable for such things!

I’m human, and I fight my battles with flesh in all its forms just like every other human does. I fail Him and the people around me all too often, but when I realize I have I hit my knees, repent, and get back up even more determined to get it right the next time.

I do it because His name is holy and I am well aware that I have a responsibility, that my part as a Christian is to always do my best to respect His holiness.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

What if you knew?

Copyright Barry Hatch
Copyright Barry Hatch

What if you knew that yes, there will be a Rapture of the Church?
What if you knew exactly when it would be?

(I know… “No man knows the day or the hour.” Just roll with me on this.)

How would that affect your life?

How would it change the decisions you make every day?

What if you knew it would happen next year? Next month? Next week?

If you knew it would be next year, would you slack off in certain areas, comfortable in the knowledge that you “have plenty of time”?

If you knew it would be next month, would you get more serious about your relationship with God because you’ve suddenly realized, “I have hardly any time at all to prepare for the next phase of life!”?

If you knew Hew was coming back in a few weeks, how would you spend your money today? Would you buy that new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting, or would you give that money to missions in hopes of more people coming to know Jesus before it’s too late?

If you knew He was coming back next week, how would you spend your time? Would you be out watching movies, or would you be getting deeper into His Word, sharing Jesus with everyone you could, and hitting your knees in prayer?

If you knew He was coming back tomorrow…

It’s a fact: No man knows the day or the hour.
We sure can judge the seasons, though, and from the looks of things…

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Women of Our Age

I was dining with friends, recently, when one of them looked at me and commented that “women our age” have usually settled in and been wearing the same hairstyle for years, but I change mine all the time. She’s right, of course. I’ve had two colors and three cuts since my profile photo was taken last December. Her comment started me thinking, though… Women of our age?

Like most 53-year-old women, I deal with certain age-related issues, but on a practical level I tend to forget I’m 53. I have to remind myself that, age wise, I’m not really my co-workers’ contemporary (speaking of the young mothers on staff). I am ever surprised when my body abruptly tells me it would rather not obey a command. I’ve definitely not “settled in” – be it to a hairstyle or anything else.

The hair? Well, on one level I’m fickle and enjoy change too much to stay with one look for too long. I also appreciate the freshness certain changes bring–though I contrarily fight change in many other areas.

I’m just musing here, really. I’m still smiling and wondering about that phrase: women of our age.

Were I to tell you the story of my life, you’d understand why, unlike some, I’m proud of every birthday. I may forget how old I am and have to do the math (Not a sign of age. That December birthday has always thrown me.), but I proudly admit to every year because I could have been dead more than once…and I’m convinced I’d have ended up in a psych ward somewhere if it weren’t for God…but here I am.

Truly, it may have been through hell and high water, but I’ve made it this far, and I’m still standing.

Yeah, I like being a woman of my age.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

The Wide Brush

There’s an old expression that I can’t quite remember…something about painting everyone with a wide brush. (Feel free to correct me.) This picture reminds me of how much I dislike the practice.

When I saw this empty carton in the bushes at McDonalds, I could have thought, “Man, smokers are so rude!” but I didn’t, because not all smokers are rude. In similar vein, not all blacks are ___________, not all gays are _______, not all Christians are _________, not all athiests are ________, not all Republicans are ________, not all Democrats are _________…

I don’t care what group you’re talking about, there are VERY few things you can say that would unconditionally apply to every member of that group. So why do we insist on assuming…or pretending…that we can?

Is it because we’re lazy, because it’s easier to assume we know people than it is to actually get to know them? Is it because humans are instinctively judgmental? Is it because we have an undeniable need to apply labels (and make our own definitions)?

I don’t know, but it sure does disgust me.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

The Trick’s a Treat

I’ve been in a few conversations, lately, regarding introverts and extroverts. For those who don’t know the difference, the most basic explanation has to do with how you recharge your batteries. If being in crowds wears on you and drawing away for some alone time builds you back up, you’re an introvert. You’re like me.

I’ve learned how to live in an extroverted world, of course…so much so that many don’t even know this detail about Tammy. The fact remains, however, that too much time spent in large groups of people will eventually find me hiding out for a few minutes in a bathroom stall with my eyes closed, gathering myself so that I can get back out among them.

None of which really has anything to do with why I even picked up my phone to blog today. I was actually thinking, this afternoon, about the seeming contradictions where introverts are concerned. For instance, while you might expect those who enjoy speaking in public (Yes, at one time I did a few times every year) to be extroverts, I’ve found that many of my favorite speakers are actually introverts.

And then there are things like the school play. I don’t know if this is really an introvert thing, but I think so.

I always wanted to be involved in drama in school, but didn’t have the nerve. When they were putting on one of my favorite plays one year, I REALLY wanted to try out, but signed up for tech instead–even that was huge for me.

Fortunately for me, I had friends who knew me well enough that they tricked me into trying out even though I wasn’t officially supposed to. I clearly remember, while I was singing, the director asking, “Who is that?”

I didn’t get a part that day, but when one of those friends had to drop out a couple of weeks later I was offered her spot (I even eventually got a three-word solo. LOL!).

My point is this. Sometimes we introverts really do want to take part in what you extroverts are doing, desperately want to take part. At those times, if you know us well enough to recognize our need, we actually (eventually) appreciate it when you push/force/trick us into following our rapidly palpitating hearts. At least…I did. I had a great time that year and have never forgotten what a treat it was to be tricked by those friends.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

The Path

El Yungue Rain Forest, Puerto Rico
Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014

Visit my Pintrest board and you’ll find a collection of pathways. I don’t even know how many I’ve pinned. I know only that I could easily pin hundreds more if I had time to sit and peruse the options.

Paths have always fascinated me. I look at a picture of a pathway that wanders off into the distance and the fairy tale loving part of me wonders, “What’s beyond that curve? What would I reach if I could follow it to the end?” I have this absurd sense that I, like Alice, could step through the frame and see.

It’s not just any paths I love, though. I appreciate well-manicured paths and paths that have been laid with stones or even railroad ties, but the ones I love best are truly natural paths, paths that speak of hundreds of footsteps (or hoof steps!) wearing down the grass over a period of time, paths that indicate something worth pursing, something that inexorably draws one forward to…

To what?

To the future, in a sense. To the unknown country that lies before us. I’ve never been one to settle for the here and now alone. No…I dream of what’s to come. I always have. Not that I let those dreams interfere with today, of course – usually – but rather that they drive me today in hopes of being ready to experience the best of tomorrow…and next week…and…

So, now that I think about it, I AM on one of those paths, and the photos I so delightedly collect also represent the various faces of the path I’m on. Interesting, how your thoughts can ramble in unexpected directions and you can see one thing in yourself while speaking of others.

What was it Bilbo said? “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

May your eyes be opened to your path, and may you be swept off your feet today.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Stepping Stones

I recently had occasion to remember a discussion I heard years ago between two friends. We were all in the same ministry and one told the other, in reference to that ministry, something along the lines of, “But we’re different. We have a call on our lives and this is just a stepping stone to something bigger.” I was appalled. I didn’t respond, because I was so much in shock at her audacity, but even though I was fairly young at the time I knew enough about God to know He doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t deal in stepping stones.

I’m still stymied when I consider that any Christian would think that way. I mean… When using a stepping stone, what is your mindset? It’s to get OFF. If you think of any ministry as being nothing more than a stepping stone, you’re going in at least somewhat with the attitude that the ministry itself doesn’t matter other than in its service to you, and you don’t plan to be there long. That attitude is so completely unscriptural that I can’t even fathom a Christian having it. I know many do; it’s just beyond me.

I don’t choose the ministries in which I serve; I let God choose for me. He knows exactly what I am now and what He wants me to become. He plants me where I need to be to grow into that person, and He plants me where I can prove most effective for His Kingdom – all of which may or may not have anything to do with what I want to do. Someone once expressed to me the idea that he had a specific call on his life and it didn’t make sense to serve in any area that wouldn’t further that call – yes, I did speak up that time, because I’ve learned through experience just how erroneous that thinking is…and how dangerous.

The person who made the original “stepping stone” reference? If she ever did move on to the bigger and better things she was anticipating, I don’t know about it. I can’t help but wonder if her attitude was part of the reason why.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C