LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Building Block or Stumbling Block?

I was talking to a friend today (whom I trying to convince to start her own blog) about some emails between her husband and a golfing companion, who were disagreeing on political issues, which led to spiritual attacks from one (who is not a believer) to the other (who IS a believer). Apparently the words were heavy and hurtful on the part of the “attacker”. The “attackee”, my friend’s husband, tried to defend the Gospel and his beliefs, to include the promise that he and his wife would pray often for this man during their morning devos. The verbal vomit that followed from the attacker further justified their concerns about his spiritual state~ he’s a lost man, with no hope of eternal salvation and no joy of salvation in this earthly life. The tragic reality is that there are millions just like him who are lost, who have made a deliberate and willful decision to NOT follow Christ as Lord and Savior, who are on the road to eternal damnation and hell! Does that bother you at all? It sickens me! So, I ask myself What are you doing about it, Lisa? I can honestly and ashamedly reply Not enough!

I can justify and rationalize this way:

I go to church almost every week! “Good for you! So do countless other of people, many of whom do nothing else but that!”

I lead a couple of small groups with Bible studies! “You can know all about God and the Bible, but not KNOW God as Lord and Savior!”

I believe in God and I believe in Jesus! “So does the devil!”

I tithe of my time, resources, gifts and talents and money! “Good deal! That makes God happy! But it is not enough! Does He have your heart fully?”

I participate in mission trips, I give to the poor, I sponsor children in 3rd world countries through various organizations! “And that does NOT go un-noticed by the Lord! He’s so proud of you for that, as you are fulfilling much of the Great Commission in so doing. BUT…does your TALK match your WALK?

God does not NEED us to defend Him! He’s God and He can do that all by Himself! However, He has chosen us, as Christ followers, to “Go ye, therefore, into all the world, preaching and teaching all that I have commanded you to. And, lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age” (Matt. 28: 19-20). We should be honored that the God of the Universe would choose us to go and share His message. So why do we find that so difficult to do? Is it fear of rejection? Is it fear of being made fun of…being called a “Jesus freak”…is it laziness…is it lack of experience and information? There are times, however, that in speaking out we do so in an almost angry defensive way~and what do each of us do when someone speaks to us in that way? We tune them out! No one is going to speak to me in that tone of voice plays in our head, and we may even be bold enough to speak it aloud! Right then and there, the testimony is shot! The walk (the attitude of our heart) does not match our talk…and folk then tune us out! We’ve lost an opportunity God has placed in front of us…all because our words may have become a stumbling block rather than a building block!
Romans 14: 1- says: “Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him…you, then, why do you judge your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live’, says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me, every tongue will confess to God. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way…do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil…let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification…” (NIV).

We need to learn to bridle our tongues: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26, NIV). And we need to try our best to look at others through the eyes of Jesus. THEN, and probably ONLY THEN, will our testimony be effective and will God be honored and pleased!

Are you a stumbling block or a building block?

I am preaching to the choir here, just so you know! I believe God ordained my writing this post today because He had a word for me! Ooochie-aaachie! I need to change my building materials! Do you?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Minivans and Enchiladas!

Thanks to our pastor, Pete Wilson, I am sharing this video with you. And, yes, I proudly admit I drive a minivan--in fact, I'm on my second one and nearly died when my first one, a Mercury Villager, finally died with almost 200,000 miles on it!

Great marketing tool, eh? Wish I had me a "Swagger Wagon", don't you?

Last night my son told me he loved me! You know why? Because I made these way cool, delicioso "Chicken Cheese Enchiladas"! Sad, huh, that my son loves me because of that?!?!?!?! Of course, he assured me his love goes deeper than that, but it starts in his stomach! We women know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, don't we? So, because the recipe is so stinkin' easy, and knowin' ya'll are going to want to make them, too, I have included the recipe. Please just send all thank-you checks to the following address: JK!

Chicken Cheese Enchiladas

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees


1 Tablespoon butter 1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup chopped green onions 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast meat

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

1 (4 oz.) can diced green chile's 6 (12 inch) flour tortillas

1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup 1/4 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a large baking dish.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the green onion until tender (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the garlic powder, then stir in the green chile's, cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Mix well. Reserve 3/4 of this sauce and set aside. To the remaining 1/4 of the sauce in the saucepan, add the chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Stir together.

3. Fill each flour tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish.

4. In a small bowl combine the reserved 3/4 of the sauce with the milk. Spoon this mixture over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

God's Octopus

Friday, May 7, 2010

Book Review for Plan B: What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought He would?

Have you ever made plans that fell apart last minute, so you settled for plan B? For some perhaps it is the perfect job interview with no offer. For others it may involve years of trying to conceive, to no avail. Maybe a new house loan or call loan fell through, or a marriage failed…or, well (you fill in the blank)~ all leading to executing a plan B. Pete Wilson, author of Plan B: What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought He would? shares Biblical examples with real life experiences of plan B realities. Moving beyond shattered hopes and dreams to staring life’s realities in the face is neither natural nor easy. In the Christian realm certain responses are expected to the curve balls life can throw, responses of optimism, hope and joy. Pete opens his message on Plan B: “No matter what has happened or how you feel, please know you’re not alone. Because here’s what I’m learning: everyone needs healing. Everyone.” (4) No matter your race or creed, job status, location, socioeconomic level; whether you are male or female, young or old, healthy or sick—you, me, everyone, everywhere, for all times, need hope and healing.

In a matter-of-fact, Scripturally based, down-to-earth style, Pete leads the reader to accept the loss of plan A and to effectively focus on the possibilities of Plan B. The key to plan B is “constant contact with the Creator…essential for transformation living”. (49) In our humanness we are capable of much with our own abilities; yet, when life falls down around us, leaving us helpless and, at times, hopeless, we must depend on our Creator to pull us up, then hold us up. “In this life, many of your questions will simply not have answers. But through it all God Himself will never change. This is why our faith must rest on his identity and not necessarily His activity”. (81)

Wilson goes on to say “He’s the God who is faithful. The God who keeps his promises. The God who with us every moment and is in the process of working all things or good. Even in our whiplash moment. Even when the bottom seems to be falling out and bad news sets our heads to spinning.
Even in the midst of a Plan B, you really have only one task, one calling.
And that is to do what you would do if you were confident God was with you”. (82)

The author continues to show the road map to a Plan B by examining topics including:
 Living in authentic community
 Giving to others and receiving blessings back
 Choosing to love in spite of the way you may feel

Pete wraps it up with these words: “Somehow, mysteriously, when we receive the love of Jesus into our lives through suffering when we decide to choose that love and share it, we keep suffering from having the last word in our lives”. (223)

If you are breathing, you need this book!
If you care about other people, you must share this book!

Plan B: What do you do when God doesn’t show up in the way you thought He would? is a book you likely will read time and again for reminders of where to turn, what to do, and how to proceed from plan A to plan B! An added bonus of this book is a section entitled “For Thought and Discussion”. This allows the book to also be done in a group setting for chapter reviews and discussion based on a set of questions for each chapter.

A powerful, compelling, informative and enlightening book released “for such a time as this”, when our world, with all the pain of war, natural disasters, violence and loss, needs the hope Pete Wilson brings to life in this book!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Surprised by God? God surprised? Part B

Please be sure to watch the video at the end....enough said! Words are not adequate!

In the blink of an eye, everything is lost!

Blue sky 3 days would never know the devastation the muddy waters caused!

Entire communities under water..few, if any, with flood insurance as they were told it would never be needed around here!

Beautiful downtown Nashville with several feet of the Cumberland River out of its banks!

Beautiful Grand Old Opry under water; yet the show will go on in another venue temporarily!

Nashville is on its knees and WILL NEVER GIVE UP!!!

NFL Tennessee titans Stadium

God, our Creator, providing sun after the rain!!!

The handiwork of our God who loves us so!

Non re-touched RAW Images...just the Creator Himself!
There is always calm after the storm, sunshine after the rain, joy in the morning!

Please continue your prayers for us!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Surprised by God? God surprised?

There are no words to adequately describe the destruction Nashville and surrounding areas have experienced in the last few days with the “1000-year flood”…“h20 2010”…the natural disaster that occurred! Records have been set, like the most rain in a 24-hour period of time in recorded history of Nashville; the most rain in May in Nashville’s recorded history, etc. Statistics show that 90% of the people affected had no flood insurance. Why? Because flood insurance is not needed in the Nashville, TN. Area…at least not in most parts, unless otherwise identified as a “flood zone”! One lady who has carried flood insurance for years “just in case” was told by her insurance company at her last renewal date that she could no longer even purchase flood insurance —“it’s not needed where you live”! The strong storms blew in on Saturday evening and seemed to hover over our area; straight line winds, tornadoes, heavy rain…there were short spurts of quiet and calm, only to begin again. Sunday morning we lost power, cable, cell phone service…church closed due to power loss, and the prognosis was not good! We left home in an attempt to find safe accommodations. It took us over 3 hours and many detours to find a route that was NOT under water, was safe to drive through and had available accommodations. We left our family behind, much to our chagrin, as they thought the storms would surely cease! Later that afternoon my mom and one of our daughters joined my husband, son and me at Montgomery Bell State Park, where we finally found a room with 2 double beds. Our other daughter, son-in-law (who assisted their local fire department with his boat in rescuing many people to higher ground) and our 2 grandchildren were then stranded with no electricity or communication. So my husband left to attempt their rescue and 3+ hours later reached them; another almost 3 hours later they returned safely to the park. By midnight we had 9 people in one room: 2 adults and 1 child in each double bed; 2 roll away beds and another roll away bed mattress on the floor. And the rains continued!

Folks only had an approximate 30-minute warning to evacuate, due to the rapidly rising waters!
Unfortunately a few perished; many of our church family and friends lost their homes and all contents, memories, etc. Little national coverage was given; took over 2 days for the promise of help from our federal government; a few insurance companies conveniently “went out of business”; truly it was a natural disaster of epic proportions that this “Volunteer State’ has never seen! And, in true Tennessee fashion, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Volunteers abundant have taken time off work to assist people in gutting their homes…in providing food to the volunteers and victims…businesses have given their employees paid time off to assist in flood relief…schools have organized teams of students to go into the flood areas and serve others…oh if I only had time and space to share the countless stories already being told about Jesus with skin on through young and old, male and female, black and white! Another reminder of why I am proud to be an American and, more specifically, a Tennessee American!

Now…I’m sure there will be other posts on my blog about the good that will continue coming out of this “bad situation”…’twill likely be a while as I will have surgery today and unable to be on the computer much, if at all, until I heal.

However, in the event that anyone reading this wonders where God was in this “surprise”, I want to share my perspective! God was there all the time; He is there right now; and He will be there always! God was, and is, and is to come! He never moves! He KNEW about this flood BEFORE the foundation of the earth! It did not surprise Him….just as the multitude of earthquakes recently did not surprise Him, nor did the volcanic eruptions in Iceland surprise Him…the hurricanes never surprise Him! God is not surprised by any of this! God is sitting on His throne, where He has always been and always will be! Could He have stopped this flood! He ABSOLUTELY could have! Yet, He did not! Does that mean He does not love us or care about us? NO! He loves us far more than we can ever imagine! Does this mean He wants us to suffer? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is never His plan for any of us to suffer! Can He…will He…bring ANY good from this! He absolutely will! His Word promises that “He causes all things to work together to those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose” (italics and bold mine). We may not see the good now (although I do not have to look far to find good!); we may not easily identify the “good” for a while (the painful reality of loss takes its toll)…”BUT GOD”…(remember my 2 favorite words?) promises to never leave us nor forsake us; He promises “to be with us alway, even until the end of the age”; He sees, He knows, He understands.

And I believe (here’s where I am potentially opening a can of worms, but that is ok) that God is trying yet again to get the attention of believers and non-believers alike: for believers, I believe God is reminding us that He will come “like a thief in the night” and we WILL be surprised! But… will we be ready? For the non-believer, I believe He is quietly shouting that He wants that none should perish, that no one is promised tomorrow and that the time to make the decision to follow Him as Lord and Savior is NOW!

These types of events catch us off guard, or surprise us, if you will. His return will occur; yet not even the Son of God knows when! We will be surprised by Christ’s return if we are alive when that time comes. But… will we be ready?

Folks were not ready for this storm on many fronts; they were caught off guard and completely by surprise. Homes can be rebuilt; “stuff” can be replaced; new memories can be made. However, death cannot be reversed~our life can be blotted out in the blink of an eye! We only have this moment to make a decision for eternity. No one can make it for us; no one can make us MAKE the decision. ‘BUT GOD” has promised us eternal life or eternal death based on that one decision. Once death in the flesh occurs the decision cannot be made or changed! It’s a done deal!

My prayer is that those of us who are followers of Christ will be strengthened in our faith through this tragedy and will resolve to take nothing for granted heretofore. I also pray we will grasp the opportunity to share the Good News in a seemingly bad news situation to those who don’t profess Him as Lord and Savior! We are called to plant seeds, and leave the rest to Him. We’ll survive…together!