For some of us, Father’s Day is a more difficult day. It’s hard to believe my Dad passed away from colon cancer 14 years ago. For so many years our relationship was strained, as my parents divorced after 37 years of marriage. He intimidated me ...

Ode to Dads, Even If It’s a Strained Relationship and more...


Ode to Dads, Even If It’s a Strained Relationship

For some of us, Father’s Day is a more difficult day. It’s hard to believe my Dad passed away from colon cancer 14 years ago.

For so many years our relationship was strained, as my parents divorced after 37 years of marriage. He intimidated me because he was sometimes verbally and even physically abusive growing up.

My parents divorced in 1997, Dad remarried in 1998, and he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999. He fought hard for five years until he lost his battle to cancer in 2004.

 

Dad and I visiting a few weeks before he passed away with colon cancer in August 2004.

The Lord helped heal our relationship. I know my Dad loved me the best way he knew how. Was he the perfect Dad? Absolutely not. Did I disrespect him sometimes? I’m embarrassed to say I did, and I regret that.

One Sunday I was listening to a sermon on the Ten Commandments. I never before realized that the “Honor your father and mother” commandment is the ONLY one tied to a promise.

–“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” –Exodus 20:12 NIV

Notice it doesn’t say “Honor your father and mother” if he is always kind to you, affirms you, is/was the model Dad. My heart was transformed after hearing that sermon.

I’m thankful for those five years the Lord extended Dad’s life for me to forgive him and for us to renew our relationship. I looked at my Dad with a lens of honor, reverence and respect.

I began thanking him for all the blessings he brought to my life, instead of comparing him with my friends’ sweet Dads who took them out on Daddy/Daughter dates growing up. Dads who they wanted to marry men just like. Dads who walked them down the aisle.

Friend, I don’t know what your earthly relationship may be with your Dad. I encourage you to dig down deep and send or give him a card with some of the ways you are thankful for your Dad. If he is in heaven, you can write them in your journal.

If your Dad was abusive to you, or abandoned you, or was a deadbeat Dad, understandable boundaries are there. Or if  you may not know where or who your earthly Dad is, heart also aches with you. I wish I was there to hug you and cry with you. Please remember we all have our Heavenly Father, Abba, Daddy, with us. He will NEVER leave us, nor forsake us.

Although Dad’s in heaven, here are just a few of my lessons he taught me for which I am thankful:

  1. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me how to check the oil dipstick in my old car, so that I never messed up my engine or blew my transmission. That little Ford Escort hatchback car I drove in high school burnt a quart of oil every 200 or so miles. Smile. I loved that car and am grateful that I had it.
  2. Thank you, Dad, for providing for my needs and many of my wants. We were blessed with a house, plenty of food to eat, clothes and shoes. You even paid for my out-of-state college education. It was such a gift not to have to pay back college loans.
  3. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me to appreciate the outdoors and fishing. You even taught me to cast a fishing rod and how to bait my own hooks. I wasn’t squeamish about the worms and minnows MOST of the time.
  4. Thank you, Dad, for taking us to church most times the door was open. Your dedication to the Lord and His Word helped mold my faith.
  5. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me how to budget my money and spend wisely. I remember how you paid bills promptly and taught me how to abhor debt. I still to this day try to avoid debt, except for my mortgages.
  6. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me a strong work ethic. You worked hard at Delta Air Lines for 33 years before you retired. You liked to finish tasks you started and showed me follow through and doing what you said you would do.
  7. Thank you, Dad, for showing me to volunteer in the community and help others behind-the-scenes. You used to mow and weed eat the end of our street where no one would mow. You also mowed around the Turkey Creek bridge in Hanahan where you would walk daily. You thought no one knew. We knew and appreciated your quiet good deeds.
  8. Thank you, Dad, for trying to come to many of my basketball and volleyball games. Your presence was such a present.

Dad, I pray you can see from heaven I’m trying to carry on the Jordan legacy. Rest assured that I love my Heavenly Daddy–my Abba–with my whole soul. Thank you for loving me, Dad, the best way you knew how. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Dad, me, Mom, and brother Jamie at my college graduation in 1994.

Reflect:

–What are some ways you are thankful for your earthly father?  Please comment. I’d love to hear your stories, positive or negative.

Renew:

–“ Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony…” –Revelation 12:10-11

–“Listen to your father, who gave you life…” –Proverbs 23:22a NIV

–“The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad…” –Proverbs 23:24-25a NIV

Recharge:

–What is something you can do today or this week to honor your Dad?

–If your relationship with your father is strained, please prayerfully consider reaching out and forgiving him WITH boundaries. I reached out years ago. It wasn’t easy. I’m so thankful we reconciled before he passed away. God is faithful.

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Ode to Mother’s Day

Abraham Lincoln once said, “All I am I owe to my mother.” I feel that way also. She is beautiful, Spirit-filled, wise, generous, resourceful, kind, and is the most selfless, Godly woman of integrity I know. Her Bible and knees are well worn from daily study  and prayers.

Mother’s Day, though, can also be a struggle for many of us.  Some have beloved Moms who are in heaven. Some struggle with their relationship with their Mom. Some of us want/wanted to be Moms, and it isn’t God’s will for that to be so.  My heart hurts as yours does.

Sometimes our friends’ moms become surrogate mothers to us. One example in the Bible is the apostle Paul’s friend Rufus and his mother.

“Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.” –Romans 16:13

May we be encouraged to seek out a Godly, older lady in our lives who can or currently serves as a mentor. Also look for those single ladies who might deep down ache a little today. Please consider reaching out to them in some way for Mother’s Day. Some Moms are blood-related. Other spiritual moms are related by the blood of Jesus. Happy Mother’s Day, friend.

Reflect:

–How do you plan to honor your Mom for Mother’s Day? Please comment.

Renew:

–“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” –Exodus 20:12 NIV

–“Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopus), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, ‘Dear woman, here is your son.’ And he said to this disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from then on this disciple took her into his home.” –John 19-25-27 NLT

Recharge:

–Which mentor lady in your life will you show appreciation for?

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And It Was So

Those four words struck me as I read the familiar passage in Genesis 1 and 2 of the Creation. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Six times during the six days God created everything, He said it, “And it was so.”

“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water….’ And it was so.” –Genesis 1:6,7b

From the heavens and earth, to creating land and seas, seed-producing plants and trees, sun, moon, and stars, the animals, and man and woman, God said it into being, “And it was so.”

The same God who spoke the whole world into existence is the same God for you and me today. Isn’t that so refreshing?

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Several times I admit that I doubt God will answer my long-time prayer. I am so wrong to ever have that stinking thinking. He is the same prayer-hearing, miracle-working, life-giving God then as now.

What are you praying for God to breathe life into? Is it your marriage? Is it a new home? Is it a difficult relationship? Is it to bear a child you’ve prayed about for years? Is it to know your life purpose? Is it for a loved one to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior? Whatever it is, friend, may we trust God with it.

And. It. Was. So.

 

Reflect:

How do those four words change your perspective on your current situation?

Renew:

“‘And all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” –Genesis 1:30-31a

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?'” –Jeremiah 32:26-27

“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who form it and established it–the Lord is his name; ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'” –Jeremiah 33:2-3

“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light…The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.'” –Revelation 21:5-6

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The Sign That Freaked Me Out

It happened last winter. It freaked me out so much I hardly told anyone until months later.

I was going through a “dry-spell” in my faith–going through the motions. I needed a revival inside my soul.

Winter sometimes gets me that way. The long nights and short days at home affect me. Seasonal Affective Disorder “they” call it. SAD is a perfect acronym for it.

The Lord called me to Proverbs 31 Ministries  three and a half years ago. It is a high calling, and one I don’t take for granted. I love where I work and the people with whom I work.

With the rapid way the Lord is growing us,  it makes us desperately dependent on the Lord. I call it “growing pains.” The kind of growing pains that sometimes leave stretchmarks.

We have a God-sized vision to eradicate Biblical poverty–to inspire people to become passionate about Jesus and reading God’s Word. Our mission is to Know the Truth. Live the Truth, and we believe it changes everything.

When people engage with the Lord through the Bible, church, and our Proverbs 31 Ministries resources, we believe they can influence their hearts, homes, communities, cities, and states around them. It’s a huge assignment, sometimes intimidating to ponder and keeps us fully relying on Jesus.

That freaky incident, mentioned above, happened last year.  Our amazing Proverbs 31 Ministries President Lysa TerKeurst was the only female keynote speaker last February at the wonderful Kingdom Advisors Conference in Orlando. More than 1,200 Christian financial advisors attended this conference.

It was holy ground and such an encouragement to attend. Lysa delivered a powerful message on the spiritual continuum of only needing God, trusting God, and wanting God.

Afterward, I went to my hotel room that night totally convicted, crying out to God. I apologized to Him that He was not my sole heart’s desire.  I confessed to God that He is all that I need. All that I trust. All that I want. At that moment, peace came.

The last day of the conference was filled with worshipful sessions, praise and worship. I couldn’t take notes fast enough as I was hopeful about implementing some of these ideas professionally and personally.

When it was time to leave the conference hotel and head to the Orlando airport, a gentleman from Black Cab picked me up. I thought I’d have time to reflect quietly on the 45-minute drive to the airport. He seemed talkative.

“Oh Great,” I thought to myself. I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to marinate on all that I had learned and experienced. Then doubt set in again.

Questions flooded from within me. “God, why did You choose a women’s ministry like us at Proverbs 31 Ministries to eradicate Biblical poverty”?

“Why us?”

“Why me?”

“Please give me a sign that I am right in the middle of Your will. I need You. I trust You. I want You.”

And then it happened. At that moment, I looked up out of my window. Written in the sky just as clearly as could be, was the word “Trust.” Shocked, I asked the driver, “Why do you think that word is written in the sky”?

The driver replied, “Oh, he’s not finished. Each day the skywriter writes a message. It’s different every day.”

The skywriter started the next word. “J.”

We were getting close the airport.

“E” was formed. Then an “S.” My heart is skipping a beat by this time. No way.

Then the rest of the word. The Name. Absolute shock. Tears formed.  I was speechless.

The driver must have sensed my emotion.

He said, “Today’s message is just for you.”

Teary-eyed I said, “Yes, He knows what we need just when we need it.”

Okay, Okay, I get it.

Yes, Sir, Jesus. I Trust YOU with all that I am.

Friend, if you have doubts, like I sometimes do, please be encouraged that God is with you.  He will reveal Himself to You when you need it most. He is the ultimate Skywriter on our hearts.

“Those who know Your name will trust in You, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek You.” –Psalm 9:10.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. ” –Psalm 20:7-8.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” –Proverbs 3:5

PS. These are the actual photos I took from my phone as the cabbie was driving.

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It is Finished

Ironically called Good Friday, it is the most somber day of the year for Christians.

It was before 9am that morning when Pontius Pilate handed the badly beaten and scourged Jesus over to be crucified.  As He  carried His heavy cross, He began the agonizing climb to Calvary or Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.

“Here they crucified him, and with him two others–one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: ‘JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS…’ (John 19:18-19 NIV).

The criminal on one side of Jesus threw insults at Him asking if He were Christ, why didn’t He save Himself and them? The other criminal feared God and rebuked the other criminal, saying Jesus had not done anything wrong. The criminal humbly said,

“Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.’ Jesus answered  him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise. ‘ “ (Luke 23:42-43 NIV).

Like the two criminals, one on each side of Jesus, we are given a choice. Perhaps that’s why there were two criminals being crucified beside Him– not one, not five, but two–because of THE choice.

To accept Jesus as our King of King and Lord of Lords or not.

To ask Jesus to remember you in His Kingdom or not.

To hurl insults at Jesus or honor Jesus with humble praises.

Have you humbly asked for Jesus to remember you as His and to join Him in the paradise of eternal life?

“…Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed his head and gave up His spirit.” –John 30b NIV

The Greek word “Tetelestai” means “It is finished.” During New Testament times the word “Tetelestai” would have been stamped or written on business documents or receipts to indicate that a bill had been “Paid in Full.” The connection between this common business transaction stamp and the Ultimate Transaction Jesus accomplished on the cross was conveyed crystal clear in the Gospel of John with Jesus’ words.

Sweet friend, you are so loved. Jesus paid a sin debt He did not owe because we owed a sin debt we could not pay.

One of my favorite hymns, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” includes the following tender, honest revelation. May these words echo in our souls this Easter and each day of our lives.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Reflect:

–Please try to fathom how deep Jesus’ Love is for you. How will you show your gratitude and tell others? Please comment.

–Which crucified criminal beside Jesus do you relate to?

Renew:

–Please read Psalm 22 and compare it to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John story of Jesus death and resurrection.

–“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations…They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn–for He has done it.” –Psalm 22: 27, 28, 31 NIV (written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection).

–“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” –Isaiah 53:5-6 NIV (written 700+ years before Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection).

–“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect.” –1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

Recharge:

–Friday’s here; Sunday’s coming!!!

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