Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Re-prioritizing Busy

no guilt
God spoke to me when I read this quote posted by my bff Angie on Facebook.  If God asked you to list the three biggest priorities in your life, what would they be? I expect the "Christian" answer might be (1) God, (2) Family and (3) Work. Then I expect God might look puzzled and say "Really? I thought busy is your number one priority!" We get so "busy" following the routines we've learned, believing them to be necessary that we miss "that good part".

We, the self-proclaimed God-followers, have gotten some things turned backward from the way the Bible instructs. We have been taught by our religious entities or church that serving God includes working our fingers to the bones on programs, dinners and such. In short, busywork! Is "busy" what God wants from us? Does he want us to feel guilty saying no to church work?

Luke 10:1-9 tells us Jesus sent 70 laborers into the field because the harvest is great. These appointed workers were instructed to go into a house, empty-handed and speak peace upon the house. Whether peace is there or not, remain in the chosen house eating what is offered. Go not from house to house. Heal the sick in the house and tell them "The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." Here's the things I notice about these paraphrased scriptures and maybe how we should apply them today:
  1. The workers went to the people. They weren't told to go to church and wait for folks to come to them. They didn't go to church and pray or hope that God would bring new people to them. God sent them to the people.
  2. They went empty-handed without purse, bag or shoes and were told to not speak to anyone on their way. I believe this allowed the workers to remain anonymous and humble so when the workers left, the people of the house wouldn't remember them but rather remember they had been visited by God. Sometimes we are so adorned with "stuff" that's all people see.
  3. Visit with the people of the house you're in, whether they are at peace or not. Stay awhile. You want Jesus to take time with you, right? I do! I want him by my side in the sunshine and the rain.
  4. The people of the house feed you. Hot dogs and hamburgers weren't advertised to get people to God. Rather, God went to the people and they were deservingly fed for their labor. 
  5. Heal the sick. Can we heal? Absolutely. The power of God through his Word can heal. These laborers simply said nine words, "The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."
What was the outcome of these visits? Luke 10:17 says "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name." AMAZING! (Please take a minute and read Luke 10) 

Still busy? Still struggling to put some of the church work aside? Still feel guilty saying no because Jesus would be disappointed? Ask yourself this question: Are you disappointing Jesus, yourself or someone else? Then, let's look at the end of Luke 10 where Jesus visits two sisters, Mary and Martha. MARTHA IS BUSY! She even tattles on Mary hoping Jesus would tell her sister to get up and help her. Instead, Jesus tries to show Martha that it is more important to seek his words and sit at his feet than all her busywork. Mary chose that good part which is needful and cannot be taken away from her. Can we effectively serve God by SITTING at his feet? Yes!

We need to re-prioritize and quit all the busywork. I used to run around like a crazy person trying to help keep everything going at church. Don't get me wrong. God's church needs workers. I'm just not sure we're going about it correctly. And, God can keep things going with or without us. It became a pride thing for me which is sinful. "I did this and I did that and I did that too!" Jesus does the work, not "I" or you. We can't work enough to please Jesus. He doesn't require it. Salvation is guilt-free.

If we don't remove our own guilt, sit at his feet enjoying his majesty and rest a bit, we may find ourselves like Peter and the other disciples. When Jesus needed them most, in a garden at the most critical point of his short life, we'll be exhausted and asleep! I would hate to disappoint Jesus when he is counting on me and hear him say "What, could ye not watch with me one hour?" 

The Happy Handicap

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Never heard of it!

september is lymphoma awareness month
We live in such a small, great big world! Until March 2012, I had never heard of the disease pulmonary fibrosis. That's the day my husband was diagnosed. Aggressive monster that sucks the air right out of your lungs so you can't breathe. The disease causes scar tissue to harden your air sacs so the lungs can't diffuse oxygen to the body. There is no cure. Finally, this year, the FDA has approved two medicines to treat or slow down the progression of the disease. Lung transplantation is the only way to survive. Praise Jesus, my husband seems stable three years post-diagnosis.

I shared a story recently about Rana Mashburn who was just diagnosed with HLH or Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis. I had never heard of this disease until she was diagnosed in July 2015. She continues to fight for her life at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Follow her journey on Facebook. #ranastrong

Not everyone enters this world healthy, safe or loved.

I had never heard of  Patience Brewster and their cause. The backbone of this company lost a dear family member to Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. At 26 years old, Holland, a beautiful son and brother lost his battle with this aggressive cancer.

I bet this family had never thought about blood cancer, researched them or knew how to spell lymphoma before the Stage 4 Hodgkin's invaded their world and changed their lives forever. September is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. In honor of Holland, I want to help raise awareness about this disease by introducing you to Patience Brewster and the special Christmas ornament Holland's mom makes every year to raise funding to find a cure for blood cancers.This years ornament is Huck Raccoon. It's so darling we all need one or 12 for our tree!

Please click over and take a moment to read their story and purchase an ornament. You never know when Leukemia or Lymphoma may become the center of your attention. You may have never heard of it, but trust me, when you do, it will become your all-consuming passion just like the passion Patience Brewster embraces for raising awareness and funding research in memory of Holland.

Supporting LLS Awareness,
The Happy Handicap

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Truth about Cauliflower

fake rice
Cauliflower Fried Rice
My family loves Fried Rice. I made them the impostor above. I hope you agree the dish looks amazingly just like fried rice. Pampered Chef has a new product, the Veggie Strip Maker, that easily strips cauliflower into those small rice-like pieces. Yes folks, that is fried cauliflower cooked like fried rice. Steve didn't recognize the cauliflower taste until I let him in on my secret. I was blown away by the delicious dish, low carb and almost zero Weight Watcher points! I'm not a "real" chef but I do have extensive experience cooking and I'm really unsure if I would've known it was cauliflower if someone else had cooked it for me.

During dinner that night, God began to point out some things to me about this meal. I'd like to share them with you. As you read the bullet points below, consider Matthew 24:4-5 "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." 
  • The cauliflower looks impressively like rice but it is not rice.
  • The cauliflower tastes deliciously like rice but it is not rice.
  • The cauliflower has low calories and carbs and will not satisfy hunger like rice.
  • Cauliflower and rice are deceptively the same color.
  • Cauliflower costs more without the same benefits.

Matthew 24:24 says "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

After reading this, I hope you never look at cauliflower quite the same way. May the vegetable remind you that all things are not as they appear. Be careful with your choices. You can always spit out cauliflower and eat some rice. What you don't want is to get spit out by God. Ketchup looks impressively like blood but it is not!

Seeking truth,
The Happy Handicap

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Everyone wears Designer Labels

Labels are important. People yearn to be known by wearing expensive clothing, driving luxury brand cars and living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. I've experienced "sticker shock" on Rodeo Drive, in the NYC and Paris, France! I'm not sure things are worth their price.

Have you ever considered you are a Designer Label? Jeremiah 1:5 says "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." How SPECIAL are you?  I was born in 1963. Tammy Dennease Parker born October 2, 1963. I was more than one hundred and sixty-three years in the making. Today's top designers like Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton don't even live that long. God prepared me and you especially for our specific days to be born. 

Think about it. Before anything was, you were already known by God. You are more valuable than the most expensive name in the world for many reasons:
  • You are priceless. No amount of money could have produced your label...only God.
  • You are unique. There will never be another you, even twins are genetically different in some way.
  • You are an original. You cannot be copied or reproduced, even in a test tube.
  • You will never go "out-of-style". Your design is always valuable even when growing old and becoming dated.
  • You are "out-of-this-world" perfect. Your design is eternal.
Wear and represent your label honorably. Stars on the red carpet are quick to blurt out the name of their designer for the world to envy. We should be as quick and proud to tell the world about our designer. His label is the most desirable ever. His son, JChrist carries on his legacy. Our label maker is richer than Versace and more famous than Dolce & Gabbana.

Supremely designed,
The Happy Handicap