Friday, December 8, 2017

I Love the Feeling

Oh goodness! It's been two months since I've posted to my blog. I sure have missed it and you. Sometimes God sits me down and wants to talk to me. I need to listen for me. That's where I've been. Not really having much to share just trying my best to soak up what I needed to make it through the last three months. So much going on with my family, good and different, but always looking to God for steadfastness and strength. It has been a while but I received a thought a couple of weeks ago that I feel should be shared! So here goes....

Of all things, I was mopping my kitchen floor. I HATE to mop. I sweat like a hog wallowing in the sunshine! I need to shower after I mop. I take several rest periods during one kitchen mop session! I use one of those Spin 360 mops or I'd never get finished.  Now, I LOVE the clean! I could sit for hours admiring the shiny white tile a good mopping leaves behind. The clean smell is an aroma pleasing to my nose. I always hope I have company so they can see the rewards of my labor. 

I love the feeling but I loathe the fuss. Do you know what I mean? I have to prod myself for days to mop. I spot clean. I ignore the dirt. I tell myself the floor won't stay clean but nothing satisfies me but to mop that dirty floor. The floor is dirty again within a few days but the clean feeling lingers. Clean feels so good!

You know where I'm taking this. God showed me something during my latest mop session. Psalm 51:10 says Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. I get dirty just like floors, repeatedly. I allow sin to creep into my life. I feel dirty, removed from the good clean feeling when there's nothing between me and my Savior. I know I need a good cleaning (repentance), but I loathe the fuss that gets me the feeling. I'll have to admit I'm wrong. I'll have to break down some pride. For heaven's sake, I'll have to get on my knees and Lord, you know, they hurt. I'll have to be sincere, really? I'll have to be sorry for my faults. I'll have to ask for forgiveness. I may have to apologize to somebody. What?

After I've done all that fussing with a few rest periods in the middle because you know I'm human and all that sounds like superhuman stuff, here comes the feeling. Do you know the feeling? My clean heart begins to sing Indescribable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

My right spirit is renewed. There's not another feeling like it in the whole wide world! In my entire life, I have never found anything comparable to Jesus. Have you?

No. I don't mop more often than usual, nor do any of the other chores I hate. I do view my spiritual housecleaning differently. God will surely allow me to ignore the dirt and spot clean to try to make myself feel better. Won't work. Instead of thinking "I love the feeling but I loathe the fuss", my new motto is:
Jesus loves me but loathes my mess,
Oh how I love the feeling when I confess!

Feeling clean 365,

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Wool is Itchy


Sheep teach us about ourselves.  Jesus uses the illustration of sheep and shepherd many times in the Bible. John 10:11 says "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." What more could you want than a keeper who assures your safety while you graze all day in green pastures? Being a part of the sheepfold is a beautiful thing if we just didn't act like the sheep we are. Even under the shepherd's loving Lordship, we still need much tending.  Romans 8:23 states that we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body or if you will, the shedding of our itchy wool.

Things we have in common with sheep:
  • Slow to learn. God provides 66 books with 1,189 chapters of what to do and what not to do. How much of it do we know?
  • Demanding. Sheep demand grass, grass and more grass. They have an insatiable appetite.Sound familiar?
  • Stubborn. This one needs no explanation.
  • Lost and Straying. We just can't seem to stay on-course needing rescued time after time.
  • Dependent. Sheep can't survive and live without their shepherd.
 I didn't know this about sheep. 

Yes. Sheep stick their head through a fence and WILL NOT pull it out. The shepherd has to get them unstuck. 
Are you stuck?
Let JESUS get YOUR HEAD out of the FENCE!

Itching to Death,
The Happy Handicap

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Who Do You Look Like?

spitting image of jesus
Who do you look like? Do you look like one of your parents? When people see you do they say "You look just like your mom."? People say that to Sloane all the time. I remember many occasions, after she heard you look just like your mom, she turned to me and said "I just don't see it!". 

Rewind to a couple of years ago. Sloane posted a picture on facebook. I received a call from her asking "Why did you tag yourself in my picture?". I had already seen the post. I laughed and replied "I didn't!". Facebook recognized her as me automatically tagging me in the picture. You can't disagree or argue with facial recognition software. Sloane believes people now when they say she looks just like her mom. 

Sloane is a spitting image of me. I've heard this phrase my entire life. I looked up the meaning. Spitting image is the thought that you are the exact likeness of someone so much they could have you spit you out of their mouth.

Dr. Peter Kendrick, Professor of Theology and Culture at the Marietta campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary delivered the message Sunday at my church. He recounted people telling him he is the spitting image of his dad. Dr. Kendrick is adopted. He's a native of Korea and his dad is American. I have to admit when I saw him I was puzzled by his surname. I haven't seen his dad. They may look alike?

What Dr. Kendrick said next inspired me! "What if people looked at you and said you are the spitting image of your Father God?" WOW! That's a great thought to ponder. Being recognized as the spitting image of Jesus is our ultimate goal as a born-again believer. Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

We are made in his image. Genesis 1:26 tells us And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. But, do we ooze love and forgiveness and all the other things that make Jesus who he is?  People come pre-wired with recognition software. Who do you look like? Can they see Jesus in you?

Striving for His Likeness,
The Happy Handicap

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Are You Outnumbered?

hagar the horrible

I wish I could find the Hagar cartoon I wanted to share. At one time, I had this unforgettable cartoon in my office. I cut it out of the newspaper, taped to my computer monitor and read the funny every day for years! The cartoon had two images. The first was a huge army of Vikings with weapons aimed yelling to Hagar and his men "We have you outnumbered 500 to 1". The second image shows Hagar looking around at his FOUR men to say "Oh good. They're over-confident!". 

I still love that cartoon. The message is ingrained in my memory forever. Are you outnumbered? I felt like I was always outnumbered at work every day. However, I felt those that outnumbered me were over-confident in their own ability. Over-confidence in self is dangerous. Do you feel outnumbered? Your circumstances may seem grim and hopeless. You may be numerically outnumbered but if you have Jesus, you have THE ONE you need.

Here's proof through truth:
  1. David was outnumbered by the Philistine army but killed their giant Goliath with a slingshot and one stone. I Samuel 17
  2. Gideon was outnumbered 135,000 Midianites to his 300 men but overthrew the enemy. Judges 7
  3. Elijah was outnumbered 450 prophets of Baal to one to prove the God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel is the only true and living God.
  4. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were outnumbered by idol worshipers, did not bow and was delivered from the fiery furnace without even a smoky smell. Daniel 3
  5. Daniel was outnumbered in the lions den but he emerged from the den unscathed while the lawmakers were devoured by the lions before they hit the ground. Daniel 6
You can never be over-confident in God. He is our only hope! You can be over-confident in yourself. You can certainly try to misuse the power of God for your own good. It won't work. The power of Jesus and everything we do will glorify the Father if we wish to receive his help.  

When you become/feel outnumbered, simply cling to His Word...

Image result for i can do all things through christ

Please don't try life alone. If you're facing a crowd of ten, you and Christ equal eleven! If it's two people, 13 devils and one big business, you and Christ equal more than conquerors! If it's three kids, five grands, a stepmom, a mean mother-in-law and a defiant dad, you and Christ equal the ability to speak peace and even the waves obey his will. Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 

If God is with us?
Who can outnumber us?

Counting on The One,
The Happy Handicap

Saturday, May 6, 2017

When Thou Shalt Not becomes Thou Shalt

thou shalt not
Have you had a month like me? Life gets in the way. Tammy gets in the way. Tammy lets life put things in the way. Yes, getting side-tracked and off-track describes April 2017 for me! I haven't written a newsletter since March 22.

One of my favorite pastors always said "If you can hold it, do. But if you can't hold it, we want to hear from you!" This thought has been rolling around in my heart and head for longer than a couple of months.  So, today, you're hearing from me 'cause I can't hold it any longer.

What happens when thou shalt not becomes thou shalt? 

God spoke the ten commandments into existence in Exodus 20. Most of us can quote the six or seven "Thou Shalt Not's" from memory that God carved into a stone tablet. These commandments give us guidelines of what we should not do. Thou shalt not kill, steal or lie. Thou shalt not curse, have affairs or want your neighbor's stuff. Thou shalt have no other gods before me or worship graven images. Thou shalt not means it's a no-no, don't do it, not-ta, no sirree!

Fast forward to the birth of Jesus and let's look at his "Thou Shalt's" in Mark 12:30-32. There are only two. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like this, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The "Thou Shalt Not's" were wrapped into two simple commandments. When you love God and your neighbour, you don't desire to kill, steal or lie, curse, commit adultery or want their stuff. When the Lord thy God is first in your life, everything else falls into the right places.

Isn't it a miracle to think about how Jesus changed the world? From law to grace. From guilty to not guilty. From condemnation to righteousness. From death to life. From lost to found. What happens when thou shalt not becomes thou shalt? A world is saved. A Kingdom is come. Grace is sufficient. There is Peace on earth. Goodwill to men.

Most people don't come to church to hear what they should do but what they shouldn't do. Let us be encouraged for what thou shalt do because there is none other commandment greater than these two. Jesus simplified things for his people. We don't have to remember ten, only two.

It's no longer
but rather

Commanded to love,
The Happy Handicap

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Are You Bad Enough to Become a Christian?

bad christians

Jesus probably did a facepalm when the Pharisees said to his disciples, "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?". The religious leaders of the day didn't understand why Jesus would bother with these bad people. Accordingly, many religious people today, like the Pharisees, will allow their own perceived righteousness to hinder their salvation dooming their souls forever.

The question is not if you are good enough to be a Christian. You will never be good enough. Jesus answered to someone who called him Good Master, "Why are you calling me good? there is none good but one, that is, God". That is Jesus speaking. HELLO! He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and he doesn't refer to himself as good. Some people put themselves into the good column when they don't let alcohol touch their godly lips or if they attend church every service or when they defend their goodness with someone else's failures (ex. they curse and I don't). Christianity isn’t based on good works. 

The question is are you bad enough to become a Christian? Every person must realize their bad condition; unclean and in need of redemption. Jesus offers free guilt and sin removal. Do you tell lies, steal, cheat, have extramarital affairs, curse, disrespect your parents, or kill others with a gun or your mouth? Do you have hate in your heart? Do you simply know that you're not good? Do you know that you have sinned and fell short of God's glory? Good. You're good! We all have done these things. WE ARE ALL SINNERS! The Bible says so. You are just the type of person Jesus is looking for. Each and every one of us are bad enough to become a Christian if we will realize our fallen sin nature and ask Jesus to forgive us. Forgiven is received with a broken heart and a simple prayer of submission.

When Jesus heard the religious leaders inquiring about him eating with sinners, he answered "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." You may also paraphrase as "They that be good need not a savior but they that are bad."  Jesus is the way for sinners to repent and receive eternal life and blessings.

Quit trying to be good enough to get into heaven. Ain't happening! Jesus is the only name given whereby we must be saved. He can't save you if you think you're good. Bad is a redeemable quality. You'll never be too bad or too dirty or done too much for Jesus to save. Then, with Jesus as your savior, good will flow out of you by his spirit but it still doesn't make you good, it makes you whole, redeemed and forgiven.

Are you bad enough to become a Christian? If not, just be yourself. You'll get there in no time at all! Promise.

Bad and Forgiven,
The Happy Handicap

Saturday, March 25, 2017

3 Tips to Make Your Easter Easy

oriental trading easter
I received the products in this post free from Oriental Trading.

Easter Sunday is almost here, April 16, 2017. Easter is a fun holiday filled with colored eggs, chocolate rabbits, real live bunnies and a Lamb. Yes, Jesus is who makes Easter special! You may be starting to think about what you'll get the kids and how you'll decorate. I've put together 3 Tips to make your Easter Easy by using products from a trusted friend of mine, Oriental Trading.

Tip #1: Use Filled Easter Eggs for your Community Easter Egg Hunt. Every year our church requests plastic eggs and candy for the hunt. Then, they ask for volunteers to pull the eggs apart and insert the candy. I got smart and you can too! I'm donating these beauties that accomplish many goals including presenting the resurrection story with the colorful wording on and inside the eggs. Easy? I think so.

oriental trading filled eggs

Tip #2: Easter pencils are an easy and useful addition to any Easter Basket. Kids love pencils! They can never have too many. These religiously decorated pencils are eye-catching and also remind children what Easter is all about. Jesus lives!
oriental trading easter pencils

Tip #3. Decorate your space with colorful yard signs. These signs are well constructed with a laminated front and two stakes per sign. Super easy to beautify your landscape for Easter and share the Good News of the gospel. Very visible from a distance too.
bunny signs oriental trading

Enjoy your holiday. Be sure to check out all these Easter items on sale now. Buying in bulk is one more way to save money and make your Easter easy. Please share these 3 Tips to make your Easter Easy with your friends and make their Easter easy too!

Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy,
The Happy Hanicap

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Modern-Day Miracle


Do you want a miracle or a mess is the title of a blog post I published just 35 days ago where I asked  you to help us pray for our dilemma; Steve's medicine costing $852 for a four week month and $1065 for a five-weeker! Thank you for your prayers. We received a modern-day miracle.

Everyone involved has been very sympathetic to Steve's need. Dr. Staton at Emory Clinic has been working hard with Encompass Pharmacy to get the brand Imuran approved. The generic Azathioprine doesn't work for Steve. The cheapest I found Imuran (with an internet coupon) was $213 per week for 30 pills. I bought one week at a time hoping for help soon. Roberta, the nurse at Emory called me every couple of days to give me status updates. Dr. Staton wrote an addendum to the patient file to finally satisfy the insurance company.

Yesterday morning at 8 a.m., I received a call from Envision Drugs that Imuran was approved! Can you hear the Hallelujah Chorus playing in my head? I immediately called the pharmacy. They agreed it was approved with a copay of $450 per month. Good news interrupted with bad. The pharmacy tech quickly informed me they were filing an exception appeal to reduce the cost. I said "Well, I got Steve a grant and it may not be necessary." I gave them the information and guess what?

A Modern-Day MIRACLE!
The pharmacy tech said "I'll fedex the Imuran to your address by this Thursday with a copay of zero dollars!" Yes, that's right, FREE! The grant covered the copay. The grant should cover the copay for the rest of the year. The grant is $9000. Psalm 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord!

How did I do it? Perseverance, tenacity and our Heavenly Father!
  • I called the manufacturer of the drug. The original maker is Glaxo Smith-Kline in Dublin, Ireland. I contacted them on their facebook page. They responded very quickly referring me to their North Carolina office to find out there was no financial assistance or coupons available for Imuran.
  • I called Walgreen's to obtain the manufacturer of the exact pills in Steve's bottle. They were right here in Roswell, GA. Seleba Pharmacy was so rude, so unconcerned, the customer service agent so made me not want to buy their drugs at all .... but my husband needs them.
  • I tried every Google search term I could think of, forward and backward; financial assistance for Imuran, Imuran coupons, discounts for Imuran, pulmonary fibrosis, etc. without any good results. If I did find a lead for his condition, pulmonary fibrosis, it was the wrong kind of fibrosis. Most assistance was for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and his is not idiopathic. Then, there were the financial hurdles to overcome personally or the programs were maxed out.
  • After MANY hours and days of searching, I prayed and asked Jesus for some help.
  • I don't remember what search phrase lead me to a site that I read and re-read, clicked, clicked and clicked some more until I divinely landed (not stumbled) upon a site that had funds available for pulmonary fibrosis. The application process was painless and you know if you are approved when you hit the submit button. 
  • HealthWell Foundation helps individuals afford the medicine they need! There are qualifications and stipulations but thank God, Steve fell into one of their paying categories! Steve received the grant five days before the medicine was approved. Perfect timing!
  • I was so excited to go to Walgreens for his meds last week only to be disappointed. There is one caveat to using the grant money. The grant covers the copay only meaning insurance has to approve and pay first. The money was appropriated and sitting there but couldn't be used because insurance had not approved the medicine.
  • If I can assist anyone with this process, please contact me. 
One of my favorite verses, Psalm 37:25 is so true. Trust Him and expect your miracle!

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

squirrel praise

Thanking God for a modern-day miracle,
The Happy Handicap

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Do You Want a Miracle or a Mess?


Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.    - Matthew 7:7-8 KJV

We received terrifying news in March 2012. Steve couldn't breathe well. After  a lung biopsy, the doctor looked us square in the eyes without any compassion and bluntly said "You've got two to five years". Usually, my response would have been something ridiculous like "Two to five years to what? Pay off my car? Make a million dollars? Retire?". But I knew crazy questions were not going to hide the evidence Steve's biopsy revealed; the diagnosis of a deadly form of lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis.

According to the study “Clinical Course and Prediction of Survival in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis,” median survival of patients who suffer from pulmonary fibrosis is 2.5 years, but some patients live much longer than that. The most common cause of death among patients is respiratory failure. 

God blessed me with some tenacity for a reason! Battling a birth defect for 48 years, me and adversity are tight. Close companions. I have to admit hearing the prognosis I was shaken. Remember my words in October about Milisende?  I can never promise an "unstirred" Tammy but I always promise to seek to discover Christ, my rock and salvation. The One who stills my fears during my fiercest Fear Whisperer. I began to ask, seek and knock ferociously concerning Steve's disease once I relocated my Anchor and He steadied my boat upright.

The past five years have been a tremendous journey with many ups and then downs and then ups again. Happiness one day and a nauseating sickness in the depths of my soul the next day. I won't even attempt to detail the entire process but I MUST share with you what happened yesterday which I believe started mid-December 2015.

I'm a member of a facebook group whose members have Antisynthetase Syndrome (which caused his pf) like Steve. I befriended one of the admins, really nice guy who was very willing to discuss Steve's medicines and treatment with me. He shared his journey giving me proven tips and advice. His suggestion that rang a bell with me was to obtain "brand" prescriptions for Steve instead of generic. I had previous experience with taking a brand drug (hormone) that worked for me but the generic did not. In fact, this happened to me twice and currently the medicine I use has to be from a certain manufacturer. The supposedly same medicine in the same strength does not have the same effect. I got Steve the brand medicine!

Fast forward to September 2016. Steve had been taking the brand medicine for eight months. His oxygen saturation tests at his doctor visit in September showed improvement. The improvement was so vast, the doctor asked if he still wanted the oxygen. Steve opted for it because he felt breathless.

Steve's insurance changed in September 2016. I called the oxygen company to notify them of the change. They were unconcerned until January 2017 when our balance grew to over $500 due to the insurance change.  Insurance requires a 6-minute walk test without oxygen and with oxygen to approve the charges. Remember the improvement in Steve's oxygen saturation in September? Yesterday, GOD COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED STEVE AND ME!!!

Steve's oxygen saturation during a 6-minute walk did not go below 88%! 87% is the magic number to get oxygen approved. After the test, the doctor came out and spoke with us. "Good News!" he said. Your test today shows YOU DO NOT NEED OXYGEN! Are you willing to call Apria and ask them to come get their bottles? Steve apprehensively said yes. I said aloud "Praise Jesus!".

We are both still a bit rattled but so very thankful to a God who loves and cares for us. Steve is still disabled. He still has a severe lung disease but my oh my, what progress! What a miracle that I give our Heavenly Father all the glory for. Thank you so much for all your prayers and please don't stop interceding on Steve's behalf. Our God is might to save in every way! Now, we have a new challenge that I know God will provide. The new insurance won't pay for the brand medicine. The cost? $1400 a month. That's like nothing for Jesus! Please join us in praying for a quick solution as he's been taking the generic now for a month. These chemo meds take at least eight months to begin working or not working.

We want miracles! Would the walls of Jericho fell if the people had marched around 6 times or 8 times when God said 7? Would Gideon have been defeated if he had not used the men God made lap like a dog? Did David need more than one stone to kill Goliath? I could go on and on with the victories God provides his children. If we want miracles and not a mess, ask and receive, seek and find, knock and walk through God's open glorious door! 

Seeking miracles,
The Happy Handicap

The Fear Whisperer


Milisende Isabella Epperson
September 30, 2016
5 lb. 13 oz.

My beautiful second grand girl came to see us twelve short days ago. She's a tiny, perfect masterpiece! Her big sister Lisette loves her so much! We are all so excited God trusts us to care for her. She made me a granmom twice but she ultimately belongs to him. I always think I can't possibly love more deeply and then God shows me I can. This article shares a battle I experienced during the gestation of Milisende.

"Christ-followers contract malaria, bury children, and battle addictions, and, as a result, face fears. It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ." - M. Lucado

This quote pretty much sums up my life! Born with a devastating deformity of both feet, I would be lying if I told you I don't fear. I do. Quite a lot. I'm sure my fears don't outnumber yours, mine are just specific to me and yours are specific to you. I feared having a genetic repeat of my deformity when planning for my children. I harbored that same fear with the births of my two granddaughters also. The devil and the doctors caused me to fear with Millisende.

I accompanied Sydnee to her gender reveal appointment. It was a magical day in May as I sat in my car awaiting Syd's arrival at the doctor's office. As usual, I was praying asking God for health and wellness for this baby. I felt confident because my girls and my first granddaughter Lisette are perfect. I finished my prayer thanking God for his many blessings and a voice spoke to me saying "There are worse things than two toes." I said aloud "WHAT?" The speaker said it again. There are worse things than two toes. I was so scared, I couldn't discern who said it. Had God just told me this baby would have problems? I was shaken. Normally, I use God's word to quiet my fears but not today.

After the ultrasound, we needed to buy more pink!  Our happiness was interrupted when the OB doctor informed us of a condition called single umbilical cord (SUC). Millisende had one. Please click the link to read an in-depth explanation. The short version is a "normal" umbilical has one vein and two arteries for food and waste. Milisende's had one vein and one artery which "may" cause complications. Sydnee began to cry. My head was whirling at his words and I wondered if they noticed my heart on the floor. An appointment was made with a high risk doctor (HRDr).

We all tried to be brave. I'd never heard of such a condition, nor had anyone else I told. Thankfully and if I'd thought about it, God knew everything about SUC. I listened to the HRDr as he explained what could go wrong. He contradicted himself, trying to console us, cooing that these things usually never happen. One week the doc would say she is fine. The next week he'd indicate we should be worried. All the while, I had the words "There are worse things than two toes" ringing in my ears, extremely loudly from an undetermined voice. Roller coasters make me puke and I wanted off of this one.

Now y'all are probably thinking why doesn't Tammy know this is the work of the devil? She's overcome so much. She's strong. She believes God. She tries to write to inspire others. I'm sharing my experience with you to hopefully help you from falling into the same snare. The devil knew my weakness and he used it against me. And, I let him. I entertained too many of his thoughts without stopping to inspect what he was saying. My mind was like a house of horrors with clowns laughing in my face and mirror images creating confusion. If I had stopped the tilt-a-whirl, I would have immediately recognized the words were not God's. But I didn't. I wallowed.

I tried to remain positive for my family. I hope they never saw my fear although God knew how I was wrangling with the devil. Never engage the devil. My inferior human hands can't fight the enemy and win. Jesus is victorious, allow his Holy Spirit inside of you, to duke it out with the devil. My deliverance from my fear came early in the morning about two weeks before Milisende was born. I was crying out to God, acknowledging my fearfulness, asking him to help me. My fear whisperer tenderly reminded me "I am not the author of confusion. I do not cause my children to fear." Absolutely! For sure! You are so right Jesus! Joy and confidence flooded my being.  My heart understood his truthful words. And, he didn't have to say it but once! God won't put me on a roller coaster for fun, especially if it makes me sick! So, as Max Lucado said, "It's not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It's whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ."

I can never promise an "unstirred" Tammy but I can always seek to discover Christ, my rock and salvation. The One who stills my fears during my fiercest Fear Whisperer.

Father, tame my fear 365,

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Back to the Basics

My favorite place is in a church. I anxiously await each church visit longing for the security, warmth and peace that envelops me like a warm blanket on a cold day.  Could certainly use that today with the temps at 14 degrees feeling like 7! My home church, First Baptist Chatsworth, is a beautiful building full of beautiful people who love on me and my family as if we are precious jewels. It is no wonder I started my 2017 at Sunday Worship. Will Linginfelter didn't disappoint. He inspired me through God's Word to get back to the basics. The following is my interpretation of his message: 

What do you think of when you hear "Back to the Basics"?

Do you think of a basic wardrobe? I would say basic clothes include black pants or skirt, khaki pants, something navy, a must-have white shirt and who doesn't own a pair of black shoes that goes with everything (I own four basic pairs of white Pumas with different colored stripes that I wear with just about everything). The key to making a basic wardrobe work for your style is the ability to mix and match.

The best basic biscuit recipe I've ever eaten or cooked was given to me by my friend Tony. The recipe has three basic ingredients; flour, butter and buttermilk. He says to knead and roll the dough precisely six times for the best biscuit. The other day I had an idea to knead the dough only once and see what happens. The biscuits didn't rise as high or taste as good. For best results, follow the recipe!

If asked what pops into your head when you hear the word basic, you might say reading, writing and arithmetic or the abc's. Army Basic Training is what I see in my mind. Everyone knows before you become a soldier, you must complete ten weeks of grueling combat and mental training. Many enlistees do not complete the course while others finish and exemplify the branch's slogan "Be All You Can Be!"

Our world accepts and encourages a lot of basics. Some basics are good, some bad, some are forgotten or worse, never known. The Bible explains the basic gospel in John 3:16. What Christian cannot recite the verse by heart? God's Word will never allow us to forget his gift to humanity for everlasting life. God's love for us is the basis for his gift. Jesus is the foundation of Christianity. The basic fact is you must believe in him.

After you become a Christian, what ARE the basics? The Bible has 66 books with 1189 chapters. So how you pick out the simple basics? Matthew 22:37-39 states Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' Two basic commandments that encompasses the entire gospel.

The basic wardrobe of Christianity is love. Can others see you have it on? Do you wear it? The gospel doesn't require a mix and match ability but a daily putting on of the body of Christ. The basic recipe of Christianity is love. Do you prepare it, eat it and serve it to others? For best results, you'll need three ingredients; The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. The basic training of Christianity is love. Are you trained? Staying the course as a soldier in God's army takes more than ten weeks, it requires a lifetime of devotion and spiritual acuteness. There are enemies on every hand. Loving your neighbor as yourself WILL BE GRUELING at times. But, don't you want to be all you can be, all that Christ wants you to be? Our slogan - "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith"!

Sometimes we have to look at where we came from to get to where we're going. This new year, let's all get back to the basics that rewarded us salvation and freedom. Get back to our first love, Jesus.

Determined to return,
The Happy Handicap