Saturday, November 12, 2011

FYI: I've moved my blog

If you are one of my three or four readers, well you can now follow my blog at  :)  thank you!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

In a World Gone Mad...

It will hit you when you pick up the morning news, or read the latest news feed on Twitter, or catch your favorite morning show...this world is a crazy, insane place to live!
Innocent people get killed. Good people die. Daddies walk out on families. Mommies do too. Children suffer. Hunger is rampant worldwide. Disasters happen. Greed has taken over. Pride is now worn as a badge. Where are the good men? Where are the men that will stand up for what is right?  Where are the men that will make a difference?  Where are the men with hearts full of compassion? Where are the men that, above all, love God and then shows that loves to everyone he meets?
They are out there. They are making a difference. Its just too often that the bad ones get all the publicity, so here is a little publicity for a man I know that fulfills the extreme definition of a godly man. This month is Pastor Appreciation Month, so I'm going to "appreciate" my pastor!  So what if he's my husband??? Who knows him better than I? 
Jason Aultman is the epitome of a man of godly character. His compassion for others goes without saying. He is not only an amazing preacher, but he's an amazing pastor!  And no, those two are not always synonymous. He works at everything as working for the Lord, with integrity and purpose. He works six days a week (Sunday-Friday) and often has weddings, funerals, hospital visits or other church functions on Saturdays. He doesn't complain. He just does the work the Lord has set before him.
We have been on vacation getaways only to be called back home for some reason or another. I've been pulling dinner out of the oven (okay, so those that know me knows that doesn't happen often!) and his phone will ring and he'll have to go meet someone for counseling or head to the hospital. And yet, he never complains. He can listen to anyone talk for hours and still be so loving and compassionate. Perhaps that is why God blessed me with Jason?? Hmmm....
Yes, I appreciate my pastor, but more than that I appreciate my husband and my children's daddy. In a world that has men leaving wives on a daily basis, and not just men "of the world", but godly men that allowed Satan a foothold in their lives.  There are husbands and daddies who just as soon physically or verbally abuse their wives and children than look at them. There are dads that never take the time for their families. Too often, jobs, sports and hobbies become much more of a priority to men than their families. They care more about their personal fulfillment and enjoyment than enjoying time with their family. Oh how I thank God for Jason being very involved in our kids' lives. He takes them to breakfast every single Friday morning. He has coached team after team. He is a part of their world and they know that and that gives me comfort and our children security.
I'm so very grateful for the man God has placed in my life. A man that was prayed about for years and years before we ever met. A man that is still prayed for today. I've never been worried about Jason leaving me, but that doesn't stop me from praying that he doesn't. I know the enemy is out there seeking whom he may devour. I don't pray so much for the enemy not to attack him, as much as I ask God just to protect him, and strengthen him, and fill him with only the grace, love, and power that can come from the God of all.
It is not in my prayers alone, but in the relationship Jason has with his Father. Only in experiencing the kind of love God gives His children, can we truly love our children.  It is also the prayers of faithful prayer warriors in our lives at Antioch Baptist Church. They not only get on their knees for their church, but for their pastor and his family. This October, the month of Pastor Appreciation, Antioch, let me tell you all, YOU ARE APPRECIATED!!  "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16b) We feel those prayers of His people!
Jason takes to heart to love me as Christ loves the church. There is never a day that I go to bed that I wonder if he loves me and our children. He laughs at my crazy whims, supports me in my endeavors and loves my friends as family. In essence, he just loves. Above all.
Jason and I recently went to the movies with our 11 year old son to see the movie "Courageous". If you have not seen this movie, let me encourage you now to go see it!  As I left the theater that night, walking hand in hand between the two most important guys in my life, I just had to thank the God of all for these two blessings. The love of my life and the example he sets for our son.  He is a Courageous man of God and I am so wonderfully and amazingly blessed that God chose someone such as I to have Jason as the daddy to our children, as my pastor, as my husband,  and as my best friend!
Now, don't get me wrong, he is not perfect! Trust me on this one!  In fact, just this past weekend I had a stomach bug and he quarantined me to our bedroom while he Lysol-ed everything in the house that I had touched or thought about touching and camped out in our guest bedroom for three nights. Oh yes, I felt the love as I choked on Lysol fumes!  And before you say, "he was just trying to protect the kids", *cough *cough, hmm...err...yeah, that's it!
Yes, we most definitely live in a world gone mad, but I'm madly in love with you, Jason Aultman and I just wanted you to know that as my pastor, you are VERY much appreciated! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Facebook, Friends, and Faith

This morning, while on Facebook on my computer I discovered, what some of you may have already discovered, that you can group your friends on there! I had NO idea! So now I have a "family" group and a "close friends" group. The family group was easy to comprise, I mean, family is family, but ahhh, what about those "close friends". Who do I assume are "close friends".

I started to really limit it, I mean Jason would have to be on there! After all, he is my bestest (I know that isn't a word, you English majors!), closest friend ever!  And though, while we were dating, I may have seen the world through the rose colored glasses of he's the only friend I need, now I'm a bit wiser. I've grow up. I've gotten married. I understand life bit more. I realize we need each other.

It seems that everywhere I've turned this week God has been trying to teach me something on friendship. Even a comedian we had while at a get-away this week shared with pastors and their wives how vital close friends are to them. He wanted to us to know how important it is for us to have those in our lives that we can be honest with, we can allow our weaknesses to be seen, those that will encourage us and point us to Him, someone that we would be willing to die for and know they'd do the same. Basically, who's gonna carry your coffin? Strangers or dear, precious friends?

Thinking on these things, I began to build my group. Would it be those that are just geographically close? Those that I talk to every week? Only those in a certain age category as myself (ugh)? :) Those that have only the same spiritual views as myself? Those optimistic, perky people or the ones with dread and doom on their statuses? Hmm.....

As I started adding folks, I realized a lot of the things above could be thrown out the window. The folks on there maybe as close as the neighborhood behind me, but there were also ones from Texas, Mississippi, as well as the uttermost parts of the earth! So no, geography doesn't really play a part in close friends. And those that I talk to every week? Nope, throw that one out to, because there are some, though we rarely talk to each other, is still very much a dear and precious part of my life. Age category? Ha!! Nope! Throw that one out too! I have older and younger, age really doesn't play a part in friendships. Now on to the same spiritual views as myself? I do believe these are very important factors in close friendships. How can one encourage me and pray for me (or me for them) if we don't agree here. I need those people in my life that will tell me, regardless of how I feel about myself, God still loves me. He waits with open arms to hold me. I want the ones that will always point me to Him and shine their lights on and for Him. The ones that can be very honest and give me a Bible verse that will slap me into reality at times and the ones that will grab my hand and pray with me in a moments notice. Oh yes, these friends I most definitely need!  Its the Aarons and Hurs (see Exodus 17:10-13) in our life, that will come beside us and hold us up. Those are the friends that topped my close friends list. The ones that are a part of my heart. Those who have endeared themselves to me.

I'm not sure if others can view your "close friends" list or not, but if you can view mine, and you know any of them, wow! You are blessed! Perhaps you are one of them, then know I am the blessed one indeed!!  Yes, I'm thankful to God for Facebook today and yet another reminder of His love and goodness on my life through friends and their encouragement as I grow in faith.

Yes Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with those we love, both near and far away. I'm reminded of the movie Beaches, where Hillary says, "Be sure to keep in touch, CC, okay?" to which CC replies, "Well sure, we're friends aren't we?"

Monday, October 3, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Rain Shower!

I'm trying to figure out where I would have been those many years ago when the first rain fell. Would I have found myself on the outside regretting all the ridicule I hurled at the old man, Noah, who had built such an enormous boat in the middle of a desert or would I have had the courage to stand beside him, encourage him and go inside that boat on the day he was told to enter?

Yes, the Classics Series this week covered Noah's Ark, complete with the timeless flannel graph display! 

I learned of Noah's complete obedience. He never consider himself too old to accomplish such a task for the Lord, he was just obedient. In every single detail.   I find myself today, being obedient in some areas, those areas that are comfortable for me, but what about those areas He wants obedience in that are outside of my comfort zone? How am I doing there?  God is not asking me to build an ark and be made fun of for many years while doing it, but He is asking me to be obedient now, where He's placed me. Its obvious that society today, and sadly, often those of us considered Christians as well, don't push us toward godly character, but rather pull us down either knowingly or unknowingly.  

Another thing pointed out that I've never considered is how the ark gives us a picture of Jesus.  It was there in the protection of the ark that Noah found protection, shelter and peace from the storm. Oh how often is it in the very presence of Jesus that I find those same things!  Just as Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8) I have found that grace through the salvation Jesus provided on Calvary.   I also don't think I ever considered how Noah shut the door. I remember yesterday thinking....even while Jason was preaching, "how exactly did they seal that door?"  Well, then, Hello!! It was pointed out to me, once again, that God shut the door. He doesn't need a seal. He IS the seal! His hand held it, kept them safe. Oh how thankful I am to know He is still in the "holding" business!  I could never be strong enough to hold on to God, and I'm grateful I don't have to be, because I can trust His hand to hold me. 

It is often said that Christians live in a state of denial and believe everything is going to be okay, but that is so opposite of what the Bible tells us. His Word tells us in John 16:33,“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Yes. Troubles WILL come, but He has overcome this world and we can be secure in His hand!

We were also reminded that just as in the days of Noah, where people were eating and drinking and enjoying the pleasures of this world so shall it be as in the days before Jesus comes again. (Matthew 24:36-42) Two men will be sitting at a football game, one will be left, the other gone. Two women will be shopping together at the mall, one will be taken, the other left. We haven't a clue as to the exact day or hour, but this we do know, just as the first drops of rain fell and the first springs of the earth burst forth to flood the earth, one day the first blow from Gabriel's horn will happen, the sky will burst forth with radiant light and Jesus will come and take His children home! Oh glorious day!!

Two other lessons observed in small group: Methuselah was Noah's grandpa (this I remembered from my childhood) and he was also the oldest man to ever have lived. 969 years to be exact. I didn't know however what his name meant, that basically "his death would bring the flood". The more I think of this, the more I stand in awe of God's amazing grace and patience with us!  He gave the world then, so much grace and patience to allow Methuselah to live to be 969 years old! That's a LOT of grace and patience, folks!  

Also, reminded me of how much grace and patience He is still having with us today. He desires for none to perish as 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."   He desires for all of us to come to the saving knowledge of His amazing grace! Have you chosen to "get in the ark" of His security and protection?  May we continue to encourage one another in the Lord, all the more for we know that day is approaching! OH that glorious day!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

God Said, "I Choose Joy"

Do you ever have that moment when God hits you right between the eyes?  Where you are thinking you really need something particular and He has something else in store? Well, I just had a moment like that!

I was hoping to chat with a friend about life, struggles, failures, fears, hopes, dreams, and God's will. Some days we think we have it all figured out and talking through things with a friend can some how make things a little clearer. Well, I was really hoping to get to chat with her, but since she is on the other side of the world, it makes things a little complicated at being one of those was midnight for her and she had an early morning, so no chatting.

Then up pops another name on the old skype list, "Joy". It was almost as if I could hear God saying, "today I choose Joy!" Wow!! I'm so thankful He did!!  Because He chose "Joy", now I choose "joy"!

Joy is a Filipino friend of mine, whom I've had the blessing of getting to know this year. She was born and raised in Bacolod City on the Island of Negros in the Philippines. Bacolod is known as "The City of Smiles" and once you meet Joy, you'll understand why.  Joy was a Compassion International child from the time she was six years old until she was thirteen; so if you have any doubts if your giving can make a difference, here's the proof!

God took a small Filipino child, raised her up to love and honor Him, and chose her today to bless a middle-aged, worn out mom and pastor's wife!  Isn't that just like Him?? Joy is one who listens with the ears of God, she speaks with a tongue guarded by God, and she loves with the heart of God. You can't meet her or just watch her and listen to her without being pointed to Christ and leave with a new appreciation of just what He's done for us. Here are a few words she shared with me just today:

* I just can trust HIS hand that's in full control of everything
*you're not "old"... age is just a number here, we have a saying... only buffalos grow old! (I like that!)
*all moms in the world are awesome!
*your role in the lives of us in the field is sooooo important. (nice reminder)
*God placed you in the situation where you're at right now... Jason's wife, Turner's and Landri's momma, a friend to us as well as to many others...because YOU ARE THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB! that is how unique we all are
*it's just difficult when we let Satan make us think of ourselves any less than God's precious child.
*tough times dont last, only US tough people do because God's grace is always sufficient.
*HE has countless ways that HE could use our lives if only we are willing
*people always have crazy expectations...unreasonable...but what matters is gaining God's approval
* bowing in obedience...peace comes
*God bless you! remember that you look more fabulous when you smile. So today, smile pretty! God loves you!

Now, I mean, really folks??  Couldn't we all use a little "Joy" in our lives?  Today, I'm very grateful that God chose Joy for my life and now, I choose joy to live this day in His strength!  I'm putting that smile on because God loves me and has given me more grace than I could ever imagine and blessed me with a night owl friend on a little island in the middle of Asia-Pacific and brought me joy today through her. He is good! All glory to Him! Now lets go be a "JOY" to someone today!

Psalm 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."

*side note: we are in the process of trying to clone Joy into a pocket size version of herself! NOW, wouldn't that be cool?!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

"The Classics Series"

My favorite pastor in the world began a new series yesterday and I thought it might be fun to blog each Monday about what exactly God may be trying to pound into my head. So here goes:

He is taking those simple Bible stories that, if we have grown up in church, have heard since the little wooden toddler chairs and flannel graph board days. Even if we were not raised in church, odds are you have heard these stories anyway. Many people have tried to do away with them. Schools (in the US) prohibit them. Our government tries to outlaw them. Wars have been fought over them. Men have died to protect them. Still, the truths of the Bible are still as new and as exciting today as the time of which they were written. God. He cannot be stopped. Oh for this simple truth I am forever grateful!

This week's "classic" was "David & Goliath" and just simple ways we can apply truths from the life of David to our lives today. If you want a background of the story, read 1 Samuel 17, its all there. Here are some truths that God shared with me:

*We need to be very careful to not put trust in ourselves, but ONLY in the Lord.  Goliath put confidence in self, his stature, his muscles, his armor...much like we put trust in things today...its easy to find status in our wealth, what kind of car we drive, what kind of clothes we wear, our homes, our activities, our busyness...we need to be on constant guard that these things do not become our purpose or passion.
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
   but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." (Psalm 20:7)

*Like Eliab (David's brother) and the Israelite Army we cannot allow our faith to be defined by the pressures of the moment! (insert BAM! to my head here)  When the heat is on, where is my security?  Am I a cultural Christian? Am I different on Sunday than I am Monday-Saturday? How I react to every day things tell a lot about my faith and my character (double BAM!).

*Just as David had a giant to face, we have our own giants of today. They may come through a diagnosis, a betrayal, a failure, a natural disaster, the stock market, a death, a these times, we have to see the "giant" in comparison to God.  And absolutely nothing compares to Him!

I think the one thing that hit me the most out of yesterday's sermon was that David went on the offense. He didn't sit back and wait for Goliath to come toward him. David knew, without a doubt, Who was on his side. I find myself, lagging in this area of faith often times. I live life on the defense, I may be ready to tackle a giant, but only if I have to. I do believe its time to go on the offense. Lets face it, some giants need to be charged at and slain! My desire is to live with the proper focus: the battle belongs to the Lord and our ultimate goal in life is just to bring glory to His name!  "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Now, let's go in faith, knowing God is holding us, and slay some giants!

If you would like to listen to the sermon in its entirety here's the link:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Do You Know A Pollyanna?

I suppose for you to realize whether you know one you might want the definition. Here is what I found while looking for the "Word Origin and History":
"one who finds cause for gladness in the most difficultsituations," 1921, in allusion to Pollyanna Whittier, child heroine of U.S. novelist Eleanor Hodgman Porter's "Pollyanna" (1913) and"Pollyanna Grows Up" (1915), noted for keeping her chin up during disasters.

So do you know one? Are you one perhaps? Or does life seem to rob us of that innocence of believing and looking for the good in every person and every circumstance?

I remember growing up in a very happy home and being Pollyanna came quite easy. Even when I would put my socks in my drawer, I recall folding them up in a way that when I opened my drawer all of my socks would be "smiling" at me. Yeah, for real, over.board. :)  But I do remember it making me happy. Even into high school, I remember my principal nicknamed me "Squirrel" because he said I was always smiling.

Then life happens. Hurts come. Disappointments become the norm. You realize that the world is not made up of the kind of people you've been surrounded by your whole life. And even some of the very kind of people, church people, you have been surrounded by can cause the greatest pain. It can turn one bitter. Apathetic. Hardened. And to lose all Pollyanna type innocence and ability to look for good. 

I'll admit, I had become that person. I could still talk the talk, but to walk the walk was a whole other story. Its hard to always be positive; to be filled, ready to pour out mercy and grace to people. Its a daily struggle. A struggle that daily has to go to the Father. When I begin to pour out of my own cup, its quickly emptied and I have no patience for anyone, especially my family. When I allow Him to fill me, some days it takes more than one filling, its much easier to splash His mercy and grace on those who try my patience and drive me insane. 

As a child of the King, the one thing I still struggle with is that inner independence that I can tackle life on my own. I realize in doing this, its like putting my 11 year old dressed in his football gear out in front of an NFL line. It will be doomed for disaster. I will not succeed. Why do I try?  Life is a team effort and we have to surround ourselves with team players that can help defend us, go on the offense (to their knees) for us, and be willing to do the same for them. 

As a former Pollyanna, its hard for me to ask for help, because I feel as if I'm letting others down. Its hard to admit I'm struggling with life and need prayers. That oppression can bog one down or that others are draining me. I'd much rather go back to my old ways, put on the mask of Pollyanna, and go through the day all smiles and full of encouragement. I mean, that's what others expect. 

Now don't get me wrong, I realize I am blessed beyond anything I ever could have dreamed of and God has my hand and for that I am so very grateful!  Being human is not always easy, but then again, God knew that it wouldn't be. He sent us, His children, His Spirit, to comfort us, guide us, and allow us to feel wrapped in His arms. How can I not be Pollyannaish on the days I allow Him to do that for me?!!
Now do you remember what was on Pollyanna's locket?  "When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will." - Abraham Lincoln.  So today, why don't we try looking for the good in those we meet. I read a quote the other day that said something like "don't assume you know someone by one snapshot of their life, it takes a whole photo album".  Take time today to look through someone's photo album and be a Pollyanna for them. 

Hebrews 10:24-25
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”