Not So Easy

Today my heart is heavy thinking of all the Christians around the world being persecuted for their faith. In America we think we are being persecuted if we work for a company that won’t allow us to say “Merry Christmas” in the check out line. That ain’t persecution.

I think about all of the mommas and daddies in Iraq who have watched their children die at the hands of evil ISIS terrorists. I am in awe of a person who stands unswervingly in their faith while evil cuts their child’s head off because that father will not deny Jesus and pledge his life to another god.

In America we can’t even stand it when our child doesn’t get picked first for the kickball team in second grade. We throw a fit if our child doesn’t get into their first choice of college. We freak out if a business owner doesn’t hire our kid for the job.

And while all of that is going on and we try and decide what dress to buy our child for the homecoming dance, a parent in Iraq has to decide whether to put his faith to the ultimate test, assured he will see his child again in eternity, or abandon the faith he has claimed to save his child’s life here on earth.

I’d like to think if I were in that position I would have the eternal vision and make the choice to see my child in heaven. But let’s be real – I can’t even take it when my child gets strep throat. I bombard him with Tylenol, Motrin & antibiotics and feed him whatever tastes good and is soothing on his throat. I am a momma, and I have no intention of letting my child suffer pain here on earth if I can prevent it.

But if I’m an Iraqi momma, and I’m in the desert somewhere, no home left, a hooded man screaming at me to deny Jesus and accept Allah or he’s going to cut my child’s head off could I? Would I?

isis_beheading

I feel as though a floodgate has swung wide open and evil is having its way in the world. I’m grateful for my faith, as small as I feel it is compared to the mommas in Iraq. And I’m sure, very sure that I need to do as much as possible to build that faith – in myself and my children – before we are put to the ultimate test.

“But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33

How strong is your faith – really?

We all might want to spend some time working on that.

Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

God’s Delight

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. 
He will take great delight in you;
 he will quiet you with his love,
 he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

After reading that verse I simply sat for a few moments and meditated on how beautiful those words are. I had obviously read it before because it was underlined in my Bible, but the beauty of it struck me as I thought about what that verse meant to me.

God is with me (and you). It doesn’t say He’s with me when I’m a “good girl” or when I am in church – it says He is with me, period. He doesn’t leave me when the going gets tough or when I am disobedient. The Lord my God is with me.

He is the Mighty Warrior who saves me. And let’s face it – if you’re on this earth you need to be saved from someone or something. Fears, past sins and regrets, addictions, attitudes – we all have something that only Jesus can help us overcome.

I felt God’s gentleness as I read, “he will quiet you with his love.” Another translation says, “in his love he will no longer rebuke you.” Both translations simply say to me that God loves me, no matter what. He does not condemn me or rebuke me, but through His love He forgives me and accepts me.

And that’s not all God does for me. He delights in me and rejoices over me with singing. Really? Can I picture God being so happy with me that He is in heaven rejoicing over me with singing? What a beautiful example of His love for me! Reading that just made my day because part of my worship experience is singing praises to Him (alone, of course where no one but my cat can hear me), but I never pictured Him singing about his delight in me.

delight

God is with me. He saves me. He takes delight in me. He doesn’t condemn me. He rejoices over me with singing!

If you don’t spend time in the Word everyday you are missing out. Every day I read my Bible I find a nugget of truth or a promise from God to me like the one I just shared with you today. So I encourage you to spend time reading God’s love letters to you so that you will make beautiful discoveries of your own.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

Come on, Ray (Part 2)

This might be my last blog post on football but it might not – the day is young and there’s a lot of football news out there. Today I’m going to continue using Ray Lewis’ rant to drive home a few more points. (Read yesterday’s post if you wanna be in the loop.)

ray lewis

Continuing with the words of the All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis in his attempt to defend Ravens’ GM over the mishandling of the Ray Rice incident:

“Right now is a sad day for me because the reputation that I left in this organization, this isn’t it. This isn’t it. What was built that many of years took hard work to get that.”

Well geez, Ray – I forgot it’s your world and we’re just living in it. Who knew it’s a sad day for you? Really? Did you get cold-cocked in the elevator, slam your head into the railing and get dragged out like a scarecrow because that definitely did not look like you in that video, Mr. Lewis.

It’s not about you, Ray. Not in the least. And this narcissistic society in which we live is growing uglier every day like an ingrown hair on a witch’s nose at Halloween.

It’s not all about Ray, or you, or me, or your child, or mine. If we fail to teach children it’s not all about them guess what they think when they grow up? If our world revolves around our children first, then our jobs, our spouses next and then Jesus for the 2 minutes we aren’t running around like chickens with our heads cut off, is it any wonder we now have a generation of narcissistic adults who cannot comprehend I don’t care what they say on Twitter or how many likes they get on an Instagram picture?

Jesus was a servant FIRST and He put Himself LAST. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” (Mark 9:35)

And on the subject of reputation, do we really need to analyze the awesome reputation he gave the Ravens back in 2000? Is Ray suffering from some type of memory loss where he has forgotten that his attorneys got a plea deal for him where the murder charges were dropped in exchange for testimony against the other two people involved? Well, dadgum Ray – I’m sure the Ravens were real fired up about that reputation you gave their organization back then.

As I said yesterday, my intent is not to rake Ray Lewis over the coals but to use his own words to demonstrate some of the most serious problems we face in our society today: not being able to take responsibility for our actions, lying to escape punishment, and thinking it’s all about me.

Fortunately for Ray – and for all of us – we can start over fresh no matter how big the mistake, but we must first admit we made the mistake by confessing it to Jesus and if necessary to whomever we may have hurt. Only then can we experience the true healing in our spirit. It’s not a healing that comes from covering something up or pretending it didn’t happen – no it’s a pure, raw healing that comes from being truly repentant at the cross of your Lord and Savior. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

I’ll give Ray a little credit – I don’t think he means this the same way I would, but he did at least end his rant with a little sense:

“If I ask for anything in this whole thing, I ask let there be light.”

Amen, Ray. Amen.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

Come on, Ray (Part 1)

If you aren’t a football fan, 1) what is your problem? and 2) you’re just gonna have to get over it for a bit ‘cause the world of football is giving me LIMITLESS blog topics these days. I already gave my take on the Jameis Winston story yesterday, and yep – I got a new one today thanks to former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis.

Let me start by saying my intent is not to rail on Ray Lewis (as easy as he’s making it for me to do just that), but to show how Ray embodies some of the most serious problems we face in our society today.

On last Sunday’s edition of ESPN’s NFL Countdown show, Ray had himself a little rant as he was trying to defend Ravens’ GM Ozzie Newsome in the wake of the mishandling of the Ray Rice video and subsequent internal investigation:

“Sometimes we forget why we’re here. We’re here for one reason and one reason only. We’re here for domestic violence. We’re here because we saw a friend of mine brutally hit his wife in an elevator. There’s some things you can cover up and then there’s some things you can’t.”

Whoa, buddy. Let’s hold on just a minute. What exactly is OK to cover up in your world? Back in 2000 you tried to cover up your involvement in 2 murders, so I guess you would be of the opinion it’s OK to push ugly truths under an old, dirty, oversized rug.

But I’ve learned the hard way that if you’ve got to cover something up, it ain’t good. Ever. I can’t think of a single time that I tried to cover something up that it turned out all peachy-keen. In fact, even if no one else found out what I was trying to hide it didn’t matter because deep down I knew what I did and even worse, God knew.

“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)

Ouch.

Covering up mistakes to escape responsibility and yes, punishment is something children do on a regular basis.  How sad it is to see so many adults who never learn to speak the truth or to own up to their bad decisions and behaviors.

For the love of all that is good and kind, can anyone just stand up and say, “I SCREWED UP!” anymore? Have we all turned into Fonzy, unable to utter the phrase “I was wrr, I was wrrroo, I was wwrrrooon…”

Sin will come out in one form or another. But if we surround ourselves with people who truly love Jesus, who truly love us and truly have our best interest at heart we can quit hiding our mistakes and bring them to light so they can be confessed and forgiven.

Just say it. Confess it. Own it. Pray over it and get healed from it. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)

Just stop covering it up.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

The Popular Jameis Winston

No doubt you’ve all heard or read about the latest Jameis Winston issue. And sadly, it isn’t his first issue, it’s his latest.

The spotlight has been shining brightly and squarely on Winston, as it should. He won the most prestigious award a college football player can win, yet he still has no ability to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, what is appropriate and what is not. Winston made another huge mistake and should suffer repercussions if he is going to have any hope of learning from his behavior.

 jameis

Opinions about him as a young man, his behavior and his punishment are as numerous as the sand on the beach.   But I wanted to focus on a part of this latest Winston story that I haven’t heard anyone address.

As I was watching ESPN’s College GameDay on Saturday (as any good southern momma would do), I stopped in my tracks, coffee in Auburn mug in hand, when Chris Fowler said, “He (Winston) was repeating a popular internet meme.”

My mind zeroed in on one word. Popular. That one word made me sad, mad, frustrated – I felt many emotions all at once. You see one of the pieces in Winston’s self-destructing puzzle is that he was repeating a vulgar, vile, degrading but POPULAR meme.

Are we as a society so far removed from decency that we don’t take a minute to address THAT? Study after study has proven a strong correlation between repeated exposure to violence & porn and immoral, unacceptable and deviant behavior. Sure, Winston has shown repeated bad judgment. But he didn’t come up with all of this bad behavior on his own. He and so many children are being inundated with sexual scenes starting at frightening young ages, many of these scenes being brutal in nature. They show up in commercials, television shows, movies and all over the internet. And no matter how diligent you are as a parent, one will slip in from time to time on your watch (remember my rant on Hardee’s?). So why then are we surprised when these young adults behave like they do? It’s what they’ve been exposed to for 5, 10, 15 years – or more.

Until we as a society address what is currently popular and stand firm on the slippery slope the enemy has us sliding down, incidents like what we’ve seen out of Jameis Winston will only continue, become more frequent, and yes, get worse in nature.

So what do we do? Yes, we need to hold these companies who sling filth around accountable. But internet porn isn’t a company, so we must start with this simple yet very effective way to fight this battle – prayer. I pray every day against the enemy, declaring he has no place in my life, my family’s life, my home, etc. You may not feel like you can start a campaign against Hardee’s, but praying against satan so that he cannot get a foothold in your world is something you can and should do daily.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

The enemy is roaming, prowling, devouring. He’s turned immorality into popularity. We must fight him off every single day through prayer and living as Jesus would have us live.

My hope and prayer is for my children to love Jesus so much that they have no desire to enter into this dark world. But I know better – I know that satan will work overtime to drag them into his slimy pit of filth if he can.

He certainly has a hold of Mr. Winston.

When, I wonder, will we address what is popular?

Leigh

No Record

 My husband and I took a trip to the beach last week to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  Yep, I know I look way too young to be married for 25 years, but the marriage certificate says otherwise.

It wasn’t our priority to spend a lot of time in the condo. Our plan was to be out on the beach as much as possible or in a restaurant eating like there’s no tomorrow, enjoying the fact that someone else will be cooking and even better, cleaning up our plates.

But it is college football season, so if we were up in the condo eating lunch or grabbing a snack (I eat A LOT on vacation) we’d like to turn on the TV and catch up on the scores of the day.

When we turned on the TV in the den it came on, but was stuck on WGN out of Chicago. You know, WGN based in the north where they don’t care one hill of beans about SEC football. That WGN in Chicago.

WGN_9_News

So we go by the rental agency to report our TV issue and seek out a repairman. We explain our situation to the fill-in receptionist, give her our rental unit number and after some frantic paper shuffling on her part she looks at us with a blank stare and says, “I don’t have any record of you renting that unit.”

Well now, that’s funny because we have confirmation paperwork, the entrance code to the condo where we had already stayed one night and oh, by the way – you have a big fat check of ours already deposited, sister.

No record of us being there. Now sometimes in life you would like not to have any record of your being somewhere (can anyone say “college” with me?). We have all done some things that we are thankful no one has a record of us doing.

And thankfully if we truly repent and seek forgiveness, God does not keep a record of all our mess-ups. “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, Therefore you are feared.” (Psalm 130:3,4)

God has the ultimate memory, and if He wanted to He could recall every mess-up I’ve ever made. Today I am so thankful that because of Jesus’ great sacrifice I get a do-over every day.

God keeps no record of my sins. Amen to that!

Blessings for a wonderful weeknd!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

The Potential of my iPhone

I have an iPhone 4s. I know, I’m so old-school. My technology is so out of date I can’t even download the updates from Apple anymore. It’s so far gone my icons don’t look like anyone else’s. It’s so old people look at me and sneer, snickering behind my back at my brick-sized hot pink LifeProof case full of antiquated technology.

 LifeProof-iPhone-case

(I’ve had other priorities than upgrading a dang phone, in case you don’t read my blog. And in case you do, I won’t rehash them here.)

Honestly, all I really want my phone to do is 1)Be a phone. Yep, call me crazy but I’d actually like to be able to TALK to another person occasionally without sounding like I’m in a well or speaking in Morse Code (C…n —u— g… to l—…ch?) . 2)Text people. Most people under the age of 30 don’t talk to another human unless forced to speak by an older person or all 10 fingers are broken, so yes I need to text. And 3)Play Words with Friends. Some days it’s the only stimulation my brain gets (or can handle) so I like trying to come up with big words that I don’t remember the definitions for but can use to score punishing points against my WWF opponents (Qi – the best use of a Q if you have no U…).

I know I’m not using my phone to it’s fullest potential, even the antiquated potential of a 4s. I don’t really deserve a new iPhone 6 – someone who has 6,734 apps should clearly get in line before me, even though my renewal has been up for about 3 years.

And ya’ know, God has put potential in each one of us. And when we don’t use those gifts He’s placed in us I guess he feels about like the techno-geek looking at me with 3 apps on an iPhone 4s. So much potential there, but I’m not taking advantage of it.

Why don’t we use what He’s given us? Sometimes we don’t even know what our gift is. Some of us don’t think He’s blessed us with a unique talent or ability. And sadly, too many of us don’t care to find out because that would then mean we should actually spend some time figuring out how to use it for the kingdom and good grief, who has time for that?

The Bible clearly says otherwise. “But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” (1 Corinthians 7:7) “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

I’m no Ann Voskamp, but God has placed in me a desire to write. I was encouraged by a couple of friends a year ago to start a blog, so I took a leap of faith and went for it. And to be honest, it doesn’t really matter to me how many followers I have or reposts or likes. (I didn’t even know how to see those for about 6 months after I started writing the blog.) I write because God put the desire in me to share the good news of Jesus through words sprinkled with a little humor. My prayer is that Jesus will always be glorified through what I write and that at least one person will be affected in a positive way after reading my posts. My prayer is John 17:4 – “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”

So what is your gift? Do you know what it is? Do you know how to use it for His glory?

If you do, keep it up! If you are still struggling with this area I encourage you to get in a church that can help you discover your gift and/or be in prayer about it.

Don’t be like my iPhone – live up to the potential God gave you! Whether you know it or not, whether you believe it or not, you’ve got a gift to share with the world, so get busy!

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!