The Big Picture

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We had a wonderful Equipped Conference for our Connect Group leadership at Hebron Sunday. A couple of illustrations stood out as what we, as Christians, need to realize most in our lives. The first was of three workers who were asked what they were doing: the first said, “laying bricks.” the second, “drawing a paycheck,” and the third, “building a cathedral.” To go along with that, he gave the story of John F. Kennedy going to NASA for the first time and talking to the janitor, who was sweeping the floors, yet told the president, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

These guys saw the big picture! I wonder if we usually do. Probably not! We become so focused on our little part, we forget it’s not about us! It’s about Him! It’ His Story! I’ve always loved the old illustration of the tapestry we only see from the bottom, but one day will see in all its glory!

We’re studying Galatians and James this quarter in our Connect Group, and some people think these books conflict, but they don’t! If I showed you an image of Lincoln and another of a building, would you think they conflicted? No, of course not! You’d know they were two sides of a penny, the basic unit of our monetary system. You’d know five pennies make a nickel, ten, a dime, and 100 a dollar. Each of us is a basic unit in God’s system. He has a purpose and a plan for each of us if we only see the big picture and do what He intends for us. We are His cathedrals.

Paul tells us, because of grace, He saved us. We didn’t do anything to earn it. We couldn’t no matter how hard we tried! If we could have, God wouldn’t have needed to send Jesus. His death would have been unnecessary! At the same time, God didn’t save us to sit on our rumps and do nothing! That’s James’ point! Because we love Jesus for what He’s done for us that we couldn’t do ourselves, we ought to want to do everything we can to serve Him! We ought to be busily building as many cathedrals as we can!

At the conference, I just “happened” to sit behind one of the second grade teachers. I taught second grade for most of forty years. She had come in late, so I shared the cathedral illustration with her. She loved it! As we prayed together, she shared that in the past she’d become frustrated with the behavior of a couple of children. She’d almost quit, but hadn’t! I shared some of my similar experiences, but we both agreed that our little “cathedrals” were more than worth any of the frustrations they may have caused us. It’s not about us! The kingdom of God is made up of imperfect people who see the big picture and do everything they can to build up others to be the best cathedrals they can be!

God bless you!

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We had a great day Sunday. First I attended Hebron and heard a great message by our interim pastor, Steve Parr, and taught our Connect Group. Then I rushed to Green Tea, an excellent Thai restaurant, for lunch with Kristina, Ray and the kids, and then we all headed to 12 Stone for another excellent message. This one was by a video featuring Jeff Foxworthy and friends, and his 10 year service leading a men’s group at the Atlanta Rescue Mission.

Talk about synchronicity! The lesson and sermons were all working together to say God wants to do a great work in and through us! We came home and busily finished getting prepared for Kristina’s small group to meet at our house. I did miss going back to Hebron to hear Derek Spain preach. Derek’s sermons are usually one of the highlights of my Sundays. I especially love the traditional music there. Not that I don’t enjoy contemporary music too. I do. Sort of. What I actually enjoy is the spirit of worship. As long as that’s there, the music style doesn’t really matter so much to me.

We don’t often think of hospitality as a spiritual gift, but it’s on the list for a reason. Kristina told her group I loved to entertain, and she’s right, I do. But I don’t know that it’s one of my gifts.  I haven’t had much opportunity to do much of it lately, but I love the idea of a house full of guests laughing and enjoying themselves. The hardest part of living up on the mountain for ten years was that nobody would come to see us up there! I didn’t blame them. I wouldn’t have come to see me either! We had a foster child for three years and her social worker never once came! She tried once, I think, but got a quarter mile up the mountain, then turned around. Guess she figured Sherry had to be fine because nobody would dare bother her up there!

When I think of entertaining, I can’t help but picture the story of Jesus and Mary and Martha. I think we’re all Marthas by nature. We want everything to be perfect for our guests. Kristina made a cake yesterday, and because it sat in the pans to cool while we were at church, it didn’t come out of the pans like it should have. She wanted to throw it away. But I told her once she put the strawberries and glaze on top, it would be fine. I was right. We ate almost the whole cake. We worry so much about things that don’t matter. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. What matters is the relationships that are formed by our fellowship with other believers. God uses those times to knit us into a family-a family that together serves Him.

When was the last time you had friends over for a meal or just for dessert and coffee? Hospitality doesn’t have to be a big elaborate deal like we had Sunday night. It’s simply opening your home and your heart. It’s sharing what you have whether that’s a little or a lot.  And when your guests come, be a Mary. Put aside your worries about any minor details, and sit with them. Listen to them, and really talk. God will use the time to not only build a bond between you, but to open your heart even further to all He has in store for you. Doing His will is all that truly matters for eternity. Hospitality is a great place to start!

God bless you!

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Tomorrow should have been my fiftieth wedding anniversary. I say should have been because I was divorced at 40 years and three months. I have to wonder today if he even remembers, and if so, does he have regrets? Only he can answer that.

You may think because I’m divorced, I shouldn’t say anything on the topic of marriage. After all, mine failed. But I do believe in marriage. When I married I truly meant it to be “til death do us part” and if I’d had my way, that’s the way it still would be. But the state of North Carolina didn’t give me that option. It’s called a no-fault divorce. If one party no longer wishes to be married, there’s nothing the other party can do about it.

As my Facebook friend, Ginny Hamlin says in the title to her novel, Marriage Takes Three. Both parties have to give themselves over to God. It isn’t just a fifty-fifty proposition. It’s two people completely dedicating themselves to God and to each other. It’s a lot of work. Believe it or not, there’s no such thing as “fireproof.” Believe me, I know.

The Bible says Satan is a roaring lion seeking those he may devour. Christian marriages are one of his favorite targets. Two people seeking to serve the Lord are his worst nightmare! He is at his most creative in planning their destruction. They say that even in Christian marriages, fifty percent end in divorce. That actually is not true. Of Christians who regularly attend services, the figure is much closer to 10%. Unfortunately, I was part of that percentage.

I loved my husband with all my heart. Most people believed we were the perfect couple. Our kids even complained we were too affectionate for old folks. They thought it was embarrassing to have parents who still held hands at our age.

That doesn’t mean I believe the principles set forth in the movie Fireproof aren’t good. Far from it, they’re great! For the most part, we’d always followed them. We had a date night. We made time for each other, and prioritized our time together. Maybe that’s why the marriage lasted as long as it did. We’d married young, so it wasn’t supposed to last at all.

Communication is the key to marriage. It’s where mine fell apart. Secrets literally kill. My advice is if something changes, and your spouse won’t talk about it, know that something’s wrong! If you can’t explain it, but you know in your gut something is off, it is! Get to the bottom of it immediately! Don’t take excuses!

I honestly believe that if I’d been able to get my husband to talk to me, to share what was bothering him from the beginning, we’d still be married today, and celebrating our fiftieth wedding anniversary tomorrow. It didn’t happen, and by the time I knew the truth, it was too late. He didn’t want to make it work. Marriage does take three.

The problem is we give Satan too much power. He doesn’t have any unless we give it to him. But both have to give it to him. Not just one. Stand firm and tell him to flee! If you both want it, he has to!

God bless you all, and make your marriages truly strong!

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CJ got a four-wheeler for his birthday. Like every other Pollard I ever met, he has a “need for speed!” He climbed Stone Mountain in 14 minutes on Saturday. There’s something in their genes that makes them a ball of energy. Sometimes I wish I had a tenth of it, and anybody who knows me knows I’m not exactly slow myself.

But we’re each made different and designed to function in our own way and at our own pace. When you think about it; that’s pretty neat. I don’t have to run at ninety miles an hour. I’m not meant to. I kind of have a weird personality. I call myself an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert. I’m not sure which. I can be perfectly at ease teaching a classroom full of people or sitting alone at my computer for days working on a novel. I can work circles around people half my age when I need to, or I can lie on a beach reading a novel for an entire day. Maybe that’s the writer coming out in me. The point is God has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives, and He designed us exactly to function in that plan. It’s literally written in our DNA.

I did decide to have my DNA checked on this week. They say I should get the results in six to eight weeks.  One of the things I learned in my research for the novel I’m writing now was that the Cherokee (Tsalagi) were storytellers. They had a rich mythology that encompassed both the physical and spiritual realms, and customs that were strangely similar to those of the ancient Hebrews. For this reason, a few researchers have claimed they were the “lost tribe of Israel.” Don’t know if that’s true, but it’s a fun thought. Perhaps this was one reason they were one of the first tribes to be “Christianized.” (They did tend to retain some of their ancient beliefs and customs into their worship practices.) They were also herbalists, healers, artists and artisans, and educators. By the late 1700s, over 90% were literate in both Tsalagi and English, a claim few other ethnic groups could make. I truly hope what I’ve always been told is the truth, and I do have a rich heritage with them. Even if not, I’ve been greatly enriched just learning about them.

“Jeremiah  1:5 tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” and Jeremiah 29:11 adds, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” The same God who made the entire universe took infinite care to design us for His purposes. Not only that, but He knows us far better than we even know ourselves. From the foundations of time, He was stringing together the beads of our DNA to make us exactly the people He intended us to be. He knew our strengths, and He knew our weaknesses. He knows our joys and He knows our sorrows. And He is good. Have you ever seen the diagram of the laminin in the DNA strand? It’s shaped like a cross! To me, that’s so amazing! A need for Jesus is right there in it.

One of our choruses Sunday morning went “He is good all the time, All the time His good.” I couldn’t help but think of one of my former pastors, Doc Holliday. This was one of his favorite expressions! He’d have us say that line back and forth to him over and over. It made me never forget it though, and it’s something we shouldn’t ever forget! God is Good! His love is far beyond our comprehension. He went so far as to write it into our DNA.

So what should that mean to us? If God loves us, we need to accept ourselves just the way we are, stop trying to be something we’re not, but do strive to be the best us we can be. No, I’ll never beat my Grandson up Stone Mountain, and I’ll never even want to drive as fast as my kids! But I can do what I can to maintain my own physical fitness, and I can move at my pace to accomplish the goals God has set before me to accomplish.

God bless you!


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An Attitude of Gratitude


Happy 8th birthday to my grandson, Christian Insley, this week. CJ has brought so much joy back into my life. I praise God for his life, his energy and enthusiasm, and his affection for this grandma. Thank You, God, for CJ.

We were talking about thankfulness this Sunday morning, and it was mentioned that the things we’re most thankful for when we get older have nothing to do with “stuff” like they may have when we were younger. Having a career, a house, and a nice car and furniture, etc. might seem like a big deal when we’re young, but as we get older, we only want love and affection from our loved ones, health, and bare necessities. Even as those things are gradually taken away from us, we come to realize that if we have Jesus, we have all we need. And we can be grateful.

But that attitude of gratitude doesn’t come naturally. It’s a gift from God. And like any living thing, it has to be fed and watered daily, or it can die. The quickest way to kill it is constant grumbling and complaining. Joy and discontent can’t occupy the same space. It’s like a law of physics. Think of two cars going down a highway and one passes a truck but doesn’t see the tiny car passing on the other side of it, and they both move to the center lane at the same time. You know there’s going to be a crash if one of them doesn’t see the other and get out of the way in time. Does that make any sense? Either Joy kills the discontent, or Discontent kills the joy. Unfortunately, which is more likely? Yeah. We have to purposely set aside the discontent. Get it off the highway!

We give the poor Israelites a hard time about their constant grumbling, but honestly, under the circumstances, would we have been any better? I doubt it. They were low on food, water; those are bare necessities, tired and weary, probably had sore feet and aching backs, eating the same thing day after day, and having to get up at the crack of dawn to go out and gather it before the sun came up and dried it out. None of them remembered what it was like in the Promised Land. Their parents and grandparents hadn’t even been born when they’d come to Egypt. To them, Egypt was home. To us, freedom is something to be highly cherished and even to fight and die for, but we have to remember that to them, it was a meaningless concept. Nevertheless, their grumbling made God angry.

We need to remember that! What have we really got to grumble about? They say that the poorest person in America is wealthier than 90% of the world’s population.

So how can we go about feeding this attitude of gratitude? My friend Krystal Weeks makes it a habit to write down five things she’s thankful for every day. I can’t say I do that, but it’s a great exercise in thankfulness. She also gave me a blessing jar to write down my blessings. Again, the fingers are pointing back in my direction. It’s something I need to work on. God has blessed me! I need to be much more intentional about letting Him know I recognize it, and I am grateful for His blessings.

I also said feed and water. We water our mind with the Word of God; living water. The Bible teaches us the ASK principle. Ask, seek, and knock. Any need we have, God will provide. As we realize this more and more though the reading of His Word, it becomes so much easier to trust Him with all our tomorrows. Grumbles fade as answered prayers take center stage in our mind.

There’s another principle in Matthew 28:18-20. I call it the Come and Go principle. Come to the water, and go tell the world. Because He has blessed me so, I should also be about the business of sharing those blessings with others. God never saved me so I could sit on a pew in silence. He loves me. He loves the world. Be a blessing to someone today.

God bless you.



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Thank you to Bill Culbertson for the gorgeous picture he sent me for this blog post. It goes right along with what was on my heart this week. I love the trees reflected in the water. It reminds me so much of Psalm 1. Jesus referred to Himself as “Living Water” and as His children, we are to be firmly planted in the water and reflect Him to the world.

Yesterday (Monday) was the eleventh anniversary of one of the hardest days of my life; the day I said goodbye to my youngest daughter, Kara. I’ll miss her for the rest of my life no matter how many years that is. A mother’s love is meant to be one of the strongest forces God created. It can withstand anything. I would have gladly traded places if it could have meant my daughter would live. But such was not God’s plan.

Of course Kara’s death was right in the middle of what already was the hardest time in my life anyway. I’d always thought I had a fairy tale marriage that would last “until death do us part.” Our kids always complained mom and dad acted too much like newlyweds, always holding hands and kissing. They said it was embarrassing. Now that was also gone. It didn’t have anything to do with Kara’s death sentence. It only took away that shoulder I’d leaned on for support for so many years. (It would have been fifty years this September.) Now all I could lean on was Jesus! Praise God, He’s all I needed to get me through. But that definitely doesn’t mean it was easy. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done!

This is not a sad doom and gloom post though. This is a shout of victory! Victory in Jesus is possible! Even in the worst of times, even in the darkest days you never thought you’d make it through, Jesus shines forth like a beacon leading us to better days ahead, to hope for the future and a purpose for living.

In the last eleven years, I’ve seen a new grandson born and grow to now a third grader; I’ve published four books, and have a couple more ready for publication (that’s my next step), and I’ve bought and sold a home in my new place of residence (Georgia). Life does go on. Not easily, but step by step, if we keep our hand in His, Jesus will lead us like a loving father through the tumult that threatens to drag us under. I can say this with extreme confidence because I know. I’ve been there. I don’t have to wonder “what if.” The worst possible what ifs have already occurred and Jesus brought me safely through. If He’ll do it for me, no matter what you’re going through, Hc can and will do it for you too!

Jesus teaches us to reflect and remember. The Israelites were told to put large  stones in the water as they crossed the Red Sea as a witness to what God had done. Those who don’t remember are doomed to make the same mistakes over and over. But He also teaches us to look forward, not backwards. We can’t change the past, so we’re not meant to dwell there. We’re to look up, to Him who is the Rock of our Salvation, and He’s promised to never leave us or forsake us. He’s a God Who keeps His promises!

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What Are Your Kids Being Taught?

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Can you believe school is already back in session? When I was in school, we were out from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Does it make me a bad grandma to say Yay?! Having two teenagers and a seven year old in the house while you’re trying to clean makes the task difficult if not almost impossible. You clean their bathroom and they decide it’s time to take a shower. You clean the kitchen and they make themselves lunch at three o’clock in the afternoon.

Of course the teenagers are making themselves lunch at three because they’ve just gotten out of bed, so now you have to change and wash their sheets. Yeah! Like I said, so glad school’s back in session.

But I do worry what my grandkids are being taught there. I read on Facebook this morning that some schools are bringing drag queens into kindergarten classes to read to the children and talk about gender identity. I was appalled! But I guess I’m really not surprised. The move to indoctrinate our children into alternate lifestyles has been going on for years. It’s a sad world we live in! Kids are the target of every hair brain scheme out there, and much of it, like this new project, is funded by liberal agendas in our government.

Why can’t we let just kids be kids? They grow up too fast as it is. Why can’t they just learn reading and writing and arithmetic like we did? Speaking of which, why can’t they learn cursive writing? The argument is it isn’t “necessary” today. But learning about drag queens’ lifestyles is? Have we lost our collective minds?

At five years old, a child’s sexuality is just developing, and they’re too vulnerable to be subjected to all this garbage! The words they hear at this age are the determining factors to their later sexuality. Parents or others who call a kid a “sissy” or a “pantywaist” or any other such derogatory name are asking for the child to have later issues with their sexuality. How much more harm will this cause?

Most of the blame lies with us as parents. Do we even know what our children are being taught these days? Common core math is bad enough. Don’t get me started on that one, but how much of their day is being taught math and science, and how much “social studies” and exactly what does that include? Do you really want your middle schooler being taught how to use a condom? The odd thing is they won’t let high schoolers see what an abortion is really like. That might actually deter them from having one! Seeing a baby being torn limb from limb is not exactly conducive to sexual promiscuity, which is what they’re actively promoting starting at kindergarten.

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I’ve spent a lot of time this week reading about the Trail of Tears for my WIP (work in progress), a novel about the Eastern Band of Cherokees. I’ve always been told my grandmother was pure Cherokee, but since I’ve heard so much about Elizabeth Warren falsely claiming an Indian heritage, I worry that I may be doing the same thing. I went to the library to check on, among other sources, but I couldn’t find much about her. Some have told me that actually supports the claim she was Cherokee. Apparently, because of discrimination, at that time, most didn’t advertise the claim. I found plenty of records for my dad’s side of the family, and I did find a marriage license for her and my grandfather, but that’s about it. My grandmother died when I was three days old, and her husband, my Irish grandfather, died when I was very young, so I remember very little about him either. I knew my mother only had a third grade education although she loved to read, but I never knew why. Then, a Monacan Chief told me in the thirties Indians weren’t allowed to be educated beyond the third grade. It made perfect sense if Mom was half Indian.

The Trail of Tears was one of the most despicable events of American history, yet it has been largely omitted from our history books. Our kids have probably never heard of it. I know I never had until I started researching my own history. Why? Because it was one of the most shameful examples of greed, avarice, and racism the world has ever known. And it would tarnish the names of some of the heroes of America.

It started because in 1802 Thomas Jefferson promised to relocate all the Indians in Georgia to lands west of the Mississippi. He seemed to think they would go voluntarily if he offered them enough incentives. That compensation was “a good rifle, a blanket, a kettle, and five pounds of tobacco.” Compensation for property was “transport and twelve months of support on arrival.” He could also receive $50 for every four persons he brought along. Jefferson seems to have had no concept they might not agree to go. Then, in 1835, after gold was found in Dahlonega, GA, and land speculators like Andrew Jackson and Wilson Lumpkin, (the governor of Georgia) used Jefferson’s promise to round up Indians (not just Cherokee, they were just the most vocal and the most literate) and seize their property. From June to December, 1938, they marched 4,000 Cherokees to their death. Between 1835 and 1840, removal cost more than 10,000 Cherokee lives. This doesn’t even merit a footnote in our history books?

The student I tutor refuses to even read the word Negro. I tried to convince him today it wasn’t a derogatory term any more than Caucasian is a derogatory term for the white race. It was simply a designation of the black race. I’m not sure he was convinced. Should I feel the same way about the term Cherokee? The actual term is Tsalagi. Cherokee is a corruption of the word.

They say history is written by the victors. It’s certainly true in this case. Doesn’t it make you wonder just how much of what we’ve always been taught as “truth” actually is? It does me.

There’s only one thing I have no doubt of. Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6) He’s proved Himself true throughout history (His Story).

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This was supposed to post Tuesday, but apparently it didn’t, so here it is.


We’ve had a tough series of lessons in our Connect Group the last few weeks. I alternate months teaching with Linda Jenkins, and I tease her that somehow I always get the doozies! I don’t mind though. I filled out a questionnaire for Rubart Writing Academy last night, and one of the things I wrote was that God had given me a gift??? of holy boldness. I’m not afraid to speak out God’s truth on most any subject. So this month, we’ve discussed David’s adultery with Bathsheba, Amnon’s rape of Tamar, Absolom’s murder of Amnon, and today (Sunday) Absolom’s treachery to overthrow his own father. These are heavy subjects! They’re not your typical superficial Sunday School lessons that focus on the positive and tend to ignore the more “unsavory” passages of scripture.   Even so, the lesson writers were careful to “skip over” the actual rape of Tamar, the passage that described how Absolom murdered Amnon, etc. They only dealt with the aftermath of the events. That was okay too. The details weren’t important to the point of the lesson, and there are some people who would have been offended by them (or perhaps even worse, not offended?)

It’s so funny that most church going “Christians” will watch R (or X) rated films, or read some of the garbage that passes for literature in their homes, but if such subjects were openly discussed from a godly perspective in their church, they would be “highly offended.” Maybe they would be, or maybe they’d simply be convicted, and use any excuse available to avoid future conviction. The Bible isn’t afraid to discuss any subject. Our lessons this month prove it. So, why are we, as His ambassadors, so mealy mouthed?

When’s the last time you heard your pastor speak about adultery? Abortion? Rape? Alcoholism? Child abuse? Spousal abuse? LBGT members of their family? These are issues people deal with every day. Think it doesn’t happen to church people? Baloney! No wonder so many people don’t find church “relevant.” It often fails to deal with the needs they most want addressed. It tells them the church really doesn’t care about their problems.

In Romans 1, Paul gives a stern warning against suppressing the truth. We might think He’s merely talking about the truth of Who Jesus is, but if we read the entire chapter, the result of this failing to speak out is “degrading passions.” We see that every day in our world. Human trafficking abetted by organizations like Planned Parenthood is only one of the more rampant examples that’s recently come to light. We must speak out!

But we must also speak the truth in love. Compassion and care are our most potent weapons. Yes, we must speak out against abortion, but we must also be willing to offer alternatives; to get involved in helping young women in desperate need. Abandoned children need foster or adoptive homes. Former alcoholics and drug addicts need jobs and housing if they’re to have hope to stay clean. God has given each of us at least one gift. It may not seem much of a “gift???” Like Adrian Monk, we may consider it both a gift and a curse, but it’s truly the exact gift someone else needs. What is your gift??? How does God want you to use it? Is this the time for its use?

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It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’d promised myself I was going to get back at it, but it’s easy to procrastinate when life is so out of kilter. I finally closed on selling my house last week. Getting rid of a house full of stuff is harder than you think. I’m now living in one bedroom in my daughter’s house. It’s a nice sized room. I’m not complaining, mind you. I’m blessed she allowed me to move in with her family. I simply couldn’t afford to maintain a house any more.

Along with the move, I had another birthday this week. Did anyone ever think getting older was a change for the better? I’ve said for years I didn’t recognize that old person in the mirror, but at this point she’s getting to look an awful lot like my grandma! I’d say it’s a good thing my kids all looked like their dad, but I’m not sure that will work out for them in the long run either!

Not all changes are bad. But even the good ones can be stressful.  My son Kevin found me a car at an auction yesterday. Like me, my Saturn has seen better days. All of a sudden in the last couple of months, it’s started cutting off on me whenever I come to a stoplight or slow way down in traffic. If you’ve ever had something like that happen to you in a middle lane on I85, you know it’s time to buy a new car.  It’s been a great car for the last twelve years though. All I’ve had to do was change the oil on a regular basis, put new tires on, and I replaced the battery twice. But that’s nothing for a car I paid $10,000 for and put 120,000 miles on. I only pray my Nissan Sentra will serve me as well.

Imagine if we lived in Jesus’ day. This new preacher comes along and He wants to change every single thing about the way we’re living. He turns over the money changers’ carts. He calls the priests a “brood of vipers.” He even has the audacity to proclaim, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes unto the Father, but by Me!” Is it any wonder the Jewish leaders of His day were distressed? Wouldn’t you have been? The thing is they had heard about the miracles. They’d seen the evidence. But they refused to believe it because it upset their apple carts. Just like aging, change is inevitable. We can either accept and embrace it, or spend our life being miserable and grumbling about it. I choose life. I chose Jesus. God’s not finished with me yet. If He were, He’d take me home. I’m ready for that too, but in the meantime, I look forward to whatever changes and challenges He places before me in this next year. God bless you!

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