Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Pepsi, Birthdays and Me

Pepsi isn’t turning 60 this year, but I am.

My world collided with the world of Pepsi when I turned 6 years old. 

Just 6. 

6 without the 0 after it . . . a long time ago.

What started out as a drink called “Brad’s Drink” and was invented by a pharmacist in 1893 to offer to his customers at his soda fountain ended up being the catalyst of my excitement to turn 6 years old. Caleb Bradham’s dark caramel colored (Caramel E105d to name the exact color) carbonated drink has been renamed twice and by 1961 was known and consumed by millions all over the world. And they had a special truck named after it. The Pepsi Party Truck.

For every child turning six, Pepsi offered a free cake, ice cream and Pepsi drinks up to a
certain number for their birthday party. I remember the box, the small round cups of ice cream with the small wooden spoons and the Pepsi. I’m sure my party guest were bouncing off the walls for hours once they returned home with all the sugar, but it was a great time. Recently one of my granddaughters turned six and she got to enjoy the same Pepsi Party truck experience. (Even though now I believe you pick up your Party box from the bottling company, not a party truck.)

Now I’m adding the 0 to the number six and I’m not excited about the Pepsi Party Truck, but about what the next stage of life will bring. I don’t think I will morph into a multi-million company and touch lives for generations all around the world for years, but maybe I will . . . well, maybe not the multi-million dollar company part. But just maybe I will do something to touch lives for generations all around the world for years, through writing.

I don’t remember the actual gifts I received at the six-year party, but I am well aware of the gifts that my Heavenly Father has given me. What a disappointment to my parents if they gave me a gift and I opened it but never used it and enjoyed it. Same with my Father. How disappointed He would be to give me a gift and I never used it or enjoyed it.

So, as I embark on this new decade, one in which there is a 0 after the 6, I’m going to take the gifts He so graciously put in my care and use them. My prayer is that the words that will be written and spoken will touch lives for generations to come and through the amazing Internet, all around the world.

I don’t know how old you are, but I do know that the Lord has graciously given you gifts and has put them in your care. Are you using them? Did you at one time, but for whatever reason put them down or in a place for another time?

There is no time like the present. The One who bestowed these gifts also encourages us with His word for:
  • “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
  • “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10
  • Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:. . ." Romans 12:6    

It may not be your birthday but I would love for you to join me in celebrating not only our
salvation and the freedom we have in being God’s child through believing in His Son Jesus Christ, but also the gifts He has given each one of us. And as we celebrate, let’s not put the gifts aside, but use them as they were intended by the most loving gift-giver of all.

And as far as my 60th Birthday . . . 
a Big Happy 60th Birthday to me!!!

Scripture from English Standard Version (ESV) Bible
photos of 60th balloons and Beth by Beth Fortune
remaning photos courtesty of www.pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

God's Garden Gate

There’s just something about a garden gate that draws and prompts me to peak into the world beyond its frame. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rustic wooden gate that’s secured by rusty hinges or an ornate wrought iron masterpiece that’s standing as a sentinel guarding a valuable treasure . . . I long to go inside.

The intrigue of the gate is that it allows me to see just a little of what’s beyond the entrance. It may be a field of wildflowers, a lush pathway that meanders around a bend out of sight, a beautiful manicured garden surrounding statues and fountains, or a simple garden that someone has tended with love and devotion. But then that’s all I can see from the gate and that’s where the intrigue comes in . . . the desire to see more.

That’s also the way I see a new year . . . like a garden gate.

As I look ahead, I have already marked my calendar with dates for appointments, a much-anticipated play at the Peace Center, family gatherings and meetings therefore I can see into the year, a little. But, like the gate that only allows me a glance, there is so much more I want to see and experience.

Even though I can’t see the full year before me, I do know that God is already there and that He has a plan for me; “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer. 29:11.

My desire is that as I walk through the gate of a new year, that I will be more intentional in studying God’s word because it and only it will lighten the path before me.

 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105.

What do you want to be more intentional about this year? My prayer is that no matter what you find in 2018, you will have the assurance of God’s grace and love and feel His presence as He walks with you.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Obedience and Blessings . . . They Go Hand in Hand

Simon Peter and his men were tired. They had been fishing all night with other men in their own boat and had caught nothing. I'm sure they had mouths to feed, obligations to meet and probably were hungry themselves. All they wanted to do was wash their nets and go home.

But this man shows up and between the two boats he chooses Simon Peter and asked if he would take him out away from the shore a little so he could speak to the great crowd that wanted to hear him teach.

Once in the water, I wonder if Simon Peter found a place in the boat out of the way and leaned against the sideboard to try and take a nap. But how could he sleep. I'm sure the words he heard from the stranger must have pierced his heart, for after the man spoke to the crowd he then turned to Simon Peter and said "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch,"(Luke 5:4).

"But Simon answered and said to Him, 'Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net,'" (Luke 5:5).

Then it happened . . . "they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking," (Luke 5:6).

They caught so much fish that they had to ask the men from the other boat to come and help them. And not only that, they filled up BOTH boats to the point that they were sinking.

I have dreams. Don't you? Dreams for me, my family, my ministry, my job. But I get tired of trying to make things work out like I think they should. I toil on into the night sometimes doing the same thing over and over without any results.

But every once in awhile I hear "Do it again . . . even though you just did it and let me help this time."

Oh if I could always be like Peter Simon and say " . . . at your word I will . . ." when I hear His voice.

Sometimes Jesus chooses us, among others, to use in miraculous ways -- we must put aside our tiredness, our negative attitudes, and our will and do what He ask.

Are you sleeping in the boat instead of listening to God's word either by reading and studying on your own or hearing the word preached? Open you ears and your hearts to His teachings. He may be preparing you for something He is getting ready to ask you to do.

Is He asking you to do something today? Don't fall asleep in the boat and ignore His voice. Today may be the day He blesses you beyond your wildest dreams! It may not be a boat load of fish, but I can promise you this . . . it will be more than you can handle, even by yourself! And when He does it, you will KNOW that He did it, not you.

Photos courtesy of pixabay.com
Scripture taken from the NKJV of the Bible

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pause & Ponder . . . God's Timing

"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

Words spoken from an uncle to his niece years ago in a land far, far away. But can I take these same words and direct them to you? And me?

What's on your schedule to do today?

What's your "To Do List" look like?

Where will you be going today and who will you see?

What plans did you make, or were made for you, that you have to accomplish?

These all may seem trivial and of no importance in the great scheme of life, but are they?

Queen Esther knew that her people, the Jews, were in danger of being killed . . . but she also knew that if she went before the King unannounced that she too could be killed. She had no guarantee that he would receive her.

But God had a plan and her uncle Mordecai had a glimmer of hope and faith. Maybe, just maybe, his niece had been chosen as Queen "for such a time as this" to save her people. And she was. As she stood in the court before the King, she found favor in his sight and through a series of events, she was able to save her people for being annihilated.

Maybe, just maybe you have been placed in your family, neighborhood, job, or even your generation "for such a time as this." We have no idea how God wants to use us to further His Kingdom.

Jeremiah wrote "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; . . ." (Jer. 1:5). You may not want to believe it but before you were even concieved and in your mother's womb God knew you.

Yes, before GOD formed you in your mother's womb, He knew you. 
Can you get ahold of that truth? God is the One who formed us and 
He KNEW us even before He formed us. At that time He also sanctified us, 
which means He set us apart. 

We don't exist to wake up every day to go through the same mundane motions, get a pay check, eat a meal, sleep and do it all over again the next day. No, God has always known us, formed us, and placed us in this century "for such a time as this." He has something only we can do.

Take time to pause and ponder not only the idea that He has a plan for you, but what that might be. I can tell you it won't be found on your smart phone, on the TV, or listening to the news or those around you. It will be found by spending time with the Lord in reading His word and in praying.

It's the little nudges from the Holy Spirit, saying "go this way," "say this," or "do this" that will allow you to fulfill the plans God has for you. Don't let the enemy keep you distracted to the point you miss the many ways God wants to use you. For He created you . . . "for such a time as this."

Scripture from the New Kings James Version of the Bible
photos courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Rescued . . . A New Beginning

Her name is Gracie.

She was rescued.

Rescued from what?

Being hit by a car on a busy street in a North Carolina town. We don't know the entire story of why she was running after a car, but a friend stopped and opened her car door and this frighten dog jumped into the car and into her arms.

A week later my husband and I made the five hour trip to rescue her once again. We rescued her from being passed around from home to home and possibly sent to a shelter and made her apart of our family.

She is already loved  . . . a lot!

We are getting to know each other, my husband and me and this animal who seems to be healthy, well-behaved, and smart. She sits on command, understands the definition of no, and loves to cuddle. It doesn't matter where we are in the house, she has to be with at least one of us at all times.

We have only had her for two days, but already she feels like she has always been apart of our family. I can't explain it, but it's like she was meant to be ours. What a joy it is to open our home and our hearts and envelop this sweet little one with love, peace, and stability.

As I watch her play, sleep, and adjust to her new home I can't help but think about another rescue.

My name is Beth.

I was rescued.

Rescued from what?

Being hit by life and believing the lie that I could manage life without the Lord. I don't know the entire story of why I was trying to do things my way and on my own, but a friend stopped, opened His arms and I jumped right into them.

Are you trying to manage on your own? Are you trying to make decisions, find your way, or work through problems on your own? We all have a friend who is waiting with open arms to rescue us from this hectic life. He wants us to accept His invitation of help and allow Him to envelop us with His love, peace, and stability.

I believe Gracie gave us her heart yesterday.

I know I gave my heart to Jesus Christ years ago.

And I know I'm loved a lot. 

Grace, God's grace . . . Gracie story is this truth lived out right before me.

Won't you allow God's love to rescue you? His Son, Jesus, is waiting for you to accept His gift of eternal life today. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life," John 3:16.

Go ahead, let yourself be rescued.

You are already loved . . . a lot!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

When Enemies Get Cozy . . . We Must Be Ready

So . . . you’re going about your life, no problems or issues, and then all of the sudden BAM! You find yourself in a battle.

   Where did it come from?
   What did I do wrong?
   How did I get in the middle of THIS?

The questions continue to weave in and out of your thoughts causing you to freeze in your tracts.

   Which way do I turn?
   Where can I get help?
   Who can I trust to walk through this with me?

King Hezekiah found himself in a difficult situation. He was going about his kingly business, watching over his people, when the King of Assyria came and cozied up against his city and planned an attack. (2 Chron. 32:1-8)

What did King Hezekiah do?
  • He consulted with his leaders
  • He got others to help him
  • He built walls and repaired towers
  • He made weapons and shields
  • He encouraged his people.

And we can do the same, for we can . . .
  • Consult with others we trust
  • Get others to pray for us
  • Build our defense through prayer and reading God’s Word
  • Put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6) and wear it
  • Keep those around us that will encourage us

May the words King Hezekiah encourage you as they did his people many years ago. 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles. And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”

Next time you find the enemy camped next to you waiting to attack, (or if he’s there right now) take confidence in the words of Jesus THE king of Judah . . . 

“I will never leave you nor forsake you," Heb. 13:5.

All scriptures from English Standard Version ESV
pictures courtesy of pixabay.com