I’m Done

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I’m Done

Wednesday morning of this week I had it with Gizmo (our mini Aussie). I got up and let the dogs out. Shep came back and Radar (my daughter’s dog) came back and Gizmo took off down the street. Picture this: I’m in my pajamas and it’s in the 20’s outside and I’m yelling “GIZMO COME BACK RIGHT NOW!” He runs further away. I’m worried he’s going to get hit by a car but he will not listen to me. I came back inside and said, “I’m done with this dog. I will no longer be the one who lets him outside!!!” I’m done with this little disobedient, willful, bundle of energy. What if God said this about us, “I’m done with these disobedient, willful children.”? If He said that He was done, we’d be done for!!! But with God, grace abounds and has no bounds. He never gives up on us, even when we don’t surrender to Him. Sometimes we are like Gizmo. God calls us to come back to Him and we run further away. That’s because, just like this little dog, we don’t always know what’s best for us. I’m sure running around without boundaries is fun—but there are always consequences. I watched as a car slowed down to avoid hitting him. I’m certainly not fast enough to keep up with him. For us, sometimes running around with no boundaries seems fun—but there are consequences. One of these is loss of intimacy with the Father. If we are being Gizmo’s, we won’t be open to hear where He’s leading, or how much He loves us. My daughter went out and called Gizmo and he came right back. Why? Because she called him with a sweet voice, I guess. Who knows? I know that I cannot let Gizmo out on his own—consequence—he will be on a leash while the others are not. Am I really done with him—no. But I had a moment—not a good one. But here’s the good news, “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners” and this is one of the ways God proves His love for us (Romans 5.8). He doesn’t ever, ever give up on us. Alleluia and Amen!

 

Blessings,

Rev. Deanna



Clearing Out The Clutter

Clearing Out The Clutter

Every year between Christmas and the New Year, I take some time off to refresh and regroup for the new challenges to come. This year, Scott and I are enjoying our time together at Legacy Ranch!  I noticed that my phone started vibrating every minute or so indicating I was getting emails—a lot of emails. These emails happened to be from our security system at the church. It’s not that someone was breaking in—it was simply because there was a glitch in the notification system.  I couldn’t stop the emails so what I did was stopped the vibration notification every time I got one.  This morning I woke up to over 3,000 emails…yes, you read that right!  Now I have to go through the process of sending all those emails to the trash bin.  There is no easy or fast way to do this on my ipad…but it must be done because I don’t want to lose any important emails buried in these nuisance emails. I’m in the process of clearing them out and I got to thinking about preparing for a new year. There are things that all of us need to place in the trash bin in order that we can clearly see our purpose for this next year. Our past failures, disappointments, mistakes, missed opportunities—these need to be moved out of our heads and hearts and into the trash bin. If we do not clear them out, there will be no room for new adventures, goals, vision and we will not clearly see the path ahead for the new year. Jesus is the way forward. But if we don’t delete those failures, disappointments, mistakes and missed opportunities from our in box, we will not see the way forward because of the clutter. Jesus is the truth and the truth of the matter is that He is bigger than our failures and mistakes; He will never disappoint us; and He places divine opportunities before us on a daily basis—we just don’t always see them because of the clutter. Jesus is life. When we try to do things they way Jesus would, this does change everything. Our outlook becomes more positive even when negativity is all around. What trash to you need to put in the trash bin? Spend some time discerning and praying and let Jesus lead you into this new year because He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14.6)! 

Blessings,

Rev. Deanna



He Didn’t Have To

 

He Didn’t Have To

I’ve been thinking about how God came to us—born of Mary as little baby Jesus. God didn’t have to do it that way. He could have simply appeared full grown as one of us. After all, He’s God and He creates and recreates. He is the master of miracles. God could have said, “I’m going to become human—and “voila” it’s done!  But that’s not what He did. Jesus was born like you and me. He had to learn to walk and talk just like you and me. He had to navigate living on this earth, just like you and me. He had to go through puberty just like you and me. God could have made Jesus’ journey so much simpler. Why didn’t He?  God became human just like one of us. He did not come into this world alone. By virtue of His birth and our births, we are shown that our life is meant to be done together. All of those “I’m spiritual but not religious” people who say they don’t need church…how can you be Christian alone? I believe one of the things Jesus’ birth shows us is that we are not born from nothing. We did not come into this world alone. Why do we think we don’t need anyone? Why do we think that others don’t need us? Our lives are meant to be done together. Jesus shows us that life is worth living…together. He shows us that every season of our lives is important—He has lived through the struggles of life and He didn’t do it alone. He was born into a family. He was raised by a mother and step-dad. He lived in a house with many others. When he was baptized…he didn’t baptize himself. John the Baptist did that for Him. He surrounded himself with disciples to journey with him. This is what we, in the church, do. We surround ourselves with disciples so that we can do life together, learn, teach, serve, worship and show others why we do all of this. Jesus, being God, really needed no one as He walked the earth; but even so, He shared His life with many and they shared with Him. This is what we do as a church. One cannot be a Christian alone if you do not invest time with and in other people. How can we “be love” alone.  Remember, Jesus told his disciples, “They will know you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13.35). So, my beloved, the next time you start thinking that you don’t need to go to church, ask yourselves, “Why has the church survived thousands of years if it is not necessary to our Christianity? Why did the Holy Spirit come to those people gathered on the Day of Pentecost—the birthday of the church?” The answer is, the church is the Body of Christ and the Body of Christ needs you as much as you need the Body of Christ! Find a church, go to church, and keep going to church. You may not think you need to be in church. I would say, “Think again.”

Blessings,

Rev. Deanna M. Young



Limitations–ME?

 
Last night I couldn’t sleep. Now, if you know me, you know this is very unusual for me. Sleep is my friend and I love my sleep. Sleep is usually not elusive for me. Last night was different. My back was hurting so much that I couldn’t get comfortable. I laid awake thinking, “What did I do to my back?” AHA! Then I remembered my planks in the gym on the bosu ball. I remembered feeling the pain in my lower back; but, I had set a time goal for my planks and by golly I was going to meet that goal. Now, because I didn’t listen to my body and acknowledge my limitations, I’m paying the price. I have physical limitations. You have physical limitations. God, however, is limitless. Because God is limitless, nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19.26). Now I know you might think, “Then why do we have limitations?” If we could do everything on our own, then would we need God? You’ve probably figured out that I’m not talking about planks anymore. I can work on that, listen to my body, and build my strength and endurance. I’m talking about the things in life to which God calls us. If we are called to get up in front of a group of people to give our testimony—the Holy Spirit will give us the words. If we are called to teach Sunday School for little children—the Holy Spirit will give us the energy and will teach us how to relate. If we are called to put our sermons on Facebook live, then the Spirit will give us boldness to do so. I have learned so much about technology while in the job I have. I have learned out of necessity to spread the gospel, not for my own profit or prestige. The Holy Spirit gave me the desire and drive to get it done. The Spirit will do that for you too. That old saying “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the call” is Scriptural. Hebrews 13.20-21 reads, “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” So, the next time the Spirit calls you to something and you think of your own limitations, then remember that God is limitless and, if you allow, He will show his power and presence through you. Now that’s something exciting to keep us up at night.
 

Rev. Deanna M. Young



Shouting from the Rooftops!

 

Shouting from the Rooftops!

 

I actually watched the Astros win the World Series. I am not a sports fan. As a matter of fact, my husband doesn’t watch sports either. But I got pulled in to the excitement and the anticipation of this great win for the team and for our city of Houston. And yes I am one of those that only watched the last two games!  I’m even thinking about getting a t-shirt. Would I stand in line all night waiting for a store to open to get one—no. That’s what many people did. They were so excited and couldn’t wait to get their shirts that it made me think, “Why aren’t people this excited about God?” Why don’t people stand in line waiting for the sanctuary doors to open? Now of course I’m not dissing the Astros…they worked hard to win that title. I’m proud of the team and our city needed an uplifting event after the horrors of Harvey. The Astros worked together to bring about this victory. Though I know one got the title of MVP, there would be no MVP without the rest of the team. As a church, we should see how every member of the team is necessary. Every member of the body of Christ is necessary and we all work together as a team to fulfill the mission of making disciples. We can’t all be preachers (can you imagine?)! However, we can do what we do to the best of our ability to make the team/church work for the good and glory of God. But somehow, somewhere along the way, many have lost their enthusiasm for team Jesus. Just like the enthusiasm for the Astros was contagious, our enthusiasm for Jesus can be too. I would have never watched the games if not for the desire to be a part of this thing that was happening. We want others to experience our enthusiasm for our faith so that they want to become a part of this Kingdom fulfillment that is happening. Matthew 10.27 reads, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” Have you been proclaiming from the rooftops or do others even know you’re a Christian?  Get excited about your faith. After all, what could be more exciting than salvation?
 
Blessings,
 
Rev. Deanna
 


Standing and Kneeling

Standing and Kneeling

Well, we got along for a little while. People rescuing people. Everyone coming to the aid of the flood victims. State helping state. There was a kind of unity that is heavenly! But it didn’t last long. Oh how we are like the Israelites wandering through the wilderness, forgetting what God has done for us! Our country is moving on to the next divisive thing. Unfortunately, this debate over the national anthem—stand or kneel—has gotten out of hand. In my opinion, there is only one to whom my knee will bow, my Almighty Savior. Kneeling is an act of reverence, submission and obeisance (Romans 14.11).Turning it into protest somehow doesn’t seem right to me. Don’t get me wrong, we live in a great country where we are free to speak our minds, but I am confused about the way this protest is being manifested. Being an American, I stand for the national anthem because I appreciate those who have fought for my freedom and this is one way to honor them. There are so many that have given life or limb so that we can have our freedoms. I’m struggling to see how disrespecting those people has anything to do with anything. As we stand before the flag and the anthem is sung, Americans are just that—Americans. The people who fought, and fight, for our freedoms do it for every American, no matter color, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, and gender. I’m not saying “don’t protest”. I’m asking, “please don’t do it in this way”. Let’s honor the reason that we have the freedom to protest and do it somewhere else. Let’s be the UNITED States of America and stand for the flag.  As for me, I will always stand for the flag and kneel only at the cross.

Blessings,

Rev. Deanna



Find God

Find God.

Warning. This devotion may give you the willies. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Last Saturday evening, Scott and I took my two daughters and their girls to a restaurant for dinner. We have been to this place many times before. Because there were 7 of us, they put us in a booth that you have to step down into after you take your shoes off.  Yes, it was a Japanese restaurant. As I’m getting in, I’m thinking—hope I can get out. Anyway, we are sitting there waiting for our main course and both Vic and I see at the same time something fall from the wall onto the booth right next to Wee. Wee didn’t see it. We are trying so hard to take care of this without scaring her but to no avail. She sees this gigantic roach and she screams at the top of her lungs the most blood curdling scream I have ever heard. Then her scream gives way to crying. I don’t blame her. The waiter comes over and we apprise him of the situation. He tries to take care of it. Now I’m still sitting on the other side of the table—blocked in.  And he says, “It’s coming for you.” No, I didn’t scream. But I did say to Scott and Vic, “Get out! Get out!”  I had no problem exiting that booth. Ok. So he got it. The owner comes over and makes excuses for the roach and says, “I’m taking 20% off your meal.” I am dumbfounded by this. Who wants to eat now anyway? As we are discussing the 20% among the adults, Eliza says, “That’s very nice of the man, isn’t it?” You see, I was considering what I would do next, and it didn’t include calling him nice. Should he have given us our meal for free (the meal I couldn’t eat)? Yes. We had a choice to make—follow the lead of Eliza or make a scene. We followed her lead. We gave that poor waiter a nice tip—after all, he was my hero. We will never go back to the place. But all in all, I think we handled the situation well after the little child led us.  I always say, it’s not our circumstances that define us, but instead how we react to them. We could have been angry jerks. But what good would come from that? Jesus was never a jerk. Jesus always handled everything in love and compassion. He didn’t make excuses, He just made a way for us to do the same. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19.14). Little children have a great sense of love, trust, and faith. This child didn’t focus on the circumstances, but saw the best in the situation. Maybe more of us should be like this. What are you dealing with today that makes you want to scream and cry? Find the good in today. It’s there because God is there with you every step of the way. (I warned you this devotion might give you the willies.)

Blessings,

Rev. Deanna M. Young



Caring

Caring

I, like anyone else that lives in the Houston area, or the Rockport area, or the Beaumont, Lake Charles, Vidor area, am emotionally drained these days. This, I’m sure, comes as no big surprise to those of you who live in or near these areas. You might say, “Well, I’m tired of hearing about disaster recovery.” However, my beloved, we cannot put disaster recovery aside. We must be in it for the long haul because it will be a long haul. For some who feel like they cannot contribute to the recovery process for physical, financial or other reasons—I say, “Yes, you can!” We can continue to pray into this process. Some who are older and cannot muck out homes, there are many other things that can be done—putting together flood buckets, cooking a hot meal for someone, picking up their prescriptions, the list is endless. I was taking a day of rest and finding that I still needed to do something productive. I baked some cookies, went and picked up 4 of my young grandchildren, picked up water and then we drove around one of the neighborhoods that had been flooded. The idea was to hand out cookies and waters to the people mucking out the homes. I told my grandchildren what we were going to do and I asked them “Why are we doing this?”  My 5 year old granddaughter, Madeline said, “Well, Mawmaw, I’m doing it because I care about people.” My heart swelled and I said, “That’s right!” Out of the mouths of babes. We do all of this because we care about people. And, because we care, it can be very emotional. But, here’s the thing my beloved, we must choose to see the good and the God in the recovery process. We must choose to be hopeful and positive about the future—because we have a God that is all about the future of His people. God knows our suffering and God is with us. God is working and God’s people are joining Him in His work. God is present and powerful, healing and soothing, guiding and encouraging all of us to do what we can. Our church has been collecting and giving out food, water, diapers, clothing. We are a small church but we are doing what we can. Some of our people will be helping our adopted school to register all the displaced children in their new schools. Some are helping their children’s teachers. Some are serving at the George R. Brown shelter. These are disciples of Jesus Christ serving as Christ taught them to serve (John 13:12-16). There will be plenty of opportunity to serve in this recovery process. Let us spread hope as we serve with smiles on our faces. Let us do it because we care about people.

Blessings,
Rev. Deanna M. Young

 



I Will Praise You In This Storm

I Will Praise You In This Storm

A storm is coming…literally. We have watched and waited. We have listened to the meteorologists make their predictions. We have remembered the last time we “rode out” a hurricane. We have made our preparations. And we wait. We wait to see what this weather will bring and we give thanks to God who promises to be with us in the storm. Here’s the thing. No matter what kind of storm we are going through, there are certain things we should do to be prepared. People waiting on a hurricane make sure they have batteries for flashlights, water, non perishable foods, fuel in their cars, and medicines needed. They also put away anything in their yards that might be thrown about by the winds; some board up their windows; secure their animals, etc. Then we wait. Many fear what might happen. Many fear what will be left when the storm is over. I remember how afraid I was in 1965 during Hurricane Betsy. I was 9 years old and it is something I will never forget. I have never been that afraid since. It’s not because I’ve grown up—it’s because I know my Savior. This doesn’t mean that I don’t watch and wait and pray. Because I certainly do. I am vigilant as we all should be. But, no matter what happens, I continue to praise God. I praise God for our ability to track these storms. I praise God for enough warning that we can prepare. I praise God for a family that heeds the warnings. I praise God for the fact that no matter what happens, life continues. My sister is proof of that. She and her family lost all their material possessions in Hurricane Katrina—but the family was safe. They began again. I praise God for that. So my beloved, if you are in the path of the storm…pray, prepare, and praise God! Fear not, just call out to Jesus and He will calm the storm of fear in your hearts (Mark 4.35-41).

Blessings,

Rev. Deanna M. Young


Unplug

Unplug

I took some time off. I unplugged and went on vacation. I wasn’t constantly checking emails and facebook. I wasn’t waiting for the next phone call. I spent quality time with my family—without our phones in our faces. When was the last time you unplugged? With all of our connectivity in today’s world, it becomes more and more difficult to have down time, to spend quiet time with the Lord. Think about the time when Jesus walked the earth. He often went away by himself to pray. Jesus was always “prayed up”! How much time do we spend on our devices (cell phones, iPads, computers, etc.) unnecessarily? Wouldn’t that time be better spent praying, or actually having a conversation with those around us? Of course I am pointing my finger as much at myself as you. It was very freeing to not be chained to electronics. But the moment I got back from vacation, I resumed my previous habits. That’s just what it is—a habit—picking up the phone to check texts, checking to see if there’s any emails, seeing who’s posted on facebook. These electronics help us in many ways. It does help us stay loosely connected with others. The gps helps us find our way to where we are going. I’ve seen facebook spread the word about a missing person—and helped the person to be found. These are good and useful things. However, when more of our time is spent on our devices than in actual relationship with others-this is a problem. So I challenge all of us—put the phone down, step away from the computer and have an actual conversation face to face with someone or undertake a service project, or visit a sick friend, or help someone with something just because. Above all else, pray. Pray that our God will lead you into deeper relationships that lead others to Him. Start today. Unplug from electronics and plug into a deeper relationship with God.

Blessings,

Rev. Deanna M. Young