A Job Well Done

This morning, when I stepped out onto my back porch the weather was absolutely breathtaking. The sky was a deep, deep blue with a doppler of fluffy white clouds scattered here and there. As I looked around I noticed the deep, hunter greens of the trees and shrubs and the beauty of my colorful flowers spotlighting the back yard creating the perfect backdrop for the sounds of singing birds. It was very serene and majestic moment.  Suddenly, the peaceful silence was interrupted by the sounds coming from the garbage collectors as they went up and down the streets of the neighborhood emptying and replacing the trash cans.  At first, the interruption of my peaceful morning annoyed me.  But, suddenly within my spirit I realized what an important job these workers were doing; not only in my life but the lives of all those around.  I started thinking how we put such emphasis and glory on certain jobs, professions, and professionals and forget the everyday necessities of those who help to make our lives more bearable. I mean, can you imagine for one moment what it would look like if these highly dedicated workers didn’t come around every week to empty the trash? We get all excited about some stranger running a football across the goal-line or some guy hitting a ball over the fence, but fail to recognize the people in our lives who make our daily living more enjoyable. So, I went back into the house, grabbed a piece of copy paper, and wrote a note of “thanks” for a job well done.  Then, I hurried outside to tape the note to the top of the trash container.  Unfortunately, I was too late; the gentlemen had already come and gone. So, I posted the note on the front of my refrigerator to remember to tape it to my trash container next Thursday. I just wanted to say, “Thank You” to a group of people who may not receive a whole lot of thanks for the job they do.  This also reminded me of the scriptures found in the book of James, chapter two.  The Epistle of James writes for us not to have “respect of persons.” He gives the example of someone entering into the congregation with goodly apparel and someone else entering the congregation in vile (poor) raiment. He warns that it is “sin” to have respect for the goodly apparelled individual by giving him or her a good seat upfront, but ignoring the poor individual who is given a cheaper, less visible, seat in the back.  I think we sometimes make this same comparison in people’s jobs and professions.  Actually, the Bible teaches us that “all” work is godly when it is done in the name of the Lord (Colossians 3:17 KJV).  It also teaches us, “And, whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24 KJV). So, today let’s be thankful for all those individuals who do a day’s work well done; for we do not know what rewards may be awaiting them when we all enter that Heavenly city, saved by the Grace of Christ Jesus.  Today, is there someone  that you might like to “break away” and say, “thank you” for A Job Well Done? I hope so.

Remember, God Loves You,

Lin T. Rollins, Author

OMG..It’s Not About Me!

A few days ago, I bought my three-month-old granddaughter, Erin, an adorable blue-jean skirt with a t-shirt that reads, “OMG, It’s All About Me!”  What a cute and appropriate outfit for a little baby girl… It’s all about me!  But, as we get older things change and we quickly discover that everything around us is not about “me.”  A few years back, pastor and author, Dr. Rick Warren, wrote a best-selling book called, The Purpose Driven Life.  In it he teaches that our main goal in life is to Worship and Honor God; no matter our circumstances.  This is also the first of the Ten Commandments…”Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, and mind.”  Today, as I was having an unbelievable uplifting time of study in the Word of God, the Spirit lead me into a prayer time where I heard myself saying over and over again, with such intense joy and delight, “Oh My Gosh…Lord, It’s NOT about Me!” I was so thrilled and filled with the Spirit of Joy as I prayed unto God saying, “God, you’re the guiding force in my life.  I give you my eyes, my feet, my voice, my hands, and my ears to hear when you speak to me.”  I was so thrilled as I got up from lying prostrate on the floor praising God that it is All about Him and His Glory, and His Honor…….And, OMG…it’s not about me! This special time with the Lord resulted from a study I am putting together on “The Joys of Water!”  Our word, “water” in Hebrew is “mayyim” which means Life and Refreshing.  On a hot, hot day, how many times has a good, cold, glass of ice water quenched our thirst and refreshed our bodies?! No other drink on planet Earth can refresh us like a simple glass of water…It is life-giving and refreshing.  Today, I wonder how many of us need a glass of refreshment in our daily lives? So many friends and family whom I know and love are facing many difficult hardships right now in their lives.  Without the refreshing of the Word of God and the Spirit of God, we would all perish under the stresses of life.  But, each day we can read the Word of God and become refreshed in the same way that water refreshes our natural bodies.  God sees and knows the bigger picture, the end from the beginning, in our lives. We, as humans, have tunnel-vision; we only see what is right in front of us. As we face things in our lives, it’s good to remember that everything happening around us or even to us in not necessarily all about us! God has a divine plan that may not be revealed until we reach the shores of Heaven and possess our new bodies.  So, as we face these times of trials, tribulations, and stresses, we can rest in the assurance of God’s word that He will safely lead and guide us through the storms of life.  So, even though I am going to enjoy seeing my little three-month old granddaughter wearing her new outfit sporting the words…”OMG It’s All About Me”…I know that as she grows older, she, too, will learn that, “It’s Not About Me….But, It Is ALL About God!”   Psalm 55:16 reads, “As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.”  Today, if you have not already done so, Break Away from your busy schedule to call upon the refreshing, life-sustaining, promises found in the Word of God and remember that even though Hollywood and reality TV tries to bombard our minds that everything around us is about, “me,” …..it’s truly about God!

Remember, God Loves You,

Lin T. Rollins, Author

What’s Important to You?

Have you ever asked yourself what is truly important to you; not to others or not what you think others would have you to say, but what is truly of value and of importance to you?  For me, I think the answer(s) to that question changes with time and age. At the age of sixteen, I think we might list our value and importance on friends, acceptance, school work, and having a good time with minimum damage!  However, I’m not so sure that those same things are not still important today; at the age of fifty-five.  For me, friends are still very much an important part of my life. We all want to be loved and accepted by those around us.  We have simply exchanged school work for house work, and we still like having a good time with minimum damage to our hips, knees, back, and shoulders! With this philosophy in mind, I suppose life can be described as a course of repetitive cycles.  The Bible even teaches us about “seasons” of life. Seasons of joy, seasons of sorrows, seasons of gathering, and seasons of letting go. You might conclude with a life time of practice that we would be able to handle these various “seasons” in our lives with more confidence and assurance that whatsoever the state of being at the presence, “This too shall pass.”  Knowing and accepting that things won’t and don’t stay the same forever in our lives is allowing Wonderful Wisdom to take up residency within our hearts and mind.  “What’s important to Me? My answer…Today is important to me.”  Whatever it is that I am doing in the present moment is important.  I am alive and this day is important. Whatever it is that you are doing at the present moment might not be the grandest or most exciting thing you’ve ever done, but it is important. The task of emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the bathrooms, folding clothes, buying groceries, washing the car, or mowing the lawn all become precious and important because the day is precious and important. When we think on life and its importance in this manner, each day lived becomes more and more special and important. Today, you might be doing tasks around your home, or you might be traveling to visit a friend or loved one, or you might be sitting beside the ocean somewhere, no matter what you are doing just remember that whatever it is…Today is Important… Wisdom gently reminds us that we might not have tomorrow. So, we learn to live in the gift of life called Today… Now, ask yourself…What’s Important to you?

Remember, God Loves You.

Lin T. Rollins, Author

Giving of Thanks

The Bible teaches us in I Thessalonians 5:18, “In EVERY thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

It’s easy to get excited and to say “thank you” for the good things in life; a new job, a new house, a pay raise, a healthy new baby, a perfect vacation, a sun-filled – fun-filled day, a new friend, a good report from the doctor, a gift from a loved one or friend, even a good grade back on a test. These happy things make our hearts to fly high and the giving of thanks simply flows easier from our hearts and lips.

But, what about the darker times in life when our hearts are saddened and discouraged? It’s much, much harder to give thanks to God, if not nearly impossible, at the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a pay decrease rather than an increase, when the unexpected happens, a stormy rain-filled vacation, a bad report from the doctor, or a bad grade on a test.  Yet, God did not have the Apostle Paul to write to the Christians at Thessalonica to only give thanks in the good things.  The Holy Spirit instructed Paul to write, “In EVERY thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Did you notice the words, “the will of God?” One meaning of the Greek word for our English word, “will”  is “Thelema” which also means to “take pleasure.”  Simply put, when you and I get our “will” in something, it usually brings about a certain amount of pleasure. Therefore, God’s sovereign Will brings to him “pleasure.”  Don’t get me wrong. God doesn’t take pleasure in the bad things that happen in our lives, but it gives Him pleasure when we exercise and demonstrate our faith in Him by the giving of thanks in Everything. The giving of thanks in Everything demonstrates that our faith and trust are resting solidly in His favor.

Let’s look closer.  The verse is saying that the “giving of thanks in everything” is the will of God. Have you ever wondered why God would want us to give thanks in the bad times as well as the good times? I believe that by our giving thanks in all things it demonstrates our faith in a Holy, Righteous, All-Knowing, Omnipotent God.  The Bible teaches that it is “impossible” to please God without faith.  The book of Hebrews teaches us that, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for,the evidence of things not yet seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). By our giving of thanks in all things it releases our faith in God allowing Him the pleasure of knowing that no matter the circumstance, we believe that God still loves us and can and will work it out according to his plan and purpose for our lives. (Romans 8:28).

Many years back, I was faced with a situation that I thought could and never would happen to our family.  It resulted in a violent storm of emotions.  It was shocking, upsetting, disturbing, and life-changing, to say the least,  for all involved.  At the time, I was devastated with fear and grief for the situation and the future.  After a very long day of processing the event, it was time for bed. As I placed my head onto the pillow, I once again sobbed endlessly. Yet, my Spirit seemed to speak louder than the sobs I was crying. It told me to remember to “give thanks” in EVERYTHING. I, immediately, began to pray, “God, this is so hard to do, but I will be obedient to you in this matter, and I will give you thanks, Honor, and Praise, for this situation. I will trust you and thank you in this.” As I continued to cry and cry, I prayed harder and harder thanking God for the situation we were now facing. It was way late into the night and early morning hours before I fell asleep with the continued words of thanksgiving flowing from my heart and lips. I have never forgotten that day or night.

Today, I praise God for the circumstances and the end results of that situation. Today, I know that even though it was a period of uncertainty and fearfulness in our family’s hearts and lives, it was also a time of trust and triumph in God. 

I truly believe that when we give thanks unto God for EVERYTHING that it releases a force of faith that surrounds our lives that can and will bring about Joy in the Morning.

Today, you may be facing one of the darkest, hardest situations in your life. You may think that I have gone mad to suggest to you to give thanks for the cancer that might be eating away at your body or the body of a loved one, the diabetes that might be taking away a foot or limb from your body, you might think I have gone insane to suggest that you give thanks for the loss of a loved one, or the forth-coming loss of your home or career; whatever it is that you are facing, by faith, you can choose to give thanks unto God.

I can assure you (only through the Word of God) that God delights (takes pleasure) in those who come to him in Faith by the giving of thanks in EVERYTHING.  You will discover that a new Spirit of Hope will take over your situation and fill your heart and mind with Peace (from the Prince of Peace) as you face the circumstances and situation; a Peace that passes all understanding. 

I know; I have been there more than once in my life. It is sometimes scary to step out in faith to give thanks in a bad situation, but “the trail of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:7 KJV).

Let us pray today together, “Heavenly Father, our Creator and Maker, today we come to you by faith in the precious name of thy son, thy only Son, Christ Jesus, believing in our hearts, soul, and mind that you are in all things and above all things happening in our lives.  Always believing and giving of thanks in all things; everything in our lives both the good and the bad, we thank you for. Knowing Heavenly Father that you are the God; the One, the True, and the Only Living God knowing the end from the beginning in all things. Knowing that you will lead, guide, and direct our hearts, path, and steps as we face these troublesome days ahead together.  Father, I give you my pain, I give you my joy, I give  you all things in everything by hope, faith, and thanksgiving of both the heart and mind that it may bring about thy will, thy honor, thy praise, and thy glory for my life. In all these things we pray in the precious Name of Jesus, Amen.”

I pray that if you are facing a difficult time in your life right that today’s message of hope may bring about a solace and joy to your heart, soul, and mind.

Remember, God Loves You.

Lin T. Rollins, Author

Where Is My Ice Cream?

Today, is my birthday. I am now fifty-five years old and can officially move into a senior-citizen’s living community! There is a very nice one a couple of miles from my home and every time I drive pass it I see the entrance sign, “Senior Living Community – Fifty-Five Years and Older.”  Today, I am a bona-fide “Senior!” Wow!  How great is that. But, there is one birthday in my life that stands out above all the rest; my tenth birthday, forty-five years ago today.  I spent that particular birthday celebrating with doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and family. Twelve days before my tenth birthday, I entered Crawford W. Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia for a pioneer pediatric heart surgery to cut-out and remove a blockage in the aorta artery. Even though I tried to enjoy the birthday festivities that day from my hospital bed, I was still very sore and weak.  At the time, it was still hard and difficult to breathe on my own. The surgery required my heart surgeon, Dr. William A. Hopkins, to cut me open from the center of my back on the left side to the center of my chest. He then removed two ribs and made his way to the aorta artery as it descended out from the left heart chamber. The undetected blockage had been there, no doubt, since birth and doctors felt it was a miracle that I had survived to be ten-years-old. But, I am a fighter just as many of you. I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs how tiny I was for my age. The blockage had kept normal blood flow from entering the lower parts and extremities of my body; so it hindered my normal age growth.  Decades later, I would discover (in my 50’s) after suffering from an brain aneurysm and later a vertebral artery dissection that the upper body hypertension during those first ten formative years had weakened the upper vessels in my brain.  A condition I now live with. But, without the heart surgery back in 1966, doctors gave little hope; if any, for me to survive another few years. Obviously, the surgery was a success as I have celebrated forty-five wonderful birthdays since that day; all which I have been grateful and thankful. But, what about the ice cream? See, I had originally entered the hospital back in 1966 to have my tonsils removed. Being a kid and somewhat apprehensive about the situation, my parents PROMISED me all the ice cream I could eat after the removal of my tonsils. So, I arrived at the hospital fixed with hopes and happy thoughts of eating bowl after bowl of yummy ice cream.  However, after I was admitted, nurses at the hospital discovered that I had no pulse readings below my waist and my blood pressure readings were off the chart.  Quickly, they consulted chief of staff and director of the Coronary Care Unit, Dr. H. S. Ramos, who immediately cancelled the tonsillectomy and ordered, instead, a heart-cath. I was transported to Eggleston Children’s Hospital and then to Emory Hospital for the procedure. There, they discovered the aortic blockage and put together a team of thoracic and heart surgeons headed by St. Joseph’s Hospital chief of thoracic surgery, Dr. William A. Hopkins.  It pretty much goes without saying, the “ice cream promise” got loss in the shuffle. Instead of sitting up and eating ice cream, I slept heavily sedated under an oxygen tent for nearly ten days after the procedure.  On the day of my tenth birthday, the kitchen staff baked and decorated a birthday cake for me. All of the ICU nurses, staff members, and attendants showed up for the occasion; even my doctors.  On that day, I didn’t get to play exciting games, ride a pony, or even pen-the-tail-on-the-donkey, but I did get to eat birthday cake and finally received the belated promise of ice cream.  My tenth birthday party may have been held in a hospital room, but it was truly one of the best birthdays parties ever.  A couple of days later, I was discharged from the hospital and sent home for recovery. Over the past forty-five years, birthdays have just been more and more special to me. I cherish each one and will always, always be thankful for that group of precious doctors and nurses who cared enough about this little girl to make the day special with a party, birthday cake…and yes…ice-cream!  Wait, I think I have some ice cream in the fridge right now calling out my name! LOL!

Friends…The Spice of Life

I love friends; who doesn’t. Life can become rather scary, sad, dull, bland, and lonesome without taking the time to make and keep friendships thriving along the way. After all, friends help to put the energy and spice back into our lives.  Friends can be classmates, work peers, neighbors, sisters, or even a brother. Someone who loves you unconditional. As mothers, our children grow up, leave home, and without the yearly holidays coming around we might not even get to see them very often. But, with friends you don’t need a holiday, birthday, Mother’s day, Father’s day or even a special occasion to get together; just some time nestled out of your busy schedule to meet somewhere to snack and chat. It doesn’t even matter the location. It can be a back yard swing, a kitchen table, a living room sofa, a gym, a front porch rocker, a hiking trail, a swing in the park, a drive in the car, a stroll through the Avenue, chairs at Barnes & Noble or Starbuck’s, a booth or table at your favorite sandwich shop or ice cream shop, or even a table at McDonald’s. When you’re with a friend, it doesn’t have to be the Ritz Carlton.  Several weeks ago, I met with one of my dearest and long-standing friends at Chick-Fil-A. We nearly homestead the place chatting and laughing our way right through the lunch hour to nearly the dinner hour.  Our lunch time together was like a dose of medicine to the soul. Today, I repeated the same scenario with two other friends (one being a cousin as well as a friend) at a Mexican Restaurant nearby. We arrived at 11:30 and left at 4:00.  We laughed, we talked, and we even prayed together. We provided support and encouragement to one another; and it was truly a swell time together.  I don’t think a vitamin B12 shot could have helped more. When I left, I actually felt revived in my heart and spirit. True friends leave you feeling refreshed and strengthened; ready to face the challenges of life.  With friends, the cares of life seem to diminish; if for only a while.  As I was driving home, I pondered the fact that if everyone could  find enough time to spend with one good friend chatting, laughing, and sharing our hearts, we could just about shut-down the counseling business! After all, counselors are trained good listeners and when we have friends who are good listeners, our troubles don’t seem as large anymore; they’ve been shared with a friend.  I am so thankful for my friends, both old and new, who have put spice into my life and helped this  girl out so many times by just listening, chatting, laughing, and being there for me.  Today, you may have friends like mine and know exactly what I’m talking about. If it’s been a while since you’ve visited with a friend, don’t put it off any longer. Pick up the phone, send a message on FB, or send an email setting up a time to snack and chat.  You owe it to yourself and to your friends. You both will feel years younger when you depart (maybe not in appearance!) and your steps will feel lighter. And, remember if you are in a situation right now in your life where you can’t find alone time with an earthly friend talk to Jesus; day or night. He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, and He will always be there for you. Friends…The Spice of Life.

Betrayed and Rejected

I am almost certain that I’m not the only person who has ever felt betrayed by people; including both friends and family. I think it just happens, but you wonder why and for what purpose; after all, none of us are perfect.  Being a retired teacher and pastor’s wife, I was faced with lots of challenges in dealing with people; some good; some not so good. But, long before becoming a wife, mother, and pastor’s wife, I was a child just like each of you. I remember the first episodes of feeling betrayed and rejected…the infamous school playground! I nearly hated seeing recess come around each day. I was small for my age, so I was always the last one picked to play tag, dodge ball, or Red Rover, Red Rover…send so and so right over. I hated those games; I could never win and even worse was when all the other kids had been chosen, there I stood being placed, by the teacher, on whichever team had the least number of kids. I could never run fast enough to make it to the swings, so I hardly ever got to swing.  Then, there was the fifty-foot high sliding board. Of course, it was probably not four feet off the ground, but when I finally reached the top and looked down it felt as if I was fifty-foot off the ground! The first time I slid down the board I didn’t know how to stop myself with my feet, so I landed totally on my butt knocking the breath out of me. The teacher had to run over and help me get up. Of course, a bunch of mean boys stood there laughing; don’t you hate that kind of stuff! I’m not sure I ever got back on that sliding board again! So, thus life begins, and as it turns out the playground is a pretty good place to practice for what lies ahead! There are always the “mean” people who stand around laughing when you fail at something, there are always those who can reach the swings faster, or those who seem to always be chosen first and succeed at everything they do. Wow! But, for those of us who find life a little more challenging, I think we develop a deeper sense of understanding and compassion. Betrayal and Rejection hurts; no matter how young or old we are. I am reminded that Jesus, too, was betrayed and rejected by his closest friends and family. I, sometimes, talk to Him (in prayer) about this because I know He knows how I feel.  And, He knows how you feel when it happens to you or to one of your loved ones, as well. Believe me when I say that I have been rejected and betrayed at all levels in life; by family, by classmates, by peers, by neighbors, and by church members.  It would take far too long to describe each incident; but they were real and the pain from each of them was just as real. Today, you may be facing rejection and betrayal in your own life by someone; even someone you had confidence. Talk to Jesus and remind Him that He knows how it feels to be rejected and betrayed. Let His hands help to wipe the tears from your eyes and to settle your broken heart. After all, one day maybe it’ll be you making it to the swings first, being first chosen on a team, sliding down that old sliding board in confidence. But, just remember when you do, stop and look around to see if someone else is being left out, rejected or betrayed.  If so; pause to remember how it feels. After all, the best way to use life’s experiences is to help others who may be facing the same thing!

Remember, God Love You.

Lin T. Rollins, Author