Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Turtle Tuesdays: No Hiding

This is not a fish tale you are about to hear. It is a true turtle story. (The only stretching you will see is with this turtle's neck!) He who has ears, let him hear!

Monday afternoon, I went outside with my camera to photograph a ceramic turtle for today. Turtle Tuesdays is when I feature one of my special turtles and their story. I know it is silly, but I feel led to share my turtle collection with you. My Springer Spaniel, Bandit, was already outside. He had found a REAL turtle. He held it in his mouth for a moment, then dropped it. Bandit was scared of the little turtle. Some watchdog huh!

That was the moment I met B, the Real Turtle with a Word.

Wow, I thought. God sent me a turtle for my (b)log. Thanks, Lord. What great timing He had! (I knew He was reading my blog. : )

I placed B in the garden for a photo shoot. After her encounter with Bandit, she had withdrawn into her shell. I waited for her to stick her neck out. My eyes and camera were focused on her.

I waited and I waited and I waited. She just sat there. There were no signs of movement.

How long was B going to keep me waiting????

Then it hit me. Oh my goodness! God was talking to me. I was B, the turtle with my head in my shell again!

God is waiting on me...."B" His Girl, to stick my neck out in obedience. It's my turn! He has asked me to do something and I have not moved in it. That's all I can say about that for now, but B's Turtle Tuesday word is not just for me. You were sent here to read this.

Is He waiting on you too?

The Word says, "But my righteous one shall live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.

"B" His Girl

Thursday, July 24, 2008

God Was At The Beach Last Sunday!

Do you remember the last time you were at a Worship Service and something powerful happened? Something that caught the attention of everybody, not just your own personal moment...

I may be walking on quicksand saying this, but truthfully I do not witness those kind of moments in church services often. Why is that? Last Sunday was the exception. God was at the beach. He was not on vacation like many of us, but working at our service, Worship at the Water. The message was about reaching out to people, like Jesus did with the leper in Matthew 8: 1-3. The sermon was titled 'Just A Touch'.

A couple of homeless men with a dog stopped by our beach service. They did not have a cardboard sign announcing they were homeless. Their appearance was a major clue. They looked tired, dirty, and one of them was still intoxicated from the night before.

During the closing song, God nudged me to give their dog water. The pit bull enjoyed the cold drink and I met his owner, Chris. I listened to his story and offered to pray with him. As I began to pray, Robert, the intoxicated one, joined us. He was sobbing. Ruth, the pastor, gave Robert her Bible. He was gently rubbing his hands across the Bible trying to wipe the sand from the cover. He held it close, like it was his new found treasure. He kept saying through his quivering voice, "She gave me her Bible. Can you believe she did that?'' He was so proud of that Bible. I will never forget that moment. It made me think about how I see my Bible. Do I treasure His words to me every day? Do I sometimes let dust collect? Chris reached inside his pocket to show me a coin with a picture of Jesus on one side and the Last Supper on the other. It was his reminder that Jesus was with him. To be honest, I was floored how much Robert and Chris had to say about the Lord.

I prayed with them. Tears poured from all of our eyes. Two or more were gathered in His name and let me tell you ...He was in the midst of that sand! I have been blogging about cardboard signs, the homeless, and the question of who is our neighbor over the past couple of weeks. Those things keep crossing my mind. God was stirring my heart for what He had planned. Two days prior to this service, I was asked to be the speaker this fall for a charity fundraiser for the homeless. I realized God was preparing me for that message before I was asked.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works , which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 I found myself speechless before Him. (I think that is a good thing. He does too! :) 'Be still and know that He is God' was the proper response.

I would love to hear powerful moments of the Spirit's work in your church service. Have you seen His Spirit touch someone lately? Step out in Faith today and see the power of God operating in your life.

"B" His Girl

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Turtle Tuesdays: On The Yellow Brick Road

Meet B the "Turtle of Oz". She is a favorite from my turtle collection. She makes quite a splash in the pond with her fashion sense. Not everyone could pull off this look like B. However, clothes do not make the man and in this case, the turtle either. Here is what makes B special.

B is a traveler through this land just like us. This is not her final destination, nor ours. She knows, 'There's no place like home.' I am reminded as I look at B's ruby slippers that I too will one day click my heels together and go home. I will see the other side of the rainbow and walk on the yellow brick road. ( aka streets of gold.) B's crown and any I might have will be cast at the feet of Jesus. B makes me feel homesick. The best is yet to come!
Keep walking by faith.
"B" His Girl

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dummy Mic

Was He talking to me??? I had to stop and laugh the moment I saw read the sticker. Yes, I felt the Lord was talking to me!

The message was on a microphone of all places. How appropriate for one who calls herself a 'speaker'! "Dummy Mic" it said. (No comments allowed from my two friends who read this : ) I thought about what God called me, not a speaker, but a voice...a voice for Him. The 'dummy mic' fit perfectly. He Speaks...I am just the outlet.

My friend B mentioned the fact that my husband's name is Mike. Get it? Dummy Mic (Mike). There were two of us! I got 'the look' when I shared that with my hubby. A smile at the right moment can get you out of the dog house.

Have you identified your gifts? We have all been gifted to serve our neighbor. And who is our neighbor? Sometimes we still want further clarification on the whole 'neighbor' thing. Read Jesus' response to that question in Luke 10: 30-37.

If we want to have eyes that see, God will show us people who are stranded on the side of the road in life. They have almost given up. Many people have already passed them by. They have no hope. We can see the pain from their wounds. They need to see the Great Physician. God wants to use our gifts so they can see Him, not us!

Step out in faith today and use your gifts to be a blessing to someone else.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11
Use it or Lose it!
"B" His Girl.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Battle Over JOY

There was a fierce battle fought over these three letters, JOY!

I knew I had an unfair advantage when I won my JOY! Yes, I prayed. I also enlisted other prayer warriors in the battle. We were serious. Prayer and praise are always a good strategy when you are facing your adversary.

After six long days, I received the notice. I WON! The cost of that battle for the three letters was only $45.00 dollars plus shipping on ebay! The prayer warriors and I praised God for the great Joy I received in the victory.

You might think the story ends like this...And Barbara and JOY lived happily ever after in her house. No, it wasn't like that at all. Every battle won comes with a lesson if you choose to hear it. I was about to learn how to get MORE JOY!

I started to hang my JOY on the wall. My husband said, "Barbara, your Joy looks like a billboard sign. It's too big for our house!" "But Mike...I like signs. I have great Joy in my life!" I whined. You know how women sometimes define their body shape by a fruit...like pear shaped. Well, my spiritual fruit shape is 'JOY'. It works for me. I hate it when my husband's right, but I knew Martha Stewart would back his decision. My walls were not tall enough to contain my JOY.

What was I going to do with these letters? I went back to square one, which is prayer. What did God want me to do with the treasure He gave me? 'Share your JOY with others' was the direction I received. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."Luke 6:38

My JOY is now in the church. When Nehemiah, a praying man, and the gang rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, they had trouble keeping the JOY inside their walls too. Here is their story line ...And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away. Neh 12:43

Jesus won the battle for us. What are you doing with the JOY you were freely given ?

B His Girl!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How I Came to "B" His Turtle Girl

I was driving across the 3 mile bridge... sharing my dilemma with my friend Laura. God had just revealed something absolutely shocking to me! He was calling me to talk about Him.... out there...in front of people! There is nothing in my personality that likes being up front . ( I never wanted to be class president.) What was He thinking??? I already talked about Him constantly, but I did that one on one. I just have to say this. How could anyone not talk about Him if they really know Him? I joke with the Lord that it would take more than duct tape to keep me quiet about Him. : ) He is the Alpha and Omega, and EVERYTHING in between.

As Laura and I were discussing my call , it was so overwhelming. " I just want to 'b' a turtle and put my head in my shell" I said. At that moment, a picture of the this turtle passed before my eyes. My friend, Anita had given it to me a couple of weeks earlier. Then I heard the Lord say to me, "Barbara, I don't want your head in a shell. I want you out there for me." It was a moment, a bridge moment that I will always remember. What would I do with that moment? What are you doing with your moments?

That is my 'in the beginning' of "B"eing His turtle girl. By the way, did you notice the color of my first turtle? Yes, she's green. Kermit the frog, in his book said, "It's hard being green." Dittos Kermit! Do you know where this turtle is headed as she comes out of her shell? The Deep! Deep calls to Deep! The light draws her gently to the water. Imagine seeing her face when her flipper first touched that refreshing water. WOW! She wanted to tell all the other turtles who were stuck in the sand that there was MORE ahead. "Don't give up; Keep Walking!" she found herself saying.

What am I doing with my moment? This turtle's talking... out there. She found out she could do MORE than she thought she could. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13. No more hiding in my shell; The Lord is my hiding place now. (Psalm 32:7) P.S. I have read the end of the story. The turtle wins the race!

"B" His turtle girl.

*If a turtle loses his shell, is he homeless or naked? ; 0 )

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

SIGNS, SIGNS... What's on your cardboard?

Signs! They are everywhere: the flashing neon variety, computerized signs, faded billboards, and even cardboard ones. Have you been reading the signs?
Maybe this one is familiar in your area too.
Picture this... a possibly 'homeless' man at the end of an exit ramp... His sign says, 'Hungry. Need work. Please help. God Bless.' We want to read his cardboard box story, but often we don't want to really see the one holding the sign. Is he for real or not? We question that. Know that feeling?

I started a new Sunday School class last year, The Piranhas...Hungry for God. Because I have a slightly creative, mostly goofy side to my personality, I decided to use this cardboard sign to promote our class in the coffee/bagel area of our church. You might say it was an 'out of the box' move, something you might expect from a turtle girl. (Tell me, how many people really read the church bulletin?) People saw my sign... and I felt God was asking them the question, not me....Were they hungry for MORE of Him in their life?

Are you hungry for more of God in your life?

The results of my cardboard sign ad were interesting. Some wanted to know more and others pretended not to see the sign. Bagels were the bread of choice.

Sometimes we try to contain and control God in our life. That does not work for Him. He wants to tear our cardboard box open and use it for His Glory. Or better yet, choose to break your own alabaster box. Others are reading your sign every day. What's on your cardboard? People want to know, 'Is He is for real or not? ' Don't leave your story unwritten... God sent us a sign, a universal one. He hung His sign to us on a tree set on a hill that could not be hidden.

Point others to HIS SIGN! It reads:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

"B" His Girl
****Notice the rays of light on the "H" in my Hungry for God sign. Can you see the rainbow of colors there? He left His sign on my sign. Thank you Lord. I am taking that response as a sign of your approval of this post. I am counting this as a comment on my new blog. : ) Post anytime Lord. You are just too much for me...for all of us. Your greatness we cannot fathom!
Check out more cardboard signs on youtube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvDDc5RB6FQ

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Heart to Heart with Him

Delight Yourself in The Lord
© copyright 2008,
Betty Shoopman, Artist
Sunday morning as I was driving to a worship service on Pensacola Beach , I longed to talk to God about what was weighing heavy on my mind. Should I bring it up? The problem was with US, our relationship, aka me and Him! I know He already knows these things. Do you ever have those moments where you need to be 'REAL' before Him? It's time . He tell us to present your requests (Philippians 4:6) so I did just that. Here is how my heart to heart talk started:

"Lord, where I am with you isn't working for me. (There...the issue was in the open!) I want/need /desire MORE, MORE, MORE of YOU." I envisioned a beautiful table set before me. It was fit for a King and I was feasting on the things of God. Imagine seeing the 'all you can eat special' with your favorite foods you delight in ! Later that morning at another worship service, this time with stained glass windows, I shared with my friend Dione my experience at She Speaks last week. She Speaks is a writing/speaking conference with Proverbs 31 Ministries. It was amazing. He is AMAZING! Boy, do I have some stories to tell about Him. More to come!
I have to share a little background about US (me and Him) for you to understand this story today. God and I have "a thing" with turtles. Yes, I did say turtles! Hang in there with me on this... I call myself one of His little turtle girls. He uses turtles symbolically to communicate with me often. I had a really fun God/turtle story to share with Dione that I saw on a billboard as I drove through Atlanta coming home from the conference. She reported seeing a turtle that morning in her yard as she left for church. Amazing coincidence, huh! She had no idea I was a turtle girl. Dione had thrown out some food in her yard the night before. (Her husband is a star chef so I don't know what the problem was. Maybe she cooked it!) The box turtle was chowing down on that food! Dione had never witnessed a turtle eating. His neck was stretched out from his shell, feasting on his prepared meal. He was delighting in the meal he found. Immediately, I knew God showed her in the natural what I asked for in the spiritual. He was saying YES to my request for MORE of Him. : ) His table is always set for you and me to dine. The invitation to Come and eat of Him is open 24/7 and beyond. He is waiting for us to join Him. So what are we waiting for????????? Dig in! Taste and see that the LORD is good. (Ps 34:8) I will meet you at the table!

B, His turtle Girl