An Eternal Transaction!

Recently, I swiped my red Target card to pay for a purchase so that I could get my 5% discount. Surprisingly, the POS terminal stated my purchase could not be completed . For the moment, the sales transaction was suspended. What?!  Was my first reaction but immediately on the heels of that I remembered the debit card attached to my Target card had not been updated. The Sales Associate was awesome and took the extra time to get me squared away AND  still get my discount!  This morning’s Jesus Calling devotion, brought that memory to mind. The Lord says that His love is an eternal transaction; nothing and no one can reverse it!  I don’t get to enjoy his love today and have to wonder about it tomorrow.  His love doesn’t expire nor is it attached to anything that will cause it not to work (like my debit card). Most of all, it’s not connected to performance. Crossing T’s and dotting I’s don’t win any brownie points with the Lord. Instead of that, God encourages us to bring our performance anxiety to Him and receive in its place His Unfailing Love!

I heard that! Somebody just said, “Why would God love me?”

Simply answer.  You belong to Him! He loves you because you are His. Period.  That love is what invites you to come to Him and have relationship. Not based on what you’ve done or can do but based purely on what He has already done to secure the relationship. He sent His son to die so that we could LIVE!  We get to have life with Him now AND when our time on earth is done. It’s an ETERNAL TRANSACTION and that’s better than any discount! Take time today to get “squared away” with the Lord. You don’t have to be in suspended animation mode trying to figure things out alone.

Here’s the Reality Check:  He’s waiting on you.

For  more encouragement check out the story link below

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“Who Am I? A Story of Self Discovery”

 

CHOICES!

Good Housekeeping Quote

Good Housekeeping Quote

There was a time I thought I was a person who didn’t like choices. I didn’t like having too many things to choose from. Simple options were all I needed: Vanilla or chocolate? The white or the black? Peanut butter and Jelly or Baloney?

Simple.

But life offers so much more than a few selections or possibilities. What to choose becomes more challenging and the outcomes more diverse. I wish I knew what the “Right” answer or choice should be but the “Right” answer seems multi-faceted and potentially there could be more than one “Right” choice.

How do I get back to simple?

I turn to God and His Word. The choices become easier to make in the light of His Word. I may not know what the 800th step will reveal but I know the step right in front of me has been ordered by God and it’s mine to take… if I choose to do so.

So…. How do I make that choice?

I first ask myself: “Why do I really want to make this choice? What do I stand to gain or lose? I consider that.

Next, If the Lord gave me a “do over” would I make this choice again or would I hesitate? Why or why not?”

At this point, I might be tempted to “go with the flow” it’s just easier. But I’ve been given a choice and a chance to make a decision that will impact the rest of my life. I’m going to think about this some more.

Finally, I, on purpose, make a decision that is not based on anyone else’s emotions, beliefs or attitudes but my own (Cause I have to live with this choice) and I make the best decision I can with God’s help. I know He won’t twist my arm but He will put His “two cents worth” in if I’m willing to hear it.

Then the choice is up to me.

9/11 – When Words Are Not Enough

Scott Willens, who joined the United States Army three days after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, pauses while reflecting by the South Pool on friends he has lost while on deployment during anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center on 11 September 2012 in New York, New York, USA. POOL/Justin Lane/EPA

Scott Willens, who joined the United States Army three days after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, pauses while reflecting by the South Pool on friends he has lost while on deployment during anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center on 11 September 2012 in New York, New York, USA. POOL/Justin Lane/EPA

My fingers are poised over my computer keyboard, eyes closed, head bowed and I wait. Taking a deep breath, I slowly exhale as I open my eyes and stare at the blank page in front of me and try to wrap my mind around what could I possibly say about this day that would make a difference?

So much has already been said. News reports, articles, books, documentaries, and pictures, pictures, pictures… visual imagery that rock you to the core and tear at your soul as you consider the lives that were impacted on that day.

I Googled 9/11 and discovered that as horrific as the day itself was, the aftermath of the impact of this day stretched years beyond the actual event. Health challenges, for examples, of survivors who inhaled the toxic fumes and airborne debris from the collapse of the buildings are ongoing and even affected the health of babies who were in their mother’s wombs.

So, what can I say?

As a child and on into young adulthood, I always felt that there was a reason or explanation that could be shared that would explain most things. If someone was confused about something, that simply meant they hadn’t heard the right explanation yet. That naïve thought was shattered on 9/11. There is no explanation or reasoning that will soothe away the anguish of this day. No matter how long you sit and try to make sense of it all, no light bulbs come on, no revelatory sparks of insight prevail, just a numbness that remains after the initial emotions of anger have been spent.

I take another deep breath and pray.

I pray that the peace that passes all understanding will cover the hearts and minds of those who have struggled with the impact of this day.

I pray for comfort for those who lost loved ones and struggle with “Why?”

I pray that emotions that have been scrubbed raw and abraded by this day will be healed.

I pray that we as a nation will not neglect to “close the barn doors before the cow gets out” and that whatever national security measures are needed to protect the citizens of this country will be enforced. And although we take great care now to ensure that another 9/11 would never happen again, at the end of the day, Psalm 127:1 speaks loud and clear…

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain

Therefore, my greatest prayer is for the Lord to do exceeding, abundant above all that I could ever ask or think for the United States of America; that we will truly be one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

Excerpt from “Reality Checks” by Edwina Frazier (c) 2015

Follow me on Twitter @Realchecks

Let it go….

Baloney Sandwich

One of the highlights of my childrearing days was being able to take all six of my kids on a church sponsored bus trip to Disneyland. I didn’t have a job at the time. I was still in college working towards my degree, living in public housing and receiving welfare.  In the natural, things weren’t shaping up for me to provide my kids with the opportunity to go. I made up my mind though, I would raise the money!

With the help of my sister, we sold chicken “snack packs” from the house. For $2 you got 4 chicken wings, a slice of bread, a soda and a slice of cake! At that price we racked up and the money came in not only to pay for the bus tickets but the hotel and entrance into the park. However, I didn’t have enough money to carry with me for food for the entire trip.  I figured we could get by if I took some boloney sandwiches with us to eat on the bus.  When it was time to come home, I planned to find a store and buy some more baloney.  The small amount of money I had would be to purchase food at the park and the hotel.

We were off!  Whenever the bus stopped for folks to get off to buy food, my kids and I stayed on the bus and enjoyed our baloney sandwiches. They were so excited about going to Disneyland, they didn’t care about what they were eating. Things were going well until dinner time. The bus stopped at a restaurant and everybody was getting off. As my Aunt Janie passed by me and  my crew she said, “Come on baby! We’re all going to have dinner together.”  I shook my head. “We’re good,” I assured her. “We’ll wait until you guys come back.”  She eyed me sternly, “I don’t want you to stay on the bus.”   One of the deacons came up behind her and picked up my youngest child. I felt myself begin to panic. I reached out and nearly snatched my daughter from the deacon’s arms.  “We’re good!” I said a little more firmly. “We’ll eat on the bus!” My aunt bent and whispered in my ear. “Don’t worry! We’ll pay for dinner.”  Hot tears were threatening to fall. Why couldn’t they just leave us alone on the bus? We were fine with our sandwiches and we weren’t complaining. Heaving a deep sigh, my aunt left the bus along with the others.

I watched from the window as my aunt spoke with her son-in-law, Oliver, who helped to organize the trip. She seemed a little upset.  After a few moments of heated discussion, Oliver started walking back towards the bus. “Great!” I groaned. “Now what was he going to say?”  Oliver boarded the bus with a grin. I eyed him with suspicion. What had Aunt Janie said to him?  Stooping near me, he spoke softly,

We’re going in here to enjoy some steak. The kids can get some burgers. Do you really want to hold on to that baloney sandwich?” 

I wanted to fuss, but instead I laughed at the craziness of it all!

Why was I so intent on  following my plan to eat baloney when a steak opportunity was being opened up for me?  Pride? Stubbornness? Control?  I guess all 3 were playing a role at that moment but I decided not let them keep me and  my kids from enjoying a good meal.

I hope you got a chuckle from that but more importantly, I hope you recognized yourself, if like me, you’re putting yourself in a position to potentially miss out on a blessing God has prepared just for you!  Remember, your BEST plans can’t beat what the Lord has in store for you.  Can I Get An Amen?!

From the “Can I Get An Amen?!” Story Collection by Edwina Frazier (c) 2016

 

I Got Your Back!

i-have-your-back-at-mama

Graphic by MaMaPhotography

Today while pondering some things, I thought about the expression, “Lost in translation” and I begin to wonder what sentence in English would be challenging to explain to someone from another culture and language. The statement that came to mind was:

I got your back.

You’d might think, “Oh, that’s easy! Everybody knows what that means!” But imagine you’re talking to someone who has never heard that expression before and is really clueless to the meaning that it implies, how would you break it down to help them truly understand? Here are my four attempts:

First thought: It means you’re willing to support someone through something. Hmmm… that seemed a little weak.

Second thought: Willing to stand with someone through a fight or tough ordeal without regard to your own safety. Much better, but something was still missing.

Third Thought: Being willing to cover someone in situations when they are taking care of or are distracted by something else and could be taken off guard.

Final thought:  A commitment to protect someone from things they can’t see coming

I decided to look up the expression in the Urban Dictionary to see what it said:

GOT YOUR BACK An expression assuring someone that you are watching out for them. Comes from making sure you are safe by watching what’s behind you when you’re busy looking ahead.

I felt revelation sparking in my soul!

When I read the last portion of the definition, “….making sure you are safe by watching what’s behind you…” I immediately thought of this scripture:

Isaiah 30:21 – You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way. Follow it, whether it turns to the right or to the left.” GOD’S WORD® Translation

God is speaking this through the prophet Isaiah to Israel. The Lord’s people have turned away from Him and were running after the so-called gods of the nations around them. In spite of that, God basically was saying,

“I got your back! I KNOW you don’t see what’s coming. You’ve been distracted by the people and things around you and you’ve been taken off guard by your fierce enemies who seek to destroy you. But I am willing to stand with you and fight the fight that you can’t fight on your own… I’ve got your back! I will be a voice behind you saying, this is the way, walk in it!”

There’s something VERY comforting in the words, “I got your back.” And when they are spoken to you by someone you trust, it puts you at ease. If you’ve been feeling alone in the midst of some challenges you’re facing right now, this post is for you! Claim the following portion of Psalm 27 for yourself with the tweak of “He’s got my back!” added in:

1The Lord is my light and my salvation so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? He’s got my back!

2When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. He’s got my back!

3Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. He’s got my back!

4The one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek most is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. He’s got my back!

5For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. He’s got my back!

6Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music. Cause what?   He’s got my back!

(c) 2015 by Edwina Frazier / www.everythingedwina.net

What Part Of No…

I have a confession to make:  Today, I said “No” to my boss!

When it’s hard to say “No,  actually saying  it  becomes a whole new ballgame!   You find yourself feeling like you have to justify to the other person and yourself why you said, “No”

Could this be part of the reason why you don’t like saying “No” in the first place?  Yes is easier, but the cost of that “Yes” could break you!

say noI had a friend who was notorious for coming up with a gazillion ways for me to say “Yes” after I’d already told her “No” maybe a dozen times!  She never left a gracious way of escape so I always felt crappy after those conversations.  I finally broke down and had the honest one on one with her as a friend and explained that she really made it hard for me to say “No” and that I’d really appreciate her respecting my decision and not keep pushing the issue.

She was awesome and very gracious in her response!

Since that time, I’ve had to have similar conversations but today, I found myself justifying my “No” to myself because it was my boss!

Gasp! Get out of town! You told your boss ‘No?”

Yes! And you know what? The earth kept spinning on its axis. She graciously accepted the “No” and understood that my plate was full.   Hmmm…  Maybe the biggest hindrance to saying “No” might be ourselves!

Ok, so here are a few tips to make the going a little easier:

  1. Why are you saying “No”  If it’s a case where you can’t do it now but you can do it later, schedule it for later but if you really need to delegate it to someone else or simply not own it at all; say “No”
  2. Practice your “No”  You don’t have to be mean or overly apologetic. It’s nothing personal. You can be firmly respectful and polite and do it with a smile!
  3. Stand by your” No”  Just as you’ve taken that deep breath of relief, Whew! That’s over with and I said “No”  The same person (or they’ll push someone else up to do it) will ask again. (As if you weren’t really sure the first time)
  4. Continue to remind yourself of the benefits of saying “No” Old habits die hard is a valid reality check and you have to be your best cheerleader as you change your M.O. from  — I always say “Yes” to  “No” is now a part of my vocabulary!
  5. Reward yourself for saying “No” Make it meaningful to you. One of my favorite rewards, back in the day, was watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. It only came on once a week.  I’d take advantage of those slots of time that I’d  opened for myself by saying, “No”  to take care of the “other stuff” I didn’t seem to have time to do.   Now for the reward!  I’d put the kids to bed, break out my hidden stash of chips and  veg out on the couch to enjoy my hour of sweet distraction!

Ok, ‘nuff said!  Time to go tell somebody “No!”

© 2015 Edwina Frazier / http://www.everythingedwina.net

focusThis morning I spent so much time searching for the right picture to go with my message that I almost forgot the message!  Well, not really, but I lost focus of the main thing…. the message!

How often you find yourself spending too much time and energy focusing on something that yields little to no results AND if you could do it over… you wouldn’t?!

I throw that in because there are times that seemingly my efforts are not productive but a seed is planted.  I don’t see the fruit yet, but I know what I did wasn’t wasted. Those moments, I’ll keep.

But how do I keep from spinning my wheels on things that are not productive?

These five questions might help build a foundation for your focus.

Ask yourself:

  1. What do I  REALLY want?  This becomes your main objective before you even get started
  2. How will I or someone or something else be better off? (What’s the “win”)
  3. “Why is this important to me?” (Is it worth it spending time on this?)
  4. What happens if I don’t get the results I’m looking for?
  5. If #4 falls flat, will I be ok with that?

Do you need to go through this for everything? Probably not but doing this little exercise will cause you to think more deeply about what you choose to focus on and whether or not it’s going to be a good use of your time.  we get a 24 hour daily deposit, don’t fritter your moments away on things that won’t really matter at the end of the day.

Excerpt from “Reality Checks!” © 2015 Edwina Frazier

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” -Socrates

 

Let It Go!

let it goThe most meaningful moments of ministry are not profoundly large but meaningful in how profoundly small they are. – God

It never fails.  You’re happily wandering down memory lane when an abrupt detour redirects you to a painful memory of a deceased loved one that has become excruciatingly more painful because they’re not here and you can’t make it up to them.  Your heart literally aches and you emotionally cringe at the callousness of your words and behavior. You think:

“How could I have done that?!”

” How could I have said that?!”

I tearfully write this wishing with all my heart my Mama was alive so I could fall to my knees, bury my head in her lap, squeeze her longingly and let her know with every fiber of my being…

I’m sorry.

My tears subside and I am soothed by what I KNOW my mother would do. She’d softly stroke my temples and croon words of love in my ear. “It’s ok. I love you.”  The Lord spoke these  words of comfort to me on the heels of this memory:

Just as you can’t make up something to a person who has died, you can’t make it up to Me for things you’ve done in your past that you’ve asked forgiveness for already.  I consider them dead. As far as the east is from the west, so have  I removed your sins from you, therefore don’t make memorials out of your past sins and failings.

Don’t grieve around them.

Don’t plant flowers around them.

Don’t continue to hold them up to me to prove how sorry you are.

I have forgiven you!

Live out the rest of your life in the blessing and benefits of being forgiven. Celebrate your Mom as the woman I used to bring you into the world! (In spite of whatever relationship you may have had or not had.)  If you have good memories, celebrate those! Lay anything else to rest.

I am with you and I will help you!

Have a funeral for it and walk away! Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Live it with me…

Forgiven!

(c) 2015 by Edwina Frazier

Your Warranty HAS NOT Expired!

I love it when something I’ve written in the past, speaks to me TODAY! I just posted about my brain being tired but I also needed this reminder that the provision the Lord has made to refresh me is still ACTIVE and has not EXPIRED! Thank you Jesus!

Everything Edwina!

I called the dealership this morning to find out if I could still get a free oil change. I’d had my car for almost 4 years but for some reason today I remembered that oil changes came as a perk of my warranty package. In four years, I had never taken advantage of this!  The customer service rep put me on hold while she looked up my account. When she came back on she asked me how many miles did I have on my car. Since I was sitting in it at the time it was nothinig to lean over and push the odometer button. “88,106 miles”  I responded. She paused and regretfully informed me, “Your warranty expired at 86,000 miles. I’m sorry,”   “No problem.” I told her and hung up. I sat there immersed in a revelation that was sparking in my spirit…

  ” God’s perks and promises don’t…

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RED Circle Moments! #1

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My mind is tired! 

Lord, have you wired our brains so that when life gets overwhelming we were designed to shut down and depend on you? The “Flight or Fight” syndrome is missing a component; prayer. When faced with stresses that are far too complicated for me to figure out, I internally spaz which shows up in distressing manifestations: chest pains, brain fog, emotional instability, anger, insomnia, etc.  During these times I have redoubled my efforts to THINK through what’s going on and wrong in my life and guess what? Things get worse! To shut down and do nothing doesn’t szebraeem to be the answer but eventually, as we get more and more stressed, that’s exactly what happens. The part of our bran that influences decision making goes on vacation and we’re left with the autonomic portion of our brain that reacts to the immediate stimuli that impact survival. (Eating, sleeping, etc. and even that is not functioning at a high level.) Hence, insomnia and consuming multiple bags of super-sized chips.

So what do we do?

Try this, purposely do nothing for the next 24 hours… “Huh! How do I do that?!  I’ve got to go work! I’ve got these kids….”    Allow me to finish.  Do nothing without acknowledging God before you do it. It takes only a small amount of time to pause before answering the phone, giving an answer or making a decision, to briefly look up and speak this simple prayer: “Father thank you for directing my steps right now.”  Or if that’s too much, just call his name: Jesus, Yahweh, Adonai, Jehovah, Father, Lord; He will respond to the heart of your call.

Life can be hard at times and we need help. Don’t struggle alone. You weren’t meant to be a Superman or woman in times of stress.  You were designed to lean on your Creator and draw strength from Him.

Are you willing to try it today? It beats whatever you’ve been doing so far! (Especially if it hasn’t been working!)

Allow your brain to rest and let God do the heavy lifting today.

Woo-Saa!”  Take your prescription Lamentations 3:21-26

RED Circle Moments by Edwina Frazier © 2015