Friday, June 17, 2011

My Rewards Card

I had a sweet surprise yesterday. I had lunch scheduled with a new friend at Panera and as I was getting ready I remembered I had a "My Panera" rewards card I had gotten some time back and never registered. I had a few extra minutes before I left home so I pulled out the old laptop and went to their web site and quickly did so.

On my last few previous visits to Panera the nice person ringing my order up would ask me for the card but I would have to tell them each time "I haven't registered it yet". They would proceed to tell me "that's your card, go online, claim it and you can get the great random surprise rewards that come with it".

So what I noticed was when I was online registering the card was that the information told me that I would want to check back from time to time to keep up with what surprises might randomly be loaded onto my card at any time. Well to my delight, by the time I left home and got to Panera I already had one on there! When I placed my order, the nice person ringing me up asked me as usual for my 'My Panera' card. I presented it, he swiped it, and said "You have a reward to claim Mrs Lykins - you can have a free pastry or cookie of your choice".

Wow!!! Something I didn't do anything for it really, no grand task on my behalf, no specific dollar amount tied to it. No great effort of my part. I just acknowledge I wanted the card and BAM - I got a surprise, a reward, a gift.

It's sort of like Jesus. I just acknowledge Him and my need for Him and BAM - I receive the instant gift of Salvation. No task to perform, no works, no money, no real effort on my part aside from acceptance, saying I wanted it. Its like I have a "My Jesus" card. When I feel weak, afraid, lonely, worried, consumed with anything I am trying to do or get through in my own strength I can go to Him, pray (swipe the "My Jesus" card so to speak), and just allow Him to reload that card with His strength, wisdom, love, and courage.

But then I also thought about those around us, walking beside us in church, at work, in school, in the local grocery store, some complete strangers... they have a card too. They need it reloaded. And Jesus can use me to help do that. He can use them to help refill mine. A kind word, spontaneous service, a hug, an anonymous surprise gift.

What if the older gentlemen in the aisle next to me who looks a little lost is discovering what it feels like to shop for the first time since losing the love of his life? He could probably really use a sweet word from a stranger - a surprise loaded on his card that leaves him feeling less alone as he makes his way home.
Maybe at church that young woman walks in that I see every week, but this time there's a different look on her face. A look of strain, stress, maybe desperation. What if I take just a moment and reload her card with a hug and a whispered prayer? Now she can enter in more open to finding the peace and rest waiting on her.

John 14:12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father."

Proverbs 16:24 "Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."

Look for a way to reload someones card every day. Give that random sweet surprise, that reward, just because... because they are each one whom God loves.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bad Attitude and All

Well, I showed my rear end several times over these last few days friends. I just can't put it more simply than that...
have you ever been there?
You know, when as the very words leave your mouth, as the actions of your body language and movements occur, and as that look sets itself up way too easily on your face, you realize that yes, you are in fact showing your hind-end and you just don't seem to be able to stop yourself.
Yep. Hmmm-mmm.
In the middle of these last few days I had a chance to chat with a friend who is struggling with this same issue in a way. Not every day mind you, but more frequently than she cares to, more often than she ever has before in her life. I can relate. Its not every day for me by any means. But I hate it when it happens.
I despise that feeling, even as it happens. Maybe you know what I'm talking about? My face feels flushed. My heart speeds up. My throat seems to want to all of the sudden swallow way more than normal. My ears feel hot. My mouth gets dry. I seem to need to clear my throat, even cough.

Gee - you'd think with all that going on there would be no way I could still manage to sputter out the stupid or mean or hurtful words, the harsh tones, set my hands on my hips, or give THE look... But noooo, I'm a real trooper! I can hang right in there with the best and get the job done!

So, I have some apologies to make. To those in the line of fire, most of all to my God, but not the least of which is to myself. See I've let Satan get a hold of me afterwards even more strongly than he did when it happened. Because for several days I've let him use it against me to make me feel worthless and unlovable. Laying in the dark thinking things like they might never forget my attitude or words or tone, that they might love me less, but most of all that I was less in the eyes of My Jesus.
So tonight I stand on several things my Gods Word tells me, and I am reminded:

We are already God's children, though what we will be hasn't yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. 1 John 3:2

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

And when I feel weary from the heaviness of what I may do:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us Ephesians 3:20

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:15-17

Friends, we are more than a conquerors - we are His! We are being made Holy as He is Holy! He is not through with us yet!

Be blessed,

Summer Things and Places to Go

East TN is blessed with the mountains and lakes we love, but aso with a lot of smaller parks and places to hang out. Here's a link to the Knoxville Parks and Rec site to find splash pads, disc golf parks, and places to play volleyball.

Grab your blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic basket and head to The Cove at Concord Park for this season's Second Saturday Concerts. Knox County Parks and Recreation has announced the line up for the free concert series presented the second Saturday of June, July, August and September, from 6 until 8 p.m

But it's also a great place to poke around and find other cool TN State Parks and activities you may not know about... like the Rhododendron Gardens Festival at Roane Mountain in Northeast TN this weekend!

Find somewhere to explore and get out there and gave some fun!