Election Hub-Bub and Jesus

by Sally Matheny

     Signs, buttons and bumper stickers. Media from mail fliers to commercials. Printed T-shirts and caps. Free candy and pencils. Handshakes and baby-kissing. Ahh…elections are in the air.
     As much as we dislike the election “hub-bub,” we must realize its importance. The candidates need to make themselves known. Their supporters want to get information into the hands of as many voters as possible. Those who believe in their candidate will do everything possible to get him elected. They're adamant the nominee MUST win!
     What if every Christian acted as passionately about sharing Jesus Christ? Some Christians think their bumper stickers and T-shirts are sufficient. 

     If a conversation initiates, then a door may open.  However, without a real-live conversation about Jesus Christ, a bumper sticker alone is not going to persuade someone to follow Jesus.
Love God. Love People.
     Unless we couple our Jesus-sloganed apparel with a Jesus-filled life, our testimonies are no good. Why would people elect to have Jesus in their lives if we don’t share how Jesus is working wonderful changes in our own lives? People want living proof of what Christ can do. They want to see and hear the facts.

     Some churches choose to pass out free candy, pencils, and such in order to reach out to the community. The gifts may even have Jesus’ name stamped on them.
     People will toss the Jesus wrappers in the trash as quickly as they toss mailed election fliers. Will your church be remembered as the place they got free candy, or the place they received the free gift of salvation?
     There’s nothing wrong with giving gifts, just be sure to share the facts about the best Gift of all. The Gift that will change a life, not for a term, but for eternity!
     A well-placed witness tract may direct someone to Jesus. However, consider the influence of a sincere conversation. Just as the candidates prepare for debates, Christians should ready themselves to give the reasons why they believe as they do, and why they follow Jesus.

     If you truly have the love of Jesus, then containing it is difficult. You want to share that with everyone. You do whatever it takes to get His message into the hands of as many people as possible.
     Here’s the thing. Jesus is already the Victor for eternity. No ifs, ands, or buts. He wins!
     What about you? Is there a lot of Christian “hub-bub” in your life but very little Christ?
     Are you on His winning team? If so, how passionate is your campaign?



Amazingly Beautiful Restoration

Amazed that she found beauty in the old armoire, I laughed. It was sitting in the middle of a dusty antique barn.

“This will be perfect for my apartment,” she said, eyes gleaming.

“I don’t know. It really needs paint,” I said. I removed the oddly placed plastic plant from the top of the armoire.

“Oh, honey, look. The top is all splintered.”

“No one will see the top. I love it!”

Pulling on the tiny knobs, she opened the doors. The dowel rod placed at the top seemed sturdy enough but that was about it. The floor of the armoire was broken and practically missing.

I expressed my doubts how useful the piece would be but my daughter absolutely loved it. She had great plans of how she would fix and use it. She begged for it and said she would pay for it herself. I liked the outside of the armoire. It did have appeal but I knew it would take a lot of work to make it functional. Nevertheless, since she was willing to pay for it and do all the work, I relented.

We only had one day to get the armoire purchased and moved into her college apartment. There was no time for us to assist her in the renovation project before our long drive home. It was left in her hands.

A busy college and work schedule soon took precedence. The armoire was wiped down and a quick fix of colorful contact paper was added. I don’t know if she added the contact paper for color or to help hold the armoire together.

There are still hopes and dreams for the armoire but the reality has set in. My daughter realized no matter if she sticks a distracting plant on top or tries to cover the blemishes with contact paper; it’s not going to help. She can only hang lightweight clothes in it and the floor is miraculously holding two pairs of shoes. The truth is the armoire will need to be stripped down, repaired, and refinished by someone with experience. Life’s too busy for her to take it to someone right now, but maybe when school is out for the summer. It’s going to take more work and more money than she originally thought.

Isn’t life like that sometimes? We try to make ourselves look the best we can. We attempt to distract people away from our faults. We try to cover them up or divert attention away from them.

We begin to lose some pieces along life’s way. Splintered hearts question our usefulness. Or perhaps we’re so busy we think we’re serving a purpose. We may be able to do some things but we’re not utilizing our full potential.

Thank the Lord, He sees the potential in us. He loves us. After all, He is our creator. He chose to pay the price for us, even after we have become broken. When we try to fix things on our own, we fall short.

The reality is our Creator is the best choice for refurbishing us. Submitting to the Master’s skillful hands is not always easy. Stripping false layers and sanding out imperfections can be painful. But the Creator makes us stronger and more useful for His purpose. All His restoration projects are amazingly beautiful.






Yard Sales in the Fall

Sally Matheny

Yard Sale

My friend, Mary Jane Downs, is guest blogging for me this week Please look for more inspiring words on her blog, Joy in the Morning. Thanks Mary Jane!

  When I looked out the window early Saturday morning, I noticed my neighbor had all her treasures laid out on long tables. I also noticed there was already a crowd too. So… I decided to take a cup of coffee with me while I ‘just look’ around in order to be neighborly, of course. Taking a cup of coffee was also supposed to distract me from getting anything. Yeah…right…. 
  Sabrina said they were downsizing for a move they were planning for the future. She said she had way too much stuff tucked away so she was going to sell it off little by little. Then the task would not be so overwhelming. 
  People were steadily filing in and out. Some took a brisk walk through looking only for particular items. Others checked for brand names, signatures and dates hoping to find a prize to sell later I supposed. Each had their purpose for coming. The main thing for my friend was that it was selling, no matter the reason. 
  When I came back home, I started thinking about yard sales and their purpose.  I came up with a couple of important views.


Repurpose Items for Further Use

  Yard sales are a great for unloading items you no longer need but someone else can repurpose to meet a need they have. With the economy the way it is, people have to concentrate on getting good deals.  This type of shopping is a great way to get things you need or even want inexpensively. I have also heard of people who have lost everything through a fire/flood using yard sales to replace basic necessities. And…in the end, isn’t helping others what life should be about?
Reconnect our Hearts with God

Where is your treasure?
  Let’s face it. We live in a world of distractions. It is hard to say no to the things that are so readily available and tantalizing to our wants and wishes in life. We just have to have it! But then, after we made the purchase, we realize that we didn’t really need or want the item as badly as we once thought. The treasures we sought after didn’t live up to our expectations and we are left empty. Our reasons for the purchase in the first place were misguided because our hearts were in the wrong place. What we really needed was to feel the need with more of God.

  Yard Sales help us reevaluate where we want our focus to be for the future. Jesus once said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Jesus was not against us having our hearts desires but He was against them replacing our loyalty and obedience to Him. When we seek God’s counsel, He will advise us on the timing of all things so what we purchase does not throw us off balance.

  Are you holding on to more than you need? Is it time to change your focus? Take the challenge to cleanse yourself and your house of the extra you don’t want or need. It is work! But the joy of helping someone else could out weight the chore and put a song in your heart once more.


  By the way, I did make this one small purchase. I felt called to help my neighbor. : )

  Mary Jane Downs is a writer, speaker and teacher. She has been featured in Awe Magazine, Inspiredmoms.com and has been a guest blogger for the Boot Camp Writer’s Conference and TheSchoolbox.com. Contact Mary Jane at maryjanewrites@gmail.com or visit Mary Jane’s blog Joy in the Morning http://www.maryjanewrites.com



Confused About Your Purpose?

Confused about your purpose?
Have you ever walked from room to room, trying to remember what it was you needed to do? Confused, we scan every corner, hoping something jogs our memories. Temporarily, we have lost our purpose. Thus, we have two options.

One is to exchange our original purpose for a different one. While searching for the initial goal, we get sidetracked. Something else catches our eye. We begin to devote attention to that instead. (The pros and cons of diversions will be saved for another day!)

The other option is to stop and be still for a moment. Rather than flitting about, we pause and reflect. Mentally or physically, we retrace our steps. What were we doing before the search began and why? Usually, this quiet reflection reminds us of our mission.

In the past two years, I’ve made new friends who only know me as a writer. Too embarrassed to tell my “old” friends about my new pursuit of writing, it was a close-kept secret.  

Evidently, many people without writing degrees feel the same way. Last year, I attended a Christian Writer’s Boot Camp conducted by Christian Devotions. They made us say, “I am a writer” so many times we became more at ease with it!

I’ve been writing for years--journals, special programs, and various newsletter articles. It wasn’t until age forty-five I sensed God wanting me to do more with my writing.

Since then, it’s been somewhere between a smooth merry-go-round of ups and downs to an occasional roller coaster ride!

While I love learning the craft, the work is a lot more than I anticipated. Sometimes I forget my purpose for pursuing writing. I am sidetracked by a vast array of emotions and life events.

Most of my “old” friends know about my writing by now. Often times, they will ask me why I have chosen this field of work.

I tell them my purpose in writing is:

1.   To be obedient and honor my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

2.   To encourage others in their life journeys.

3.   To promote (and hopefully produce) excellent literature for children and young adults.

Writing for Children
There is so much “junk” out there--written material that pulls young people down into a miry pit. I plan to work hard and improve my skills. Lord willing, I hope to produce thought provoking work of “whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable…”  (Phil. 4:8)

Now you know my purpose in writing and can hold me accountable.

So, I guess that brings us to a third option when we forget our purpose. Share your goals with friends. Forget about being embarrassed. Good friends will support you.

They’ll remind you what it was you were doing and why.


“But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,

that I may show My power in you,

and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”  Exodus 9:16


What about you? Don’t be timid about trying something new. If God is in it, His strength will shine through your weaknesses.
Be brave and share your goals. What is God’s purpose for you today?