Sunday, June 25, 2017

Three Little Words

Transparency is not easy. It really isn't. Letting others see "the stuff" in your life that you would prefer to remain hidden is risky. It's humbling. I know it makes my heart beat a little faster...and on top of that, there's the risk of being judged by brothers and sisters in Christ, and by those who don't follow Christ.

With that being said, here goes.

Recently as I was driving around in Houston, I learned something about myself that changed me. I had come to a busy intersection and was waiting patiently for the light to turn green. Lots of traffic. Lots of people. Lots of activity. A normal, busy day on a Houston street. Then I saw it.

Off to my right were three people. A woman and two men...and boy were they interacting with one another. I could tell immediately that she was a prostitute and the men were...uhm...well they wanted to get to know her a bit better...and she was actively encouraging their attention...on a street the light of front of a kid's playscape at a fast food place...and in front of the windows of another fast food place. In the daylight! In front of me!

I was outraged! How dare she do that! Didn't she realize how bad that cheap her actions were making her look! And those clothes...OH MY GOODNESS! Come on! REALLY! In front of me and all of these other drivers...and people trying to eat their lunch...and what about the KIDS! I was completely outraged. How dare she!

Then I heard three very quiet words that changed me..."I love her".

As soon as my heart heard those words, all kinds of Bible verses started pouring through my mind and heart. The first one had to do with rocks and being without sin. My heart broke as God's word poured into me. I realized that I was throwing rocks at this woman caught in a relationship. I was a rock thrower. My thoughts, my judgements of her, my words...they were the rocks. Tears started flowing.

As the light turned green and I turned the corner, I asked God this question: How often have I picked up word rocks and stoned someone I have judged? He showed me and my heart broke even more.

God does discipline those He loves. I know He loves me and that the rock throwing revelation had to happen. His word says judge not and that He is the only judge. I had stepped into that position. By thinking hateful thoughts about people, I had allowed myself to become judge, jury, and executioner. I sinned.

Love covers a multitude of our flaws. Sin confessed is covered by Love. His name is Jesus.

I am learning. My heart is very tender in this area. God's lesson will not be soon forgotten by me. I pray differently. I think differently. I love differently. I'm thankful. My hands are empty and my heart is full.

©Terri Milton June 2017

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Voice

Do you ever have those days that you hear that "voice"? You know the one I'm talking about. It says stuff like:
"You're not good enough..."
"You're weak and incapable of succeeding..."
"Why would God want to use you..."
"If they only knew, they would reject you right away!"
"You are a failure..."

If you haven't, then great. Stop reading now because this isn't for you. It is, however, for me. 

Recently I have been bombarded with negative thoughts. I mean has been extremely hard to hold my head up. 

And then this happened. As I was listening for the umpteenth time to that "voice" tell me why I would fail in ministry because I wasn't good enough...this thought came to mind. Agree. 

So, I did. 

I replied, "you know, you're absolutely right. I'm not good enough. In fact, I'm never going to be good enough. That's why I need Jesus. He is more than good enough for every area of my life. He is more than sufficient to cover all of my sins, all of my insufficiencies, all of the failures not only for today, but for all of my tomorrows too."

Do you know what I heard next?

Absolutely nothing!

When the accuser starts doing his thing, allow Jesus to do His. He is more than enough!

©Terri Milton 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016


During a recent weekend, I was confronted with nine detours. Count them! NINE! I would start out going one way and then have to either turn around or make a small change in my plans. I am so glad I usually am running early or I would have been majorly late. 

It wasn't until Monday when I was talking to my husband Doug about how ridiculous the weekend was that this thought hit my mind: "God, are you trying to teach me something? Is there something I need to learn from this?" Do you know what I heard? nothing. So I waited. 

On Wednesday, I went to Freedom class at my church. Awesome teaching by Pastor Kristen, by the way. Freedom in Parenting. 

While listening to her teach, she said something that answered my earlier question. Your plans may change but God's promises never do. Let me repeat that and add a word. Your plans may change but God's promises and purpose never changes. 

I cannot count the number of times in my life that my big plans...have had to be placed aside. Some of life's detours have been sweet and wonderful...meeting and marrying Doug...having my kids...becoming a Grammy. Others have been bittersweet and yet others...I don't want to ever see that path again. 

But through them all...the good and the bad...God remains the same. He tells me that He knows the plans He has for me...that He is faithful to complete the work He started...that He loves me with an everlasting love. He whispers in my ear and gives me strength to soar...provides manna from heaven and water from the rock. He promises that He will never leave me...that He is with me always. And when I have no words...He understands the groans of my heart and sends comfort. 

My plans will change. There will be detours that will take me to new adventures...and at times down hard roads...and there will be a day that my final detour in this life will take me directly to the Throne of the One who sacrificed His life for Jesus. 

God's promises are perfect. His purpose is pure. Someday when I stand before Him, it will be complete. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Friday's Failure

Sometimes I wake up in the wee hours of the morning with a thought. Sometimes it takes me down bunny trails. Sometimes it provokes a need to write a list. Today, I woke up with a that compelled me to explore it. 

The question isn't hard, but the answer at first may seem heartless. So here it is: What did the Crucifixion look like to all the people who were there on that day? The answer: Failure. 

You see, they didn't know what we know. We know about the resurrection. All they knew was Jesus was dead. They believed He was the Messiah but had no understanding of what that meant. They wanted someone who could save them from their present problems. Instead they were in the midst of more problems. They wanted a conquering King...not a dead man. They were crushed...their faith fled...hope was defeated...questions taunted and chased them. As the stone rolled over the open tomb with a final crash of closing, they knew their door for future dreams was slammed shut. Hmmmm. 

Then a second question came to mind. Is it by accident that Jesus died hours before the Sabbath? The answer: Not a chance. God had it planned perfectly. 

You see, on the Sabbath, Isrealites  had to rest. They couldn't work or cook or even go and visit with family and friends. It was a day of rest...both for God and for all Isrealites. So on this day after His death, Jesus' followers couldn't do anything about His death. They had to wait. The were hurting and hopeless and haunted by dreams that they believed would never be fulfilled. All they could do was replay the previous day's disaster over and over again. They knew what Jesus had said...that on the third day He would rise...but they could only see what they saw...His dead and broken body being lowered from a cross of shame. They rested in their unbelief. 

So what does this all mean to us here and now? How do we apply these questions to our lives? 

I mean really! Haven't you ever had a Friday Failure? You know what I'm talking about. The day you walk into work and get a pink slip. The day your spouse walks out on you. The day you realize that your sweet child is in the midst of sin so deep you know there's no hope. Or how about the day you get news from your doctor telling you the results of the tests you've undergone. And the lists go on. Bills to be paid, empty pantries, foreclosed homes, repossessed vehicles. This is the day your hope is is smashed. The day you wonder if life will ever have meaning again. Friday Failures. 

And then you have to wait. You're hungry and hopeless and hurting and honestly believe that there's no way you can get out of this. Maybe, you think, God's promises are for other people but not you. It may be days or weeks or even years. Prayers are prayed but seemingly not answered. Tears and tantrums (I've been there...I've done it), promises and deals. And silence seems to be the answer. 

But don't forget...But God! You see, Sunday morning did come. We know it but too often forget it. Jesus did arise.  He didn't stay dead. He is the Messiah. He is the Promised One. Both two thousand years ago and today.

The truth is not diluted by time, just by our own understanding to be able to apply it to our present circumstances. He still does miracles. He still heals. He loves our kids more than we do. He still is our Provider and yes, our best friend. 

Romans 5:8 gives us a wonderful glimpse of God's plan. It says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in that, while we're yet sinners, Christ died for us." Did you see the one word, the one very active word that should give you a sigh of relief at the very least... Demonstrates. It speaks about the now...your present circumstances. God is active in them with His own plan. One that's already been done...Jesus died for us. If you look a couple of verses above, Romans 5:3-5 speaks to our heart and let's us know we are not alone. God hears us. He knows. Hope is available. The Cross was not failure but purpose. His purpose, perfect and wonderful. 

Jesus, You are wonderful. Your love for us is perfect. Thank you for providing a plan for us, even when we don't realize it's already in place. Let hope be restored in the hopeless. Let hearts be healed in the broken-hearted. Let faith rise in the dark places of fear. Let joy overflow in all areas despite circumstances. Thank you that you still give sight to the blind, even spiritual blindness. Open our eyes to see Your Kingdom around us, to see how You actively demonstrate Your love. We praise You. Amen 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

What's in a name!

In a conversation with a young woman today, in the space of about 3 minutes, she referred to herself as klutzy, clumsy, a bull in a china closet (her mom's name for her), and a total klutz. My heart broke. 

As we continued to talk, I listened and prayed quietly. I waited and heard her sweet voice talk about this and that and saw that the way she sees herself is not how God sees her. She talked about her fiancĂ© and getting married in October. She talked about growing up in Houston and about the back pain she deals with on a daily basis. My heart grew for her. 

As she was cutting my hair, an old story came to mind. I asked her if I could tell her a story and she said yes. 

Here's the story. 

Years ago, when our daughter was around 4 years old, we had a nickname for her. It was Miss Messy. You see, every time she ate spaghetti, her absolute favorite food of all, she wore it every where...on her face, in her hair, on her clothes, and all around the area where she sat. The shower and the bath was the only way to get her cleaned up. 

One day while praying for her, I really was laying this out to the Lord. Then it came to me...the name we called her is what she became. That night, I served spaghetti on purpose. Before she took her first bite, I praised her for being a big girl who now could eat like mommy and daddy did. As you can guess, most of the food ended up where it was supposed to be. 

I next realized that I had been also calling her "Miss Messy" in regards to her room. I looked around and found the neatest spot in her room...her elephant collection. I called her in to her room and praised her for being so organized. We never called her Miss Messy again. 

I looked at Krysten and she had tears in her eyes. She said, "thank you. I never realized I was giving myself a name I didn't want. Clumsy Krysten is no longer my name. "

I hope some day I can have the opportunity to share Jesus with her and tell her about her other and very amazing name...Beloved Daughter of God! #GodEncounters #JesusIsHisName

Monday, January 4, 2016

Eggs, Candy and The Word

I remember the first time I met Sandy. She walked into the recreation center with two little girls in tow. She was 25, single and was the mom of two of the sweetest little ones.

She volunteered to help with the kids club and assist the smaller children with their art work and crafts. As I told stories from the Bible to the kids, she would sit in the back of the group and soak up every word. She often would hang around after wards and ask me questions about the story - she wanted to retell the story to the girls but wanted to understand it better.

As the weeks went by, Sandy never missed a class. She was usually the first one there and would often help me clean up. She always stayed to the very end and asked me questions about the stories that I told.

Easter was coming up soon and we had planned a special event for the apartment complex. There was going to be an egg hunt and lots of fun and games. There was also going to be a special drawing for a large Easter basket full of goodies and a brand new Bible. The winner's name was going to be pulled from the forms that were filled out by all the participants. Games, food, giggles and lots of fun had parents and children enjoying this special day. Near the end of the event, I gathered everyone around and pulled the name of the family who had won the basket. David's family jumped up and down in excitement when their name was drawn. I looked over at Sandy and saw a disappointed face looking back at me.

As we were cleaning up, I had the chance to ask Sandy what was up. She looked down and simply explained that she had really hoped they would get the basket because she had wanted the Bible. I smiled, asked her to wait a minute, and ran out to my car. I had a box of new Bibles that had been donated. I brought in three, one for each of them.

I handed her the new Bible and she took it very slowly, looked at me in awe and then hugged it to her chest. She grinned from ear to ear and then started crying. She explained that she had never owned a Bible and now she did.

A week later, Sandy accepted Christ as her Savior. We spent the next 6 months meeting one on one and going through book after book of this incredible new journey.

It's been twenty years since I first met Sandy. I pray that the joy she had that day for her new Bible and then a week later when she met Jesus is still fresh and growing today.

2016...A Year of Celebration

Recently I mentioned that 2016 is going to be my "Year of Celebration". In the days and weeks leading up to the end of the year 2015, I had been praying for direction. I really wanted to lay this new year before God and start right. The word "Celebration" kept coming to mind. I can tell you that after repeating it several times, it kinda resonated in me. So I'm keeping it...its mine!

As I declared that 2016 is my Year of Celebration, I realized a couple of things. One, I haven't been really enjoying life these last couple of years. Not anything specific, but a kind of glumness that had settled over me and my moods. Yes, I laughed and participated and showed up...but I really had to make myself do it. This has nothing to do with was a mindset...a stronghold inside me. I wanted to enjoy time with friends and family, but couldn't make the connection.  With that revelation comes the second one, and it's a biggie! I've been grieving. 

Grief is one of those emotions that's pretty easy to deny once the tears are no longer flowing. There have been losses in my life and lots of changes. My dad passed away in 2012. That was tough. Then there are some relationships that have deteriorated into oblivion. Then there's life changes of going from an active Mom to an empty nester...this one is 9 years ago and I have been in full denial. There have been changes in career and moves and other loved ones have gone on to heaven...and there you have it...full blown grief. 

Good Grief! I want it to be over already!

But God! It doesn't matter how many times I say that, there's a relief and a sigh that washes through my very soul. Say it... but God!

But God demonstrates every day how very much He loves me. He loves me enough to say, "it's enough!" Joy does come in the morning. There has been pain and sorrow and lots of tears...but God. How very Amazing, beautiful, sweet and loving is my God! He is all of that and so much more. 

I walked into the new year with anticipation of what God is going to do next. I got to the start line, looked to the left and right, and stepped into what I received as His promise...a Year of Celebration. With a full heart, He then revealed what I just wrote above. In faith, I took hold of His promise. In love, He took my burden. 

He is Amazing! That's my God!