Sunday, October 23, 2011

When Trying Hard Just Isn't Good Enough

I am re-posting this today, simply because it is what is on my heart today, as I have ministered along side of husband in the Kingdom. It was originally titled

"I Can't Do This On My Own!" Thanks for stopping by today.

I sat at the beach one Friday in Ocean City, MD. The sun was shining, a cool breeze was blowing and the waves were gently crashing onto the shore. It was just wonderful. I could see water as far as the furthest horizon.

As I was looking over the ocean it occurred to me that while I am actually a very good swimmer, I would never get very far heading out to swim across it.  I would have as much success trying to swim across the Atlantic ocean as I would trying to keep the the covenant of the Law. Remember the Ten Commandments? They are the basis of the Mosaic covenant with God. Take a look:
Exodus 20:1-20
And God spoke all these words, saying,
 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
 "You shall have no other gods before me.
  "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
  but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
  "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,
  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
  "You shall not murder.
  "You shall not commit adultery.
  "You shall not steal.
 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."
  Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off
 and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die."
  Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin."

The problem is, no one could keep from breaking these laws, and therefore sinning against God. No one.

Romans 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God  
I might do alright for a little while, then, wham! Just like getting a cramp while swimming, I sin and sink again .
Then I find something kinda scary in Galatians;

Galatians 3:10
Certainly, there is a curse on all who rely on their own efforts to live according to a set of standards because Scripture says, "Whoever doesn't obey everything that is written in Moses' Teachings is cursed."
Not only do I have to keep God's commands, but I have to keep all of them. ALL OF THEM. ALL THE TIME. Like swimming across the ocean, it can't be done.

The great thing is that God's grace is bigger than the ocean, and bigger than my sin and inability to keep His law.

I am glad that the Mosaic covenant was just temporary. It was put in place to prepare God's people for the second covenant. It was there to show us we could not keep it and needed help.

We needed a Savior. So while we were still enemies of God, His great graciousness sent the only thing that could bridge the gap of the ocean size vastness of our sin, Jesus.

Always remember, God knows you cannot make it on your own in this world. His grace will provide everything you need. You don't (can't) have to go it alone.

Chase after His Heart!!

Chasing Their Hearts,

Glenda Johnson

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Shepherd For The Sheep

Baa. Baa. Running here. Running there. Sheep go to and fro, they need to be guided.
I raised sheep when I was a young girl. I love sheep.
I had breeding ewes, meat lambs, and always had babies aound.

All during my 4H and FFA years, I raised sheep to show and sell.  They are great animals.
But something I came to realize, if my sheep got separated from me or the flock, they didn't do well.
Shhh. don't tell anybody I said this, but they weren't blessed with common sense. Some might even say sheep are dumb.

They REALLY need a shepherd.

I find it interesting that Jesus calls his people sheep. He himself is our great Shepherd.
But He knew that His sheep, just like the sheep I had growing up, would need a shepherd to guide them as they go through life.
We, like sheep, sometimes lose our way. We wander from the fold. Get into danger. We need help.

Acts 20
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

An Overseer.
An Elder.
A Shepherd.
When you look up that word elder, it is the same word used for shepherd, overseer and bishop. All the same thing.

A gift from God. A man who has chosen to keep watch over God's flock.
Not an easy job.
Not a job to take lightly.
A job with pretty tough qualifications.

Titus 1
5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

I love the Shepherds where my husband serves as the senior minister. They are wonderful men who love their sheep. They care about the welfare of the people. They protect their sheep. They correct their sheep.

I love them all.

Tomorrow, a dear friend, will be ordained as a Shepherd, Overseer, Elder.
I have watched this man grow and mature in the Lord.
I am excited about his desiring to serve God in this way.

Adam Snow, I know you will faithfully serve Jesus, and I am blessed to be able to be a part of this special day.
Your new flock will be blessed by your love and guidance.

I am so thankful God gave the gift of shepherds to the church. I know as a wandering lamb, it is comforting to know that God has men watching over me and making sure no wolves attack!
Baa. Baa. Safe and sound in the fold.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Friday, October 21, 2011

Listening For The Whisper

It seems I am always on the move.
Going somewhere. Talking with somebody. Doing something.
I like being busy. It is comfortable.
What is uncomfortable is silence. Stillness. Solitude.
And yet that is exactly what I need to hear God. To talk to God. To grow closer to God.

I see this with Elijah.

I Kings 19:11-13
11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
   Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
   Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

God was not in all the loudness. He was not in the mighty power of the wind. He was not in the heat of a roaring fire.
He was in the whisper. The quiet.
It was there Elijah could here the question from God, " What are you doing here Elijah?"

It is when I find the time to spend listening to God through His Word, I will be able to here the answer to WHY I am here, and WHAT God wants me to do.

Far too often I find myself in a place I don't need to be, and I need to make time to get away from all the craziness of this world, and hear God ask,

"What are you doing here Glenda?"

It will be the only way I can get my walk back on track, when the busyness has taken me away.
Quiet. Stillness. Solitude.

Listening for the whisper.

Chasing After Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trust What?

It was just a dictation.
My son's Language Arts curriculum uses a dictation exercise each week.
There is usually two from the novel he is reading and two from scriptures that apply to the theme currently going on in his novel.
Much to his dismay, his novel is Pride and Prejudice.

What can you expect, he is a 15yo guy!

The two scriptures were both familiar ones from Proverbs and 1Corinthians.
When I do a dictation, I read it completely through, then I read sentence by sentence, then I read it through one last time in its entirety.

It was on the second time through that I was Gibbs smacked upside my head by the Holy Spirit.

This was the passage:
1 Corinthians 13

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

It was here that the Holy Spirit Gibb slapped the back of my head:

always trusts

But always trusts WHAT?
Or better yet, WHO?

And what about those who have violated my trust.
How about that person who has cheated me and done me wrong?
Then there is that one person who is seeking to destroy me life.

Whew, surely God does not mean them after all, those people are my enemies.
I can get to where I can love and trust my friends, and MOST of my family, but those others, I should be ok not trusting them, because they have not earned my trust, or have lost it.


Matthew 5

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

OUCH! Gibbs slapped one more time!

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.

I see the word LOVE. The Corinthians passage above says love always trusts.
The Matthew passage says to love your enemy.

As I look at these two passages, I will readily admit, I am struggling.
I can come up with numerous reasons to explain away the command to love and trust someone who has hurt me.
I can even find some Scripture, (Taken out of context) to back up my RIGHT to not trust someone.
But, I cannot get away from the fact I am called to love my enemies, and truly loving my enemies must include trust because , "Love always trusts".

I am wrestling with God on this one.

I understand what God wants me to do, now to trust that the Holy Spirit to teach my heart how to do this!

Chasing After Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Beauty in Fall

I love Fall.
I love the trees and the brilliant colors that I see everyday.
I love my friend Sandy.
She does not like Fall.
As Fall comes, she knows that the dead barren trees and coldness of winter are right around the corner. I believe she grieves the trees losing their leaves and becoming dreary and barren.
I think about her almost daily, and wish that I could impart my love for this time of year to her.
This blog is for her. This week, I have seen Fall very differently, and hope to get her to see things differently.
It actually started with a viewing last week of a beautiful Christian woman who went to be with Jesus.
She was 93 years old. As I looked into the casket, her shell that was lying there, had a smile.
I began to think how beautiful that was.
Death, beautiful?
Yes. Death CAN be beautiful.
Let me explain.
When we give our life to Jesus, we choose to die to sin.
The death of sin in our lives. That is a beautiful thing.
If we have died to sin, then when the time comes for physical death,
then beauty for all eternity comes.
Only after we leave this life and enter eternity, will we really know what beauty is.
But, we must pass through that gateway of death to reach it.
So, there is beauty in death,
IF you are in Christ.
So, as I see the trees, and see the leaves changing colors, watch as the glorious colors shine, as the leaves DIE,
I think about the Christian walk.
If I choose to die to sin, I choose a beautiful life while I am here,
which will lead to a beautiful life eternal when all my leaves finishing falling to the ground, for the very last time.
Death of those leaves makes me hunger for my life that will begin when the season of Fall is over.
Sandy, think of eternal life when you see the leaves falling and know, that one day, in the season of Fall, heaven will be on the other side!
I love you!

Chasing After Hearts,

Glenda Johnson

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Always in a Hurry!

It started about 5am twenty-seven years ago.
A few contractions, the mucus plug, and then I knew.
Today would be the day.
Almost a month early, but today, never the less.
But, wait, I wasn't ready.
So, I got up, did all the laundry.
Then I went shopping for the things I still needed.
Took my 2 year old to the sitter, and I was almost ready.
My husband, who was a paramedic student at the time, stopped by his office at the ambulance company to let them know what was going on.
After convincing all the medics there I REALLY did not want them to deliver the baby, off to the hospital we went.
6pm. Contractions continued.
I went to the hospital before most people would because, I had my first baby, who was almost 10lbs in less than 2 hours and I did not want to deliver at home!
6:30pm, Nurse: "It is going to be awhile, I think I am going to send you out, go have dinner, go shopping, and come back later tonight."
Me and Hubby (In unison): "This baby will be born on the street!"
7pm Nurse: " I will let you stay for an hour and then I will insist that you go."
7:45pm Me: "Go get the nurse! I have to push!"
7:55pm  Nurse gloving up, (she did not think the doctor needed to be call yet): " Don't push! Don't push! The doctor isn't here yet!"
8pm (as the dr is walking into the room) Me: "I am pushing NOW!"
8:05pm William Ray Johnson was born.
My second son.
The doctor held him up and looked at him and promptly said,"The plumbing works!" As he went to change his scrubs that were just peed on!
Twenty-seven years.
They go by fast. Really fast.
Now that same little, red, born early boy, still amazes his mom.
Grown up, with a family of his own, making me proud everyday.
A preacher, teacher, lover of people, and passionate about the Kingdom of God.
He was in a hurry to born, and today, he is in a hurry to get people connected to Jesus.
I love you Billy.
Everyday you look less like me,
and more like Jesus!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Monday, October 17, 2011

Overflowing Joy

It is football season. I love football. I am a home team girl through and through!

 Go Ravens!
Go Giles Spartans!!! Local High School team; Our kids are home schooled!

And unless they are playing the Ravens: Go Cardinals! (I was born and raised in AZ, what can I say!)

But My 9yo son, Noah, he LOVES LOVES LOVES football. Right now, every move he makes in the house is a football play. Most every conversation has game stats from some game he has watched in the last week. He can explain, with enthusiasm, the play of the game that was the pinnacle of that game.
Which is interesting.

He doesn't play the game in an organized sport.

Until a year ago when I took him to a Easton Warriors High School game, he had never seen a live game.

SO why the passion for the game? Why does joy just pour out of him while watching football?

I have been really enjoying watching my joyful son. And pondering his attitude.

This is what I have observed:
My son always has a song and beat going. He is always, and I mean always singing. 90% of the time it is what most would label as "worship" songs.  But he really likes Dan Smith parodies.( He just SINGS!! Or he is dancing to a beat that can only be heard in his head.

It was while I saw him dancing that it hit me.

The song he was hearing in his head that caused him to dance, was actually,

Psa 71:23  
My lips will sing with joy when I make music to praise you. My soul, which you have rescued, also will sing joyfully.

My son finds overwhelming joy in football, because the joy is already there!
He is a joyful child.
(except with food, he is a picky eater. He has grown into being more joyful with that too!)

When you have a heart that is filled with joy, it spills out in everything you do. I see this with my son so wonderfully. He sings while he does his school work. He sings while he does his chores. He sings while he is playing.
All the time.
His joy spills out!

Matthew 18:3
And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

This verse has always been very meaningful. I love the fact that we are to become like the children, not make them into stuffy adults!

I think , that as I watch my boy, I have glimpse  of what Jesus meant when He said it. Jesus saw joy in little children.

Why this joy?

They have very few cares in this world. They don't worry where the next meal is coming from. They trust it will be there when they are hungry.

They don't worry about where they will sleep. They know where their bed is. They trust that it will be there waiting at bedtime.

They don't worry about what they will wear. Clothes are in the drawer

We have been given a life of hope, security, love, and an eternity with King Jesus, who, died for us! Why are we not singing, dancing and overflowing with joy every moment of our lives?

Could it be we lack trust in our "Father"?

Matthew 6:25-34 
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

I will choose today, to trust and live in the abundant joy that Jesus has called us to!
This song helps me to remember this very fact!

By the way, I just secured tickets for the Ravens vs Jaguars game next Monday. Joy is definitely overflowing in my house this very minute!

Chasing After Their Hearts,

Glenda Johnson

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Goal For The Week

After being challenged from the Word of God today,
Roman 12:4-8;
This thought came to my mind;
If I am part of the Body of Christ;
And I am;
Then how can I serve with the gifts I have been given?
My goal this week;
Use who God created me to be;
So I can build up the Body;
And allow the Grace of God to flow through me.
What are YOU doing this week?

Chasing After Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"I'll Whisper It"

There is a Homecoming Dance tonight.
I asked a young woman if she was going.
After a resounding "NO!" I was a bit confused.

She has a boyfriend.
She is popular.
She has the ability to have a dress.

So I asked why.

She hesitated to give the reason for her skipping out on a very important event in the life of a high school. girl.

I did not push for her answer, but she said, "I could tell you the reason, but it is inappropriate. But, if you want, I could whisper it in your ear."

I said I would love to hear her reason for not going to the dance.
What I heard blew my mind.
And made my heart jump out of my chest.
It also caused me look at this young woman with a new found respect.

Her reason?

" I don't like to have sex with my clothes on."

She chose to stay away from something that she knew would have behaviors that she as a Christian young woman would be uncomfortable with. This is not a statement against dancing. Or even going to this particular dance.

It is however, a statement on standing for WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU INDIVIDUALLY.

Praise God for her strong convictions and not being willing to give in to peer pressure!

And by the way, I informed her that her response was AWESOME not inappropriate!
I can't wait to tell her mom what a great job she has done instilling Godly values in her daughter.

Helps me remember that the time I invest in my own precious daughter is so important.

I challenge all the mommas out there to treasure and care for the beautiful gifts God has given them!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Feeling Of Belonging Beyond The Walls

A parade.
A smiling young young woman marches by with a flag.
A football game.
A senior making big plays on the field.
A smiling, proud momma sitting in the bleachers.
Homecoming at the local high school.
A feeling of belonging in our new community.
Celebrating with these members of our new congregation beyond the church walls.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Vessel of Grace

Tonight at our ladies Bible Study tonight we looked at the story of the "Prodigal Son" found in the book of Luke.
I was amazed at the openness of the beautiful ladies of our group. 
We all realized that we can be so much like the older brother in the story.
It boils down to lacking grace.
The gift of God that cost Jesus His life.
The gift God longs to lavish on us.
You cannot say you understand and accept Grace, unless
Grace flows from God'
through you,
to others.
My beautiful, honest, authentic women came to the conclusion
that while we might be like the younger son and walk away from God sometimes,
and we might be like the older brother and be judgmental and unforgiving sometimes,
our heart's desire is to be like the father in the story.
To have grace flow from who we are in Christ to ALL we come in contact with.

I choose today to be a vessel of grace, and to pour grace out on everyone I come in contact with, so that I can be like my Father.

Chasing After Their Hearts,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Being A Crown

I like crowns. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew crowns were good. Princesses and queens have crowns when you a little girl. The homecoming queen has a crown when you are a young woman. Miss America has crown when you are a woman. Crowns are good!

My granddaughter and I play with crowns all the time. She ALLOWS me to wear a crown and be royalty WITH her. We RULE when we wear a crown.
Truth be told,  crowns are beautiful. Given the chance to pretend , I would even want to be a shiny, diamond and ruby, silver, beautiful crown.

Crowns are worn by important people, and are the sign of honor.
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Proverbs 12:4  A wife with strength of character is the crown of her husband, but the wife who disgraces him is like bone cancer. (GW)

I can be a crown!!!!! But I can also be cancer.

Oh stink!

As I was reading today, I realized my character determines whether I am a crown to my my husband or I am a cancer to my husband.

I must confess, as people tell me what a "good preacher's wife" I am, my mind wanders back to a day a few years ago when someone didn't think so.


I mishandled something. I did something that was not right. Not on purpose, or with the blatant intent to deceive, but wrong still the same.  My husband , being the Godly man that he is, stepped in the gap for me.  He took the brunt of the the wronged person's anger.

One line that person said still rings loud and clear in my head.

" And you are supposed to be a man of the cloth!"

I was devastated.  My lack of of a wise choice, purposeful or not, gave my husband's reputation a black mark. God too, in this person's mind.
It was a wake up call for me. My character directly reflects on my husband. I need to make sure I am being the Godly woman that God created me to be. My sin does not only affect me.  It could give my husband spiritual "cancer".

I would rather be a shiny, diamond filled crown on his head! It is more beautiful, and less painful than cancer.

So here's to forgiveness and grace. To making sure my character reflects honor for God and for my husband. They both deserve my very best.

How about you? have you thought about your actions of today, this week, this year?

Be a crown, it is the way to Chase After Their Hearts!

Chasing After Their Hearts,

Glenda Johnson

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gentle Reminder

I was driving through the West Virginia Mountains today and the color that was radiating from the trees took my breath away.

I literally was overcome by the beauty that was all around me.

As I stopped and gazed at all the colors, I prayed a prayer of thanks to Almighty God.

I wondered if there was anything that God created that was as beautiful as the tree covered mountains I was intently fixing all of my attention on.

Then that sweet, small voice of the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart.

"Yes. There is something that has beauty beyond compare. Something that is so ravishing,
it makes all the colors of this mountain dim and fade to nothing."

                                       "My Image Bearers".       

As beautiful as the trees and mountains are, God did not create them in His image.
Jesus did not die for them.
The Holy Spirit does not take residence in them.

A gentle reminder from God to find real beauty
in the people around me.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Monday, October 10, 2011

Get Off That Fence!

Have you ever sat on a fence? I mean a real fence. One that separates two yards? It is hard to sit there and not fall off. Depending on how the fence is constructed, it is a difficult task to keep your balance. 

When you fall off the fence, you never quite know which side you will end up landing on. Which could be a problem. Especially if there is a ferocious dog on one side. Or a neighbors yard, with a neighbor who doesn't like trespassers. Or a big mud pit with pigs. Get the picture?
Joshua 24:14-15
14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua told the people of  his day, they needed to get off the fence they were sitting on. Choose whom they wanted to serve, because they could not balance on the fence and serve God and the false gods of the land. Make a choice he says. Or you will end up falling off the fence where you don't want to be.
The same thing applies to us today. Do you find yourself sitting on a fence. One foot dangling on the side of the world and the other on the side of the Lord?  You must make a choice. You WILL fall off of that fence, probably because the world will push you down, and you will not like the pit on that side you fall into. You, me, everyone MUST make a choice. We need to make it today. 
Throw away the false gods of this world and serve Jesus. Even if that is not the choice others make. We must serve the Lord. 
By the way, not choosing is a choice. You have chosen the world by default if you don't choose the Lord. 

So, as for me and my household, there will be NO FENCE SITTING! We will serve the Lord.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thankful You Agree With Me

When my husband retired from the State Police he was offered many jobs. He was an expert witness in many things. The opportunity to make a six figure income was right in front of him.

It never even crossed his mind to do anything but go into full time preaching ministry.
He had been preaching as a fill in for many churches for ten years.

A wrestling match between my husband and God had been going on for years.
He had two reasons to not leave his full time job to pursue the ministry.
#1- Insurance Benefits
#2- paying for children's college

God answered those excuses. You see, when he had to retire because he had back surgery, he got medical benefits for him and I for life, and for our children until age 25 or they married. He also received a retirement payment each month that would cover college costs. 

No more excuses!

My man has served God faithfully in pulpit ministry for many years now.
He has a heart for the Lord's people.
He has a heart for those who need to know the Lord.
He loves the Lord's Church and is committed to her mission.

Today, the congregation we are serving, told him thank you by presenting him gifts and cards of appreciation for Minster Appreciation Day.

It is NOT why he is in the ministry.

But, it was a great source of encouragement.
I am very thankful to the loving people of this congregation.

Truth be told, it is the first time EVER in his time in ministry that he has ever been recognized for 'Minister Appreciation Day".

I know he is wonderful, and I know his heart,
it's nice to know that others agree with me.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It Really Does Show

I will confess.
I watched it today.
I even engaged my family in it.
Toddlers and Tiaras.
Generally, I think this show is awful.
Little girls with bad manners and even worse behaviors.
Mothers dressing their precious daughters like they are for sale in the sex trade.
There are some that are polite, beautiful, and well behaved.
Those are very few and far between.
Today however there was a little girl in the 5-6 yo age range.
They described her as coming from a traditional, conservative family.
Her mom prayed with this child.
They worshiped God as they went about their preparation for the pageant.
This little girl did not win the big prize, but was crowned as a princess.
It was what the judge said that caught my attention.
"She has the sweetest nature of all the girls in this pageant. That is just never seen in the pageant world. I was drawn to her sweetness immediately, and I loved watching her."
Jesus does make a difference in our children's lives.
A difference that can be seen by those around us.

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

What crown are you encouraging your daughter to desire?.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friends Across The Years

My mind was rewinding today and thinking about a special friend of mine. A friend I was reunited with a couple of years ago.

Here is the story.

I was waiting for my husband to be moved from the OR recovery room to his regular room at the hospital. He had just had surgery on his neck. We were in the recovery room for five and a half hours because there were no rooms available.

Then God showed up. A dear friend that I have known since 1987 walked by. She works at the hospital.  It was awesome because due to our travel with different ministries, I had not seen her in eight years and had not communicated with her in five years.

She and I looked up and caught each others eyes and immediately ran into each others arms. We stood there and hugged and cried for 5 minutes. Then we caught up for the next 20. We talked some more on her break when she came up to check on my husband.

The time we had spent apart, melted instantly. It was wonderful. We had shared life over the years, raising children, ups and downs of marriage, and Jesus. We were connected at the heart level. I asked for forgiveness for neglecting our friendship.

God brought back to my attention just how important it is to have women in our lives with whom we can share, trust for advice, and grow closer to Jesus with. God did not intend for us to be alone on the journey.

I have a few ladies that are close friends. We are close enough that we can be real, and bear our hearts to one another without having to wear a mask.

Tit 2:3  Tell older women to live their lives in a way that shows they are dedicated to God. Tell them not to be gossips or addicted to alcohol, but to be examples of virtue.
Tit 2:4  In this way they will teach young women to show love to their husbands and children,
Tit 2:5  to use good judgment, and to be morally pure. Also, tell them to teach young women to be homemakers, to be kind, and to place themselves under their husbands' authority. Then no one can speak evil of God's word.

God wants us women to grow together, and teach each other how to chase after our husband's heart and our children's heart. But most of all, Jesus' heart.

I have committed to invest back into this friend.  I am going to nurture this friendship and the other ones I have so that we can all grow together.

Is there a friendship you need to spend some time on? Is there a new that needs to be formed?

Get busy Chasing Their Hearts!

By the way, the time difference between my husband getting a room and me finding my friend, 3 minutes.
God always has a plan!

Chasing Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Between Pain and Relief

My husband is the senior minister for a church. One of the lovely benefits of this position is the home we are blessed to live in that is right across the lawn of the church.
As I sit here tonight my heart is heavy. On the other side of me is a home that has a man that hurting deeply. His mother and sister were brutally murdered by his step father. The trial is coming up soon, and he is hurting.
I realize I live between a person who is hurting and needs compassion, and a building that represents to the world the ONE who can heal the hurt and bring hope.
Today I commit my home to being the bridge between the two.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time Is Ticking

Last week I blogged on my husband's uncle that left us way to early. A victim of cancer.
Tonight, the world is rocking with the news of the passing of Steve Jobs, another victim of cancer.
Sunday evening an elder in a church we previously attended was brutally robbed and stabbed. Praise God he is recovering.

I am once again reminded:
I do not have a guarantee of tomorrow.
Money cannot fix the most important things.
People are what matters.
People are NOT the problem, sin and separation from God is the problem.

Love God. Love people. Like there is no tomorrow.
Because there just might not be...

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

3:30am Smile

I woke up at 3:30 am today. As I looked at the clock , I smiled that knowing smile as I lay in the dark that only a momma can smile.
Twenty-nine years ago at about 3:30am today, my first child was born.

He weighed 9'4oz, and I only had 1 1/2 hours of labor.
He got the big baby of the day award at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, AZ.
I was so glad he was here, I was two weeks over due, and it was still over 100 degrees outside.

My son Stephen is an over-comer.
He started having seizures at 18 months old.
Because of this, he developed some learning disabilities.
He has been assaulted.
He has been bullied.

Instead of all of those things being an excuse, the astounding young man is now:

Seizure free
Finishing a college degree
A light of hope to people most consider the "dregs" of society.
He has a heart to reach people who are hurting.
His great desire is to be on the mission field.

I am so very proud of this son of mine.
Happy Birthday Stephen.
God has BIG plans for you!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lifting My Hands

I saw her long before she saw me. 
As she approached, her eighty-something year old eyes locked onto mine.
As she moved quickly toward me, 
moving as quickly as her braced legs would allow,
her smile grew and overtook her face.
She called my name, enveloped me in a hug, 
and my mind tumbled backward to the first day I ever met her.
"My name is Clifford and this is my wife Dot. Our last name is Hawley. 
H-A-W-L-E-Y. We live in Abingdon, if you're ever in the area and need a place to stay, look us us up in the phone book we have plenty of bedrooms and you are always welcome to stay with us."
And I fell in love. 
About a year later this beautiful woman was forever sealed in my heart.
She was in the ladies Bible study that I was teaching.
Sometime during the discussion that day, styles of worship began to be discussed.
I began to share that I was accustomed to raising my hands when I sang during praise and worship, but since coming to this congregation I felt uncomfortable doing so.
I went on to explain that since I was the Preacher's wife,
sitting on the second pew,
being observed by a very traditional congregation,
I did not want to cause anyone to be uncomfortable and distract from their personal worship.
This loving woman, who was then in her seventies, looked at me and quoted this verse,
"Do not quench the Spirit;" 1 Thessalonians 5:19
She then proceeded to say that since the Spirit leads us in our worship to God, and I was working so hard to keep from worshipping openly and honestly,
I really needed to ask myself if I was in danger of quenching the Holy Spirit.
The very next Sunday as I began singing I heard a voice whisper in my ear,
"It's ok to raise your hands."
She had placed herself in a position to encourage me to worship.

As we unfolded out of our embrace tonight, I looked into her eyes and told her how good it was to see her.
My soul was truly refreshed and revived tonight, 
simply by being in the presence of this wonderful woman of God. 
In this wonderful new congregation that my husband and I are serving in,
I am looking for my "Dot."
I am also looking to be "Dot" wherever I can.

Chasing after their hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Who Is Welcome At Your Church?

5 Teenage boys sitting behind me today in church.
They were loud and distracting.
They obviously did not know how to "behave" in a church assembly.
I had to concentrate very hard not to miss what was being said in the sermon.
Others were getting irritated and frustrated with the boys as well.
I could see it on peoples faces.
I stood guard at the end of the pew when the service was over.
I was concerned someone might say something, and the boys might think they did not belong there.
I am thankful I serve in a congregation that did not say anything.
Those young men were RIGHT where they needed to be.
A poignant reminder that the church is for the sick, not a haven for religious gluttons.
Jesus would have loved seeing these guys in an assembly He was preaching at.
Would you?
Did you?

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Turbulence Of This Life

Flying is a wonderful way to travel.
Jetting through the sky, being pampered by attentive flight attendants, if you are in First or Business class that is.
Flying is really a great use of time when enjoying the destination not the trip is the goal.
There is an exception.
When the plane you are flying on is so small that you look out the window to see the guy with the remote control who you are sure is flying the plane instead of the pilot in the cockpit.
I was on such a plane today.
It rattled.
It shook.
It bounced and thumped through the sky like a child's kite on a windy day.
I was more than a little apprehensive.
Then I noticed the flight attendant in the jump seat facing the passengers.
Yes, I said flight ATTENDANT, there was only one.
I said the plane was small!
Anyway, as the plane was bouncing all over the clouds and making really strange noises, this flight attendant was calmly reading the newspaper.

He was not concerned at all with the plane.
Then it occurred to me that he knew this plane well. It was his regular route. If there was something wrong, or out of the ordinary, he would be the first one outside of the cockpit to know.
He was sitting there as if all was ok.
I made the decision to watch him. I came to the conclusion that as along as he was relaxed, I had nothing to be scared of, because he KNEW what was ok and what was not ok.
I trusted him.
Shouldn't it be that way with God? We worry about things with our jobs, families, friends, enemies, and churches. How much more peace could we have if we just kept our eye on God through His Word?

Proverbs 1
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
   and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

God's Word assures us that he knows what is best for us. He knows where we are safe. He also shows us when things are not safe and gives warnings.
So today, I will choose to watch God. I will rest and find peace knowing He will show me when things are not ok. I can rejoice and enjoy life not worrying over the details that I have no control over.
I will lay each day at His feet, walk it as I look at His Word and trust He knows EVERYTHING that is going on and will sound the warning if necessary.
That way I don't have to be consumed by stress and worry as I fly through the turbulence of this life.

Chasing After Their Hearts,

Glenda Johnson

A Walk Through Time

I just journeyed thirty-four years in four hours

Walking through time was wonderful and kinda scary.

My best friend from high school, whom I haven't seen in twenty years, just came over and we ran through thirty -four years.
As we talked and reminisced, something occurred to me.

I shouldn't be alive today.

We made some crazy choices.
We made some crazy choices with friends, strangers, and even in a foreign country where even our parents did not know our location. (Two teenage girls in Mexico without permission)

I am very thankful for the Grace of God!!

Although we haven't seen each other in twenty years or even spoken, the time just melted away.
We did life together back then. Even after we were both married, for a few years we did life together.
Then, we just drifted out of each other's lives.
I am thankful for a friend who still after all of these years loves me and receives my love.
We have made a promise to not let another twenty years go by.

All of this comes after the funeral this morning of my husband's uncle who died way too soon.

People are important.

We may not have twenty years to get around to getting in touch with someone.
Today is a reminder that I need to make a better effort with my relationships.

Who do you need to contact?
You may not have tomorrow.

Pick up the phone.
Send the email.
Just do it!

You will be glad you did!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson