April 6, 2013
When God has gifted us in any area, if we’re not careful, we can yield to the temptation to misuse the gift. For example, if a woman is beautiful, she has the option of using her beauty to snare a man, while God may have made her beautiful to help save a nation. A smart person can showcase his or her brain power for the purpose of boosting self-esteem or impressing others.
We have to fight this.
God determined each person’s gift(s). He has gifted us for His glory alone. We are not to use the gift to gain glory for ourselves. It all belongs to Him. He deserves it all. When we hear a great concert pianist perform, we don’t praise the piano, we praise the musician. God is the Chief Musician. David understood this.
Don’t show off your gifts like a spoiled child. Use them to serve.
January 7, 2013
A couple of weeks ago my mother invited me to watch a church service online. I did and what I heard was absolutely divine. It was the voice of gospel and opera singer Audrey Dubois-Harris. I was not familiar with her. She sang one of my favorite hymns, Great Is Thy Faithfulness. While I’ve heard this song hundreds of times, I’d never heard it like this before. I was weeping as I listened. My mother was crying as well. I thought, what a wonderful combination: excellence in voice and interpretation, all for the glory of God. The audience was moved to worship God as she sang. Listening to Audrey immediately inspired me to pursue excellence, to get better at what I do because we serve an excellent God. Her rendition of Great is Thy Faithfulness pointed me to God in all His splendor.
May how I perform my God-given tasks do the same.
December 25, 2012
My heart is full of gratitude this morning. JOY abounds because the Savior has come. He is my reason for living. I wouldn’t want to live one day without Him. I’m so glad He was born in a manger instead of in opulence. This same Savior visited me in lowly Fifth Ward, Houston, Texas when I was a child. He whispered that I was special and that He loved me. I embraced His Love. He knew that’s what I desperately needed. His Love has guided me ALL my life. It defines me and gives me security because He will never leave me or forsake me. He is my hope, my strength, my healer, my peace, and my provider.
Father, thank you for the incredible Gift of your Son. This Christmas Day I worship you with my life. My heart belongs to you, forever.
August 20, 2012
I got a big shock early this morning when I stepped into my kitchen. My wet socks told me something was up. Sure enough when I turned on the lights, water covered the floor. Some had trickled into the dining room and living room. The dining room rug and padding were wet. What happened? I quickly surmised that the water was not coming from my kitchen sink pipes. They were dry. I looked up and could tell the water was traveling from the pipes inside the wall.
I took a risk and called my neighbor three floors directly above me. I apologized for calling so early in the morning (around 4) and quickly mentioned what was going on in my place and asked if she were having a similar problem. At first she said “No” and that it was probably the apartment right above mine. Then in a matter of seconds she said, “It is me. Water is everywhere in my kitchen! The faucet came off and I can’t get it back on! Water was dripping last night before I went to bed and I said I would take care of it this morning. I’m glad you called me. I’d rather deal with it at this hour than at six when I was going to get up.” We quickly hung up to face our respective water challenges, agreeing to stay in touch with updates. I called management to report the mishap and to hopefully get help as soon as possible.
I knew that all the plans I had for the morning would be shelved; removing the water quickly was the top priority. I thought about the thousands of local residents who encountered far worse a couple of months ago due to severe storms and power outages. I was grateful. This was inconvenient, but manageable. I also reflected on the wise sayings that encourage us not to put off for tomorrow what can be done today as well as the warning about self confidence found in James 4:13-16: “Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans and all such boasting is evil.”
Take it from me…You never know what you’ll face when it’s the dawning of a new day and your feet hit the floor.
July 9, 2012
One of my favorite sayings is, “Things are seldom as they appear to be.” Appearances are misleading; so are signs. I thought about this the other day when I noticed for the first time these words posted outside on a grocery store building: LOW PRICES. I took a second look, shook my head and laughed. I’ve been shopping at this supermarket for years because it’s convenient not economical. Yes, there are a few sales each week, but this chain is usually at the top of the list for being one of the most expensive in my area.
What if someone new to the area actually chose to shop at this supermarket because of its misleading advertising? Every day millions of Americans make choices based on marketing and advertising. How many are disappointed with the product, service, or experience because it didn’t measure up to the hype?
I have no control over advertising, except my own, so I often ask myself these questions: Am I who I appear to be? Am I authentic? Do I daily live the life I talk and teach about? Am I a devoted follower of Christ when no one is watching? I long for my advertising to be authentic and reliable.
I remember my deep disappointment when someone I respected or interviewed was found not living up to his or her sterling reputation. I join author Elisabeth Elliot’s in reciting this prayer: “I pray that I’m the person you think I am.”
It’s refreshing to know people who live honestly before God and men. My mother and late father are at the top of that list. I want to be right behind them.
May 31, 2012
It takes practice to think the best about every situation. I know. I’ve been practicing for years and I still haven’t mastered it, even though that’s what The Love chapter encourages us to do. (I Corinthians 13).
I was reminded of this three times in the past ten days. Here are the details in one instance. I sent an email to a new friend and I didn’t get a response. I waited several days. This was not like her. She typically responded in a timely fashion. I begin to think, I wonder if she’s offended because I contacted a woman she introduced me to and invited her to participate in a campaign. Maybe I didn’t follow protocol and she’s upset with me and this has impacted our friendship. Each day I didn’t hear from her caused my mental list to get longer and longer as to why she was ignoring my email. I sent another one, putting the “issue” on the table. I told her that I had contacted the mutual acquaintance and that I hope she was not offended by my action, especially since I did not ask her opinion about doing so. I got no response to this email either. I didn’t know what to think. One morning the situation was so heavily on my mind that I decided I needed to call my friend and put everything on the table.
I knew that the Bible says that if someone has a problem with you, it’s your job to be proactive, reach out to them, and hopefully work through it as soon as possible. The longer something festers, it escalates. I’ve had too many of these experiences and my imagination was getting more and more creative. So I called her, got her voicemail, and left a lengthy message explaining what I had been thinking the last few days as a result of her silence.
Later that day she returned my call. She told me she had been seriously ill with some kind of virus for a couple and days and this was her first day back in the office. She said she had no issue with me at all and that it was fine that I contacted her friend. We had a great conversation. Wow, what a relief, but look at what I had conjured up in my mind. It was all negative.
One of the older women in the church I attended as a child, Mother Addie B. Johnson used to say, “Think nothing.” Think nothing until you have the facts. That’s better than thinking the worst, but it’s better to think the best until proven otherwise. It’s a daily exercise to train the mind to do that, but it can be done when we rely on God’s grace and keep practicing.
May 13, 2012
Motherhood is a high calling and a high privilege. God did not give me the honor of being a mother but I am the daughter of a great mother. What makes Ormie Martin great? God’s Word is the authority of her life. She and my father raised all eight children (7 boys and 1 girl) to take God seriously, not the shifting standard of the culture. What matters is pleasing God, she often reminded me. It may not make you popular but it will position you to experience His favor.
My mother not only talks what is biblically correct, but also lives it. I’ve watched her all my life, checking for inconsistencies. I haven’t found them. She tells others to pray and I’ve seen her praying about any and everything. Just last week when we got word that my brother Jerry had an accident and experienced head trauma, my mother immediately went into the prayer mode. She got down on her knees and cried out to God for His healing touch. My brother is now home from the hospital, expected to recover completely.
She purposed in her heart as a young mother to raise her children by God’s standards and not have a watered down version for her boys. She said, “If you can raise good girls, you can raise good boys.” She administered tough love. All seven are now hard working men. Four are pastors. Mother said often, “I’m training you to be in God’s army.”
What makes Ormie Martin a great mother? On her tongue is godly wisdom. I’ve always been amazed at my mother’s incredible insight and discernment. She doesn’t have a college degree but she’s one of the smartest persons I know. God has endowed her with His wisdom because she asks for it daily. She has given me great advice on my career, handling money, and every crisis in my life.
The legacy of a godly mother is outlined in Proverbs 31: “Her children arise and call her blessed…many women do noble things, but you excel them all…a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Ormie Martin…you excel them all.
April 12, 2012
I decided to take a brisk walk/run early this morning. It was dark when I stepped outside my building, except for one bright tree. It was beautiful. It stood out amidst the darkness because of its light. I got close to it and saw that a tall light was in the center of the tree causing the illumination. All around it was nothing but darkness. The tree was never tempted to join the darkness. It didn’t want to be like the crowd. If so, it would lose its distinction of bringing beauty and light.
Are we being light in this dark world full of sin, despair and deceit? May our distinctive be the sweet aroma of Christ, seeing all of life from His perspective and responding in love and grace.
April 1, 2012
I was at an event last week when the lady sitting next to me made a comment about the speaker’s appearance. I hadn’t noticed it until she said it and once she said it I began to focus on it. The observation (although minor) became a distraction for awhile. I got stuck on it. I kept thinking about the “flaw” rather than the presentation.
Then I began to wonder, Why does it come so effortlessly for us to focus on what’s wrong than what’s right? Why does “what’s wrong” stay lodge in our minds for so long? There is so much more “right” with every person than wrong.
We get to choose what we think. From now, by God’s grace, I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to dwell on what’s right about people and even when I see what’s wrong, keep it to myself. I don’t want anyone else getting stuck because of what I see and say.
March 11, 2012
I am notorious for buying meat (when it’s on sale) and putting it in my freezer. I pulled out a package of ground turkey recently, noticed the expiration date had passed months ago, but decided to take a chance and cook it anyway. Well it looked fine after I fried it, but it tasted funny. Soon I had an upset stomach. I had no choice but to throw it out. I had waited too late.
It was my fault that I ignored the expiration date and decided to cook the turkey when I felt like it. I lost out. I wasted money and I got sick. How many times do we keep putting off what needs to be done, until it’s convenient for us? We miss certain opportunities because we don’t act when we need to act. We’re too slow. We take our time and don’t jump on it.
Honor deadlines. Honor expiration dates. When God tells you to work through conflict, do it. When He asks you to forgive, do it. When He says stop doing something, obey. Don’t ignore your conscience. Don’t put it off. The day you hear my voice, harden not your heart. Tomorrow may be too late.
Lord, help me to do what I need to do, when I need to do it.