Coupon Kindness

My heart sinks. I stand at the checkout stand: list, coupons, and estimates tallied in my hand. I never knew coupons and advertisements contained fine print. 

I chose today to do my grocery shopping. Everything planned perfectly: coupons trimmed, list completed, and Triple Coupon Tuesday! As a young bride, the art of shopping for my family proves a daunting task, especially since I attend college, and my husband brings home our only source of income. 

The lady at the register never realizes just how she devastates me as she rejects my 50 cent coupons. There is a 49 cent max on Triple Coupon Tuesday, so I am forced to pay full price for multiple items upon which I expect to receive a $1.50 discount. I pay the lady, hold myself together, retreat to the safety of my car, and the tears begin to flow.

Since Piggly Wiggly’s location is just down the street from my in laws, and cell phones aren’t invented, I decide to drive by and receive sympathy and advice from my mother-in-law. Long time family friends, Marilyn and Edward, happen to be visiting when I arrive. Unable to hide my emotions, I explain my coupon fiasco. 

Edward becomes my defender and advocate. We all pile into my mother-in-law’s car and drive back to Piggly Wiggly. (Side note: my brother-in-law is the manager of this store, but off duty at this time. Perhaps this played to my favor. I may never know.) I sit in the car anxiously waiting as Edward enters the store with my receipt and 50 cent coupons in hand. Time passes slowly as I sit in the back seat, snubbing, and trying to regain my composure. 

The smile on Edward’s face offers hope as he exits the market and returns to the car. Edward awards me $15 in place of my 50 cent coupons. He is delighted. I am relieved, grateful, and amazed. This man’s kindness overwhelms me and inpresses me to share my kindnesses with others. 

Although, it has been over 25 years since this event, I will always smile when I think of Edward. I am encouraged to be an advocate for others who need a helping hand. 

2 Samuel 2:6

And now the Lord show kindness and truth unto you: and I will requite you this kindness, because you have done this thing. 

If you only knew…

John 4:9b

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” 

We moved to the country when I was eight years old. So many of my childhood memories are from country living, and the majority of my dreams occur in the setting of our country home. Living just around the corner from my Grannie and Papa, I spent many days and nights at my grandparents house. Memories: the chickens, the cows, the garden, the early mornings, the embarrassing (to me) pink asbestos siding, the coconut cake, the dishwashing liquid bubble baths, the evening snack of popcorn & glass bottled Dr. Prpper, the half piece of gum, and so much more. 

One of most unique memories from Grannie’s house revolves around the water bucket. Sitting to the right of the kitchen sink, up on the counter, rested an old enamel pot and ladle, white with red trim (I’m still searching antique shops for a red trimmed ladle of my own). Each morning, Grannie would fill the pot with fresh water, maybe from the well, I really don’t know. 

All throughout the day, we would work and play, and whenever we needed a drink of water , to the bucket we would go. Grab the ladle, scoop up some water, and drink away! Mmmmm…refreshing. No worries or concerns for germs, we all drank from the same ladle and bucket. At my house, we had no pot or ladle. At my house, we had to use a cup! But at Grannie’s house, I loved to drink from the ladle. 

Jesus does not want you to settle for drinking out of a boring old cup. He offers living water! I love this passage of scripture: “If you only knew….” Praise God, I know! Jesus is God’s Son, and He holds the bucket. Let Him saturate you. All you have to do is ask. 

Brahma Mamas (or Don’t be the Devil’s Happy Meal)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

I stand at the gate looking out over the pasture before me. “Where are the cows grazing today?” I think to myself as I scan as far as my eyes can see. Some days the Brahma Mamas are down in “the bottom”. “The bottom”, now that’s a field just past the pond, and I can’t see it from my house. Sometimes we haul hay in “the bottom” pasture, and sometimes we take and dump brush into a big ditch over the side of “the bottom”.  Because even though it’s called “the bottom”, it seems to me that it’s a high spot on the land, but I suppose that’s because it rises up just passed the dam that forms the pond.  When the cows are in “the bottom”, I have no fear.

Today, though, I’m not so lucky. There they stand. To my right, not far from the barn, the fifteen or so Brahma cows are grazing on the new spring grass. It’s a wonderful view; some might even call it peaceful. The white and red cows graze the Kelly green field, majestic humps upon their shoulders and ferocious horns on their heads, without a care in the world. There are only a couple of white ones, I suppose in actuality they are gray, but I’ve always called them white. They are my favorite to watch, but at the same time, I find myself most afraid of them. 

Then I hear the barking and look to my left under the only clump of trees in the open field, I spy the dog pen. To fulfill my duty, I stand here at the gate with food bucket in hand. One of my chores, every afternoon after school, is to feed the dogs. The excited dogs jump and bark and eagerly await my arrival. I, on the other hand, dread the walk down the trail to the dog pen amidst the Brahma Mamas. 

I imagine to myself, “If the cows charge me, I can run to the dog pen and close myself safely behind the fence, then I will yell for help.” Discouraged by my plan, I realize no one would hear me yelling that far from the house. Sometimes I would imagine being trapped in the dog pen, surrounded on all sides by cows, forever. As an adult, I realize the ridiculousness of this scenario, I am sure after 5 minutes, if I didn’t return to the house, my mom would have come looking for me. Even so, as a preteen girl, I felt my fear was valid. 

“Okay, Amy, you don’t have all day, just do this.” I pep talk myself as I open the gate. Sure enough the gate creaks. It always creaks, and I always pray it won’t, but it does. I freeze, look at the Brahma Mamas who stop their grazing, lift their heads, and seem to look me in the eye. My mantra begins.

Eyes on the trail set before me, gate locked behind me, dog food in hand, I walk and pray: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Over and over I quote my scripture of safety to God, from gate, to dog pen, and back to gate. I open the creaking gate and relieved enter the safety of my backyard unscathed. Looking back, the Brahma Mamas stand grazing in their same spot as before, unmoved, and unconcerned by my intrusion upon their territory. 

The threat of danger never existed or my parents would not have given me the chore of feeding the dogs, but to me the threat was very real. I faced my fear daily and believed if it weren’t for the grace of God, I would have been a Brahma Mama Happy Meal. God continuously protected me. 

As I embark upon this daily walk down my trail of life, the devil spews threats of danger on every side, and sometimes I fear I might be surrounded. The threat of danger cannot affect me or my Heavenly Father would not have given me the tasks for which He has called me. So, I face my fear daily and trust in the Almighty God to bless me and keep me, to make His face to shine upon me, be gracious to me, lift up His countenance upon me, and give me peace (Numbers 6:24). No Happy Meal here; the devil will have to go hungry another day!! 

I am a who, not a what!

What a revelation! Unfortunately, it took me almost 43 years to come to this realization. I am a people pleaser by nature. Growing up I maintained a reputation of a good girl because I made choices I knew would please others. 

Don’t get me wrong! This is not a bad quality. It’s a quality that has served me well. My work ethic is strong; my credit score is high; and my word is true. 

But along the way, my choices were often made in conflict. I am from a family of educators: my dad, my mom, my sister, my brother-in-law, my aunt, my cousin, and countless close family friends. I am a teacher, too. As small children, my sister and I would play school. We would write, color, draw, teach  & discipline each other, and decorate our room like a classroom. Teaching is a gift from God (1 Corinthians 12:28), a high calling, and being a teacher makes me proud. I have defined myself that way: “Hello. My name is Amy, and I am a teacher.” 

However, if you look upon my teaching career, it appears a bit wishy-washy. My experience: 

One year at Edgewood, one year at Robert E. Lee, one year at Winona, two and a half years at Literacy Council, five years at Christian Heritage, four years at Lindale, and countless extended stints as a substitute. 

I felt a tug upon my heart to stay home with my children and work alongside my husband pastoring the church. Each time I quit teaching, I faced a real struggle within myself trying to define what I was. If not a teacher, then what?

It has taken years to hearken to the voice of the Lord, and regardless of my insecurities, step out by faith and follow him. That tug upon my heart to step out of the role of math teacher was God’s voice. His direction for me is different than the direction I think best. If not a math teacher, then who? That’s a better question.

I am a daughter of the most high God. I am redeemed from a life of sin. I am a testimony for others to see the salvation of God. I am loved unconditionally, therefore, I am able to love others. I am a pastor’s wife. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a faithful friend. I am a writer. And, yes, I am a teacher, too. 

Romans 1:16 …I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ….

Romans 8:38-39 …I am persuaded that [nothing] … shall be able to separate us from the love of God….

1 Corinthians 11:1 …I am [a follower] of Christ. 

1 Corinthians 13:2 …[without love] I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am….

2 Corinthians 7:4 …I am exceeding joyful….

2 Corinthians 11:21 … I am bold….

2 Corinthians 12:10 …when I am weak, then am I strong.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ….

Colossians 1:25 …I am a minister….

Step out by faith and embrace WHO you are today! 


2 Kings 4:3 (KJV) 

Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.

The prophet of the Lord spoke these words to the widow, and she and her two sons listened. This family had a debt and only one flask of oil. They collected as many empty vessels as they could and filled them all from their single flask. When they ran out of vessels, the oil stopped. The widow paid her debt in full, and they had plenty to live on, as well. 

As I embark upon 2017, I am encouraged by this account of God’s all-sufficient power. This passage ignites a fire inside of me. God is able! I know that God can provide for my every need, but do I really believe that He will? 

Yes. Yes, I believe. Throughout this Christmas season, everywhere I looked I’ve seen the word “Believe”. On ribbon, on wrapping paper, on wreaths, and stand alone, the word “Believe” caught my eye again and again. I realize the marketers have the belief of Santa Claus in mind, and movies such as The Polar Express, which I love, promote this idea to “Believe”.

However, as a Christian, I take “Believe” to a new level. My faith in Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son and as my resurrected Savior is the foundation of all I believe. I believe God is the creator of the world. I believe God hears and answers prayers. I believe there is hope for each individual. I believe God has purpose for my life. I believe God has purpose for your life, too.  I believe God is not only able, but He is willing to work miracles on our behalf. I believe God is all-sufficient, all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. I believe. 

Do you believe? 

Can you see yourself?

2 Samuel 12:7

“You are that man!…”

2 Samuel 11-12 Summary:

King David did not got out and fight in the war as he normally did. One night on his terrace he saw Bathsheba taking a bath. David sent for her, slept with her, and sent her home. Bathsheba soon discovered she was pregnant and sent word to the king. 

Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, was one of David’s mighty men, and he was away fighting as King David should have been. Eager to cover his sin, David called Uriah home from battle, fed him, and even got him drunk to coerce Uriah to go home and sleep with his wife. Uriah’s code of honor would not allow him to take pleasure with his wife knowing his brothers were fighting in battle. 

David sent Uriah back to war carrying a letter for the commander which contained Uriah’s death sentence. David commanded that Uriah be moved to fight on the front line and the other men were to retreat. After the death of Uriah, David took Bathsheba as one of his wives. 

Adultery and murder…I thought David loved God?

The child born to David and Bathsheba became very ill and died. David fasted and prayed for the life of the child but to no avail. Once the child died, David washed, ate, and went to the house of God to worship. All of David’s men were perplexed by his actions, but David explained that as long as there was hope for the child to live he continued to pray and fast. Since the child died, David realized the child could not come back to him, but he could serve the Lord and see the child some day in Heaven. (2 Samuel 12:22-23) This passage grants such hope of us seeing our loved ones again. 

After the death of Uriah, the prophet came to David and told him a story. There was a very rich man who decided to throw a party for visiting friends, but instead of feeding his friends from his own vast wealth, he took the only sheep from a poor man. This sheep had been like a child to this poor man and was his only possession. David was so angry. He wanted that rich man killed for his heartless actions and demanded to know who was this man.

Nathan replied, “You are that man!” 

Wow! David’s heart broke. He was King and could have any one he wanted, yet he took the wife of his friend, Uriah. David tried to cover his sin, but he could not see the severity of it until Nathan told him this simple story. 

It’s a curious thing how people do not “see” themselves. People get so caught up in being moved by emotions that they don’t “see” the way their actions impact others. Whether it’s words or actions, you cannot turn back time. You might be sorry and repentant, but oftentimes, damage has already been done. 

David repented, and a God still blessed his future, but repercussions of his actions could not be undone. Uriah died. The child died. David’s sin was uncovered, and his household suffered throughout his reign. 

Ask God to show you yourself today. Are there some changes you can make in your life? Look into the Bible. Let the Word of God be your mirror. Does your reflection look like the Lord? 

A Place for Jesus 

Read 2 Samuel 7:1-29

Verse 5: “Are you the one to build a house for me to live in?” (NLT)

I hope you will take time to read this chapter in its entirety. David is often called “a man after God’s own heart”. This story demonstrates this characteristic of David beautifully. 

David, as king over Israel, had all he could desire. Yet, he was troubled to think of the ark of God dwelling in a tent. David felt an unction to build God a house.

This thoughtful gesture pleased the Lord.

Have you considered God lately? How comfortable our lives have become in the USA. I have a home, a bed, a family, a routine. Overall, I am relatively content. But, have I created a place for the Lord in the midst of my life?

As I think about the Christmas story (Luke 2), remembering the humble birth of our Savior in a stable, I imagine the craziness of the city surrounding young Mary and Joseph. All the people had to leave their comfortable place and travel to be counted for taxation. There were so many people that all the rooms were filled. No room could be found for an expectant mother laboring to deliver her first born child. What terrible conditions! 

Now, I look around me, present day Christmas, and I notice the hustle and bustle of people everywhere. Schedules are filled with this party or that event. Few smiles are shared in the shopping malls. Oftentimes a spirit of grudgery overtakes a spirit of joy. Is there any room for Jesus today? 

Will you build God a house?

Will you open up your heart, body, and soul as a place for Him to dwell? 

Will you make room for Jesus this Christmas?

Friend to a King 

Have you ever met someone for whom you just feel a special kinship? You share easy conversation and perhaps have similar interests. As you spend more time with this friend, you discover you are willing to do anything for this person.

Jonathan was heir to the throne, and David was anointed to be the next king. This should have caused great division between these two young warriors, but instead, the two became fast friends. Jonathan would do anything for his friend, David, even give up his place as future king. Jonathan symbolized his honor for David by giving him all his possessions.

1 Samuel 18:1-4

After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them…Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.

David mourned for his friend when he heard of Jonathan’s death in battle. When given the chance, David remembered the promises made to Jonathan and passed the blessing onto Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. 

2 Samuel 9:7

“Don’t be afraid,” David said [to Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth], “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father….”

The rewards to friendship are amazing. I encourage you to show yourself friendly towards others and gain friends. Remember to keep your promises, and guard your priorities. Friendship is more important than position or power. 

Proverbs 18:24

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly….

John 15:14

[Jesus says], “You are my friends, if you do what I command.”

How thankful we should be that Jesus left His position and relinquished His power to become as one of us, live a perfect life, die on the cross, and pay the ultimate price for our sins! He first loved us, so we have freedom to love Him and live for Him. 

I am a friend of God. I am a friend of the King. Are you? 

An Unlikely King

Oh to see through the eyes of God! If only we could tear away every preconceived ideology from our thinking and really “see” people for who they are on the inside. What are their thoughts? What are their motives? 

We can’t. Therefore, it is so important that we not judge one another but leave that to the Lord. Certainly, blatant acts contrary to the Word of God must receive rebuke, but I’m thinking more along the lines of the judgements we tend to inflict in everyday life. 

Judgement has an array of extremes. We might look upon a benefactor to a charity with high regard and respect, not realizing that he gives with grudgery and a prideful heart with a sole purpose for personal monetary gain come tax season. The praises of onlookers being the only reward for his actions. 

Perhaps we harshly condemn the beggar on the street corner imploring him to “get a job”, not knowing the battle of depression warring in his mind. Maybe he lost his job, couldn’t pay his rent, and being an orphan growing up in various foster homes, he has no where to turn. The truth is: we don’t know his story. 

Who are we to judge?

Our job is to love.

John 13:35 (NLT)

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

The children of Israel sought a king to reign over them, and from all physical attributes, Saul was perfect. Pride entered his heart, and he made choices contrary to God’s command. I hope you will read the books of 1 & 2 Samuel for yourself. There are wonderful stories of war, friendship, lust, and love. The Bible portrays the good, the bad, and the ugly. We can learn from the history set before us. The following 3 scriptures are from the New Living Translation & set the background for today’s “Priddy Words”.

1 Samuel 9:2

…Saul was the most handsome man in Israel- head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.

1 Samuel 13:13-14

…Samuel exclaimed [to Saul], “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought a man after his own heart….”

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Dear Lord, 

Help me to love others as You love. Let me offer mercy and forgiveness to others as I desire to receive mercy and forgiveness from You. Grant me opportunities to show others the hope of Your salvation during this Christmas season.

In Jesus name, Amen. 

Rejecting God? 

1 Samuel 8:5(HCSB)

…appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have.

1 Samuel 8:7

But the Lord told [Samuel], “…They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king….”

The Lord speaks to Moses ” face to face as a man speaks unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11) because the children of Israel fear God and refuse to go to the mountain with Moses. God desires to dwell among His people. God walks daily in the garden with Adam until sin causes separation between God and Man. Even on giving Moses the instructions for the tabernacle, God’s presence dwells in the midst.

Throughout the book of Judges, God allows His spirit to move upon men & women to lead Israel into victory over their enemies. God raises Samuel as a prophet to give voice to His commands. Israel removes foreign gods and listens to the instructions of Samuel until his old age and rebellious sons cause the people to seek a king. 

Samuel takes offense at this request. The cry of the people acts as personal judgement, but God tells Samuel the people are not rejecting him, but God, Himself. The people take their eyes off of God and seek the leadership of man. Rejection of God is the beginning of destruction. The reason the people state: to be the same as other nations. How sad. Israel, God’s chosen people, wants to be like everyone else. 

In your own life today have you rejected God? Are there things or people you revere more than your time with the Lord? God has spoken to you through His Word. You can glean from the pages of the Bible the instructions you need to follow for success in your everyday life. If you reject the commands of God,  then you are rejecting God. If you allow other people to influence you contrary to God’s Word, then you are rejecting God. 

Stand firm today. Call upon Jesus, and He will answer. You will be surprised to see the Lord’s handiwork active in your life when you choose to follow Him wholeheartedly. He sends the answers in different ways, so be watchful and maintain an attitude of thanksgiving and prayer. 

Philippians 4:6-7(HCSB)

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.