Archive for the ‘Hope’s Devotionals’ Category

Moving sites!

Monday, April 7th, 2014

I am making a move! Several years ago our web designer suggested I move my devotionals to a blog because blogs are so much more user-friendly than an actual website. Well, I’m finally branching out and doing just that. From here on out my daily devotionals will be posted to a blog. The link is below. One of the reasons for moving to the blog is so that we can interact. As it currently is, you can make a comment but our website is not set up for discussions. I’ve had many people tell me over the years that sometimes they’d like to discuss their thoughts and give feedback. Well – if you’re one of those people, now you can! Be patient with the blog, I’ll be tweaking it a good bit until I get it just right.

Obviously this Hannah’s Hope Ministries’ website will remain up and going for the ministry, and Deb will continue to post her journals on here from time to time. Only my devotionals are moving. Thank you all so much for continuing to pray for the ministry, for Hannah’s family, and for all our efforts in providing hope to individuals and families in life crisis. Now jump over to the blog and let’s get going!

http://hopehouchins.wordpress.com

Hope

#TheLordknowswhatweneed

Friday, April 4th, 2014

I absolutely love Di Easler. She is one of those rare friends that happen into your life and stick with you the rest of your days. This morning out of the blue I got this text from Di-at-the-beach:

Encouraging word the Lord reminded me of just now Nothing formed against me shall stand. The God of angel armies is always by my side. Made me think of you 2. #christomlin #Klove #TheLordknowswhatweneed

First let me say that this text would send Caleb over the edge. It drives him crazy for people to use hashtags in texts. He says that’s shows our age. ?? Today I sent him a text and ended it with a hashtag. He answered my questions and then ended his text with “Please stop using hashtags in texts.” I responded, “Okay. #rude”. I kill me! Anyway back to the devotional. 

Nothing formed against me shall stand. It doesn’t matter what Satan throws at us, God has an army of angels camped around us heading off his attacks. Sometimes God allows a dart to sneak through and hit us in order to grow us in our faith, to teach us to look to Him for help. But even when the darts hit us, the Lord knows what we need, and He meets those needs. All we have to do is cry out to Him and He will answer. 

Take heart. #TheLordknowswhatweneed

“…your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8).

“He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him” (Psalm 91:15).

I hope you have a great weekend. Clay and I are on a short camping trip for a couple of nights. The temps are perfect too! Yep, the Lord knows just what we need. Love to you all!

Hope

Hide me behind the message…

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Tonight our quartet had the privilege of singing at a widow/widowers dinner at Boiling Springs First Baptist. Those “older folks” love their southern gospel music! And we love singing it, so it was a good fit. The four of us always make a point to find a quiet room and join together in prayer before we sing. It is so not about us or our harmony or our talent, should there be any there. It is about the message of the songs. It never fails that when we circle up and join hands, Clay asks, “Who’s turn is it to pray?” Every single time we go through that little ritual. It was “my turn” to pray tonight and as I closed in prayer I said, “Don’t let us get in the way. Hide us behind the message.” Now that was a good one, I think I’ll write a devotional about it.

I don’t want to ever get in the way of the message. Our message is that our hope rests in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And that personal relationship is available to everyone. Jesus came to save every single person. He loves us all the same, and He wants everyone to be in heaven with Him. He wanted it so bad that He gave His life for it. Once we accept Him as our personal Savior, our hope no longer rests in our circumstances. Our hope no longer rests in whether or not God chooses to heal me or my loved one of cancer. My hope no longer rests in whether or not my marriage is strong or rocky. My hope no longer rests in whether or not my children make wise decisions and “turn out right.” My hope no longer rests in whether there’s enough money in my account to pay my bills. My hope no longer rests in whether I like my job or hate my job. My hope no longer rests in whether I have a job or am unemployed. My hope rests in my personal relationship with Jesus, and that hope is eternal. What a message!

I pray others have a hard time even noticing me because they’re so engrossed in the message. Yes Lord, hide me behind the message.

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3).

Hope

Set your cruise…

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

I don’t think I’ve told you, my web family, that I have a new vehicle! It is a mineral gray Ford Edge, and I love it. I’ve had it a week today, and I’m enjoying it so much. And boy will it fly! There are two stretches of highway between my house and the office that always have a police officer strategically placed, so I am always aware of my speed. Knowing the officer is around makes me cautious of my driving. I’ve never been much to use my cruise control, but I do now. Setting my cruise allows me to stay within the speed limit and not have to worry about getting caught.

Likewise, we should set our cruise on our spiritual journey. Our Heavenly Father is always around. He’s there to keep us within the boundaries so that we don’t mess up. Just as being aware of the police officer makes us cautious of our driving, we should be aware of the Lord’s presence and be cautious of our decisions in life. We can set our cruise by reading and studying the scriptures, and by communicating often with the Lord through prayer. He’s not lurking hoping to zap you when you mess up. He’s around to provide support and strength and courage to make the right decisions.

Don’t stretch the boundaries. Set your cruise…

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord” (Psalm 89:15).

Hope

Is there a Vacant sign on your prayer room?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

A group of guys who work with Clay at Milliken play basketball in our church gymnasium every Tuesday and Thursday, and have for many years. Our church is directly across the street from Milliken and it makes for quite the convenient location. Today before the first game Clay went down the back hall of the church to do some stretches and a few little pushups, and he passed the prayer room. Hanging on the door was a sign that read “Vacant” and he said to himself, “Hope can write a devotional on that.” So here goes.

Is there a Vacant sign on your prayer room? Or is there No Vacancy because you spend good, quality time in conversation with the Lord? Your prayer room may be a specific room in your home, or it may be a favorite chair in front of your favorite window, or it may be in the car while you’re driving to work and back, or it may be at your desk while you’re working throughout the day. You do not have to have a particular room, you simply have to have an open heart willing to converse with the Father. You can spend 30 minutes in the morning on your knees in a quiet place, or you can whisper short prayers throughout the day. Both are prayer rooms. Both are prayer times. All God wants from us is a little bit of time. It grieves His heart for us to hit the floor wide open and not take time to talk to Him throughout the day. Don’t hang a Vacant sign on the prayer room of your heart.

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Hope

God’s good at that!

Monday, March 31st, 2014

I’ve had many opportunities to use the phrase, “God’s good at that!” just in the past few days.

A man in desperate need of a first shift job, but not wanting to leave the company where he was employed. They created a position for him on first shift. He said to me, “I guess if God can create the world, He can create a position for me!” I responded, “Yep. God’s good at that!”

A lady who has had years of struggles in her career, her personal life, and her spiritual journey. But positive things continue to fall into place for her. Her outlook? “God always shows up.” My response? “God’s good at that!”

A single mom of two girls who holds tightly to the hope that her marriage will be restored, though the husband has no interest in making that happen. God can surely work miracles, right? My response? “Yep. God’s good at that!”

A mom of a teenage girl who has decided she knows what’s best for her own life. She plans to move in with her boyfriend’s family, leaving behind all that she knows to be truth and “right.” Can God intervene before this young girl ruins her life? Yep! God’s good at that!

My own search for knowing exactly where I am to serve and what I am to do. What to say no to. What to say yes to. How to use what little “free time” I have. Wisdom for taking the right turn at a crossroads in my life. Does God know which turn I should take? Will He give me discernment and direction and peace in my decisions? Yep. God’s good at that!

Can God handle whatever you’re facing in life? Is He big enough to not just speak the world into existence but speak peace to your anxious, troubled heart? Yep. God’s good at that!

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).

Hope

Don’t get stuck there…

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

We talked yesterday about the good that is on the other side of “that.” But when we’re in those dark times it is almost impossible to think about the other side. Our mind is focused on now. It’s stuck there. It is so difficult to keep going. Quite often we don’t know whether to turn to the right or left, whether to back up or go forward. We are broken and exhausted. Too weary to even try. We just want to quit. But we must move forward. We cannot allow ourselves to get stuck there. Getting stuck there will bring defeat. There is no victory in hanging out in a pit. There is no comfort in wallering in mire, it is smothering.

God loves you. He longs to be Lord of your life. He wants to give you victory over your circumstances. He longs to carry you right on through this trial. Don’t get stuck there. Let God work on your behalf and you’ll find the good on the other side.

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2).

Hope

The good is on the other side…

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Think about this quote from Beth Moore…

The greatest work that God will ever do in your life is on the other side of “that.” 

“That” is whatever God has allowed in your life that is very difficult. He promises us that He works all things for our good. How can the death of a child be good? How can the loss of a job be good? How can an unfaithful spouse be good? How can the heartache of a wayward child be good? How can the diagnosis of cancer be good? How can loneliness be good? Yet He says He works all things for our good? The good that He is working is on the other side of “that.” He wants us to keep putting one foot in front of the other when the storm is the darkest, because it’s on the other side that He does His greatest work. We must get to the other side. And with His strength and His power at work within us, we will.

The good is on the other side.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…” (Genesis 50:20).

Hope

Tomorrow’s clouds…

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Worry pulls tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine. – Author Unknown (to me)

That is the perfect picture of worry. Things are going pretty good in our lives. Our health is good, our kids are behaving, our marriage is thriving, our bills are paid and there’s still some cash flow available, life is good. Yet there is this cloud of worry that sits over us. The definition of worry: to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. My personal definition is to concern yourself with things completely out of your control. When we allow our mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles, when we concern ourselves with things out of our control, we are pulling tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine. A good worry will put the lights out of a bright sunny day in a heartbeat. Tomorrow’s clouds? They may not even come! And so because we don’t know whether they’re going to come or not, we borrow from the unknown and allow it to snuff out the good things going on in our lives. That sounds crazy and ridiculous, doesn’t it? Why do we do that?? Why in the world do we let those clouds cover our sunshine?

The Bible tells us to cast all our cares on the Lord, ALL our cares, because He cares for us. He doesn’t want us to miss out on the bright sunny day He has blessed us with. So He’s offers to carry all our worries and burdens. All we have to do is let Him.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each dayhas enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Hope

After what I saw, how could I not be?

Monday, March 24th, 2014

One of the great lines from the recently released movie, Son of God, is a quote from John, the friend of Jesus. When asked if he was a follower of Christ, John answered, “After what I saw, how could I not be?”

Yesterday Clay and I along with our friends, Todd and Carmela were blessed with an opportunity to sing and tell Hannah’s story at Second Baptist Church of Rutherfordton, NC. The pastor is a lifelong friend, Keith Stephenson. Keith and I went to school together from Kindergarten through high school. We lost contact after my family moved from Bryson City, and I’ve seen him one time in those 34 years, and that one time was 17 years ago. He’s been pastoring this church in Rutherfordton, only 45 minutes up the road from us, for those 17 years and we haven’t seen each other at all. I’m still shaking my head that we could live that close together and have not hooked up. Keith and his wife, Bethel have their own journey, their own story of heartache and healing. In 1992 their 4 year old son was struck by a car and killed. Now that will rock your world, your marriage, and your faith whether you’re a pastor or not! And although it was devastating and the grief threatened to take them out many times, their faith was solid, their marriage was grounded on that faith, and their God was and is faithful. Keith has watched God’s hand of love and mercy and grace and protection do a great work not just in his life but in many lives over these years. He said to me yesterday, “We’re doing great, Hope. God is good.” I’m sure if I had posed the question to Keith now 22 years later why he is still a follower of Jesus, he’d respond, “After what I saw, how could I not be?”

Have I had my own share of heartache and disappointment? Have I thought God should answer my prayer in a particular way but instead He did something completely opposite? Yes. And have I witnessed God’s protection? His mercy? His love? His unmerited favor? His sustaining grace through the loss of a loved one? His healing power? His forgiveness and redemption from a life of sin? I certainly have. Why am I still a follower of Jesus in spite of grief and heartache and disappointment? Because after what I saw, how could I not be?

“This is the disciple [John] who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:24 & 25).

Hope