Archive for June, 2007

Secure in the Guide’s Grasp…

Friday, June 29th, 2007

“God is strong and call help you not to fall” (Jude 24).

I read a great devotional from Max Lucado’s Grace For The Moment this morning. I want to share it with you. It is quite appropriate for where I am in my life and am sure others of you are in the same place.

“You and I are on a great climb. The wall is high, and the stakes are higher. You took your first step the day you confessed Christ as the Son of God. He gave you his harness – the Holy Spirit. In your hands he placed a rope – His word.

Your first steps were confident and strong, but with the journey came weariness, and with the height came fear. You lost your footing. You lost your focus. You lost your grip, and you fell. For a moment, which seemed like forever, you tumbled wildly. Out of control. Out of self-control. Disoriented. Dislodged. Falling.

But then the rope tightened, and the tumble ceased. You hung in the harness and found it to be strong. You grasped the rope and found it to be true. And though you can’t see your guide, you know him. You know he is strong. You know he is able to keep you from falling.”

I am so thankful that through all of our heartaches, failures and disappointments, we are secure in the Guide’s grasp. He is there with us, even though we can’t see Him. But if we grasp the rope (His Word), we’ll feel Him. Put Him to the test today! I’m going to.

Have a great weekend.

Hope

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good…

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I believe it is critical to thank the Lord for our blessings. Often we spend all our time asking Him for things and seeking His protection and guidance but we fail to thank Him for specific areas of blessings.

Caleb was getting out of a buddy’s truck on Tuesday night and Dylan thought he was completely out. He started driving off and he caught Caleb’s foot under the tire and ran completely over his left heel. Caleb didn’t call me and tell me about it but instead waited until he had spent some time with Trainer John at the training room Wednesday morning and then he decided to share. When he came hobbling to the car with his foot wrapped, needless to say I was a little concerned. The trainer said nothing was broken; he just has an ugly case of road rash. When I asked Caleb why he didn’t call and tell me this had happened, he said that he knew I’d freak out. Now, let me ask those of you who have followed my writings for months, is there anything about me that would make you think that I would freak out if anything happened to my little Ca-Ca? The very insinuation offends me…

The reality of how bad that accident could have been calls me to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! Caleb’s hobbling around a little but for the most part it hasn’t slowed him down at all.

I shared with you a few weeks back about my best friend in North Carolina and her son being home when someone randomly shot a high-powered rifle into their house. Well, two teenage boys, 18 and 19 years old have been bragging around town about doing drive-by shootings. The boys were picked up and arrested for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. They had also shot at a couple of dump trucks as they drove down the road. ??? What gets into the minds of people I’ll never figure out. But the fact that these boys are in custody is such a huge answer to prayer! I really never thought they’d catch anyone. For this specific blessing, I give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! And once again I thank Him for protection to Lisa and Matthew.

Look for reasons to thank Him today. Has the Lord done anything good for you lately? I dare say if you’re in an upright position reading this update, you have a lot to be thankful for. Let’s make today Thankful Thursday. Even while I’m typing this I received a call from Ben Christopher Automotive. He is putting brake pads on Caleb’s Explorer. He just called to say that whoever put the last roters (sp??) on put on the wrong size and that’s why the pads wore out so quickly. He explained how “not good” that is when it comes to brakes. That’ll be another $85.00. Thank you, Lord, that Ben found this and that you protected Caleb from an automobile accident. Brakes are fairly important and serve a pretty significant purpose. Since it is now officially Thankful Thursday, I will not whine about the $300+ that I’ll write a check for today but will rather thank the Lord for protecting us from much worse.

And did I mention that when Caleb started to work-outs this morning, the tire on my Accord was low? Thank you, Lord that it is just low and not flat! I’ll spend some time today getting that looked into. Thank you that we have Clay’s truck that is in great shape so Caleb could hop into it and get to work-outs on time. Look for the good today!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good…

“The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:23, 24, 27a, 28 & 29).

Hope

How far are you willing to go?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

How far are you willing to go to get a friend or a family member to Jesus? How much effort are you willing to go to in order for a friend or family member in need to get to Jesus?

We were meeting with a few of the Vision Committee members of HHM last night and Alexia Newman shared some thoughts from Luke 5. I said to her then, “Hey, I’m gonna use that for my update tomorrow.” I promised her I’d give her credit for it but she said I’d really have to give the credit to her pastor. Since I don’t know who he is, I’ll say Alexia thought of it. Of course I’ll put it in my own words and add a few thoughts. We just love Alexia!

Some friends heard that Jesus was teaching nearby and they wanted to get their paralytic friend to him. They carried him on a mat and because of the great crowd, they could not get close to the door to get inside. Did they say, “Oh, well, we tried” and turn and go back home? Did they say that Jesus must be too busy based on the crowd and give up and go home? Were they intimidated by the great crowd and all of the Pharisees and teachers of the law and decide that neither they nor their paralytic friend were worthy of Jesus’ time? Oh, no. They climbed on the roof (now how much effort would that take to climb on the roof with a paralytic on a mat?) and started taking the tiles off until they had opened a space big enough to fit their friend through. Can you imagine being in that house, sitting at Jesus’ feet trying to concentrate and cling to every word He was saying yet distracted by the strange noise over your head? Suddenly light shone through from the big hole in the roof and coming down through the ceiling was a man on a mat. That, my friends, is determination. That, my friends, is a love for a friend in need of healing. That, my friends, is a burden for one that you love. “This crowd will not get the best of us! We’ll just tear a hole in the roof and lower him down right in front of Jesus.” Verse 19 in Luke 5 says, “When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.” Did Jesus scold them for interrupting His sermon? Not at all. When their great faith was seen, He ordered the paralytic to take up his mat and go home. And the man did just that! Check out these verses (25-26) “Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

On July 21, 2006 Dr. John Trent, arguably the best sarcoma specialist in the world told us that Hannah’s cancer had spread to her lungs and that she would go quickly. Let me just tell you guys, we did not give up with no effort. We did not go off in the family counseling room and cry and weep for fear Jesus was too busy for us. We climbed on the roof, took some tiles apart and dropped that sweet little frail girl at the feet of Jesus and we pleaded for the life of that child! We believe with all of our hearts that when our faith was seen, Jesus said “Yes, I will” and He told Hannah to take her mat and go home. She did not “go quickly,” but rather God healed her lungs and allowed her to return to Spartanburg; Hannah took up her mat and she went home. God spent the next four months preparing the way for Hannah’s Hope Ministries. Had Hannah passed away that weekend in July, this “story” would not be. This “ministry” would not be. The weekend of July 21, 2006, we saw remarkable things and you can believe we went home praising God! And now almost a year later we continue to see and hear of remarkable things that God is doing through the life and testimony of Hannah Sobeski.

This is another great story from God’s word. You’ll find it in Luke 5. How far are you willing to go to get someone to the feet of Jesus?

Hope

A dead dog from Lo Debar

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

One of my favorite pastors and friends preached a message several years back on “A Dead Dog from Lo Debar.” Clay refreshed my memory about it this weekend and this morning as I was praying I felt much like Mephibosheth. Who am I to eat from the table of the King? Here’s the story (another David story from the book of 2 Samuel).

King David had vowed to take care of Saul’s family after Saul and Jonathan were murdered the way that they were. One day David got to thinking about that vow and he asked if there was anyone left of Saul’s household that he could show kindness to. The servant Ziba replied that there was a son of Jonathan’s, Mephibosheth and that he was crippled in both feet. The story of Mephibosheth was that when Saul and Jonathan were murdered the nurse grabbed Mephibosheth as a young boy and fled. In her haste, she dropped him and he was crippled for life. So King David sent for Mephibosheth who was living in Lo Debar. When Phib (let’s call him that going forward; my fingers can’t seem to come together on his full name) arrived at the King’s palace he fell to his knees in honor of King David. David told Phib not to be afraid that he was going to restore to him all the land that once belonged to his father, Jonathan and grandfather, Saul and that he would always eat at the table with him, the King. Phib bowed down humbly and said, “What is your servant that you would notice a dead dog like me?”

Isn’t that a great story? God loves to take the least of the least and make great things out of them. I was reflecting this morning on God’s goodness to me and His gracious blessings and I prayed, “What is your servant that you would notice a dead dog like me?” I’m praising the Lord today for this story written to us in God’s word. What great hope and encouragement that gives to us, those who are crippled in various ways. Whether it be physically, spiritually or emotionally, God can use us! After all, look what he did for Mephibosheth, just a dead dog from Lo Debar.

I will not post the entire scripture but you will find this story in 2 Samuel chapter 9. Have a great day!

“When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, ‘Mephibosheth!’ ’Your servant,’ he replied. ’Don’t be afraid,’ David said to him, ‘for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.’ Mephibosheth bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’” (2 Samuel 9:6-8).

Hope

His mercies are new every morning…

Monday, June 25th, 2007

As I walked early this morning I thought of how great God is and how faithful He is to meet us each morning with new mercies and grace. The early morning hour was not exactly pleasant today. While the temperature was only 73 degrees, the humidity was unbelievable. I had not walked 1/4 mile and I was drenched. Not from exhaustion but from the humidity. Summer has arrived in South Carolina and is in full swing!

We had a Hannah’s Hope Ministries weekend. Friday night we received 500 DVDs that we feel will be one of our most powerful tools in sharing Hannah’s hope. It is Hannah’s story in her parents’ words. Wrapped into their interview is footage from M. D. Anderson, the news coverage of the Homecoming Game, clips from Hannah’s interview with WSPA TV’s Amy Wood and many pictures of Hannah and her friends. Seth Buckley from First Baptist requested 500 copies to take with them to Kentucky Saturday morning to distribute at Kentucky Missions. We had a wedding at church Friday night and after the reception many of our church friends helped us stuff those DVDs into clam shell cases and pack them for Kentucky. After we boxed them up, we circled around and prayed for impact that the DVDs will have on the hearts and lives that will receive them. It was a great time with our church family!

Saturday was a low-key day. Caleb returned home from USC basketball camp and we had a fun time hearing all about his “experiences”. Later in the day we spent much time preparing for yesterday; I was scheduled to speak Sunday a.m. and Clay Sunday p.m. I shared at a small church in Pauline, Sulphur Springs Baptist. It was Ladies Day so that was fun. We took with us a couple of young ladies from our College and Career Sunday School class, Brittany Graham and Amy Horne, my mother was with us and we had two very special guests, Joe and Kim Moore. Joe has been a friend for several years and is currently working in Afghanistan. He was home for a few days and he and Kim joined us in the morning service. It was great to have them with us. It is healing for us each time we share Hannah’s story. A gentle and sobering reminder of why we’re here and what God is doing. He was very faithful to carry us right through the service and hearts were stirred and drawn closer to Him.

Last night Clay shared at a small church in Chesnee, First Free Will Baptist Church. Another very sweet service. It’s funny how I was able to share yesterday morning and not shed any tears. I was strong and God gave me freedom to share a lot that had been on my heart. But when I sit and listen to Clay, I cry like a baby every time. We joked a couple of times yesterday at how Hannah has given her Uncle Clay an opportunity to get in the pulpit – in spite of his divorce. Hannah loved Uncle Clay unconditionally and he’ll tell you that when he was going through his divorce, Hannah at a very young age taught him about unconditional love. She didn’t care what his “marital status” was. She loved her Uncle Clay and she loved to hear him speak. Leave it to her to cut out on us and open many doors for Uncle Clay by doing so! (She has also opened many doors for Jacob, and her parents, and her Aunt Hope!) I guess you could say we’re all working for Hannah.

So many ask, “How in the world do you do it? I don’t think I could stand and talk about Hannah with such strength.” Great is His faithfulness! His compassions do not fail and each morning He provides new mercies for the day. Only God’s grace could provide such strength. It really is all about Him. Our message is not about Hannah, it is about her hope. That hope was her faith based on her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A hope that is available to all! For that reason, we can face each new day with confidence that God will carry us right on through.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).

Hope

All He wants is for us to call…

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Last night Clay and I went to Mick and Deb’s and helped them on their bedroom project for a few hours. As we were leaving, Deb and I were chatting and I opened my cell phone and said, “No missed calls.” It was around 10:15 and I just wanted to hear from Caleb to know he was okay and having a good time. As we were driving home I looked back at my calls from Wednesday night and saw where it was 10:00 on the nose when Caleb had called. So I thought maybe he’d be in his dorm and I called his cell phone. No answer. He didn’t have time to fool with me, obviously.

So we got home and instead of putting my cell phone on the charger for the night I laid it on the night stand in hopes I’d hear from Caleb. Around 11:15 he called. All I wanted to do was hear his voice and know that he had a good day. He told me they had a 10:00 game last night so he was just getting into the dorm. I thanked him for taking the time to call me and told him I hoped he slept well and had a fun day on Friday.

As I hung up the phone I rolled over and my heart was stirred as I prayed, “God, that’s all You want, isn’t it? How many days do we go all day long and do not take time to talk to You? All You want is for us to talk to You and let You know how we feel and what our needs and wishes are. Because You’re God, You already know how our day went, but You want to have a conversation with us. How it must break Your heart when we go the entire day with no conversation with You and then we crawl in the bed, turn off the lights, roll over and go to sleep. Instead of sitting by the phone, You’re sitting on the throne of Glory with all kinds of blessings to give to us for the asking. You want so desperately for us to call! Please forgive me for the times that I’ve been too busy to say hello and thank You for all You give to me in spite of my self.”

All He wants is for us to call…

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name…Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always” (Psalm 105:1-4).

Hope

Kentucky Missions – Never the Same

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Good Morning Lord!

You awaken me to the sound of the singing birds this Friday morning! They awaken with a song of praise unto You their God and so do I! You are an amazing Father and I bless Your name! You are so desiring to show Yourself to me this day and I want to see You! I wonder if the birds I hear are the parents of the five little eggs I have once again in the hanging basket on my porch! I loved watching those little eggs “come to life” a couple of months ago! New life – in process – before my eyes! The first one hatched on Easter Sunday! I’ll never forget! Maybe because it blessed my heart and I paid attention the last time You did it, You are giving me the opportunity to watch again! 2 days ago there were only four eggs and I thought that it was another reminder that there will always be four on this earth from now on and then yesterday when I took it down to show Austin . . . they were all there – one, two, three four, five perfectly formed little, light blue, brown speckled eggs! Austin and I decided last time from his bird book that they are House Finches! The book said they loved hanging baskets and would usually have 4-5 little blue eggs! There are parts of Your creation that are so predictable that we mortal men have penned our findings and they prove true over and over again! I wonder what the book said before “hanging baskets.” Only You know! Once again Lord, I’ll try and keep the flowers watered if You will take care of the birds! “Not a sparrow falls from the tree except Your Heavenly Father knows.” That scripture has never meant more to this ol’ girl! Oh, Jesus, that blesses my life! Every time I hear those birds singing remind me of Your love, Your presence, Your closeness and Your care over my life!

Kentucky Missions -You flood my mind this morning with anticipation of our trip to Kentucky in the morning! I began to ponder anew and afresh again last night as I watched Michael sit for a very long time at the computer typing his testimony to share with Seth this afternoon. The sight blessed this mother’s heart more than I can say. He asked me at one point how long it should be and I responded that however long it needs to be to share what was on his heart. I encouraged him to look at Hannah’s interview from last year (posted under Hannah’s Story – page 2 of the Home page in its entirety from last year – dated May 26, 2006 ). He said he knew how long it was and his was already longer. I’m wasn’t surprised. I can’t identify with losing a sibling early in your life and watching your parents go through that process. I can’t imagine having your entire life turned upside down in one summer and having your parents just “leave” for almost 3 months to another state halfway across the United States with your very sick sister. I know that deep in his heart You have done some things that I may never know about. Michael is not always the “big talker” but he can express himself on paper in a beautiful, very concise way when forced to. He didn’t want me to read what he had written but boy I sure wanted to know! I will probably try to sneak a preview after he leaves this morning! Is that a sin, Lord? It is of the most importance in this mother’s heart to know that You are not only taking care of Hannah’s parents and changing their lives so that they are never the same, but that You are using this experience in the lives of Michael and Andrew so that their lives will also never be the same!

There are so many things that we can pray over the lives of our children but with all of my heart, I believe that the greatest prayer we pray for our children is for them to love the “Lord their God with all of their hearts, all of their souls, all of their minds and all of their strength! ” And once again Lord, I pray that for Michael and Andrew this morning! I desire for You to use this experience in their lives to make them strong men of God!

My mind went back last night to remembering Hannah sitting at this same desk last May and typing her testimony. It was after her surgery and she had an interview with Seth the afternoon of May 26. We had heard the word cancer but had every hope that we would all be going to KY. That testimony was to be her last “written” testimony on this earth. What a treasure for a mother’s heart! What a blessing and a legacy to leave for us. I remember that she was in discomfort that afternoon but was very determined to complete her application, testimony and have her interview. I would love to have been a “fly on the wall” that day in Mr. Seth’s office! She loved KY Missions – every part! She loved the children at the churches and they loved her! She loved being with her dearest friends in all of the world. She loved praise and worship! She loved the intense pace! She loved having the opportunity to share Jesus! She loved having a whole “tub” to put her “stuff” in! We decided it would hold more than her huge purple roll bag!

I thought also this morning about what You have done in my own life as a result of KY Missions. KY MIssions was Mickey’s love first! He had a heart for it before he probably even realized it. I remember the first time he went many years ago. A “Van Dad” had to drop out for some reason and they were one man short. Mickey was available. He showed up the morning they pulled out! He was driving a van with a group of kids he hardly knew and had no prior preparation. The van mom was Kate Coffey. He always talks about the blessing she was to him that year as she taught him “on the job!” It was several years before he realized that KY missions had been an answer to a prayer in his life. He also had been a young boy that someone had picked up in the hills of WV in a white van. You planted a seed in his heart long ago that one day he would be the one “driving the van” and picking up the little boys and girls! You know, Lord, because he was from a broken home, You tendered his heart to others who experienced the same. His hearts desire has always been to be a good father! You have answered that prayer! He is so good with those little children and they love him!

You had more work to do on me! but You have been faithful! Mickey wanted me to go for several years and the children were always a great reason not to be his “Van Mom.” He would tell me that of all the ladies he could have sitting beside him in that van, his pick would be me. Well, that finally got to me and so several summers ago I went for the first time! My type A, driven personality, bible thumping mentality took a little beating that first year. I wasn’t going to be able to have everything exactly like I wanted it. The churches were too small for that many kids, our kids didn’t have the stories down like I would have perferred and much of the time, I felt out of control! You were beginning to teach me that I was never going to be “in control” on a KY Mission trip! Ha!! You were the one in control and You would bring us to a point each year where You broke us and helped us understand that. Mickey would encourage me about the bible stories and tell me that the children would probably never remember one story we told and its “perfection” but they would remember that we came! You have mellowed me so much!

I remember a young boy by the name of Chris one of the first years that was “so wild.” I was having a real hard time loving that boy. I finally just came clean with You and told You that. I was not going to be able to love him in my strength. You weren’t asking me to = You wanted me to do it in Your strength! The next evening as we arrived at the little church, Chris was there – early and always waiting for us! Peaches had been sent from SC and they needed to be sorted through before we sent a bag home with each child. I engaged Chris’ help and we became friends that night. He is a young man now but he still comes. Sometimes on his four-wheeler flying by but he knows we are there. A couple of years ago, I just knew that he was on drugs and it broke my heart. Oh, Father, those little children have pretty much nothing and except for Your grace and by Your grace they never will. It is a cycle of generational bondage. More than anything, they need to know You. Oh Jesus this year would You lead some of them to a saving knowledge of Youself? I don’t go with any of my plans and agenda this year. I go as a broken mother whose little girl had a great big heart for these children. And I don’t think this year that it will be my effort, my story, my organization or expertise that will alter their situation in any way. I go knowing that if anything of eternal value is accomplished, You will have to do it.

For each of us, it is a time of being in a situation where you experience the physical empowering of God in a supernatural way. The only way you press on day after day is in the strength only You can provide. It is an intense week. Intense in praising and worshiping You, intense in relationships, intense in responsibility. . . I believe the week is as much for our own youth as it is for the youth in KY. A time to focus on You alone – to not be inhibited by peers and circumstances at home we can get caught up in. Oh Father, for each young person, use this trip to change their lives forever. Give many of them an opportunity to share the love of Christ one on one with a child there! And Lord, You know I go with open hands. I want You to fill those empty places with a new freshness of Your Spirit. I desire to be renewed, refreshed, refocused, redirected in this season in my life to discern Your plan and purpose for me.

Thank You for working with me and mellowing me. I am ready to watch You work. There is no yoke or burden there. And from this mother’s heart, I pray that You will honor Hannah’s heart last year when she asked that “amazing numbers” would come to know Jesus Christ. Bring forth fruit Lord in each of our lives as we look to You for this week! For Arjay Baptist Church where we will be in the evenings, bring a peace over that place and prepare their hearts to receive the Word.

Lord, You know yesterday afternoon, Michael brought our KY shirts home. On the front they say “Never the Same” and have a handprint. I somehow think they were thinking of Hannah when they designed the shirt. What a precious blessing! When we arrive at the church in the morning for the service of Chad, over 250 people will have on that t-shirt. I think it will probably overwhelm me! Overwhelm me with a sense of Your wonder and Your goodness and truly Lord may each of us and each of them, “Never be the same” again! Use Hannah’s life in her absence this year in an amazing way! In the strong name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

 

Be faithful right where you are…

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

I have three aunts, my Dad’s sisters and they are crazy! My sisters and I are second-generation crazy. We get it honestly. One of my aunts, by far the craziest one, Aunt Shirley has told us a story for years that just cracks us up every time we hear it. When she was five years old (62 years ago), she was a very small child. She’s still a short little thing. Anyway, at that time she weighed 28 pounds. Grandma had white lightning in the house giving it to one of the boys (probably my Dad) for either mumps or measles. Aunt Shirley got into the white lightning without Grandma and Grandpa knowing it. That same morning Grandma sent Aunts Shirley and Geraldine to get a cow that had gotten out at the bottom of the hill. Shirley tells about getting down the hill just fine but when she tried to get back up, she was drunk and couldn’t get up the hill. We have laughed and laughed and laughed for years about the vision of a little 5-year-old kid being drunk at the bottom of the hill. My brother-in-law, Buddy heard that story first-hand this weekend. He of course saw the humor in it but what really cracked him up was who in their right mind would send a 28 lb. kid to bring a 400 lb. cow home? Is that not just hilarious? My sisters and I were in Capri’s earlier this week and Teresa was telling us what Buddy said. We all laughed so hard and so loud that everyone around us wanted in on the conversation. I came home and told Clay what Buddy said and he loved it, too. Just this morning Clay was getting ready for work and he started chuckling as he was tying his shoes. I asked him what was so funny and he said “Who in their right mind would send a 28 lb. kid to bring home a 400 lb. cow?” You know what – God would! He would probably discourage partaking of white lightning but God specializes in taking small people and using them for big stuff!

I’m reading the book of Samuel. I love the story of David. God sends Samuel to Jesse’s house to pick out the new King to take Saul’s place. Samuel gets to Jesse’s and Jesse lines up all of his big, boisterous, built-like-a-rock sons and Samuel says, “Is this all you have to choose from?” (paraphrased, of course). “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse tells him he has one more but he’s very young and he’s tending the sheep. Jesse sends for David and he shows up, a skinny, lanky, young but handsome shepherd boy. Samuel says, “That’s him.” Clay was teaching a class a few weeks back on being faithful right where you are. He spoke of David and his faithfulness as a shepherd boy. You can imagine that day after day after day after day David practiced with his sling shot. He was bored, after all he was just hanging out with stinky sheep. Every once in a while he probably had a little fox or wolf action and had to step in and save the sheep but for the most part the life of a shepherd was pretty mundane. So day after day after day after day David would practice twirling that slingshot, load it with a rock and POW! shoot the tree across the field. He probably spent a good bit of time talking to God and asking Him how long he was going to have to keep doing this boring ole job. But nonetheless David remained faithful and suddenly David had an opportunity to use that mundane activity of shooting a rock from a slingshot and he conquered the giant – the one that many big people had tried to kill. What a great story!

How many times have you or I prayed, “God, where do you want me to serve? What do You want me to do with my life? I want to know Your will for my life. I know You tell me You have a perfect plan and purpose for my life but I sure do wish I knew what it was.” And maybe you are very frustrated where you are in your life right now. Maybe it’s the person in the cubicle next to you or down the hall on the left or the customers that you have to put up with every day. “God, why do You not open the door for me to do something big and special?” He wants you to be faithful right where you are. He is molding you, He is preparing You and if you remain faithful and trust Him, You will find that He has a great work for you. When? I have no idea. David probably wondered “When, God?” many times. But he just kept twirling that slingshot day after day after day after day and suddenly Samuel showed up and hand-picked him to be King. But he’s a young, skinny thing. How in the world could God possibly use him to rule a nation? God taught Samuel a very important lesson that day and He wants us to get it as well. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Wow!

Be faithful right where you are. God will honor that! If you want to read this great story, you’ll find it in 1 Samuel 16. Have a Jesus-filled day!

Hope

One Tub short

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Wednesday June 20, 2007

Good morning Sweet Baby Girl!

 

Trust this is going to be a great day in heaven for you today!  I’m sure there are no other kind of days in heaven.  Maybe you are laying “gold” tile today!  Dad and I are just laying “ceramic” tile!  I was the “cutter” yesterday and it felt like I had a film of ceramic dust on me last night!  What does gold dust feel like?

I feel like I am gaining a new perspective of how you are probably aware of what is going on here but it doesn’t bother or consume you – I believe you are experiencing the “reality” of “life” and what we are experiencing is “unreality.”  We haven’t stepped into “life” yet!  I think you probably anticipate (but don’t struggle with) our coming to where you are and how heaven is our real “home” and now you are perfectly at peace and rest.  At once you saw the “bigger” picture.  I talked to a dear friend at Michael’s game last night who is facing an upcoming move.  She asked if we had ever moved very much.  I told her no.  She talked about how hard it is to move around a lot and how she is beginning to see herself withdraw from folks.  I suppose that is a natural response – a defense mechanism.  I know it is always an option I can choose – just stay in my little corner of the world and not face anyone.  It would certainly be an “easier” option sometimes. 

However, then I risk becoming “self-absorbed” in my own circumstances which helps no one – especially myself and the “pit” of despair becomes even deeper.  I believe it is one of the enemy’s tactics.  And Father, I pray that You will bring it to light in my life as You need to so that I don’t become absorbed in “myself.”  Nebuchadnezzar has been my example this week of being “self-absorbed.” 

In truth, I think You desire for us to feel less and less “at home” here on this earth.  This is “not our home!”  You desire to instill a longing in our lives for our eternal heavenly home.  I want to feel like a stranger more and more every day here!  And Dear Jesus, I pray for this friend this morning – please give her an anticipation of the “new place” You have for her even though she would never have chosen or desired it.  I know that You want to reveal Yourself to her in a new and deeper way and that You don’t want us to ever feel “too” settled here.  When doubts and fears creep in allow her to turn those thoughts into praise and thanksgiving to You.  Praise and thanksgiving – our release – praising You in the midst of whatever circumstance (storm) we find ourselves in – knowing that You are sovereign God and that You haven’t been “caught off guard” by our current situation.  You desire to use it for good in our lives – to make us into Your image and You can give us joy even in the middle of circumstances that seem impossible!  Help her be able to communicate “anticipation” for this new move for her family and allow them to see You changing her heart and attitude.  It struck me again last night at how You give each of us the grace to face whatever challenge You have called each of us to – individually.  We are all called to different challenges but every one of us will be called to a challenge – that is the way You perfect and refine our faith, isn’t it?  Not really what we would have “chosen.”

You give us a choice at the way we will respond to every circumstance daily – today You will bring new challenges so that our dependence will continue to be upon You and so that You can be seen through our lives.      

Oh Father, I am learning so much from the pages of Daniel.  It reminds me of You telling us that some things will not be revealed until the last days on this earth.  Daniel has always been “one of those” books – full of deeper meaning that hasn’t all been seen as of yet.  And now we are seeing its truth and application unfold in our lifetimes before our very eyes.  I want to see Your truth unfolded.  I want to know the depths of its riches.  I want to uncover the treasures in its pages!  Mickey was talking yesterday about the “cashless society” we are quickly approaching.  I know it all ties together, doesn’t it, Lord?  The end of time on this earth – You are bringing it all together. 

I sure never knew that these words came from Nebechadnezzar’s mouth:

 

“To the peoples, nations and men of every language, who live in all the world:  May you prosper greatly!  It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.

How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders!  His kingdom in an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.”  Daniel 4:1-3

He had just been restored from seven years of insanity when he spoke those words.  He came back around to acknowledging the God of Daniel.  It made me think Lord that one day, one day everyone will know You!

6/21/07

 

Ms. S has often told me that whatever “truth,” comes from our mouths when You are speaking to and through us that You will give us a pop quiz on it.  Well Lord, as I read back over what I began to journal yesterday morning – “You will bring new challenges so that our dependence will continue to be upon You. . .” – I guess I got another pop quiz last night.

We have been “sheltered,” just “tucked in” with our current project for the last couple of weeks – since we got home from our trip.  It was a good thing to “jump” right into that project.  It has been a blessing to do many “projects” together during the summers when Mickey has a little time.  We finished most of the tile last night and the hardwoods on Sat.  We were hoping to be mostly finished before we leave on Sat. for KY.  Sheryl’s mother told me a couple of days ago that when her brother died, her mother did project after project.  It has been a good thing. 

During the evening while we were working we got a phone call from John.  I appreciated him calling us so much.  He asked that we put him on speaker phone because he had something to tell us and then he proceeded to tell us that it wasn’t good news.  He went on to share that a young man in our youth group – a senior – just graduated from Spartanburg High School was fishing yesterday morning early and fell asleep on the way home and was killed.  He was an only child.  Chad Rollins was his name and we recognized his picture in the directory.  John thought the news would hit us hard and wanted to tell us before we walked into a KY meeting last night and just heard about it.   We will never forget him doing that. 

Oh the wave of emotions and the feeling of that deep empty pit in the bottom of your stomach.  Oh Dear Jesus, the thing I was praying and thinking was that I pray that they  “know You deeply.”  Not just know You Lord but I mean know You intimately.  Know You well.  I know they will come to know You more intimately than they ever have. Oh Jesus I pray and know that You have gone before them and ahead of them for many years to prepare them for the absolute life change they experienced yesterday.  Oh Father, I cannot identify with having a child being perfectly and completely healthy one minute and the next minute finding out he is never coming home again.  Oh Jesus, wrap Your big arms tightly around this family in an amazing way, draw them so close to Your heart.  Tighten the bonds of their marriage and strengthen it.  Allow them to see just a little glimpse of Your plan and purpose in this devastating circumstance.  Allow them to know Hope that we have as believers. 

Oh Lord, what we must remember is that You were not “caught off guard” yesterday when Chad came into Your presence – prematurely from our perspective.  You knew from before the foundation of the world.  Oh Father use this once again in the lives of each of us to understand the preciousness and brevity of life on this earth.  Allow us as the body of Christ to reach out and minister to this precious family.   

And then on top of that Lord, going into the “big” hanger last night was a little intimidating.  You know we never know what lies just beneath the surface of those we smile and greet.  For me last night, I was feeling like a little “china cup” that could easily be broken.  It seems like we can get some things “mastered,” “conquered” and then there is another giant just around the corner.  Again a little reminder of our vulnerability and our need for complete dependence upon You.  Michael and I had come late from a baseball game and didn’t know if the KY meeting would still be going on.  We pulled in and could see Dad in the gym.  I don’t just “run off” by myself like I have always done in the past.  I prefer to walk with Mickey.  I continue to draw great strength from him.  So we just kind of “hung back” in the car for quite a while until he came out of the KY Basketball meeting.  Then I just asked him if we should go and get our “tubs” to pack our clothes in and fill out the rest of the paperwork.  Yes, it was the right time so we proceeded across the street.  We had missed Crossfire and the announcement about Chad and his service on Sat. We had had a great morning Sunday with our KY group sharing in SS and You are putting anticipation in our hearts for the trip.

It was a swirl of activity but late enough that most folks had left.  It was different than Sunday school on Sunday morning – it was obviously a KY mission night and there was excitement in the air.  For me it was a high emotion evening with Hannah so much on my heart and mind.  She loved KY missions and loved to love on the children.  She was very organized in everything she did and would have been a superintendent this year.  Last summer in Houston we listened to the broadcast from KY over the internet every evening.  We heard several of Hannahs friends pray for her while we were in her hospital room.  I knew that going to KY this year would not be easy but I also knew that Hannah would be in KY if she was here and that she would want us to be in KY and Mickey felt strongly that we needed to go.  This will be Michael’s first year and we will share this experience with him. 

I got a couple of familiar hugs that gave me strength and one from Billy.  When we get to heaven I believe we will find out that Billy was an angel in our presence.  He is such a precious young man and always encouraging us by telling us that he is praying for us.  I went over to the “table” to finish our paperwork and sat down by Kaci – a precious young lady and friend of Hannah’s who sang in chorus with her for several years.  It was good to see her smiling face and experience her helping hands.  Rhonda and Heather also gave me strength with their hugs – in some way they know what lies just beneath the surface of this mother’s heart and those little hugs mean so much.  And then Mick comes across the Hanger with 3 tubs – not 4 but 3.  We should have four tubs this year – Hannah should be going with us. . .

. . . and so I had a good cry last night like I haven’t had for a little while.  I guess it was preparation for the trip and I needed to “get it out.”  I will probably get it out more than once next week.  Another first – a vulnerable heart so desperate for Your strength.  A precious friend said to me last night, “You are so brave.”  Ha!  “Deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child.”  There is nothing brave about this ole girl.  Very weak and very dependent upon You Lord.  And once again You are going to have to show Your strength because I just tell You that I don’t have any. 

I know You will be faithful once again – You have proven Yourself time and time and time again but once again we are stepping out in faith that when we step out You will be there for us to stand on. Everywhere we look next week I know we will see Hannah – in her friends, her churches, the cafeteria, the dorm we would have been sharing. . . and so Lord encourage our hearts with seeing KY Missions from Hannah’s viewpoint this year and take tender care of this old mother’s heart that is still and will always be worn on my shoulder many days. 

You know Lord one of the things You have done in my life is that You have tendered my heart to the hurts of others.  I can tear up in a minute when I hear their hurts.  I had a couple of neat opportunities to pray with a couple of moms this week.  One has a senior that has just graduated that has some friends that aren’t choosing the “right path.”  They are being very hard on her daughter who is standing for what is right.  Oh Jesus reveal Yourself in that specific situation and draw the “wandering ones” back to Yourself.

We hope to put our room back together a little today.  But You know what Lord?  If it doesn’t get done, in the long run it won’t matter.  The most important thing today is spending some time with Andrew before we go.

Oh Dear Jesus thank You for never being “too busy” to listen to me.  My greatest blessing is knowing that You know me and that You hear me!  You woke me up this morning and this is Your day!  I desire to rejoice and be glad in it!  I desire to see Your face and come to know You more deeply in KY.  I am pursuing You Lord.  I want to know Your heart and plan and purpose for my life like Hannah did. 

It was kind of funny Lord, yesterday while I was walking down the street with Ms. Joy’s shop vac and talking out loud to You about being set free by Your truth that I was moments later to receive a phone call from a precious lady in Boiling Spgs.  about sharing in Nov.  She wanted to know the title of my message.  It was as if You had just written it on my heart again as I was walking down the street.  I continue to desire to be set free by Your absolute truth.  That is our only hope and and place of freedom.  Oh Jesus, please set free the hearts of these precious parents who received devastating news yesterday and begin even today.  I don’t know exactly what You will write on my heart for that evening but I do know it will be truth based on Your word. 

OK Lord, speak to me just now through Your servant Daniel. . . I want to learn from his life and experience so that mine will be richer and maybe I will learn from his mistakes. . . . In the name of Jesus I pray.   Amen.    

 

      

 

 

“My times are in Your hands”…

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

A verse that God gave to me last summer when Hannah was very low in Houston was Psalm 31:15, “My times are in your hands.”

God knows exactly where You are in Your daily journey with Him. He knows all that is going on with you and He has each situation in the palm of His hands. In other words, He is in full control. I received three emails today that were just heartbreaking concerning different physical or emotional needs. In addition, one of my sisters is having a not-so-fun journey right now with her career as well as her health. I had not put an update out today because my heart is just heavy and I like to be upbeat and positive. But sometimes it’s okay to cry and tell God what’s on our hearts. After all, this particular time in my life is in His hands. He knows exactly where I am and where you are. How we have to trust Him with all areas of our lives! I sent Caleb to USC (South Carolina, not Southern California) this morning for a four-day basketball camp and for some reason I’ve been missing him like crazy today. Not that I ever see him during the day or get the privilege of his presence very often, but I can always get in touch with him at least by texting. But not for four days. Not usually a big deal, but after all the bad news I’ve received today, I just want that little fella around. You know, God feels the same way about us. He just wants us around, acknowledging His presence and love for us. He wants to have a conversation with us. We don’t have to worry about Him losing cell service or His line being disconnected. We have an open connection at all times. And He wants us to take our burdens and our worries to Him. He is in full control if we just recognize that. After all, our times are in His hands.

Joining you today in prayer for all the special needs, knowing that He cares.

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

Hope