Archive for February, 2008

A Sun-Scorched Land…

Friday, February 29th, 2008

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11). (Emphasis mine.)

This verse does not tell us that God will keep us from the sun-scorched land. Nope, we will spend some time in a dry, sun-scorched land. But God promises that while we are in that miserable land, He will satisfy our needs. We will find ourselves in a land of pain or hurt or death or uncertainty or confusion or heartache. However, God will satisfy our thirst while we pass through that land. Amen! There is nothing worse to me than being thirsty and not having any water to quench that thirst. I am fighting a cold and my throat is sore and dry much of the time. How refreshing to be able to down a cold glass of water. God provides that water for our souls. It is ours for the asking!

There’s not much left to say about that, friends. The bad news…we will spend time in a sun-scorched land. The good news…God will satisfy the need – just at the right time.

Have a blessed weekend.

Hope

God strengthens our frame…

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11).

We read this verse during our HHM prayer time this morning and I like the reference to strengthening our frame. Clay and I built our house in May 2004 and did much of the work ourselves. However, one thing we did not do was frame it. Though Clay could have done that, we chose to hire it done because he was working on an England project with Milliken and was out of the country much of the time. I remember the county inspector making the observation that “The house is very well framed. It is solid.” That’s always good to know. There is much comfort in knowing that it probably won’t cave in on us anytime soon. It’s hard to beat a stick-built house. There are national companies that bring in pre-fabricated materials and throw a house up in a few short weeks, cover the fabricated wood with sheetrock and all seems to be well. But when you stick-build a house, that means that every single piece of lumber, every 2X4 is put in place, strengthened with many nails, and supported by the necessary headers.

That is what God does for us. He strengthens our frame. We weren’t built in bulk, we were individually and wonderfully made by the God of All and He continues to strengthen our frame, thus preventing us from crumbling under the winds and rains of hard times. There is great comfort and encouragement in this truth. He guides us, and He strengthens our frame. We won’t crumble under the weight.

I may stay in this verse for another day or two but that’s it for today. Allow God to guide you today, and know that He strengthens your frame.

Hope

Where is He in all of this?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I attended a meeting on Monday night with a group of ladies with the purpose of forming a committee to bring Anne Graham Lotz to the Upstate. We watched a short clip of Anne speaking on “Just Give Me Jesus.” I attended a Just Give Me Jesus crusade several years back and I still cling to some of the truths that I captured during that weekend. The clip from Monday night was Anne reading a passage from the story of the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus appeared to Mary the morning of the resurrection and she did not recognize Him. She thought Him to be a gardner. She looked at Him in desperatation and said, “Where have you taken my Master? What have you done with His body? Just tell me where He is!”, or in other words, “Just give me Jesus!”

How often do we get so wrapped up in our sorrow, our heartache, our burden, the everyday hustle and bustle of life that we do not recognize His presence? We so often say, “Where is He in all of this?”, “None of this makes sense! I thought You had a plan and a purpose for my life, Father, but where are You?” He’s right there! Our vision is just so clouded with all of our “issues” that we do not recognize Him. We need to cry out, “Just give me Jesus!”

Is that where you are today? Are you asking the question, “Where is He in all of this?” He’s right there! Surrender it all to Him and allow Him to do the work.

“‘Woman,’ he said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’… Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’” (John 20:15, 16a & 18a).

Hope

We are prone to wander…

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

I receive a daily devotional from a dear friend and I don’t typically read it until late afternoon so as not to be “influenced” by it, but rather allow the Lord to guide my own thoughts. However, yesterday evening as I read the devotional from Gene I said to myself, “Wow. I like that. I really need to share it with my web friends.” But instead of quoting it, I’ll paraphrase it and use my own illustrations.

As I read the author’s notes on Prone to Wander, I thought of the old Hymn, Come Thou Fount. One of the stanzas says, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” We are prone to wander, aren’t we? The author tells of a time that his son at a very young age went ahead of him to an elevator and was on the elevator, door closed and his son was out of reach before he could do anything about it. I witnessed that exact thing just a few weeks ago here at my office. I am on the 2nd floor of the Mary Black Women’s Pavillion and I share this floor with Pediatric Associates (you guessed it, never a dull moment). A few weeks ago I heard the double doors of PA open (they’re very loud) and a mother said, “Wait, Joey!” (names have been changed to protect the innocent.) But before the mother could get to him the elevator had opened and he was gone. He was probably 3, maybe 4 years old. Just as the doors closed you could hear little Joey crying, “Mommy! Mommy!” Considering the phobia that I have with elevators I was on my feet and out of my office to help this mother anyway I could. I was willing to get on the other elevator and go down and leave her on the 2nd floor in case the elevator opened back. But neither door would open. We kept pushing the button and the mother was saying, “Mommy’s here, Joey. Press the button that has a number 2 on it! Do you see the number 2, Joey? It’s okay, Mommy’s here!” But Joey was so distraught and frightened that he could not understand what she was trying to tell him. The other elevator never would open so I was starting for the stairs. All I could think is this little boy would get off and go out the front doors before we could get to him. Just as I was heading down the hall the elevator door opened and there was Joey holding the hand of another mother, crying his little heart out. The other mother gave Joey’s mother a look of, “You negligent mother!”, huffed and went on into PA and left Joey in the arms of his mother. I have to admit that his mother wasn’t nearly as frantic as I was. But Joey and I shared the same reaction – freaking out! His mother said as they got on the elevator together, “Joey, what have I told you about wandering off from me? You should always stay right with me and don’t push buttons without knowing where it will take you.”

Do we ever push buttons that we know will take us away from our Father, our Protector? We are prone to wander. But our heavenly Father is always right there with open arms waiting for us to return.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.

“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands” (Psalm 119:10).

Hope

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Monday, February 25th, 2008
“Guide me O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but Thou art mighty; Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand; Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more, Feed me till I want no more.”   

Open now the crystal fountain, Whence the healing stream doth flow; Let the fire and cloudy pillar Lead me all my journey through; Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer, Be Thou still my strength and shield, Be Thou still my strength and shield.”

“When I tread the verge of Jordan, Bid my anxious fears subside; Bear me thro’ the swelling current, Lead me safe on Canaan’s side; Songs of praises, songs of praises I will ever give to Thee, I will ever give to Thee.”

Oh Dear Jesus, You are our Guide – You are the one who leads us as pilgrims through this barren land.  You are the strong one when I am so weak.  You are the Bread of Heaven – the portion that satisfies as none other.  You are the one who led Your children by fire at night and by cloud in the day.  You were the Deliverer.  You are my strength and You are my shield.  And when I come to tread on the shores of the Jordan River in Your eternal homeland, You are the one who will lead me safe to the Canaan side.  And I will ever and ever give You praise, Sweet Jesus!

Oh You blessed my heart and life this morning with those truths!  As I had pondered our scripture from the 16th chapter of Acts we studied in Sunday School yesterday morning, You put the word “guide” in front of my eyes.  Paul and his companions were kept from preaching Your word in the province of Asia by Your Holy Spirit. V.6  Then they tried to enter the area of Bithynia, but again, the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. V.7  The Spirit of Jesus, Your Holy Spirit desired for them to go to Macedonia – to the continent of Europe to spread the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If they had proceeded with their plan, they would have shared in Asia and Bithynia and it would have been a great plan.  But You aren’t interested in our great plans, You are interested in completing and accomplishing Your great plan on this earth. 

And the amazing thing is, that You, the God Creator of the Universe, delight to show me Your plan as I seek Your face.  You don’t have to do that – but You do.  You guide me by Your light and Your truth. 

So as I went this morning to my concordance to look up the word guide, You took me to several different scriptures:

Exodus 13:21 – “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” 

Your purpose was to guide them in Your way – You laid it out perfectly – there was no mistaking Your path.  As I was looking up that scripture my heart thrilled to realize that the words of the hymn, “Guide me O Thou Great Jehovah” referenced this passage in Exodus.  You are the same God today, yesterday and forever.  We, as Your children, are discovering the same amazing truths about You that men were discovering in the 1700’s when the words of that hymn were penned -1745  by William Williams – I wonder how You had led him, Dear Jesus that he would pen those words.  I wonder what morning You awakened his heart to the truth that You were his guide!  I am certain those truths thrilled his heart that morning as they thrilled my heart this morning! 

Exodus 15:13 “In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed.  In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.” 

You are going to lead us – we are Your children – You have redeemed us – You will give us the strength we need all the way until we reach Your dwelling place.  You don’t take us to a certain point and then let us wander about by ourselves.  No – You are in this journey, right alongside us, for the duration!!

Psalm 23:3 “He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”

Psalm 25:9 “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”

Psalm 48:14 “For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.”

Psalm 73:24 “You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory.” 

Proverbs 4:11 “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.”

Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” 

John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own, He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.”

Oh Father, bless You, thank You for being my Guide!  You will guide me all the way to my eternal home!  I just got out of the mailbox the worship guide for Rebekah’s service, “Celebrating the Life of Rebekah Anne Tauber.”  On the inside cover is the 23rd Psalm.  “Surely goodness and loving-kindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Yes, that is the reality – someday I too, along with Hannah and Rebekah will dwell in the house of the Lord forever alongside all those who have received the gift of Jesus Christ into their hearts and lives as the payment for sin!  Oh blessed day and blessed thought!

Truly, “if in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable.”  Our hope, however, is not in this life!  It is in the life eternal that is one breath away!

You are guiding me Father – You are laying out Your path and plan for me.  You desire obedience from me.  And when I complete the plan You are laying out for me right now, You will show me the next one.  I don’t need to see very far – just for this day, Lord, just for this day help me be obedient!  In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.  

 

Craving God’s Word…

Monday, February 25th, 2008

The past couple of weeks my desire for Caleb to know God’s Word and how it applies to every day life has increased greatly. He is at such a vulnerable age. While he loves to attend church, walks around singing Christian songs and can repreach all of the messages, I just don’t catch him spending time in the Bible. I know that is quite common for a 16-year-old but I want him to be armed and ready for the battle. I shared my heart with Caleb yesterday afternoon and used an illustration that may have struck a nerve with him. He loves steaks. I asked him how he knew he liked steaks and he said, “Because they taste good.” I said, “How do you know they taste good?” Then he gave me the look that said, “Okay, Mom, I’ll play along with this” and he responded, “Because I tasted them.” I told him that he would never crave God’s Word unless he spends time in it and see how sweet it is to the taste. He didn’t argue back. I could tell he was listening.

I took down my “Praying the Scriptures for Your Children” book early this morning and was not at all surprised to find what I was looking for. Scriptures to pray for your child to love God’s word. I will share this one passage with you and challenge you to pray this for your children as well. There will be many things in their lives that will whet their whistle, spur cravings. We want them to have spiritual cravings…a hunger for God’s Word; thus preparing them for the battle of life.

Let Caleb’s heart be good soil, that he might hear your word, retain it, and persevere to produce a crop of godly character and effectiveness for your kingdom. Don’t let Satan snatch your word from Caleb’s heart, and don’t let the worries, riches, or pleasures of this life choke your word and make it unfruitful in his life. Let his roots go down deep, so he can stand firm in times of testing. (Luke 8:11-15).

Hope

 

Carry a light load…

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

“Jesus replied: ’”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”‘” (Matthew 22:37-39).

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3 NKJV).

What freedom! So often we think of God’s commandments as a list of dos and don’ts and they weigh us down. We live in a state of guilt because we cannot get it right. We just keep messing up. That is not God’s intent. All He wants for us to do is love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and then love others as ourselves. His heart is that we keep those commandments – and those commandments are not burdensome. If we are burdened down, we have added to and came up with our own list of commandments. God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV).

God wants us to walk in freedom, lighthearted and full of joy. The only way we can do that is to allow God to carry our burdens, accept His unconditional love and not try to add to or take away from His commandments. Love the Lord with all your heart and love others as yourself. Those commandments, my friends, are not burdensome. Don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary cares and worries. Carry a light load today.

Hope

Overdrawn Account…

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

“If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift” (Romans 4:4 & 5 The Message).

If we think we can do enough good things in life to keep our account in good standing with God, we are going to be disappointed. We will find that our account constantly has insufficient funds. There is nothing that we can do to earn God’s goodness to us. He is a righteous, holy God and we can never measure up. The fact that we are forgiven and blessed exponentially is explained only one way, a gift. As The Message puts it, a sheer gift from God. He doesn’t pour out His blessings based on our good deeds. If that was the case, we’d be hurtin’!

Does that mean we should never do good things and strive to live a holy life? No, we should set out each day determined to live like Christ. Will we fail? Absolutely. Will we mess up and beat ourselves up? Absolutely. Will God mark our account NSF and wipe His hands of us? Certainly not. He marked our account Paid in Full with His Son’s blood. So we have to trust Him to do what we cannot do ourselves. That is a gift, a sheer gift. With God, we never have to worry about an overdrawn account.

I will be in Columbia tomorrow and Saturday working an exhibit table for Hannah’s Hope at a Family Connection conference. I do not know if I’ll have internet access. If you do not get a devotional from me tomorrow, you’ll know why. But hopefully I’ll be able to log on. Thank you for your continued faithfulness to the ministry.

Hope

Nothing is impossible…

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

“…Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20 NKJV).

I was reading Streams in the Dessert this morning and want to share some of the thoughts with you. It is paraphrased in my own words (with some of my thoughts mingled in). There is so much available to us as Christians through faith in our Lord. God has so much He wants to give to us! There is so much He wants for us to experience. There are no boundaries to God’s goodness and rich blessings. All we have to do is believe Him and trust Him for the outcome. Here is a direct quote that I just love…

“We are able to have as much of God as we want. Christ puts the key to His treasure chest in our hands and invites us to take all we desire. If someone is allowed into a bank vault, told to help himself to the money, and leaves without one cent, whose fault is it if he remains poor? And whose fault is it that Christians usually have such meager portions of the free riches of God?” Alexander Maclaren

It is possible to survive turbulent times if we put our trust in God. It is possible to daily cast all our cares upon Him and experience deep peace by doing so. It is possible to have the desires of our hearts, as long as they are pure desires. God wants to do exceedingly abundantly more for us than we could ever ask or think. In summation, with God…nothing is impossible. Put Him to the test today!

Hope

The Transforming Light of Your Word

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
The moon was absolutely beautiful last night, Father.  It lit up the entire sky.  I was reminded again recently that the moon has no light source of its own.  The moon only reflects the light given from the sun.  How amazing is that!  And yet the reflection is great enough that the moon can light up the dark night sky – just by having its face turned toward the sun – the source of light!  A reflection of what it is gazing upon!  That is what You desire from our lives, isn’t it Father?  You desire for Your children to be a reflection of who You are.  Believers who gaze upon Your light so that Your very light is reflected from our lives!  It is amazing to ponder that that could be true.  You bring a scripture to my heart and mind that I just love from II Cor. 3:18.  It says, “We Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord.  And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him.”  What a picture Father.  Make it so in my life even this day!  Let it be Jesus that is reflected through my life.   

From the 119th Psalm this morning, my prayer is that You will “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.” V. 18 You highlight the word “light” for me several times as I reflect back upon the moon I saw last night.  “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  V. 105 Your word lights up my way as the moon lights up the night sky.  “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”  V.130 The unfolding of Your word brings illumination – it gives understanding to Your simple ones – to me.  You know, Lord, there is no way that we can have understanding about many things except through Your word.  Often times the circumstances and situations we find ourselves in can not be explained by human understanding – it must be by divine revelation through Your word and Your Spirit.     

“Make Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees.” V.135  You know, Father, I believe the more we learn of You from Your decrees the brighter the reflection of Your face will be upon our lives.  The whole of the 119th Psalm is a reflection on Your word.  It is interesting that this psalm is both the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the bible.  Of the 176 verses almost every verse mentions the word of God.  Your word is of preeminence.  “You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word.”  Psalm 138:2b

Allow me more and more Father to treasure Your word – to dig up the riches that it contains and be transformed by its power.  In Jesus name, Amen.