Archive for March, 2008

It won’t rain for always…

Monday, March 31st, 2008

There’s a beautiful Christian song that says, “It won’t rain for always” and it is referring to the trials and sadness in our lives. We are at the beach for a few days for Spring break and it has rained since we left home. Caleb and his buddy, Ryan are bummed and Caleb said this morning, “It’s never gonna stop raining.” I reminded them that although it was a downpour at the time, in fact it will stop raining at some point. Sure enough, the sun is now peeping through, the boys are cruising on their golf cart, my sister, Leigh, her two young girls and Clay are enjoying the indoor pool and I’m updating to let you know that I am on vacation and probably won’t update again until Thursday.

My sister, Carla Glover’s mother-in-law, Helen Glover has all indications of lung cancer, quite possibly advanced. She lives in Jacksonville, FL but has wanted to move to the Carolinas for several years. Now that she is faced with this illness, she has come to Spartanburg and is now officially one of Dr. Corso’s patients. Carla called me here at the beach yesterday to tell me how Mamaw Glover and the entire family fell in love with Dr. Corso and how kind and compassionate and patient, etc. he was with her when he admitted her yesterday afternoon. All of that sounded nice and I was not at all surprised, yet when I hung up I told Clay that I would just as soon not have to deal with Dr. Corso on such a close and personal yet professional way again. Cancer is not pretty.

So I went to bed last night with a heavy heart for Carla and Rick and the entire family and prayed for wisdom for Dr. Corso as he runs many tests on Mamaw. When I told Caleb last week that we think she has lung cancer, he just dropped his head and shook it back and forth. Quite possibly in his young 16-year-old heart he was thinking, “It’s never gonna stop raining.” But I have good news! It won’t rain for always! The sun WILL peep through and then our hearts will be warmed by the Son, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Comforter, our Healer. And He will turn our sadness into joy.

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:5).

Have a blessed week and I’ll check back in with you in a few days.

Hope 

 

The power of the Word

Monday, March 31st, 2008

I have never been more sure that any healing we receive on this earth as believers will come from the Word of God.  Oh there is such power in the word.  Oh Father, I just love the way You continue to open my heart and mind and  reveal more and more the secrets of who You are and the necessity of Your word in our lives as believers.  We will starve without big doses of Your eternal word.  Nothing satisfies, nothing heals apart from Your word.  We have no direction, no purpose without Your word.

Yesterday in Sunday School we looked at the power of the word!  This morning You awaken me with the scripture on my heart and mind, “He sent forth His word and healed them.”  Psalm 120:7  We were looking at the 19th chapter of Acts and the riots that  were erupting because of this “Jesus” and “The Way.”  Paul asked the people if they had received the Holy Spirit.  What happened when they received the Holy Spirit?  They spoke.  They spoke the Word of God boldly for about three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. Some of the people became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.  For two years, Paul and the disciples had discussions daily in the lecture hall.  And the scripture says that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.  They heard the word – not all accepted the word and believed it but they at least heard it.

Miracles were performed and many came to believe Jesus – His name was held in high honor.  “The word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.”  V.20 We went to chapter 6 of the book of Ephesians speaking about our armor as believers in Jesus Christ.  Our only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit – the word of God.  The weapon Jesus used while on this earth was the word of God.  When He was being tempted by the enemy himself, Jesus spoke the word of God. 

And then we went to Revelation 12:11 speaking of the demise of the enemy.  “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”  Bless the Lord!!  “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”   The blood of Jesus and their testimony.  Yes, that is it!  The blood of Jesus covers my sin, it sets me free and as I speak that word of testimony – I overcome!!

You know it is hard to argue with a testimony, isn’t it? – a spoken word from someone about the reality of Jesus Christ in their lives.    The scripture says that the enemy was defeated by the “word” of their testimony. You cannot argue with the reality of what someone has experienced in their lives.  Oh, you can say you don’t believe but there is evidence that demands a verdict.  The scripture says in Psalm 14:1 that “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.”

Last night, Lord, my life was so blessed to be in a service where they were playing Hannah’s “word of her testimony.”  I had been invited by Courtney, a college freshman, that You have brought into my life.  A beautiful young girl college girl, Hannah’s age, whose life I am watching You at work in.  You have whetted her appetite for Yourself.  Watching her life allows me to see what perhaps Hannah’s life would look like on this earth if she still lived here.  Courtney never met Hannah but she got to know her from a distance through our journey.  Hannah’s life has challenged her own life.  She was given the opportunity last night to introduce “Hannah’s Journey” DVD.  I slipped in the back door of the church to be part of the congregation.  What a blessing.  I stand amazed at You once again.  I watched Hannah give her “word of testimony” and it blessed this mother’s heart.  I remember praying that You would allow Hannah to stand in the assembly and declare the praises of who You are.  You are answering that prayer – just not in the way I was thinking!  Last night I watched her stand in the assembly and declare Your praises.

I hadn’t watched the DVD for months and only once or twice so it was with fresh eyes that I watched it last night with the Arrowood  congregation.  You reminded me of the scripture we had looked at in Revelation 12 yesterday morning – “they overcame the enemy BY THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY.”  Again last night Hannah overcame by the word of her testimony.  Overcame – Overcomers – that is what You desire for our lives, isn’t it?  You desire for us to overcome the enemy.  Jesus overcame him through the word of God.  We also, overcome through the word of God.

It was such a blessing last night Lord.  I will pray as long as I live on this earth that You will continue to use “Hannah’s word of her testimony” in ways that are immeasurably, exceeding abundantly above anything I could think of.  Thank You for that blessing Lord.  Thank You for reminding me yesterday that my only weapon is Your word and that by Your word I can be an overcomer.  May it be so this day in the name of Jesus, I ask and pray, Amen.

Father, I know that there are so many hurting people all around me.  Precious lives whose paths have been detoured by this disease called cancer – many others who are facing a multitude of other challenges – broken homes, divorce, loss of loved ones, bondages, etc.   One, in particular, You bring to my mind this morning needs to know You.  I pray Dear Jesus that You will use “Hannah’s word of her testimony” as it is shared to point that precious life to a saving knowledge of Yourself.   Open that heart to receive and accept Your word, in the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

You have also shown me this week the life of another who is in bondage to drugs – many years of bondage.  The person has stepped forward for help.  The facility they have gone to uses the word of God alone as the healer – massive doses of the word of God.  The word of God alone will be the healer – be glorified Father through the healing of this life through Your word. Make all things new in this life as a testimony to Your grace and Your healing power!   In the name of Jesus, amen.

What are you afraid of?

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

“The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).

Who are you afraid of? What are you afraid of? What is your biggest fear? My biggest fear used to be that I’d get cancer. That seemed so scary to me. Not that I’ve come so far as to get in line and sign up for it. But Hannah taught me so much about being at peace with the Lord, content in whatever state I’m in (and that’s not referring to South Carolina, it’s a state of existence). Although I am quite content to be in Carolina in the morning! Sorry, I didn’t mean to stray from my point. I have said many times since Hannah went to heaven that I had never seen anyone as content to be sick as that child was. She just took what life dished out and never missed a beat. She taught us what it meant to trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all her ways she acknowledged Him and He directed her path.

Was Hannah ever frightened? I’m sure she was. God gives us permission to experience the feeling of fear but not to the point of being paralyzed by fear. When He tells us not to be afraid, He doesn’t want us to allow fear to paralyze us. When we experience fear, we must trust Him for our protection. He is our Shield, our Light, our Stronghold for life. That’s enough for me!

What are you afraid of? Don’t you know that God is bigger than whatever or whomever it is? Oh, yes He is!

Hope

The Famous One…

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom” (Psalm 145:3).

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (Psalm 147:5).

Everyone likes to say “I knew them when…” and claim that they know or at least have met someone famous. The first “famous” person I remember meeting was Sammy Davis, Jr. When I was just out of high school I was in Nashville, TN and he held the door open for me as I was going into a restaurant. He grinned and went on his way and I was thrilled! I started singing, “Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew? Cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two? The Candy Man!” A few years later I had the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with the Governor of South Carolina, Carroll Campbell. Then many years later Clay, Caleb and I were in Washington and we saw President George W. and Laura Bush at a distance. Again, I was thrilled for the experience. In all of these instances, my face was not familiar to them and I’m sure never crossed their minds again. My name meant nothing to the Governor and again I’m sure never crossed his mind a second time to his death.

As Christians, we have direct access to the most Famous One of all. We have an up-close and personal relationship with the One Who created it all, Who is in control of it all, Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, Whose bank account never runs low, Whose wisdom is infinite, Whose understanding has no limit, Whose love is greater than any and Whose well of grace is deeper than the oceans and will never run dry!

Hold your head high today with confidence that you know the Famous One personally! He recognizes you because He created you in His image, and He knows your name! We don’t just cross His mind, we are always on His mind. Amen!

Hope

Looking back…

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Clay has made a statement in Sunday School for several weeks now that continues to be appropriate, regardless of where you are in your life. “When we get to the other side of our circumstances, whether it is here or in heaven, we will look back and see that it all makes sense.” Right now we may be at a place in our lives that we just can’t figure out what in the world the Lord is doing. What is He thinking for crying out loud? How in the world could this be best for those involved? So many of you have helped me pray for my friend Nicole at church who had sarcoma and went through extensive surgery just after Christmas. She had been doing so well and now she has been told that the cancer has returned in her liver. She is 36 years old and has three children ages 13, 10 and 5. What in the world is God thinking? We continue to pray for total healing for Nicole and believe with every ounce of our being that God can heal her completely and wholly on this earth. But just the fact that the cancer has returned to the liver of all places causes us to have thoughts such as, “Hello, God! How could this possibly be best for this family? You promise us that You have a plan and a purpose and that plan is not to harm us. I ain’t seeing it!”

One of the scriptures that the Lord hit me over the head with very early in Hannah’s journey is Exodus 33:18-23. Moses asked God to show him His glory. God reminded Moses that He is sovereign and He will do what He wants with whom He wants when He wants. He told Moses that no one can see His face because of His glory. So He instructed Moses to hide in the cleft of the rock and He (God) would cover Moses with His hand until He had passed by. Then Moses would see His back. The Lord spoke as clearly to me the night of June 18, 2006 as if He were standing before me. He told me through this scripture that we will not see His glory until He has passed by (until Hannah’s journey was complete); then we would see His back – or where He has been. And in the meantime, He’ll cover us with His hand of protection. I can tell you that we continue to see where God has been all over the place. And looking back on whatever your circumstance, if you trust God completely with the outcome, you will see where He’s been. You’ll see where His hand protected you in the cleft of the rock and His glory will be evident. Praise the Lord!

“Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ And the LORD said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,’ he said, you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’

Then the LORD said, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back…” (Exodus 33:18-23a).

Hope

Take every opportunity to do good…

Monday, March 24th, 2008

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).

Mickey’s famous statement from July 23, 2006 is, “Never disconnect yourself from the body of Christ.” The body of Christ will carry you when you can’t carry yourself. They will feed you, cut your grass, wash your clothes, clean your house, etc. Then why in the world would there be dissention and jealousy among believers? Just doesn’t make any sense, does it? The above verse is Paul’s words of encouragement to the church in Galatia. Take advantage of every opportunity to do good to all people, especially fellow believers. But sometimes we “church people” are the worst at backbiting, gossiping, finding fault, tearing each other down. What in the world is wrong with us? We’re all brothers and sisters in Christ on the same journey with one purpose. We are all members of the body of Christ. Why would my left hand reach out and slap the soup out of my right hand? They’re both members of my body and both serve the same purpose – to work for my benefit. The same with fellow believers.

There’s my challenge to you today. Lift up your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for them, love them, reach out to those who feel left out, speak to those who are shy and seem to get overlooked during welcome time. Yesterday our 11:00 worship service was packed out. I looked around and thought to myself, “I hope someone gets to all these visitors” because clearly I couldn’t get to them all. I did make a point to speak to several that I had never spoken to but still felt like I came up short. Get along with others. Why not live in harmony? It sounds so much better than a bunch of yick-yacking on 100 different keys. That hurts my ears!

Take every opportunity to do good for someone this week, especially other believers.

Hope

 

Resurrection Sunday – Easter 2008

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008
After Jesus’ burial the entrance to the tomb had been made secure by the religious leaders.  They had wanted to make certain that His body would remain in the tomb.  Pilate’s instruction had been, “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”  Jesus was not going to leave that tomb and all the religious leaders were working together to make certain that He didn’t.  But when Mary arrived, early on Sunday morning, the stone had been removed from the entrance.  She ran to report this to Peter and John.  John must have run the fastest but it was Peter who went into the empty tomb first.     

He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth.  The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.  The folded up linen pointed to the return of the One who had left – Oh, yes, He would be back.   And then John went in.  The scripture says he saw and believed even though they still didn’t understand from the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

Peter and John went back to their homes.  What must they have been thinking as they went? Mary stayed behind weeping.  And when she bent over to look into the tomb she saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked why she was crying and she told them that “they have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put him.”  And then she turned around and Jesus was standing there but she didn’t recognize him.  He asked her why she was crying and who she was looking for.  She thought He was the gardener and asked him to tell her where he had put Jesus’ body.  And then Jesus spoke her name – “Mary.”

She had heard Him speak her name many times before and she recognized His voice.  Immediately she responded, “Rabbi”- which meant “my teacher.”  Jesus told her not to hold on to Him that He was returning to His Father and to her Father – to His God and to her God.  She went to the disciples and told them that she had seen the Lord and told them about her conversation. 

Later that evening, the disciples were together in a locked room because they feared the Jews.  Jesus came and stood among them and spoke, “Peace be with you.”  And then He showed them His hands and His feet.  They were overjoyed.  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”  And then He told them that just as the Father had sent Him, He, in turn was sending them. 

Thomas wasn’t present that evening and when the other disciples told him that they had seen the Lord his response was that he would not believe until he saw the nail marks in Jesus’ hands, put his finger where the nails were, and put his hand into Jesus’ side.  Boldly Thomas said, “I will not believe.”  It was a week later that the disciples were gathered again and Thomas was with them.  And even though they had the doors locked again, Jesus came and stood among them.  And again He said, “Peace be with you.”  And then He looked directly at Thomas and said, “Put your finger here, see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  STOP DOUBTING AND BELIEVE.”

And then Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus told him that the reason he had believed was because he had seen.  Then Jesus went on to say that “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Early on another morning, after 7 of the disciples had fished all night long, Jesus was standing on the shore and they didn’t recognize Him.  He called to them and asked them if they had caught anything.  Their response was no.  Jesus instructed them to throw their nets to the other side of the boat and they would find some fish.  They had been looking in the wrong place.  When they did, they hauled in a large number of fish – 153 – and yet the net didn’t break.  John said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”  So Peter jumped into the water to head toward Jesus and the rest of the disciples followed in the boat.  Jesus had breakfast ready for them.  They knew it was Jesus.  This was the third time He had appeared to them.

When they finished eating, Jesus looked at Peter and asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  Again Jesus asked Peter if he loved him and he responded yes again.  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  And then a third time Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  It hurt Peter for Jesus to ask him the third time.  “You know all things,” Peter said, “You know that I love you.”  And again Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” 

Jesus went on to tell Peter that when he was older, he would be led to a place he didn’t want to go.  Jesus was speaking about the crucifixion that Peter would one day endure.  Peter turned to ask Jesus about John – “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said, “You must follow me.  What is that to you?” 

And Lord, at the end of both of those chapters, John 20 and 21, it is recorded that Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples.  And that if every one of them were written down, the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

Oh Father, thank You for writing the 26th and 27th chapters of Matthew and the 20th and 21st chapters of John on my heart this year.  They will forever be the chapters for Easter 2008!  What a reson to celebrate!  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!!  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil. or fade – kept in heaven for you!”  I Peter 1:3-5

I have never been more thankful for the living hope I have because of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead!  Because He lives, I shall live also!  “He who lives and believes in Him shall never die!”  John 11:26  Oh Blessed hope!   Oh Blessed thought!   A hope that will not disappoint!

What must it be like to celebrate the resurrection with the resurrected?  I can only imagine! 

Breath over Your church, the body of Christ, this morning and pour out Your Spirit among us.  May we see the risen Savior and know Him this day!  In the name of Jesus, we pray and Amen.

 

Death, where is your sting?

Friday, March 21st, 2008

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4a).

When you walk through the shadow of a large oak tree, does the oak tree touch you? Growing up when you played the shadow game and you jumped onto your friend’s shadow, did you touch your friend? When you’re at Six Flags and it is so hot you can’t stand it and you praise the Lord for a quick shade from the sun, is the sun touching you in the shade? No to all of the above. As a believer in Christ, we will not be touched by death. Does that mean that we will not experience physical death of these earthly bodies? No, but we will not experience eternal death. Christ took care of that for us when He died on the cross and then conquered death through the resurrection. The grave has no victory over us and death has no sting (1 Corinthians 15:5). We won’t feel a thing! Our last breath on this earth will be followed by our first breath in the presence of the Lord.

“Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26).

He’s risen – and so will we! Celebrate the victory this Easter weekend!

Hope

 

I’ll See You at the House…

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

During the last prayer meeting that we had before Hannah went to heaven I remember Caz McCaslin praying, “Father, a hundred years from now we’ll all be meeting at your house…” and I cried like a baby. Each week we’d decide where we’d meet the next time. Those were comforting words. Then on Hannah’s last day on earth Caz leaned down to her and said, “I’ll see you at the house.” I still tear up when I think about that.

This morning during our HHM prayer time, Deb asked that we read the story of the crucifixion of Christ so we read Matthew 26 and 27. One of the verses that has always been there but I’d never noticed is…

“I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). (Emphasis mine)

This was during the last supper that Jesus had with His disciples. He gave them the wine from a particular fruit to drink and He made them a promise that He will not drink of this particular fruit again until they’re all with Him in His Father’s kingdom, at home, at the house. Jesus was saying to his dear friends who had followed him so faithfully, “I’ll see you at the house.” Not sure how long that will be but there’s the promise, we will all get together at His big ole house. Wow! That’ll make a Baptist girl wanna shout, won’t it?

Jesus says to you today, “Take heart. These trials that you are going through will pass and when they do, I’ll see you at the house.”

Hope

Empty-handed…

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

“Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him” (Psalm 49:16 & 17).

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19 & 20).

My dad used to used to tell us, not an original thought I’m sure, “The only thing you can take with you when you die is another soul that you’ve won to Christ.” When we leave this earth we will leave empty-handed – no earthly treasures, nothing we’ve worked hard for, no money, no houses, cars, boats or pretty things. We will stand before God stripped of it all with only our spiritual accomplishments before us. I don’t want to stand spiritually empty-handed before God, do you? I want to lay up treasures that will be waiting on me when I get there and I want to take everybody with me! The Lord is longsuffering, not willing that anyone would perish. May I be patient with others and have a burden for those who do not know Christ. I asked the Lord today to increase my territory that I may share His good news with someone even today.

What about you? Are you laying up treasures here on this earth or are your treasures being stored in heaven? Don’t stand before the Lord spiritually empty-handed.

Hope