Archive for April, 2008

Carry me, Father

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Greetings from Waco, TX! The Lord was very gracious this afternoon as Dr. Steve shared Hannah’s story from a doctor’s perspective. His audience today was local ministers and chaplains. This evening he will speak to pre-med students at Baylor University. I have to say that taking Hannah to Texas has been harder than I expected. I’m always up for a good road trip and we’re having a great time. The Robinsons are always gracious hosts. Their home here in Waco is a huge recently-renovated plantation home built in 1925. I am now sitting on the back patio listening to a distant bark of some type little dog that thinks he’s bigger than he is, the chirp of a rather large bird over head and a small whistle of a baby bird perched on the gate. However, my heart is heavy. I woke this morning with tears as I was reminded of why I’m here. Hannah loved the Robinsons. She would be so thrilled to know how they have embraced Hannah’s Hope Ministries and the opportunities they have provided.

I reached for my Bible this morning before I left my bed and turned to today’s Psalm, 28 Let me share this last verse with you from The Message translation…

God is all strength for his people…care for them; carry them like a good shepherd” (Psalm 28:8a & 9).

And I bowed my head and cried as I recognized once again that I am utterly dependent on God’s strength. He is strength for all his people. Then I prayed for Steve as he prepared to speak today that God would carry him like a good shepherd. The visual of a sheep stretched across the shoulders of a shepherd, being carried on the journey was so refreshing. The fact is if we will allow God to carry us, we won’t go anywhere we have no place going. We will not participate in anything we should not participate in. Why? Because God will be the “driver”, we will only go where He leads.

So today I ask you to carry me, Father. I am weak and my heart hurts as I miss Hannah so. Please continue to use Hannah’s story for many years to come. Grown men wept today as they heard Dr. Steve’s version of the story. May it never get old.

Have a blessed day!

Hope

 

With open hands…

Friday, April 25th, 2008

I received an email from my best friend since birth with a quote that says, “When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better.” Boy, do we ever hang on for dear life, though! I like the visual of this. “When God takes something from your grasp” – to grasp is to clasp with force, take or seize eagerly, to lay hold of with the mind. In other words, to squeeze the life out of whatever it is to keep from letting go. But God wants us to open our hands willingly in order to receive something better.

Many years ago I was struggling with my first experience of God’s will being much different than my own. It was the first time that I was to live away from my parents and my sisters and their children. I remember crying as I drove to visit my parents and came by a church sign on the side of the road. I don’t usually love the church signs. Sometimes they come across a little too “in your face” for me. But not always. This particular day was the first time I saw the quote, “The will of God will not take you where the grace of God will not keep you.” That struck me head on and I was reminded that God’s keeping grace is an amazing thing.

Whatever God is taking from your grasp, allow Him to do it without a fight. Come to Him today with open hands, allowing Him to fill them with something better.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

and remember…“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Here’s a prayer request for you. Hannah’s doctor, Steve Corso, Rhonda Robinson and I will fly to Waco, TX on Sunday for three days. Dr. Corso and I have an incredible opportunity to share Hannah’s Hope with ministers in that area as well as many medical personnel. Dr. Corso will be speaking on Hannah’s behalf six times in two days. Praise the Lord! Our contact in Waco is Hannah’s friend Jacob’s father, Glenn Robinson. Glenn relocated from Spartanburg to Waco last fall and Rhonda and Sarah will join him at then end of this school year. How we will miss them but we know that because of Hannah, there is a bond that can not be broken. We anticipate many open doors for Hannah’s Hope Ministries in Texas. If you do not hear from me, you’ll know we’re busy bees! Have a great weekend.

Hope 

Is it really worth it?

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Is it really worth it? Oh, yes it is! No pain, no gain. That’s a Gold’s Gym slogan but it can be applied to our Christian walk – and to braces.

Caleb finally got his braces this week. We’ve been waiting FOREVER on one tooth to come in and finally it broke through. So Caleb decided last week when he went in to have his spacers put on that he didn’t need braces. He’s 16 1/2, everyone else in the whole world has already had theirs taken off and he’s the only person in Boiling Springs High School with braces at age 16 1/2 (we all know he’ll drop that “1/2″ age marker in a few years). His stance was firm that he does not need braces. I asked him if he’d looked in the mirror and smiled lately. A mother’s love, you just can’t beat it can you? So this week he got the braces and yesterday he had to have a permanent tooth pulled. Somehow he was missing a tooth on the right side, it’s not even on the x-ray so it’s not there; therefore he had to have a molar pulled so that he’d have an even number of teeth on both sides. He chipped a front bottom tooth when he was 8 (maybe I should say Clay chipped his front bottom tooth when he was 8 by throwing a baseball too hard) so the bottom braces are very uncomfortable. But in only 3 days it is amazing how far they have pulled that chipped tooth up. It is almost flush with the others. Lots of manipulation of teeth going on. You can imagine that’s been a tad painful. Add a tooth-pulling, an ulcer on the inside of his upper lip, two “blue balls” in the back of his mouth that prevent his bite from meeting and he is loving life! He brought his blueberry muffins and milk (that’s the bulk of diet right now) in to the dining room last night where I was working and announced that all this pain is just not worth it. So what if you have crooked teeth? God gave him crooked teeth so he must have wanted him to have them. Who cares? Clay says the problem is that Caleb is so stinkin’ cute and has enough girls “pursuing” him in spite of crooked teeth that it’s hard to argue with him. I didn’t have a hard time arguing with him. I just looked across my laptop and said, “No pain no gain, son.” “It’s not worth it,” he insisted. “This is way painful and for what? Straight teeth? Then what?” “A beautiful smile!,” I enthusiastically responded. I reminded him of the following. Yep, I found a spiritual application.

Anytime we are “out of whack” in our spiritual walk, it takes some manipulation to get us where we need to be. And sometimes that manipulation is painful. We face sorrow that we just don’t want, we make poor decisions and hurt from the consequences, we just can’t seem to get it together so God uses “braces” to get our attention, and He molds us into what He wants us to be. Then what? A beautiful offering to our Father.

“You…are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him” (Jeremiah 18:24).

Is it really worth it? Oh, yes it is!

Hope

 

Never a “No Show”

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Many times we are “stood up” or someone is a “no show” for an appointment. Or maybe you’re the one who is the “no show.” So far I’ve never forgotten an appointment to my knowledge (if I did, the hair stylist or doctor or dentist or whomever didn’t tell me). But I lean strongly on my task manager and calendar to keep me in line. For the Lord, there is no fear of Him forgetting to show up. He’s never a “no show,” although sometimes we think He’s going to be. In our human time zone, He runs late a good bit of the time. But by His infinite clock, He’s always on time.

There is great comfort in knowing that He will show up, isn’t there? Many times I’ve cried out, “Where are you, God?”, “When are you going to get here?”, “Do you even know I’m struggling down here?”, “I’m running out of time!” But the Lord is ever aware of our circumstances and His delays are for our benefit. He is teaching us to trust Him and only Him. Sometimes He allows us to exhaust all other options, all other remedies, all other counselors, all other sources, and then He shows up and does what only He can do. He may not calm the storm, but He always calms His child.

Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and wait. God is never a No Show.

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:13 & 14).

Hope

 

I Love You Man!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I’m sure you remember when this saying became so popular on commercials and then a massive outbreak spread world wide, “I love you Man!” Clay still uses it from time to time (not talking to me of course). Well the reality is that is exactly what Jesus said to all of us from the cross as He looked ahead in time to you and me. He told us He loved us by taking all of our sins upon His sinless body and dying a horrific death. He did it all because He loved man, the very ones that God created in His image yet the very ones that disregard Him, live as though He does not exist, consider themselves self-made. Those are the ones that the Bible refers to as “man.”

In spite of our disregard, Jesus hung on the cross and in His weakest state, He looked to the heavens, took a glance ahead in time and said, “I love you Man”, and that included all of mankind. He doesn’t say it in jest; He says it in love, knowing that He signed off on it with His own blood. Amazing love.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Hope

 

What route are you on?

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Last night Clay and I visited with my sister’s mother-in-law, Mamaw Glover. After she was settled in her bed, she sent word to all in the house that she was going to have her Bible study time and welcomed anyone who wanted to join her. Mamaw’s health has declined rather rapidly since her diagnosis only four weeks ago and her condition has weakened greatly in the past few days. So all 11 of us gathered in her bedroom and sat around while she took her Bible and read to us from 2 Timothy 2. Paul was telling Timothy that the way he (Timothy) had seen him (Paul) live, to carry on in like manner, thus multiplying the results. What a word from a mom and grandmother to her children and all those that know her! Then she asked if we thought it would be okay to do communion without having a minister in the house. The consensus was that Clay was close enough and her son, Steve is a deacon so we should be good to go. Clay read the scripture from the book of Matthew for the communion, Steve administered the bread and “juice” and we had an amazing worship service right there in that bedroom. My, the legacy this sweet 74 year old lady is leaving behind for her family. There were no dry eyes in attendance!

Then after the communion service was over, she asked us to play #5 on her favorite CD. The song was “I have come by the way of the cross.” Wow! There’s no other way to get there! How’d you get here? By way of the cross? How are you going to get home? By way of the cross? How will you withstand all that comes up against you? By way of the cross. “Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the father except through me.’” (John 14:6) The song talks about the dying thief on the cross and that because of his faith and belief in Christ, he was assured heaven. When he got to heaven there were those who said, “How’d you get here?” And he answered, “I have come by the way of the cross.” Amen! What a great song.

What route are you on? Hopefully you’re traveling by way of the cross.

Hope

 

The end is better than the beginning…

Friday, April 18th, 2008

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride” (Ecclesiastes 7:8).

Hold on…the end is going to be so much better than the beginning! I love a happy ending, don’t you? I like to read Nicolas Sparks’ books but I’ve just about decided to abandon his writings because so many of his books have sad endings. That leaves me with such a gloom and doom feeling. Same thing with a movie. Do not make me sit and watch a two-hour movie if it’s going to end tragically. My nerves just can’t handle it.

While there are true life stories that appear to have tragic endings, if the individuals are Christians the end is great! Ending in heaven is much better than where we started -an ugly, depraved world. Just be patient.

Maybe it’s a diet that you’ve started. Hang in there, stick with it! You’ll see great results and will find that the end is much better than the beginning. Just be patient.

Maybe you’re in school and do not love your teacher. The end is near and it’s much better than the beginning. Just be patient.

Maybe you’re tired of reading my ramblings and wish I’d sign off. The end is near and is much better than the beginning. Just be patient.

Have a blessed weekend!

Hope

 

A Fruitful Vine from a Barren Woman

Friday, April 18th, 2008
Dear Father, You continue to thrill my heart and fill me with joy as You unfold more of the treasures of Your word. Your word amazes me and I stand in awe of the truths I find that so perfectly identify with things I have prayed about or things I am going through. You whet my appetite for the unearthing of more of Your truth.  

This week I was praying with a friend and as she was praying she spoke words that sounded like a scripture to me. The words were thrilling my heart so much that I reached over, interrupted her and asked if the words she had just spoken were from a scripture. She said yes, they were. I said I have to know where that scripture is found. So after we finished our prayer time we went on a search to find it.

One of the things I so specifically remember thanking and praising You for Lord was that after Hannah’s surgery in Greenville when Dr. Puls came out to tell us the results of her surgery he told us that it was not ovarian cancer as he had perhaps considered and that her ovaries were fine. That made my heart leap for joy and I knew at that moment that God had protected her and that He was going to make her a fruitful vine. It just welled up in me! And I began to pray that You would indeed make Hannah a fruitful vine. The thought of that just blessed my socks off.

As our journey continued and You took Hannah to be with Yourself, I knew that Hannah would never bear physical children on this earth. However, what I also came to understand was that the fruit Hannah’s life would bear would be the fruit of spiritual children not physical children as I had thought on that day when I heard that news from Dr. Puls that her ovaries were fine. You have indeed continued to bless my heart as You have brought forth eternal fruit from Hannah’s life. How could there be a greater blessing for a mother’s heart than to watch You bring forth fruit from this “kernel of wheat” that has fallen into the ground and died? It daily continues to bless my heart, strengthen me and allow me to see a little of the top side of the tapestry You are weaving.

And You knew I was thanking and praising You for that fruit and understanding what a gift I was being given because of that fruit. But that wasn’t enough for You – You didn’t just want me to believe You and have no word from You specifically about what You were doing so after I had believed You for these months without a specific word You  dropped a scripture in my lap that told me exactly what You were doing!  You didn’t have to show me that scripture this week but I shall be eternally grateful and I will never forget this scripture or the day You revealed it to me.

The scripture is Isaiah 54:1 and it reads:  “Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.”

Isaiah was speaking specifically about the nation of Israel and the children that were born to Sarah and Hagar. Sarah was barren and yet God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations – his children would outnumber the grains of sand on the sea. How amazing is that? Hagar bore Abraham many sons but those weren’t the sons God was speaking of. God was going to bear many children from the barrenness of Sarah – and He did. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts and as I ponder the reality that my Hannah will never bear “flesh” children on this earth for me to hold and love, it swells within me a new longing that she will bear many spiritual children to the praise of an incredible Heavenly Father!

May it be so! In the matchless name of Jesus I ask and pray, Amen!

 

 

 

Truth or fiction?

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Do you get bombarded with emails that have warnings or sad stories or “urgent response needed” and you’re expected to forward it to everyone in your address book or else…? Well, there’s hope for this madness. The website, www.truthorfiction.com allows you to type in the topic of the email and find out if the story is truth or fiction. I’ve never searched one yet that was not on this site. The title is listed and out to the right it will say in bold either “Truth!” or “Fiction!” Let me just tell you, everything you read from God’s Word is true and if there were a sight to search, you would find a bold “Truth!” beside each passage.

Some Jesus’ teachings are parables, thus not actual happenings. But He clearly states that to be the case. He starts each of His stories with “Once upon a time.” Well, maybe not exactly but He does say, “There once was a man…” Same thing. Even within the parables there is truth for application. And the better news is you don’t have to take the time to search a website for verification. You can rest on the assurance that if God said it, it’s true. The Bible quotes Jesus as saying, “I tell you the truth” 78 times in the gospels. 78 times! Now grant it these are repetitive accounts of His ministry by various authors but the Bible records them 78 times. 78 times! There must be something to that. He wants us to know He’s telling the truth!

A few years ago when I was just a child (okay, several years ago) there was a bumper sticker that said, “God said it. I believe. That settles it.” But the fact is God said it and that settles it whether I choose to believe it or not. God’s word is truth, and the better news? The truth will set you free from all your bondages, captivities, addictions, mishaps and insecure involvements, from all your pits. We are free in Christ! Can I get an Amen?

“If you hold to my teaching…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31 & 32).

Hope

 

Need a hand?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Get up out of that pit and come away from the things that so easily bring you down! Tonight is our last night of our Get Out of That Pit study and I love the verse that Beth closes with…

“Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away” (Song of Solomon 2:10 KJV).

I like it in NIV…“Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.”

That’s what the Lord is saying to us today, rise up, get up, my dear one. The visual Beth shares with us is Christ stretching out His mighty arm, reaching into the depths of our pit, and saying, “Need a hand?” Amen!! Are you in a place in your life that you just do not have the strength to stand up and take the first step on your own? Take Christ’s hand and allow Him to help you up. Clay is the best “motivatator” for me when I’m doing my stomach exercises. You have to get the mental picture here and you may want to try this sometime. But let me warn you, this exercise hurts! You lay flat on your back and have someone stand at your shoulders with their feet on each side of your head. Wrap your hands around your “motivator’s” ankles and bring your legs all the way up, keep them straight, do not bend your knees. The person at your head takes their hands and slightly pushes your feet in any random direction. Your goal is to allow your legs to fall in that direction but stop just before your feet hit the floor – then bring them back up for more punishment. I do not do those nearly as often as I should but when I’m finished with about 30 of those, I do not feel I can move much less pull myself up off the floor. Clay always walks around in front of me and reaches out his hand to pull me up. Isn’t that sweet of him? This, keep in mind, is AFTER he has been the drill sergeant trainer and made me do “just 5 more!” I can tell you I gladly take his hand and allow him to pull me up.

That’s what Jesus wants to do for you. He knows you’ve been in a deep pit. He knows that on your own you have expended your own strength. He says to you, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Get out of that pit!

So there are two action items for you. Rise up…and come away. Need a hand?

Hope