Archive for July, 2009

Space invaders…

Friday, July 31st, 2009

A couple of weeks ago Pastor Danny titled his message, Space Invaders. I took some notes but had pushed the message to the back of my mind, until yesterday afternoon. My nephew, Brandon sent a prayer request to me and it always does my heart “good” when any of my cutie patutie nephews request prayer. Brandon is an adult now and has made such a good husband, daddy and all around Christian man. When he sent the prayer request email, I thought about something Brandon said to me when he was in high school. One evening I ran in Best Buy and just happened to spot Brandon over in the CDs. I walked up close behind him and he turned around quickly and said, “Woe! You are all in my grill!” I asked, “What does that mean?” He responded, “You’re invading my space!”

brandon-bryson-fathers-day-2009-2

Brandon & Bryson - Father's Day 2009

Now 10 years later Brandon is a space invader for the Lord. He is invading the culture for Christ. Pastor Danny’s message challenged us to cause a splash, not just a ripple in the space that the Lord has placed us in. When we are confronted with a situation, we should leave there making a splash for the Lord. No one should wonder where we stand on certain issues, political and non-political, as Christians we should invade our space! And when our task on earth is done, no one should wonder where we’ll spend eternity. If we’ve made a splash for Christ and not just a ripple, the waters will continue to roll long after we’re gone.

Invade your space today! God has chosen that space just for you. Invade it for Christ! Be more than a ripple…make a splash!

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14 & 16).

Hope

Wise men still seek Him…

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

wisemen“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi (traditionally Wise Men) from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:1 & 2).

When Mickey and Deb re-visited M. D. Anderson last month they had the privilege of spending time with one of Hannah’s physicians who had become very “attached” to Hannah and her story. She logged onto the Caringbridge website after caring for Hannah and wrote that she would love to sit down over lemonade with Hannah and her parents and discuss their faith. She made several comments over those 77 days that she saw a faith in Hannah’s family that she had not witnessed before. Now, 3 years later, she shared with them that she and her small son had been visiting a local Houston church. Her words were, “I’m searching…”

So now, 2000+ years later, wise men (and women!) still seek Him. The wise men in the Bible heard that the King of the Jews had been born and they wanted to find Him, to worship Him. Talk of the Messiah is prevalent today and those who have never met Him are still searching. If we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him. That’s a promise straight from the Lord Himself!

“…those who seek me find me” (Proverbs 8:17).

“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 29:13 & 14).

“God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27 & 28).

When Deb shared this story with me, my first thought was, “Great! Because if she is really searching for Him, she’ll find Him!” Wise men still seek Him…how about you?

Hope

You have a reservation…

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

“Have you entered the storehouses…which I reserve for times of trouble?” (Job 38:22 & 23).

God has reserved a storehouse for us in times of trouble. We have a reservation! We don’t have to hope He has time for us or wonder if He’s got room or whether He even cares. We don’t need to worry about provision or deliverance. We do not need to question whether He knows what He’s doing. God has reserved a storehouse just for you and for me – a well-stocked shelter in time of trouble.

moon-lightningYou notice this scripture is in Job. Clearly Job needed “storehouses”! He’d lost everything he had and his life was just one big problem after another. Anything bad that could happen, happened. The entire chapter 38 is God reminding Job just who He, God is. You can read these verses for yourself but I’ll sum them up for you. God said to Job, “Don’t question why I do what I do. I’m God! Where were you when I hung the moon and the stars? Who held the measuring line for Me to lay the foundation of the world? I am God and I am in control. Yes, you are having a hard time right now. Life is hard and painful. But just come to Me! I’ve provided storehouses plenty for you and have them reserved for you in times of trouble. Have you gone into the storehouses or are you wandering aimlessly in panic? Seek me! Don’t try to tell Me how to do my job. Just seek me and I’ll take care of you. I’m not just God – I’m your God.”

So it is for you and me. God doesn’t need us to tell Him how to do His job or question why He does it the way He does. What He wants is for us to recognize that He’s not just God, He’s our God. He has plenty of “provision” and shelter to go around, and He has your name on a reservation. Have you entered His storehouse or are you wandering aimlessly in panic mode? Just show up and claim your reservation!

Hope

A “cleaned-up” me…

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I bought a small devotional book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, for my friend, Carmela and she used it for a year and has now given it back to me to read because it is so good. A phrase that jumped off the page and into my conscience this morning is “a cleaned-up me.” Before I read the devotional I was praying about a particular situation. Clay left early this morning to travel to LaGrange, GA for a couple of days and one of his female co-workers asked if she could ride with him because she’s having shoulder issues. I asked him what she looked like (you know how we do, ladies, to put our minds at ease) and he gave me his typical, ding! ding! good answer! response, “She’s not as pretty as you.” So while praying this morning I said, “Lord, bless Clay and (I’ll call her Gertrude – that sounds old and grandma-ish) Gertrude’s 4-hour trip. Help them to have a good conversation and if Gertrude’s not a believer, open doors for Clay to share his faith” etc. Then I read the first paragraph of today’s devotional, a challenge to be real in your prayers. Don’t come into God’s presence with a “cleaned-up” me, all prim and proper, saying just the right thing. No, be real! So I closed the book and I started all over with my prayer. And I unloaded! Here’s what I had to say to the God Who already knew what I was thinking anyway.

Lord, I don’t like it one little bit that my husband is riding four hours in the car with another woman whom I’ve never met! I don’t know her, I don’t know her personality, I don’t know if she’s married or single, if she’s short or fat, if she’s pretty or cosmetically challenged, I don’t know anything about her. And I don’t like it that my husband is “okay” with being put in this situation. Lord, I trust Clay. It’s Satan that I don’t trust! He’d like nothing more than to cause problems in our marriage. So God, that’s the real me. That’s really how I’m feeling. To be quite honest, I ain’t happy! There, no more “cleaned-up” me!

Then I picked the devotional back up and was blown away by the last paragraph…

Open yourself fully to My transforming Presence. Let My brilliant Love-Light search out and destroy hidden fears. This process requires time alone with Me, as My Love soaks into your innermost being. Enjoy My perfect Love, which expels every trace of fear.

Wow! Mine and Clay’s love for each other is not perfect. We’re only human. But God’s love is perfect and His perfect love expels every trace of fear. I will not fear the situation that Clay has been placed in this week. A place that he didn’t volunteer for, a place that I cannot control. I will allow God’s perfect love for me, a love that reaches beyond any comprehension, to expel every trace of fear. What freedom when we come into His presence and allow His Love-Light to search out and destroy hidden fears! I was determined when Clay left home at 6am this morning not to say a word to him about the situation. I had no plans of bringing it up to anyone. But hidden in my heart was a fear for my marriage, a fear of the “what ifs.” However, because I chose to spend time with God and bring before Him the real me, not a “cleaned-up” me, His Word transformed my fears into songs of praise.

Be real with the Lord today. We might as well - after all, He created us and knows our inner most being. He’s not at all fooled by a “cleaned-up” me.

“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD…Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:1-4, 23).

r1-72“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

A “cleaned-up” me may sound and even look prettier, but the raw me is what God sees. Here’s a picture of me from the beach a couple of weeks ago. No make-up, didn’t dry my hair and spend 30 minutes pulling it straight, no jewelry, just plain ole natural curly me enjoying one of the best burgers in the world from River City Cafe. Have a great day!

Hope

The engrafted word…

Monday, July 27th, 2009

We are in the book of James in Sunday School and yesterday we talked about the significance of the King James version of the following verse…

“…receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

James is not talking to the unsaved but to the saved. As Christians, if we have spent any time in God’s Word, it is engrafted in us. His Word is sharper than a two-edged sword; therefore we cannot get away from its truth. To say that His Word is engrafted in our hearts means that it is set in place to stay. Something that is engrafted is implanted and should take root and grow. James is saying that we should just give in to God’s Word and allow it to do its job, and do so with meekness, recognizing our need for the truth of His Word. His Word will save us! It will not keep us from facing trials, but it will certainly give us all we need to get through them. Spend time in His Word today…the more you read, the deeper the implantation.

Here it is in The Message…

garden“In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.”

The engrafted word will make a salvation-garden of your life. I like that mental picture. Sounds mighty beautiful to me!

Hope

Sweet victory…

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Caleb returned from a week of counseling at Kid’s Camp late yesterday afternoon and as he was getting in the car, he and Ronnie, our Children’s Minister were spatting off various Proverbs, trying to “one-up” each other. Then as we drove that short mile from church to home, he asked me if I knew the two verses that follow Proverbs 3:5 & 6. Many of us know 5 & 6 and he knew I did, but then he rattled off 7 & 8.

5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 

6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8).

Caleb has a friend who struggles with an eating disorder. He has been very concerned about her and has been “coaching” her for several weeks. He told me that while he was at camp this week he found this Proverb to share with her. “I told her if she’d just trust the Lord and quit worrying about certain things that she doesn’t understand, He will provide health and nourishment.” I was blown away! Most assuredly by Caleb’s effort to dig in God’s Word to help this sweet girl out, but also by the truth of this scripture. I’m not sure I’ve spent anytime focusing on verses 7 and 8. But for me, that was what I needed to hear. I struggle with my weight, and have my entire adult life. I either have to live on a diet, meaning that I don’t enjoy anything sweet, fried or tasty, or I stay about where I am which is 25 lbs. more than I should weigh. That really brings me down. It is like a cloud that sits over me all the time. I do very well with workouts but if I don’t cut back and watch what I eat very closely – every day, the weight returns quickly.

When Caleb and I got home we opened the Bible and read this passage in a couple of translations. While he was excited about them for his friend, the Lord used them to speak to me about my anxieties with my weight. I spend way too much time stressing over it! I don’t understand why Clay (or Deb or Grandma Ellen or Poppy!! Can I get an “Amen”, Mickey?) can enjoy twice the caloric intake as me but never gain a pound. I don’t understand why I do all the workouts while Clay eats the ice cream sundaes, yet I gain the weight! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him…” All my ways…even my daily dietary struggle. “Do not be wise in your own eyes.” I cannot do it on  my own. I must have the Lord’s help. He will provide health and nourishment. Now I don’t believe this is saying that I need to quit eating and just live on God’s love. I believe it is saying He will help me with my willpower, give me the energy to stick to my workouts and give me victory! brownies1It occurred to me that I need victory over the worry of my weight far more than I need to conquer the weight problem. The worry and constant awareness of my weight is a sin to me! It brings me down. I’m claiming sweet victory today! I think I’ll go have a brownie to celebrate!

Hope

Just me and Him…

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

lonerYou don’t have to be a theologian to figure out where I’d go with this verse today. Sometimes we must get alone with the Lord in order to find rest, encouragement, hope. I think it is human nature when things are tough to migrate to others to keep from spending time alone, not wanting time to process our situation, not wanting to let our minds even go there. But in order for the Lord to deal with me personally, one-on-one, I must go with Him by myself, just me and Him so that there are no other opinions, commentators, bosses. So many think they have the answer, and often they do. But when we are in our lowest valley, facing our toughest circumstances, that is when Christ wants us to go with Him by ourselves to a quiet place and find rest. Oh how He wants to be our refuge, our solace, our Ever-present Help in time of trouble.

“The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble” (Psalm 37:39).

One thing I didn’t point out yesterday that struck me is that Jesus did not say, “Let me go with you” but said “Come with me.” He wants to do the driving. With Jesus in the lead, we’ll never lose our way. Go with Christ today through prayer and scripture, by yourself and allow Him to lead you to a quiet place of rest. I’m not a loner, but I like hanging out just me and Him.

My mom is home and doing well. Thank you for your prayers.

Hope

Come with me…

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

jesus-in-the-stormJesus encourages us to get some rest, and He suggests that it be in a quiet place. But first and foremost He wants us to remain in Him while we’re taking our time “off.” “Come with me” implies that in order for us to find true rest, we must do so in Christ, fully aware of His presence and His hand at work in our lives. Otherwise, there will be no rest. We must give Him all of our burdens, our heartaches, our anxieties, our fears, our busy schedules and allow Him to handle it for our good. When life’s troubled seas are tumultuous and we feel like we’re going under, Jesus is calling us to “Come with me.” In Christ alone we will find rest for our souls.

Thank you so much for your prayers and emails of support for my Mom. Her surgery went very well. Her doctor’s words were, “It was a text book surgery. It could not have gone better if I had written the ideal outcome for a class.” Praise the Lord for His hand at work! There was no sign of tumor, suspicious tissue, etc. The repair for prolapse was successful and we are very thankful. She did have some breathing problems in the night and is now on oxygen, but the doctor feels it is IV pain drug induced and should work itself out by late this evening. Thank you again for your prayers!

Remember, Jesus is saying to you, “Come with me.”

Hope

A Quiet Place…

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

The disciples had just returned from their assignments and they were excited about their mission and motivated by the response from the people. The message from Christ was well received and the disciples were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm. They were so busy they didn’t even have a chance to eat, and they were very tired. Jesus listened as they each reported in with their updates, and then He said to them…

meadow“…Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

Yesterday we talked about the importance of finding rest for your soul. Today let’s spend a little bit of time talking about a quiet place. Jesus was as excited as the disciples were with the reception of the message. There were literally thousands following them and hungering for more of the Good News. Yet Jesus knew, because He created them, that the disciples could only hold up under this intense schedule for so long. He invited the disciples to find a quiet place and rest.

I invite you to do the same. Everything that you’re involved in is, I’m sure, very important. The message, the motive, the intent are pure and upright. However, God created our human, feeble bodies and He knows that we can only hold up for so long under intense pressure and packed schedules. Slow down, find a quiet place (no TV, no barking dogs, no phones, no computers, no kids) and rest. Pamper yourself – you deserve it! And if anyone has a problem with it, tell them Hope told you to. Even more importantly, tell them Christ commanded it! He always gets the last word. So go for it – find a quiet place.

Please pray for Mom. She is in surgery now. Thanks so much!

Hope

Find rest for your soul…

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Good morning! I’ve missed talking to you over the past week, but we had a great relaxing vacation. We found rest for our soul.

Clay and I quietly snuck out of the house last Sunday morning and attended the “small church service” in the recreation center at Ocean Lakes, only to find that we were two of probably 500 people. I admit to you that I wasn’t excited about going. We stayed up late our first night there and I just did not want to get up early. No dog to wake us at 6:15, nothing on our agenda, and besides the Lord is not at all threatened by my taking a Sunday off. However, as was expected, I woke early and by the time Clay was ready to leave I was right there with him. Partly because it is a “come as you are” service so I put on my bathing suit, shorts and tee shirt, pulled my hair back, slapped on a tad of mascara and I was good to go! And I was very glad that I did.

sunset-at-the-beachThe Camp Pastor’s message was on Re-creation rather than Recreation. He talked about how so many people go on vacation to rest but instead they fill their time with so much recreation that there is no time for re-creation, recreating your energy, your spirit, your drive, your soul. He encouraged us to find rest for our souls while on vacation. So I milked that for all it was worth all week! I only logged on to the website one time and answered only the emails that were time essential. I re-created my spirit.

Clay shared the message that evening with Caleb, my nephews Brent and Jordi, and Jordi’s girlfriend, Lacie. They said, “You should have got us up. We would have gone with you.” Yeah, right. The next day Lacie disappeared for about 45 minutes and when she returned she said, “I was walking, finding rest for my soul.”

I challenge you to do just that. If you’ve already taken your vacation but spent all of your time running from one activity to another, take some time to find rest for your soul. I share with you the scripture that the Camp Pastor used, and I’ll probably use this same passage several times this week because the Lord gave me several points from it. Find rest for your soul today…

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

me-mom2I ask you to please pray for my mother, Faye Nations. She will be having major surgery tomorrow the 21st at 10:30 a.m. Without going into more details that you’d care to hear, she will be undergoing extensive repair to her bladder and pelvic area. Her doctor is concerned that there is more going on that meets the eye on any scan that he’s performed, but we will not fear bad news. God is in control. I will update as soon as I can tomorrow. Love to all of you!

Hope