Archive for September, 2009

What drives you?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

caleb-preparty-attireIs your life driven by purpose? Caleb and I had a pretty serious discussion last night about God having a plan and purpose for our lives. Caleb’s a good kid with a huge heart, but I just feel that he is battling with his place, his purpose. His attitude is quite teenagerish, and though most of the time he makes good decisions, there are times that I think, “What in the world is he thinking?” Today is his 18th birthday and I told him this morning that starting today he was going to join Clay in The Purpose Driven Life study. He’s been sentenced to 40 days with Clay and Rick Warren.

I have two nephews that completed their time of service in Navy and Marines. Now they’re 24 years old and both seem to be in the same boat, looking for their purpose. I’m going to challenge them to join Clay and Caleb. If we are not driven by purpose, we probably aren’t driven at all, thus we’re spinning our wheels, not really going anywhere with our life.

What about you? What drives you? Are you driven by purpose? God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Allow that truth to drive you. Follow God’s lead, allow Him to go before you in all that you do. How? By being in His Word and seeking direction from Him. Everything that we face is covered in the Bible. There is a truth for every circumstance. We just have to look for it.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

Have a blessed day – and Happy 18th Birthday to my baby boy!

Hope

Fearfully and wonderfully made…

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Did anyone besides me wake up in the middle of the night and realize that I had not posted scripture to go along with my devotional yesterday? I hope not or I’ll be a little concerned that you think about me in the night. I can’t believe I did that! I posted two passages this morning. Please go back and read them.

Some of the girls telling Caleb what to do - and he did it I'm sure!

Some of the girls telling Caleb what to do - and he did it I'm sure!

For today, I want to remind you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. From Jesus Calling, “The human mind is the pinnacle of My creation, but so few use it for its primary purpose – knowing Me.” We had Caleb’s 18th birthday party Sunday afternoon and I was reminded of this truth. We are fearfully and wonderfully made – and no two of us are made the same. My sisters and I look very much alike but we all have our individual, unique personalities. And so it is with friends. It was pretty entertaining watching all the different personalities that gathered in one house. Caleb hugged me real tight that night and thanked me for making it so special, and for presenting him with a very awkward situation. “Why didn’t you just go ahead and invite every girl I’ve ever talked to, put them in one room, in a circle and place me in the middle facing each one of them.” I was glad I could say I didn’t do the invitation list alone! I had help from his friends. When he returned from school yesterday he said, “You’re off the hook, Mom! I remembered two girls that you didn’t invite that I used to talk to!”

Then last night he had a couple of buddies over and I played Wii corn hole with them until midnight. It was so much fun! But man are those three boys completely different in looks, personalities – and brains! Clay asked me this morning what time I came to bed and when I told him, he just shook his head. He knows I’ll hold true to my word and spend every minute that Caleb will allow with him before he leaves for college. Then I told him some of the funny things that were said and done and how different they all are yet the same with the competitive spirit. And this morning in my quiet time I read from Jesus Calling and had to agree with Sarah Young that yes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Whether you are Type A or Type B personality, whether you are melancholy or phlegmatic, a lion or an eagle, the most important thing for you to remember is that your mind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. Use it for its primary purpose – to get to know Him intimately.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

mick-debHere’s a great picture of Mickey & Deb from the party on Sunday. You can believe this is Deb’s message – that we get to know God intimately! Aren’t they a beautiful couple!

Hope

The Power of my Words!

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Lord, You know this text message “fettish” I have – not wanting to delete messages before I save them on my computer – especially messages from Hannah’s friends! I just caught up again! Words are so powerful – they speak life! They bring encouragement! You challenge me this morning to let my words speak life to others! Thank You for words of encouragement from others and especially from You, Father!  You reminded me of this in a powerful way this morning when You took me to our study on Proverbs about words – what powerful truths You have spoken about our words!!

 

“From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things, as surely as his hands rewards him.” – Proverbs 12:14 Our words can bring forth fruit just like the labor of our hands!

 

“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” Prov. 13:3 Wow, Father, that is a strong word! Teach me to guard my lips – I confess I am a work in progress!

 

And then You go on, Father, to speak to us about listening. “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2 Oh, Father, You are more interested in me understanding than in my being understood or sharing my opinions. You don’t need my opinions – You need for me to be still and listen to You and to others! Oh Father, even when I speak would You allow me to speak with and from a heart that seeks to understand those I am speaking to? Allow my words to be gentle – not harsh – “full of grace and seasoned with salt” – with everyone – especially those who are the closest to me?

 

“He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.” Proverbs 18:13 I remember Michael recently making the statement that we can’t learn when we are talking. He is a man of few words – but when he speaks, I listen to him – his words are important. Allow my words to be important and full of meaning.

 

And then Father, You address gossip. You say, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost part.” Proverbs 18:8 You remind me of eating chocolate chips out of the bag – while I am chewing them they bring me satisfaction but many times when they “hit” my stomach the result is not as satisfying! When we speak against anyone, we are always desiring to build ourselves up. Gossip is the result of pride and jealousy. Oh Father, guard my mouth. Mother always says, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” What great wisdom in that little saying!

 

Oh, and Father, this scripture reminds me of squeezing toothpaste out of a tube – you can’t put it back in the tube! “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 Oh Dear Jesus, I desire for my words to bring healing – even tonight, Father, as I have opportunity to share with a group of precious ladies! Use Your words through my mouth to bring healing!

 

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” Proverbs 21:23 How many times have my words brought calamity? Teach me, Father, to be very careful with my words.

 

And You even address flattery – speaking words that aren’t true to make someone else “look good” or “feel good” so we “look good” or “feel good.” How hollow is that? I’ve done it!  “Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet.” Proverbs 29:5 Nets catch you, don’t they, Lord? Every time!

 

Wow, and finally I guess the strongest words about our tongues comes from the book of James. You cut right to the chase, don’t You?

 

“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, set the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” Jame3:3-8

 

Oh Father, if we really understood the power of our words, we would be more careful, wouldn’t we? Help me ponder and remember these truths You are desiring to write upon my heart this week. Allow my words to speak life!! – abundant life!! And Father, allow our youth to catch a little glimpse of what You are desiring to teach them about the power of their words.

 

Tonight, Father, “may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O God, my Strength and my Redeemer.”  In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen!

Join Him at work…

Monday, September 28th, 2009

jax1I have another spiritual application for you, compliments of Jax. Friday evening I was out pulling weeds and Jax was right there with me at every step. He’d stand back and wait for me to take hold of the weed, then he’d nuzzle his nose under my hand and work away at trying to help. It was so cute. He did that for every single weed. He didn’t go ahead of me, he didn’t wait until I walked off. He waited for me to take hold of the project and then he jumped right in the middle of it. He didn’t wander off. He didn’t sniff his way to the back yard. He was perfectly content to be where I was doing what I was doing. He’s such a good helper!

Clay has said so many times that what we do at Hannah’s Hope Ministries is simply watch to see where God is at work and then we join Him there. I just chuckled at Jax and then very quickly I said, “You little mess! You’re just waiting to see where I’m gonna work then you join me.” Bam! The reality of the truth of Clay’s statement came to life. That’s what God wants us to do! He doesn’t want us to go ahead of Him. He doesn’t want us to wait until He’s through with the work and then come along behind Him and try to do what’s already been done. He wants us to watch to see where He’s working and then nuzzle our self right up under His hand and join Him in that work.

Wondering what your mission in life is? What God’s will is for your life? Whether you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing? Look around. Find where God is at work and join Him there. You’ll be surprised how perfectly content you’ll find yourself.

“This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).

“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go” (Matthew 8:19).

Hope

Don’t get caught in a trap…

Friday, September 25th, 2009

jax-smaller1This morning I took Jax to the vet to have his nails clipped and of course as soon as we got out of the car his mission was to sniff every inch of the parking lot and grassy area before going in to meet up with his peers. In his haste he got all tangled up in the lead of the leash and both his front paws were crippled from the discombobulation. He finally stopped fighting and just looked up at me with those sweet little puppy dog eyes as if to say, “Could you help me out here?” Of course I picked that little feller up, untangled the leash and set him free. He went back to sniffing but out of the corner of his eyes he’d check to be sure I was right there to take care of him should that happen again.

Check out this verse from today’s Psalm…

“My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare” (Psalm 25:15).

Isn’t that something? I just love God and the way He gives me spiritual application even on the side of Hwy. 9 in the muggy morning air as traffic is swarming by and I’m trying to pick up a 22.5 lb. beagle and untangle his little paws. That doggie loves his master and he knows who is going to take care of him. He trusts me to free his feet that are caught in the snare.

You’re with me on this. It is only our Heavenly Father that can free our feet from the snare of the devil. I imagine a hidden booby trap in the thick forest of life. Just when we think we’re gonna make it to a clearing up ahead, SNAP! We are caught in a snare from Satan. But if we keep our eyes on the Lord, He will deliver us. He never desires for us to be tied up in a quandary with Satan’s schemes and lies. He wants to set us free! All we have to do is keep our eyes on Him.

Don’t get caught in a trap – keep your eyes on your Master.

Have a great weekend! We’re having Caleb’s 18th birthday party this weekend. His birthday is the 30th. I can’t believe my little boy is going to be 18. Pray for me!!

Hope

Don’t throw it all away…

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35 & 36).

cattle1Today I presented the I Have Hope pins project to two groups at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, the Directors and the Nurse Managers. This morning, as always seems to happen, I woke feeling tremendously inadequate, questioning my direction, my motives, my goals, etc. We have been praying about the financial standing of the ministry, trusting the Lord to provide and desiring to follow His lead on how to raise money. I opened the Bible to read the Psalm for today and was not at all surprised to find encouragement. Psalm 24:1 reminds us that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. He owns it all! $100,000 annual budget is nothing to God. The Bible tells us that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He doesn’t mind giving up a couple of cows for Hannah’s Hope Ministries. It was a great reminder that we are here in complete dependence on Him for every move, every decision, every penny. There’s no better place to be.

So I was going to use Psalm 24 for today’s devotional and when I logged on to Bible Gateway, the verse for the day was the above verse from Hebrews. As I go to speak in front of directors that include the CFO, COO, chaplains, etc., I must do so with great confidence. God chose Hannah and He’s the One who set in motion this ministry. All He wants from me is that I persevere and not throw away my confidence. He will reward my perseverence and we, Hannah’s Hope Ministries, will receive the reward that He has promised. It’s not my burden to bear! I’ve gotta lay it all down as we talked about yesterday and just be obedient. He’ll take care of the rest.

What are you feeling inadequate about today? Approach it with confidence. Don’t throw it all away due to fear or uncertainties. Approach whatever it is with great boldness and know that God is faithful and He will reward your perseverance. Hang in there!

Hope

Daily deliverance…

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19).

If God daily bears our burdens, that must mean that we are faced with burdens…daily. I’m sure I can get an Amen out of that one! Just when we think we’ve got one problem licked, we go to bed only to wake and find that another aggravating creature like discouragement or worry or disappointment or sickness or death has poked its head out and tempts us to pick it all back up. I read that if we are looking up to Christ for help, our backs are straight, therefore a burden cannot rest on it. That’s good! There’s comfort in knowing that God understands us inside out. He knows that even though we may give it all to Him today, tomorrow there’s a pretty good chance we’re going to get up and load ourselves down once again with circumstances and situations we can do nothing about. That’s why David encourages us to look up and praise our God and Savior because He DAILY bears our burdens.

parker-with-a-loadWhat are you toting around right now? As I type this Parker, Alexia’s niece just came into my office straight from school and she is loaded down with a heavy bookbag. She was practically dragging as she walked out of my office. She looks tired from the day and weary from her heavy load of books & homework. There’s no way that child can stand straight up with that load on her back! She walked out the door saying to Krisila in a weary voice, “Mommy!” What a great visual aid God gave me even as I typed this devotional! Call out to your Father today, drop that burden at His feet and let Him bear it. Look to Him for daily deliverance.

Hope

My joy is not up for grabs!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Don’t allow Satan to steal your joy today. I received the following scripture in an email devotional this morning. I don’t typically read those until after I do my post so as not to influence my thinking. But for some reason I felt compelled to read it. I’m glad I did. This scripture is completely in line with my quiet time this morning, and certainly in line with circumstances that I’ve been helping my sister deal with in her new status as single mom, single income, single caregiver for her children, single EVERYTHING. But the good news is, she’s not single-handedly dealing with everything. We never fly solo – God is always right there with us. We just have to recognize it.

grapevine“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17 & 18).

No matter how bad things get, I will rejoice in the Lord. Satan wants so desperately to snatch our joy and send us spiraling into a state of dismay and hopelessness. But if we keep our mind on Christ and rejoice in Him ALWAYS, then Satan loses, and our joy remains. As we rejoice in Him, we grow stronger and find ourselves surviving whatever comes our way. I read a little quote this morning that when we rejoice through our afflictions and keep our mind on Christ, we’ll live with one foot on earth and the other in heaven. I immediately said to myself, “That beats the heck out of one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel!”

Rejoice in the Lord today, praise Him in your storm, shout it out. God is worthy even when everything else falls apart and all of life seems to go to pot. Don’t allow your joy to be up for grabs!

Hope

Actions Born out of Relationship with You!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Allow my actions to be born out of my relationship with You, Jesus. Let me do what I do because of who You are in my life – let my life reflect that I am a friend of God. Let my life reflect that You are my best friend. You are not about a set of rules that I must complete to please You so that I can come into Your presence. I can never live up to any list. I will always fall short. You just want me to come into Your presence because You love me. You are not a God who is up in heaven waiting to “thump” me on the head when I mess up. Oh Father, I desire for my life and the lives of my sons and my family to be motivated by a love relationship with You.

 

Why do I come to You in the morning? Why do I early seek Your face? Because You are the King of the Universe and You long for fellowship with me. You desire for me to bring my burdens and cares to You because You are big enough to take them. You know I can’t do this life alone. You created me for fellowship with You. You desire to take my burdens early in the day and You desire to exchange my anxiousness with Your peace – a peace that transcends all human understanding.

 

Father, You are calling Your children. You are calling them to walk in closer relationship, in closer fellowship with You. You are desiring to strengthen us as the body of Christ. As the day comes closer to Your return, the chasm between light and darkness, truth and lies will become wider and more clearly defined. How will we be equipped for this part of the journey? Through Your eternal Word – the Bible. More and more we will need to be in Your Word, know Your Word, breath Your Word – allow Your Word to be our lifeline. There is no other way – Your Word is what You have given us to be perfectly equipped. Oh Father, help us hide Your Word deep within our hearts – quicken our spirits to know and memorize more of Your Word so that we are ready when the enemy throws his darts. Allow the shield of faith to become larger and larger as it grows based upon Your Word.

 

You are calling Your children to pray, aren’t You Lord? More and more You will call us to pray – pray about everything – like You tell us in I Thessalonians 5:17 – “pray without ceasing.” Prayer is our lifeline – when we breath, we should breath prayer. You will continue to place us in situations where there is nothing we can do – except pray! “Where two or three are gathered in Your name, there You are in the midst of them.” Matthew How precious is that! You will continue to call us to pray with each other – 2 or 3. I don’t think there is a greater blessing on this earth than praying with someone else. Oh how quickly You put things in right perspective as we pray through Your Word. Thank You for opportunities You are giving me to pray with other people. May it be a way of life for me. Bring people into my life that just need someone to pray with them or for them! Prayer and Your Word sustain us on this earth! When we get to heaven we will be in perfect fellowship and communion with You forever!

 

You know, Lord, I was thinking as You awakened me this morning, that our loved ones who have come to live with You would never want to come back to this fallen world to live. They have tasted and experienced perfect fellowship with You – why would they ever want to leave that? We are the ones who still long for that perfect, uninterrupted fellowship with You. We are the ones who have not “arrived home.”

 

This week, Lord, our youth begin a study of the book of Proverbs. Oh Father, what rich wisdom You have given us – tried and true through the centuries! Oh Jesus, awaken hearts to seek You this morning – let us not miss the blessing of being daily in Your word. Foster excitement in hearts to look for and anticipate hearing from You! Speak to my heart – teach me – grow me in depth of knowledge and understanding and allow it to be fleshed out in my life and in the lives of my sons. Oh Father, what preparation for a day – the wisdom of Solomon! Reveal Yourself and Your Word to those who seek Your face this morning!

 

And oh Father, allow me to walk step in step with You this day! Help me not “hurry through” to accomplish something that will not last. Help me invest my life today in eternal things – people, relationships!

 

Oh Father, thank You for continuing to hear me and love me! I love You Father! In the name of Jesus, I pray these things, Amen.

 

Oh, well!

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Do you ever feel like you just can’t do anything right and that there are some people whom you will never please? Yesterday was one of those times for me. I woke up feeling confident and secure that my heart was clean and motives were pure but somehow by the time I got out of the shower, all had gone to pot. I did a spot check on my attitude, my motives, my intentions, and I just couldn’t figure out what I had done; therefore, I wasn’t sure how to hit the undo key. So instead I sat down to do my devotional, and was reminded why I should’ve started the morning off with it before my shower. From Jesus Calling I read…

light-shining-from-heaven“…Try to see things more and more from My perspective. Let My light and My presence so fully fill your mind that you view the world through Me. When little things don’t go as you had hoped, look to Me lightheartedly and say, ‘Oh, well.’ This simple principle can protect you from being burdened with an accumulation of petty cares and frustrations. If you practice this diligently, you will make a life-changing discovery: You realize that most of the things that worry you are not important…You may even reach the point where you can agree with the apostle Paul that all your troubles are light and momentary, compared with the eternal glory being achieved by them.”

So I read the referenced scripture, shared it with my hubby, closed my devotional, said jovially, “Oh, well!” and my day was back on track! Oh how we get bogged down by petty things, don’t we? We wear our feelings on our shoulder, sometimes hanging off the edge! and the least thing sends us in a tail spin of pity. Max Lucado says that when pity comes knocking, we change the sheets and turn over the keys to the house! I love that. But if we’ll look at things through the Lord’s perspective, our worries and trials will become light and insignificant. And we will truly be able to respond, “Oh, well!”

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17 & 18).

Hope