Archive for October, 2009

I just want to be home…

Friday, October 30th, 2009
My Home - Great Blessing from the Lord!

My Home - Great Blessing from the Lord!

Paula Rhinehart, Author and Speaker defines home as a place that never changes and where you are always loved, accepted and recieved. Man, that sounds like where I want to be! Clay and I stay so busy that we rarely have a full weekend at home. This weekend is no exception. There are 12 churches all over the country telling Hannah’s story through the dramatic presentation of Judgement House. Deb and Grandma Ellen are traveling to Jacksonville, FL this weekend to be with Duval Station Baptist Church, and Clay and I are traveling to Claxton, GA to Rehoboth Baptist Church. We are very excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to see what all God is going to do in hearts and lives. But sometimes I’d love to just stay home.

The good news is we can carry home inside us. If our “home” rests in Jesus, we’re always home – even when we’re never home! It is in Jesus that we find a “constant”, a place that never changes. In a world where things never stay the same, Jesus never changes. And our status with Him never changes. We are His children and in Him we can chill out and rest even when we’re running wide open. And it is in Jesus that we are always loved, always accepted, and always welcomed with open arms. When we travel with Jesus, we find that whatever path we’re on, it is full of steadfast, never changing love. I want to be there – resting in His presence. I just want to be home.

“All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psalm 25:10).

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him” (Psalm 62:5).

Hope

Relax…and get ready

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

relaxing-in-hammockAre you feeling a little anxious this morning? Are things in your life somewhat uncertain? Maybe you’re trying too hard to make things happen. Maybe you’re trusting in your own strength rather than the Lord’s mighty strength. The Lord is calling us to relax in Him and to trust Him with all of the uncertainties of life. He is doing a great work even when we can’t see His hand at all.

Don’t be anxious, don’t be discouraged, don’t give up. Stay the course. Stand still and see what great things God will do. Take your hands off of it and just relax in Him today…and get ready – because He will show up and when He does you’ll be amazed at what happens right before your very eyes!

“In quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

“…stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!” (1 Samuel 12:16).

Hope

Are you in need of an encounter?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

samaritan-womanThis should be my last day on the woman at the well, maybe. I never know what the Lord is going to give me! In looking back over my notes from the women’s conference, I’m reminded that this Samaritan woman had an encounter that day…an encounter that changed her life. She was parched from life’s struggles, life’s disappointments. She had looked to relationships to satisfy her thirsty condition. She’d had five husbands and the man she was living with was someone other than her husband. She was looking for love in all the wrong places. This Samaritan woman needed water, but not the water she thought she was seeking. She was more spiritually parched than physically. She was in need of an encounter with the Master.

How about you? Are you in need of an encounter? Are you looking to a relationship to satisfy your needs? Close friends, family, co-workers, fellow church members can satisfy certain needs that you may have. But only Jesus can give you the Living Water that will satisfy your deepest most inner thirst. If you are parched from all the blows that life continues to pound on you, look to the Lord and allow Him to quench your thirsty soul. Have a personal encounter with the Master.

“Jesus answered her (the Samaritan woman), ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water’” (John 4:10).

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38).

Hope

He knows your business…

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

jesus-the-woman-at-the-wellContinuing on the topic of the woman at the well…Jesus knows your business. Jesus told the woman to go back to town and get her husband and bring him back. Jesus was testing the woman. He already knew her business. She answered, “I don’t have a husband.” Jesus said, “I know you don’t. As a matter of fact, you’ve had five husbands and the one you’re living with now is not your husband.” That’s when the Samaritan woman realized she had come face to face with someone who was not your ordinary passer-by.

I don’t know if you have anything going on in your life that you think you’re hiding from everyone but let me remind you that Jesus knows your business. There’s nothing hid from the Lord. He sees all. Or maybe you feel like you’re flying solo with no support and no one has a clue how bad things are for you. Good news – He knows your business. He sees all. He loves you and He wants to set you free from whatever you’re holding onto in the deepest, most hidden places of your heart.

Jesus getting all in the Samaritan woman’s business changed her life forever. Acknowledge Him today, and watch Him change your life forever.

“He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ ‘I have no husband,’ she replied. Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true’” (John 4:16-18).

“My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17).

“You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (Psalm 139:3).

Hope

The Love of Christ “Disarms”!

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Good morning Father!

 

Thank You for always meeting me at the beginning of each day with new strength, new wisdom, new guidance, new direction, new mercies and new grace! Thank You for restoring my soul! Thank You for continuing to speak to me. Thank You that You delight to show Yourself to me!

 

Thank You for the privilege and blessing of partnering with You in the things You are accomplishing on this earth. Thank You for the privilege and blessing of being in Greenwood with precious brothers and sisters in Christ over the weekend for Judgment House. Thank You for the lives that were changed for eternity! Thank You for the simple gospel message of Jesus Christ. Thank You that the message has power to transform lives! Thank You that the message gives hope for tomorrow and joy and peace for today!  Thank You that the simple gospel message has transformed my life!

 

I have pondered this weekend why You have used the life of Billy Graham in such a powerful way. It is because he shares over and over the simple gospel message of Jesus Christ, isn’t it? Your message is simple. You loved the world. You sent Yourself in the person of Jesus Christ to live among us, to become flesh and blood and to give Yourself as the payment for our sin to acquire our salvation. You offer each of us the free gift of Your Son – You have done all the work. Our part is to accept Your forgiveness, Your abundance, Your joy, Your freedom! Bless You Father! The burden for my salvation was all placed upon You.

 

Judgment House uses stories to share the simple gospel message of Jesus Christ. Two years ago, at the encouragement from someone in their church, Clay and Hope wrote a script for Judgment House sharing Hannah’s story of faith. Portrayed in the drama is the reality of eternal life in a place the scripture calls heaven or eternal damnation in a place the scripture calls hell. You aren’t playing games with us, are You Lord? Your plan was in place before the foundation of the world. You tell us that “wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Matthew 7:13 Many are flocking down the road to destruction – all the while being completely unaware of what the scripture says. And then You go on to say, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:14  Just like in Noah’s day – only 8 people on the face of the earth were spared – You know Lord, that is really heart breaking and I know it breaks Your heart. You say in Your word, “It is not Your will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” John 3:17

 

One of the memories I took away from this weekend that will be forever etched upon my heart was when “Hannah” was standing in the Judgment Room being welcomed into her eternal reward. She replied, “Thank You Jesus. This is the day I have been waiting for all my life.”  I loved that Lord! I loved that! The day we come to meet You in heaven is the day we have waited for all of our lives. We may not completely understand that now but one day we will fully understand!

 

Another memory I will always cherish is from the heaven scene. It is always my favorite scene – to see Hannah walk across the bridge into heaven blesses my heart every time!  The gentleman who portrayed Jesus had the most beautiful eyes and he comes to everyone in the heaven scene and speaks an individual word to each of them. When he came to me, he said, “Welcome, I know it hasn’t been an easy journey.” I could hear You saying that to me Lord and it brought tears to my eyes! I know that You know where I am and where I’ve been – I know that You can identify with me unlike any other but to hear someone playing Your part say those words to me really blessed my heart and I thank You for that. I thanked him and asked him later if he said the same thing to everyone – he told me no – that he was always desiring to speak to each person what you place on his heart and he never knows what he is going to say. I heard Your voice Lord and I thank You for speaking to me through him!

 

I will also never forget the statement, “The love of Christ disarms!”  I love that Lord! It was spoken by the youth minister at the church! It is so true! Your love breaks down all the barriers – it cuts through all pretense! I thought about when You stood before Your accusers and opened not Your mouth. You just loved those the Father placed in Your path – however broken they were and Your loved “disarmed” them! We don’t have to defend ourselves – we have nothing to defend – You are our Defender! Our part is to share the love You have given to us. Before he ordered his food, the minister asked the waitress at Cracker Barrel where she stood with You. Immediately she smiled and said, “I love Him.” He had gained a new friend and proceeded to invite her to Judgment House.

 

After lunch we watched this minister pursue a young man on the parking lot of Hardees that he had met a couple of weeks before while visiting in the hospital. The young man was in a wheel chair and had no legs. He has several children – none of which he is taking responsibility for – and is himself an addict. The minister took him into Hardees – spoke words of life over him and then bought him whatever he wanted for lunch – he ordered two of several things! “The love of Christ disarms.” He has a new friend. He has planted another seed into this young man’s life. And it brought him and those of us watching great joy! You want to use us, don’t You Lord? You want to “disarm” those around us with the love of Christ!  Oh Father, let me love You with abandon! Allow the love of Christ to be the spillover from my life!!

 

You are at work in so many ways and in so many places! Oh Father, bless Your name!! There were many who had come from places of brokenness to help with Judgment House – several from Faith Home. They have no pretense – nothing to prove – they just loved us! They are quick to acknowledge their need of You! Unlike many of us who try to act as if everything is okay! They opened their arms and they welcomed us! Thank You for filling us with Your love to love them back! Bless that little church, Father and bring many to a saving knowledge of Yourself! Begin a new work in that place and raise up the body of Christ to love others as You do! In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen!

 

And Father, work out the details for this coming weekend! We are available to go where You want us to go! Thank You for allowing mother to go with me this weekend! Strengthen her physical body in Jesus name, I pray, Amen!

 

 

Leave your water jar behind…

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Annette Joyner-Moore spoke at the WOW conference on Saturday, and as she shared the story of the woman at the well I latched on to a phrase I’d missed over the years. After the Samaritan woman tasted of the Living Water, the water that only Jesus can give, she left her water jar and went to the city to tell everyone what had happened. Here’s what I get out of that…

water-jar1Her water jar was empty. She had taken it to the well at a time when no one else was there because she was a Samaritan and she was an outcast. Her plan was to fill her jar with water from the well. The water didn’t last long, so she had to keep returning to the well for refills. But once Jesus set her free from her guilt and sin and filled her soul with the Living Water, she no longer needed her water jar. After all, it was empty. When she left her water jar behind, she symbolically left her past hurts and pains and failures and poor decisions and loneliness. She no longer needed to keep returning to her old ways for satisfaction. Those old ways only offered emptiness. Christ had set her free and had filled her desires with Living Water.

What water jar are you carrying around that you need to leave behind? Have you had an encounter with the Living Water but you still feel empty? Is it because you continue to hold on to your water jar and depend on it to fill your needs? Maybe you’re hanging on to it for security not allowing Christ to completely set you free and provide the Living Water that quenches your thirst for eternity. Leave your water jar behind and move forward in freedom through Christ.

“‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water’…Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did’” (John 4:15, 28 & 29).

I shared my “commentary” with Annette during the break and she said, “Oh, child, that’ll preach right there, honey! Let’s have church!” She is an African American woman full of life and love for her Savior. I fell in love with her!

Hope

Don’t shirk your responsibilities…

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

valleyA quote from yesterday’s Streams in the Desert, “No one can stay on the mountaintop of favor forever, for there are responsibilities in the valley. Christ fulfilled His life’s work not in the glory but in the valley, and it was there He was truly and completely the Messiah.”

When we’re going about every day life and the road is smooth, no detours, no flashing signs to warn us what’s ahead, “life is good.” But when we suddenly find ourselves in a deep valley, we often panic. We want to buck the system, fight the circumstances, lash out in anger or frustration or even bitterness. But what God wants us to do is fulfill our responsibilities while in the valley. We are not there by accident. It is God’s providence that we have arrived in that place, and He placed us there for a purpose.

I’ve shared with you before that when Clay and I were dating I was going through my own valley and Deb said to me, “Don’t miss what God has for you in this trial. Pass your test.” That’s what the writer of Streams in the Desert is saying in the above quote. Don’t shirk your responsibilities in the valley. Our quartet sings a song that says, Even the valley is higher ground. Satan can’t touch me where God’s love abounds. A pastoral counselor said to Clay while he was going through his divorce, “Don’t waste a good nervous breakdown.” Get all you can out of it. You’re where you are for a purpose. Don’t miss it. Pass your test. God’s right there with you, encouraging you to finish well.

“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley” (Ezekiel 37:1).

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11).

Have a blessed weekend. If you are in the Spartanburg area and have some free time tomorrow, come to the WOW Women’s Conference at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium – and stop by our Hannah’s Hope table to say hello! It’s gonna be a great day!

Hope

Like Father like son…

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Clay and I take Jax to Milliken often to release some puppy energy. Tuesday night I was power walking while Clay and Jax sniffed and sprinted (Jax sniffed, Clay sprinted) and I came upon a dad and two little boys feeding the ducks in one of the ponds. The boys appeared to be 4ish and 6ish in age. The 6 year old was doing his own thing, totally unconcerned about his dad and little brother – actually ignoring them. The younger boy was doing everything his dad would do. His dad would bend over for more bread, the boy would bend over for more bread. If the dad tossed the bread underhanded, the boy tossed the bread underhanded. If the dad wound up and threw it like a baseball, the boy wound up and threw it like a baseball. If the dad talked to the ducks, the boy talked to the ducks. If the dad said something to the older son, the boy said something to his big brother. It was adorable.

father-son1It reminded me of our relationship with our Heavenly Father. When we are young in our walk with Him, we stick right with him. We do whatever He says and we are so close in relationship that we reflect Him wherever we go. His wish is our command. Whatever He calls us to do, man we’re all about it.

But as we get older in our walk, we tend to stray from our first love. We go off and do whatever we want to do. We wander aimlessly, often ignoring or even unaware of our Father’s presence. He calls out to us yet we just keep on doing our own thing, ignoring His voice. Oh how He wants us to be as the little child and mimic Him! He wants us to stay right by His side and do exactly what He asks. How much easier our lives would be if we would remain in His presence as we did when we first fell in love with Him.

What about you? Are you the older child that has wandered off to “it’s all about me” land? Or are you the younger child that loves to spend time with your Father?

“You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:3-5a).

“You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 5:14).

Hope

Judgment House 2009

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

You know, Lord, I came to You this morning with a burdened heart – a heavy heart. There were a lot of things on my heart and mind – things that were bigger than I was going to be able to figure out on my own. You love it when I just bring it to You, don’t You? You love for me to come and dump it all out before You! You know it all anyway and I am playing games with You when I try to hide the heaviness of my heart or try and pretend everything is okay! So I wrote some things down that were on my heart this morning!

 

And You know, Lord, just like with David, when I come clean with all of it, you are always right there ready to pick it all up and put it into perspective for me, aren’t You? Tonight You have filled my heart with joy and praise and thanksgiving to You for who You are and how intimate You are with me. I speak pretty frank with You, don’t I Lord? You are not afraid of me! I’m not playing games and You know it. And You aren’t playing games with me either, are You? You want to show Yourself to me just as much as I want You to show Yourself to me – no, I’m sure You want to show Yourself to me more!

 

You know Lord, I suppose that one of the reasons for my heaviness, my burden is that this coming weekend Judgment House begins and Hannah’s story will be shared in 8 different states – GA, IN, AL, SC, FL, KY, CA and MO. That blows me away Lord – how big are You anyway? What does exceedingly, abundantly above anything we could ask or imagine look like? What does it mean that the fervent, effective prayer of a righteous man avails much? What does “much” mean to You? I want to know. The price has been high.

 

You know Lord, I have heard it said many times – even this week – that so much fruit has come from Hannah’s journey. In the deepest recesses of this mother’s heart, I pray we have not seen anything yet. As I stood at her grave yesterday morning after sharing with a middle school FCA, I asked you again to bring forth much fruit from this kernel of wheat that has fallen into the ground and died. When we stop missing Hannah every day and thinking about her all the time, perhaps I will stop asking You to bring forth fruit from her life. No, don’t count on it. We want every single bit of fruit You desire to bring forth and for as long as we have breath in our bodies we will continue to ask. We ask it not only through Hannah’s life but through the lives of her brothers – whose cost has also been high.

 

I am a spectator in this arena called earth, Lord, and I want to see You in all Your glory! And I think You want us to see You in all Your glory! Isaiah saw You -  he saw You the year King Uziah died – I saw You too, Lord – the year Hannah died. You have changed me – I never want to be the same again. I never want to go back to life as usual – I never want to settle for less than all You have for me. When we see You, Lord, You transform us. You do it over and over again through Your word! You deepen our understanding of who You are – of how big You are!

 

You know that’s it, isn’t it Lord? We are the spectators on this earth. We look up to see Your glory – “we” aren’t the center of the universe – You are!!! Oh Father and it is only as we look up into Your face that we gain correct perspective. As I sat on the asphalt driveway tonight and looked into the night sky and talked with You, I know You were hearing me – without a doubt. This tiny little girl, in this tiny little town, in this tiny little house – and yet You hear and yet You know me! Bless Your name! I cannot understand the depth of your love for me! But I accept it and I receive it Lord – I don’t want to miss any of Your goodness to me.

 

I also understand Father, that spiritual warfare is very real even before the battle begins over these next weeks. Eternity is at stake. Judgment House is a powerful tool – it plays no games with heaven and hell. If we believe that heaven is real, we must also believe that hell is real. The scripture speaks more of that place of eternal separation from You than it does about living in Your presence forever in a place called heaven.

 

Oh Dear Jesus, as we have been praying and continue to do so, be glorified, be exalted to bring many lost souls into the kingdom of Jesus Christ through the vehicle of Judgment House over the next several weeks. Pour out Your Spirit – reveal Yourself anew and afresh to those who are participating and give them a new desire to see souls come to a saving knowledge of Yourself! Allow your Holy Spirit to have reign in every location, unite the body of Christ in every church and stop the enemy at the door.

 

I wait upon You Lord with anticipation. Thank You for clearing my mind and speaking to my heart today! All my love, Deborah   

 

Eph. 3:20-21

Let go without letting go…

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

From Jesus Calling this morning…

Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of My hand!

Today is my 46th birthday. I wanted – and NEEDED a “word from the Lord” this morning. I read The Purpose Driven Life and there was much to apply on the call to be like Christ in all areas of my life. Then I went to Jesus Calling. Most of the daily devotionals in that small book are just a couple of short paragraphs per day. But October 21 fills the entire page! The Lord knew anyone born on that day needed to hear from Him in an extensive way! And the entire devotional is about relinquishing control and allowing God to control. I don’t consider myself a control freak, but in a lot of areas of my life I feel like I have to have the wheel in order to get anything done. Clay will tell you that I hold things together at home. I was gone on the cruise for 4 days and Clay says he felt like he was wandering to and fro. Caleb is the same way, possibly worse! After all, when I’m gone who will scramble a plate of eggs with bacon and pancakes at 11:00 at night when he gets a hunger pain? And then there’s Jax…he has become quite dependent on me as well. So of course I feel like I have to be in control!

gods-handsBut God is telling me to take my hands off and let go of situations that I cannot control. When He takes something from me, I am to let go of it with no rebellious tendencies – but yet never let go of His hand. The only thing God wants us to cling to is His mighty hand – the hand that waved through the empty sky and filled it with planets, stars and moon and sun; the hand that stretched across nothing and created land and sea; the hand that reached down and created man from clay; the hand that touched blinded eyes and made them see; the hand that reached into my heart and pulled me to Himself and cleaned me up and set my feet on the right path. That’s the only thing I need to cling to! That is a happy birthday message to me today!

Submit to His authority today. Let go if it all without letting go of His hand.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

“You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great” (Psalm 18:35).

“Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand” (Psalm 37:24).

Hope