Archive for November, 2009

Life is short, Buy the shoes…

Monday, November 30th, 2009

shoesToday is Alexia Newman’s birthday, Happy Birthday to Alexia! We had a fun lunch at City Range and one of her gifts was a plaque that reads, Life is short, Buy the shoes. We all loved it! As I was driving around this afternoon running errands I thought about that phrase again. Life is short, so go for it! (As long as it is morally acceptable!) I thought of Hannah’s interview with Amy Wood that was recorded only six days before she went to heaven. One of her statements was, “There are so many things in life that don’t matter, you know? I’ve found that relationships are what is important.” When it comes down to it, the things that we fret over are just things. It’s all just stuff. The only thing that matters is our relationship with each other and our relationship with the Lord. Everything else is just stuff. So quit fretting over stuff that will not even weigh in in eternity. Enjoy your kids, your spouse, your mom, your dad, your sisters, your brothers, your family, your friends.

Life is short, buy the shoes.

“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

He knows my name…

Friday, November 27th, 2009

shepherd-sheepReading in Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado I am reminded that God knows my name. Max has quite a bit of “good stuff” to say about sheep and their dependence on the shepherd. I’ve always heard and I’m sure you have too that sheep are not very smart. They wander too far into creeks for water, their wool gets soaking wet, thus too heavy and they drown. They can’t go wandering off like that. They must let their shepherd lead them to calm waters and be with them as they drink from those waters. Sheep have no natural defense as many other animals do. They have no claws, no horns, no fangs, no stinger. They’re basically helpless. They need their shepherd walking beside them with a rod and staff to keep them safe. And sheep have no sense of direction. They get lost very easily without a shepherd guiding them along.

We are so much like the sheep! We need our Shepherd at every turn in our lives. Without Him, we will wander to unsafe waters and will drown. We wander aimlessly without Him with no sense of direction. And we are helpless and hopeless with no natural defense. Our Shepherd has just what we need – and He knows us by name. When He sees us wandering off He calls us by name. We just have to be listening for His voice to lead and guide us.

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:1-4).

Love this song…

He knows my name

He knows my every thought

He sees each tear that falls

And He hears me when I call

Do I hear Him when He calls to me? Only if I’m listening for His voice. He knows my name.

Hope

The recipe for being content…

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

There are so many scriptures on thankfulness. One of my favorite is the recipe for being content knowing God’s will for your life. It is a three-point lesson, and it is very simple.

bible2“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

I love it in The Message…

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”

I posted this scripture on my Facebook status this morning and prompted a few comments about how hard it is to be joyful always. The Message says to be cheerful no matter what. We sure do allow circumstances to zap that joy, don’t we? How can we possibly be cheerful no matter what? If we pray about everything and thank God no matter what the circumstances, we’ll find that our joy is there – no matter what. It’s hard to have a tude and be moody at the same time you’re thanking God for things.

I practiced this principle just this morning. I was praying for Caleb and sharing my heart with the Lord about the “issues” with the basketball experience when it occurred to me that I was allowing this situation to zap my joy during this Thanksgiving season. So instead of praying about the frustrations, I decided to thank the Lord for the accomplishments that Caleb has had during the tournament. Yep, focusing on the positive rather than the negative. That’s so hard to do sometimes! Last night Caleb hardly played at all and so his shot was off and he never got a rhythm, and to make it worse we lost to a team that we should have whipped up on. He was so discouraged. But today’s game was a different ballgame (pardon the pun). He was given an opportunity to fill the senior position that he has worked so hard for and sure enough, he showed up. He had 19 points, five 3 pointers and two lay-ups. And we won by 19. I probably won’t try to take any credit for the team’s success, but I can tell you that I arrived at the gym with a different outlook, based on the above scripture. I was giving the Lord thanks and being joyful no matter what. And I prayed about the situation before I arrived. That works so much better than fretting over something I can’t control!

So there’s your three-point recipe for being content in God’s will for your life. Be joyful no matter what, pray about everything, and be thankful regardless of your circumstances. The end result? Contentment right where you are because that is exactly where the Lord wants you to be, thus fulfilling His will for your life.

I pray each of you have a safe and fun Thanksgiving day tomorrow. We sure plan to. My family will meet at noon for lunch and then we’ll go to Mickey & Deb’s for dinner. Way too much food but with that comes way too much fun!

Hope

The land of the living…

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Clay is doing such a wonderful job leading us through the book of Psalms in Sunday School. I don’t mean to brag on my husband, but the gift to teach that the Lord has given him never ceases to amaze me. I told him Sunday night that every Sunday by the end of the lesson I am thinking, “How’d he know to go there with that scripture?” This past Sunday was Psalm chapter 116. Verse 9 encourages us to be faithful to the Lord right where we are.

land-of-the-living1“that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 116:9).

Where is the land of the living? It is now, your present generation, the place the Lord has assigned you. He doesn’t expect us to walk around as those with no hope, depressed and downhearted about what was, or what could have been or what may be. We are to walk confidently with Him in the land where He has placed us. He doesn’t want us to run ahead or lag behind. Just walk with Him – and remember, you are here for such a time as this.

Continue to look for sprouts of pleasures for which to be thankful! Love to all of you!

Hope

Little sprouts of pleasure…

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Jesus Calling encourages us to take pleasure in Him today. He goes before us and plants little sprouts of pleasures throughout our path. We just need to look for them. If we’re not looking for them, we’ll pass them by and never notice them. So this morning I prayed that God would reveal those pleasures to me. And He has.

sprouts-of-bloomsFirst thing this morning I purchased and delivered two turkeys to Miracle Hill, one from Hannah’s Hope and one from Carolina Pregnancy Center. The lady that greeted me at Miracle Hill was very quick to tell me what Hannah’s story meant to her. Then while we were talking, Bill Ellis from WSSL came up and introduced himself to me. I’ve always loved him! That was two little pleasures.

Later in the morning I had the privilege of singing at the funeral service of one of the senior saints from our church, Granny Candy. She was “Maw” to her grandchildren but because she always had candy in a dish, the great-grandchildren call her Granny Candy. That is so sweet. They won’t remember lectures or strict rules about Granny Candy. They’ll always remember her willingness to have tasty treats waiting on them when they came to visit. I found great pleasure in that story!

So now I’m on my way to Morganton, NC to take my brother home. He works in Greenville and is very sick with pneumonia from aspirating after having some kind of seizure. Please help us pray for Randy. He needs to go back to the hospital but he’s so stubborn! You’re probably wondering where the pleasure is in this. The humor of my sister, Teresa who’s driving, the beautiful Christmas lights in the town of Ruth, and the tasty latte I’m sipping on. There are always pleasures even in dark hours. Don’t pass them by! Just look for them and you’ll see them – little sprouts of pleasures!

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).

Hope

Desire of every man’s heart – Unfailing Love!

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Good morning Father!

 

Thank You for waking me up! I told You last night that I wanted to spend some good quality time with You this morning and I thought You would wake me up! I love it when You speak very specifically to my heart and life. You have done that this week and I am desiring more and more to be tuned into what You are saying to me. You are such an intimate God. You desire for me to know You and that my life overflow with the  knowing of You.  You are molding me Lord and You are continuing to show me my need of and my dependence upon You. You are continuing to teach me and unveil things I have never seen! It will always be that way, won’t it? I will never get over marveling at who You are!

 

 It is an awesome privilege to have the God of the universe – Creator God – speak to you! But Father, You are also teaching me more and more that I must be willing to sit a while in Your presence to receive what You have for me. And then what happens Lord, is that You give deeper longings and desires for more of You and being in Your presence. A young girl in chorus class last week said it best, “The more I sing, the more I want to sing.”  I loved that Lord!  The more I am in Your presence and abiding in Your Spirit the more I long to be in Your presence and abiding in Your spirit. Anything less just doesn’t satisfy! You aren’t operating a fast food line, are You? No, it is more a marinating line! The morsels You desire to give are so rich that we must be willing to sit and soak upon Your truths!

 

As I walk with You, You are teaching me to trust You more and more and bring every single thing to You. It is about being as honest with You as I can possibly be! It is about casting my short-comings, my wrong thoughts and my burdens at Your feet and allowing You to take them and then waiting in anticipation to see what You will do. By Your grace, You are placing people in my path whose walks with You challenge me to a more intimate walk with You. Oh Father, keep placing such people in my path. “Spur me on” and oh Father, spur my children on to every good work You have called them to!

 

Whoa Father!  When I sat down it was completely dark – I was just prompted to look across my shoulder to identify the light I saw in my peripheral vision and realized that You have turned on the morning lights! And Oh Father, it is beautiful! There is a gorgeous pink hue in the sky and the leaves just add to its depth! Oh Father, I will never get over the pink sky! “Majestic in holiness – awesome in glory” You are!! Don’t let me ever get too busy to notice afresh each day the magnificence of Your creation! And only five minutes later the color has changed – thank You for not letting met miss that moment in time!

 

Yesterday Lord in the 20th Psalm You highlighted verse 4 for me! It is a verse I have seen before and is an awesome prayer to pray over someone’s life – a great blessing! “May He give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” I love that Father – I receive that blessing for myself today!  You seemed to draw my attention to the word desire! I immediately thought of the scripture in Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I have pondered that word before and wondered if in the deepest recesses of my heart I really understood what my desires really were. So yesterday, You took me to Proverbs 19:22 and there it was – the desire of a man’s heart! I had never seen that before. In the NIV it says, “What a man desires is unfailing love.” Wow! I love that! “What a man desires is unfailing love!” Father, that is it, isn’t it? What we really desire – at the heart of each one of us – is unfailing love!!! And where can that desire be filled? Oh Father, the only unfailing love we will ever experience on this earth is Your love – the love of God! Agape love – perfect, unconditional love. And in that verse You say it, “What a man desires is unfailing love.”

 

And then you reminded me of one of the scriptures that I have prayed over and over during our journey with Hannah – Psalm 143:8. “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love. . . “  Every single morning I need to know, experience, feel Your unfailing love for me! There is amazing freedom in the love of Christ! Oh Father, more and more allow me to understand Your unfailing love for me!!

 

And this morning, Lord, You take me to Psalm 13:5 “But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.” David was rejoicing and trusting in Your unfailing love!  At this point in David’s life, his circumstances were horrendous! The verses immediately preceding reflect David’s heart, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to me eyes or I will sleep in death. . . ” and then David says, “But I trust in Your unfailing love!!!” “What a man desires is unfailing love!!!” David could go through “whatever” if he could continue to cling to the reality of Your unfailing love for him!!!

 

Oh Jesus, help me cling to and understand more and more Your unfailing love for me!!!

 

Unfailing love – “May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord.” Ps. 33:22

 

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love.” Psalm 51:1

 

“May Your unfailing love come to me, O Lord. . .” Psalm 119:41

 

In Isaiah 54:10 You say, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken. . .”

 

Oh Father, lastly You say to me in Lamentations 3:32  “Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love!!!”

 

Oh Father, You have shown me great compassion and it is because of Your unfailing love for me!! Oh Jesus, plant these truths upon my heart – allow them to take deep root!!  The Unfailing Love of God – the desire of every man’s heart!!! Oh Jesus, thank You for teaching me this morning!!! May I walk through this day being keenly aware of Your unfailing love for me!!!!! In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen!!!

 

 

 

 

 

If I do what everyone else is doing, will it hurt?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

carli1Last night my 12-year-old niece, Carli Grace went with me to Caleb’s ballgame. She is beautiful, but that has nothing to do with this story. We’d sat on the hard bleachers for a couple of quarters and suddenly she asked what I found to be a strange question. “Hopie, if I do what everyone else is doing, will it hurt?” I looked at her totally puzzled and said, “The answer is probably yes but what are you talking about?” She pointed out that several of the teenagers were pushed back with their bottoms on the floor behind their seat, leaning on the bleacher behind them, their legs dangling in front of them. I said, “You’re welcome to try it but most of the time when you do what everyone else is doing just because it looks fun, it ends up hurting.” She gave me the, “Whatever” look and pushed herself back. It wasn’t long until she said I was right and her back was hurting.

Later I shared the spiritual application to the question she had asked. She was all ears as I told her that she was only beginning to see teenagers do things that may look like fun but in the end would bring her harm. She was excited for me to use it in my devotional. Most of you that follow my writings are adults. But that does not insulate us from this same life lesson. “Everyone else is living life with no concern for others and they’re prospering”; “Everyone else is doing their own thing on Sunday and not going to church, considering they worked all week, did house and yard work on Saturday so they deserve a day to themselves”; “Everyone else works hard for their money and hordes it for later, giving no thought to how they could help others, and they continue to thrive”; “Everyone else is only concerned for their four and no more. They don’t see the need to share Jesus with anyone outside their family and they are doing just fine.” You get my point.

If I do what everyone else is doing, will it hurt? The answer is most assuredly, “Yes.” It may not hurt immediately, but eventually the pain will set in and you or your loved ones will hurt from your selfish decisions. Don’t base your life and your direction in life on what everyone else is doing. Base it on the truth of God’s word. Applying Biblical principles to your everyday life will never hurt. You will only prosper.

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man” (Psalm 118:8).

“I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life” (Psalm 119:93).

“I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path” (Psalm 119:104).

Another weekend at home for me – yippee! I pray you have a blessed weekend.

Hope

Leave it all up to Him…

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

When I read Jesus Calling this morning I thought of the old Donnie & Marie song, “That’s why I’m leaving it all up to you.” The devotional this morning started out with, Leave the outcome up to Me. I’ll take you in a different direction than Sarah Young.

calebs-2009-season1Do we not spend our days worrying and fretting over how something will or will not turn out? I do! Caleb started his last basketball season a couple of weeks ago and not much has changed with the “dynamics” that come along with the political side of high school athletics. Those same frustrations want to work their way back in to my mind and heart. I was sharing some of those frustrations with the CPC girls yesterday and Elizabeth reminded me in her sweet, gentle tone, “God is building Caleb’s character for something much bigger when he’s grown.” I told her about the conversation I had with Caleb a few years back when his basketball “experience” first began. He was very discouraged and I told him that God was teaching him some life lessons. I’ve told him that over and over and over. Caleb’s answer after a couple of years of those same conversations was, “I’m tired of going to school over this same situation. I’m ready to play some ball!” Elizabeth smiled beautifully as I shared that story with her yesterday and then replied, “But God must not be finished with the lesson.”

I had already told Clay and the Lord that I was just leaving this whole senior season in the Lord’s hands. I can’t fret over it. In the grand scheme of things, it ain’t nothing but a thing. But in the now and now, it’s pretty important to Caleb. So I pray for his heart to be encouraged and for him to leave the outcome to the One who is in control of it all.

And that’s my advice to you today for whatever you are trying to reason or conquer or control. Leave it all up to Him, the One who controls the outcome. Rest in Him and allow Him to work it all to His good.

“in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me” (Psalm 27: 5 & 6).

“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

What are you leaning on?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

leaningWhat or who are you trusting in today? What or who do you lean on for support? When I’m weary from standing I like it when I’m standing beside Clay and I can lean on him just enough to feel support. If Clay’s not around, I may lean against a wall or a table or the back of a chair. It helps to get just a bit of relief and transfer a little weight to allow something or someone else to hold me up just a tad.

That’s what Jesus wants us to do. He knows we grow weary. He knows that when we take a stand for Him we get tired. Sometimes we feel like our own strength is caving in. He tells us to cast all our cares and worries and burdens on Him, lean on Him just enough to lighten the load a bit. He doesn’t want us to lean on our own strength, on our own understanding. But rather to shift some of the weight to Him and allow Him to hold us up. When we do that, He will provide a peace that we’ll never truly comprehend or understand. Yet it’s a peace that is real.

What or who are you leaning on? If it’s not Christ, it’ll cave under the weight. Lean on Jesus. He can handle it.

“…so perishes the hope of the godless. What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider’s web. He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold” (Job 8:13-13).

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5 & 6).

Hope

Lead me to a quiet pool…

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

I read Psalm 23 this morning from The Message. You’re gonna love this. Verse 3 says…

“You find me quiet pools to drink from…” (Psalm 23:3 The Message).

waterfallsWe all memorized this to say, “He leads me beside still waters.” But the reality that God finds me quiet pools to drink from is beautiful! I don’t have to seek out my provision – God does that for me! In order for Him to lead us beside still waters, He has to already know where those still waters are. He knows when our souls are thirsty and we’re feeling very barren and dry. He knows when we are “spent” and feel as though we can’t take another step or else we’ll perish. And He’s already sought out pools of cool water for us to drink from. If we allow Him, He’ll take our hand and lead us to that very spot. He knows just what we need just when we need it. Those spots may be a scripture of encouragement, they may be a devotional, they may be an encouraging word from a friend, they may even be His still small voice speaking to you through the falling leaves or the gentle wind. He knows where and what those spots are and if we’ll just take His hand, He’ll lead us to those pools from which to drink.

What a beautiful picture from Psalmist David. He needed those pools many times. I’m so thankful He allowed God to lead him so that he could pin his experiences for us to read over and over and over.

Hope