Archive for May, 2010

Riding Waves of Grace – An 8-week Bible Study on the Life of Noah!

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

On Monday morning of this week Father, Kim came to my house. She works at the Herald Journal, our local newspaper. For over an hour, she listened as I spilled out about “A Dove Set Free,” “Riding Waves of Grace” and the last 3 1/2 years.  She recorded our conversation and told me that she would transcribe all of it before she began writing her article.

This morning You awakened me early and brought to my mind that today was the day it was to be published. My heart was anxious and excited as I went to get the paper. I wondered if it would convey our hearts and what we desired to communicate. As I drove to the local grocery, I pondered about how Noah must have felt the morning after he had completed putting the last nail in the ark. Wow – what an amazing act of obedience that lasted for 120 years! I thought about the satisfaction he must have felt. .

And then I recalled that Noah’s assignment didn’t end – it just changed. In chapter 9 of Genesis, Noah began “planting a vineyard” – and it was time for his next assignment. And You reminded me Father, that our assignments on this earth never end – they only change! As soon as we complete one assignment, You are waiting with the next! One day, when we see You face to face – our assignments will be completed!

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your faithfulness in allowing us to complete this bible study! Use it to bring forth eternal fruit for Your eternal kingdom and bring healing to hearts that are in bondage. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen!

Kim shared just like we would have wanted her to share and below is a copy of her article. . .

Mothers deal with family crises by writing Bible study

By Kim Kimzey
Kim.Kimzey@shj.com

As they watched their children endure suffering, Debbie Sobeski and Lisa Mathis found solace in their faith and promises of scripture.

Sobeski’s teenage daughter, Hannah, died in November 2006 after a six-month battle with an aggressive form of cancer. For about two years, Mathis’ family searched for answers to a “medical mystery” that left her teenage daughter, Mackenzie, with debilitating headaches and neurological problems.

Mathis and Sobeski have co-written a Bible study titled “Riding Waves of Grace.” The eight-week study explores the life and “radical obedience” of the Biblical figure Noah.

“This Bible study has been born out of the hearts of two mothers broken over their children, and it’s through suffering that this Bible study’s been born,” Sobeski said.

She and Mathis will teach a Bible study based on “Riding Waves of Grace” at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Roebuck. The study begins June 8.

Sobeski studied the Bible and delved into Scripture many years before Hannah’s illness.

“(God) was preparing me in his word for this flood that he knew was going to come into my life because he desired to bring forth fruit from it,” she said.

Sobeski began writing “A Dove Set Free: A Mother’s Journey through the Flood” one year after Hannah’s death. The book looks at parallels Sobeski sees between Noah’s journey and the journey her family endured with Hannah.

Writing the book was an “act of obedience” and a way for her to find healing.

“I wanted God to heal me, and I still do. The loss of a child is not something we’re going to get over on this earth,” she said. “I’ve heard that losing a child is like losing a limb that you learn to adjust without it, but that you’re always painfully aware that it’s not there. There’s not been an hour in the three-and-a-half years that Hannah has not been on this earth that I have not thought about my daughter.”

After finishing “A Dove Set Free,” Sobeski said she felt God wanted her to continue studying Noah’s life and to incorporate what she learned into a Bible study.

Sobeski writes in “Riding Waves of Grace” that as she “was pondering this ‘new study,’ the Lord awakened me early one morning and put Lisa Mathis’ name before me to help with the study.”

They were acquaintances through church and their daughters had been classmates. Mathis had also taught a Bible study for women.

But in the years since Mathis initially taught from the Book of Genesis, she said her family life “drastically changed in that we had been faced with a medical mystery.”

Mackenzie, her second oldest child, suffered with migraine headaches for about a year. Her symptoms continued to worsen.

Sobeski and Mathis began writing the Bible study in March 2009 on Seabrook Island near Charleston, where Mackenzie visited the Medical University of South Carolina for medical tests. They worked on the Bible study for about a year. During that period, Mackenzie saw at least 10 physicians and the Mathis family made 10 trips out of state for medical testing and treatment.

Mackenzie was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) in December 2008. People with the genetic disorder have a defect in their connective tissue, which provides support to the skin, muscles, ligaments, and other parts of the body, according to the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation.

Mackenzie underwent two spinal surgeries last summer and is doing “fabulously well,” Mathis said. Mackenzie recently graduated valedictorian of her senior class at Oakbrook Preparatory School. Mathis’ oldest daughter, who also has EDS, had two surgeries while the Bible study was written. She returned to Anderson University less than three weeks after her surgeries. Mathis’ 14-year-old son is scheduled to undergo the same two surgeries this week.

“The study of God’s word carried me through some very difficult days on this journey, but also what I learned of God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness in the midst of our family flood certainly impacted how we wrote the study and the perspective from which we wrote the study,” Mathis said. “Everybody has a flood. Everybody has an issue or a burden or some trial that they’re preserving through.”

She said “Noah’s journey” became “much more vivid and personal.”

Mathis thinks the Bible study “will speak to those of us who at times have felt overwhelmed by our circumstances.”

Sobeski thinks Noah’s story is prophetic.

Noah built and took refuge aboard an ark with his family and pairs of each animal while God sent floodwaters to destroy life on the corrupted earth, according to the Bible.

“The story of Noah is not just a children’s story or a history lesson but contains great Biblical application for our lives today and points to another day when mankind will again be ripe for judgment,” reads “Riding Waves of Grace.”

Mathis said the Bible study is “geared more towards women” but is not exclusive to any age group or demographic. Several high school and college students have signed up for the Bible study.

Sobeski said they hope to offer the study again in the fall. The cost for workbooks is $20.

“I think what we desire to communicate through this Bible study … is that we need to live our lives on this earth with an eternal perspective,” Sobeski said.

For more information, to register for the Bible study, or order a workbook, e-mail Debbie Sobeski at mickeysobeski@yahoo.com or Lisa Mathis at mlmathis@bellsouth.net.

 

This is the day!

Friday, May 28th, 2010
Baccalaureate Service 5.23.10

Baccalaureate Service 5.23.10

Caleb graduates high school in about 3 hours – the day I’ve dreaded for 18 1/2 years! But it’s been a good day and I am very excited for Caleb. The range of emotions this week has been intense to say the least. It was at Caleb’s graduation party last Friday night that we learned Randy was missing. What a roller coaster! Since that time we’ve had
Baccalaureate service, receiving of friends at my house (two nights in a row), Caleb’s last day of high school, the funeral for my only brother, and now graduation service. I have to say this week has put my strength to the test! But God is good and when I am weak – which is often – He shows up and gives the strength needed for this day.

How do we hold it together when the storms of life are at their most intense? By resting in Him. It is through Him that we have perfect peace.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

Have a fun Memorial Day weekend!

Hope

Master, the tempest is raging…

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

 

Family Reunion - Labor Day Weekend 2009

Family Reunion - Labor Day Weekend 2009

Thank you for being patient with me until I could get back to my post. My heart and mind have been consumed with my brother, Randy’s death, and I’m sure they’ll continue to be for quite some time. Sometime mid-day on Friday, May 21st, my brother chose to take his own life. He wasn’t found until late Saturday afternoon in his truck in a meadow surrounded by woods behind his house on his own property. Randy’s death has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with, hands down. We knew that Randy was on a lot of very strong prescription drugs, four very powerful pain killers, all prescribed by the same physician on a monthly basis for now almost three years. Randy would not admit to a problem, therefore would not agree to seek professional rehabilitation. But suicide by his own favorite pistol? Never would I have imagined it.

 

So right now I am in the middle of the most fierce storm my mind and heart have ever tried to wrap around. I don’t blame God for a second. I love the Lord with all my heart and know that He holds me, my mother, my sisters, Randy’s son and grandson, and all the others who are grieving in the palm of His hands. I don’t question why He allowed it to happen. God created us with a free will. We’re not puppets on a string that He bobbles around, controlling every move. Quite the contrary. He allows us to make our choices. Could He have caused the bullet to go another direction than where Randy had it aimed? Of course. He could also pick my house up and move it to the other side of town if He chose to. He’s God and He’s all power. But that’s not how He works. Randy was a Christian. He loved the Lord and longed for heaven often. He has intensely missed Daddy since the day we lost him 12 years ago. But Randy had a prescription drug problem, a serious one, and it controlled his mind. For that, my heart hurts. And for Randy to feel that the only way out of the pain was to end it all tears my heart out.

I cry to my Heavenly Father for comfort. An old hymn written in King James Version lyrics has come to my mind over and over since Saturday. Master, the tempest is raging. This is a fierce storm! I trust the Master of the Sea to calm the storm. I am not afraid, my faith is firm. But I sure am sad. And I say to any of you that if you struggle with an addiction to prescription drugs, don’t continue down that path. There are a lot of good Christian rehabs. Seek help and allow the Lord to set you free.

“Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ (Mark 4:38-40).

Hope

The Joy of the Lord is my strength…

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I and my family covet your prayers today. My brother, Randy Nations went home to be with the Lord on Friday and his memorial service is today. Please see Deb’s Journal for more details. Thank you for your love and prayers.

Randy Eugene Nations  |   MORGANTON, NC– Randy Eugene Nations, 51, of Clark Loop, Morganton, NC, died Saturday, May 22, 2010 at his residence. Born in Catawba County, NC, on June 17, 1958, he was the son of Faye Nations of Spartanburg, SC, and the late Rev. Clyde Nations, Jr. Randy lived his early life in Bryson City, NC. He was a graduate of Swain County High School and remained a devoted fan of its football team, the Maroon Devils. Randy worked for many years in the commercial construction industry as a specialist in heating and air conditioning. He worked with the rebuilding program in Iraq with K.B.R., including Abu Ghraib prison and hospital. He loved hunting pheasant in South Dakota and was an avid fan of southern gospel music, the U.T. Vols, and flea-markets. He loved traveling with his wife.In addition to his mother, Randy is survived by his wife, Diane Lane Nations of the home; a son, Bradley Nations and his son, Landon Nations, of Lexington, NC; a step-son, Josh Blackburn of Morganton; sisters, Teresa Page and husband Buddy, Carla Glover and husband Rick, Hope Houchins and husband Clayton, and Leigh Nations, all of Spartanburg, SC; five nephews; two nieces; a great-nephew; a special little friend and Jeff Gordon companion, Brayson Buff; and canine companions, Courtney Madison, Zoey Rose, and Lily Mae.A celebration of Randy’s life will be held at 7:00 PM Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at Missionary Ridge Baptist Church with Rev. Donald Lovelace and Mr. Clayton Houchins officiating. The family will receive friends in the church’s Life Enrichment Center from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM.Memorial contributions may be made to Hannah’s Hope Ministries, P.O. Box 5802, Spartanburg, SC 29304.Sossoman Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.Condolences may be made online at www.sossomanfuneral service.com. 

Oh, that I had the Wings of a Dove – Randy Nations

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

“Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest – I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.” Psalm 55:6-8

 

“Oh, that I had the wings of a dove – I would fly away and be at rest.” Oh Father, thank You for the rest that You alone can give. Thank You Father, that Randy Nations, Hope’s brother has been set free from the tempest and storms of this earth and this life. Thank You that he knew You in personal relationship and thank You that he is eternally in the place of shelter – in Your presence.

 

We ask for Your great mercy, peace and comfort over the lives of his precious family as they are left to pick up the pieces from this loss. Bring forth beauty from these ashes and fill their mourning hearts with Your joy unspeakable. Allow them to see Your hand at every turn and know that You are right there with them. In the name of Jesus, we ask and pray, Amen.

 

 Randy Eugene Nations

  |   

 

MORGANTON, NC– Randy Eugene Nations, 51, of Clark Loop, Morganton, NC, died Saturday, May 22, 2010 at his residence. Born in Catawba County, NC, on June 17, 1958, he was the son of Faye Nations of Spartanburg, SC, and the late Rev. Clyde Nations, Jr. Randy lived his early life in Bryson City, NC. He was a graduate of Swain County High School and remained a devoted fan of its football team, the Maroon Devils. Randy worked for many years in the commercial construction industry as a specialist in heating and air conditioning. He worked with the rebuilding program in Iraq with K.B.R., including Abu Ghraib prison and hospital. He loved hunting pheasant in South Dakota and was an avid fan of southern gospel music, the U.T. Vols, and flea-markets. He loved traveling with his wife.

 

In addition to his mother, Randy is survived by his wife, Diane Lane Nations of the home; a son, Bradley Nations and his son, Landon Nations, of Lexington, NC; a step-son, Josh Blackburn of Morganton; sisters, Teresa Page and husband Buddy, Carla Glover and husband Rick, Hope Houchins and husband Clayton, and Leigh Nations, all of Spartanburg, SC; five nephews; two nieces; a great-nephew; a special little friend and Jeff Gordon companion, Brayson Buff; and canine companions, Courtney Madison, Zoey Rose, and Lily Mae.
A celebration of Randy’s life will be held at 7:00 PM Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at Missionary Ridge Baptist Church with Rev. Donald Lovelace and Mr. Clayton Houchins officiating. The family will receive friends in the church’s Life Enrichment Center from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hannah’s Hope Ministries, P.O. Box 5802, Spartanburg, SC 29304.
Sossoman Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Condolences may be made online at www.sossomanfuneral
service.com.

 

Who’s Your Plus One?

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

I just saw a billboard that said, “Who’s Your Plus One: Your Mother, Your Grandmother, Your Sister?” I have no idea what the ad is for as I was past it before getting all the details. But I knew the answer! Who’s your Plus One? I said aloud, “Jesus! Me plus Jesus equals the majority in any circumstance!” My friend, Alexia Newman is very, very sick. Please pray for her with me. We’ve been calling out to Jesus all day on her behalf! And this billboard reminded me that He is my Plus One. He’s all I need when I just need someone to talk to. He’s always there to hear my prayer each time I call Him. When Jesus is all I’ve got, I find that Jesus is all I need.

“…the One who is in you is greater than the One who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

“David said it all: I saw God before me for all time. Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side” (Acts 2:22 The Message).

No matter what you’re facing today, you’re not alone. Jesus Christ is your Plus One. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He’s all you need.

I’ve been at the hospital all day and will be there much of the day tomorrow. I will post a devotional just as soon as I can tomorrow. Thanks for the prayers for Alexia!

Hope

Clean up your data!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

external-driveI think I mentioned back in February that my laptop was hit with a virus. The computer doctor told me to buy an external drive and back up my data very regularly. So I did. I’ve been carrying the external drive around in my car for quite some time then it made it as far as the corner of my desk – a dangerous place to “store” anything! I’ve looked at it for a while and thought, “I need to take that thing out of the box and back up my system,” and then I’d get busy doing something else. Today I came across the external drive again and I had a heart-to-heart with myself. “You’re gonna mess around until another virus hits and it will destroy all of your data – while the insurance for that problem is sitting two feet away!” A spiritual application immediately popped in my mind. But before I started the devotional, I installed the external drive.

Often we allow bad information, viruses to attack our thoughts and actions simply because we do not take the necessary precautions – precautions that are right at our fingertips. Daily Bible reading, spending quality time in prayer, feeding our minds with things that are pure and holy like Christian novels, Christian music, good clean movies. Rather we allow our minds to be attacked with thoughts and actions that are not acceptable to the Lord. If we allow this to continue, we will eventually shut down spiritually. Don’t allow this to happen. You have the answer at your fingertips! Take advantage of it and “clean up” your data!

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

Hope

You’ve gotta want the ball…

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Matt, our Youth Minister used this illustration a couple of weeks ago, and it is so funny – especially if you know our Cudd Chicks that play softball (or attempt to). Matt used to be their coach. He told the congregation that the reason he resigned from that position is that he stayed so frustrated. Matt is athletic and competitive. One night prior to a game he overheard the girls arguing – not over who was going to play, but over who was NOT going to play. “I don’t wanna play!” “Don’t throw the ball to me!” You have to understand our young adult Cudd Chicks. They’re too busy painting their fingernails or touching up their make-up to be athletic. Not to sell short the few, very few, that are. But the majority are “Miss Thangs,” and they play ball just to…you know, I have no idea why they play ball.

Matt used that illustration to say that as a Christian, you’ve gotta want the ball. I immediately thought of a kid that played basketball with Caleb on a church league. That kid loved to be on the court but he would turn and run the other way if someone threatened to throw him the ball. Or if he did end up with it, he froze with the look of, “Now what do I do?!”

softballIn the Christian walk, you’ve gotta want the ball – and then you need to know what to do with it when you get it. Don’t shun your responsibilities. If you’re good at something, volunteer to do it. If you enjoy singing, dog gone it get in the choir! You’ve gotta want the ball! If everyone sat around and said, “Don’t choose me! Give him/her the ball!” then the job would not get done. There’d be no choir, no Sunday School teachers, no deacons, no pastor. In order for our walk with the Lord to be fruitful, we’ve gotta want the ball.

Are you watching eagerly for the ball to come your way? Or are you busy filing your nails, touching up your lipstick, and hoping the ball passes to someone else? It’s time we step up to the plate (oh – that was a good one!). You’ve gotta want the ball.

“From him (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16).

Hope

The life is in the blood…

Monday, May 17th, 2010

jesus-crucified2I read this verse in Leviticus this morning, “The life of any creature is in the blood” and I haven’t been able to shake it. We all know that our physical life is in our blood. If we lose too much blood, we die. If an infection or disease hits our blood, without treatment we will die. If we are a free bleeder, we must take medication or we could die. The blood is critical! It’s a must-have! How true this is to the blood of Christ. Just as our physical blood gives us life, the blood of Christ gives us eternal life. Jesus had to die, He had to shed blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for our sins. If we do not accept the truth to this, then we will surely die, and will spend an eternity separated from anything good, anything right, anything pure.

I pray that each of you who read our devotionals is a Christian. I pray you believe that Jesus came to earth by way of a virgin birth, that He lived a sinless life, that He died on the cross, three days later rose again, and has ascended into heaven where He is preparing a place for you and me. And if you believe that, I pray you have confessed your sins to Him, asked Him to forgive you, and have accepted Him as Lord of your life. If you have, then you know what I mean when I say your life is in the blood! There’s so much life for us to live as Christians. He wants us to have abundant life! If you have never trusted Jesus, I pray that you will do so even now. Your life here is temporary. We will all spend an eternity somewhere. The only hope for a life worth living now or eternally is in the blood of Jesus. Can I get an amen?!

I don’t talk a lot about salvation, as our devotionals tend to focus on words of encouragement. But the reality is that without the hope of the blood, there are no words of encouragement to offer. I pray your life rests in the blood of Christ.

“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11).

“…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).

“…the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Hope

It’s already mine…

Friday, May 14th, 2010

My thoughts are reverting to a devotional I did a couple of months ago on Mephibosheth. I made a note in 2 Samuel 2:9 that David was giving to Mephibosheth what was already his by inheritance. I’m sure that’s a quote from Dr. Len Turner’s message. This was a soothing word to me this morning. Mephibosheth felt so unworthy to be seated at King banquet-table1David’s table, and certainly never dreamed he’d be living among royalty! He, a crippled man, just a dead dog from Lodebar. But David wasn’t really doing anything “special.” He was simply giving to Phibby what was already his by inheritance. Check out this scripture…

“Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, ‘I have given your master’s grandson (Mephibosheth) everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:9 & 10).

Because we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, royalty is ours! We are kids of the King! Ephesians tells us that it is as if we’re already seated in heavenly places. The Lord is so good to us! He rains down so many blessings on my life. He’s simply giving to me a portion of what’s already mine by inheritance. And what He gives us down here could never compare to what’s waiting for us. What in the sam hill are we whining about? Why the long faces? Why the “woe is me” spirit? I’m a child of the King of Kings! Everything He has is already mine. All I have to do is claim it.

Feeling blue today? Maybe your checking account doesn’t reflect your royalty status. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Pour out your requests to Him. He won’t mind killing off a couple to provide your need. Sometimes we have to do a reality check when things are tough. Here’s the first question to ask yourself, how many meals have you missed? God always provides, and His timing is just right in His time frame. So while it may seem like time is running out, remember you have all you’ll ever need at your disposal. It’s already yours. Just ask.

I hope you have a great weekend. I dropped Caleb’s graduation invitations in the mail today. Sniff! Sniff!

Hope