Archive for June, 2010

God placed you here…

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The Lord spoke to me through Genesis 2:15 that He has placed me in my present circumstances, and that truth has brought comfort to my heart recently. Then I came across it in Deb and Lisa’s Bible Study last week and I wasn’t at all surprised to see that they made the same point.

“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15 NLT).

Adam wasn’t out roaming one day, lost his sense of direction and ended up in a strange place. God placed him in the Garden of Eden and gave him the responsibility of taking care of it. He trusted Adam with the task.

garden-pathI would’ve never chosen to be walking through this journey of losing my brother to death, especially not to suicide. But I didn’t just happen into this dark valley, God placed me here. And I am determined to work through it and tend to the areas that need tilling, hoeing and weeding, and will plant any new truths that God reveals to me. Oh yes, I would’ve caught the first bus outta here and avoided it had that been an option. But rather than be angry or bitter about the place I find myself, I choose to trust the Lord that because He created me with a plan and purpose in mind, and loves me with an everlasting love, He surely placed me here. And therefore, He’ll bring me through.

Wherever you are in your life, whatever place you find yourself today, God has placed you here for such a time as this. He intends for you take notice of every detail, and work your way through it for His glory. Till up any areas of your heart that may have hardened, hoe out the truths that may have been covered by the dirt of this world, and pull the weeds of discouragement, distrust, anger, bitterness. And allow God to grow you while you’re in this garden that you didn’t handpick. He has entrusted this task, this trial, this unknown journey, to you. He created you and He knows what you are capable of, how much you can handle. Allow Him to use you right where you are, after all He placed you here.

Clay, Caleb and I will be on vacation next week for our annual trip to Ocean Lakes. I’ll plan to post a devotional periodically. Things are starting to pick up with the ministry so I’m going to enjoy this time away. It may be a while before I can swing a full week again – and that’s a good thing! Have a great weekend.

Hope

Don’t skip the lessons

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

When we were at Coastal Carolina last week Caleb was instructed to buy a book that is “mandatory” for all freshmen. I don’t remember the name of it but it has something to do with death. Caleb started reading it aloud to Carmela and me on our way home, and he wasn’t far into it until he closed it and made the announcement, “Yeah, that’s the end of that book for me. I guess I’ll google and read the cliff notes online.” It is a very strange book, and the philosophy of the author doesn’t come close to being in line with our faith. Any other time I would’ve lectured Caleb about the importance of not cutting corners, making sure he reads every chapter so that he’ll know all there is to know and will be ready for the exam, etc. etc. But I had to agree with him on this one! Carmela and I were both shaking our heads and making facial expressions just from the first few pages that Caleb read. Caleb made the decision that day, 6 weeks before college ever started, that he was going to skip the lessons from this book. We’re not sure what the intended lesson is, but Caleb will read just enough to pass the test. He doesn’t want to retain any of its “philosophy.”

someone-studyingThis morning during our prayer time Deb said something to the Lord that prompted me to write myself a note, “Don’t skip the lessons.” I don’t remember what she said but I do remember what I took from it. Everything in life that happens to us is to grow us, to train us, to teach us more about the Lord and His plan and purpose for our lives. He uses all of our experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly, as lessons in life. If one of those experiences strikes us as uncomfortable or painful, we may choose to skip the lesson in it. That’s not a good idea! There is much to be learned from every circumstance that comes our way. If we choose to skip the lesson, we’ll not only miss what the Lord wants us to learn, but we’ll miss out on the blessings hidden in each lesson as well.

Having a hard time understanding the whys and hows and whens of your current circumstances? Hang with it, don’t skip the lessons. You’ll grow spiritually through every trial if you will look for the lesson. Ask the questions, “What does God want to teach me through this?” And embedded somewhere in all the pages of the lesson are many blessings.

You’re gonna love this verse in The Message…

“God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me— my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way. Affirm your promises to me— promises made to all who fear you. Deflect the harsh words of my critics— but what you say is always so good. See how hungry I am for your counsel; preserve my life through your righteous ways” (Psalm 119:33 The Msg).

Don’t skip the lessons!

Hope

Persistence not Perfection

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

God doesn’t require perfection in our daily walk of faith, only persistence. When things get hard and life stinks, the easy thing to do is either take a detour or completely abandon our journey of faith. And when we mess up, our first response is to throw our hands up and say, “Just forget it! I can’t get it right so I might as well give up!” But God doesn’t expect us to get it right all the time. What He wants is for us to stick with the stuff. Persistence is what He’s after, not perfection.

finish-lineHave you lost your stick-with-it-ness? Ask the Lord to help you regain perspective and then trust Him for strength to persist. He will perfect His work in us one day, but for now He’s good with our imperfect efforts. Allow His grace and mercy and love to reapply the glue to your stick-with-it-ness and watch Him work in your life.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears” (Philippians 1:6 The Message).

Hope

Get refocused…

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I had an amazing conversation with a gentleman this morning whom Hannah dearly loved, and who dearly loved Hannah. He is affectionately known as Big Jim. I asked Big Jim if I could use this story on the world wide web and he was happy to oblige.

Jim shared with me one of his last conversations with Hannah, and the impact that conversation has had on him. Big Jim was Hannah’s Sunday School teacher when she was 11 years old. He went to visit Hannah during one of her stays in Gibbs Cancer Center and had the privilege of spending quality time with her, just the two of them. He was hungry, and Hannah told him she thought she might could eat something from Wade’s. For those of you who followed Hannah’s story, that comes as no surprise. Big Jim shared with me this morning that Hannah didn’t have much of an appetite that day, but he took care of any left overs. He says his plan was to make light conversation, so he started chatting about his current situation. He told Hannah that he had pulled the “old man card” and was no longer teaching Sunday School or going on the Kentucky Mission trips. He’d bought a house near the mountains and he was going to spend his time fishing. After all, he was older now, his children were no longer in the youth group, so he was going to “retire” from teaching young people. He made the comment that he couldn’t imagine how anything he had to say to 11 and 12 year olds would really impact them anyway, being an old man and all. Hannah told Big Jim that she would never forget something he told her when he was her teacher. Jim summed up Hannah’s comments as, “You told me that my light was shining brightly and that I allowed others to see Jesus in my life. You telling me that at age 11 made me determined to never let the light go out.” Big Jim was speechless. As he was preparing to leave her room that day, Hannah offered to say a prayer for him. Jim will never be the same because of Hannah’s prayer. She prayed, “Lord, help Big Jim to get refocused.”

And Big Jim has refocused! He shares this story at every opportunity, he plays the 3-minute clip of Hannah’s interview with Amy Wood, and then he challenges his “audience” to get refocused. Hearts and lives are changed for the Kingdom of God because of Big Jim’s decision to get refocused. He tells me that he’ll tell Hannah’s story the rest of his life.

cross1Clay refers often to the theology of a teenager when he speaks of Hannah’s words during her battle with cancer. Her words to Big Jim changed his life that day. What a challenge for each of us. Have we lost focus of our purpose? Have we moved our focus from what’s important to less significant activities for any reason? Hannah’s prayer for Big Jim is my prayer for myself and for each of you, “Lord, please help us to get refocused.”

I found this prayer this morning in 1 Chronicles.

“O God, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep this generous spirit alive forever in these people always, keep their hearts set firmly in you. And give my son Solomon an uncluttered and focused heart so that he can obey what you command, live by your directions and counsel, and carry through with building The Temple for which I have provided” (1 Chronicles 29:14 The Message).

What a beautiful prayer! And how appropriate to pray it for Hannah’s Hope Ministries, as well as whatever task the Lord has given to you.

O God, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep this generous spirit alive forever in the lives of all involved with Hannah’s Hope Ministries, keep our hearts set firmly in you. And give me as Executive Director an uncluttered and focused heart so that I can obey what you command, live by your directions and counsel, and carry through with the mission that You have provided.

Hope

The God Who Heals…

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Just as was planned, we spread Randy’s ashes on Saturday at the spot he hand-picked. It was such a beautiful little memorial service. We, the sisters, planned it and the Lord was gracious to allow it to be a special time. Randy had requested that our quartet, Echoes of Hope, sing a couple of songs at his funeral and that we, the sisters, sing. It was just as well that those wishes were not granted at the funeral because I don’t believe any of us could’ve gotten through the songs. So instead we honored his wishes on Saturday. Todd & Carmela traveled with the family to Bryson City for the weekend. We filled two pontoons and two boats to their maximum capacity and set out on a one hour and fifteen minute boat ride to “the head of Hazel Creek,” Randy’s favorite fishing spot on Fontana Lake. fontana-marinaIt was a beautiful day and the ride up was relaxing, though very sobering. We pulled up to the shore, tied our boats to each other and one tree, and stood on the bank of Hazel Creek in a shaded area. As the sun shone through the trees and danced off the water, Echoes of Hope sang My Anchor of Hope and Wedding Music, Clay spoke briefly, then all of us sang What a Day That Will Be and Amazing Grace, and then the sisters ended with the Doxology which was Randy’s favorite song that we sing. Carla had divided Randy’s ashes into eight beautiful urns, one for Mom, one for Brad, one for Randy’s wife, one for each of the sisters, and one for our first cousin who has been like a brother to Randy. We played “I’m Free” by the Gaither’s as we all picked our own spot up the trail that looked over Hazel Creek and spread Randy’s remains. It was a very special time, though one of the most difficult tasks I’ve undertaken. We shed a lot of tears and even wept at times, but God’s grace was sufficient and we found Him to be faithful, once again.

After we got back on the pontoon, Leigh and I sat in the two back seats. We rotated our seats to look out the back and see “where we’d been” and the grief was almost too much to bear. I glanced over to her and noticed that she wasn’t weeping, she was quietly crying. Tears were flowing in a small stream from behind her sun glasses. In just a few minutes the rain drops started falling. It wasn’t a downpour, it was just a steady light rain. The clouds came from nowhere and the rain continued for close to 30 minutes, though no one seemed to notice. I resolved in my heart as I too wiped away fresh tears, that for quite sometime we will find ourselves shedding silent tears over the loss of our brother. The tears probably won’t come in downpour gushes, but just as it happened even today after lunch, the grief will slap us in the back and from nowhere a cloud will appear, and the tears will fall ever so lightly.

And the peace of knowing a God Who loves me and knows my grief and sheds tears when I do will one day wipe away all tears. But until that day, I am so thankful that I know Jehovah Rapha personally, the God Who heals.

“O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me” (Psalm 30:2).

Hope

My Name is Moses!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Wow, Father, You have been so amazingly faithful yet again!  What a joy filled journey the first two weeks of “Riding Waves of Grace” have been! You spoke to my heart so clearly about the revelation of creation that was given to Your servant Moses! What must it have been like to have penned the words about Creation onto parchment! As John was the revelator about the heavens and the end of the age, so Moses was the revelator about Your great creation from the very beginning!!  The heavens are declaring Your glory, Father!  Bless Your Name!!  From the beautiful rainbow yesterday afternoon to the pink sunset last night to the pink clouds in the sky tonight – the heavens declare Your glory!! Bless Your Name, Father, Bless Your Name!!!

You gave me these words to share this week as we pondered the creation of the world . . .

My name is Moses and I want to tell you a little about my story. I wrote my story down in the book of Exodus and in the NT, Doctor Luke gives a summary of my life in Acts chapter 7, beginning at verse 20.

 

“From the time I was born, I was no ordinary child – I was an Israelite – one of the Hebrew people – God’s chosen people. I was a male child and by God’s grace, I found favor in God’s eyes. God had a plan for me just like He had a plan for His people, the nation of Israel, and He had a part for me to play in His “big picture” plan. I was born in Egypt while my people were slaves to the Egyptians. We had followed our father Jacob down to Egypt when the famine came. And we had been very fruitful and we had multiplied in number into a great and powerful nation. The Egyptians had come to dread us. 

 

We had been in Egypt for 400 years and Pharoah had made a decree that all the Israelite baby boys were to be killed so that we wouldn’t become any stronger or more powerful. I was born as the younger brother to my sister, Miriam. After I was born, my mother, Jochebed, hid me for three months so that I wouldn’t be killed by the Egyptians. My mother knew God – she loved God and she knew that despite the place she found herself – that God had not forgotten her or her people – the nation of Israel. It was a really brave thing my mother did. She hid me in our house for 3 months and then one day she made a basket out of papyrus grass – she coated it with tar and pitch – and she placed me in the basket and put me among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. Wow – she really trusted God with me!! A mother’s love is an amazing thing – it must be second only to the love of God! 

 

Well, I was found among those reeds by Pharoah’s daughter as I was crying in that basket while floating down the river. Pharoah’s daughter knew immediately that I was one of the Hebrew babies! She took a liking to me! I think she felt sorry for me! It wasn’t my fault that I had a death sentence from the moment I took my first breath!! So she “drew me out of those waters” and gave me the name Moses! My big sister, Miriam, was watching all this take place and she decided to offer Pharoah’s daughter a nursemaid to take care of me – she told Pharoah’s daughter that she could find one of “those Israelites” to take care of me – and so she did!  She went running as fast as she could go and ran straight to our mother!! I’m sure my mother was on her knees praying for me when Miriam arrived to tell her that she had a new job – nursemaid for Moses!! Well, of course, nothing in the world could have thrilled my mother’s heart anymore! I don’t know how in the world she wiped that smile from her face while Pharoah’s daughter “introduced” me to my mother!!  God had certainly answered my mother’s prayers!! 

 

And as I grew up, my mother taught me about God’s faithfulness. She taught me about our people – the nation of Israel and how we had come to be slaves in Egypt! She taught me that God had a plan for His people and that God had a plan and purpose for my life also!!

 

After my mother weaned me, I went to live in Pharoah’s palace with his daughter. I had the best education the world could offer! I grew up in the “king’s house” – I had anything and everything I wanted! Because of my education and the opportunities I had been given, I became powerful in speech and in action.

 

All those years, I knew, in the back of my mind, that even though I was enjoying the luxury of growing up in the “kings palace,” I was really an Israelite. I knew that I was Hebrew by birth! I remembered the truths about God that my mother, my father, my sister, and my brother had taught me. I might have looked like an Egyptian but in my heart I knew I wasn’t! I knew that my life had been spared from birth and that I was one of God’s chosen people!

 

I couldn’t get all of this out of my mind. So, when I was forty years old, I decided one day to leave the comforts of the palace go visit my relatives, the Israelites. It just so happened that on the day I went, I came upon a scene that would change my life forever. I saw an Israelite, one of my own, being mistreated by an Egyptian so I quickly came to his defense and ended up killing the Egyptian because of the wrong he had done to my relative. I thought perhaps my people would understand that God was using me to rescue them but they didn’t get it! The next day, I came upon two of my people – two Israelites – who were fighting with each other. I tried to reason with them and help them understand that they were brothers and they should not be hurting each other. One of the Israelites pushed me aside and asked me why was I acting like a judge between the two of them? And then he asked me if I wanted to kill him like I had killed the Egyptian the day before!

 

Well, I immediately realized that I was in big trouble – my secret was out! I was an Israelite and even though I might have been dressed to look like an Egyptian, my heart was clearly on the side of my people! And I knew I had to run away!

 

I ran to the land of Midian – and I settled down as a foreigner there – I married a woman named Zipporah and we had two sons! Zipporah’s father was a shepherd. . .  and I became a shepherd! After all those 40 years of growing up in the king’s palace, I found myself shepherding dumb, stinky sheep! During many of those days, I wondered if God had forgotten me down there in Midian. I wondered if He could ever forgive the murder I had committed. I wondered if He did have a plan and purpose for my life like my mother had taught me from birth! I had a lot of time to talk to God during those 40 years – many of the things I had thought were so important were taken away from me – the palace, the choicest foods, the finest education I had been afforded, etc. But it was during those years of leanness and want that I began to understand for myself who God really was!

 

Yes, I had heard it all from the time I was a boy – but at this point in my life I had to know what I believed! It wasn’t enough that my mother had “told me these things.” I had to find out if they were true myself!  And you know what, God wasn’t afraid of me. He didn’t get “wigged out” when I began asking Him hard questions to see if He was real or not! He met me at the point of my need and He faithfully taught me about Himself!! I was coming to understand that the most important things in life weren’t really found in that palace – they were found out on the hills with the sheep while the Good Shepherd taught me His ways!

 

One day while I was out there in those fields taking care of the sheep, an angel appeared to me from the middle of a bush – the bush was on fire but it wasn’t burning up! I was amazed and curious and I moved in closer to take a look!!  Then I heard the Lord’s voice from inside the bush – I knew it was the Lord! He said to me, “I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” I was frightened and I trembled with fear – not daring to look up. Then God said to me, “Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free!! Now come, I will send you back to Egypt!”

 

Oh boy, I thought – this is not what I was thinking – I was really getting used to taking care of these dumb, stinking sheep – I’ve got this down, Lord! Are you sure You want me to leave this place to do what? Lead 4 million Israelites out of Egypt – yeah, right!! This is not funny! 

 

It didn’t take me long to understand that I had been called and chosen by God for a purpose and plan I could not fully understand or comprehend – and all I could do was be obedient!

 

I was desperate for God – I was desperate for Him every single day of that journey! I had to stand before Pharoah and request that he “let my people go!” Time and again, Pharoah refused and time and again God sent plagues – judgments on the Egyptians!  Each plague was worse than the one before – until finally all the firstborn of the Egyptian’s children were put to death  - including Pharoah’s first bornl! At that point, Pharoah decided it was time to free us, the Israelites and allow us to return to our land!

 

And I began a journey of exiting Egypt with all those people! It was hot and they were tired and it didn’t take long for them to look back and think we should have stayed in Egyptian captivity!  I knew that wasn’t an option – God Himself had set us free – and we were free for a reason and He had spoken specifically to me in a burning bush – I wasn’t getting out of this assignment! But what I desperately needed was for God to reveal Himself to me and be my anchor during those 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

 

It was during those years of being desperate for God, that God allowed me to sit at His feet, take a pen and pad and write down the revelation of Creation – the creation of the earth and the creation of mankind!! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life – God spoke and I wrote! It was through His word that He sustained me while I was leading the children of Israel. I suppose we had to wander for 40 years in that wilderness, so I could write down everything God had to say to me and through me! The first words He gave me became the book of Genesis, and they began with “In the beginning, God created . . .”

 

Happy Birthday, Randy!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Today is Randy’s birthday. He would be 52. Although my heart still hurts badly, the Lord has allowed me to see past the present grief and get a glimpse of the peace that Randy is finally experiencing. If I dwell on the details of Randy’s death and all the unanswered questions, I am overwhelmed with sorrow. But if I focus on what I know to be true, answers that I know rather than the ”unanswers,” my heart rejoices. 2 Corinthians 5:8 says, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Randy accepted Christ at an early age and reaffirmed that relationship in 2003. I haven’t “lost” my brother. I know exactly where he is. He is hanging out with his Creator. Randy is at peace. So today I choose to celebrate Randy’s memory rather than grieve our “loss.” We have the blessed hope – assurance of what is to come! – that we will see Randy again!

siblings-on-the-beach-smallSo Randy, have a fun birthday in heaven! I’m sure you and Daddy are having a big ole piece of cake. This is your first birthday with him in 12 years. I covet that reunion one day. I love you, and I know that you are finally at peace, free from the demon of addiction. We miss you, and our “get togethers” will never be the same. “The sisters” miss our biggest fan. When Daddy went to heaven, you immediately stepped into his shoes. We didn’t show up at many family events that you didn’t call us around and ask us to sing “just one” that always turned into five or six. I was thinking just last week about how you’d call us from Iraq, put your phone on speaker and have the four sisters sing to your friends. It was that year that we decided to have a CD made for you for Christmas. You loved it! We’ll never know how many you gave away! We continue to hear from friends and co-workers of yours how much you loved your sisters. You always told everyone that we got the looks and you got the brains. You were so much like Daddy! He used to tell everyone, “My kids got their looks from their Mom. I still have mine.” We will travel to Bryson City this weekend, and we will honor your wishes by spreading the ashes from your mortal body at the “head of Hazel Creek on Fontana Lake.” We promise to sing the songs you requested for the funeral that didn’t get sung, tell a few of your corny jokes, and share a lot of laughs. We’ll swing by the house boat that you were so proud of but had to sell to “keep peace” as you often put it, and we’ll do our best to celebrate your life. You really did love life when your mind was clear. This world wasn’t big enough for you, Randy. You couldn’t just fish in a local pond, you had to fly out west to catch “the big one.” You couldn’t just hunt on your own 10 acres, you had to make an annual trip to South Dakota. You always did everything in a big way. I imagine you are LOVING how big heaven is! Rest well, Randy, and we will make this day, June 17, special here on earth every year until we join you. I love you.

“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘…Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them’” (Revelation 14:13).

In loving memory of my only brother, Randy Nations

June 17, 1958 – May 21, 2010

Hope

I am resolved…

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah may have had a long, hard to spell, tongue-twister name, but we sure can learn a lot from him. 2 Chronicles 20 records that Jehoshaphat (aka King J going forward) received word that a vast army was on its way to destroy his people – and they were not far away! “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:3). looking-up1I love this statement. It tells me that I don’t have to be calm, cool and collected in hard times. I have permission to be alarmed, as long as I am resolved to look to the Lord in my alarmed state. King J didn’t freak out or fall apart. He was alarmed, yet he knew from where his help would come. I love the prayer of King J that is recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:6-12. Please read it. I want to focus on his very last sentence, just before the last amen was said.

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

In other words Jehoshaphat was saying, “We’re clueless, Lord, so You’ve got this one.” And that proved to be a good decision. The Lord brought the victory!

I am resolved to turn to the Lord for answers when alarming news comes my way. Sometimes we get a heads up that trouble is on the way, sometimes it shows up unannounced. Either way, we must be resolved to turn to the Lord for help.

Don’t know what to do? Keep your eyes on the Lord and let Him fight the battle! He always comes through.

Hope

Allow your burdens to be a bridge…

Monday, June 14th, 2010

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…” (2 Timothy 4:17 NASB).

I heard a Pastor say on TV yesterday, “Your burdens can be a bridge to God’s blessings if you put your trust in Him.” I had to think about that and repeat it a couple of times before it really registered. Then I bought into it! I guess this could be a paraphrase to…

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

bridgeI think by default we allow our burdens to be road blocks to God’s blessings. When things bother us, our response is to block God out by blaming Him. That is such a shame! We miss out on so many blessings by throwing up a road block. By faith we can turn that road block into a bridge. If we believe God is sovereign and is in control, our burdens will be a bridge to His blessings. Don’t miss out on all that He has for you!

Orientation has been a lot of fun, but man it’s hot down here in Myrtle Beach! Caleb didn’t have any trouble striking up conversations with students, faculty and even cafeteria workers. He had that little lady eating out of his hand, and filling his plate with lots of mac & cheese! I shook my head and said, “He’ll have you all wrapped” and she nodded at me and winked at Caleb. A cute little cheerleader from Baltimore and her parents were at our lunch table and by the time we finished eating, she had attached herself to Caleb and said, “I don’t know anyone so I’m hanging with you the rest of the day.” Caleb looked back at me with the look of, “What’s a man to do?” Caleb was allowing his burden to be a bridge to God’s blessings!

Have a great evening!

Hope

Hold on for dear life!

Friday, June 11th, 2010

From the first day that Hannah’s Hope Ministries began we have shared the message that you’ve got to be ready for the storm before it hits. This fierce storm of Randy’s death has proven that to be true once again. When I first heard of Randy’s decision to take his own life, I remember dropping my head and through my weeping I said, “Oh dear Jesus, I am so glad I know you! I’m glad I know Who You are so that I can trust You through this!” And from that point to now, I cling to what I know to be true of my Heavenly Father. I shared on WGGS TV-16 last night that you can’t wait until you’re in the middle of the storm to decide what you believe about God. perfect-stormIt’s too late to analyze it if you’re thrown into the thrust of an intense storm unexpectedly. You can’t think clearly. There is no rationalization when you’re broken. You’ve gotta know where you stand and what you believe ahead of time. That way when the storm is at its worst, you can ride it out, holding on for dear life!

That is exactly where I find myself today. I don’t have much in me to try to figure out the whys of this. All I can do is remind myself of what I know to be true of God, and then hold on to those truths for dear life until the storm subsides! If a storm is raging in your life right now, I encourage you to do the same. If you are fortunate to be smooth sailing, take advantage of the calm waters and dig deep into God’s Word. Get to know Him intimately so you can trust Him when you can’t see what He’s doing.

“God, your God, is testing you to find out if you totally love him with everything you have in you. You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life!” (Deuteronomy 13:1 The Message).

“‘If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,’ says God, ‘I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you…’” (Psalm 91:14).

I am going to take a couple of days off Monday and Tuesday. Clay has to be in Utah on business and Caleb and I will be at Coastal Carolina for Freshman Orientation. I will try to do a devotional each day. I hope you each have a blessed weekend!

Hope