Archive for August, 2010

Take advantage of your Resources…

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

hurricaneMy schedule since Saturday morning has been almost comical if you were watching from a distance. No time to return phone messages, emails or texts. Hopping all over town with Ken Carpenter, the producer, from one meeting to another, from one point of interest to another. Sunday I was up at 6:00 preparing lunch for the Carpenters, to church, home for lunch, to the office for a couple of meetings, to our church where Ken shared his vision, then out with his family, safely arriving back at home just before 10:00 p.m. Back up BRIGHT and early yesterday morning where it started all over again. This morning I was at the office just after 7:00 and continue to rush around like a wild woman. I haven’t taken the time to watch the news, log on to the news or even glance at the Yahoo! News homepage when logging onto this website to post a devotional. Until yesterday afternoon when I checked my messages between meetings and found a text from Caleb that read, “Category 4 hurricane possibly heading our way. Heard anything about it?” Woe! That’ll jolt you back into the real world! Of all the anxieties that have come with Caleb going Coastal, a hurricane had never crossed my mind! I rushed out of a meeting and into my office, logged onto weather.com and what did I find at the top of the screen? Follow the projected path of Hurricane Earl. His name is Earl, of course. At that time the South Carolina coast was in the projected path for early Friday morning. Oh great! Needless to say as soon as I got home I turned on the weather channel only to find that Shrek’s wife is also stirring up trouble in the Atlantic. Where’d Fiona come from anyway and why would you name a hurricane after Shrek’s wife? You know that devotional I wrote about yesterday where your breathing becomes short and your heart races and your imagination of “what ifs” runs away with you? Earl and Fiona tried really hard to shove me into that state. But instead I had a little talk with Jesus and He calmed me down. Today the projected path has Earl bypassing South Carolina. Whew! Time will tell what Shrek’s better half will do.

I found this scripture in the Psalms that simply reminds me Who I belong to. I am His and He is mine. Caleb is His and He is Caleb’s. I remind you that you are His and He is yours. Don’t try to handle things on your own. Don’t try to face troubles and trials and fears in your own strength. We are under His care. Take advantage of your Resources!

“He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:7).

Hope

Are you beside yourself?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

“The minute I said, ‘I’m slipping, I’m falling,’ your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up” (Psalm 94:18 & 19 The Msg).

I’m using this same passage from my Friday devotional. Have you ever been beside yourself? I’m not exactly sure what that means unless it implies that you’re so distraught that you have no control of your emotions, thus feeling as though you are standing outside your body looking on, completely out of control of the situation. That is an overwhelmingly panic-stricken state to be in. There’ve been times in my life that I have been beside myself. I’ve felt as though I was standing off in a distance outside my body looking on. My heart raced, my breathing was short and labored, my head was spinning, I could not think clearly. When we’re there we must tell the Lord exactly what we’re feeling. “I’m slipping! I’m falling!” We must be transparent with the Father; after all, He sees right through our facade anyway! He knows what we’re made of. We are not fooling Him for one second with our pretentious wall of strength that we throw up. If we will just call to Him, He will calm us down. He will speak peace to our situation, and when He does, the anxieties have to flee.

Are you beside yourself? Allow the Lord to calm you down. Life is so much easier when you’re within yourself and not beside yourself.

Hope

What a support system!

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Earlier this week I was reading the scripture below when my cell phone rang…

“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” (Psalm 94:18 & 19).

“The minute I said, ‘I’m slipping, I’m falling,’ your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up” (The Msg).

It was a friend who is going through a dark valley of marital problems. She had no idea what I was reading. As soon as I answered the phone she said, “You’re not gonna believe this, but just when I felt like I was going to completely lose it, I called out to the Lord and it was as if I literally felt His hands on my shoulders calming me down.” “Really?” I responded half-heartedly. “Let me read you something.” And I proceeded to read her the above scripture. I’m sure I’d visited Psalm 94 many times but never before had these verses come to life as they did that day.

Feel like your feet are slipping? Are the cares of this life just about to weigh you down? Call out to the Lord! You’ll be amazed at the immediate response. As soon as you admit your weakness, the Lord will support you; He will not only calm you down but He’ll cheer you up. His Word is true! What a support system!

Have a fun weekend. Director/Producer Ken Carpenter and his family are coming to town this evening. He will be speaking at our church, Cudd Memorial Baptist Church Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. Our quartet, Echoes of Hope will be singing along with a young lady in our church who has an incredibe voice, Hannah Hamrick. Please join us. You’ll be amazed to hear Ken’s heart.

Hope

I’m so glad I’ve seen grace in action…

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

My good friend and prayer partner, Di, prayed this morning, “Lord, I’m so glad I’ve seen grace in action…” I wanted to call out during her prayer, “You know that’s right, sister!” When I speak with a young mother whose 8 month old beautiful baby girl is undergoing surgery, or when I receive an email from a stranger crying out for prayer for her 55 year old mother who is dying, or read about a sweet five year old little boy who has been diagnosed with leukemia, or happen upon a horrible automobile accident where a drunk driver has wrapped his car around a telephone poll and watch as his mother fights her way through the EMS workers to get a glimpse of her battered son, I’m so glad I’ve seen grace in action! Otherwise I’d have no words of comfort or hope to offer.

On a more personal note, when after 24 hours of searching for my “missing” brother I receive a call that he has been found in his truck on his favorite spot of his own 10 acres with a self-inflicted fatal gunshot wound, I’m so glad I’ve seen grace in action! Otherwise I’d be spiraling into a hopeless state of despair.

Or, on a less severe yet still serious note, when I pack my only child’s belongings and move him four hours away, I’m glad I’ve seen grace in action! Otherwise I’d worry myself into a frenzy. God is good and He is gracious. How do I know? Because four years ago I saw grace in action in a most intense fight for our Hannah’s life, and we continue to be an eye-witness to that grace.

If you’re anxious about anything in your life, allow yourself to revisit a very difficult time when God brought you through. Reminding yourself of those times will give you the encouragement to carry on. After all, you’ve seen God’s grace in action.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10).

Hope

Keep pedaling…

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

double_seated_sport_bicycleA Christian businessman said to me today, “I imagine my Christian walk as if I’m on a two-man bicycle, and I’m in the back seat. God is up front controlling the ride, I’m in the back pedaling along. When God takes a turn that I’m unsure of, I ask Him what He’s doing or where He’s going. He looks back over His shoulder and says to me in a kind, compassionate voice, ‘I’m in control here. You just keep pedaling.’ There’s freedom in that, Hope. No stress, no worry, no need to control the outcome. Just simply keep pedaling.”

I don’t know about you but too often than not I slam on the rear bike brakes and jolt God’s plan to a screeching halt. I do that by doubt or fear or unbelief or simple control-freak-ness. Instead of trying to control the ride, I need to voice my concerns to my Father, and then allow Him to comfort me as He responds, “I’m in control here. You just keep pedaling.”

“Point out the road I must travel…Save me from my enemies, God— you’re my only hope! Teach me how to live to please you, because you’re my God. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland” (Psalm 143:7 The Msg).

“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” (Psalm 119:33 The Msg).

Hope

He already sees the rainbow…

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Our quartet, Echoes of Hope, is learning the song He Already Sees. My goodness what a message! It is so appropriate for our Hannah’s Hope story, and is very appropriate for your story as well. Here are just a few of the words…

God sees the storm from the other side

He knows the lessons learned

And just beyond the clouds He sees clear skies

….He already sees the rainbow when we see only clouds

rainbow-tornadoI used to dream about tornadoes a lot. I’ve always had a fear of being caught in one, though I’ve never even spotted one. But I’ve watched many Storm Stories and every time a thunderstorm would brew, I’d intensely watch the clouds and check out the dangling areas to see if there was a funnel dropping from them. I was almost paranoid about it. Until Hannah got sick. Life’s problems and fears and concerns just didn’t mean as much after that. I realized that we had survived the most intense tornado / hurricane / tidal wave / tsunami that most families will face. And we didn’t just survive, we came out stronger in our faith and closer to the Lord. It still amazes me how that six month journey changed my perspective on everything.

Now don’t get me wrong. I haven’t become a storm chaser or anything. I still don’t want to be caught in a tornado. But if I do, I know Who’s in control of my life and the outcome of the storm. I no longer focus on the clouds as I once did. So it is with my spiritual storms. I don’t at all go out looking for hard times and heartache. And when given a warning that the storm is coming, I take cover! Our storm of Randy’s suicide was an intense tornado off the rector scale – and this storm came with no warning. We didn’t have a chance to take cover. Sometimes we have warning signs that our life is about to be turned upside down, and other times we’re blind sided with no time to prepare. But in either type of storm, expected or unexpected, God sees our storm from the other side – the after effects, the results, the good that will come out of it, how much stronger in our faith we will be. He already sees the rainbow when we see only clouds.

“When the storm has swept by…the righteous stand firm forever” (Proverbs 10:25).

Hope

Just close enough…

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

While reading the Psalm for today, Psalm 23 my mind went back to the sermon I heard last Sunday on Jesus our Shepherd. One of the pastor’s points was that sometimes we choose to lag behind the rest of the flock, we intentionally distance ourselves. I didn’t do a lot with that thought, until today.

Why would we distance ourselves from the Shepherd and the rest of the flock? Could it be that we want to be in the flock, you know take advantage of the fringe benefits, but don’t want to be “guilty by association”? Is it possible that we still like hanging with our old sheep friends from time to time and we don’t want them to pass by our pasture and see us associating with the sheep of the Good Shepherd?

Or perhaps we hang back so others in the flock do not see things we’re involved in. We’ll follow Christ from afar – staying just close enough not to lose our way yet far enough away to do our own thing.

What are the dangers of lagging behind? The most obvious dangers are the distractions that can steal our attention, divert us from the path. If we’re too far from Christ the temptations are much more attractive to us. Another danger is the possibility of taking a wrong turn. While we can get back on the right path and rejoin the fold, sometimes those wrong turns bring a lot of heartache before we find our way back.

Where are you today? Are you following as close to the Good Shepherd as you possibly can so as to be under His care, or are you just close enough to be considered part of the fold yet far enough away to do things your way?

“for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:7).

Hope

He nudges us out of the nest…

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I haven’t forgotten you today, I promise! I worked on film preparation “stuff” until after 11:00 last night, hit the floor wide open WAY too early this morning and haven’t slowed down. Stick with me!

Now, all of you know that my empty nest is not because I pushed Caleb out – not even close! But he did, in spite of my anxieties, fly right out and I’m not sure he’s even glanced back over his wing one time! Our conversations this week have been a bit strained in that Caleb hasn’t initiated any calls and when I have called him – for important stuff you know – he has been rather short with me. That annoys the fire out of me! But my consolation is that I know my son. When he is nervous or stressed or uncertain, he gets very irritable. So instead of fussing at him, I’ve beefed up my prayers that he will adjust quickly and return to his jovial self. My prayers may have been answered. Here’s what happened today.

jax-muggs-smaller1Clay has sung to Jax since he moved in with us, “Has anybody here seen my Jaxon Clyde? Can you tell me where he’s gone?” to the tune of My old friend Bob. No matter where Jax is in the house, in the yard, in the woods, when Clay breaks out into that song, Jax comes wide open, ears in the wind. Caleb has always thought that was so funny. I took a picture of Jax and Muggsy the other evening sitting at the foot of the stairs that lead to Caleb’s now empty suite on the second floor. This afternoon I sent the picture to Caleb with the caption, “Has anybody here seen our Caleb Scott? Can you tell us where he’s gone?” He texted back, “He’s washen dishes.” Too funny! That was such a Caleb-come back – but the reality behind the response floored me. I wanted to text back, “Alright Bucko, who are you and what’ve you done with my son?” but I didn’t want to spoil the mood. The fact behind this new activity of Caleb’s is that he now lives on his own with two other guys in an apartment style dorm, and somebody’s gotta do it. I guess today is his day. So I said to myself with a sigh, “He needed to leave the nest.”

Our Heavenly Father nudges us out of the nest. He doesn’t want us to be babies forever. He says we can’t live on milk and squished up apricots all our lives – otherwise we’ll have orange finger tips and noses with no spiritual depth. Instead, we need to fly from the nest and get deep in His Word. The only way we grow and become mature Christians is by studying and applying the Word of God. How are you doing today? Are you still hanging around in the nest, drinking formula and eating Gerber food? If so, take the plunge! Recognize the prompting of the Holy Spirit to jump on out there and grow spiritually. If you don’t do it on your own, He just may use uncomfortable circumstances to nudge you out.

“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Hmmm, that’s some good stuff right there. Have a great weekend!

Hope

Don’t get too comfy…

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

First let me say, “Rut Roe!” I’ve been working away at my desk all afternoon and as I started to log off, I realized I hadn’t posted a devotional. Sorry! I love being busy with this film stuff, but I know from whence cometh my support system! Please forgive me!

About 30 minutes ago I heard a downpour of rain hitting the roof. I looked out and it was almost dusk outside. The rain was pounding, wind was whirling, things were looking rough! I kept working on my flyer that I’m designing, and about 10 minutes later I looked out and the sun was dancing off my wet windshield. I smiled with approval that I wasn’t going to have to exit in the rain without an umbrella, and went back to working on my flyer. Five minutes later I heard what sounded like a downpour on the roof. Looked out, and the rain was pounding, wind was whirling, and it was almost dusk. “I guess I’ll keep working for a few more minutes” and I did. Ten minutes later I glanced out and the sun was dancing off the water on my windshield, so brightly shining that I needed shades to shield the glare! That’s when I decided to call it a day (before realizing I had an obligation here).

rain-storm1So it is in life. Don’t get too used to the way things are. Does life really stink for you right now? Do not fear! The sun is going to shine again soon. Are things wonderful in your life right now? Are you whistling dixie and skipping and thinking that life doesn’t get any better than this? Do not fear! The storm is coming. Life is full of ups and downs, downpours, bright sunshine, downpours, bright sunshine. Whatever state you are in, don’t get too comfy. It won’t last! But God is in control and He will see you through whatever your circumstance. Stay on your toes and keep your umbrella handy. If you don’t need it today – you probably will tomorrow! But the flipside of that is if you need it today, you probably won’t need it tomorrow.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Hope

He leads me…

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Another point from The Characteristics of Jesus our Shepherd message is that Jesus leads us. He doesn’t drive us, He simply leads us.

jesus_good_shepherdJesus the Shepherd is not behind us poking and prodding, forcing us down His path. He simply leads us. And we make the decision whether to follow. He is a gentle Shepherd, not a dictating shepherd. And He would never lead us down a path of self-destruction. If we choose that path, we’ve strayed from His care. His way is perfect, though sometimes rough and long, winding and steep and rocky and ridged. Yet it is the perfect path that leads to life – real life found only through Him. Are you following, or have you wandered off on a path with no direction or meaning? If you have strayed, return to His fold. The pastor said Sunday that just because we stray doesn’t mean we’re no longer one of His sheep. He loves us and longs for us to return. He’s always calling our name. The consequences of straying are that we miss out on God’s blessings that He has for us. So return to the flock and get all that’s yours for the taking! There is so much comfort and security there.

He leads me…I pray I follow daily.

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:1-3).

Hope