Archive for September, 2010

Simply lead…

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I came across this verse today…

“Don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master” (Ephesians 6:4 The Msg).

My mind quickly went back to three years ago. Caleb was 16, Clay and I were in Gatlinburg, TN on a weekend getaway and Caleb was spending the weekend with a friend. I wasn’t crazy about Caleb hanging with this particular kid but couldn’t pinpoint a particular problem with him. It was one of those “Do you allow Caleb to be the influence or chance on him being influenced.” Clay and I were on our way home when Caleb called to tell me that he had gotten his ear pierced. I chuckled and answered, “Yeah right. You’ve never even mentioned wanting to get your ear pierced.” I honestly thought he was just messing with me. But as the conversation went on, I realized he was serious. I thought I was going to be sick. I told Caleb that Clay and I were en route home and he was welcome to wear it until we got there but it better not be in his ear when I arrived. I hung up and Clay quickly “put me in my place.” He advised me to hear Caleb out and see where this thought process was originating. We already knew the answer from whom it had originated. Caleb was waiting for us when we arrived home and we all sat down and had a calm, rational conversation. I told Caleb that I had no way of knowing whether he would wear the earring when I wasn’t around, but that he was not going to wear it in my house. And that if he had a match to it, I’ll be glad to add them to my jewelry collection because the diamond was really pretty. We all had a good chuckle, and he never mentioned it again. If he ever wore it, no one tattled on him. I kept an eye on the hole in his ear and before long it had grown up and was no longer noticeable.

Deb and Caleb at Brent & Courtney's wedding 8.7.10

Deb and Caleb at Brent & Courtney's wedding 8.7.10

I chose to take Caleb by the hand and lead him rather than go irate on him. Now don’t think for a second that I didn’t want to go postal! I wanted to call that mom who pierced it for him and share my heart! I wanted to forbid him from ever going back to their house again. I wanted to lock him in his room and only let him out to go to school and church. But I was majoring on the minors. I would have been completely blowing this out of proportion. I decided to pick my battles and allow the Lord to fight on Caleb’s behalf. Satan bids high for the life of our children, guys. But Jesus Christ has paid the ultimate price and He trumps any counterfeit Satan has to offer. That storm subsided and thankfully didn’t cause any damage as it passed through.

Today is Caleb’s 19th birthday. Satan didn’t quit with the earring thing. He continues to bid high for the life of my son. But I choose to simply lead Caleb in the way of the Master rather than beat him in the head with lectures and scriptures and “Thou shalts” and “Thou shalt nots.” Now don’t get me wrong – this wasn’t an easy thing for me. I want to text Caleb a sermon every morning! But Caleb is an adult making his own decisions, thus reaping his own consequences. That doesn’t mean I quit leading. I just do it from afar. And if he chooses to veer from the way of the Master, I will pray for him as Jesus does that when he returns, he’ll use his experiences to strengthen others.

No matter how old your children, I challenge you to simply lead them in the way of the Master. You can’t go wrong with that. Have a blessed day.

Hope

Don’t waste your mistakes…

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

“I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32) Emphasis mine.

This will be the last devotional I post from this passage, but to me it’s one of the best. As I mentioned earlier, Jesus did not try to talk Peter out of denying Him. He didn’t blast him or condemn him or judge him or turn away from him. Jesus encouraged Peter. He said, “When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” He didn’t say, “If you turn back,” He said, “When you turn back.” Jesus knew that Peter believed in Him and was not going to turn away from what he knew to be truth. Jesus knew Peter was going to fail, but He also knew Peter would return. “When you turn back, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus was exhorting Peter to use what he learned from his mistakes to encourage those around him.

Jesus gives that same exhortation to me and you. Maybe you’re weak and frail and feel very washed up. Don’t waste a good breakdown, get all you can get out of it! Then use what you learn to disciple those in your sphere of influence. Maybe you’ve really messed up and are involved in activities that you know are contrary to God’s plan for you. Don’t waste your mistakes. When you turn back, and you will!, use what you’ve learned to help someone else.

Jesus, what an incredible Encourager He was and is!

I’ve been on a whirlwind trip to Winston-Salem, NC today to be with my nephew, Brad as he met with the surgical oncologist. He is scheduled for surgery on October 19th to have the melanoma removed as well as an area 2″ in diameter around the melanoma. Then we’ll have to wait seven more days to find out the stage of the cancer and whether there are any lymphnodes involved. I appreciate your prayers!

Hope

Don’t give in and don’t give out…

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail…” (Luke 22:31 & 32a).

Something that struck me about this scripture is that Jesus didn’t tell Peter that He prayed Peter would not deny Him. He knew Peter was going to do it. He didn’t try to talk Peter out of it, He didn’t give him a lecture about all He’s done for Peter, He didn’t preach to him about the dangers of dallying in denial. He said, “I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail…” To paraphrase this, Jesus is telling Peter that He isn’t praying for deliverance from the test but that Peter’s faith will stand firm in the midst of the test.

Peter’s test was an opportunity to stand up for or deny Christ. Maybe your test is an illness or death of a loved one or discouragement or doubt or fear. Peter didn’t do very well with his test. He denied Christ three times in less than 24 hours. But Peter did not allow his failures to get him down. He did just as Jesus prayed he would do. He learned from his mistakes and his faith increased rather than crumbled. Maybe you’ve failed miserably in the test that you’re going through. Don’t throw in the towel! Allow your mistakes to grow your faith. Jesus is interceding on your behalf just as He did Peter. The Message says Jesus prayed for Peter, “That you will not give in or give out.” I encourage you with the same. Don’t give in and don’t give out.

I’ll spend another day or two on this passage. God is teaching me so much through it! Please continue to pray for my friend, Tammy. There has been no change in her condition today. Her family will need to make some decisions in the next day or two. Thanks so much for the prayers.

Hope

“I’ve been praying for you…”

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Pastor Danny preached an amazing message yesterday on what to do when we’re blindsided. He started with the scripture from Job where God has a conversation with Satan and grants Satan permission to attack Job. Please note that God had to give His permission for any trials and tribulations. Our main passage was in Luke 22 where Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked to sift Peter like wheat. And the most amazing part of that scripture is that Jesus told Peter He had been praying for him. You and I are guilty (or at least I know I am!) of telling someone we’ll pray for them and then we get busy or sidetracked and fail to do so. Jesus never gets sidetracked or too busy. He is ever interceding on our behalf. Jesus – the ultimate Intercessor.

Don’t be discouraged today. Jesus is interceding for you. When He tells you “I’ve been praying for you,” He means it.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31).

I’m going to do several devotionals on this passage. There is much to learn from it!

Please pray for a friend of mine and my family’s, Tammy. Tammy is one of the first teenagers I met when we moved to Spartanburg in my senior year of high school. She just turned 47 years old. She started acting “strange” on Thursday, ended up in the hospital and is now non-responsive. It appears that an infection hit her blood and spread to her brain. Without a miracle, Tammy is not going to survive. Please pray for her husband, her two adult children, her mother, her sister and the entire family. You can imagine how many times at the hospital today I shared this scripture. Jesus is interceding on this family’s behalf.

Hope

It’s a breeze!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

As you all know, we have been working diligently to raise funds for the movie. This is a huge task for our little finite minds, and if we focus on the size of it, we will grow weary in well doing. Dr. Steve stopped by my office this morning and was “confessing” that he, too, had been a little discouraged about the fundraising. He’s Catholic so I gave him a hard time about my not being a priest and it not being Saturday evening mass (ha!). Fundraising is not his thing. His vision for the ministry has been invaluable to the Board, but he’s left the financial side to those who are better equipped to handle it. However, since the launching of the movie project, Steve has been beating the streets and has not had the response he had hoped for. In the midst of his pity party Wednesday morning, the Lord gave him a message from Jesus Calling. Actually, this is how he described it to me. “One of my nurses gave me a little daily devotional kind of book and it’s God talking to you in the first person. Maybe you’ve heard of it but I can’t think of the name of it.” I said, “Jesus Calling?” “Yeah, I think that’s it.” I chuckled and pointed  to the shelf  behind my desk that houses a number of those books. He jumped up and opened one to September 22nd and read aloud the first few sentences.

Trust Me and refuse to worry, for I am your Strength and Song. You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times looming ahead, measuring them against your own strength. However, they are not today’s tasks – or even tomorrow’s. So leave them in the future and come home to the present, where you will find Me waiting for you. Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes. Because I am your Song, I can give you Joy as you work alongside Me.

I was reminded of a verse that Deb’s dear friend who abides across the large ocean shared yesterday…

“This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD” (2 Kings 3:18).

Eden Carpenter - she's the baby doll in the middle!

Eden Carpenter - she's the baby doll in the middle!

In our eyes, $2 million measured against our own strength is insurmountable. But it’s an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord. I’m so glad that my strength comes from Him. Because to Him, $2 million is a breeze!

What are you facing today? Is it a mountain that in your own eyes is insurmountable? Step back to the present and allow the Lord to handle that next step. He will equip you with what you need to climb that mountain this day. To the Creator of it all, it’s a breeze!

I’m posting a picture of Ken Carpenter’s baby, Eden. Miss Eden turned a year old in August. She’s the youngest of nine adorable children. His children are beautiful inside and out. I still can’t figure out why he and Devon won’t give me a couple of them. They show no pity on this empty-nester! Have a blessed weekend.

Hope

Change is coming…

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

fall-leaves-smallerLast night we answered the question in Bible Study, “What do you love about the Fall?” My answer was that of all the seasons, Fall speaks the message clearer that change is coming. The cool evenings, leaves changing colors, falling leaves, Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbuck’s, football, there’s an anticipation in the air that change is coming. And hopefully very soon those cool evenings will turn into cooler temps all day long!

Often times the Lord gives us like signs that change is coming in our lives. And though change is often scary – more because of the unknown, there is much to be said about change. The Lord only brings change into our lives to grow us into stronger Christians. Don’t be afraid of change. Approach it with confidence and grace, knowing that you serve the God of all grace. Our Lord will provide just what we need to continue our walk in boldness. Change is coming…and it will be okay. After all He controls the seasons.

“Blessed be the name of God, forever and ever. He knows all, does all: He changes the seasons” (Daniel 2:19 The Msg).

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).

Hope

Accepted…

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Today I had the privilege of working from the McAbee’s lake house where the Carpenters (Ken and his family) are staying while in town working on the film project. We sat outside on the beautiful sun porch overlooking Lake Bowen, and I was sandwiched, me and my Toshiba laptop, in the middle of four Mac users. They’re so cocky! (Just Kidding) I had to plug my laptop in a couple of hours earlier than they did, and we spent much of our time waiting for my computer to catch up. My laptop is almost four years old and runs like a laptop that’s been around a while. We joked about their Mac vs. my Toshiba, and while I felt outnumbered not only by the latest and greatest in technology, but also by the film industry brains that surrounded me, I was as comfortable as if I were in my own home. And they are eager to share their wealth of knowledge, so it doesn’t take long to feel accepted, in spite of my out-of-date computer!

I opened BibleGateway.com earlier and the verse of the day was very appropriate for this discussion. Surprised? Yeah, me either.

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:7).

“So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!” (Romans 15:7 The Msg).

This describes the Carpenters! They reach out and welcome me and treat me as though I’ve been working alongside them for years. I just love that family. There’s no condescending attitudes, no “Man, you’re clueless!” responses or even hints of such. I underwent Cole’s Crash Course of Twitter and caught on rather quickly. Cole is 7 days younger than my Caleb, so he and I have an automatic bond. He is all into the social networking arena. I never planned to tweet. Who has time? But in response to Ken’s prompting and Amy Wood’s STRONG suggestion that I need to be involved in it for the sake of the film, I am now on Twitter. I’m just here to serve. You do what you have to do when you’re in the film industry. (Insert over-exaggerated sniff with a touch of the Barney Fife syndrome.)

Treat others today as Jesus treated them. There were no Big Yous and little i’s with Jesus. He reached out to all and loved them. He wants us to do the same, so that all who come in contact with us will feel accepted.

I meant to take a picture of Ken and his wife and nine children but forgot. I’ll get one tomorrow and share it with you. Have a great evening!

Hope

My dwelling place…

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Our house February 2010 (I chose this pic hoping that the suggestion alone would break these 90+ temps!)

Our house February 2010 (I chose this pic hoping that the suggestion alone would break these 90+ temps!)

Clay and I have toyed with the idea of “downsizing.” After totally redoing Caleb’s room a couple of weeks ago the upstairs is in “show case” condition. My sister, Teresa Page – forever the realtor said as she admired Caleb’s new room, “You’re ready to put your house on the market!” I teeter back and forth with that idea. I love my house. We put a LOT of blood, sweat and tears into building this house and there are very few things I’d change about it. I just love it. But it is much bigger than we need. I didn’t say much about it on the web (I’ve learned it’s not a wise decision to announce when you’re home alone) but Clay left for a business trip to Utah the week before Labor Day and didn’t return until late last week. I was home alone with two puppy dogs for entirely too long. And was home alone with two puppy dogs in a house that is entirely too big for two persons and two people pups. Then this past Sunday night after church several of the college/career “kids” crashed my house for the first time in FOREVER! And I loved it! It’s during those times that I love a big house and lots of room. To sell or not to sell? That is the question.

This afternoon I picked up a small devotional book that my friend, Gretta gave to me several years ago, “Quiet Whispers from God’s Heart” and turned to a random page. Here’s what I found…

If you find yourself loving any pleasure better than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any house better than the house of God, any table better than the Lord’s Table, any person better than Christ, any indulgence better than the hope of heaven – take alarm! (Thomas Guthrie)

“Lord, you are my dwelling place” (Psalm 90:1).

Don’t put too much worth in your temporal home. It’s okay to love your house or your car or your friends or your cell phone. After all, God wants us to be content. But it’s not okay to love any of it more than you love God Himself. He must be our dwelling place. Be sure your “I love it!” priorities are in line.

Movie Update: A challenge has been given to our Board of Directors to match a $50,000 donation. We have two weeks to raise $50,000 and an anonymous donor will match it with $50,000 more. If you would like to help us with this match, you can either donate online (Click Donate from the Home Page) or mail a check to Hannah’s Hope Ministries, P. O. Box 5802, Spartanburg, SC 29304. Thank you in advance for partnering with us in this endeavor!

Hope

Monday, September 20th, 2010

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1).

Tonight is our second reception to introduce Director/Producer Ken Carpenter to the community. The interest in the film has been amazing, and even more so since the Facebook page was created. Even today as I spent the morning with Ken and his oldest son, Cole, and heard his heart and passion for the story, I am reminded once again that this is not about us. We’ve said that many, many times over the past four years and I don’t want it to be a cliche that we rattle off with no heart attached. It is so true! Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name be glory. After all, You, Lord, wrote the story. You handpicked each character, and You ordained every scene. You were writing the script all along, weren’t You? I stand amazed.

We recognize His part in our efforts to raise funds for the film. God is into the details and He will provide. We don’t want to miss any opportunities, and we want to recognize His hand at work. Because it’s not to us, not to us but to His name be all glory because of His love and faithfulness to our family.

I encourage you to recognize God’s hand at work in your life today. Don’t take credit or give credit to anyone other than God Himself. If all that is done is done to His glory, the details will work out and all plans will fall into place. Trust Him because of His love and faithfulness to you.

Hope

Practice makes perfect!

Friday, September 17th, 2010

With Caleb away at college and Clay out of town for 2 1/2 weeks, I’ve had a lot of quality time with my doggies. Just me and my dogs. Who in the WORLD would’ve ever thought that would happen? Not me or anyone close to me for sure! But it has happened and now I can officially say I’m a dog person. Jax and Muggsy, my little best friends.

Jax is the older as you all know. And Muggsy is the little brother who imitates everything Jax does, and aggravates the soup out of Jax. Muggsy desperately wants to be a beagle. He tries to sniff like Jax, only to find himself practically hyperventilating. Malti-zhus just aren’t wired to sniff constantly. He wants to howl like Jax, but there is a distinct difference between a hunting dog howl and yelpy dog’s yelp. He wants to follow a scent like Jax, but he is so easily side tracked. He is not wired with the beagle instinct. That doesn’t discourage Muggsy. He still thinks he’s a beagle. It is so cute how he does everything Jax does. I tell Jax often that he needs to be a witness and live a pure, holy life. After all, there are little eyes watching him. He just turns his head from one side to the other and gives me the “I have no idea what you’re saying” look.

Clay returned to town yesterday evening from a nice long business trip to Utah. I spent most of the evening telling him Jax and Muggsy stories. I know, I know, we’re getting old! But a lot of the stories were how Muggsy imitates Jax. Today’s Verse of the Day from BibleGateway.com is…

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you” (Ephesians 5:1 & 2a The Msg).

“Be imitators of God…” (From the NIV).

That’s pretty plain and simple. Watch what God does and then you do it, just like our children watch what we do. Much of our actions come from learned behavior. I like how Paul simplifies this by saying, “Mostly what God does is love you.” In other words, all He really wants us to do is love each other. While this exhortation is plain and simple, it’s our biggest struggle. Ask the Lord to help you imitate Him this weekend. Work really hard at loving a difficult person. Practice makes perfect!

Hope