Archive for March, 2011

Think long, think wrong…

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

In the David Bible Study we are at the most dreaded part of David’s life. David had become quite successful as leader of God’s chosen people – the King of Israel. He had risen to the top and was enjoying life at its best. Over time David had begun to slip in his desire for a heart like God’s. He had started shirking his responsibilities as commander in chief and taking advantage of his privilege to administrate and delegate. David started staying home while sending all his men to battle with Joab as the leader. And one day while hanging out in the palace with too much time on his hands, he moseyed out onto the roof. Big mistake. I read this passage and my heart hurts and I get a knot feeling in my stomach. I know how this part of the story turns out and it just makes me sick. David looked across the way and spotted beautiful Bathsheba bathing on her roof. Rather than high tailing it back inside as he should have done, David allowed his mind to wander to “what if she were mine.”

Oh David, what were you thinking? That’s the problem, he allowed himself to think too long. Think too long and you’ll think wrong. And he did. And so will we. If we think too long on sin we will think wrong. Practice this verse with me. I’ve used it many times and you’ll recognize it. I challenge you to memorize it and pray it to the Lord each morning as you put on your running shoes in preparation to run the other way from wrong thoughts.

“Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23 & 24).

Hope

Gotta pour it all out…

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I’m going to tag onto a devotional that I did a few weeks back about sorting laundry. This morning I attempted to sort the laundry without pouring it all out on the floor. The basket was only half full so I thought I could do that without a problem. After starting the one load with the dark colors that I need, I decided to pour the rest into the main basket in the laundry room. There in the midst of washcloths and a couple of towels was one dark sock. I hate it when I finish a load and don’t have a match! I immediately remembered my devotional. You can’t sort the laundry without pouring it all out. Well technically you can – but you’re sure to miss something.

The same with sorting through our fears, our hurts, our pains, our sins – we can try to take care of them and sort through them by “surface” confession to the Lord. But if we do not pour all we have on Him, there will be something left hidden among the good stuff. If we aim to sort through and talk to the Lord about things that lie on the surface and refuse to open up our whole heart to the Lord, just when we think we’ve got it all together, a black sock will show up in the midst. That black sock belongs to another black sock which means there’s an incomplete pair somewhere. The same with our hidden issues. They connect or belong to something or someone. We must pour it all out at the feet of Jesus in order to see it all, address it all, and leave it all. He wants to handle all our dirty laundry. But He can only do it if we’re willing to give it to Him.

Gotta pour it all out…

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).

Hope

Spiritually buff!

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Another thought I’ll heist from Curtis’s Sunday School lesson on Sunday is that in order to grow in our relationship with the Lord, we have to work out. Yuck! I used to enjoy working out but now I work so much, adding the “out” to it is no longer an out for me. It’s a burden! But as with anything worth attaining, if it’s easy, it’s not worth holding on to. Check out this verse…

“Therefore, my dear friends…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12 & 13).

Toning muscle and losing fat doesn’t just happen. It takes a healthy diet and working out. Our relationship with the Lord doesn’t just happen. We have to work out – break a sweat by going the extra mile to grow our knowledge of Who God really is and what He wants to do in and through our lives. We cannot consider that we have arrived. It is a daily work out in order for God to fulfill His good purpose in our lives. Otherwise we will continue to be baby Christians. Babies cannot handle big stuff. Baby Christians can’t handle big stuff either. If we have not gained a greater understanding of God is through our suffering, we’re little babies in Christ. And the big stuff will take us out spiritually.

Have you had your daily work out with the Lord today? Get busy! You don’t want the big stuff to take you out – you need to be spiritually buff!

Hope

Be a shiner not a whiner!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

We’re in Philippians for our Sunday School lessons this quarter – what encouraging words from the Apostle Paul as he’s locked in prison! Clay was in West Virginia yesterday visiting Poppy and Grandma Ellen, and Curtis Jones kindly taught our class in Clay’s absence. He started off by writing on the board, “Be a shiner not a whiner.”

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:14 & 15).

Paul was locked in prison – undeserving of being bound by chains and locked in a small, cold and lonely cell. Yet he was encouraging the fellow Christians to cut out the grumbling and complaining. From our human perspective, Paul had all the right in the world to be disgruntled. But he chose instead to be a shiner not a whiner. He was shining as a brilliant light to the world while locked up in chains. Paul was probably tempted to write, “Whaaa!! Quitcha whining!”

The Lord is calling us through Paul’s writings to rise above our circumstances. In spite of our present condition, we must shine the light of Jesus Christ. Stop griping, complaining, arguing, grumbling. Jesus is calling us to shine our light to the people in this dark world! They are desperate to see love and hope and joy and peace! If we as Christians do not show it to them, who in the world will? Come on guys, let’s step up to the plate and be a shiner not a whiner.

I have no idea how to change the color of the font now that I’ve switched to the Mac. I refuse to complain or whine. I’ve added to my list to cover in my One-to-One session. In the meantime, you’ll have to bear with the boring ole black.

Hope

Did you hanitize?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

My two year old great-nephew, Bryson is too funny. He has a new little brother, Brodie and from the time Brodie came home from the hospital Bryson was on hand sanitizer patrol. When you walked in the front door, he’d say, “Did you hanitize?” He’s absolutely adorable.

hand-sanitizerThen there’s my faithful friend and travel partner, Di. She is a hanitizing freak. I guess it’s technically called germaphobia. She does not touch a door handle. When entering a restaurant or restroom or any other public place she either waits for someone else to open the door for her (the prima donna in her) or she uses her sleeve or blouse tail to open the door. She uses her foot to flush a toilet, and when we stop to get gas, I pump it (prima donna remember) and as soon as I get back in the car she’s holding the hand sanitizer, cap open, ready to pour into my germafied hands. The sad thing in all this? She’s rubbing off on me! I find myself not touching a door handle, I have small hand sanitizer bottles all over the place, and this morning after I paid $30.00 for 9 gallons of gas, I immediately pulled out the hanitizer! Have mercy.

We should be so faithful to hanitize our minds and hearts of sinful germs that creep up. They lie dormant waiting to attack, and if we don’t hanitize by renewing our minds and hearts with scriptures and prayer, the germs will take root and we’ll find ourselves spiritually sick. Now that’s a spiritual application right there! Every morning when you get up, say to yourself, “Did you hanitize?” And if the answer is no, take a few minutes to spend time in God’s Word and talk to Him through prayer. You’ll find those germs of discouragement, discontentment, fear, anxiety, temptation are destroyed on contact!

How about you, did you hanitize?

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Have a great weekend!

Hope

Hit the Pause button…

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Are you quick to react? Responding out of fear or frustration or the need to be in control? We allow our current situation to control how we respond. We need to allow the Holy Spirit that lives within us control how we respond. Unfortunately, we don’t give the Spirit time to lead us! We give knee-jerk reactions or spout off at the mouth when instead we should hit the Pause button and allow the Spirit to calm our spirit and give us wisdom.

Jesus Calling on March 19th says…the Light of My Presence is shining upon you, in benedictions of Peace. Let My Light shine in you; don’t dim it with worries or fears…Since I dwell in you, you are fully equipped to be holy. Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you. Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me…

Have you ever acted or reacted hastily, only to regret your words or actions later? If you hit the Pause button on your emotions and actions, there will be no need for regret. Allow the Holy Spirit to calm your fears, soothe your anxieties, erase your doubts, fill your soul. You’ll find you need a lot less drinks or smokes or drugs or any other “outs” to calm you down. I’ve never been a smoker but I used to say, when situations felt rather stacked up all around me, “I need a cigarette!” Of course I said it in jest but if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to calm our hearts, we do turn to other habitual sources. Don’t do it! Simply hit the Pause button.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1&2).

Hope

Heaven’s forecast…

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The weather mid-morning was absolutely perfect. It was 64 degrees and breezy. I said to the Lord as I walked across the parking lot of Gibbs Cancer Center that surely this is what heaven feels like all the time!

I visited with our favorite doctor, Steve Corso for a while, made my usual “visitation” rounds, and as I pushed the door open to exit the office area and enter the lobby for Palmetto Oncology and Hematology, I felt a wave of distress sweep over me. For the most part I do surprisingly well surrounding myself with individuals who are fighting for their life against cancer. But today the lobby was absolutely packed. As I walked through the door there were two patients that were wheelchair bound waiting for me to clear the doorway so they could go through, several family  members standing because there were no more seats, and dozens of patients who have found themselves in a life crisis. I literally had to take a deep breath and exhale slowly as I prayed in my heart for the Lord to be very real to each of them. I smiled and nodded and spoke to a few as I worked my way to the hall. I took the stairs down and continued praying for different unknown faces with whom I had shared eye contact. The weight of their illness threatened to rest on my shoulders…

Until I pushed the stairwell door open and exited onto the sidewalk. The brisk breeze tousled my otherwise perfect little ponytail and it was as if the Holy Spirit was blowing fresh wind and fresh fire into my heart and soul. That is what He desires to do for each of us. He does not want us to be burdened down with things that we have no control over. He does not want us to be oppressed or stressed or distressed or depressed. He wants us to allow His presence to speak peace to our overwhelmed and over-committed hearts, providing hope. Allow Him to do that for you today.

64 degrees and breezy – it was the perfect weather for calming my heart. It must be heaven’s forecast!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Hope

Heavy laden…

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

I apologize for not posting yesterday. I have been having laptop issues for weeks and yesterday I purchased a new MacBook. The bummer is that I had to leave my laptop with them to move everything over to my new Mac. I was without a computer for 27 hours! Can you imagine how stressed out I was! I was stressed because I’m HIGHLY over-committed.

I would like to know what the definition for “heavy laden” was back in the Bible days when Jesus said…

“Come to me all who are…heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

I heard a speaker on the radio the other day say, “Heavy laden is simply stressed and over-committed.” Well that describes our generation! We can paraphrase this verse to say…

“Come to me all who are stressed and over committed and I will give you rest.”

Does that have a better ring to you? Does that feel like Jesus is talking to directly to you now? I feel like He has inserted my name in that verse. Hope, come to me. You are stressed and over-committed. I will give you rest if you’ll let Me.

I think I’ll let Him. Are you feeling the pressures of this life in a big way? Have you said, “Yes” one too many times – or seven times too many – or a dozen times too many? Give it up and give it over to Jesus. He will give you rest. Wow that sounds inviting!!

Hope

Peace – it’s in the trust…

Friday, March 18th, 2011

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Inner peace doesn’t just happen. So many people have said to us that they don’t know how we do it – carry on with life after Hannah passed away. And I hear similar comments concerning other very tough trials. “I can’t even imagine having to survive that.” And we can’t imagine it. God does not load us up with grace and peace ahead of time. He dispenses it as needed. Sometimes day by day, sometimes hour by hour, sometimes moment by moment. But always on time, not ahead of time.

The above verse is a reminder that peace will come “as you trust in him.” As you simply means that the peace comes as a product of trust. As we trust we experience peace. We don’t wake up with a heart of peace and then decide to trust God. The trust must come first. We can say we trust Him with our lives, but if we are fighting against His will and His plan, there is no trust. And where there’s no trust, there’s no peace.

Think about your current circumstances. Are you anxious about them? Are you losing sleep? Are you allowing your anxiety to affect other areas in your life? If that’s the case, then you are not trusting your Heavenly Father to know what’s best for you. Trust does not produce anxiety, it produces peace.

May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust Him. Peace – it’s in the trust…

Hope

Let God clear your calendar…

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Have you ever had so much going on that you missed an appointment, or stood a friend up for lunch, or forgot to return an important phone call or pay a bill or keep a doctor’s appointment or – post a daily devotional?? I hate it when I do that! I pride myself in being organized with my calendar but this movie thing has thrown a wrench in that. I am really enjoying the entire process but it’s not a Monday through Friday 9:00 – 5:00 job. So my challenge has been staying on top of my personal life – my house, my bills, dental appointments, etc. And today I got so wrapped up in proofing the script that I forgot to post a devotional. Man I scolded myself real good for that!

This morning during our weekly prayer time I was making a list of the individuals we’re praying for who are battling cancer. Whew, what an ugly disease! I found amazing comfort in the truth of a verse that Deb quoted…

“My soul finds rest in God alone…” (Psalm 62:1).

If we will rest in the Lord, He will clear our calendar and allow us to catch our breath. And it is only in Him where we find true rest from the cares of this life. There are not enough hours in the day for us to carry the burden of all the sick who request prayer from us. We take the needs to the Lord and then find rest in His presence. Too busy to rest? Allow God to clear your spiritual calendar by giving you rest for your soul. When we get that area in line, the other areas will follow suit.

Hope