Archive for June, 2011

Don’t miss the good…

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

I like this passage of scripture…

“…it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12 & 13).

That’s a good passage to wrap up my Whatever My Lot and Fair-weather Friend devos. God is working in you in order to fulfill His purpose for your life. But not just His purpose, it’s His good purpose. Don’t miss the good. His purpose for your life is good. Even when it strips you of everything earthly that you hold dear. If you spend much time dwelling on that, you’ll be overcome with fear of the “what ifs.” God doesn’t give us a sneak preview of what’s to come – and that’s a good thing! He prepares us well in advance by growing our faith through Bible Study and prayer. But that’s it for the prep work. He doesn’t show us down the road even for one day. That’s where faith comes in.

Take advantage of all prep work so that when your trials come you can rest in the assurance that God is working it for His good purpose.

“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).

Hope

Fair-weather friend…

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

I’m tagging on to my devo from yesterday. What if your lot is one of pain and heartache? What if your lot is one of sorrow and defeat? What if your lot is layered with discouragement and loss? What if your lot is consumed with disappointments and grief? Do you trust God anyway or do you blame Him? Do you love Him in spite of your lot or do you grow bitter and angry with the One Who created You for His purpose in the first place?

Another part of the Spafford story is when his wife, the mother of the four girls who she clung to until rough waters swept them away from her, was being comforted by a friend in England as she waited for the arrival of her husband. The friend said, “Are you going to trust God and keep your faith, or are you a fair-weather friend?” Wow. That’s a tough question for me as I battle with my own self-dependence and reliance. Imagine being at the point of despair as Mrs. Anna Spafford was and asked that question. The weather wasn’t fair at that point, it wasn’t even partly cloudy. It was the most fierce storm anyone could ask to weather. Yet she chose to trust and believe and hope in the God Whom she had served during the fair-weather days. She chose not to be a fair-weather friend.

We must do the same. We must cling to God when the storms of life are raging. We must trust Him when our lot is painful. We must believe Him when no evidence surfaces. We must cling to His faithfulness when all we feel is despair. Don’t be a fair-weather friend to God. He’s not a fair-weather friend to you.

“‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend” (James 2:23).

Woo Hoo! I want to be called God’s friend, don’t you?

Hope

Whatever my lot…

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Really? Whatever my lot I will trust the Lord? I was doing as I do most every day, singing in the shower this morning and It Is Well With My Soul was the song for the day.

The story behind this song is that the author, Horatio Spafford, a very successful Chicago lawyer in the late 1800s suffered unimaginable loss in a three year span. First was the death of his only son to scarlet fever in 1870. Next he lost almost all of his real estate investments to the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. And in late 1873 he sent his wife and four daughters ahead of him on a French steamer for a much needed vacation to England. Spafford was to follow after tying up loose ends. Nine days later he received a telegram from his wife that read “Saved alone.” The French steamer had collided with an English vessel and had sank in only 12 minutes. 226 people were killed, including Spafford’s four daughters. While sailing to meet up with his wife, the captain of the ship called Spafford to the bridge as they passed over the 3-mile-deep waters of the Atlantic where his daughters had lost their life. He returned to his cabin and penned the words…

When peace like a river attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul

Wow. It’s all we can do to trust the Lord when we have a flat tire or someone rear ends us or our children make poor choices or there’s not enough money in the bank to meet the monthly bills or our dog eats our homework (sorry, I got carried away). But we do tend to blame God for all the “bad things” in our lives rather than say to Him, “Whether the rivers of life are peaceful or the sorrows are raging from an intense storm, it is well. Whatever lot you choose for me, Lord, it is well.” Do we really believe God loves us and has a plan and a purpose for our lives? Really? Whatever my lot? Do those words ring true in my heart? I pray so.

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).

Hope

A sprinkle of mercy…

Monday, June 27th, 2011

We are in the book of Jeremiah in Sunday School. He’s not called the Weeping Prophet for nothing. Can you say gloom and doom?!? Clay and I missed last Sunday as we were camping, but we had a small Sunday School hour with Leigh and Tyler. Meanwhile back at home Gene Harris, Clay’s assistant teacher, had the task of teaching the lesson and bringing it home to every day life, yet ending on a positive note so that the entire class did not leave in a panic search for the closest cliff from which to leap in hopeless despair! Di said to me when describing the particular passage of scripture, “It’s a good thing God sprinkled some mercy on us!” Mercy – withholding from us what we deserve. Oh I’m so glad I do not get what I deserve from the Lord, or from Clay, or from Caleb, or from my extended family as I neglect them so often since beginning this movie project, or from my friends, or from my church family. Oh how God and all those who know me sprinkle mercy on me all the time!

Have you sprinkled mercy on anyone lately? Has someone mistreated you or lashed out at you or judged you or perhaps even given you what you deserve? Sprinkle some mercy on them today. Withhold from someone today what they deserve. We all need just a touch of mercy, and God is gracious with His sprinkles! So ought we to be.

“Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD; may your love and faithfulness always protect me” (Psalm 40:11).

Hope

The Plans and Purposes of God

Friday, June 24th, 2011

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

 

Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.”

 

 

From the onset of this journey we knew that “this was bigger than we were.” This journey was not about Hannah and it was not about Hannah’s family. This journey was about Hannah’s God and the amazing ways He would reveal Himself throughout the journey. Without question, God poured much grace over Hannah’s life for the journey He had for her. He enabled her to walk in triumph right through the valley of the shadow of death without fear – what victory!

 

Prior to finding ourselves in the Emergency Room with Hannah, we knew that God had a plan and purpose for her life – just as we knew He had a plan and purpose for each of our lives. God gave us scriptures – like pearls on a string – to strengthen and encourage our hearts – day by day along the way. He gave us promises about Himself that revealed who He was and who He desired to be right in the middle of the storm. The very first promise He gave was Psalm 27:13-14. “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord.”

 

God wrote that scripture on my heart and I have clung to its truths every day! And God, in His sovereignty and providence, has shown us His goodness each day – not in ways we would have ever wanted, asked for, or chosen – but in ways we would never have imagined. We have never been separated from the goodness of God. His promises have been secure and steadfast. He has not failed to keep a single promise to us.

 

Throughout scripture, God is always a Redeemer and a Restorer – the One who makes all things new. The One who brings beauty from ashes, turns mourning to joy, replaces our despair with joy and brings forth eternal fruit through our suffering. “Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it cannot bring forth fruit.” Through the suffering and death of Christ, God brought forth Resurrection Power and Living Hope to each of us as believers – a hope that transcends anything this world can offer! Hannah knew that Hope and she had resurrection power to walk her journey because of her relationship with Jesus.

 

From Ezekiel, God gave His promise that “I will do this to recapture the hearts of (my people) the people of Israel, who have all forsaken me for their idols.” Also from Ezekiel, “breath would enter dry bones, they would come to life and stand on their feet – a vast army.” From the inception of HHM, God gave us Revelation 3:8 – “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

 

From Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

 

And as we prayed and sought the will of God, we have watched Him, step by step, some very painful, continue to lay out His plan. In the heart of Uncle Clay, from the beginning, was a desire to share Hannah’s hope through a motion picture and his part was to invest a year of his life writing a screen play.

 

Through divine direction, God led us to a godly producer whose desire is to share Living Hope with a world hungry and searching for hope. On the morning Hope was to talk with Ken for the first time, I very specifically asked the Lord that “whoever this man was, I just wanted to know that he had children and could understand the heart and love of a parent for a child.” And very specifically, as I had asked, I found out later in the afternoon that Ken has 9 children – all home-schooled. And I remember thinking “that was pretty good Lord!”

 

And then we were introduced to a young couple – Liz & Dave, screen writers, who would study Hannah’s life and words and bring to life her hope in the midst of her struggle! From our first visit, at a Dorman football game, the Lord gave us a kindred spirit with Liz & Dave. They would come to our home and, as Mickey and I sat across the room from each other they ask questions about the hardest parts of the journey. They began piecing together Hannah’s story in ways we wouldn’t have thought of but in ways that will be used to reach a wider audience with Hannah’s Living Hope!  

 

And in the meantime, God would work in our hearts to prepare us for yet another chapter in this journey – a journey we will continue on for the rest of our lives. He would help me understand that everything I had written in 400 pages and taken a year to write could not be included in a two hour motion picture. And He would once again teach me to trust Him – to lay it at His feet and believe that He was truly sovereign – even over a motion picture – to accomplish His purpose.

 

We would never have chosen to be so “naked and exposed” but we would not miss the opportunity for God to do something through this movie that only He can do! “I just want to know that one person has been impacted by my story” were Hannah’s words while lying in bed on a ventilator. Why would we not want Him to show us more of His glory and exchange more of our sorrow with His eternal joy? Why would we not want God to continue using Hannah’s story of faith to transform lives? Without question, we do! And with that we accept whatever comes our way – once again, trusting in His sufficient mercy and grace – knowing that His promise says, “He will fulfill His purposes for you.” Psalm 138:8

 

May Your Kingdom come, May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

I Love you Morning Sky!

Friday, June 24th, 2011

I love you morning sky! I you singing birds! I love you cool crisp air! I love you quiet strong, towering trees! I love your freshness! I love your newness! I love your mercies! I love your fresh grace! I love your promise! I love your new compassions! I love your millionth chances! I love your new word! I love your fresh perspective! I love your new direction! I love your new wisdom! I love your new strength! I love the beauty of the rising sun! I love the pink against the blue! I love the orange and the red! I love it that you hold secrets I don’t yet know about! I love your clean slate – your fresh start! I love the cleanness of your air! I want to hold on to you! I want to hold on to the pinks, the reds, the oranges, I don’t want you to go away! I don’t want you to fade into all light blue sky! But you must go I know! You have others who anxiously wait for you to come! It is just before dawn for them and they have been waiting a fortnight! They are so anxious for you to come! When you leave me, you will bring all the promise of the morning to thousands of others! What joy you hold!  Thank you for rising in my world today! May I invest this day in a way that will once again bring your morning smile!

 

Oh Dear Jesus, You have written so much on my heart the last couple of weeks about the promise of the morning and blessing of the morning!  You birthed it on my heart once again when I was studying the first day of creation again! “And there was morning and there was evening – the first day!” On the very first day – there was evening and there was morning!  How beautiful is that picture! How beautiful! Before I understood that I would need a new morning – a new day – You had already created it and given it to me!

 

I am treasuring the mornings! I am holding them as long as I can! I am watching the new day unfold!!  Oh Jesus, thank You for the morning! Thank you for the morning!! Thank You for walks through the woods in the mornings talking with You and claiming Your promises for the new day! Allow me to capture the moments of this day – in Your name, I pray, Amen!

Summer 2011

Friday, June 24th, 2011

I watched her from across the pool Lord and I knew in my spirit that before the night was over, we would be having a conversation. I was sitting at the edge of the water watching my boys play water basketball – the younger one determined to beat the older! It doesn’t matter how old they get – they will never get too old for me to just take great delight in watching them – just seeing them interact, seeing their strong handsome bodies and competitive natures! I don’t take these “moments” for granted – I was just soaking it in! It was one of the only times this summer the four of us could get off together for a few days!

 

I think You must delight in us in the same way – I think You watch over us and are filled with joy when we acknowledge You in our lives – You delight to place other people in our paths to accomplish Your purpose!

 

She was watching her son – like a mother bird hovering over a nest – making sure her little one was secure and content. As she encouraged her son, Lance, to join in the basketball game, I began encouraging Michael and Andrew to include him! And so there we were – 2 mothers watching their sons play in the water! But I knew in my heart – as I kept catching her glance – that there was something more to this story. She brought her things and moved to my side of the pool – we exchanged a smile and I stood to move closer to her. She shared with me later that she never approaches anyone – certainly not a stranger – and is very much an introvert. But it didn’t matter yesterday evening – You were ordering our steps.

 

She began talking about my boys and what a blessing it was for them to have each other!  And within the first minute she went on to mention Lance’s older brother, Lukas. He would have turned 23 this May – just a few months older than Hannah. A year ago he took his life through an overdose. Oh Dear Jesus, this mother’s heart was broken and her wound was so fresh – as we talked the tears quietly filled her eyes and overflowed. You were opening a door to love on this precious mother and listen. I knew You had a bigger picture and plan for our encounter. Oh Jesus, wrap your arms around Kathleen today – bring the healing that only You can bring – allow her to open the wound to You so that You can bring Your healing through Your truth that sets men free.

 

Oh Jesus, there are so many hurting people – they are everywhere – and Oh Father,  it is only You that can bring perfect and lasting healing. It is only You that can bring beauty from ashes and turn our sorrow to joy. Everyday I need You to do that in my life – everyday I need You to give me fresh perspective and fresh truth! And Lord, use my life today to be a catalyst that points others to the healing only You can give – Amen!

Be a Jax not a Muggsy…

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Muggsy thinks he has to be first at everything. When we open the door to let them out, Muggsy has to be the first off the porch.

L to R: Jax and Muggsy

L to R: Jax and Muggsy

He doesn’t share well at all, and he’s extremely jealous. If you are petting Jax or talking to Jax, Muggsy comes running up and inserts his little 13 lb. self between you and Jax. But worse than any of that, he’s a follower. Caleb and I stood in the breakfast area a few days ago and watched as Muggsy mimicked everything Jax did. Jax was on a sniff hunt, and Muggsy was scurrying along behind. Whatever Jax sniffed, Muggsy sniffed. Whatever bush Jax circled around, Muggsy circled around. Whatever tree Jax looked up, Muggsy looked up. Whatever flower Jax raised his leg on, Muggsy chose the same exact flower. Jax turned left, Muggsy turned left. You get the idea. It was too cute. Then today I watched them as I ate my banana sandwich, and Muggsy was leading the way – or he was trying to. Jax paid zero attention to what Muggsy was doing. Muggsy kept looking back to see if Jax was following, which Jax wasn’t, and then he’d run to where Jax was, get in front of him and try again to lead the way through the edge of the woods. Jax had his own sniffing mission going on. He didn’t have time to follow Muggsy around.

Be a Jax for the cause of Christ. Do not be distracted by the direction others are taking. God has a plan for your life and He wants you to walk in it. His Word doesn’t say, “You’ll hear a voice behind your best friend saying, ‘Walk in it.’” It says God’s voice will be telling you which direction He wants you to go. Find your own place in the Kingdom work, and do it – whether anyone else is doing it or not. Be too busy doing what God has called you to do to be worried about what others are doing. Be a Jax not a Muggsy.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21).

Hope

Child-like faith…

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Well, this will wrap up my “I could have lost my life on the lake” devos. Clay says I need to put it to rest and move on. I think he’s afraid I might reveal his role in ignoring the warning. But I won’t.

bryson-kidsSo we’re all sandwiched on the pontoon under the canvas and I look to the back, just behind the captain’s seat, and there, lying on the floor, all wrapped up in a dry towel, giggling and talking with no cares in the world, was almost-3-year-old Bryson. He had no idea the danger of the moment. He was clueless to the intensity of the storm that was raging. He was completely unaffected by the thunder and lightning. The rains pounding on the canvas did not frighten him in the least. Bryson knew that his Poppy was driving the boat. He had nothing to fear. And back there hanging out with Bryson, just as unaffected by their circumstances, were 3-year-old Landon, 7-year-old Matti and 13-year-old Carli. They were having a big time back there, completely trusting the adults to get them where they needed to be.

Child-like faith. If we had only a fraction of the faith in our Heavenly Father that children do of their earthly parents (and grandparents!), we would not have a care in the world. We’d recognize who our Captain is, we’d trust Him to weather the storm and bring us to safety. We would be giggling and talking and having a big time, in spite of the storms around us. Child-like faith. That’s really all we need.

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2-4).

Hope

Trust the Captain

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Continued from yesterday’s devotional…

on-the-pontoonMy reaction was an immediate one – Let’s get outta here! I don’t love the water. I can swim but it’s never been one of my favorite past times nor was it a sport I chose to participate in. I’ll spend the day on the lake and enjoy a nice slow boat ride, but when it comes to speed riding, skiing, tubing, jet skis, etc., I have no interest. So when it became apparent that there was no escaping this major storm on the water, panic threatened to set in. Our options were not pretty. Either we could wait it out on the deck of a house boat that we had no key to (the cousin-in-law-twice-removed was not present) which was only anchored to distant trees by ropes, ride back on the boat that had no top, or cram into the pontoon. Makes one want to ask, “Can I see behind Door #4, please?” However, because Carla and Rick had been in this situation before and had told us about all of the Glovers crawling under the pontoon cover during a thunderstorm, and because they are still here to tell the story, I decided I trusted them. So I, too crawled onto the pontoon. As we drifted away from the house boat and away from my husband in torrential rains, panic threatened to set in again. Several started questioning whether there were enough life jackets for the adults, and Carla made the comment, “Anyone who can’t swim needs one.” Immediately I drilled Carla as to whether she was being serious, did she think we’d need it?? Brent was kind enough to point out that life jackets were neither here nor there. We’re “locked in” with a huge canvas cover that is snapped all around us. If we flip, we’re not going to be able to make it to the top anyway. Once again, panic threatened to set in. Carla said she was joking, and I don’t know whether she was humoring me and her daughter-in-law, Blair who was in more of a panic than I was, or if she in fact didn’t think we had anything to worry about. But the bossy sister is definitely the strongest of any of us and she has no fear for the most part. Her story is that she has the most faith, and that is possible. Either way, because she assured me she wasn’t worried about it, I felt better.

And then there’s Captain Rick. His head was barely out of the cover as he stretched to steer the boat. There was no panic in his actions, no sense of urgency. Just calm leadership as he made the decision to load up and head out. Carla laid down on her belly with her head out of the opening at the front and guided Rick. This was not their first rodeo. She relayed the direction to Tyler who relayed it to Brent who relayed it to Rick. The rains were so loud on the canvas that it was very difficult to hear. But it wasn’t because of too much talking. For one time possibly EVER, the four sisters were not talking over each other. While some of us would like to have told Rick what to do and how to do it, we were smart enough to realize he knew more about the boat than we did. We were actually quiet (for the most part), trusting Rick to get us to the dock safely. And he did.

The problem with our spiritual journey is that we will not trust the Captain to get us home safely. When the storms of life are raging, panic threatens to set in. And if we focus on the storm rather than the One Who is in control, panic will win. Jesus is the Captain and He is guiding us through. He uses many “Carla’s” in our life to guide us and give us wisdom and direction to help us dodge the obstacles that can take us out in our spiritual walk. When the storm is at its worst, be still, be quiet and listen. Trust the Captain. He’ll get you home safely.

I’ve attached a picture of us huddled in the pontoon. Enjoy!

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11).

“I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly” (Psalm 85:8).

Hope