Archive for August, 2011

The last one to leave…

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Growing up, being the Pastor’s daughter and all, our family was always the last to leave the parking lot. Now we weren’t the first ones there, I assure you. Faye Ann, aka my mother, was never on time for anything. But she didn’t mind hanging around to the end. That “habit” seemed to follow me into adulthood and quite often, while we’re not the last to leave the church parking lot, we are among the last handful. And not just at church. Regardless of the gathering, Clay and I often “shut ‘er down.” (That’s Clay’s phrase.)

At a crime scene, the Lieutenant or head Detective or Chief of Police or Sheriff or whatever the position, is usually the last to leave the scene. They wait around and make sure that no evidence was missed, no one is messing around, and that all is well. God is the first one on the scene and the last one to leave in our lives. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens to us but what it passes through God’s hands first. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He ordains it or allows it – whatever it is. He was there before it happened and will be there when it’s over. That, friends, provides hope and security and peace. God hasn’t left you. After all, He’s here long after we’ve moved on. He’s the last one to leave.

“Who did this? Who made it happen? Who always gets things started? I did. God. I’m first on the scene. I’m also the last to leave” (Isaiah 41:3-5).

Hope

By the spring in your desert…

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

I love the story of grace and forgiveness and redemption of Hagar, Abraham and Sarah’s servant. You remember the story. Sarah could not bear children so she insisted that Abraham sleep with Hagar and bear a child so that Sarah could raise it as her own. When Hagar found out she was pregnant, she began to resent and despise Sarah. Obviously she wanted to keep her baby. So Hagar ran away. The scriptures say that “The angel of the Lord found Hagar by the spring in the desert.” Love it!!

So often we get wrapped up in ourselves and our poor, pitiful circumstances and we run. We may not physically pack up and run but emotionally we hit the road! And we do not want to look back. We think God is completely uninvolved in our lives and we start the blame game. We find ourselves in a dry desert land. And just when we think we’ll thirst to death, we encounter the Lord by the spring in the desert. It is when we stop running and seek a drink of refreshing water that we encounter our Source for energy, for comfort, for encouragement, for survival! Hagar named God, “The God who sees me” because she realized that God cared for her and loved her unconditionally. Are you in a dry desert land right now? He’s also the God Who sees you. Don’t miss out on the Living Water that He has for you. He’s right there – by the spring in your desert.

“The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert…She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Genesis 16:7 & 16).

Hope

God’s credentials…

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Ever had a co-worker turn on you? Ever had a friend turn on you? Ever had a family member turn on you? There’s nothing more heartbreaking to me than to put my trust in someone, give them my loyalty only for them to turn on me. Unfortunately this is quite common in the workplace. That’s one advantage to being the only office employee with Hannah’s Hope. I’m pretty sure I won’t be turning on myself! But it is hurtful and destroys trust when anyone – friend, co-worker or whomever, turns on you.

We have a Heavenly Father who is faithful. Our Sunday School lesson was in Lamentation 3 yesterday. I just love verses 22-23…

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

I’ve been humming Great Is Thy Faithfulness all morning.

There is no shadow of turning in Thee

God is not going to turn on us. There’s not even a shadow or a hint that He ever would. He is on our side and He’s here to stay.

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, As thou hast been thou forever will be

God is the same. He never changes. His love never fails. His faithfulness never wavers. He’s been that way from the beginning and He’ll be that way forever. God will not turn on you. Why not put your trust in the Only One who holds such credentials?

Hope

Iron sharpens iron…

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Nothing dulls a blade like using it on things you’re not supposed to use it on. No matter how sharp the knife, if you try to cut a piece of wood with it, you’re going to dull the blade. It may remain sharp a couple of times but if you continue to try to cut the wood with it, the blade will dull.

So it is with those we choose to hang with. We preach this truth to our children from a young age. “You are who you hang with.” “Birds of a feather flock together.” I continue to advise Caleb of this often. As we moved him into his four-bedroom apartment on Saturday I was thrilled to death to find that the young man in the room next to Caleb is a solid Christian. He’s athletic, played sports in high school, he and Caleb have a lot in common and they hit it off immediately. I am thrilled to death! Caleb will be 20 years old in a month but we never get too old to be influenced, negatively and positively, by those we hang with. I pray this young man will sharpen Caleb and Caleb will sharpen him. I’ve told Caleb, and we’ve watched it play out in his life and in our own lives, that if you hang out with friends who make bad decisions, you’ll find yourself making those same bad decisions. It may not happen immediately, but continue hanging with them and your iron will dull.

This truth is not just appropriate for our children. It applies to us no matter our age. Hang with negative Nancys, you’ll become a negative Nancy. Spend quality time with positive Polly and you’ll find yourself seeing the positive in your circumstances. Iron sharpens iron. If you are struggling with discouragement or tempted to be disgruntle with your church or your job or your relationships, distance yourself from those of like mindedness. Surround yourself with positive influence. You’ll find your mindset turn around. Iron sharpens iron.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Praying Irene takes a sharp turn to the east and misses the States! Have a blessed weekend.

Hope

Keep the change…

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Change, change, change. Every election “season” we are bombarded with politicians who promise change. And yes, the presidential election next year will bring change – whether we keep the same president or get a new one. The truth is the only constant in life is change. Nothing ever stays the same. We moved Caleb back to Coastal Carolina this past weekend and I came home Sunday night to an empty house (except for the pups of course.) I’ve not been upstairs to Caleb’s “suite” since we got home. I assume it’s in tact. It sure was nice having him home for the summer. He is so much fun and always has an incredibly quick wit. Of course with that humor comes the typical 19 year old attitude, too. But that’s okay. I miss him terribly this week. Change is hard sometimes. And change is certain.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. The only thing in life we can be certain that will not change is the consistency of our Lord and Savior. He is faithful. Always. He is loving. Always. He is jealous for me. Always. He raises the bar for me. Always. He is ever present in my time of need. Always. Change is certain. Jesus is the same. Keep the change, I’ll take Jesus.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Hope

I don’t get it…

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Yesterday I was going over a list of folks I just KNEW would jump all over the opportunity to invest in the movie but have not. I mean, why wouldn’t they? In my thinking it makes all kinds of sense why “they” should. I wrote in my journal, “I just don’t get it, God. But You’ve got it, don’t You?” Then I said aloud, “Wow, that’s pretty good right there!” Sometimes I kill me!

Yesterday I talked to a young 24 year old lady, not a believer, suffering from leukemia. She was very receptive to me but clearly not at all interested in talking about a God who would “let her get leukemia.” I could hear her saying indirectly, “I don’t get it.” If only she realized that when she doesn’t get it, God’s got it.

Clay and I visited Carmela’s mother tonight and we (our quartet) sang several songs for her. Mrs. Wanda is in advanced stages of ALS, or better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She was diagnosed in April and it’s been sadly crazy how quickly the disease has progressed. She is the sweetest, kindest, most gentle lady you’d ever want to meet. And her sense of humor has always been sharp as a tack, and though her body is frail and her speech is impaired, her sense of humor remains in tact. As we sang, “I wanna know how it feels to make my way down the streets of gold. I wanna know how it feels to have a talk with the saints of old” I looked over at Mrs. Wanda and she lay in her chair with tears flowing and her weak hand raised to the Lord. She’s only 62 years old. It is so sad. Sometimes I don’t get it. But God’s got it.

Are you baffled at circumstances or situations that make no sense to you? Have you every said, “I don’t get it.” Rest, relax, quit trying to figure it out. God’s got it.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:7-9).

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love him…” (Psalm 145:18-20).

Hope

My Daddy’s Strong!

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Bryson & Brodie Glover

A couple of weeks ago we were having dinner at my sister, Carla’s house. We were all sitting around the table post-meal yacking and her 3-year-old grandson, Bryson was intently watching his daddy, Brandon. Brandon was holding their 6-month-old chunklet, Brodie. Bryson was enamored by his daddy. He had already done all he could to dominate Brandon’s attention by showing him every piece of his salad before he ate it, cucumber bite, a shredding of cheese, a piece of lettuce, a tomato, it was really cute. Then when Brandon stood up with Brodie, Bryson climbed up on his knees and looked over the back of the dining room chair and watched his dad as he played with Brodie. Bryson said in the sweetest little voice, “My daddy’s stwong” as his little eyes danced in amazement. Now grant it, Brodie is 21 lbs at 6 months old and I imagine in Bryson’s little skinny-tail mind it would take strong muscles to carry Chunklet around (that’s his nickname for his little brother). But the cutest thing about the whole scene that we watched unfold was Bryson’s love and admiration for his daddy. It still brings tears to my eyes when I dwell on it. Brandon spends good quality time with his little boys and they don’t wonder whether he can be trusted or whether he’s strong enough to handle their weight or if he’ll show up and take an active role in their lives at the end of the day. Brandon and Blair are great parents and Brandon offers the solid foundation in the family that those boys are going to need throughout their lives.

Our Heavenly Father is like that. We should keep our eyes on Him and never cease to be enamored by His love and protection and strength and stability. Bryson knew Brodie could be trusted in Brandon’s arms because Bryson spends many hours there himself. So it is with our Heavenly Father. We know our children or our spouse or our sibling or our parent or our best friend or whomever needs the care can be trusted in His arms because we’ve spent many hours cradled there ourselves. We don’t have to wonder if He’ll show up and take an active role in our lives. He’s here all the time. Be reminded of that truth. What peace and rest you’ll find there!

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy” (Psalm 61:3).

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10).

My Daddy’s Strong!

Hope

Okay, God, You’re up…

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Di and I spent a good bit of time on Monday rehashing the direction of this first four and half years of Hannah’s Hope Ministries. The direction the Lord has had us in has sometimes been a little iffy. My comfort zone is when that direction is clear and I know exactly what my role is. I’m always so thankful for clear and obvious direction! It’s when I have no idea what’s next that I struggle. And it’s not so much when there are too many options ahead but more when there seems to be no apparent road much less a decision which way to go! It’s at that time that I must wave the white flag and say, “Okay, God, I give. You’re up.” It’s His turn to make a move. When I’ve done all I can do and have no idea what else needs to be done, it’s all Him at that point.

What a safe and comfortable place to be! It may sound stressful but it’s not. If I know I’ve expended my options then I know God has a perfect, not-yet-revealed plan. He’s up – and He won’t falter when it’s His move. He always makes His move, and it’s always a winning move!

Are you there in your life? Do you feel like you have come to the end of your options in a particular situation? Wave the flag of surrender and say with confidence and faith and assurance, “Okay, God, You’re up!”

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5 & 6 The Msg).

“God is with us; he is our leader” (2 Chron. 13:12).

“The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble” (Proverbs 19:23).

Hope

Accept Terms and Conditions…

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

I’m working from the hospital today and when I logged on to the Internet early this morning, I once again had to scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Accept Terms and Conditions.” They’re serious about those terms and conditions. They want to be sure you know what is acceptable and what is in violation. As long as you stay within the guidelines, you can do whatever you need to do online.

God’s Word is filled with Terms and Conditions. Not laws that are impossible to keep, just terms and conditions that are very doable. This list provides boundaries for holy living, and if we stay within those boundaries, we can do whatever we need to do and remain online or in good standing with Him. St. Augustine of Hippo coined the phrase, “Love God and do as you please!” If we could get that condition down pat, there would be no worry of being in violation of God’s commands. Simply love God with all your heart and do anything you want. Your “want to” will line up with His Terms and Conditions. If only we would take the time every morning before facing the day to accept God’s Terms and Conditions, our lives would not be nearly as complicated.

“The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts” (Deuteronomy 6:4-6).

Thank you for continued prayers for Buddy. The surgeon and cardiologist are pleased with his progress. Praise the Lord!

Hope

Same heart, new parts!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Thank you so much for your prayers for my brother-in-law, Buddy. The surgery lasted 11 hours yesterday. He had a large aneurysm in his aorta that, in the surgeon’s words, is too often catastrophic and only found in an autopsy. Buddy also had two valves replaced and a hole in his heart that was repaired. They told us that he’d be on a ventilator at least 24 hours after surgery. Instead, God pulled some strings! Four hours after surgery Buddy woke up on his own and they removed the vent. He mouthed to Teresa, “Love you. Sweet dreams.” What a miracle! He continues to do well. I walked in for the 9:00 visitation this morning and he was sitting up in the bed, looking like he was ready for Taco Wednesday! What a might God we serve!

Buddy has the same heart, but new parts. Sometimes that’s what the Lord has to do to us spiritually. He doesn’t remove our heart, He just replaces the parts. Maybe the parts are clogged with envy, jealousy, rebellion, doubt, fear, discouragement, discontentment, unbelief, malice, impurity, the list could go on and on. Whatever is leaking into your spiritual body that threatens to shut you down must be repaired. Allow God to perform reconstructive surgery on your heart today. He’ll fill it with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Same heart, new parts!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22 & 23).

Hope