Archive for August, 2012

Always on the witness stand…

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

I read this in Grace for the Moment this morning (I’m paraphrasing just a bit as I can’t remember it exactly)…

As Christians we never step down from the witness stand. Court is always in session & we remain under oath.

When asked to witness in a courtroom, you step down from the witness stand at the end of your testimony. You are no longer under oath (although we should always tell the truth), and court is eventually adjourned. Not so in our Christian walk. Jesus calls us to live a life of integrity at all times and to live our life as a witness – a personal testimony – of His saving grace. We are always on the witness stand. If we profess Jesus, someone is watching at all times. That someone may live under your own roof, or they may work beside you in a cubicle, or they may bag your groceries, or they may clean your laundry, or they may simply pass you on the street. But someone is always watching. We are always on the witness stand, under oath, and court is always in session. That doesn’t mean we have to keep a Bible tucked under our arm around the clock, ready to shake it in someone’s face. It means that our life should be a reflection of Jesus Christ.

St. Francis of Assisi is attributed to penning the phrase, “Preach the gospel with everyone, and when necessary use words.” That sort of goes along with what many of our parents challenged us with, “You may be the only Bible your friends read.” In other words, you’re always on the witness stand.

“But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world” (Acts 1:8).

“Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart” (1 John 5:10).

Hope

Captivate us…

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I received an email from my Texas bff, Rhonda Robinson this morning telling me that Jacob, now on staff in the Recreation Ministry at Second Baptist Church in Houston was asked to do the Welcome, Announcements & Closing Prayer at the 11:11 service this past Sunday. And as I opened the email, the song Captivate Us starting playing on Pandora. That Lord, He’s a mess! Captivate Us was sung at Jacob’s wedding, and the lyrics were so appropriate as I read Rhonda’s remarks of how blown away yet humbled she and Glenn are at the amazing way God is using Jacob’s life. Second Baptist in Houston, really Lord? The massive church that loved on us and prayed for us and served us during the 77 days that Hannah was a patient at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center? What are the chances that He would place Jacob in a ministry position there? The chances are VERY high when God is Lord over all chances.

Some of the lyrics to Captivate Us…

You whisper love and life divine and Your fellowship is free

Draw me closer, O my Lord. Draw me closer, Lord, to Thee

Captivate us, Lord Jesus and set our eyes on You

Devastate us with Your Presence

When I think of how the Lord has His hand on Hannah’s family and her friends, the way His hand of blessing rests on us and around us, I can’t help but be devastated by His presence. I pray that He captivates us every day, all day! May our eyes always be set on Him every day, all day! All of these blessings are free, flowing down from above. Nothing thrills God more than to be able to lavish His children with goodness and mercy and grace and blessings. All we have to do is ask! All of it – the fellowship, the blessings, unmerited favor – all of it is free! Jesus paid the only price that has to be paid. Our only role is to accept all He has for us.

Captivate us, Lord Jesus. May we never take for granted nor get over all that is ours for the asking.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

“Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before” (Joel 2:23).

Hope

Running into the throne room…

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Oh Jesus, the greatest privilege in all of the world is to come running into the throne room of the King of the universe!  Oh Jesus, what a privilege! What a privilege!  And when I come running into Your throne room, You are there -  waiting for me – anticipating my arrival – longing for my arrival at Your feet!  You have so many things You want to tell me!  You have so much wisdom You want to share with me to enlighten my path!  You know that it is always for my greatest good to sit at Your feet and soak up Your wisdom! Don’t let me get beyond the truth that the greatest place for me to be is sitting at Your feet!

Oh Jesus, I come this morning with a heart full of thanksgiving to You!  Oh Jesus thank You for rest! Thank You for sleep!  Thank You that You never slumber or sleep but You are up keeping watch over me!  “He who watches over you will not slumber!” Psalm 121     24-7 You are watching over me!

Oh Jesus, I have so much to be thankful for today! I bow at Your feet this morning to give You praise!  This day, the 29th day of August 5 years ago, Alex left this earth for his eternal home. I will never forget reading the 29th Psalm that day – it speaks of Your voice striking with flashes of lightning. He was struck by lightning – it came with no announcement – and he was instantly transported from this earth. Oh Jesus, I pray for his family today. I pray that You will strengthen their hearts with the truth that You sit enthroned over the flood; that You are enthroned as King forever and that You bless Your people with peace! Oh Jesus, I pray that You will bless their lives with peace today! May they know Your presence in a very real way on this 5 year anniversary!

And now here we are on the 29th day of the month again and Your word is so applicable as Hurricane Isaac is wreaking havoc over everything in its path. We look to You and we look to Your truth as our only anchor and hope. The 29th Psalm says that Your voice is over the mighty waters. It says Your voice is powerful and majestic. It says Your voice breaks the cedars, shakes the desert and twists the oaks! And Father, it says that in Your temple everyone cries, “Glory!” Oh Jesus, we acknowledge that You are God alone and that You are on Your throne! We acknowledge that You are the God of all power and might! We acknowledge that Isaac has not caught You by surprise but that You are sitting above Isaac. Oh Jesus, I bow my knee and cry “Holy, Holy God!”

Oh Jesus, You sit enthroned over every storm of our lives – even when it seems You are far away. You hold me – and You hold the universe – in the palm of Your hand. You cover me with Your feathers and under Your wings I find my refuge!  I can safely abide there – nothing can harm me.

Father, it is those truths that You desire for me to communicate to others who cross my path every day. Your truth is the anchor for our lives. What everyone needs is truth that is absolute. When You give me opportunity to speak with others who have heavy, burdened hearts help me always remember that what they need is Your truth. Your truth cuts straight to the heart of every concern!

Oh Jesus, today give me opportunities to share Your truth with someone else! Amen!

Don’t ignore the small stuff…

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

I didn’t post a devotional blog yesterday because I took the day off. Completely off, didn’t answer any calls or return any calls that were work related. Well until late last night. But for the most part I was off. We were in Natural Tunnel, VA for the weekend with Clay’s extended family for their annual family reunion, returned home yesterday evening. We had a great time. And this weekend we’ll go to Ocean Lakes for my annual family reunion. There’s nothing like family – the good, the bad & the ugly. Can’t beat ‘em.

I have a new curling iron and the entire iron is solid black except for the hot pink on/off button. Yesterday morning I absentmindedly reached to pick it up and picked up the wrong end – OUCH!! I burned four of the five fingers on my left hand. Oh that hurt!! I immediately ran to the kitchen of the lodge where we were staying, looked for mayonnaise to no avail, so instead grabbed the tub of butter. My fingers were so hot the butter literally melted as I applied it. I have no idea whether butter was a smart thing to put on the burns or not, I was desperate. Then I grabbed an ice pack from the fridge and held on to it for a few minutes. Two of the four fingers have blisters, the other two are just slightly red. The problem with the two that don’t have blisters is that I have forgotten several times and tried to pick something up, only to bark, “Ouch!” on contact. You have to look closely to see the burns. But the two that are blistered are easy to see and much more painful.

I thought this morning as I reached with my left hand for the dishcloth only to flinch in pain how much like sin is in our life. Some of the sins we could be tempted with are prominent, easy to spot, cause immediate pain and heartache, and we’re always aware of the impact they can have on our lives. Those big sins we often steer clear of. We know the heartache, we know the consequences. Sins like adultery, theft, murder. But it’s the small sins that creep in. They’re easier to “accommodate” because they’re not visible to others, they don’t cause as much immediate pain, so we carry on as if they’re not even there. Sins like bitterness, jealousy, envy, hatred, an unforgiving spirit. And often it’s the small sins that ultimately cause the most pain, because they’re hidden until they threaten to destroy us.

In God’s sight, there are no big sins and little sins. Grant it there are greater consequences with some sins than others, but a sin is a sin is a sin. Some may cause immediate blisters while others are not as obvious. But every one of them have to be dealt with. And Jesus provided the perfect ointment, the perfect salve, the perfect solution. Forgiveness and redemption through His blood. Confess your sins – all of them. Don’t hide them, don’t ignore the small stuff, don’t assume they’ll go away on their own. They have to be dealt with in order for you to live a victorious Christian life.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

“I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin” (Psalm 38:18).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Hope

Fear – one of Satan’s greatest weapons…

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Fear is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. – Sarah Young

Why is fear such a great weapon for Satan to use on Christians? Because he can’t touch our souls. If we’ve accepted Christ as our personal Savior, we’re in – and there’s not a thing Satan can do about it. So he sets out to make us as ineffective in our Christian life as possible. And one of the greatest ways he does that is with fear. Fear paralyzes us. If Satan can paralyze us, he’s one up on us. What if he can cause me to be afraid to…

Teach. I can’t teach because I get nervous in front of crowds. I freeze when I’m nervous. I don’t talk eloquently. I have a country accent. The list of “I can’t” fears can go on and on. So I turn down an opportunity to teach a Sunday School class or lead a Bible Study. Satan 1, Hope 0.

Share my faith. What will other people think of me? I don’t want them to think I’m a holy roller. I don’t want to offend anyone with my beliefs. I’m afraid I’ll lose friends. I’m afraid someone will make fun of me. So I don’t share my faith, I don’t tell others what the Lord has done in my life. Satan 1, Hope 0.

Trust the Lord with my whole life. I’m afraid He’ll ask me to go to Africa and live in a jungle and sleep on a four-stack bunk – on the top one, and I’m afraid of heights. I’m afraid if I trust Him with my all then He may choose to take my husband or allow my child to get a terminal illness or ask me to care for ailing parents. I’m afraid to completely trust Him. Therefore I don’t trust Him at all. Satan 1, Hope 0.

You know we could go on and on with this thought. If Satan can paralyze us with fear, he has won the battle – not the war, but definitely the battle. He wants to take away our Christian influence so that the Kingdom of God will not grow. Don’t let him score against you. Take heart, be brave and courageous. After all, God has already won the war, we just need to fight like it!

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).

Hope


Hit the Refresh button…

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

I was online shopping last night and attempting to print off an in-store-only coupon but the website kept hanging up. I huffed and puffed and twiddled my thumbs and clicked my finger tips on the table, anxiously wanting the site to perform properly. But the little circular arrow just kept going round and round, grinding and grinding. Finally I hit the Refresh button and the page woke up, the coupon downloaded, I was able to print it, and the entire site was quick to navigate.

Sometimes in life we get stuck. We get hung up on other people’s mess, or disappointments, or unmet expectations, or dead end turns, and we just sit around and grind. We do not get anywhere, just stuck in the same ole place. We need to hit the Refresh button – refresh our relationship with Jesus by spending time with Him. Sing songs of praise, speak His name when we’re tempted to be consumed with or brought down by our circumstances. Satan can’t hang out where the name of Jesus is spoken. We can also Refresh by spending time in God’s Word, and reading daily devotionals. Such as this one. I’m a bit partial myself.

Recognize the signs of being stuck, and hit the Refresh button. You’ll find fresh energy, fresh zeal, fresh waters.

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” (Jeremiah 31:25).

“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).

Hope

Wave Him in…

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

I’ve been thinking about this game of life thing. This morning I read a quote from my good pal, Max Lucado…

God brings new life to our team…a new plan, a new leader.

As I talked to the Lord about the truth of this statement, He allowed me to go somewhere I’d never been in my analogy of the game of life. I imagined myself being in a game, trying every play I’ve ever learned. I execute every plan I have under my belt. And I keep falling short of the goal, short of home plate, short of the finish line. I even change up my plans a little, tweaking them here, refining them there. Yet I still come up short. I keep striking out. And then I imagined myself looking over my shoulder to the sidelines where Jesus Christ is waiting for His turn to run in. He is chomping at the bits for me to give Him a chance to teach me His plays, to execute His plan. But He doesn’t force Himself into my game. He could. After all, He’s God. But He doesn’t. He knows the rules. I have a free will to make my own decisions, and He gives me the choice to make my own plays. He even allows me to call the shots as to who is in charge of my game. I can choose to continue to play my way, and continue to come up short of the goal. Or I can recognize the power that Jesus brings to the game of life, the leadership He provides naturally, the authority that He manifests without even trying, the experience He has under His belt, the grace and mercy and strength that He supplies by being the leader of my team. So I wave Him in and watch the entire game turn around. And that goal that I haven’t been able to reach with my own game plan? Jesus will lead me there! With many cheers from on High!

Wave Him in, and watch your game of life take a turn in the right direction.

“When I was helpless, He saved me.” (Psalm 116:6).

“May your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need” (Psalm 79:8).

“They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed” (Psalm 22:5).

Hope

Right now…

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Mrs. Edith Hayes passed away late last night, and as I was praying for her family and our church family this morning, the song You Are God Alone came to my mind. 

Right now in the good times and bad You are on Your throne. You are God alone.

Right now – in the good times and bad He is on His throne. What does “on His throne” mean? It means that God is Mighty and He is in control, He’s calling the shots. He is into the details. He even cares about my squash casserole. As I shared yesterday I spent much of the day at the hospital with Mrs. Edith and her family. I had committed to baking a squash casserole for dinner with the Santorums, but did not have time to bake it. So I called Wade’s Restaurant and “by chance” they had squash casserole on their menu! That Lord, you just can’t do a thing with Him. He is on His throne, and He takes care of our every need. Even our squash casseroles. Right now, whatever season you’re in. Right now, whatever is going on in your life. Right now, whatever circumstance threatens to bring you down. Right now, whatever situation is out of your control. Right now, whatever your right now is. God is in control. He’s calling the shots. 

He is God, and He has your right now. Whether right now your times are good or whether they’re bad. God is on His throne. He is God alone.

“God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne” (Psalm 47:8).

“You, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation” (Lamentations 5:19).

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

Hope

He’s just good…

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Today has been a very long day. It started out “normal,” until I received a coded email from my good friend, Melissa Andrews around 9:30am. I read in between the lines that her mother, Mrs. Edith Hayes, was failing quickly and that time was short. But I also read in the coded wording that they had not been able to tell the close family, that they were meeting with Dr. Corso, and I knew I needed to get to the hospital quickly. The minutes have turned to hours as they wait for the Lord to take Mrs. Edith to heaven. What an unexpected turn of events. Last week she sang in the choir, a few days ago she was showing a friend how she line dances, she was feeling better than she had felt in months. Less than a week later she is struggling to take her next breath. But in the midst of it all, God is good. He is faithful to encourage and comfort and sustain. His grace is amazing.

Then late this afternoon until late tonight I was hanging out with some great friends. Senator Rick Santorum and his beautiful daughter, Liz are passing through town and they requested that a few of us get together for dinner at the McAbee’s lake house. We had so much fun getting caught up on who has been doing what and when, and how they’re doing it. Each of us have our own testimony of God’s faithfulness in our lives – His goodness to continue to shower little Bella Santorum with good health, the path that He has led Rick down with Patriot Voices, Liz’s excitement as she heads back to college in Dallas, and Clay and I shared the 14 minute promotion DVD for Hannah’s movie. And we all agreed that through it all God is good. He’s faithful and He’s sustaining.

So whether we’re facing death or facing new life, God is good. Whether things are good or things are bad, God is good. He’s just good.

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23:6).

Hope

Found in the rubble…

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Many of you have probably seen this picture over the years with the caption, “A cross was found in the rubble of the World Trade Center.”

I came across it again this morning on Facebook. When I look at this picture it symbolizes what the cross of Christ does for each of us. No matter how wrecked our lives are. No matter how messed up we find ourselves, emotionally or physically. No matter if we have made poor decision after poor decision and find our lives in shambles. No matter how much of what we know to be “normal” has blown up in our face. No matter how unexpected an attack. No matter if we saw the explosion coming but failed to heed the warning. No matter – the cross of Christ can be found in the rubble of our lives. Nothing we do, no mistake too great, no decision too poor, no wrong road too long, will bring down the cross. Jesus died to set us free from ALL of our sins, ALL of our mistakes, ALL of our rubble. His blood washed it all away, cleans it all up. Once and for all. And through the cross of Christ we have the power of God at work in our lives, even in the rubble.

“…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:8).

Hope