Archive for January, 2013

We just need to go there!

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Alexia shared the sweetest story with me today. An elderly gentleman was nearing death and the family was trying to prepare his little granddaughter of his pending death. They told her things like, “Papa will be dancing with Grandma real soon. He won’t be sick any longer. He’ll see Jesus. He’ll feel really good” and the little girl responded, “Well then, he just needs to go there!”

Good grief, God has answered my New Year’s Day prayer in a BIG way! I asked Him to provide opportunities to minister to folks in crisis, to help me keep my focus on the purpose of the ministry, etc. Today alone I have had a hard time getting anything done for texting or emailing or Facebooking or tweeting scriptures and prayers and words of encouragement. One after another – it’s been a day for crisis!

Early this morning before I left home I was texting and Facebooking with a young mother who is fighting a very hard battle right now. She has an ugly past, but because of her decision to trust Christ, she has a BEAUTIFUL future!

And a 3-year-old little boy, Bryson who was undergoing a heart cath this morning to prepare for open heart surgery in March coded during the cath and is now in ICU in critical condition. They’re praying he stabilizes over the next 48 hours so they can do the surgery. What a crisis to be faced with!

And a friend here at the office lost one of her closest friends today, a devoted wife & mother in her mid-30s died from complications of a long battle with leukemia. She lost that earthly battle today, but she won eternity!

Tonight Clay and I along with our friends, Todd & Carmela will sing on Niteline w/Greta Campbell at 8:00pm ET, and Deb will co-host. We will have an hour and a half to talk and sing about the hope we have in Christ. That hope I speak of to you often. The hope that rests in Christ. Because of that hope, these circumstances and tragedies and deaths and trials and sicknesses will not overtake us. But what they will do is make me say as the little girl said to her parents, “Well then, we just need to go there!” Heaven sounds better and better every day!

Yet this afternoon I visited the young mother who is dying with cancer that you’ve been helping me pray for. Unless she accepts Christ as her Savior, she won’t be going there. I pray for her heart to be drawn to the Savior of the world, and soon.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 25:8).

“They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 35:10).

Hope

So much to lose…

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

This morning I had a long visit with the young 34 year old mother I told you about a couple of weeks. My heart is so heavy for her! Please join me in praying for her. The cancer has not yet been diagnosed, but her prognosis is that she only has weeks left. I felt a strong sense of urgency for her soul during our visit. I explained what it means to accept Jesus as her Savior and seal her eternity in heaven. And then I stressed with passion her need to leave a legacy of faith for her three children, ages 12, 10 and 8. I told her that the most important thing she could do for her children is to leave them with the assurance that they can see her again. I explained that without Christ she will spend an eternity separated from her children. I shared our hope in Christ, a hope that takes us beyond the grave and into eternity where we will forever be with those we love, if they are Christians. I explained the hopelessness that comes with a death outside of Christ, and that as Christians we grieve and cry and mourn, but we are not hopeless. We know that we will see our loved ones again. She listened. She kept eye contact with me. But she didn’t say anything to me, one way or the other. When I said, “I urge you to spend time while you’re hanging out here all by yourself thinking about what I’ve told you” she dropped her head and nodded that she would do that. Please PLEASE pray with me that the Holy Spirit will pursue her!!

This young mother & wife has so much to lose. So much to lose if she doesn’t turn to the Lord. She will lose her soul. The hearts of her young children do not have to grieve as those with no hope if she has the talk with them and promises them they can see her again. She said to me today, “I wanna live.” Oh how I pray she will choose Christ – and live!

“Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Hope

Lasso your thoughts…

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

One of my favorite verses…

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

In other words, don’t even go there. Do not let your thoughts go anywhere that is contradictory to God’s Word. There is so much vying for our attention. There are so many false doctrines and warped teachings out there. But even more than these biggies are the lies that are fed to us subtly. For instance, the lies that are plastered all over billboards and posters and commercials that a perfect body is the only way to go. Or the lie for the men that if they drink the right kind of beer they’ll get the gorgeous women. Or the lie that in order to have satisfaction, you have to be financially successful – at any cost. Or the lie of all lies that God could not possibly love someone like yourself. All of these lies are diametrically opposed to the truths in God’s Word. Take those thoughts captive – lasso them and don’t let allow your mind to go there.

Get in the Word and know the truth. That’s how you can lasso your thoughts. You’ve gotta know the truth in order to recognize the lies. Do you know how an expert recognizes counterfeit money? They study the real thing memorizing every detail of it. That way they recognize a counterfeit immediately. That’s what we must do. We must know the truth of God’s Word so that we recognize Satan’s lies immediately. Lasso your thoughts. Don’t even go there.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

Hope

Lock your doors!

Monday, January 28th, 2013

When Clay opened his truck door this morning to leave for work, he found that someone had been in the truck and had ransacked it. He had not locked the doors, so we can’t say it was a “break in.” But that doesn’t lessen the invasion. An intruder, a thief was looking through our personal belongings hoping to find something valuable to steal. The only thing in the truck with any true value was Clay’s Blackberry Playbook, and they missed it. It is in a case that looks like a Daytimer so we’re assuming they didn’t know what it was. We are so thankful for whatever caused them to miss it. The Officer told us that this has become common around Spartanburg. A group of guys enter a neighborhood in one car, and they spread out going from driveway to driveway trying vehicle doors. They don’t break and enter, they just take things from unlocked vehicles. The moral of this story is lock your doors!

Satan is much like that. He doesn’t typically force his way in – we’re too smart for that. Instead he looks for “unlocked doors”, areas of our hearts & lives that are unprotected, areas where we are careless or negligent. When he gets in he goes straight for the valuable things. Our marriages, our homes, our children, our finances, our jobs, our relationships with friends & family, our testimony, and ultimately our joy. He doesn’t want the insignificant stuff, he wants the big stuff! If we are a Christian he can’t touch our salvation, so he goes for our influence. If he can damage our reputation, tarnish our character, steal our joy he has scored. Lock your doors! Be sure not to leave any area of your life unprotected. Guard your heart with the Word of God. Guard your thoughts with the Word of God. Guard your home with the Word of God. Make Christ the center, and all of your doors will be securely locked. Satan won’t stand a chance!

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith…” (1 Peter 5:8 & 9a).

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Hope

Grace abounds…

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Gotta love this quote from Mark Lowry…

God spreads grace like a 4 year old spreads peanut butter. He gets it all over everything.

We sure can make some messes, can’t we? We think we’ve got everything under control and then we blow it. Or we have all our plans made with every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted, and then we get sidetracked and end up making a big ole mess of things. The mental picture that Mark paints with this statement about peanut butter is a beautiful picture of God’s grace. It doesn’t matter how big of a mess we make, how desperately we blow it, how widespread our issues are. Nothing is out of His reach. No problem too big, no incident too small, no matter too insignificant. No sin too great. God spreads His grace all over everything. His grace abounds!

“…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).

“and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which arefound in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14).

Hope

That Lord…

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

I sent an email update to our Board of Directors and closed it with Di’s and my mantra, “That Lord, you can’t do a thing with Him!” Mickey responded back, “I would add, ‘That Lord, you can’t do a thing without Him!” I’ve experienced so many God-moments over the recent weeks. Clay and I have his parents, Poppy and Grandma Ellen staying with us while Poppy heals from a broken ankle. We’ve enjoyed having them there so much. A couple of nights ago in the wee hours of the night I heard Poppy laughing. I woke Clay up and told him something was going on with his dad. He went in to check on Pops only to find that he had dreamed something funny and could not shake it. He was cackling! He’s a mess. And I thought what a sweet little God-moment for him to find humor in the midst of his own trial.

And then there’s Caleb. We are watching the Lord’s goodness and grace and love be lived out  in Caleb’s life. He is in a pretty serious relationship now with Lauren Brewer, and with that relationship has come much security and contentment. While he was home for Christmas break they spent hours at the house hanging out with Clay and me. I don’t know how many Christmas movies, NFL football games and college basketball games we watched. They were as content to be with us as we were with them. And his phone calls to me are so sweet and gracious. God is honoring my MANY prayers on that young man’s behalf. Early in Caleb’s freshman year at Coastal Carolina I had to give him to the Lord. A handsome young man, full of personality, full of humor, attending college at the beach where opportunities to stray ABOUND?! I would not have slept a wink for four years had I allowed myself to “go there.” I remember specifically that I was wide awake about 3:00 one morning anxiously praying for Caleb. My mind was tempted to run away with me and surmise (to use one of my Mom’s favorite words) what Caleb may be doing. I felt my heart race and my breaths grow shorter and I realized that I could not do that. I could not go there. And at that 3:00am appointment with Caleb’s Heavenly Father, I placed Caleb at His feet. I’ve been tempted to pick him back up a few times, but have refused to do so. And now 2 1/2 years later I am watching God honor my simple act of trust and faith.

On New Year’s Day I asked the Lord to help me refocus on our mission at Hannah’s Hope Ministries – ministering to individuals and families in life crisis. I asked Him to open doors and opportunities for me to spend time with folks one on one and share my hope in Christ. He has answered that prayer over and over and over the past three weeks. Once again, He has proven Himself to be faithful and trustworthy.

My list could go on and on, but instead I’ll close by saying, That Lord, you can’t do a thing with Him. He’s a big ole mess, always up to something, always working on our behalf. These few examples I’ve shared, as well as many more and many you could share, would not have happened without His mighty hand at work in our lives. So Mickey’s right, That Lord, you can’t do a thing without Him!

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1).

“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: ’The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!’” (Psalm 118:14-16.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT).

Hope

In laughter or in pain…

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

I heard one of Hannah’s favorite songs on Pandora today, I Get On My Knees by Jaci Valesquez. My mind immediately went back to Wednesday, May 10, 2006. Hannah was scheduled to sing this song at Crossfire that Wednesday evening but instead she was diagnosed with what was thought to be ovarian cancer. Listening to this song today I was amazed at how appropriate the lyrics are for Hannah’s testimony…

I’ve learned in laughter or in pain how to survive

I get on my knees…

There I am before the Love that changes me

See, I don’t know how but there’s power

When I’m on my knees

This song is Hannah’s testimony. How in the world could a 17 year old girl face such a horrible cancer with so much grace? Hannah had spent time on her knees before the Lord. How in the world could a 17 year old girl keep her faith while spending the summer before her senior year in one of the largest cancer centers in America? Hannah had spent time on her knees. How could she have been so content in the journey that the Lord had called her to? Hannah had spent time on her knees. It was because she spent so much time with the Lord that she could survive in laughter or in pain. She knew that there was nothing she would face that her God couldn’t handle. She knew He would sustain her with grace and strength to get her through. Hannah’s faith did not falter, in laughter or in pain.

That same faithful God is our God, too. He can’t give us peace that passes understanding if we don’t go to Him. He can’t comfort us if we don’t ask Him to. He can’t be our Rock and refuge if we don’t turn to Him. He can’t be our Savior if we don’t trust Him to deliver us. Hannah trusted God, even though He chose a very dark journey for her. And He proved to be trustworthy, in laughter or in pain.

But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 94:22).

“The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7)

Hope

 

Choose your words carefully…

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

I read a devotional this morning that really spoke to me. You know me, I’ll snatch a quote from someone and write my own devotional in a heartbeat. That’s what I’m doing today.

Choose your words carefully. When you were young did you ever stick your tongue and out and do the “nana-nana-boo-boo” dance while saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!” Lisa, my best friend since birth, and I did. We could cock a Miss Thang attitude in a skinny minute. But the words to that little chant are untrue. Sticks and stones do hurt you physically, but words cut to the heart. Words can crush a spirit. Words can destroy relationships. Words can drive someone away who otherwise would reach out to you. Words can cause irreversible damage.

And on the flip side kind words can heal a heart. Kind words can lift the lowest spirits. Kind words can mend broken relationships. Kind words can protect. Kind words can encourage. Kind words can save a spiritual life. Kind words, spoken with love and nurtured by the Holy Spirit, can change a life for eternity.

Has someone wronged you? Choose your words carefully. Has someone said something against you? Choose your words carefully in your response. Has someone lashed out at your kids? Choose your words carefully in how you counsel with your children. Choose your words carefully in how you speak to the person and of the person who’s wronged you. The tongue is a powerful tool. Be careful how you use it.

Here are a couple of “Ouch!” verses for you today…

“I said, ‘I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence’” (Psalm 39:1).

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26).

Choose your words carefully…

Hope

It’s a good thing we’re tweakable…

Monday, January 21st, 2013

God created us in His image. He had a plan and a purpose for our lives before we were born. But He also created us with a free will. And we take that free will and become the person we want to be, but that person isn’t always the person God wants us to be. We like to fall back on excuses, “Well, that’s just how I am” or “That’s how I’m wired” or “What you see is what you get” or “That’s just my nature. I can’t help it.” All of these are cop-outs for areas in our lives that need to be tweaked. Yes, we are born with a sin nature. But God created us to be tweakable. He knew we wouldn’t have it all together. He knew we’d take matter into our own hands. Hence, the tweakable factor. God is the potter. We are the clay. If we will allow Him, He will mold us into what He created us to be, tweaking here and there in order to carve off the “self” that consumes us.

It’s a good thing we’re tweakable, because I sure can blow it sometimes…

“We are the clay, and You are the potter. Your hands made us all” (Isaiah 64:8).

“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him” (Jeremiah 18:4).

Hope

100% Frazzled!

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Today has been one of the most frazzling days I’ve had in a VERY long time. It doesn’t help that I started the day quadrupling my morning calendar. How in the WORLD did I do that?? A couple of months ago I committed to a workshop on Vision that was to be 9:00 – 3:00. Then a couple of weeks ago I received an email invitation to an 8:00 breakfast introducing our new State Senator, Tim Scott. I jumped all over that invitation, without checking my calendar. Then I received a text from my dear friend and prayer partner, Di asking if we could pray on Friday rather than Thursday and I responded, “Sure” as if I had nothing else to do on this Friday the 18th of January. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Clay called me after he got to work this morning and said, “Do you remember that you have your HRA (Health Risk Assessment) here at 9:15?” What??? I responded, “Honey, I canNOT be there for that. I’ve got a workshop that starts at 9:00, and I’m already missing the Tim Scott breakfast. I can’t do it. You need to reschedule” to which he responded, “Today’s the last day for HRAs. You have to come. And I hope you haven’t eaten yet because you have to fast until they draw your blood.” Great. So I said, “Fine. I’ll be there.” I sent out a text that I would be late for the workshop, grabbed my purse and went on to Milliken in hopes I could have my HRA earlier than 9:15. I hate needles. Well, really it’s not so much needles that I hate. If you’re gonna give me a shot with them they don’t bother me. But when you start poking them in my veins trying to take my blood, that makes me lightheaded and nauseated – even typing about it! So as if my morning was not already frazzled on every end, the tech couldn’t find a vein in my right arm. I had already told her I needed her to talk me through this so I don’t pass out, and she wasn’t doing that. She didn’t say anything until, “I’m gonna have to go to your left arm. I’m not having any luck in this one.” Of course. Then I could feel her poking around in the left arm, moving the needle around, and she said to another tech, “Can you get me another tube? I think the problem is a bad tube.” To that I said to Clay who had been in line behind me but had already had his blood drawn and was walking around fellowshipping, “Clay, you’re gonna have to talk to me or pick me up off the floor.” He could tell in my voice that I was not kidding. I was fighting it. And he did a great job keeping me company and getting my mind off of it. So I left there without fainting, rushed all the way to the other side of town for the workshop where I arrived an hour late. I was just getting settled in when I received a text from Di asking what time we were meeting to pray. Really? Did I really agree to reschedule our weekly prayer time to Friday the 18th where I already had tripled my calendar of events?? Since no one else in my group had shown up for the workshop, I made the decision that I’d rather be praying, so I left.

After lunch I walked over to the CPC side of the office in hopes of getting cheered up, and I guess they were having a bad day too. I knew if I didn’t get out of there I was gonna break down and cry like a baby. That’s how I felt. I felt that at any moment I was going to have a complete meltdown. Thankfully I received an email that I needed to respond to so I excused myself and escaped. The rest of the afternoon I worked on contribution statements, all the while listening to Selah on Pandora and fighting tears. What in the world was wrong with me? Clay called and asked how my day had been, and that was all it took. I’m sure he wished he had asked any question other than that.

Do you remember the scripture that I used yesterday? Let me remind you (or me)…

“Base your happiness on your hope in Christ. When trials come endure them patiently, steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer” (Romans 12:12 JBP).

Today I based my happiness on my circumstances, my quadrupled calendar. Trials came, self-inflicted trials, and I didn’t do very well enduring them. But what I did do right was maintain the habit of prayer. I had a lot of talks with Jesus today. I told Him all about my troubles. And it was during one of my rantings to Him that He brought this scripture to my mind. I love how He works! And the reason He could bring this scripture to my mind is because I had read it in the first place. That’s why reading the scriptures is important!

So at the end of this 100% frazzled day, I am at peace. I am happy because my hope is in Christ, not in my circumstances.

Please pray for Poppy (Leon Houchins). He fell and broke his ankle on Wednesday. Clay and Deb have gone to spend the weekend with him. It’s hard to see our parents suffer. Thanks for praying for him! Have a great weekend.

Hope