Archive for May, 2013

It’s GOTTA be better than this!

Friday, May 31st, 2013

After reading some verses on heaven this morning, I posted this statement on Facebook and Twitter…

Disappointment: Expecting in this life what only the next life can give. We’re not home yet. #heavenawaits

We desire for life to be good. Actually, we desire that it be great. But rarely is life great. It’s good a lot of days, but it’s only great once in a while. If we are investing our time, energy, and influence in the lives of others, we can easily get discouraged, and most definitely get disappointed. Many times at the end of an emotionally draining day, I’ve thought to myself, “Heaven – it’s GOTTA be better than this.” And it is. It is! But our joy is zapped way too often because we expect in this life what only the next life can give. In this life we will have trouble. Some have a lot of trouble. This world is not our home. It is a big ole mess, who’d want to live here forever?? Heaven awaits. We’re not home yet, take heart. And I promise you, it’s gotta be better than this! 

“Pay close attention now: I’m creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating…” (Isaiah 65:17 & 18a The MSG).

“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:13 & 14).

Poppy had surgery yesterday afternoon to reverse the temporary ileostomy he had on February 5. The recovery will take a few weeks but for the most part, he is doing well. Please continue to pray for him as he recovers, and pray for Grandma Ellen too. She’s doing great since her hip replacement on March 20. I spend my time keeping up with her cane. I’ve told her if you forget where you put it, you don’t really need it. And she doesn’t. She’s doing wonderful and we are so thankful for that. Your prayers have been felt and we thank you for every one of them. Have a great weekend!

Hope

Seal it up!

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

You are not going to believe what happened yesterday morning less than 30 minutes after I posted the Seal My Heart devotional. Grandma Ellen asked me to mail a couple of bills for her, and as I was dropping them into the mailbox the contents of one of them fell out of the envelope. She had forgot to seal it! Can you believe that after I had just talked about that? I’m so glad the check fell out before I dropped it in the box. I was able to seal it and protect  the contents.

Spiritually if we do not seal our hearts, the good stuff will spill out and open the door for bad stuff to creep in. We gotta be sure we seal the heart. Yesterday we talked about using the truth from the scriptures to seal it. We can also seal it by praising the Lord through song and testimony. If we talk about His goodness and His faithfulness and His love and His mercy, it’s hard for negative thoughts and emotions to creep in. If we sing about His grace and His love and His power and His majesty, it’s  hard for sin to creep in. A song in our heart will seal our heart. One morning this week I woke up a little anxious about the ministry, the movie, Caleb away working at the beach for the summer, Clay’s parents and their health, my sister’s circumstances, my nephews and their wives and their kids, you know – anxious about life! I found myself dwelling on negative stuff. So I grabbed my iPhone and turned on Pandora, scrolled to the Selah station and cranked up the music! And that was when I heard, Come Thou Fount.

Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.

Sin can’t creep in when we have scriptures flowing through and songs dancing around. Got a heart problem today? Seal it up!

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7).

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5&6).

Hope

Seal my heart…

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Listening to Pandora this morning, I’m reminded of the depth of truth in the old hymns. Come Thou Fount…

Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.

When you seal an envelope, the contents are there for keeps until someone tears into it. Nothing can be added to the envelope unless someone tears into it. When you seal a jar, the contents will not and cannot spill and nothing can get in it – no gnats or flies or dust – until the seal is broken. When you seal a casket, the remains cannot be touched unless someone breaks the seal. To pray for the Lord to seal my heart, I’m asking Him to close it securely so that nothing unclean can get in and so that the good will not escape. God is more than able to do that for us. He can and will seal our hearts to keep out evil thoughts, discouragement, despair, impure motives, pride, deceit, lust, etc. And He can and will seal our hearts to keep in the truths of His scriptures in order for us to be full of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Unfortunately, because we live in a fallen world, we have to ask for that seal every day. It’s not a one-time fix. It’s a daily struggle. But it’s very doable when we ask the Lord to seal our hearts every morning before we start our day. Look at this scripture from The Message…

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely” (Galatians 5:22 & 23 The MSG).

Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.

Hope

It’s a faith thing…

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Last night and again this morning my heart was very heavy for my youngest sister, Leigh. She has been going through a hard time the past few weeks. She’s been looking for a full time job and just feels inadequate, beaten down, incompetent, you know the drill. Satan loves to take a situation and use it to take our feet out from under us. He’s the master of beating us down. I tweeted this quote from Max Lucado this morning and added my own hash tag…

Even though you may not understand how God works, you know He does. #itsafaiththing

Later as I backed out of my driveway I couldn’t shake my heavy heart for Leigh. I asked the Lord to do something special for her today. Just something small that will remind her that He loves her, that He has her in the palm of His hand, and that He’s working – even though she doesn’t understand life right now. Less than 30 minutes later Leigh called and said, “I got the job!! I got the job!!” It’s a full time office position with a secular company that is owned and managed by Christians. The first thing the owner said to her when he interviewed her a couple of weeks ago was, “We love Jesus around here. I just wanted you to know that up front.” Really?? It seemed too good to be true, but this morning the Lord showered that blessing on her. I thought about the scripture that I posted in my devo on Friday…

“Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3 NLT).

So many times we ask the Lord for a specific request, but in our hearts we don’t really expect Him to answer it. It’s a faith thing. We have to trust when we can’t see. Believe when it’s unbelievable. Stick with Him when it’s hard to hold on. Our faith walk is so often continuing on when answers are unseen. And just when we think we may be traveling down a dead end road, God gives us something tangible to grasp onto. Seek Him and you will find Him, when you seek Him with all your heart. Lay your requests out and wait expectantly for the answers. It’s a faith thing.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Hope

 

The Infusion Center…

Friday, May 24th, 2013

I’ve spent a good bit of time in the Infusion Center  sitting with patients at Gibbs Cancer Center. It is there that blood is infused for some, chemotherapy for others. Whatever the infusion, the efforts are to extend the lives of the patients. Infusion is a slow process intended to go deep into the cells of the body. This morning in Jesus Calling I read this phrase…

Let me [Jesus] infuse My Presence into your thoughts.

As soon as I read that, I thought of the Infusion Center. Our bodies cannot handle blood infusions or chemo infusions or drug infusions of any kind at a fast pace. Our electrolytes and so many other ytes will get all of whack and could cause us to shut down – for good. So the process is very, very slow. Jesus is telling us that He cannot give us all He has for us at one time. We are not designed or equipped to handle it. And we’d completely miss so much He wants us to learn through the process. He wants to infuse His Presence into our thoughts – a slow, deliberate, effective process, so that we can grasp all He is and all He wants to be in our lives. When He infuses His Presence into our thoughts, we learn to think in a godly way and respond in a godly way. What He’s calling us to do is spend quality time in His Infusion Center and let Him change the way we think.

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord” (Psalm 89:15).

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT).

I hope each of you have a great Memorial Weekend. We have so much to be thankful for, and so many to be thankful to for the sacrifice they’ve given so that we can live in a free country. Don’t let the holiday come and go without remembering. Clay and I are camping with a group from our Vision Sunday School class at River Creek Campground in Lake Lure. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend. We plan to enjoy it! Poppy and Grandma Ellen are staying at our house and wanted to keep Jax & Muggsy with them. We plan to enjoy that too! Love to each of you.

Hope

In the morning when I rise…

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Our choir is learning the song, Give Me Jesus. It’s a great song. Last night as we sang the verse, In the morning when I rise give me Jesus, I thought about this Psalm…

“Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3 NLT).

When I wake up in the morning I go straight for the coffee pot. I do not pass Go. I do not collect $200. I love my coffee with Southern Butter Pecan creamer! I take a few sips of that delicious java then I go straight for my iPad and read a few devotional books and scriptures. Most every morning I say to Clay, “Do you want a word?” He’s never said no. I like preaching to him. He usually needs it. And there aren’t many mornings that I don’t have a list of requests that I need to share with Jesus. He gets one thing straightened out for me and another area falls apart. When you are a member of a big family, a big dysfunctional family such as I am, someone is always needing prayer about something. Then add in my rehabilitating in-laws to the mix, a son who lives away at the BEACH for crying out loud, a church who is at a crossroads needing to take it to the next level – whatever that’s going to look like, friends with issues, friends of friends with marital problems, patients dying with cancer…do I need to go on?? I could spend the first half of my day making requests, and the next half waiting with expectation for the Lord to answer them. But somebody’s gotta work. So instead I have my quiet time as long as I can before having to take off, and I’m always so glad that I did. Nothing jump-starts a day better than time alone with Jesus. Time with Him always gives me energy. It always refreshes me. It always encourages me.

In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus. And coffee.

Hope

What is your first choice?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Chew on this…

Prayer should be your first choice, not your last option.

When things go wrong, what is your first choice? Do you immediately pray, or do you kick into fix-it mode? Do you immediately pray, or do you overreact and freak out? Do you immediately pray, or do you run in panic? Do you immediately pray, or do you dig your heels in and determine not to be affected emotionally? Do you immediately pray, or do you get bitter? Do you immediately pray, or do you throw up your hands in frustration? Do you immediately pray, or do you frantically seek a solution.

Where does prayer fit into your response to life? Does it come after you’ve exhausted all other options? Of is it your first choice?

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” (Philippians 4:6-7 The Msg).

Hope

God will always be enough…

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

I saw this quote on Twitter…

Whatever life may throw your way, God will always be enough.

Love this picture of Randy! Christmas 2008

I can testify to that. I have experienced God’s faithfulness firsthand. Three years ago today my brother, Randy took his own life. You all walked through that very difficult journey with me. Yesterday I was wading through some of my past devotionals in preparation for compiling some of them into book form, when I came across May 2010. I wept yesterday as if I had just received the news. I relived the day we received word that Randy was “missing.” My sisters and I were at my youngest sister’s house decorating for Caleb’s high school graduation party. Randy was supposed to be on his way. Instead, his wife called to say he was missing. I look back at the pictures we took at Caleb’s party and, though the Lord held the storms at bay, the dark clouds were in all the pictures. There was a storm on the horizon. We just had no idea how intense it was going to be. We found that when life threw suicide of our only brother our way, God was enough.

And we found when life threw a horrible sarcoma cancer at our beautiful 18 year old Hannah, God was enough.

And you will find no matter what life throws at you, God will always be enough. He comforts. He sustains. He protects. He shields. He shelters. He provides. He carries. He keeps every single promise in His book. Our role is to call on Him and trust Him.

Praying for the victims of the deadly tornadoes that struck Oklahoma yesterday. They knew a storm was brewing. They just had no idea how intense it would be. They will find that when life throws a deadly tornado in their path and takes the life of their young child, God will be enough. I pray they call Him for help and trust Him.

“In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from your sight!’ Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help” (Psalm 31:22).

“I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: ‘Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear’” (Lamentations 3:55-57).

Hope

I GET to trust the God of this world…

Monday, May 20th, 2013

I just spent three days at the beach with my three sisters. We had a wonderful time. I’m not sure we had a disagreement the entire weekend. Boy we all four needed that time away – together! I’m very thankful for my sisters and the bond that we share in spite of ourselves. The trip had been planned for months, and we were committed to make it happen. Meanwhile, Clay had a very important meeting come up concerning the movie Saturday morning. So, early that morning on the screen porch of the condo that overlooked the beautiful waterway, I prayed with Clay over the phone. At one point I said, “Lord, this is so much bigger than us. We have to trust You with it.” And as quickly as those words came out of my mouth, I corrected them and said, “Thank You, Father that we don’t just have to trust You, we get to trust You.” I looked around as I prayed (I hope the Lord is okay with that), and the beauty of the brilliant blue sky, the waterway, the yacht that was passing by, and the landscape that surrounded both sides of the water, reminded me that the God whom I was praying to is the One who created it all. He is in control of it all. He is in charge of this world and all that is in it. He is in charge of my life. He was in charge of Hannah’s life. He was in charge of her story. He wrote it. And He will retell it in movie form in His time and with the vehicle and means that He chooses. He is God, after all. And we have the privilege of trusting Him with every detail of our life, in spite of ourselves.

We get to trust the God of this world. We can rest now.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7).

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

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7).

Hope

 

It’s a heart thing…

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

After reading a bit of Max Lucado this morning, I posted this statement on Facebook…

A successful Christian allows God to work from the inside out. #itsaheartthing

We cannot fix ourselves. We cannot clean it up on the outside and live a successful Christian life. We can’t just go to church to check it off our list, or give money to the poor to check it off our list, or do good for others, or…you fill in the blank. We must allow God to work on us from the inside out. A successful Christian life comes from a changed heart – changed only by God. He wants to instill within us love for those who are difficult to love, joy during difficulties, peace during turmoil, faithfulness when tempted to give up, self-control when it would be easy to completely lose it. Being Christ-like is a heart thing. It must come from the inside out.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22).

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).

Hope