Archive for June, 2013

Teamhash

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Everybody needs a buddy to take with them before the Lord. Everybody needs a prayer partner. Everybody needs someone to join forces with them and pray about specifics in their life. You remember Di? My beach bum buddy? You know, my #hashtime friend? Last night after reading yesterday’s devotional she sent me a text and ended it with #teamhash. She and I have called ourselves “team___” whatever is appropriate at the time. I started that a few years ago, stealing it from Caleb. He has jokingly said he was a member of teamscheme. He can charm his way out of a lot and into a lot. He has a charisma that has amazed us since his preteens. He’s a confident young man, handles himself with great poise, looks you square in the eyes, has a firm handshake. Sometimes when I compliment him on that, he grins and says “Teamscheme.” Di and I stole it and now we have our own teams. To name a few, we’ve been a member of teamshape (getting ourselves in “a shape” or a mess), teamslope (sliding down a slippery slope of despair), and now teamhash. If you’re gonna hash things out with the Lord, it’s always good to take someone along for moral support.

On a serious and more spiritual note, the Bible tells us that where two or more are gathered in His name, there He will be in the midst. There is power in numbers. There is strength in numbers. There is support in numbers. If you do not have someone you can take along when you go before the Lord, someone you know you can call on to pray for you and with you, you need to do a friend swap! Everyone needs someone they can join forces with and take their petitions before the Lord. Because sometimes you’re too down to pray for yourself. Sometimes you’re too overwhelmed to pray for yourself. Sometimes you need someone to pray for you. You need someone to hash things out with you and for you. Find a good solid Christian friend and join forces.

Teamhash.

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:19 & 20).

Love this…

“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Colossians 4:12).

Epaphras is a member of Teamhash!

Hope 

#hashtime

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Today as Di and I were in our weekly prayer time (over the phone of course, because she is STILL at the beach!), much of our time was spent hashing things over with the Lord. Sometimes you’ve just gotta talk about. Sometimes you’ve just gotta talk it through. Sometimes you’ve just gotta share your heart. Sometimes you’ve just gotta lay it all out there for the Lord, just in case He missed something. And that’s what we did. We talked through every area of our lives. We got the Lord completely caught up on our circumstances, just in case anything had slipped by Him. And after a lot of time doing that Di said, “Lord, thank you for letting us hash things through. Sometimes we just need some hash time.” I tried not to laugh out loud during prayer, but I did chuckle – and made a mental note to bring it to you all in a devotional.

I’ve shared with you that on Twitter you use “#” to summarize your tweet, or to categorize it, and the “#” is called a hashtag. After she and I said Amen, I said to her, “Hashtag hashtime” meaning #hashtime. We can sum up our prayer time today as hash time. We can definitely put it in the category of hash time. We hashed things out with the Lord. And the amazing thing is that by spending hash time with Him, we both felt so much better! The burdens that were weighing us down were lifted at the end of our hashing. She and I do not share the same burdens, we do not face the same trials, we do not cry over the same stuff, we do not have the same list of needs, our pity parties are not at the same location with the same attendees. Yet we both needed some hash time with the Lord. And so we hashed it all out together.

Your burdens, you trials, your tears, your needs are different than mine. But they’re just as real, just as painful, just as urgent. Spend some time hashing things over with the Lord. Sometimes you’ve just gotta hash it all out. If you will take it to Him, you’ll find that He’s not at all intimidated by your hashing. In fact, He’ll lift your burden right in the midst of it. #hashtime

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried out to my God. From his heavenly temple he heard my voice; he listened to my cry for help” (Psalm 18:6 NET).

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).

“Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord” (2 Kings 19:14). I love this verse! As if the Lord had no idea what the letter said, King Hezekiah took it to the temple and spread it out. He laid it all out there, just in case the Lord had missed something. And then Hezekiah says…

“Pay attention, Lord, and hear! Open your eyes, Lord, and observe!” (2 Kings 19:16). Hello, Lord, are you there?!

Had Twitter been around in the Bible days, we could sum Hezekiah’s actions up with #hashtime.

Hope

The Father’s voice in my ear…

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

As I watched Nik Wallanda’s intense tight-wire walk across a portion of the Grand Canyon earlier this week, I almost hyperventilated. I have a phobia of heights. I get dizzy and nauseated if I do not have a window or tall wall protecting me. My palms were drenched with sweat as I watched Nik. I kept wiping my hands and taking deep breaths. I was a wreck! And you want the real confession? I wasn’t even watching it Live – it was the next morning so I knew he made it across! But it still nerve wracking! Yet what an amazing feat!

I was blown away by Nik’s constant prayers and praise to Jesus and the many scriptures he quoted. I imagine the Discovery Channel had no idea they would be televising such a Jesus event. It was awesome! And the one thing that I loved – absolutely LOVED was that Nik’s father was constantly speaking into Nik’s ear through the headphones. Let me share with you some of Nik’s comments as he walked across a 2 inch cable dangling 1500 feet over a canyon…

“The winds are way worse than I expected” The cable is not my favorite” “There’s dust on the cable” “It’s an optical illusion up here as you can imagine” “I’m not liking it” “Reverb in the cable” “Unbelievable winds”

And at one point Nik told his dad that he didn’t want to talk right now. You could hear the tension and anxiety in his voice. He calmed himself and steadied himself by saying…

“How I love you, Jesus” “You’re my King, You’re my Savior, You’re my Protector, You’re my Shield, You’re my Strength, You’re my Lord” “This wind has no hold on me. That’s my King – praise you Jesus” “Lord, help me to relax, Father. Help me to calm down and relax, Lord” “You’re my Lord and Sustainer” “Thank you, Lord for calming the winds” “You’re my King!”

The cheering and spurring on that Nik’s dad was doing in his ear brought tears to my eyes. It’s apparent that his dad is his life coach as much as he is his skywire coach. Here are some of the encouraging statements his dad made to him…

“It’s okay. You’re doing great” “Slow up your steps just a little bit” “That’s it, you’re doing good” “I’ve got you on monitor. A little more wind might be coming your way” “You’re handling this just fine. Stay focused” “There’s wind out there but you’re doing the right thing. Just take your time” “You’re handling it good, Nik” “There’s a little breeze heading your way” “You’ve been through much stronger winds than this. You’re doing good” “You’re looking great! Doing fine” “You’re almost there, son” “Don’t rush it” “Great job!”

And when Nik told his dad he didn’t want to talk right now, his dad told him that was perfectly fine. But dad kept on encouraging. Wow! I love this spiritual picture of Father/Child! Many times in life you find yourself in a situation that brings great anxiety, tension, fear! Maybe the road you’re asked to travel is bumpier or windier than you expected it to be. Maybe it’s dusty or slick, causing you to lose your foothold. Maybe all the “stuff” going on around you causes an optical illusion and you’re having a hard time focusing. It is during those times that you must call on Jesus. Whisper His name. Remind yourself of Who He is and what He has been in your life. Your Sustainer, your Friend, your Provider, your Protector. You can quote scriptures over and over in your head and heart in order to calm the fears. You have the privilege of crying out to Him as often as you need to!

And I assure you that if you listen, you will hear your Father speaking in your ear these words of encouragement, “You’ve faced worse trials than this. You’re doing good. Hang in there.” “It’s okay, you’re doing great.” “Slow down just a bit. Don’t get ahead of yourself.” “You’ve been through stronger winds than this before. You’re doing fine.” “I’ve got you on monitor, I’m watching the direction of the winds. You’re going to be just fine. You’re doing great.” I love that! What a beautiful picture on national television of what our heavenly Father does for you and me. All we have to do is listen! And when we don’t feel like talking to Him, He keeps speaking to us anyway!

The Father’s voice in my ear spurring me on. What grace.

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not abandon you or leave you alone” (Joshua 1:5).

“The Lord is my high ridge, my stronghold, my deliverer” (Psalm 18:2).

“The one true God acts in a faithful manner; the Lord’s promise is reliable; he is a shield to all who take shelter in him” (Psalm 18:30).

“You are my hiding place and my shield. I find hope in your word” (Psalm 119:114).

Hope

Being Jesus on the side of the road…

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

This afternoon I was on my way back to the office and with no thinking whatsoever (no comment necessary), I passed the office building and kept right on driving. I got to the intersection of California Avenue and Hwy. 9 and there was a car stalled in the middle of that intersection on Hwy. 9. The young lady looked frantic, and she also looked familiar. As I turned left onto Hwy. 9 to go who knows where because I was supposed to be going to the office, I got a close look at her and realized she is married to a guy who works with Clay. He and I had done a mini pre-marital counseling session with them a couple of years ago and Clay performed their wedding ceremony. I had not met her before the session, and haven’t seen her since the wedding. She moved down here from Michigan to marry this guy, and neither of them have family here. Just setting the stage for you, now back to today’s story. When I realized it was her I took a quick left turn back into the Li’l Cricket parking lot, jumped out of my car and dodged oncoming traffic to get to her. (Okay, I over dramatized that. I waited for the traffic light to stop the traffic and I jogged across. But dodging traffic sounds much more heroic.) Why would I do that? Why would I even take the time in 90 degree temps to help her?? Two reasons. One, she looked absolutely frantic because she was stalled in the middle of the intersection; and two, Clay had told me that they recently had a baby. I assumed that new baby was in the stalled car with no air conditioner, AND was a sitting target in the middle of a very busy four lane highway. When I got to her car she had her back turned to me so I knocked gently on her window. It took her a minute to decide to look at me she was so upset. I could tell by her look that she did not recognize me – maybe it was my sunglasses, maybe it was the misfit in location, or maybe I have that easy-to-forget face. She rolled her window down and I said, “Do you remember me? My husband performed your wedding ceremony!” She threw her hand to her mouth and teared up, jumped out of the car and thanked me and thanked me and thanked me – and let me open the backseat, grab her little newborn - car seat and all, and scurry back across the highway to my car that was parked safely in the convenient store parking lot. I sat with the baby (I forgot to ask his name) while she made calls to her husband and for roadside assistance, and waited with her for her husband to arrive. They both thanked me again and again, I told her it was great to see her and hopefully we can get together under less stressful circumstances, and I drove to the office. When I told Clay about it he said, “Did you invite her to church? I’ve been working on the husband.” “Nope,” I answered. “I was too busy being Jesus on the side of the road.”

I probably should’ve invited her to church. I probably should’ve quoted her a scripture or two. Maybe I should’ve even offered to pray with her and for her. But I didn’t. I was too busy being Jesus on the side of the road! I chatted and joked and tried to keep her mind off the situation, as she was clearly as shaken as if she had been in an accident. My purpose was just to calm her down and keep her company until hubby could arrive. I think I did a pretty good job just being Jesus on the side of the road to that young mommy. Coincidence that I passed the office mindlessly? I don’t think so. I hope Jesus was pleased with His representative.

“‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:37b-40).

Hope

Watch for peace…

Monday, June 24th, 2013

A dear friend challenged me today to “watch for peace.” I was picking her brain and heart for counsel on how to know for sure if the Lord is closing or opening a door. She reminded me that the Lord is never divisive. He’s never argumentative. He never causes confusion. She said, “Watch for peace. If a situation does not bring peace, you may want to go another direction.” At first I thought that advice may be too simple, too obvious, too easy. But the more I’ve chewed on it, the better it tastes.

Does this mean that if we are following God’s path that we will always have peace in our lives? No. But it means that if we are faced with two options and one brings peace and the other confusion, go with peace. It means that if we are faced with conflict resolution and one brings peace and the other unrest, go with peace. It means that if we are up against hurdles and one brings peace and the other conflict, go with peace.

Watch for peace. Then go with it.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

Hope

“Open wide your mouth” – No problem!

Friday, June 21st, 2013

This morning I read this verse and chuckled out loud…

“Open wide your mouth and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10).

I have no trouble opening wide my mouth. Waiting on the Lord to fill it is what I struggle with! I’m too quick to offer my opinion, I know I am. I am a peacemaker so I’m usually in “fix it” mode. And sometimes my vast words of wisdom are received and actually help someone. But sometimes I speak too soon when what I need to do is wait for the Lord to give me the words. And sometimes that means there are no words. Clay told me last week that no matter how pure my motives and how spot-on my advice, sometimes the recipient is unwilling to hear, therefore the less said the better. Now those are words of wisdom. I appreciate Clay’s umbrella of protection over me so much. When the Lord blessed me with that man, He blessed me but good!

The Lord wants to speak through us, but what we have to do is give Him a chance to do so. “Open wide your mouth”- no problem! “And the Lord will fill it” – I’m still working on that!

As I’ve told you I’m reading through the Psalm and Proverbs this month. Today the reading is from Psalm 21, 51, 81, 111 and 141 and Proverbs 21. Check out a few of the verses that come from within these scriptures. Do you think the Lord is trying to tell me something? I’m going with Yes.

“Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise” (Psalm 51:15).

“Open wide your mouth and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10b).

“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).

“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity” (Proverbs 21:23).

Well alrighty then. I get it, Lord. May I now obey it.

Hope

 

Testimony without a test is just imony…

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

I saw this picture on Facebook this morning, and my first thought was a testimony without the test is just imony, and that doesn’t mean a thing. If you look up the word imony in the dictionary, you come up empty. It’s not a word, therefore it has no meaning. It’s pointless, a waste of words and space. It makes no sense. It cannot be defined without the test. 

So it is with our lives. Without a test of our faith, we have no testimony. Without a test – a trial or hardship, we come up empty. Without a test of our faith, our life has no meaning. Our faith without a true test of character and stick-to-itness cannot be defined. Without a test of faith, our testimony is a waste of words and space. Our lives cannot be truly impactful without a test. Have you ever been in a group of people and some raise their hand and say, “Yes, I’d like to give an imony!” No, nor have I. It makes no sense. We can give a testimony when we’ve passed our test.

Look for the lessons in the test. Seek God’s plan and purpose for the test. Be faithful to your post during the test. And watch God make a testimony out of your imony.

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:15).

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

And by the way, spellcheck doesn’t like “imony” either. It keeps changing it to “irony.” Isn’t that ironic!

Hope

Just call to chat…

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Late this afternoon Di and I were meeting in the prayer room for our weekly prayer time when Caleb called. (Yes, a day early. But when your prayer partner is also a beach bum you have to pray when you can). And as always no matter where I am or what I’m doing if it is feasibly possible I stop what I’m doing to answer Caleb’s call. He wasn’t calling to ask me to move money over to his account, he wasn’t calling for any kind of request. He just called to chat. In particular about the NBA game last night. As I’ve told you before Caleb is a serious LeBron James fan – has been since LeBron joined the NBA. The stronger the LeBron “haters” the more Caleb likes him. So needless to say he was stoked that the Miami Heat stayed alive another game. We chatted for 18 minutes about not much of anything. That made my day! I don’t mind at all when Caleb calls needing a little extra cash. But it’s really sweet when he calls for no particular reason.

Don’t you know that’s how the Lord feels when we talk to Him throughout the day. When we strike up a conversation with Him with no particular request in mind, I imagine it makes His day. He doesn’t mind when we bring our requests and petitions to Him. He actually tells us to. He wants us to. He longs to help us. He wants to carry our burdens. But He also wants us to talk to Him just to be talking. He would love for us to just call to chat. And we need to do that. Because the more time we spend with Him, the more we get to know Him. And the more we get to know Him, the better we can trust Him.

Have you talked to the Lord today? Just call to chat. You’ll be glad you did, and so will He.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). 

“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Hope

One thing I know…

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

I’m teaching the book of Job in Sunday School to my elderly ladies. Job chapter 19 is a beautiful chapter that reminds us who God is in our lives, regardless of our circumstances. The majority of that chapter is Job making the statement that, “If I could list on a scroll all that has been done to me, all that I’ve been accused of, all that has been taken from me, all that I’ve lost, all that I’ve grieved, all who’ve turned against me, you would not believe the vastness of my pain!” He spends the bulk of the chapter talking about his trials and his hurts and his losses. But then comes verse 25…

“But I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth” (Job 19:25).

What a proclamation! No matter the pain, no matter the heartache, no matter the circumstances, no matter the sickness, the deaths, the friends who have turned on him – there’s one thing he knows. His Redeemer lives! The very One who has allowed all the heartache, the very One who in one word could stop the pain, the very One who at the wave of His hand could destroy every enemy, that very One is Job’s Redeemer! And Job proclaims through the agony that his Redeemer is alive and He gets the last word! When all is said and done, his Redeemer will stand on the earth and take over. And for that hope, Job is able to stand himself.

I join Job. I don’t know the half of what he suffered. I don’t know a fraction of his pain. But there’s one thing I know. I know my Redeemer lives, and in the end – when everything else is said and done – He will stand on this earth. He WILL get the last word. He WILL call the shots. He WILL play the last hand. And I’m on His team – the winning team! What a Redeemer!

This is a perfect follow up to yesterday’s devo blog. Do you know that Redeemer? Then say so!

Hope

Video devo Tell your story!

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Hope