Archive for August, 2013

Bad calls to bad…

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

I have been doing so well making good decisions with my food choices. Being back in the workplace and working for slave drivers help with that. I’m totally joking. I absolutely love my new job and my new bosses and co-workers! But it’s a very busy place, and we work straight through lunch most every day. This makes eating healthy very easy. I take a turkey wrap and a bowl of fruit for lunch, and snack on a protein bar throughout the day. I feel good about myself and my decisions. But every once in a while a very tempting delicious pizza shows up in the kitchen. Today I was not able to withstand the temptation, and I indulged. And on the heels of that weak moment came the desire for a handful of M&Ms – from a large bag that sits lurking on top of the fridge, calling my name every day, multiple times a day. But most days my willpower is stronger than the call. Unless I eat something “bad” for lunch like that very delicious pizza. And then it’s like I crave something else bad. And so as I popped a few M&Ms in my mouth I said to myself, “Yep, bad calls to bad.”

So it is with sin. Stay away from temptations, say no to them, steer clear of them, and it’s easy to stay away from other temptations. The better decisions we make, the easier it is to make other good decisions. Give in to one bad decision, and Satan starts throwing little M&Ms all around you. Bad calls to bad. Stay away from bad so as not to answer the call.

“Do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27).

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

Hope

As if…(Part 2)

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Today I thought a lot about my devotional from yesterday and where else I can go with the As ifs

We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough

As if we haven’t already been the recipients of so many of those promises. As if God hasn’t already proven Himself to be faithful. As if He hasn’t already sustained us through some very dark times. As if He hasn’t been a shelter for some very rough storms. As if He hasn’t been the only constant for us in a world full of changes. As if He hasn’t provided food when we’re hungry, shelter so we’re not homeless. As if He hasn’t provided for every single need we have, and most of our wants. Yet we doubt His goodness. We doubt His love. As if…

And I’ll get personal. As if I haven’t been the recipient of so many of those promises. As if God hasn’t proven Himself faithful to me time after time. As if He hasn’t absolutely drowned me with mercy and grace. As if He hasn’t been Jehovah Rapha for our family, the God Who Heals our hearts after Hannah’s death and after my brother, Randy’s suicide. As if He hasn’t loved me with an everlasting love, unfailing in His love for me – regardless of my many mess-ups. As if He hasn’t provided daily sufficient grace in my weakness. My list of As ifs could go on and on. How about you make a list of your own.

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

“The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does” (Psalm 145:13).

Hope

As if…

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

I had to fight back tears of “Oh yeah, I’ve been there” today as Blessings by Laura Story played on iHeart…

We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough

When it’s raining trials in our lives, the first thing we do is doubt. We doubt God’s goodness. We doubt God’s love. We doubt His involvement in our lives. We doubt whether He even cares. As if! As if every promise from His word is not enough to get us through. As if He has let us down even one time, ever. As if He has left us hopeless and helpless, ever. As if His word were not lined with promises that He’ll be with us even until the end of time. As if His word were not lined with promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us. As if His word were not lined with promises that His grace is sufficient for this day, every day. We get discouraged and we doubt. We get behind in our finances and we doubt. We get bad news concerning our health or a loved one’s health and we doubt. We find ourselves in a broken relationship and we doubt. As if every promise from His word were not enough. Those promises are available to us, all day every day no matter our circumstances. All we have to do is believe them. Here are the next two phrases of that song. He’s always there.

And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

As if…

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

“The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does” (Psalm 145:13).

Hope

Say only what helps…

Monday, August 26th, 2013

I believe it is in every one of our nature to speak our minds. We want to defend ourselves, our family members, our friends, our cause. Especially if we’re accused unjustly or if we’re misunderstood. We want to share our heart. We want to tell our side of the story. We want to be sure the other party knows exactly where we stand. And sometimes that needs to happen. But most of the time it doesn’t. No one ever wins a word battle. And in every case of he said/she said/I said, someone ends up hurt or frustrated or “done.” Today I heard this scripture from The Message…

“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift” (Ephesians 4:29 The MSG).

Paul pulled out all the stops on that verse, didn’t he? He didn’t hold anything back. Tell us how you really feel, Paul. And he did. Say only what helps. Make sure each word you use is a gift to the recipient. Ouch! If we would practice this verse, we wouldn’t have to worry about being misunderstood, misinterpreted, miscommunicated, misrepresented. This verse didn’t just happen into the Bible. It was written on purpose, as was every single word in the Book. And there are many scriptures throughout that Book that warn us about the tongue and the damage it can do and does do. Our words are powerful. Make sure they’re uplifting not tearing down.

Here’s your assignment (mine and yours) for tomorrow. Watch the way you talk and say only what helps. If it doesn’t help the situation or the person or the people around you, don’t say it. Put Ephesians 4 into practice tomorrow, and see how much better your day will be.

Hope

The Son burns away the fog…

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

This morning Clay and I stepped off the elevator at The Grove Park Inn and instead of gazing out of the atrium at the beautiful view below, we were met with a thick wall of fog. It looked like we were floating in the clouds. We walked to the other end of the Inn to have breakfast, and all the way were just amazed at the thickness of the fog. Unless you were right up against the window looking straight down you couldn’t see anything. While eating breakfast we watched as the sun burned through the fog, and by the time we left the view was once again breathtaking. As we drove down the mountain I thought that indeed it takes the sun to burn away the fog.

To follow up on yesterday’s devotional let me add, it takes the Son to burn away the fog. Whether it is a fog of discouragement, a fog of physical illness, a fog of grief, a fog of fear, a fog of insecurity, a fog of brokenness, a fog of despair, whatever the fog – it takes the Son to burn it away. If you look to the Son, Jesus Christ, His light will shine through your life and through your circumstances and the fog will burn away. You can’t do it on your own. You need the Son.

“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest’” (Exodus 33:14).

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28 & 29).

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:15b).

Hope

City cannot be hidden…

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Early this morning Clay and I drove up to the beautiful city of Asheville, NC. Milliken is rewarding the hard work of the Information System department by treating them and their spouses to a fun time at the beautiful Grove Park Inn. And what a treat it has been! It was very foggy when we arrived. Clay’s golf team had the first tee time so the morning fog had not quite burned off. I took a nice picture of the view that overlooks the golf course and spa. I walked to the cafe and ordered my Starbucks Skinny Caramel Macchiato, found a nice bar table & stool in the atrium and set up my workspace. Just as I settled in I looked out the window and the same view I had earlier had changed. The fog had lifted and standing boldly off in the distance was the city of Asheville. This verse came to mind…

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

As Christians sometimes we allow our circumstances to fog up our lives. We get bogged down by the cares of this life. But the joy we have in Christ can’t be covered up for long. Jesus tells us in this passage that we are the light of the world. We are as a city set on a hill and we must not be hidden. We must allow the truth of God’s word and the promises that line the pages to burn off any fog that may be settling around us. We have a testimony that others need to see and hear. We’re the light of the world. He needs us to take a stand boldly and shine, in spite of our circumstances.

Hope

The missing disc…

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

When you show up at Ladies Bible Study on the DVD night, you sorta expect to watch a DVD. We are beginning the study, Stronger by Angela Thomas, and tonight was to be the first session of Angela teaching us via DVD. We cranked up the song, Stronger by Mandisa, turned on the projector, opened the case and…no disc. No disc! We don’t know whether the manufacturer left it out or if it slid out, but either way it was not in the case. That’s enough to get you a tad frazzled. 34 ladies, waiting to watch and praying to become Stronger because of the DVD session. Angie Duncan and I are co-faciliating the study this semester, so she asked me to do what I do best and that’s pull out of my hat one of my already-written devotionals, and she agreed to do what she does best and that’s facilitate and organize and keep the evening moving beautifully. And so that’s what we did. She asked each lady to introduce ourself and in two words or less describe our day. 34 ladies took their turn describing their day as busy (several busies), productive, unproductive, chaotic, draining, overwhelming, frantic, a smorgasbord of all that’s been said, and then came “Blessed. Today is my birthday and I’m thankful to be alive.” This came from the heart and mouth of a 44 year old lady who three weeks ago had a MASSIVE heart attack. She coded five times. And tonight she was sitting in Bible Study looking absolutely beautiful. Tears started flowing! Suddenly the answers of busy, productive, unproductive, chaotic, draining, overwhelming, frantic, etc. were non issues. The smorgasbord lady immediately said, “Can I change my answer to blessed?!” God started working in hearts all over the room. I shared my devotional from yesterday and asked for popcorn answers to the question, “If God were to put a love note in your lunchbox, what would it say?” Oh my goodness what a blessing! Dozens of ladies shared a message from the Lord. Each of the answers were reminders that they themselves needed to hear. Messages like, “Trust Me,” “I’m in control. Let Me handle this,” “I am the Author and Finisher of your faith,” “My grace is sufficient for today.” Tears of hope and forgiveness and thanksgiving were streaming. The Holy Spirit took a missing disc and turned it into one of the sweetest, most intimate nights we could have asked for.

And when we left, we were Stronger. All because of the missing disc.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

Hope

A note in the lunchbox…

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

With school starting back this week, there have been hundreds of First Day of School pictures posted. Many of the pics of small children have them holding a lunchbox with their book bag on their back. Just adorable! I take my lunch to my new place of employment, The Butcher The Baker. This is the first time in my life that I’ve packed my lunch everyday. I have the cutest lunch bag that I got from Primrose. It’s fun packing a sandwich every morning, a cup of fruit, a protein bar, and a Passion Fruit & Mango Green Tea. I feel so healthy! Beats the soup out of eating out every day! This afternoon I heard a story on KLove Radio about a mom who put a note in her child’s lunchbox every single day. The lady ended the story with the question, “If God put a note in your lunchbox, what would it say?” And then I was called away from my desk to defend my middle name and missed the answer (that’s another story all it’s own). I’ve thought about that question several times throughout today.

If God put a note in your lunchbox, what would it say? I imagine it would say something like…

  • I have great plans for you today. Those plans are for your good and full of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • I love you, my child. Enjoy your day that I made just for you! (Psalm 118:24)
  • I hope you have a great day! Please don’t focus on the hard times today. I am right there with you at every turn. (Joshua 1:5)
  • Don’t get overwhelmed with stuff today. Give me all your cares throughout the day. Let me carry them. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Chin up! You won’t face anything today too difficult for you and Me to handle together! (Jeremiah 32:17)
  • Have fun today. Enjoy yourself! Make the best of every situation, because I am working everything for your good! (Romans 8:28)
  • I hope you are having a good day! I have provided all that you need for this day. No worries, I’m on it! (Matthew 6:25-27)
  • Worry about nothing. Pray about everything! (Philippians 4:6&7)
  • You will face nothing today that My grace doesn’t cover. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

And His personal love notes go on and on. The Bible is full of notes to us. Promises to care for us, provide for us, intervene for us, carry us, sustain us, set us free. Why in the world do we spend so many hours a day worrying and fretting? The God of the Universe is working on our behalf, and He’s on top of all our “stuff.”

Don’t miss your note in the lunchbox. Look for it!

Hope 

Do we dare to ask God for the impossible?

Monday, August 19th, 2013

I play KLove radio online while I’m working at The Butcher The Baker. It’s a great Christian radio station with uplifting praise & worship music and several little encouraging segments throughout the day. This morning I was zoned in pretty intensely to the DSRs that I was posting but I heard a voice from the computer say, “Do we dare to ask God for the impossible?” And that was the end of the segment. I had missed the first 29.75 seconds, but I got just enough to steal and wrap my own thoughts around it. And here they are.

Do we dare to ask God for the impossible? When is the last time you went out on a limb and asked God to do something “impossible?” Now I don’t mean ask Him to pick your house up and set it on an island in Hawaii, though He could do it were He so inclined. I don’t mean ask Him to let you wake up tomorrow morning 45 lbs. lighter, though He could do it were He so inclined. I don’t mean ask Him to allow Publisher’s Clearinghouse to knock on your door with a $10 million check when you haven’t even filled out the paperwork, though He could do it were He so inclined. I mean when is the last time you asked God to do the impossible – mend an impossible relationship? Heal an impossible illness? Provide an impossible job? Piece back together an impossible broken life? Bring into your life an impossible soulmate? Remove from your life an insurmountable impossible obstacle? Restore a broken impossible marriage? Change an impossible situation? Do we dare to ask God for the impossible? Do we dare?

I do. I have a situation in my life that is hurting my heart. It’s a broken relationship. I can’t point to very many of those in my 49.9 years of living. There aren’t many times in my life that I have broken fellowship with someone. But right now there is a situation that has caused a broken relationship, broken fellowship. And though I hold no actual fault in the matter, other than running from it, and cannot fix the issue that caused it, I still miss the family. It breaks my heart! I miss them and pray for them every single day. So as of this morning I am committed – I dare to ask God for the impossible. I ask Him to do whatever it takes to restore that relationship. I am committed to do my part.

I dare to ask. How about you?

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God’” (Mark 10:27).

Hope

Update on Hope & Hannah’s Hope

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Please take a few minutes to watch the update on what’s going on with us at Hannah’s Hope. God is good!!

Hope