Archive for January, 2014

Move past your past…

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Today has been an awesome day! I worked on Hannah’s Hope stuff all morning and then prayed with my best prayer partner ever, Mrs. Di Easler. We have had a blast today. As you know we used to hang out at least one day a week. But my going back into the workplace that has put a kink in our schedule. She tells me all the time that my job gets in the way. I humor her by agreeing that yeah, jobs are overrated.

As we were praying together for one of Di’s family members I asked the Lord to help him move past his past. I liked that so good I had to say it again. I’ve pondered that all afternoon. Jesus has provided what I need to move past my past. Satan would love for me to pitch a tent and camp out there, but I refuse to. Through the blood of Jesus I’ve been redeemed. I’ve been restored. I’ve been bought back. I don’t have to go back there at all, not even for a short visit. When I try to bring it back up, the Lord responds with, “What sin? I’ve removed it as far as the east is from the west. Move past your past.” Amen.

Still hanging onto mistakes and poor decisions? Repent of any unconfessed sins and move past your past.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11 & 12).

Hope

Much Beauty, Abundant Fruit from Our Ashes!!!

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Oh Jesus, before I went to bed last night I walked outside and looked up at the night sky and the splendor of the moonlight. And from that moonlight You reminded me once again – as You do every night when the moon is shining brightly – of the night You drew me outside, showed me the full moon encircled perfectly by a rainbow and spoke so clearly to me that Hannah was in the center of Your will for her life – so weak – so frail!

 This morning at 3:30 You draw me out on the back porch again to look up at the stars! The moon had moved across the sky and the stars were shining brilliantly! And from the stars You reminded me of Your promise to Abraham that his descendants would number as the stars of the sky! I couldn’t count all the stars last night! Because Abraham believed You, You counted him as righteous and You honored his faith and You are still honoring his faith – every night You remind us of how You are honoring Abraham’s faith – if we will but look!

This morning Father, the sky is painted pink from every viewpoint on my back porch! And You remind me once again that You are alive and well – that Hannah is alive and well – painting the sky – and You are same God that You were when Abraham looked up at the stars!

 And from my back porch again this morning rises up within me faith as a grain as of mustard seed – faith that continues to believe Your promises to me that I will see Your goodness in this land of the living! Your promise to me that You are working for my good to bring glory to Your name! Your promise that You are a God who does exceedingly abundantly above anything I could ask or imagine for the praise of Your glory!  Your promise that the present sufferings on this earth do not compare to the glory that will be revealed in us!

 And I find myself once again at a crossroads – seven years since Hannah came to live fully in Your presence – will I settle for the abundant fruit You have brought forth from Hannah’s life or will I continue to stand on Your promises and watch to see how You will continue to bring forth fruit as we continue to believe that is Your heart’s desire! 

Jesus, You spurred my thinking this morning through the story of the Canaanite woman whose daughter was demon possessed – as soon as she heard about You, she came and fell at Your feet. She begged You to heal her daughter! She was desperate – no one else could help her – she was not too proud to fall at Your feet – she was not too proud to beg for Your help! She kept crying out to You! Your response to her was, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted!” In Mark chapter 7, the scripture says, “for such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”    

 Today, over 2,000 years later, You are honoring that mother’s persistent faith!  All over the world this week, thousands of people in the study of Matthew will read of her faith and they will be challenged and encouraged to continue believing You in the circumstances and places they find themselves!

 For Your glory and for the sake of Your name, You have brought remarkable fruit from Hannah’s life and testimony – You continue to do that!  Is it enough fruit? How much fruit do we desire to be birthed through our suffering on this earth?  Abundant fruit – much fruit! We desire for You to make much beauty from our many ashes!  

 Jesus, I still believe You! I still believe, as You told Mickey in the shower, that You desire to do something through Hannah’s life where only You get the credit!  It is a new chapter, a new year – You have brought remarkable healing to this mother’s heart but I will never be satisfied with the amount of fruit that has been brought forth. I desire to see abundant fruit – use my life Jesus, use my life!  Use my life because of the witness and testimony of Hannah’s life in mine!  Amen!     

 And if You choose not to bring forth another morsel of fruit or gain any more glory from Hannah’s life, it will not be because I didn’t ask! I’m asking! Glorify Yourself Father!!!

I’m to die for…

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Our Ladies Bible Study this semester is Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed co-authored by Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur. It’s a study on the life of David, and it’s a good one! The study starts out with John 15:16. Stopped me in my tracks! I know I’ve read this verse many times, but I needed to hear it this week so it resonated with me.

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16 HCSB).

We think we’re all that and a bag of chips, don’t we? (That was a Hannah-saying “all that and a bag of chips.” I never use it that I don’t think of her sweet face!) Anyway, we think that we did God a favor when we accepted His free gift of salvation. We walk around chest out with pride that we have made the decision to be a Christian. As if we chose God. As if our salvation has anything to do with our own deeds or good works. This verse puts us in our place real quick. I didn’t choose God. He chose me. He chose ME!! Why in the world He wanted to use me I will never know. But I’m so glad He did. I don’t know what He sees in me. But I’m glad He sees it – whatever it is. This makes me think of one of Caleb’s high school friend’s Twitter profile…

I may not be perfect, but Jesus thinks I’m to die for!

I make so many mistakes. I take so many wrong turns. I make so many poor decisions. I get so full of myself. I mess up time after time after time. But God chose me anyway. He sent His Son to die for me, and Jesus was all about it. No, I didn’t choose God. He chose me. I’m to die for, that’s absolutely amazing.

Hope

God always has a plan…

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Today as I was working away on financial records I was praying for the family of the horrible house fire. I thought through what I’ll say to my friend’s sister who lost her husband and son in the fire. I pray for an opportunity to spend good quality time with her as soon as things settle down. At a time like this there really are no words to say that comfort. No words to make her feel better. Comfort will come from the grace and mercy of the Lord – yes, the same Lord who chose to take her loved ones in the first place. As I was working my way through my own faith and beliefs today, it occurred to me that God always has a plan. He never just shoots from the hip. He never allows circumstances into our lives and then says, “Yikes, I didn’t think this thing through. Now what??” Never. God always has a plan. This is the same God who spoke the world into existence. The same God who waved His hand and planets filled the skies. The same God who created man from clay. The same God who created it all, and He has a plan for your life and mine. He is involved in every detail. His plan is for our good. I could never start to explain or even consider trying to convince this wife and mother that what has happened is a good thing. I’d never go there. Because often we don’t see the good until we get down the road – way down the road. We certainly don’t see the good when we’re in the throes of our grief. But if we will just trust without borders, trust in the free fall, we’ll look back and say that God had a plan and He is faithful to carry it through.

We may never understand it, but God always has a plan.

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

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. Lord, Your love is eternal; do not abandon the work of Your hands” (Psalm 138:8).

Hope

And all the people said Amen!

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

My daddy often ended a prayer in church with, “And all God’s people said…” and the congregation would say, “Amen!” I’ve picked up that habit, though I don’t use it in church. If someone says something I agree with, I’ll pull the Clyde phrase and say,” And all God’s people said Amen!” The other day my sisters and I were texting, and I don’t remember what one of them said but I responded with, “And all Clyde’s children said Amen!” That was pretty funny. I kill me sometimes.

Look at the verse I ran into this morning…

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said ’Amen’ and ‘Praise the Lord.’” (1 Chronicles 16:36). 

I had no idea this phrase was in the Bible! I wonder if this is where Daddy got it? And now there’s a song been written with this title. I love it. We really need to spend more time praising the Lord for what He does for us. Clay says often, “Lord, if You never did another good thing for us, You’re worthy to be praised.” And all the people said Amen! Too often our praise and Amens are limited only to the times in our lives when things are great. When things are going as we want them to it’s easy to say Amen and Praise the Lord. Our challenge is to praise Him in the storm. To say Amen even when we’re holding on for dear life. To sing His praises when there is no song in our hearts. God is good. Period. No buts. No borders. No strings. He is good. Period. And because of that truth, we must praise Him through the good times and hard times.

And all the people said Amen!

Hope

Trust put to the test…

Monday, January 27th, 2014

I have a sad, sad story to tell you. Remember during the holidays when I told you about my friend whose special needs daughter said, “What about Thanksgiving!?” That same friend’s sister lost her husband and her 9 year old son in a house fire yesterday morning. So very sad! She and the twin daughter to the 9 year old boy, along with her 12 year old stepson barely escaped. The house collapsed before the dad could get to the young boy and get out of the house. The 12 year old boy is in critical condition. Can it get any sadder? Yes. This same wife/mother/sister lost her first husband in an automobile accident several years ago. So now she finds herself in her mid-40s a widow once again, and this time also grieving the death of her young 9 year old son while crying out to the Lord for the life of the 12 year old. Good Lord have mercy – and I mean Good Lord have mercy. What a cross to bear! Today I went back to my devotional on trust without borders. In order to survive such a tragedy, this mother and all of the family must remove all borders and trust God – even when His ways are unfathomable.

How can a lady go through such tragedies and grief in her lifetime and keep her faith? How easy it would be to say “God, You’ve cross the line on this one!” I imagine that all of us have our imaginary borders around our lives. Our trust goes so far but the border is lined with our spouse and our children and anyone else that means the world to us. But we can’t do that. We must trust God without borders. And I’ll say again as I said a few days ago, the only way to trust God without borders is to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. We cannot do it on our own. We cannot do it in our strength. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can this beautiful lady trust God in the free fall that I’m sure she’s experiencing tonight. Please join me in praying for her and the sweet 9 year old daughter who is grieving the loss of her daddy and her twin brother. Pray for peace that passes all understanding. Pray for comfort that leaves them all amazed. Pray for grace and mercy and strength to carry them through these difficult days and weeks and months and years. And pray for healing for the 12 year old boy and for his sweet heart once he finds out that his daddy and stepbrother died in the fire.

Yes, I’d say this family’s trust is being put to the test. But with God, they’ll pass the test and find that they are trusting without borders.

“In you, Lord my God, I put my trust” (Psalm 25:1).

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8).

Hope

Life came that day…

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Since Caleb got home from Passion 2014 on Monday (a Christian conference for college students), he has been watching Louie Giglio DVDs, old and new. Louie is an incredible speaker, and does a phenomenal job relating to the college kids. The message Caleb watched last night was about the adulteress woman who the religious leaders brought to Jesus to be stoned. That was the custom back in those days. You know the story. The “teachers of the law and the Pharisees” brought the woman to Jesus and asked him what should be done to her. They were trying to set Jesus up. But instead, Jesus squatted down and scribbled something in the dirt. Then He stood and said to the group of accusers, “If any of you are without sin, let him throw the first stone.” Then he stooped down and again scribbled something on the ground. When He looked up, everyone had left one at a time. Jesus asked the woman, “Where are your accusers? Has no one accused you?” “No one” she answered. Jesus said to her, “I don’t condemn you either. Go, and leave your sin.” (John 8) Louie made the point that this lady thought she was arriving there to face her death. Instead, life came that day.

I love that! At just the time Satan wanted me to think I was done, life came that day. Because of grace through the blood of Jesus, life came the day I met Him. All I had to do was accept Him, and I did. So I can choose to live like I’m dying if I want to, but I’m not. Though I should have been stoned to death for my sin, life came that day. Amen!

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

Hope

Worn…(one more time)

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Matti & Carli being girls…

 I want to add one more Worn to my devos. I hope it’s okay.

You can mend a broken heart. Today my sister, Leigh and her girls are “starting over” only 16 months after Leigh remarried. So much unknown baggage coming into the relationship, so many adjustments with a blended family. So much giving on everyone’s part in order for a family to be a family. In a world where dysfunction seems to be the norm, Leigh and her girls are praying for function. They desperately need function. They desperately long for function. And they pray that a fresh start, once again, with just the three of them will be the beginning of that function. All of our hearts are breaking today as Two Men and a Truck move their belongings into a nice small rental home. I’m telling you I can’t dwell on it. The faces of those two beautiful girls, Carli 16 and Matti 10, tear my heart out! The face of my youngest sister who is so strong and so determined to make life “right” for her girls tears my heart out! And the face of the husband/step-dad/brother-in-law who has become part of our family tears my heart out. Satan has had a hay day with this marriage since they said I Do. And the two young girls are suffering the consequences. Leigh sent all of us sisters a message last night that said, “WORN – 10th Avenue North – is so me right now – absolutely WORN!!!”

While that message made me cry, I’m thrilled that Leigh is pouring truth into her head and heart right now by listening to Christian music. Satan would love to discourage her, beat her down and try to tell her at every turn what a failure she is. But that’s not what God has to say to her. He tells her that, in spite of her faults and failures, redemption wins! He tells her that He can mend a broken heart. He tells her that He has never and will never give up on her. He tells her that He is close to the brokenhearted. He tells her that He saves those who are crushed in spirit. And her spirit has been crushed over and over and over for years! I’ve given this verse to them several times over the past few weeks, and have prayed it for them over and over.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

I’m so thankful that we can throw scripture back in the face of Satan – the author of lies! I’m so thankful that the truth of God’s word trumps anything Satan has to say. And His Word does mend the brokenhearted. His Word brings rest to the weary and worn. Amen! Please help me pray for my sister and the entire situation. God is a big God and does big things when we ask and believe. I’m asking and believing!

Hope

 

Trust without borders…

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Today Caleb tweeted these lyrics from Oceans by Hillsong…

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.

First of all, the tweet itself blessed this Mom’s heart! And thrilled my soul! Caleb is home and seems to be finding his own place quickly. He is at peace and so very content. Praise the Lord for that! Second of all, I love the prayer of these lyrics. What would trust without borders look like? It would look like a trust in our heavenly Father with no limits. We would trust Him with absolutely everything in our life. We would not have any area that is off limits. We would not have any thing or person or agenda that we had to control rather than allow God to control, because we’d trust Him to know what’s best and do what’s best. Trust without borders – is that really possible?

Only if we allow the Holy Spirit to invade our space. Only by the Spirit’s leading can we go where trust is without borders. It is there that we find true freedom in Christ. It is there – where trust is without borders – where we find rest. Because when we completely trust, we will not worry. When we completely trust we will not fret. When we completely trust we will know true joy. And this happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to do its work.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Amen.

“In you, Lord my God, I put my trust” (Psalm 25:1).

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me” (Psalm 28:7).

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5 & 6).

Hope

I’m holding onto You…

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

A popular contemporary song right now is Holding Onto You. When it was playing on the radio this morning the visual I had was how I hold onto Clay when we are doing anything uncertain, whether it’s walking through the darkness, rushing through a crowded airport, weaving through thousands of people at a football arena, dodging large rain puddles, or balancing on rocks in a creek. I always grab hold of Clay’s arm and hold on until I feel safe. Why? Because I know he’s going to do all he can to take care of me.

So much more will my Lord take care of me. I wish I was as quick to grab hold of Him when I’m faced with uncertainties in life as I am to grab hold of Clay’s arm. Jesus loves me more than any human love. He knows far more what is best for me than my husband or mother or sisters or friends. All He wants me to do is hold onto Him! When I’m faced with a fearful future, He wants me to hold on. When I’m dodging obstacles that Satan throws in my path, He wants me to hold on. When I’m rushing through my day surrounded by a “crowd” of things that are vying for my time, He wants me to hold on. And when crisis hits from nowhere and my next step is as uncertain as anything life as ever thrown at me, all He was me to do is hold onto Him.

Looking back over my life I can say I’ve held onto Him through a lot. But too often it’s not been my first instinct. I haven’t always reached out immediately. Only after trying to right it all myself. I must work on that. My prayer and cry today is, “Oh God, I’m holding onto You.”

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:9 & 10).

Hope