Archive for February, 2014

He’s always by your side…

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Wednesday I said God goes before us. Yesterday I said He stands behind us. Today I’m telling you He’s always by our side. Sometimes we take a stand for something and we feel that no one is standing with us. Most of the time our spouse or children or parent or sibling will stand with us. But sometimes we’re on our own. And that’s a very lonely place. It’s not fun walking alone, or taking a stand alone. It can be frightening. But when we are walking hand in hand with the Lord, He’s always by our side. If we go off and do our own thing, and that own thing is contrary to the scriptures, then we’re flying solo. But if we stay in fellowship with the Heavenly Father, He’s there for every step of the journey. He’s always by our side, encouraging us to stay the course. The Holy Spirit whispers words of affirmation when we feel like everyone else has abandoned us. Those words come straight from the Bible, which is why we need to read it so those truths can come back to our hearts and minds. We hide His Word in our hearts so we won’t sin against Him, and so we can bring His promises to memory when we need them.

Are you on a lonely journey right now? Take heart. God is always by your side. You’re not alone.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).


I know Who stands behind me…

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Don’t you wish you had a rearview mirror for your life? It sure would be nice to know what is coming up behind you so that you’re not caught off guard. Life has a way of sneaking up on you and BAM! before you know it you’ve been juked. (Whatever juked means. Actually I looked it up and it means to make a move intended to deceive. Yep, I’ve been juked many times.) With God we don’t need a rearview mirror. He stands behind us guiding everything that comes our way. He doesn’t always shield us from the unexpected. But if we stay in His Word and spend quality time with Him, He’ll prepare us for it. I’m not saying He’ll give us a heads up, but He prepares our hearts so that when we are juked, we don’t lose heart. We don’t fall to temptation. We don’t allow discouragement to consume us.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, Hope. Just yesterday you said God goes before us. Now you’re saying He’s behind us. ??” Exactly. God is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-everywhere (paraphrased). He was, and is and is to come. God has our back. I know Who stands behind me. Do you?

“Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them” (Exodus 14:19).

“But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12)


I know Who goes before me…

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Are you at a place in your life that you know it’s time to do “the next thing” but you aren’t sure what the next thing is? Or maybe you know what and where the next thing is but fear grips you with even the thought of going there. Or maybe you are perfectly content and at peace with where you are, which in itself brings a sense of uncertainty knowing that when life is good things could fall apart at any minute. Or maybe you love change. Maybe you are sniffing out the next opportunity, the next challenge and can’t wait to hit it wide open! Whatever the scenario, whatever the situation, whatever the circumstance, don’t be afraid. Don’t be anxious. Don’t be paralyzed in your “now and now.” God has already gone before you and He’s working before you even get there. He’s working before you even know where there is. What peace that comes with that truth!

I know Who goes before me is one of my favorite lines in the song, Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies). Knowing that the God of the universe is already there working on my behalf gives me all the courage and strength and energy I need to head on out. He’s there. He has it all planned out and laid out. All I’ve gotta do is show up with a willing and open heart. I know Who goes before me.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). That’s a great word right there!!


God’s Word is a lighthouse…

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

A great tweet today from Women of Faith:

God’s Word is a lighthouse that will steer you through the darkest storm.

I love having my prayer bestie, Di living in my neighborhood! I pass right by her house multiple times a day. This evening I was going to take Caleb some dinner at work and then run to Costco. I glanced over at Di’s house as I drove by but couldn’t tell whether she was home or not. I didn’t even get around the curve until my phone rang and Di said, “Where you going, friend?” I turned around and picked her up and she rode around with me. I love it! When she lived in Timbuktu, aka Cowpens, that just didn’t happen. It was wonderful having her to talk to while I ran errands tonight. Somehow in the course of our conversation of solving the world’s problems we found ourselves reminiscing about one of our trips to Franklin, TN a couple of years ago. We had left the Carpenters’ home in Leipers Fork around 2:00 a.m. and headed on a 45 minute drive back into Franklin. We had survived a horrendous storm earlier that night, and the winds and rain were still reminding us of such. There were limbs and branches and leaves on much of the two lane road that we traveled. It was dark. I mean really DARK. No street lights, unfamiliar twists and turns in the road, it was quite spooky and unnerving. The storm in the outskirts of Nashville, TN that night was fierce and the night was black. There was nothing more welcoming than the well-lit parking lot of the Aloft Hotel.

God’s Word is a lighthouse that will steer us in the darkest of storms. When we are navigating our way through the strong winds of life, God’s Word will steer us in the right direction. When we are dodging fallen limbs and branches of fear and grief and pain, God’s Word will steer us in the right direction. No matter how fierce the storm or how sharp the turns or how unfamiliar the road or how dark the night, God’s Word is a lighthouse. There is comfort in the pages of His Word. There is direction, there is encouragement, there is strength, there is power, there is light. Open it up and let it steer you to safety.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).

“The unfolding of your words gives light” (Psalm 119:130).

“For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light” (Proverbs 6:23).


A God Warrior…

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Today I heard the story of an amazing young lady, Meredith Legg Stapleton. The story touched my heart to the depths. Not because she is a die hard North Carolina Tarheels fan, not because she is so close to the age Hannah would be if she were still with us, and not because she loves basketball and is the all-time leading scorer at USC-Aiken. But because she calls herself a God Warrior. Meredith was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2009 and she fought it like a warrior. I won’t spend a lot of time giving the details of her story because I’m going to share the link and you can read it yourself. After I read the article below I googled Meredith Legg Stapleton and found her to be a solid Christian young lady. She knew that God had chosen her to walk that journey, not so that she could suffer, but so that she could shine His light through her suffering. “I’m a God Warrior,” she told the reporter. And she was. Meredith passed away this morning after battling cancer with the kind of strength and courage that simulate another young lady I know personally, Hannah Marie Sobeski.

The definition of warrior is a brave or experienced soldier or fighter. So a God Warrior would be a brave or experienced soldier or fighter for God. That sums up Hannah and Meredith. They both bravely fought a hard fight with strength and courage that could only come from a personal relationship with their Creator. Why does God allow good people like Hannah and Meredith and many that you can name to walk such a difficult journey? Not so they can suffer, but so they can shine His light through their suffering. And when their suffering was over, God rewarded them with a home in heaven. For those of us left behind, it breaks our hearts. But for those who moved from here to there – they’re rejoicing!

I’m so thankful for having known Hannah Sobeski. And I’m thankful for having read about Meredith Legg Stapleton. I wonder if they’ve met each other yet…

Meredith’s story:

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7 & 8).


When we can’t hold on…

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

I love the truth in the verses that tells us…

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one” (John 10:28 & 29).

If no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand, then certainly circumstances cannot. Our circumstances weigh us down and make us feel like we can’t hold on. We get so tired. We are weary from the struggle, so to find strength to hold on to our faith and stay grounded is very difficult. That makes this scripture even more promising! When we can’t hold on, we must remember that God never let’s go. If we have trusted Jesus as our Savior then the Lord is holding on to us, even more so when we are too weak to hold on. He has us firmly in His grip and His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

When we can’t hold on, remember He never let’s go.


Friday, February 21st, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014 11:56pm

I’m sorry I haven’t posted a devo today – I’ll blog before the weekend is out and tell you what I’ve been up to. Until then, it’s midnight in Georgia. Good night!

Let God Be Himself (Part 2)…

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

God is our Source and our Sustainer. Let Him be Himself. – Priscilla Shirer

Yesterday we pulled out the phrase God is our Source. Today let’s talk about God is our Sustainer. To get the full impact of that statement we’ve got to define sustainer: Someone who upholds or maintains.

I like that mental picture. A Sustainer upholds or maintains. In other words, with God as our Sustainer we will not go backwards. We will not falter. We will not fall under the weight of our burdens. Many times I have not known how to pray for someone other than, “Oh dear Jesus, please sustain this family.” In other words, “Oh dear Jesus, please uphold them. Please maintain their current strength so that they will not crumble.” I’ve prayed that for my family, my friends, my web family, complete strangers, and even for myself. Because I know that without God as our Sustainer the cares and heartaches and trials of this life will take us out. He is always – ALWAYS available to sustain us. We’ve just got to let God be Himself.

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


Let God be Himself…

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

God is our Source and our Sustainer. Let Him be Himself. – Priscilla Shirer

Our ladies are slowly getting into the Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed Bible Study. We have been hit with snow and ice on Wednesday twice since starting the study. I enjoyed getting back together tonight. I love the quote above from Priscilla Shirer. While she didn’t expound on the thought in the study, I’m taking that liberty.

God is our Source – our Source for strength when we are too weak and tired to go on. He is our Source for hope when life takes a spiral downward and all seems hopeless. He is our Source for comfort when our hearts are broken and grief overtakes us. He is our Source for healing when meds are no longer working, or when our hearts are raw from the pain. He is our Source for joy when physical healing doesn’t happen, or when actions of others rob our joy. And as we talked about yesterday, He is our Source for living water when our souls are dry and thirsty. God is our Source! Yet we look to so many other things and put our trust in so many other people rather than going to the Source. Why will we not let God be Himself?

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7).

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).


Never first-come first-serve with Jesus…

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Christian recording artist and speaker, Tammy Trent posted a picture from her travels in Honduras on Instagram. She is knelt by an almost dried up water hole and she captioned the picture with, “This is it. It’s all they have. It’s first come first serve.” My mind immediately went to Jesus at the well with the woman who had had five husbands and was living with a man who was not her husband. She was a Samaritan woman, and as she approached the well she saw Jesus, a Jew, sitting at the well. Jesus had a gracious conversation with the woman. He told her all she had ever done and offered her forgiveness for her sins. He spoke of that forgiveness as living water, a water that will satisfy the thirst of her soul. That well will never run dry! I’m so thankful that the living water of salvation is not on a first-come first-serve basis. It is an endless supply. It’s not a small stream of water as was in the picture with Tammy Trent. It’s not an ample amount reserved only for a particular group or denomination or race or gender or class. It is available to anyone who will come to Jesus thirsty in need of a spiritual drink. Jesus told the Samaritan woman that if she would drink from that water she would never thirst again. And that goes for you and me too.

Never first-come first-serve with Jesus. He’s always available, always calling us, always sitting by the well ready to serve the living water. I love that visual!

“‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the welland drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?’ Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (John 4:11-14).