Monday, June 30, 2008

Lessons for Life (Through an Old Man at the Airport)

For those of you familiar with Beth Moore, this is possibly a story you've heard before. Personally, this has been one of the most impacting illustrations on humility and obedience I have ever heard. I've read it countless times over the years and it never fails to challenge me. I know it is rather long, but I promise, well worth the read.

Taken from the book, Further Still by Beth Moore (shared with permission)

At the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man.

I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me.

All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man. I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing. I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. "Oh, no, God, please, no." I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, "Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!"

There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, "Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane."

Then I heard it... "I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair." The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, "God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man."

Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. "That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair."

I looked up at God and quipped, "I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?" God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: "I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, "Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"

He looked back at me and said, "What did you say?"

I repeated, "May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"

To which he responded in volume ten, "Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that."

At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, "SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?"

At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks.

Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, "If you really want to." Are you kidding? I thought...of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, "Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush."

"I have one in my bag," he responded.

I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.

A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's.

I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees and said, "Sir, do you know Jesus?"

He said, "Yes, I do." Well, that figures, I thought.

He explained, "I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior." He said, "You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride."

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and sadly, we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him.

I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, "That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?"

I said, "Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!"

And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted, you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way, all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Good News about Millie!

Thanks for your prayers for my Mother-in-law, Millie. I called her last night to ask about the doctor's appointment. She was very happy to tell me she got a good report. Basically, her doctor tells her NO surgery (for now). Apparently, in the course of his exam, he was working on her wound, and it began to bleed (in his words) "very well." He was quite pleased by this because it means some of the blood flow to her lower leg has been restored. She told me (and told her doctor) in the last week, her pain, though still as intense, is coming at less frequent intervals. There seems to be definite improvement! She will still have a home care nurse visit every day to check, clean and redress the wound. The doctor wants to see her again in two weeks, at which time, they will reevaluate what is needed. Her relief and happiness was quite evident. I told her it sounded like answered prayers to me, and she agreed! This, in and of itself is answered prayer! In previous instances, if you told her you were going to pray for her, she would tell you not to bother...that she didn't need them. God definitely seems to be softening her heart, and that fills my heart with much joy! If you would, please continue to pray for her. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Lord is our Strength!

After reading words from so many about the incredible growth and blessings associated with “She Speaks,” it comes as no surprise that many of these women and their families have come under attack from the Enemy this week. In the midst of our faith mountaintops, there is often a twinge of the bittersweet, in the realization of the eventual, inevitable valley. God undoubtedly used last weekend to strengthen and encourage these women in preparation for what was to come. I couldn’t help but think of them as I read my Streams in the Desert devotion for today. While much has already been said of “stillness,” I am compelled to share...

Summon your power, O God; show us your strength. (Psalm 68:28)

The Lord imparts to me the underlying strength of character that gives me the necessary energy and decision-making ability to live my life. He strengthens me “with power through his Spirit in [my] inner being.” (Eph. 3:16). And the strength he gives is continuous, for He is a source of power I cannot exhaust.

“Your strength will equal your days” (Deut. 33:25) – my strength of will, affection, judgment, ideals and achievement will last a lifetime.

“The LORD is my strength” (Ex. 15:2) to go on. He gives me the power to walk the long, straight and level path, even when the monotonous way has no turns or curves offering pleasant surprises and when my spirit is depressed with the terrible drudgery.

“The LORD is my strength” (Ex. 15:2) to go up. He is my power to climb the straight and narrow path up the Hill of Difficulty, as Christian did in Pilgrim’s Progress, and not be afraid.

“The LORD is my strength” (Ex. 15:2) to go down. It is often once I leave the invigorating heights, where the wind and sunlight have surrounded me, and begin to descend to the more confining, humid, and stifling heat of the valley below that my heart grows faint. In fact, I recently heard someone say, referring to his own increasing physical frailty, “It is coming down that tires me most!”

“The LORD is my strength” (Ex. 15:2) to sit still. And what a difficult accomplishment this is! I often say to others during those times when I am compelled to be still, “If only I could do something!” I feel like the mother who stands by her sick child but is powerless to heal. What a severe test! Yet to do nothing except to sit still and wait requires tremendous strength.

“The LORD is my strength!” “Our competence comes from God” (2 Cor. 3:5)

# # # # #

It is my prayer this this may strengthen and encourage you today, whether you find yourself on the mountaintop or in the valley. May you rest on His strength alone. He is ever faithful.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Word-Filled Wednesday

Provided by:

This photo and verse really spoke to me. Being an encourager and receiving encouragement from others is so very important. Blogging provides such a perfect atmosphere for this exchange. The encouragement God has provided to me through so many of you is innumerable! Sometimes I'm encouraged by reading about the difficult journeys some of you find yourself on, because it puts my own trials in perspective. I'm also encouraged when I see you rally around someone who is hurting to offer prayer and words of affirmation. I've been encouraged to read sweet stories about your precious families, and insights from your time with the Lord, or shared scripture every Wednesday. ; ) Most recently, I've been encouraged by what you're sharing from "She Speaks." You've given those of us who weren't there a chance to share in your blessings. All this is to say nothing of the encouragement that I myself have received from you directly through your comments! You've challenged me to be more of an encourager in ALL my relationships and I thank you. I'm praising God for all of YOU this morning!

To see other Word-Filled Wednesday posts,
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160 Acre Woods!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Searching for Stillness?

In recent weeks, a recurrent theme has surfaced in my time with the Lord. Put simply, it is to "Be Still." A number of blogs I read regularly suggest others too are on a quest for stillness. Seems simple enough, and yet I'm finding it very difficult. It seems even when I remove myself from "busyness," there is still so much going on in my mind, it is rarely still.

I worked in our yard for many hours on Saturday, planting and tending flowers. I had anticipated that to be a time of stillness and listening for the Lord's voice. At the end of the day, while relaxed and truly appreciating the beauty of God's creation, I realized once again I had allowed my head and heart to be distracted by many thoughts, few of which related to stillness. Sometimes, I even wonder if I'm trying to avoid the stillness because I fear that which God might reveal to me or ask of me. Does anyone else feel that way?

I wanted to share with you the Streams in the Desert devotional message I was reading today...(it's from June 20th). I'm praying that with God's help, I can put this into practice in my own life. I'm longing to put aside distractions and embrace God's stillness...

* * * * * *
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

When we have doubts or are facing difficulties, when others suggest course of action that are conflicting, when caution dictates one approach but faith another, we should be still. We should quiet each intruding person, calm ourselves in the sacred stillness of God’s presence, study His Word for guidance, and with true devotion focus our attention on Him. We should lift our nature into the pure light radiating from His face, having an eagerness to know only what God our Lord will determine for us. Soon He will reveal by His secret counsel a distinct and unmistakable sense of His direction.

Are you uncertain about which direction you should go? Take your question to God and receive guidance from either the light of His smile or the cloud of His refusal. You must get alone with Him, where the lights and the darknesses of this world cannot interfere and where the opinions of others cannot reach you. You must also have the courage to wait in silent expectation, even when everyone around you is insisting on an immediate decision or action. If you will do these things, the will of God will become clear to you. And you will have a deeper concept of who He is, having more insight into his nature and His heart of love.

“Stand still,” my soul, for so your Lord commands:
E’en when your way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands;
His arm is mighty to divide the wave.
“Stand still,” my soul, “stand still” and you will see
How God can work the “impossible” for thee,
For with a great deliverance He does save.

Be not impatient, but in stillness stand,
Even when surrounded on every hand,
In ways your spirit does not comprehend.
God cannot clear your way till you are still,
That He may work in you His blessed will,
And all your heart and will to Him do bend.

“Be still,” my soul for just when you are still,
Can God reveal Himself to you; until
Through you His love and light and life can freely flow;
In stillness God can work through you and reach
The souls around you. He then through you can teach
His lessons, and His power in weakness show.

“Be still” a deeper step in faith and rest.
“Be still and know” your Father does know best
The way to lead His child to that fair land,
A “summer” land, where quiet waters flow;
Where longing souls are satisfied, and “know
Their God,” and praise for all that He has planned.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Sweetie!

He is
…a follower of Christ
...a devoted husband
...a loving father
…an awesome encourager
…extremely talented
...dashingly handsome
…very quick-witted
...loved by many

He loves
…his family
...being at home
…all things Christmas
…the harvest season
…Disney World
…cool, cloudy days
...snowy days
…beaches with palm trees
…taking care of our lawn
...Hawaiian shirts
…50's & 60's music

He has
…a servant's heart
…a warm smile
…a thousand faces
...a contagious laugh
…smiling eyes
…a handsome chin dimple
…an incredible voice
...a tender heart
…the gift of evangelism
…a son who adores him
…my love for all time

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prayer Request

I know a lot of you are getting ready for "She Speaks" and may not see this, but I wanted to go ahead and share it for those who might. I'd like to ask for prayer for my Mother-in-law, Millie. (This is she and my Father-in-law, Bob.)

We just learned she has a major blockage in the main artery in her leg (when I say major, I mean from her hip to her knee). She will need bypass surgery. At present, they are trying to get it scheduled with the surgeon.

Sometime in mid-late May, she hurt her shin. Not sure if it started as a cut or bruise. It continued to get worse rather than healing. She finally agreed to see the doctor. He sent her to a wound specialist, which was very unpleasant, and it still was getting no better. Finally, they requested an MRI. That's how they discovered the blockage. The wound isn't healing because the blood flow to her lower leg has been stopped.

She has enjoyed great health for years. I was never certain of her real age until now...she's 88. Up until last fall, she wasn't on any medication of any kind for anything! In the past three years, she has had three different surgical procedures and her recoveries have been long and hard on her. She does not want to have this procedure, but she really has no choice. Her doctor said the alternatives are heart attack, blood clot, stoke or gangrene (from her wound). Not very good alternatives.

Part of our concern is for her spiritual well-being. She has always been disinterested in things of faith. Tom's Dad is a devout Catholic, so she agreed they would raise their kids that way, but she had no active role in the family's spiritual development, and rarely attended mass with them. As adults, Tom and one of his sisters have really grown in their faith and embraced Christianity as a way of life. Over the years, they've both tried talking with her, Tom's Dad has tried talking to her, I've tried talking with her...all with seemingly minimal (if any) results. Even when several of her close friends found Christ, she wanted nothing to do with it. She doesn't believe she's a sinner. When you try and tell her the Bible says we're all sinners, she simply ignores the authority of the Bible. She has attended many of our church's productions for Easter and Christmas where they always share the plan of salvation and pray the sinner's prayer. It is our prayer that on one of those occasions, she has prayed silently along with our Pastor and just maybe hasn't shared it with any of us, because of pride. If she hasn't, maybe having this procedure will be enough to finally convince her of her need for Christ. It's hard to think about not seeing someone you love in eternity.

Again, I would so appreciate your prayers. I'll keep you posted.

**UPDATE (6/20): I spoke to Millie earlier tonight and learned they have an appointment with the surgeon for one week from today 6/27. I don't believe this is the surgery date...but rather a pre-surgery appointment. (I was a bit surprised they aren't operating right away.) Instead, she's resting at home. A nurse comes to their house each day to check and re-dress the wound. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.**

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Word-Filled Wednesday

Provided by:

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Celebrating Three Very Special Dads!

Meet my Dad, Clyde...
Some things I'd like to tell you about him...
: He has owned and operated his
small construction company for over 40 years.
HE LOVES TO HELP OTHERS: He would do anything
in the world for you (and there are many things
he does well!) He often drops his own agenda to come
to the aid of one of his kids, a friend or neighbor.
HE IS PATIENT, GENTLE & QUIET: Few things make
my Dad happier than sitting on the side of a lake fishing.
During winter months when he can’t fish,
he and my Mom love to work enormous jigsaw puzzles.
HE IS TENDER HEARTED: My Dad loves to watch
chick flicks (oops, I mean) sweet, sentimental movies.
HE IS FAMILY ORIENTED: Loves spending time with his family.
HE ALSO LOVES Bluegrass and Southern Gospel music
(I think Gaither DVDs play 24/7 at their house!)

Among my favorite memories:
Dad waking us kids at 4:00 am with loud Bluegrass music

on the days he would take the whole family fishing.
* * * * *
Our late night trips to UDF for strawberry milkshakes
(after the other kids were sleeping).
* * * * *
Mowing the lawn together. We would
divide up the yard and then race
each other to see who could finish first.

* * * * *
All us kids wrestling and roughousing
with Dad before going to bed.

I love you Dad…Happy Father’s Day!
(Happy Birthday, too!)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Tom’s Dad…my “Daddy-in-Law,” Bob... Some things I'd like to tell you about him...
to his family, but also
to the poor, handicapped and others in need.
HE IS A MAN OF FAITH: He loves God and
you can see that in how he lives his life.
Every day begins with prayer.
HE IS VERY WISE: He reads several newspapers each day
and loves to talk sports, business, stocks & politics.
he still has a wealth of knowledge and new ideas
to help others in business.
PHENOMENAL COOK: Even in his mid-80's, he still
gets such joy from cooking huge meals for the family. For years,
we've been spoiled by his homemade vegetable soup,
roast pork, stuffing and raisin cake!

My Favorite Memory:
When Tom and I were dating, he brought me home to
meet his parents. The first thing Bob said to me was,
“You know, when we adopted Tommy and his two sisters,
we told them, we’ll take any baby you have, as long
as they don’t have red hair and freckles.” (As you’ve seen
in my picture above… that would describe me…)
I smiled nervously. His wink and smile immediately gave way
to a chuckle. I knew right away we were going
to get along famously...and we do.
Like putting aside the insignificant
(dishes, housework, etc.) and delighting in the everyday,
fleeting moments with Brennan. For him, coming home
from work to find me playing a game or reading a
story to Brennan beat having a hot meal on the table,
hands down, every time. What a blessing and gift!
Brennan is now 19, and we still cherish our moments together.
Our little family is very close, definitely a tribute
to Tom’s loving example in our home.
Even more than simply being there, he excels in
encouraging, guiding, inspiring, praying

Love you Pop! Happy Father's Day!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Lastly, my sweetheart and best friend, Brennan’s Dad, Tom
I remember thinking before we were married
what a great Dad he would be. (I couldn’t have
known just how great!) Always one to stop and savor
life’s experiences, I’ve learned so much by
watching him as a Dad.
and supporting Brennan in every way he can.

We love you, Sweetie!
We’re so proud of you and we thank God for you.
Happy Father’s Day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Word-Filled Wednesday

Provided by:

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More on Desperately Seeking Christ

As promised yesterday, here are some additional insights from "He Speaks to Me." (Don't worry if you're considering doing this study...I've left plenty of nuggets unmentioned!) As the title of this chapter (A Sold-Out Hunger) suggests, God meets with those who seek Him with passion. If we want to be fervent, sold-out believers, there are a number of things for which we need to develop a hunger:

His Direction – how often do we claim to want His direction, but what we really want is for Him to bless what WE want? We often see His interventions as interruptions to our own plans.

His Word – the standard by which we gauge that which is absolute truth. Without it, we can easily fall into false thinking about what God wants us to do. His spoken word can always be backed up by his written Word.

His Presence – He cannot bless us when we are stubborn, rebellious, prideful or set on our own ways. We need to develop a continual state of humility if we are to experience His Presence fully.

His Peace – We need to be certain we are open to the workings of the Holy Spirit within us, regularly checking our actions against what we know is right. When our lives align with God’s plans, we find peace.

His Power – Though the Holy Spirit lives within us, it is up to us to tap into the benefits He provides by His power. When something controls us, it changes the way we think and act and gives us the power to do that which we might not normally be able to do…

* * * * * * *
This Bible study has a companion DVD. While the study can certainly be done (and would be very impacting) on its own, the DVD adds a whole new dimension to the study. What follows are highlights of the DVD session for this chapter.

It’s hard to fathom that someone so holy as Christ, knowing everything He knows about us, would actually make himself available and attainable for us. And yet He does. David struggled to believe it too…he wrote in Psalm 8 - Majestic is your name! Your splendor and glory is incredible! When I consider the Heavens and the moon & the stars and the works of your hands – what is man that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that you would even take account of who I am. It is an amazing gift, indeed.

Priscilla then shared something that brought an overwhelming response of praise (even from our typically reserved group). I close by sharing it with you…

He’s the first and last,
the beginning and the end,
the keeper of creation and the creator of all!
He’s the architect of the universe
and the manager of all things.
He always was, always is and always will be –
unmoved, unchanged, undefeated & never undone!

He was bruised and brought healing,
He was pierced and eases pain,
He was persecuted and bought freedom,
He was dead and brought life,
He was risen and brings power.

The World…they can’t understand Him;
Armies…they can’t defeat Him;
Schools…they can’t explain Him and
Rulers…they can’t ignore Him!

Herod couldn’t kill Him;
The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him and
The People couldn’t Hold Him!

Nero couldn’t crush Him;
Hitler couldn’t silence Him;
The New Age can’t replace Him and
Oprah can’t explain Him!

Praise God!

He is light,
He is love,
He is longevity and He is the Lord.
He is goodness, and kindness and gentleness.
He is God!
He is holy and righteous and mighty and powerful and pure!
His ways are right,
His word eternal,
His will is unchanging,
And His mind is on me!

(Wow...just typing this gets me praising all over again!) Hope this has you praising this morning, too! May we seek Him passionately and desperately today and everyday.

To learn more about this or other studies by Priscilla Shirer, visit Going Beyond Ministries.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Desperately Seeking Christ

Blessings to you this Monday! I have some great things to share with you so I’ll get right to it!

I had a sweet, sweet time with the Lord as I worked through my homework over the weekend. You may or may not know my office Bible study is working through “He Speaks to Me” by Priscilla Shirer (daughter of Tony Evans). It is designed to teach how to posture ourselves that we might discern the voice of God in our lives. The messages are so RICH with insight, it’s hard to even summarize them for you. I can’t recommend it more highly.

While I don’t want to give too much away for those who may want to do this study, I really feel the Lord wants me to share a little about what I've been learning the last couple of days.

Our current chapter teaches that we need to have a Sold-Out Hunger for Christ -- to be desperate for His manifest presence. Among several illustrations, the one that spoke to me most powerfully was Bartimeus. You may remember he was the blind man who sat at the roadside begging for healing as Jesus passed by. He called out loudly to Jesus, asking him to have mercy on him. Everyone around him told him to be quiet…more to the point, that Jesus didn’t have time for him. Bartimeus was undeterred. He called out “all the more” for Jesus to have mercy on him. She went on …imagine what it must have been like for Bartimeus, when the people around him (who had just scolded him for calling out to Jesus), began to whisper amongst themselves “He’s stopping, Jesus is stopping…” Jesus indeed stopped and proceeded to restore sight to the eyes of a man who wanted to see His Lord. Bartimeus immediately began praising God, as did all the people who just moments before had been trying to silence him.

She also shared about the woman with the issue of blood. Imagine the anguish that must have driven her to push through the crowds, putting aside the scorn of the people and her physical weakness, daring to hope to receive healing from the Savior. Like Bartimeus, this woman was desperate.

She asked "What is keeping us from the manifest presence of God?" Is it fear? Is it a difficult job? Financial difficulty? A lonely marriage? Discouragement? Don’t let that stand in your way – rather call out all the more! We have access to the Manifest Presence of God! He tells us in Matthew 5…blessed are those who hunger and thirst! Are you hungry? Are you desperate? He makes himself available and attainable! He promises in Deuteronomy 4:29, we’ll find Him, when we seek with all of our hearts!

So how does this find you today -- hungry, thirsty, desperate? You and I both know seeking for anything (status, wealth, approval) other than Christ will leave us only empty and longing for more. Join me today in praying with desperation for the manifest presence of God!

There is more to share, but I'll save the rest for tomorrow...(make sure to stop back!)


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

Great Things

Here is a portion of a beautiful passage I read this morning in Streams in the Desert...

Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights. ~ Isaiah 7:11

Make your petition deep, O heart of mine,
Your God can do much more
Than you can ask;
Launch out on the Divine,
Draw from His love-filled store.
Trust Him with everything;
Begin today,
And find the joy that comes
When Jesus has His way!

We must continue to “pray and wait for the Lord.” (Isaiah 8:17), until we hear the sound of His mighty rain. There is no reason why we should not ask for great things. Without a doubt, we will receive them if we ask in faith, having the courage to wait with patient perseverance for Him and meanwhile doing those things that are within our power to do.

It is not within our power to create the wind or to change its direction, but we can raise our sails to catch it when it comes. We do not create electricity, yet we can tap into it with a wire that will conduct it, allowing it to work. We do not control God’s spirit, but we can place ourselves before the Lord out of obedience to what He has called us to do, and we will come under the influence and power of His mighty breath.

Dr. Goulburn, Dean of Norwich once said “…A simple prayer from our mouths will be powerful enough to call down from heaven God’s gracious dew or the melting fire of His Spirit, just as the words from Elijah’s mouth called down literal rain and fire. All that is required is to speak the words with the same complete assurance of faith with which he spoke.”

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Lord, give us the courage to ask for great things. Things far greater than that which we can ask or imagine. Things you long to give to us. May our faith in your power be one of complete and confident assurance, like that of Elijah and so many other heroes of our faith. May patient perseverance reside within us as we await the workings of Your Will. In the meantime, may we continue on, humbly doing the work which You presently have set before us. May we not become so focused on the great things that we miss the blessings that will come in moments along the way. Open our eyes and hearts to each and every one. We love and fully trust in Your plan for our lives. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I'm excited to share these things for which I am thankful on this Thursday...

♥ Praising God that my precious nephew, Blake has been given the opportunity to travel with The Academy of Arts for the summer ministering through drama…not only is he willing, he is thrilled! I’m also thankful my sister and brother-in-law (after much prayer) have decided to let him go…(he’s only 14). They leave very early Saturday for South Carolina and he won’t return home until August 12th. Our whole family was together this past weekend for my niece’s birthday and also to say farewell to Blake . At one point in the evening, we all surrounded him and my husband prayed, asking for God’s blessing, provision, safety, and also for those who will be seeing these powerful plays. In addition, he prayed for his Mom, Dad and siblings who will miss him greatly. What a blessing to be able to do that as a family!

♥ Praising God that mid-morning YESTERDAY our Youth Pastor finally received word all the visas for a missions trip to Brazil were approved! 15 kids from our youth group and 4 adults leave THIS MORNING. Although it was literally down to the wire…we all know truly it was God’s perfect timing. (Another youth group that was to precede ours went through all the same steps our kids had, yet their visas were ultimately denied.) Can’t wait to see what God does through these kids!

♥ Praising God that this week, I learned of yet another co-worker who is interested in our office Bible Study. She’ll be joining us beginning with our next study!

May this Thursday find you thankful…

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Word-Filled Wednesday

Provided by:

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160 Acre Woods!