Monday, November 24, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
You heard the cries of each woman yesterday as they asked you for your help and power. Some need help to overcome sin and others need your strength to live worthy of Christ in their circumstances. I ask you to reach out and touch each one. Would you let them know today that you heard their prayers and that you are intervening in their behalf? We love you, Lord, for so many reasons. Today we praise You, because You are the Redeemer! We wait in expectation to see your work of redemption.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
If you are visiting from our Encouragement for Today devotions, welcome! I always look forward to devotion days to hear from friends all over. You can read the devotion at www.proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com if you haven't read it yet.
I was rereading the devotion tonight, and I was thinking about the role of prayer in the infusion of power that God gives us to overcome sin in our lives. Even though He is the creator of the whole universe and even little 'ole me, He waits for us to come to Him, broken and needy to ask Him for strength to change.
Do you need a power surge today? Are you struggling to overcome sin? Is there an area of life where you need to see the power of God? Let's pray. If you'll type a prayer in the comments, I'll be standing with you today. Will you also respond to each other's prayers with prayers for them? My friend Luann types out her prayers for us, and it means the world. Let's join together in approaching the throne of the King!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving with some quotes that I hope you enjoy too:
- "On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence." --William Jennings Bryan
- "The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." --H.U. Hestermayer
- "Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude." --E.P. Powell
...and then a funny to start your Monday off right...
- "What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?" --Erma Bombeck
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I know that many of you come to my blog through Lysa's (don't you LOVE www.sitemeter.com ?), but if you haven't read her blog from Friday, you can't miss it!! Lysa's blog recounts a modern miracle. If you're discouraged for any reason today, read Lysa's story of God's amazing faithfulness. He really is able to do more than we can ask or imagine!!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
You never know when someone is watching. My last story about mentors is about someone who never scheduled a single appointment with me, moved into my backyard or let me park my tooshy in her office. Deborah never even knew she was influencing me, but she's had a lasting effect on my life and marriage.
I heard through the grapevine that Deborah had vowed to never speak negatively of her husband. She may have sought godly counsel for problems in her marriage, but she had promised herself to never complain, deride or whine about her husband. Now this piece of news may have come during a gripe session with my girlfriends about our husbands. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about! It seems to be a favorite pastime even amongst church girls to get in a group and complain about socks on the floor, birthdays missed and football Saturdays parked on the couch. I can't remember specifically, but I think that this piece of information about Deborah was told somewhat sceptically.
I was impressed, though, so I started to watch her. Both of our husbands are musicians, so our paths crossed at church with regularity. I listened as Deborah gave encouragement directly to her husband. I tuned in when I heard her praise him in groups of other women. I watched her smile brilliantly at him while he performed. After some time, I realized that Deborah was a woman of her word. She was the best example of an encouraging, positive, loving wife that I had seen.
There was one other thing that I noticed as I watched this couple. Deborah's decision to honor her husband bore some amazing fruit. Her husband absolutely adored her. Even though they had been married for years and had a house full of children, they acted like newly-weds. You could tell how much they enjoyed each other's company. They laughed and joked a lot and were very affectionate.
Deborah's vow and how she lived it out helped me as a young, married woman to make a decision to follow her example. I can't say that I've never slipped up, but God always seems to convict me even as harsh words fly out of my mouth. When we're going through a rough patch, it's incredible how speaking well of Barry builds my love and respect for him. It refocuses my attention on the many fine qualities that drew me to him in the first place and relegates any gripes to their proper love-covered place.
Retelling Deborah's story today reminds me that others are watching me even when I don't know it. They're looking to see if my actions live up to my words. It's a high calling that Jesus calls us to when we follow Him, but I'm thankful that others have paved the way with their example as I continue the journey.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I've got a couple more mentors that I want to share with you, so I'll finish this little series out this week. I have treasured the stories that some of you have shared about your mentors. Thanks for taking the time to tell us! I'd be thrilled to hear from others this week about the mentors that God has placed in your path and how God has used them.
In the past, I've written about how God began a huge work in my life during my junior year of high school. I had given my life to Jesus when I was in the fourth grade, but my spiritual growth hadn't kept up with my growing body. I was a good little girl attending church with my parents, but I hadn't completely adopted their faith as my own.
In my junior year, I went with some friends to a teen Bible study that was experiencing enormous growth. I actually went because I knew that a boy that I had a crush on would be there. That's another story for another time!
Soon I had forgotten about the boy, and I was enthralled by God Himself. I had never been challenged to spend time with God daily, and I had never been in an environment that encouraged me to worship God with music that touched my teenager heart. It was all new and fresh and exciting.
One day we had a newcomer to the study named Layne. She had graduated from Kings College and had come to Greenville to apply for medical school at ECU. God led her to join our group and begin investing in this group of young, on fire women. I am filled with gratefulness for God's calling on her life. After knowing Layne I would never be the same.
Layne eventually came to live in my backyard. Yup! That's right! She lived in a travel trailor in my back yard while her house was being built. I'm sure it was a dream come true for her. :) Those months of living near Layne and watching her life combined with the work that God was doing in my heart determined a path that my life took from which I've never looked back.
Layne modeled the life of a single, godly woman for me at a pivotal time in my life. It was the time when all my close friends were starting to explore the party scene, drugs and sex. Layne modeled purity for me. What a gift! She shared with me how she believed God would provide a godly husband for her and how she planned to save herself for her wedding night. I watched as she dated and sought God's plan for her life. In fact, I watched everything from the clothes she wore to how she conducted her friendships. I saw that it was possible to be pure and have a single-minded devotion for the Lord during my single years.
Layne set a high, Jesus-like standard for me, and I am forever grateful. She shaped my view of Christian womanhood by her feminine ways, her wicked sense of humor and her commitment to scripture. She gave me the Elisabeth Elliot book Let Me Be a Woman and set me on a path to discover God's plan for women rather than trusting in my own opinion on what was best for my life.
Layne was a mentor who was intentional about her influence, but her mentoring was still casual. She allowed me to walk alongside her and see how she lived. We're loosely in touch today, but the effect of friendship with Layne still echoes through my life every day.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I was so proud to take my boys to the poles yesterday. They had the day off, and so they went with Barry and I as we voted. It cracked me up as we watched final results this morning. Nolan (my blunt child) said, "Mom, did ANYBODY that you voted for win?" The truth is that some but not many did. However, I am not depressed, discouraged or down-hearted.
There are many things to be thankful for this morning. Here are just 2 reasons to rejoice:
- I live in a country that has a peaceful exchange of democratic power. Where else would you see two candidates give such amazingly gracious speeches post-election? I'm so proud to be American!
- I live in a country that has overcome so many racial problems. Certainly there is still racism, but we have come such a long way. That makes me proud to be American.
Beth Moore said it so much more eloquently than I ever could. Don't miss linking to her blog today. While you're there, don't miss yesterday's either. Let's join together in praying fervently for our President-elect.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Today I wanted to write about another godly woman who has been a tremendous influence in my life. Just like many of the blessings that I count daily, Macon entered my life through my in-laws. My mother-in-law, Barbara, student taught under Macon's mother-in-law and then had Macon's husband, Paul, in her first class. The families have been fast friends ever since, and I'm so glad that I married into this friendship.
First of all, Macon would probably hate it that I named her at all. She is a woman who gives God credit for everything good in her life. Recently, God called Macon to a new mission field--her oncology office. She said to me, "My oncology office isn't a mission field that I would have chosen, but that's where my Jesus has sent me." At her last treatment, the nurses went on and on about what a wonderful patient she had been and that she was a favorite, etc. Macon said to them, "If you see anything good in me, it's only because of Jesus and the work that He has done in me." That answer sprung to her lips because of all the other mission fields where she has served--her neighborhood, the grocery store, PTA, as she visits her husband's work.... Macon has been intentional about recognizing God's call for her everywhere she goes.
God has also given Macon and Paul another mission field in a place of governmental power. Paul Newby is a supreme court judge in NC. In narrowing down the dozens of stories about Macon that I could tell to illustrate her influence, I decided one was most important to relate with this important week in American history.
On Tuesday we all will get the opportunity to vote. Before any of us decide we're too busy, or too tired or just don't care, we need to reflect on the awesome blessing of living in a democratic country. Just this weekend I wept as I watched thousands of starving refugees from the Congo rush a gate where aide workers were distributing food. Instead of starving in a country that is terrorized both by the government and guerrillas, I was watching this film on a tv, snuggled in my warm bed with a full stomach. I'm blessed to live in America. I don't take it for granted, and I will vote because it would be sin to be so ungrateful as to miss the responsibility that I'm given.
Macon was speaking to two friends in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago. These women were undecided about how they would cast their vote. Macon urged them to seek God's direction for their vote. Although we are not one-issue voters, God's Word is very clear on two issues that face us in this election--abortion and marriage. There are no perfect candidates, but the candidates are clearly divided on these issues. Believers simply cannot vote for candidates that so blatantly take a stand against what God says in His Word.
I had already decided my vote, but Macon's advice to her friends made the choice more crystal clear for me. Isn't this the way it should be for every decision large and small in our lives. My preeminent question should be "What does the Bible say about that?'' As the speakers at a retreat I attended last weekend said, "When you've got God's Word, you've got answers. Anything else is just opinion."
Macon is one more woman who has pointed me back to God's Word time and time again when I ask her questions about friendships, parenting, voting and a myriad of other issues. She has raised the bar high for me. Her witness inspires me and spurs me on to greater passion for following Jesus and becoming more like Him.
NOTE FOR NC VOTERS: I asked Macon about the election for judges. It is very difficult to tell about these candidate's stands on the issues because of the preservation of impartiality. These were the candidates that Macon endorses as the wife of a judge, a lawyer herself and a woman led by God's Word. I humbly submit them for your consideration as you prepare to vote:
Court of Appeals:
John C. Marin
Jule Anne Farlow