Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow at Twilight

Beautiful view from our front porch last night at twilight.

God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'
So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor. Job 37:5-7 NIV

Friday, January 29, 2010

You Will Be Noticed

And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him, and touched the fringe of His cloak; and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" Luke 8:47 And when the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. Luke 8:43-45a

Twelve years of weakness and uncleanness. Under the law (Lev. 15:25) this woman was unclean and would ceremonially defile all who came in contact with her. Imagine the growing fear as she sought the best medical help during that time of sickness and isolation. She had depleted her financial resources to no avail and the same account in Mark says, "She was not helped at all, but rather grew worse." One last hope as she made her way desperately through the crowd to touch this one named Jesus. Many were being jostled against Him, but this was a trembling, desperate hand of faith. The unclean touched the Holy One and was instantly healed and made clean. Jesus noticed! We are never just another need in a crowd to Him. He called her out for a face to face encounter and gave her an opportunity in the presence of all to tell her story. She did and that is how we know the details of her ordeal. We have no idea how the crowd reacted. Were they aghast that she had dared to touch the Rabbi in her unclean state? We know the Lord’s reaction. No condemnation from Him. He called her daughter, commended her faith, and told her to go in peace. She had not escaped His notice and neither have we. Whatever it is, whatever needs to be cleansed and healed, reach out, cry out to the One who will notice. That same power is available today to heal and cleanse.

If you are reading this and you have never asked for God’s forgiveness and cleansing make this the day of salvation. If you will confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:9-10

MY PRAYER: Lord, I thank you that you always notice my need and my trembling hand of faith. Help me to be willing to tell others of your faithfulness and all the ways you have healed me.

MY CONFESSION: Lord not even a sparrow falling to the ground escapes your notice. (Matthew 10:29) How much more do you see the plight of those made in Your image. I believe that I am cleansed and healed by Your presence. I stand on Your word.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So Long, Insecurity Conference

On April 24th MountainView Community Church
1335 Hwy 64 West
Murphy, North Carolina 28906
will be hosting the Beth Moore So Long, Insecurity Conference live via satellite.

In preparing for that event we ask you to join us for an inspiring heart-to-heart hour with Beth Moore via satellite on February 2nd at 7:30 pm at Mt.View. Beth will share her vision for the life-changing event coming on April 24th. We are asking you to attend this pre-simulcast event so you can get a clear picture of the April Conference. We can place promotional materials in your hands so together we can make an impact on the women in our area. You can help us by taking promotional materials to your church or workplace.

Let's kiss our insecurities good-by and discover the joy of living with confidence! Today's women young and old churched and unchurched, are suffering from such deeply embedded wounds that most don't even know how to identify them, and beyond that they can't imagine living without them.

Let's work together to effectively get the word out to women in our area.
Let me hear back from you if you can come on Feb. 2nd for the Preparing our Heart simulcast. We want to get you fired up and equipped to spread the word.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Passion 2007 - Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone

The Baggage Keeper

Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. 1 Samuel 17:22 NASVB

I had been asked to join a group of women to pray for a dear friend who was going through a deep, long, health crisis. She had very effectively worked alongside her husband who was a pastor, but now was limited in what she could do. I felt very privileged and humbled to be asked to join them for a time of intercession with and for her.

I spent some time in God’s word and prayer that morning before our gathering. It was a very reflective and heart searching time. At some point however, I moved from reflective to condemning thoughts. Memories of failures, disappointments, and lost opportunities just flooded over me. Suddenly, I didn’t want to go, didn’t really feel qualified to go. As I sat there, Bible in front of me opened to 1 Samuel 17, my eyes absorbed verse 22 in the New American Standard Version. The words plowed into my heart as a message straight from my Liberator, “Carol, leave your baggage with Me and run to the battle. I Am Your Baggage Keeper.” I didn’t know whether to laugh at the modern nuance of the ancient words, or just bow in gratitude for His freeing reminder that He had taken care of it all at Calvary. The condemnation disappeared and the peace and confidence to come boldly to His throne of grace to ask for help in my friend’s time of need appeared.

The enemy of our souls or our own introspective tendencies will try to shift our focus from His sufficiency and grace to our own inadequacy and works based approval. When Moses tried to help his people in his own strength, he ended up killing an Egyptian and trying to hide it. Now that’s some baggage. When God told Moses He was sending him to lead Israel out of captivity Moses tried to decline because he wasn’t a polished speaker. God didn’t try to convince him with a pep talk that he really was a skilled speaker. God’s pointed answer was, "Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say." Exodus 4:12 It simply is not about us, it is all about Him and His presence in our lives.

There is a world to win, a church to grow, and a path of good works marked out for each one of us. Are you allowing the enemy, your own sense of inadequacy, or past failures keep you fulfilling His call for your life? Leave it all with Him. Go at His bidding and He will be with you. He will teach you what to say and what to do.

MY PRAYER: Lord, thank you that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Keep reminding me that you don’t expect me to do your work on my own merit or in my own strength. In the gracious name of Jesus, amen.

MY CONFESSION: You are at work in me, both to will and to work for your good pleasure. You will enable and gift me to fulfill any task you entrust to me. I stand on your Word.

Monday, January 18, 2010

People Need the Lord

Humble Hearts and Open Eyes

God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20 The Message

God has spoken the same thing to me in two different ways today. I find that He will do this as only He can to let me know, “Yes, I am talking to you Carol. This is what I want you to hear so I am saying it in two different ways through two different vessels.” The first is from a book first published 37 years ago by Nellie Pickard called What Do You Say When…..on how God taught her how to share her faith on the go through life in an effective and winsome manner. I love her heart and reading her stories stirs my faith. She talks very openly that at one point in her life everything she did revolved around herself and her interests. God taught her to take the time to look around at others while standing in grocery lines or wherever her life took her. She learned to become available to others as she went about her daily chores. If she was on vacation then she was available to her fellow travelers or the woman sitting next to her at the pool. As she slowed down and become God and others focused the Lord used her in big and small ways to shine His light.

Then a couple of hours later I read this gem, “ God uses humble hearts—not hurried ones,” set in the middle of a wonderful devotional that you can find in its entirety here. .

I believe God wants to remind us that people are the only things that by His saving grace that we can take to heaven with us. Let’s leave our homes with this realization that we need to slow down, acknowledge the great needy world around us, and be sensitive and available. I need that reminder do you?

MY PRAYER: Lord, help us not to discount that some sow very small little seeds of faith implanted in the hearts of the hungry, seeking, and lost. Some of us will water, but you will give the increase. Help us to lift our eyes off of the mundane and see the harvest is great and the workers few. Open my blind eyes to see people as you see them. In Jesus name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: I am an ambassador a representative of Jesus Christ. I will present my body available to you to reach your world. You have given me your Spirit and therefore the power to be your witness. I stand on Your word!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Voice of Truth

Cure for a Spiritual Rut

And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14:28-29

Recently I found myself in a spiritual rut. Has that ever happened to you? As I was considering what had led me to this place, I open my mouth in prayer and said something like this, “Lord, everything I’m doing right now I’m very comfortable with. I don’t feel like I am growing or being stretched. Bid me to come to You and challenge me beyond my own puny abilities.”

Well, He took me up on my offer, so here we go into some new territory. I’m pretty sure I’m just in ankle deep water at this point, but suddenly I’m not in that dry rut.

If you want to see a new land sometimes you have to lose sight of the shore for a while. That’s why He told His disciples that He is the way, the truth, and the life. He wants us to go wherever He bids. He won’t give us a map to follow, but a Savior to lead the way. He wants us to keep our eyes on Him in a close relationship. Nothing like getting in over our heads to keep us close.

MY PRAYER: Lord, help me not to look at my circumstances and grow faithless and afraid. Help me to look full in your wonderful face and know that you will give me the strength and the resources needed to follow you and bring glory to you. In Jesus name, Amen.
MY CONFESSION: "For nothing will be impossible with God." "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." Luke 1:37-38b

Sunday, January 10, 2010

All My Days

Encourage One Another!

Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing. But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-13a
Is there anything that can cut deeper than ingratitude? I think as mothers and fathers, as good employees, caregivers, or faithful church members we have all felt its sting at some point. Experiencing ingratitude can cause us to look back with regret that we didn’t show more gratitude to those people who blessed us with acts of kindness or service.

I knew a young woman who wrote birthday and anniversary cards to an enormous amount of people. She felt led to do it and was very faithful. I was one of many who received a card twice a year from her, year after year. Little did any of us know that would be her legacy. She died in her early 30's from an undiagnosed brain tumor. I have never seen as many people at a funeral visitation as I saw at hers. The line went on and on and many waited almost an hour to pay their respect. As people stood in line they talked about the cards she had sent to them and how much it meant. I wondered if she knew.

A couple of years ago I was facilitating a Bible study and I mentioned her example of faithfulness and the impact it had. I was leading a morning and evening class and in both classes women spoke up and said they had developed the same ministry in their church. Both had tears in their eyes, both expressed that they were ready to quit because they didn't think it mattered to those who were receiving them. Both of those dear women felt encouraged to continue.

Rich Mullins said something that shook me to the core in his music video A Pursuit of a Legacy. At first I balked at what he said until I realized the real point he was making. His statement as best as I can remember it was this, “Some people are bothered that Catholics make so much of Mary. I am bothered that we make so little of each other.” All I can say is, “Ouch!” I want to be a person who is grateful. First and foremost to a God who redeemed me with the blood of His Son, has forgiven me every trespass, and has lavished His grace on me. I don’t ever want to get over the magnitude of what He has done or take Him for granted. I believe keeping that gratitude in the forefront everyday will splash over on those who need to know that I appreciate and notice their acts of kindness. Yes, our motivation isn’t to get a pat on the head, but it can certainly brighten and encourage the heart of a weary traveler.

Look around in your life, church, home or work place and tell those who serve in big and small ways that you notice and appreciate what they do. Make it your goal to encourage someone today. You never know when God might use you to be the wind beneath their weary wings.

MY PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes to see and appreciate those that serve in big and small ways. Help me to be a grateful person. Everyday you load me down with benefits too many to number. Thank you.

MY CONFESSION: Today I will encourage and build others up. I will esteem others and tell them so. I stand on your Word!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Our Brokenness, His Glory

My daughter told me about a young man who had done a concert at their church. His name is Jason Gray. She loved his music and his way with lyrics. She thought he was engaging and real. She also mentioned that Jason stutters, but totally puts everyone at ease with it. I went to his website which is a treat in itself. Check it out at
What Jason shared about his handicap is profound and caused me to really ponder my own stuff. I'm including part of his testimony below.
"I'm actually grateful now," Jason says, "that my speech handicap never afforded me the option of masking my weakness behind an illusion of competency. Whenever I opened my mouth, there it was for all to see... something was clearly wrong with Jason. I couldn't fool others or myself. I think the best thing that can happen to us is to be 'found out' for all that we are, our religious and human pretenses stripped away to reveal our sin, pettiness, and weakness. Then we can devote our energies to better endeavors than the constant masquerade of sufficiency. The added benefit is that people are able to see how God's grace works in a real person's life. When we come clean about our brokenness, Christ becomes the star of our testimony and not us."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fernando Ortega - Light of Heaven

By Passing the Self-Sufficient

And after bidding them farewell, He (Jesus) departed to the mountain to pray. And when it was evening, the boat (with the 12) was in the midst of the sea, and He was alone on the land. And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were frightened. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid." And He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were greatly astonished, Mark 6:46-51 NASV

I was in a conversation with some female friends and we were discussing the differences between men and women. We came to the conclusion that men find it more difficult in the daily nitty-gritty’s to call on the Lord for help. Of course that is a broad generalization and I am sure there are exceptions. I think all of us can fall into a sense of self-sufficiency especially in areas where we are gifted or have experience.

We see from our Scripture that Jesus sent his disciples ahead so that He could be alone on the mountain. Several of them were fishermen so rowing across the sea shouldn’t be that difficult. But the wind was against them. The word to describe how they were straining in the Greek means torture, pain, torment. They were putting forth incredible effort and getting nowhere. Ever have days like that? Ever given something all that you’ve got and it goes nowhere? It tells us plainly in the text that Jesus saw what was happening to them. He knew they were in a fix. In the midst of their pain and striving Jesus comes walking on the water and Mark tells us that He intended to pass by them. Why would Jesus do that? Well, He always by-passes the self-sufficient. If you don’t think you need His help He will allow you to row until your arms give out and you finally look up and call out. He immediately showed them compassion and calmed their fears. When Jesus got into the boat with them it made all the difference.

What can we take away from this? How long do we struggle and toil before we look up and invite the Lord to get into the boat and exchange His strength for our pitiful self-reliance? He wants us to abide in Him and draw our strength and peace from His presence. Do you realize He delights in being invited into the everyday things of life? Jesus helped Peter with taxes, a family with their wedding, a crowd with their lunch. Sometimes the Lord will bring contrary winds to blow against us so we will come to the end of our own self-effort and self-sufficiency. He sees and He knows, ask Him not to pass you by.

MY PRAYER: Father, forgive me for the times I have gone it alone and not asked for your presence and help. There really is no one who is a greater companion. I don’t want to walk in self-sufficiency for apart from you I can do nothing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: Lord, your yoke is easy and your burden is light. I will learn from you and find rest for my soul. I stand on your Word! Matthew 11:29-30