Monday, September 17, 2012

This year I renewed my football season ticket for my college alma mater. Last Saturday was the opening home football game for the 2012-2013 season. We sit on the vistitor's side on the 5th row behind the visiting football team. This location is attractive to hecklers. I have never understood the need to heckle the visiting players sitting the bench. What does that get you? What ran through my mind was what does this say about the University or our State when fans are rude to the opposing team's players just because they play for the opposing team. I also wondered if these same people go to church the next day? Contrast that a different experience. It was a fall Saturday football game in Linoln Nebraska in 2004. My husband and I were there cheering on the visiting team and proudly wearing our team's colors. We were expected to lose, but somehow managed to win. My husband and I were surrounded by Nebraska fans as we left the stadium. There fans contragulated us on our team's win and said they deserved to win because they played better. Other fans also helped us find the parking garage were we parked. Everyone was friendly. We left with nothing but positive things to say about Lincoln, Nebraska. This is the way with life. Sometimes we are the hecklers and sometimes we are hospitable. "You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are still filthy-full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn't God make the inside as well as the outside? So give to the needy what you greedily possess, and you will be clean all over. But how terrible it will be for you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you completely forget about justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the most important things." Luke 11:39-42.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Weary describes me right now. Sleep has been hard to come by. I have been waking in the middle of the night unable to fall back to sleep because of thoughts racing through my head about what I have to do the next day, or with just the right words to write that note, e-mail, letter or motion that I need to write the next day. Lack of sleep coupled with the daily busyness of life can leave you weary and tired. The daily grind of life or storms swirling around you can leave you weary, tired and completely spent.

You know those days when you are exhausted-physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? Have you ever felt this way and then you heard your child cry? Instantly you forget how you are feeling and rush to scoop up your little one. Exhaustion fades- your focus is to help your child feel better. And your child just lets you scoop them up in your arms, hold them tight and help them feel better.

We have someone we can turn to when the storms of life leave us weeping. Abba, Father God, is there ready to scoop us up in His arms and comfort us, heal our hurts and dry our tears. Abba is always there within reach when we need Him and He never grows weary. He is standing there arms wide open beckoning us to lay our burdens on Him. Abba can renew our strength and refresh us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We need Him to complete us and renew us. We simply were not made to travel this journey of life without relying on Him. Abba is our Creator and the giver and sustainer of life.

"Don't you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:27-31.

Prayer: Abba, sometimes I just need to sit in your lap, be held, let the world disappear and your peace fill my heart. Please help me to sit in your presence daily to find the strength, peace, comfort, healing, renewal, and love that I need to accomplish your purposes for me and to journey down life's path.

Ann Voscamp is graciously offering a scholarship to the She Speaks Conference. It is a conference for women who feel called to lead others closer to the heart of God through writing, speaking,or leading through ministry. Click How Christians May Create {And a SheSpeaks Scholarship} » A Holy Experience to check out her blog.


Heather S. Deaton

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What is the story of the Church?

"Then he asked them, "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." Matthew 16:15-18.(NLV)

Our church had a guest preacher last Sunday, March 6, 2011. Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, President, Asbury Theological Seminary. He preached on the story of the church. Is it a story of advancing the gospel or one of suffering and persecution? Clearly, it is both. God's work has been carried out since He first breathed life into man depsite the obstacles which stood in the way of His people.

Dr. Tennet shared some very insightful thoughts which I wanted to share. He reminded me that God's way and God's timing is not our (humans) way or timing. Also, what looks like defeat to human eyes is not always the case. Can you imagine the sorrow, lost faith, hopelessness that must have faced the disciples after the crucifixcion? Everything they had given up the past three years to follow this man, Jesus, who was to be the Messiah and save the Jews. Had it died with Him on the cross?

Dr. Tennet said, "God triumphs when things are at the worst. He overturns His foes. The cross of Jesus Christ which seemed to be the darkest moment, because it was the world's greatest rejection of God; became God's greatest act of reconcilliation. Man's worst hour became God's greatest hour by nailing our sins to the cross of Jesus. God always has the last word in our lives; in our world."

Praise God, that the crucifixion was not the end of the story. On Easter the women go to the tomb, but find He is not here. He is risen. "God is unvieling His greatest work under cloak of failure. Our greatest suffering and failures become His greatest work. He takes our Plan G and makes it His Plan A." Dr. Tennent.

"The Church will advance as it is willing to sacrifice." Dr. Tennet.

"But those who endure to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:13.(NLV) God keeps His promises. We just need to keep the faith.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Are you thankful?

It is that time of year where we, Americans, give thanks for our many blessings; but what if your heart is heavy and not full of gratitude right now? During the times that we are sad, lonely, depressed, angry, grieving, sick, or walking through the wilderness or desert is when it is most important to reach out to God and thank Him for what He has provided. It is also helpful to look back at a journal or other writings during happier times to remember times of joy, happiness, thanksgiving, answered prayers and other blessings. It helps us keep perspective and not allow our feelings and circumstances to overwhelm us or cloud our view.

Gratitude is easy when life is going well and we are happy with our circumstances. Gratitude becomes a choice when we are unhappy with our circumstances. "Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?" Job 2:10(NLV).

Job lost his possessions, his children, his wife, and finally his health. However, he refused to blame or curse God.

"I came naked from my mother's womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord! In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God." Job 1:21-22(NLV).

There is always something to be thankful for, even in the worst circumstances. I am thankful for answered prayers,family, friends, food, clothing, a home, a warm bed, a job, transportation, freedom to worship without fear, and freedom to write about Him.

I would love to hear what you are thankful for? What blessings, no matter how small, are you thankful? Writing what you are thankful for will help bring about a spirit of gratitude no matter your circumstances; because you will be focusing on God the source of all good gifts and not your current plight.

I pray you have a happy Thanksgiving. May God bless you and keep you and reveal to you His many blessings.

Today, I am participating in Bridget Chumbley's One Word Devotion on Gratitude. To see other devotions on Gratitude click here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Saw America by Rod Smith, Laurel, Mississippi

"I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it--the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends." John 15:12-13(NLV).

I am thankful I live in a county in which I can vote for those who govern, worship freely, raise my family how I choose, read what I want, watch what I want and freely speak my mind. Thank you to the past and present service men and women who have protected these freedoms for me. I hope you will take the time to read about a fallen American and Mississippian and about the heroes homecoming he received. See below:

I Saw America Today
By The Guru

Editor’s Note: The following piece was written by Rod Smith a Patriot Guard Rider. It arrived in my inbox this morning as an email and it deserves a bigger audience. It was written about the funeral of Sgt. Eric Newman held on Saturday, October 24, 2010. The funeral was held with full military honors, including a 21-gun salute. He was posthumously awarded not only the bronze star, but also the Purple Heart and several other medals for his exemplary service in the U.S. Army. Eric Newman, 30, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded Oct. 14 in Akatzai Kalay, Afghanistan. He married Charidy Newman last year, and was planning to become a state trooper after his career in the military was over. The introductory information I’ve included here came from the story about the funeral published by The Meridian Star.
I saw America today.

I was among more that 200 people gathered on the tarmac at the Meridian Air Navel Station to welcome Sgt. Eric C. Newman, 30, of Waynesboro , Miss. home from Afghanistan. He did not exit to cheers and hugs but was greeted by respectful silence. Military men and women, bikers, policemen, firemen, all in formation riveted their attention as Sgt. Newman disembarked from the plane carrying him.

He exited in a flag draped coffin, killed in action in Afghanistan.
The family stood near the hearse and as Sgt. Newman’s casket approached he was greeted by his new wife and his mother as they draped their arms around the casket where their beloved husband and son lay. There would be no married life for the newly married couple and another mother had given her son in the name of freedom.

I saw America today.

The procession formed with a police escort in front leading the hearse carrying Sgt. Newman which was followed by his family, more than 100 bikers, including the Patriot Guard Riders, scores of police officers, firemen, and friends. I rode near the front and I never could see the end of the procession as we rolled over the hills from Meridian to Waynesboro .

I saw America today.

On the 60 mile journey truckers, the big rigs, pulled to the side of the road, exited their trucks and put hand over heart in honor of Sgt. Newman and the American flag. Down the road from one big shiny rig was a humble logging truck, driver standing on the ground, hand over heart.

For sixty miles a mixture of people stood by the side of the road, flag in hand as we rolled past. At every junction where a side road entered there were people. At the overpasses there was always a fire truck displaying a large American flag. Every fire department along the way had their fire truck standing by to honor this young American who gave his life for us.
There was a young Boy Scout, in uniform, proudly saluting Sgt. Newman and the American flags that passed him.

A man in bib overalls stood by a ragged old pickup truck giving honor. Just down the road was a man dressed in suit and tie by his expensive SUV.
Something in the bright blue sky above caught my eye. It was two jet fighter planes flying over the procession, the thoughtful action of fellow soldiers.

I could see a woman kneeling, holding something out in her hands. At first I thought it must be a camera but as I passed I could clearly see it was a folded American flag. Just like the one that was given to my mother when my father died. Yes, it was her way of saying, “I lost a loved one as well.”

I saw America today.

As we left the main road and entered Waynesboro two fire trucks were parked in such a way as to form an arch with a giant American flag suspended between the two.

The streets were lined solid with people. No cars were moving. I observed someone in a wheel chair on the side of the road. When we drew closer I saw several in wheel chairs, some on crutches. They were old, and fragile. They were residents of a nursing home. On down the road there was another group from yet another nursing home, all waving tiny American flags.
As we wound our way through town hundreds of people lined the sides of the streets. We passed an elementary school. The children lined the fence three deep, most with flags, some with red, white, and blue balloons which were later released.

Next we passed the high school. Again the students respectfully lined the streets adjacent to the school. All were standing respectfully in honor of Sgt. Newman.

And did I mention the yellow ribbons? They were on trees, mailboxes, fences, and anywhere people could place them.

I saw America today.

When we had finished the escort all the bikers were asked to meet at the First Baptist Church of Waynesboro. There they gathered us up and escorted us to the Western Sizzlin ’ where the people of the town treated us to lunch for doing something of which we were proud to be a part.
Today, I saw America and I’m proud to be an American. God bless America.

Rod Smith, Patriot Guard Rider
October 21, 2010, Laurel, Mississippi

See also

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Answered Prayers

Thank you Jesus for answered prayers!

The Psalmist could not have expressed better how thankful and grateful I am right now.

"I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are discouraged take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord's greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues them. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him! Let the Lord's people show him reverence, for those who honor him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will never lack any good thing." Psalm 34:1-10.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sisters in Christ are God's Gifts to Us

"Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble...A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 (NLV).

It is devotion carnival time again on Rachel Olsen's Blog. The topic is "How has the Sisterhood of Christ functioned in your life?" Click here to read other devotions on this topic.

We are the product of our relationships and the experiences which flow from those relationships. As we grow older we see the significance of our past experiences and the influences that others have had in our lives. Here are a few women who have greatly influenced me:

1. Mom. My Mom is a lady of honesty and integrity whose life reflects the love of Christ. She is my first example and teacher of God’s truth. She shows by example what a Godly wife and mother is, holds me accountable, provides wisdom and tells me the truth even when it isn't easy to hear.

2. Sister. She never offers advice unless she is asked and provides great ideas and insights when I seek her advice. She has traveled a difficult road experiencing tragedies along the way; however, her relationship with Jesus has deepened. I am proud of her example—if you trust God, He will carry you through the storm; He will heal your broken pieces.

3. Amy. We became close friends in junior high. She encouraged me to be involved in our church youth group. I was baptized at age eight, but by thirteen still had absolutely no concept of what it meant to be a Christian. The youth group is where I began a true spiritual journey and learned what it meant to “walk” with God. I also learned about God’s grace and mercy in that group.

4. Tisha, Allison, Nichole, and Trish. For over twenty years, these women have been my closest friends. Their love for and walks with Christ helped me endure the pressures of the teenage years and weather the chaos of those years. We have prayed for and comforted each other during broken hearts, sick loved ones, job losses, deaths, illnesses, and the challenges of motherhood. We have celebrated with each other in each new stage of life: high school and college graduations, new jobs, wedding showers, weddings, baby showers, and the births of babies. We are always a phone call away and ready to celebrate the joys of life, grieve when the storms clouds come, listen, or offer advice. Also, they have shaped who I am and I think I have impacted them as well. We know each others’ hurts, skeletons, victories and defeats, but love each other the same—as sisters. They are my extended family. Like family, I know I can always count on them. No matter what I need, they will be there to listen, answer questions, cry with me, pick me up, and encourage me and likewise me for them.

5. Sister-in-law. She set my husband and me up on a blind date. She is always available to answer marriage, child rearing or career questions. When I was wandering in the desert spiritually and became bored with my devotion book, she gave a monthly subscription to a devotion magazine.

6. Women in my church. There are too many to name; however, women who have led Bible studies, taught my Sunday school class, or participated in other ministries within our church have impacted me with their knowledge, wisdom, advice, transparency, service and prayers.

"The advice of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death." Proverbs 13:14.

Wow, God has blessed me immensely. It looks like I have a lot of people to tell thank you. Let us build up and encourage each other by telling others how they have positively impacted and influenced our lives.