Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Have you seen it? Part 1

This is Part 1 of a blog series titled, "Have you seen it?" which refers to seeing God's meticulous and intimate involvment in our lives.

Recently, I attended the homegoing services of my friend's young son, Daniel. As I walked into the auditorium and saw the place packed out...mostly with young college-aged students, it broke my heart. A young man with so much promise, and now he was gone. And whether this young man in his early twenties or my father-in-law who had just celebrated his 80th birthday, it still felt too soon.

And then it was the thought of my friend, Donna. What could I say to her, when just the Sunday before we had stood in this same auditorium and encouraged one another. She especially encouraged my husband since the recent loss of his father as she recounted how the loss of her own mother not so long ago had greatly impacted her.

But there was Donna, standing on the front row, with hands raised in praise to our Heavenly Father. She leads by example.

As the service started, you could clearly see that this was truly going to be a celebration of Daniel's life as friends recounted stories of his life and shared words of encouragement. I was moved so many times, but speaker in particular caught my attention.

Also, a young man, Jeremy Shelby, he shared how he was in shock at the news of the sudden and tragic death of his friend. It was the young man's custom to read a devotional each night before going to bed. But this night his heart was so heavy, he had planned to skip it. However, in his moment of deepest sorrow, he cried out to God to give him a Word that would help him to lift his head up. He was led to read his devotional anyway.

When he opened the lesson, he discovered that the devotional was titled, "Much Beloved" and was taken from the Book of Daniel. NOW...hold up. STOP!! Did you catch that. His friend Daniel was just tragically killed and when he asked the Lord for strength, his devotional reading for the night was taken from the Book of Daniel. But not just any passage in Daniel, but from Chapter 9. Verses 21-23 says, "while I was in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed." If that is not a WOW Moment...I don't know what is!!!!

But if that wasn't enough, the young man went on to read the rest of the devotional which was an encouragement to Daniel while in exile.

But here is the truly amazing thing to me--it is the extraordinary strides that God will go through to minister to His children, to provide for us. He makes plans long before we know what we need, He has already taken care of the details....every little thing. He loves us that much and He is always working on our behalf to ensure that His will is accomplished. God has done it before in my own life, but let me lay it out for you in case you missed it.

1. The young man was in the habit of reading a devotional each night. If you've ever been to a Christian bookstore than you know that devotionals of all kinds are available in multitudes. So first it was his habit, and also, he had previously chosen this particular devotional.

2. Now, if you know even a little bit about publishing....then you know that these kinds of things are put together months and months in advance. So that means...a) an editor had to make that assignment b) the writer had to choose that particular passage and decide to write the particular devotional c) the designer had to place that particular devotional on that particular page in the book that it might be in the right place for Jeremy to read on Sept. 16.

All of this was accomplished by God months in advance so that when his son cried out in pain, "Father God...give me a Word that will help me lift my head" the Word was ready to encourage His son. And then His son was chosen to speak on Daniel's program that he might comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."

But I wonder today, Have you seen it? Have you seen God's provision in your life? Have you witnessed the tender love and care He has for His own? It is a powerful thing to behold that the Creator of the universe loves you personnally. He hears your prayers and He will answer.
WOW! WOW! WOW! Too much for one you'll have to catch Part 2 later this week.

PHOTO CAPTION: My friend Donna Covington and her son Daniel.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Here's a notice to all the ladies...if you're looking for the perfect man, you might as well give up....I've already got him.

Now you guys out there may be wondering how my husband got such a high rating on the "Perfect Man" scale this week...I'm more than happy to share it with's one word....RELENTLESS.

My husband and I have been attending a class at church called "Marriage Matters." In one of the first classes we attended the facilitator reminded us that we need to be relentless in pursuing our mate. In one example, he specifically challenged the guys to remember all the things they had done to win their mate.

Sebastian and I just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. On my desk is a framed copy of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Just a week or so after we started dating, as I was leaving for work at about 7 in the morning, I found this paper on the windshield of my car. If you look closely, you can see the faded handwriting which says, "I love you Tina more than you can possibly imagine" and the date of Sept. 9, 1991. Just shy of a year later on Sept. 5, 1992, we were married.

In those early months of dating and even early years of marriage, I was surprised many times with handwritten notes of love or beautifully written cards. Not so much now, at least not generally in a spontaneous way. Well, the relentless reminder was all my husband needed.

About a week after the class, I backed into someone's car while dropping the boys off at football practice. Didn't do a lot of damage, but I was sure our insurance premium would go up.

I didn't know how to tell my husband, but to just come out with it. If you know my husband, and you've ever seen him really mad, then you can surely visualize how he rolled his eyes and threw his hands up and shook his head at my news. I ancitipated lots of shouting, questions, general angriness. But not this time.

He didn't even say anything, but just walked out the house and drove away. Now you may be wondering what kind of twisted story am I recounting here....just....wait...for it.......

He returned several hours later, but didn't even mention the accident or our earlier conversation. I figured I'd better practice wisdom and silence and not mention it either.

The next morning when I went out to take the kids to school, I found a card with my name on it, sitting on the steering wheel of my car.

I opened it and in part it read, "Have I mentioned lately that I love you? Do you know how many times during the day I think of you?" So you can about imagine that I was already crying. And then I opened the card, and I saw his familiar handwriting on the side...and it started...."What do you say when saying I love you seems too small and inadequate? How do you show someone how much you love them when just being with them makes you feel loved?"

Well..I could scarcely drive home fast enough to catch him before he left for work. All I could do was run and fling my arms around his neck, and kiss him with passion and say, "Thank you. I really needed that."
I didn't expect it. And could argue that I didn't even deserve it. But isn't that like God to show us a picture of His love for us through the model of marriage.

So yes...I have the Perfect Man. Marriage is a lot of work. But you have to be RELENTLESS--both husbands and wives. Marriage IS putting the needs of someone else above your own. It is SACRIFICE. Love is NOT a feeling. LOVE is a COMMITMENT!

WOW. I am grateful to have my best friend to share my life with.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Do you still stand in AWE of Him?

I attended a training on Saturday, that was totally AWESOME! And if you don't like that word, you're in bad shape...because I absolutely LOVE the word. The training was facilitated by Aaron Reynolds, author of "The Fabulous Revinvention of Sunday School." If you've never heard of him and you have a heart to minister to kids...find out who he is.

But it really wasn't about who he is, but what he reminded me "take away" if you will from the training. Now...don't get me wrong, I've already told you that the training was got it, totally AWESOME! I learned so much about storytelling and presentation that I'm trusting to transform my teaching the next time I'm in front of a group whether kids or adults.

But here is where he got me...straight in the heart. As he told the first story of the paralyptic whose friends lowered him through the roof of someone's house, so his life could be changed by Jesus. Do you have friends like that? Friends that will go to any lengths to introduce you to the Savior. WOW! But even deeper than that, are you that kind of friend? Are you willing to go through any lengths to introduce your friends to the Messiah.

Okay...but get this...that was deep...and really God just gave that to me as I was writing...but here's where I was blown away....when Aaron finished telling the story, he challenged us to be awed by God and His Word. I couldn't help but cry. I was moved. It was as if I had heard the story for the first time and then to cap it off, I was awestruck by how amazing our God is. And then Aaron reminded us that we should be blown away because the Bible is telling real stories of real people.

WOW! Stop for a moment and take that in. Have we read the story of David and Goliath so many times that we have forgotten that on a battlefield years ago, a young boy believed God so much that he went into battle to face a giant of a man with nothing more than a sling shot and his faith? When is the last time you read the story of the disciples in the story and failed to be as amazed as they were? Mark 4:41 says, "The disciples were absolutely terrified. "Who is this man?" they asked each other. "Even the wind and waves obey Him!""

Are you still awed by the Word of God? Does it still move you to tears when you read it? Or touch your heart? Or feel you with overwhelming gratitude or peace? Do you still get it...that the Creator wrote a personal love letter to YOU?

Don't let His Word become so mundane, so routine that it ceases to speak to your heart! Do you still stand in AWE of Him? I can't answer that question for you, but I hope you will spend some time today to answer that question for yourself.

God bless!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Give Yourself Away

I get the privilege each week to serve at the Lexington Rescue Mission. Nothing major...but helping in a small way for just an hour each week. And I wonder, what kind of impact we, as followers of Christ, could have on the world, if we each gave a little bit of our time each week to a cause we believe in.

Sometimes God calls us to do something really big, but I believe most of the time, He just wants to use us right where we are in every day, ordinary ways to say, "Hey...God loves you!"

Isn't that in part what we take away from 2 Corinthians 5:20? It says, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." WOW! You wouldn't believe what a WOW moment that was just now for me. Just reading that Scripture brought tears to my eyes.

Can you really grasp that today? We are HIS AMBASSADORS!! Not doing what we want to do, but doing what HE has sent us here to do. The part of the Scripture that stabs me in the heart is "as though GOD were making His appeal through us." Stop right there and really let that sink in. Do you live your life every day as if God Himself were making an appeal through you?

God WANTS YOU! He's interested in people. Each one of us have been gifted and called for a purpose and put here on this earth, at this time, in this place, to make a difference for the represent Him...and that means caring about the things He cares about. He cares about people! How are you going to live that this week?

When I'm at the Rescue Mission, sometimes I help fix trays, sometimes I pass out trays in the dining area, and even sometimes I end up at the sink washing dishes. I cannot tell you the joy I feel by helping someone in need. You know that saying, "it's better to give than to receive," it's not just talking about money. If you've never done it, I think you will be amazed at how blessed you feel when you take the time to give a little of yourself.

I love music so I'll end with lyrics from a song by NewSong, "Give yourself away, Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Give yourself away, Go out and make a world of difference. Let this be the day you see how far His love reaches. The greatest sacrifice of all is to give yourself away."

If you want to join me some time, stop by the Lexington Rescue Mission, 444 Glen Arvin Ave. They serve lunch every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. Just one hour of your time. So how about it? I challenge you this week to give yourself away.

For more information on how to help the Lexington Rescue Mission, visit