Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Included

Texts for everyday; halloween included.

Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.

Proverbs 4:14,15 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.

Ecclesiastes 7:24,25 Whatever wisdom may be, it is far off and most profound— who can discover it? So I turned my mind to understand, investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.

II Timothy 2:22-26 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Check out this neat post from Nate. It is about an annual opportunity to promote the Kingdom of God. The world's halloween holiday could become Redemption Day if every church took this idea seriously.

Mark from shares some good ideas too.

A King and a Witch

This is a true story about real people. The names have not been changed. The king was anything but innocent.

Samuel was now dead. All Israel had mourned his death and buried him in Ramah, his hometown. Saul had long since cleaned out all those who held séances with the dead.
The Philistines had mustered their troops and camped at Shunem. Saul had assembled all Israel and camped at Gilboa.

But when Saul saw the Philistine troops, he shook in his boots, scared to death.
Saul prayed to God, but God didn't answer—neither by dream nor by sign nor by prophet.
So Saul ordered his officials, "Find me someone who can call up spirits so I may go and seek counsel from those spirits." His servants said, "There's a witch at Endor."

Saul disguised himself by putting on different clothes. Then, taking two men with him, he went under the cover of night to the woman and said, "I want you to consult a ghost for me. Call up the person I name." The woman said, "Just hold on now! You know what Saul did, how he swept the country clean of mediums. Why are you trying to trap me and get me killed?"
Saul swore solemnly, "As God lives, you won't get in any trouble for this."

The woman said, "So whom do you want me to bring up?" "Samuel. Bring me Samuel."
When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out loudly to Saul, "Why did you lie to me? You're Saul!" The king told her, "You have nothing to fear ...but what do you see?"
"I see a spirit ascending from the underground." "And what does he look like?" Saul asked.
"An old man ascending, robed like a priest." Saul knew it was Samuel. He fell down, face to the ground, and worshiped.

Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by calling me up?" "Because I'm in deep trouble," said Saul. "The Philistines are making war against me and God has deserted me—he doesn't answer me any more, either by prophet or by dream. And so I'm calling on you to tell me what to do." "Why ask me?" said Samuel. "God has turned away from you and is now on the side of your neighbor. God has done exactly what he told you through me—ripped the kingdom right out of your hands and given it to your neighbor. It's because you did not obey God, refused to carry out his seething judgment on Amalek, that God does to you what he is doing today. Worse yet, God is turning Israel, along with you, over to the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. And, yes, indeed, God is giving Israel's army up to the Philistines."

Saul dropped to the ground, felled like a tree, terrified by Samuel's words. There wasn't an ounce of strength left in him—he'd eaten nothing all day and all night. The woman, realizing that he was in deep shock, said to him, "Listen to me. I did what you asked me to do, put my life in your hands in doing it, carried out your instructions to the letter. It's your turn to do what I tell you: Let me give you some food. Eat it. It will give you strength so you can get on your way."
He refused. "I'm not eating anything."

But when his servants joined the woman in urging him, he gave in to their pleas, picked himself up off the ground, and sat on the bed. The woman moved swiftly. She butchered a grain-fed calf she had, and took some flour, kneaded it, and baked some flat bread. Then she served it all up for Saul and his servants. After dining handsomely, they got up from the table and were on their way that same night.

I Samuel chapter 28 The Message

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No Trespassing

Neither give place to the devil.

place: any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space 1a) an inhabited place, as a city, village, district 1b) a place (passage) in a book 2) metaph. 2a) the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly 2b) opportunity, power, occasion for acting

Now it is not anything new to me that a place can be a passage in a book. And the old saying that "I may be the only Bible some will ever read", is not new either. But the idea of my life providing a passage for the devil to read is something I haven't entertained before.

With that in mind, I want my life to be a passage of godliness and truth. Then he will not try to read me "all in one sitting". His attacks will be intermittent like one starting to read the same book over and over again. I don't want anything carnal to become a bookmark for him to use.

As long as my pages are bound by the Holy Spirit I can not be ripped asunder. While I am kept in the cover of the blood of Jesus, nothing can by any means harm me. When I fill the margins with prayers I leave no room for the devil's input. My life can not be stolen, for I am in God's personal library.

Join me Wednesday @ Beneath the Ivy Wreath for more insights on this verse.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Award Winning Smiles

Heidi at God's Grace in Practice gave me this award at the first of the month. She gave it to all who had commented on her posts. But there were no express rules for passing it on to other folks. So, I will give it to some of my newer finds that have made me smile.

Singing Owl @ The Owl's Song is one of my new RevGal Pals. I have really enjoyed the latest series on her sabbatical travels. This one really spoke to me. She posts some great photos too.

Deb@ Another Unfinished Symphony is another RevGal Pal that has brought smiles to my face. This post really made my heart glad. It is such a joy to hear of successful "firsts" in the ministry.

This Aint New York is a name that conjures the image of a Southerner telling a Yankee 'how the cow ate the cabbage'. I have been reading Melanie's stuff for a while and I just had to give her this award. She writes about everyday experiences that may only occur in the South. Even if they do happen up North, they wouldn't be handled the way we do in my neck of the woods. This one is a recent sample of what I am talking about.

Not a Corny Story

It looks like my corn story brought a few smiles. As I reviewed the comments and scanned the post, the part about the ipecac stuck in my mind. I'm not sure about today's ipecac, but back then it was formulated with a high percentage of alcohol. No wonder I got a bit tipsy. The corn and the ipecac were the agents of a positive outcome.

There are over 100 references to corn in the KJV of the Bible. 25 of them have reference to corn and wine within the same passage. One such reference is Zechariah 9:16,17 16)And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. 17)For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.

Hosea 14:4-9 Verse 7 reads thus: They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: Joel 2:19 The entire chapter speaks of repentance and its rewards.

I realize that each of these references are but small parts of the great prophecies given in the Old Testament days. While I could expound on the prophecies themselves, this post is meant to be topical observance of the symbols of the corn and the wine. Their presence in a land was for the most part a sign of prosperity. They were elements most often removed when a nation rebelled against God. In the 3 references I have given, they were physical signs that God had heard the prayers of the penitent.

Deuteronomy 11 See verses13 &14 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

These verses not only encouraged the original hearers, but they are an encouragement to us today. It was hard for me to sketch out this post because I found myself entangled in the full message of the prophecies. God's word is so rich, it is difficult to absorb the fullness of a text when time is limited. So I know that as you blog along you may read no more than what is actually printed here. But for an added blessing, follow the links and read the entire contexts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Come sing with me beneath the ivy wreath. Today's Worship Wednesday post will take you back a few years. Lessons came so much easier then. Osmosis worked for me before I knew what osmosis was. Yeah, now you're getting curious. Right???? See you there, and be sure to mention some of your favorite CC songs in the comments.

I set your instructions to music and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way. The Message version of Psalm 119:54.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Friday Night Honey

"Jesus was not sent to Earth to do miracles. He was sent here to die on the cross when His season arrived." This was the opening statement by Dr. Yvonne Capehart of Sister Keeper International Ministries. She entitled the message, "Increased Strength" and used Luke 22:40-46 for her text.

As with my previous post, I'll just sketch out a few of her points and leave the rest for you to study on your own. Always evaluate the message in the light of what the Bible says and seek the Lord for clear understanding.

Jesus had his friends to go with him to the garden. He asked them to watch and pray. He knew his death would be soon, but did not want satan to kill him before the appointed time.

Peter, James, and John were not to feel sorry for Christ in his trials. They were to support him as he went through them. They were to pray for him to be strengthened. The process that led Christ to the garden had taken his strength.

When you are facing a difficult assignment you need to surround yourself with those who know your assignment and will encourage you as you fulfill it. You do not need assistants who are jealous of your assignment. You need folks who are watching out for your soul. Those who will be wary of any opposition and be ready to protect you at any cost.

When you begin to reach souls for the Kingdom, the devil seeks to destroy you before they can be birthed. He does not necessarily attack your faith, but he will rob your strength. My pastor has put it this way, "The devil can't destroy the Word that is in you, but he can hinder you (the vessel) as you carry the Word."

She said, "Faith is what you need to believe in what God says about your life. But strength is what you need to resist what the enemy wants to do against what God is doing in your life."

She mentioned II Kings 19:1-3 as an additional reference about how the enemy wants to prevent new life from coming forth.

Dr. Capehart challenged us to guard the Word that is within us and to go forth in our assignments.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Honey Highlights

I am at the Honey Conference in Cordova, TN. We are having a blast. Follow this link to watch the services live. Yesterday we enjoyed music and preaching by CeCe Winans. She took I John chapter 3 for her text. "Process means progress" was a running theme throughout her message.

Last night, Darlene Bishop brought the Word. She entitled the message "When It Doesn't Make Sense". She used II Corinthians 4:8-12 as a text.
Rather than recap it all, here's a few nuggets.

The way out of your situation is not found in explanation, it is revelation.

Your life should be so different that it demands explanation.

Joy is emotional stability. The joy of the Lord in your life brings emotional stability that becomes your strength.

The Shunamite woman shut the door on an impossible situation. When you shut the door on impossibilities, doubt and fear can't get in. But Jesus can walk on in.

This morning host Pastor Darlene McCarty brought a message entitled, "In a little while". She chose Haggai 2:3-9 for her text. Along the way she added II Kings 11:1-3. With that passage she talked about how the enemy seeks to destroy your future. Then added how you must hide your promises in your prayer closet until the time that God will reveal His glory.

There is much more, but I need to get ready for our evening service.........

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

'Neath the Wreath Today

Come join me at Beneath the Ivy Wreath for Worship Wednesday. You will find out where these pictures were taken. The first one is of Pastor Randel McCarty, Pastor Darlene McCarty (the blonde), and Pastor Darlene Bishop. The one in the last picture with the bright orange shirt is me. :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Pink Seasons

Most of you know what's up with the pink ribbon. For those of you who do not, it is for October being breast cancer awareness month. It is a noble deed to raise funds for research and aid to those affected by it. Wearing a pink ribbon is a way to show support for cancer patients and survivors. It is a worthy subject for anyone to post on their blog. Still I hesitate to tell you what it brings to my mind.

You see, I have seen a few pink seasons. I have worked in healthcare for 25+ years. Those seasons just come with the territory. I have lost count of the number of cancer patients that I have met through the years. From acquaintances to my own family members, I have seen the ravages of the disease.

I have an aunt that is a survivor of 20 years or more. She has also survived cervical cancer and numerous skin cancers. She is a real trooper and avid supporter of the cause. The treatment for her breast cancer was a radical mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, the cure was found in prayer and reliance on the Lord.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. To say it was a rough year of treatment is putting it mildly. For her it was surgery, chemo, and radiation. It was getting dressed and going to appointments when she was too weak to even talk. It was pain, tears, and hardship. It was a pink season alright. Every thing was colored by the cancer. Daily activities were limited. Food took on different tastes. Smells made her sick. The times were difficult but not hopeless.

Mama just took it all in stride. She held fast to her faith in God. She was certain that He would put no more on her than she could bear. Though she was off work for most of a year, she was never late paying a bill. There was always food in the pantry and fridge. Many times she had to encourage me that all would be well.

A pink season indeed. I was living 1200 miles away. Married and working full time at the local hospital. My heart ached to be with her 24/7. It just wasn't an option at the time. But thanks to some generous co-workers and a compassionate supervisor I managed to make 6 seven day trips to Tennessee that year. My faith in a loving Savior gave me the strength to do whatever had to be done.

Mama went back to work cancer-free before the year was over. She was blessed to see 3 more years before the cancer returned. Cruel thing, metastatic cancer; it was breast cancer cells, but found in her bones, liver, and brain. Floods of emotion and memories of the previous bout could not keep her down. A stalwart in the faith, she kept her focus on Jesus. She kept the faith and finished her course on August 8, 2001.

Breast cancer took her flesh but it could not take her joy. She traded an earthly home for a heavenly one. As much as I miss her, I will see her again. Yes it is important to promote breast cancer awareness. But it is more important to proclaim Jesus as the cure for the body and soul; to preach a message of hope to all those experiencing a pink season.

Note to my family: If you feel that I was too personal in this post, please forgive me. I just wanted to honor the faith of our family and proclaim the faithfulness of our God.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Not the Same Old Story

Some time ago I posted a synopsis of a Sunday morning sermon given by my pastor. I had a lot of traffic and seven comments on that one. Perhaps I should use Mondays for posting my sermon notes from the previous day. Then again, my note taking may be limited since I am now working with the media production crew and in the sound booth. That's another story for another day. Guess I just wanted you all to know that I gone from techno-wanna be to a multi-media flunky. (smile)

Pastor entitled Sunday's message, "Speak Lord". Sunday School veterans, stay with me now. I know you are thinking of a couple of Bible stories you heard so many times as children. I had the same thoughts as he continued on giving the text references. Just as I was about to put myself on auto-pilot, the Lord spoke to me. He simply said, "Watch and pray". It wasn't what He said that roused me. It was how my mind completed the verse, just as I had heard it so many times.

You see, I was about to lean back and let my mind wander. I was about to allow the familiarity of the text, keep me from hearing a fresh admonition from the throne. I was about to be a poor example for the rest of the body. I was about to let my pastor down. I was about to open the door and let satan step inside. I was about to .......sin.

I always exhort folks to interpret scriptures in light of their context. And I'm not much on studies that are wholly topical in nature. But there are single scriptures that can stand alone as commands of God. Each of the 10 Commandments support this notion, as does many of the Proverbs. Is it a stretch to apply shutting the devil out and avoiding the path of the wicked , to my Sunday morning experience? I don't think so. Different contexts but same principle.

The 3 verses I have referenced convicted me. They became a single exhortation that went something like this: Be alert and pray so you will not yield to temptation. Don't let satan disrupt your purpose. Push him out of your way and get involved in the service.

It was clear to me that I had to take authority over the enemy and over my flesh. Much like casting my thoughts into prison. I could not tune out my pastor just because I thought I knew where he was going with the message. I go to church to be fed the Word of God, to worship the Lord, to fellowship with the saints, to support the pastor, and to use my gifts to serve others.

So I rebuked the tempter, put my mind on the Lord, inclined my ear to hear the preached Word, and I gave hearty amens as I responded to the message. My soul was filled and my heart encouraged. All because I heard the Lord speak to me at the beginning of the sermon. I am thankful for the chastening of the Lord.

Soon I will be posting highlights of pastor's sermon "Speak Lord". For now, I will leave you with this exhortation: Muzzle your flesh and hear the preached Word. Always listen for the voice of the Lord. He may speak to you at any time, even during Sunday morning service; even when you think it is the same old story.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Encouragement: txt msgs

Hpy RU por; da kngdm is yrs! Hpy RU hngry; U wl Bfild! Hpy RU sad; u wl lol! Hpy RU whn ppl h8 U Bcos of da Lrd! B gld&dnce 4jy Bcos a gt prz is kpt 4U in hvn. Luke 6:20-23

Nthing can sepR8 uz frm Gds lv. Dth cant & lfe cant, angls cant & dmns cant. Worries 4 2day & 2mrO cant - evn da powZ of hll cant kp hz love away. Romans 8:38,39

I found these here.

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