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Archive for February, 2009

317752455_1a3551284f_oEvery day is a new day to watch God.  Sometimes I am captivated by my own activity that my sensors fail to alert to what God is doing.

Can you imagine what it must have been to watch Jesus?  There would be nothing more impossible than dealing with a demon-possessed boy.  I remember hearing Jeff Pound talk of the demon-possessed in the Philippine Islands where his missionary assignment carried him from one village to another.  I will never forget the hair raising tale of being in the presence of a strong spirit presence and seeing God deliver a young child.  Brazil was where my own experience takes me.  I can clearly remember the impact of sensing the demonic around you as you ministered in that 3rd world area.  I witnessed God delivering people.  Unbelievable.

I guess in this story I was captured by his care and compassion.  He felt the chains of the demon possessed.  He heard the cry of a dad whose daughter was sick.  He took the time to minister to  a woman with an issue of blood and then to see him actually raise the child from the dead.

Imagine taking time at the end of that day when the disciples got their cute little journal out and wrote down what they saw God do in a day’s time.

I wondered what would be in my journey from yesterday.

I watched God guide four men to consider how we might better support the schools in our area so volunteers can cause a change in the lives of children.  God’s compassion was there and his hand was on it.

I had the chance to celebrate the gifting of a young pastor in our area.  God’s hand is on this young preacher, and it was so good to see him walking with the Lord and what a gift God has given him to preach and teach the Word of God.

I heard the cry of a family struggling with the responsibilities of caring for a mother and just a few minutes later shared a moment with a mother and her son testifying of how the young man had given his heart to Christ this past week.  I cannot begin to tell you how sweet it was to see mom’s face.  I was so glad to see God give a young man new life and two daughters the strength to deal with their mothers.

Comforting the hurting at a funeral is the work of the Holy Spirit, and I witnessed again Jesus showing up and making a major difference right in front of my eyes.

Oh God, Help me today to see you.  There will be a lot of noise around me and activity that crowds my vision, but I want to see Jesus.  I want to see the miracles of life right around me.

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Sleeping on a Cushion

2968758176_ec0e905f6eIt amazes me how programed I am to think that I have to be in control of everything.

Storm – Mark 4 – everyone going through the same storm.  It has been a busy day.  I can hear them say, “Let’s get away from the people.”  Jesus saw the boat in the crowd went.  They got busy.  Jesus went to sleep.

Storms pop up – They respect no one.

Where would I put myself in this story?  Possibly I would be the one that would be trying to steer the boat.  But as I think of it, if I followed the longing of my heart it would be to lay down next to the one who is asleep on a cushion.  What peace!

Is my confidence in my ability to navigate the storm?  Do I finally decide that it is far more important to rest and place my trust in God?  What confidence Jesus had in his Father.  How the Father loves us all.  I guess there are days when I would rather stress than simply rest.  Somehow in the midst of this day, down deep in my own heart I long to ‘…lie down in green pastures…”  The benefits of a restored soul are powerful.

Maybe, just maybe, I can do to my heavenly Father, what I remember doing to my earthly father.  When the storms come, maybe instead of fretting I can simply ask him if he has another pillow.  He will scoot over and let you lie down with him in the midst of the storm.

The old song floods my heart…

Far Away in the Depths (Wonderful Peace)

W. G. Cooper

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm
In celestial like strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm

Peace, peace, wonderful peace
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace
Buried deep in the heart of my soul
So secure that no power can mine it away
While the years of eternity roll!

I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day
And His glory is flooding my soul!

And I think when I rise to that city of peace
Where the Author of peace I shall see
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be

Ah, soul! are you here without comfort and rest
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your Friend ere the shadows grow dark
O accept of this peace so sublime!


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img00049-20090223-1530Psalm 90 was where God landed today… This morning I was sitting in the lobby of the Wingate on the campus of Charleston Southern University.  For those of you who know me coffee was my companion – no Starbucks available.  Some coffee is better than no coffee more times than not.

12 Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

and

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

The second contained words of a praise song that Barry Lord taught us some years ago.

I knew that today would be different – The verse became important as the day went by

I have a new appreciation for all of you who have walked the cancer path…thanks for being there for me and allowing me to be one who shares in your wounds…they all hurt but you are able to comfort us with the comfort you have been comforted with by the Holy Spirit…

There are some things that change your life…and some moments that make time stand still…
The doctor walks in and tells you there is no possibility of a heart transplant…wow…time stands still…you are alone no one there but God to help

A phone call to Steve Lee’s house and then to Robbie regarding Timmy’s death…wow…time stands still…Only God can help in times like this…
Wayne being told that his heart is blocked and needs bypass surgery…wow…time stands still…God shows up and brings peace
Hearing that your father has died…wow…I will never forget…time stood still…
and on and on the list could go.

Nancy’s mom’s name is Betty Treadway and she is married to Doug.

She has five children.  Doug has two.

Betty’s family includes:
Barbara – Orangeburg, SC
Nancy – Florence, SC
Jean – Bay Minnette, AL
Billy – Enterprise, AL
Linda – Foley, Alabama

Betty had a liver biopsy Friday two weeks ago.  Wednesday, she got the news that the mass was cancerous.
An appointment with the Oncologist was set for today at 1:40 p.m.

This afternoon a family gathered in an oncologist office to hear some very tough news…wow…time stood still for a family.
Nancy’s mom along with all of her children gathered at the doctors office.
It is obvious that her colon cancer had spread to her liver, lungs, is evidencing in her lymphatic systems – some knots small as little stones others as big as golf balls – some appearing overnight.
Her appetite is pitiful.
She is anemic.
She is very weak.
The cracked rib is really painful.
The doctor told her that without chemo or treatments of some form or fashion she had 6 months to live.
With the treatments she would have a year or 1.5 years-all very liberal figures.
She like so many of the families have watched people suffer some wild side affects of chemo, and she decided that quality of life is better that quantity of life…
The family concurred and all seemed to be in the same direction as to where Betty wanted to go with the deal.

I watched a very bold and courageous hurting family discuss issues with Betty and was so proud of them and thankful to God and the very presence of the Holy Spirit in guiding the discussion.

Nancy and I  are home now…
Plans will be to spend as much time as possible with Betty while she still can do so. Nancy and I both will travel as much as we can to see her and spend quality moments with her.
I cannot thank you enough for the prayers and kind support demonstrated toward Nancy and our family.
Pray for traveling mercies as the family from Alabama returns tomorrow and for Betty and Doug as they begin this journey in faith as her faith becomes sight one of these days.

Betty’s  heartbeat is “to let God be God” and allow him to direct the path she and Doug travel with Him.  He will provide and they are confident of such a provision.

Betty is one of my heroes. Nancy and the family will be troubled at her passing one of these days.  She has been a real rock in their lives.

Please pray for her today…

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To Behold the Lord

n1041791808_260051_1129Psalm 27 owned me today (as the guys on staff with me would delcare).  Today is the LORD’S DAY.  It is about Him and not me.  “I” get to go to the “house of the Lord” but it is not my house.  The place is dedicated to HIM!

The older I get the more I long for HIM and not HIS STUFF… Listen to what the verses in Psalm 27 express about David’s desire

4 The one thing I ask of the Lord
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.

5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.

And

13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

My confidence this morning is in the Lord.  I get to know him as I spend time with him.  What he does is in keeping with who He is.  He is a mighty powerful God.  I want to go to the church house this morning, gather with God’s people and “delight in the Lord’s perfections…” and get my mind focused on HIM.  He is already speaking to my heart this morning.  My relationship with the Father increases as I delight in who HE IS.  He is perfect in all His ways.

I remember that as I think of Jay and Caroline as they stand by their three year old daughter.

I remember that as I think of Robbie and Steve as they work through their grief.

I remember that as I think of traveling to Summerville today to check on a mother-in-law smitten with aggressive cancer.

I remember that as a teacher’s assistant looses her husband and the father of their 5 year old with cancer.

And there is no end to this list this morning.

He is the “my light and my salvation”. (1)

He is the “strength of my life”. (1)

And I am depending on Him being just that for me today!

Today is the LORD’S DAY!

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1435151660_6854b260e8_bTammy Clabo is a teacher – and a good one, I might add.  Her formal position has a desk and classroom at Southside Middle School.  She has made a difference in the life of my own daughter.

Not too long ago, she had a classroom at Duke University’s Medical Center.  There was no desk or classroom filled with children.  There was a bed, nurses and plenty of interested doctors who were struggling with the direction of approach with her heart condition.  She thought she would be a candidate for a transplant.   She and her husband Allen witnessed the waters roar and the sky seem to fall on several occasions.  Yet, without fail, I find them gathered at God’s quiet stream drinking of God’s goodness resting in the pastures prepared for God’s children – even in the midst of the storm.

Storms are a part of life.  Some come in predicted by life’s radar.  You see them coming and you can prepare for their arrival.  Nancy and I find ourselves adjusting to a quick storm brewing around us.  Nancy’s mom, one of my heroes, has been diagnosed with cancer – liver cancer to be exact  – Adenocarcinoma.  The biopsy has confirmed that the mass is malignant.  Her doctor found two spots on her lungs, and we find other indicators on her body that cancer is prevalent.  She is a sick lady.   Early next week we will get a clearer picture of how serious her condition may be.  Thank you Jesus for doctors!

More than that, God reminded me again this morning, to remember what my teacher taught me.  There is a river.  That river is filled with God’s mercy and more than adequate supply.  It flows quietly and gently so as not to scare this old sheep and his wife as we gather there to drink.  I choose to stay there and allow the coolness of his presence bathe over me.  I choose to settle down and rest in the green pastures provided by One who is declared as “…my shepherd”.  The tendency is to worry and fret.  His presence calls me “…to be still and know that I am God…He will be exalted…”

Thanks Tammy (and Allen)!

Thank you God!

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Numbers 1:3, Lev. 10:1-2

pinMy first experiment was with the plug at my childhood home and a bobby pin I found.  There was something challenging about the two small ends 0f the bobby pen and the two small holes in the electrical receptacle in the wall of our bedroom.  I remember a bobby pin going in and fire coming out.  I remember dad’s belt coming out as well.  For several reasons inferred in these short lines I never did that again.  My hand and arm learned a lesson from this science experiment.  I discovered, however, there was more electricity in dad’s belt than ever in that wall socket.

I was pushing a lawnmower home from a widow lady’s house when a quick thunderstorm blew up in Marietta, GA.  It was one of those storms that you see coming, but you figure you have a couple of hours before anything wet attacks you.  It wasn’t the rain that attacked me.  I was walking up Bolan Street when right in front of Anne Gilbert’s driveway a column of fire, a lightening strike, traumatized me just ten feet from the edge of the road where I was standing.  I was not hit, thank God, but the clap of thunder that happened on that hot afternoon scared me to death.  Fire!

Bill Hall has some stories to tell.  He was my traveling companion the other afternoon as we traveled toward Lamar out near Cartersville, SC.  For those of you who are less informed, Cartersville’s name is as big as the crossroads.  Suffice it to say I was “out in the country”.  I was entertained by Bill’s stories.  As an employee of CP&L (now Progress Energy) he has witnessed many times when men would be working on high power lines and accidentally get things crossed up and the “fire fell”.  Some were instantly killed, many were maimed, and fortunately some by the grace of God are still at work after being “touched” by this fire.  He reminded me again that electricity can be something that is a blessing from God but can also be the instrument that gathers your little soul into the presence of Jesus.  I was amazed at the respect that those who work with electricity have for safety.

I am reminded again this morning of the high calling on my life as a Christian, husband, father, and minister of the Gospel.  Nancy’s high calling as Christian, wife, mother and teacher 01_chaitenvtops the list as well in importance.  Jason and Jenn (son and daughter-in-law) enjoy the calling of God on their life as well.  Jason will be responsible for millions of dollars and Jenn will hold children and families in her judgment today as well.  As a Department of Social Services working in Maryland, she has the awesome responsibility of helping put dads and moms who have had their children taken away.  Furthermore, the list could go on…  No matter what our calling, I am reminded this morning that we should exercise great care in “walking in our gifting” and work as God has given us responsibility with the utmost integrity.  I awake this morning to the reminder that this calling is not mine…it has been entrusted to me.  I am blessed to be called.

Fire fell on Pentecost and our lives have never been the same since the Holy Spirit entered my life at salvation.  Fire consumed two priests who, for whatever reason, decided to exercise their gifting as they see fit and not follow God. It could have been pride and arrogance (two qualities that God finds deplorable).  I know that the calling was special and the role in that time in history was a powerful role before God.  It could have been a number of reasons of which we will discover completely when we get to Glory.  It is a special thing to be called by God.   I find myself in deep respect of our heavenly Father who has called me to this and still allows me to serve Him.  Today is another opportunity to serve God and others appropriately.

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Good Morning!

copy-of-img00029-20090131-1042copy-of-img00030-20090131-1735Over the past several weeks life has been busy. Nancy and I celebrated our 29th anniversary of the day we shared in our marriage vows. We enjoyed being together at the beach. River City Cafe has one of the best grilled chicken sandwiches in the world. It was a delight to share a weekend with my bride. God reminded me again of his goodness. This young pastor’s daughter has given her life in walking through ministry with me. I am still discovering the delight of being with her and learning more about her. 20 plus years we have settled in the Florence area delighting in a ministry and meeting new friends. We have three beautiful children who are blessings from God. The good they get from their mom. The bad comes from a distant uncle on my father’s side somewhere. We both have careers that make a difference in the life of people. We get up this morning rejoicing of God’s goodness.

I have learned that life is so short and fragile and valuable and that eternal life is so precious. I grieve with Steve, Connie and Robbie Lee. Timmy (Son and brother) was found dead on the couch in his home last Sunday. It would have been the last thing I would have expected to hear. His timing is perfect. I am discovering that I do not have to have it figured out. I simply learn to trust God and watch Him work. It was discovered that a heart attack was the cause of his death and his companion in moving him from here to heaven. I hurt for his wife Karen.

I was called to the hospital last evening to gather with a family as they watched their mother struggle in the Emergency Room. Dora Lee has been so sick for so long. I am not certain that she has been grieving for her long departed husband. She, too, one of these days will see him again. The children gather. They pray. They remember and hold each other’s hearts. Some talk a lot. Some are quiet. They all hurt. We were helpless. God was powerful in his presence there.

My wife Nancy’s composure changed when I relayed a conversation I had with her sister. Nancy was fully aware of the mass in Betty’s liver. What surprised her was the X-ray done to try and see if her heart was OK. When the X-ray came back two spots were found on her lungs. Betty is weak and unable to move around. She spends her day in the bed or sitting in a chair in the front room. It is so unlike her to be still. Thursday evening of last week she packed her overnight stuff and headed to Summerville to assist her sister in aiding their mother. Results of the biopsy on her liver will be available today or tomorrow. She is concerned. I am, too. We covet your prayers. The awe-inspiring part about this is, again I learned the God-gifting of a good friend. Debbie is Nancy’s best friend in the world. When Debbie heard that Betty was sick, no questions were asked, she simply cleared her calendar and shared in this weekend with her. We all are fortunate to know people, but we are only blessed with a few good friends who will do this kind of thing for us. May God be praised for a friend who loves my wife and family.

I have watched Jay and Caroline stand by Hannah Moriah’s bed at the hospital as she struggles through seizures. It is scary to see them in the Emergency Room. She was blessed to be under the watchful care of a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at McLeod and is now upgraded to a room. The seizures have subsided.

It seems that I learn more in the hospital than I ever learned at seminary. Whether it is celebrating with Nancy 29 years of marriage, sharing in watching a father bury his son, or sitting in the hospital with young or old – God is still in control.

It’s Monday, again. A new day filled with life – God guided life. Good Morning!

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