The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail
of their lives.
Psalm 37:23 NLT
 

    
DON'T GIVE UP YOUR DREAM!

Battling overwhelming discouragement, I felt alone and too insignificant to fulfill the vision God had placed within my heart. Sunday morning’s tensions left me in tears with a sense of despair I felt I’d never rise above.
 
Emotionally distraught, I did not want to enter the high school where our church met, but did so only to set an example for our daughters. Then, in the opening prayer, our pastor asked God to give hope and life to those who were discouraged, and he bound the thief who tries to steal the Word of God.
 
The message was about Joseph ~ “Don’t give up your dream.” It was as though God was inside my heart, picking up each broken piece and mending it back together, making me stronger and more determined than ever.
 
Years later, I still hadn’t accomplished my goals. Continuing to feel as though I was in a vast ocean, swimming against the tide, gasping for air, struggling to reach the elusive shore, I cried out for a lifeline. Although I had the CD of the original message delivered March 2, 2003, I began longing to hear it again, live. Two weeks later, in 2012, Pastor Chris announced plans to revisit that series in a fresh way.
       
The take away:
  • Never allow your emotions to dictate your decisions. God has repeatedly used this specific morning and message to fuel the flames of a vision that winds of opposition sought to extinguish. If you have a dream burning in your heart, you’re familiar with this cruel breeze. Fix your eyes on Jesus and keep moving forward.
  • God knows our need long before we recognize we have a need. Before I heard his words, Pastor Chris had spent many hours with God, preparing and polishing His message.
  • Know that God will test us. Every vision from God is holy, but we need to be purified and equipped before executing a sacred trust. I’ve seen individuals given an assignment but walk away when tempted to leave their husband or wife for someone else, or when a computer containing the substance of their dream crashed, manuscripts irretrievable. It’s imperative that we saturate our lives with God’s Word and do what It says, walk in His Presence, and trust Him in every step of the journey.
  • satan, the enemy of every soul, observes us and listens to our words ~ recognizing our weaknesses. We must remain obedient to God's Word and His slightest Whispers so that we can run this race and finish well.
  • What is your vision for serving God? Write it down and run with it deep inside your heart. Don’t turn to the left or to the right, but look straight ahead. God isn’t waiting for you at the finish line with His Arms extended to receive you. He’s running before you, beside you, behind you, within you – and when you are weary, He will carry you.

Message Series:
Running with the Giants
~~~
Listen for yourself
and be encouraged!

 
 THE DIAMOND
 
Glancing down at my hand, I screamed as I noticed the diamond missing from my wedding band.
 
I had packed dozens of boxes with Christmas ornaments and hauled them up to the attic, and had completely filled the van with bags of items to pass on to someone else. I spent days in despair, searching through everything until I finally surrendered, “God, You know where my diamond is. If you want me to have it, You’ll return it to me.”
 
As years passed, Tim spoke of replacing it, but I rejected that idea. He couldn’t replace the stone I wore on our wedding day or while giving birth to our children. 

A few summers later, he walked into the kitchen and asked if I’d stored any crafts that looked like jewels in the attic. When I replied, “No,” he responded, “Could this be your diamond?” While shifting an air conditioning duct, a flash of light had splashed against his eyes.
  
We picked up my ring from the jeweler, the diamond reset, on our anniversary. But this story has significance for you, too. Whenever you see a diamond, remember, God knows where you are and what you’re going through.
 
“God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic, His verdicts oceanic.
Yet in His largeness nothing gets lost;
not a man, not a mouse,
(nor a diamond)
slips through the cracks.”
Psalm 36:5-6 The Message
 

      
GOD SHARES HIS SECRETS
 
One morning I read about John the Baptist,
 
“’Now you, child, will be called a prophet
of the Most High God.
You will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
You will make his people know they will be saved
by having their sins forgiven.
With the love and mercy of our God,
a new DAY from heaven will dawn upon us.
It will shine on those who live in darkness,
in the shadow of death.
It will guide us into the path of peace.
And so the child grew up and became strong in spirit.
John lived…” Luke 1:76-80 NCV
 
As I read the word “day,” I knew in my spirit that our Kristina, her married name is “Day,” was going to have a baby. There in my Bible I wrote, “A new DAY from Heaven will dawn upon us 3/27/08.”
 
The following evening when we met for dinner, while blessing the food, our son-in-love Matthew thanked God for "the new Baby Day" who would be born in November. I registered another note about this  in my Bible – a Bible that I’ve given to that child, John Daniel.
 
Whenever I grow alarmed about living in the Last DAYS, God reminds me that He doesn’t make mistakes. Our children and their children belong to Him. They were always a part of His divine Plan. We live for Eternity.
 

      
Call to ME
 
We were driving past the Capitol in Atlanta when I called to check on Kristina, expecting our first grandchild any day. As any mother would do, I asked how she was feeling. She described the pain she’d been having since 2:00 that morning. As any mother would do, I immediately headed back to our hotel to collect our things while telling her to call Matthew and get to the hospital. And as any mother would do, I drove from Atlanta to Birmingham, as if on wings of eagles. More accurately, like a bat out of Hell.
 
His name was Jeremiah. They were in room “333.” For years, “jeremiah333” had been the passcode for many online accounts.  So as tornadoes threatened the city and women in labor were brought into hospital hallways – except for Kristina because of her intense pain (epidural efforts were unsuccessful), God continually calmed the storm inside my heart.
    
Late that afternoon we received a message that they needed to do a C-section. The temptation to worry was quickly crushed as God reminded me that He had a special plan for delivering this prophet to the nations into the world.
 
“Call to Me, and I will answer you,
and show you great and mighty things,
which you do not know.”
Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV
 
There have been three children since. The announcement of John Daniel’s birth is described in Selah Encouragement, “God Shares His Secrets.” Emma Kathryn was named for her two maternal great-grandmothers – Emma, a feminine form of Emanuel, “God with us” and Kathryn, which means “holy.” The evening our fourth grandchild was born, he was placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He lived up to his name, Caleb, which means “fighter.”
 
Read Jeremiah 33:3 again and SELAH - pause and think about the things God has revealed to you. And never stop meditating on these.
    

      
PRAYER is an adventure...
 
It’s as though God sometimes grabs us by the hand as if to say, “Come with Me,” then celebrates with us when we discover where He led our hearts, our prayers, our lives...
 
Early one Sunday morning I felt an urgency to pray for our church with a deeper level of energy. Living over an hour away, I knew nothing about what was happening on site as they performed the mammoth task of setting up at a high school, but God knew their need.
 
During the service, Pastor Chris shared that the power had gone out that morning and they had been uncertain whether it would be restored. I know God called many into action, but He used this to strengthen my faith at a time when I was hurting and struggling with what possible value I could have to the church I loved so deeply while living so far away. I could pray.
 
Our God who cast the stars in space and delivers breath to every living thing can do anything without us, but He chooses to invite us to partner with Him. Isn’t it wonderful?
 
I love it when my kids and I do things together. It strengthens our trust and deepens our relationship. And so it is with our faithful Father and Friend.

      
DON'T FORGET
 
When a friend was elected to Congress, as a member of her prayer team, my family was invited to Washington DC. Following a reception, a small group of us were invited to her office to pray the evening before she was to be sworn in. Meeting there again the following morning, as we approached security I realized I had left my camera in our taxi.
 
Have you ever counted the taxis in DC, especially during such an event? And if you’ve never been there, every driver we had except one was named Mohammed.
 
Tim jumped into a cab and returned to our hotel to report my loss with the bell captain. As a photo fanatic, I was heartbroken, but relieved I had downloaded all photos from the previous day. It was painful touring the Capitol and attending ceremonies, unable to record such special memories.
 
When we arrived at our hotel that evening, the bell captain greeted us eagerly – and there was Mohammed with my camera. I was so excited that I gave him a hug and promised to pray for him when using it. He smiled. When Tim tried to give him a $100 reward, he refused to take anything.
 
That evening I was able to photograph a powerful moment of Melissa Ann at the Lincoln Memorial. The following day, I left my coat in Virginia…
    

      
THE EARTHQUAKE
 
I was awakened when the floor began moving. I’d fallen asleep on the carpet surrounded by chronological Bible study charts and bookmarks while preparing for the National Day of Prayer.
 
That morning my next reading from my chronological guide was Psalm 46 NKJV:
 
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
even though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea;
though its waters roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah”
 
Two days later, at our courthouse event, the earthquake experience provided the perfect setup for distributing the materials I’d prepared. But what’s interesting is that the earthquake occurred April 29th. Following my chart, I was on July 2nd of my second reading through the Bible that year. I was not on the standard daily schedule, but God was. His timing is impeccable.
 

      
UNWAVERING TRUST
 
The car was running when I called Tim back into the house to pray. The stress of preparing for the vacation his employer had given our family, and the fact that we would have to take a detour by the hospital so that he could have back surgery before returning home had deflated my faith.
    
I ran to another room and grabbed a devotional to put on my desk just in case someone dared break in. As I flipped to August 17, the date of our departure, I read,
 
“When everything we have
belongs to God
we don’t have to fret
about who’s caring for it.”
Janette Oke, The Loving Heart
 
What could I do but surrender my home, my husband, and my heart?
 
Whenever God encourages me this way, I put notes directly on those pages of devotionals or Bibles. They remain special to me and will have significance for my children and their children when passed to them. 
    

      
GOD's Global Position System

It was growing dark, and Melissa Ann and I didn’t feel comfortable with the hotel selection our GPS led us to. We had points for a free night, so we were looking for a room with a specific hotel chain. We programmed the next address and prayed,
    
“Father, it sure would be wonderful if there was a
(specific restaurant)
near our hotel.”
 
The sun was setting when ten minutes later we arrived at our destination in Indianapolis – with that specific restaurant directly across the street.
 
Earlier that week, out of 150 rooms at our Chicago hotel, a friend we were meeting was assigned to the room next to ours! If I believed in what many call “coincidence,” with the odds that mark my life, I’d be making billions in casinos. But I know instead that God delights in every detail of our destinies (Ps 37:23).
    

Encouragement
HOME
Download
Copy