Do Me a Favor

Looking for Speaking Hope Ministry's blog? For the moment, it has combined with Miscellaneous Ramblings. Please click here and be sure to sign up for e-mail notices. Thanks. Carol

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I feel differently now than I did then.

It’s because God is drawing me in another, different direction.
As usual, God has intervened with something I never would have thought of.

Which, I realize, wouldn’t take a lot – but still…
So I’m closing down this blog, Speaking Hope, and concentrating on my other blog Miscellaneous Ramblings.

I feel that that blog will be changing at some point, too.
But in the meantime, if you could check out Miscellaneous Ramblings and sign up for e-mail notification, I would probably be your friend for life (just kidding – sorta).

I’ll continue to post on Fridays over on Miscellaneous Ramblings, so stay tuned.  You just never know what God has in store.  It will be a surprise for us all…
Self Portrait

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

But This Time...

Well, it happened again.  It probably happens a lot, and I’m just not aware of it.  But this time…

A friend’s name just kept coming to me for over a month.  And every time I thought of her name, I also felt that I needed to go over to her house and pray for her.  I saw her over this period of time, but I never told her of the promptings.
You know how it is.  Life interferes with our good intentions.  Or maybe I was just lazy and didn’t get over there.  I’d like to believe the former, but I’m pretty sure it was the latter.

Between the holidays, a little traveling, bronchitis and extremely cold weather, I kept putting it on the back burner.  When things calm down, I told myself, I’ll get right on over there.
Finally, this past week, I called her and invited myself over.  I usually don’t do that, but, frankly, I was tired of this feeling that I needed to pray for her.  I just wanted get it over with. It was really in self-defense way more than any spiritual connection.

My strategy was to ask her how she was doing and how her family was doing, then tell her about this nudge I was getting, pray for her, and go on about my business.  In my mind, it was much more about me than it was about her.
So I asked my two polite questions so that I could get on to the praying part.  Forty-five minutes later, the praying began.  In between, she told me what had happened in her family’s life in just the last few days. 

Family problems are always the worst, aren’t they?  It’s a very hard thing when family lets us down.
It just so happens that I had gone through something similar decades ago.  She already knew some of it, but now she knows most of it.  She knows the parts that can help her the most now.  But not because I was oh, so wonderful to show up on her doorstep and listen to her, share with her and pray with her.

No, it wasn’t because of me at all.  It was because God loves her in a very profound way. 
And even though I believe it wasn’t because of me, the crazy thing is that I got a blessing out of it even if she didn’t.  Because I felt that God had used little old me in His great big plan.

Mercy!  His blessings come showering down upon us.  Even when we’re just looking out for ourselves. 
Especially when we’re just looking out for ourselves. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Devil of a Time

I once had a t-shirt that said:

The next time the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.

I got more comments on that t-shirt than any I had ever worn. It definitely touched a nerve with a lot of folks.
Strangers would say, “Love your shirt,” “Good words,” or “Where did you get that t-shirt?”

I would watch people as they approached me on a sidewalk or in the mall, watch as they read the words, marvel at the light that came into their eyes and the smile that followed.
And I really don’t think it was the thought of revenge for most of them.  I think it was the realization that the things in the past don’t really matter as long as we have our Messiah, our Savior.

It was, after all, Jesus who said to those who were questioning His authority,
Your father is the devil, and you do exactly what he wants. He has always been a murderer and a liar. There is nothing truthful about him. He speaks on his own, and everything he says is a lie. Not only is he a liar himself, but he is also the father of all lies.   John 8:44

You can’t get much clearer than that. 
We have suspicions, doubts, fears – The devil is a liar.

He brings up our past and tells us we can’t change – There is nothing truthful about him.
He knows our insecurities, our weaknesses and our fears – Everything he says is a lie.

He knows what bothers us most – He is a liar himself.
He uses our past to depress us, hold us down, hold us back – He is also the father of all lies.

On my t-shirt, in smaller print and just below the main sentence, it said: 
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.   Revelation 20:10

In our own lives, we’ve got to remember that Satan has somehow made evil things in our world appealing.  Sometimes it seems like there are more gray areas than black and white ones.
But at some point in the future, Satan will land in that lake of fire and brimstone, finally unable to do anymore damage.

In the meantime, we can be about God’s business of being the light of this world.  It sure does need it.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Message From Jesus for 2014

Happy New Year!

How’s it going so far?  Mine is starting off on kind of a bummer.  I’ve had what we locally call the Sand Mountain Creeping Crud.  This malady attacks every single person around here at least once a year.
I’m feeling better, so maybe it will just go away in a couple more days.  The wonderful cough will stay for a while, because, as we all know on Sand Mountain, the cough is the last thing to go.

Today I know that things are getting better and that I have the ability to function on a higher level.  Instead of just staring at the TV and thinking I’ll never get better, I’m taking interest in what I’m watching, which is why I turned the TV off.  Progress!
It’s easy for almost anyone to relate to feeling so sick that you know you’ve got to get better just to die.  It’s a low spot to be in.  Nothing seems to be right, but the energy is just not there to change anything.

I’ve been studying John the Baptist, and I read about him being imprisoned by Herod.  The king had sort of a love/hate relationship going on with John.  He respected him and knew he was a righteous man, but John had told Herod that it was wrong for him to have his brother’s wife.  So Herod had him thrown in jail for speaking against him.
This was a low point in John’s life.  He was probably imprisoned under ground with either nothing to do or mind-numbing busy work for hours a day.  For an active, intelligent man, this had to be very hard.  Mostly likely, depression followed.

We can see his mental state when he sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He is the One they were looking for, or should they look for another. 
Think of it:  John had preached to thousands of repentance and the Savior Who was coming.  He baptized thousands in the Jordan River, pointing them always to their Messiah.  He baptized Jesus Himself and saw a dove, representing the Holy Spirit, descend from Heaven to Jesus.  And he heard God’s voice saying that this was His Son, in whom He was well pleased.

But in that dank, dark prison, John had a time of doubting – doubting himself and doubting God.  Was it possible that John had somehow misread all those signs of the Savior’s coming?  Were the passions that he felt to baptize and preach really coming from God? 
So he sent two of his disciples to ask straight out --  Are you or are you not our Messiah?

It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t get mad about it.  He just suggested that the disciples tell John “…what you have seen and heard; how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the Gospel is preached to the poor. And blessed are all who won’t be offended in me.”  Luke 7:23 (CEV)
Jesus gives John something no one else could – assurance that Jesus is
Who He says He is.

I can’t think of a better message for us as we start a new year.