The Drought

by Debbie Rogers

He found him out in the wilderness, in an empty, windswept wasteland. He threw his arms around him, lavished attention on him, guarding him as the apple of his eye.

Deuteronomy 32:10

A drought is defined as “a period of dryness especially when prolonged” and “a prolonged or chronic shortage or lack of something expected or desired” according to Merriam Webster. Watching the news this week I see stories of extreme heat and lack of rain in Europe, the UK and the USA. But drought isn’t only about lack of water.

At times the last couple of years have seemed like a drought for many of us, me included. First there was a disease that caused us to change who we were with and where we went. Then so many issues that divided and separated us from one another. There has been a drought of hugs, handshakes, smiles, togetherness, and civility. Maybe you have had a drought in relationships, finances, happiness, health or peace. It is very easy to get discouraged, to be disappointed, to worry and look for someone to blame.

This is what the Lord says: 

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NIV)

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)

I would rather walk through a decade of drought with Jesus than a day of plenty without him. Whatever drought you are facing – walk through it with Jesus.

Jeremiah 2:6
They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’

Serene Seaside

And the sea will be no more.

“Then I looked and I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more.”

There’s more to it than that but I always get stumped right there and I make a face. 

It is a segment of a portion of the 21st chapter of the last Book in the King’s Book. 

I along with some of my closest friends spent the spring studying it and about 31 of us committed this portion and the subsequent verses to memory. We worked hard on it all year and then the day came when it became a part of my memory. I still get some of the articles and verbs wrong, But this part, the part about the sea being no more always gets me, the beach is my absolute favorite place on this planet and I could not appreciate the fact that the sea will be no more. I tried hard to reconcile that in a perfected new world there wasn’t a sea, or a beach. But a perfect world with no beach was a hard sell. 

After some study and some questioning I finally settled on the sea being somewhat metaphorical. 

The beach is the place where I think best, where I sort things out when they get jumbled up, where I check off items on my bucket list, make memories that last a lifetime. The place where I am inspired and it’s been the place that I’ve sought clarity and healing. I’ve limped there too many times to count only to leave walking upright.

The beach is the place where I refresh, reflect and recharge. 

Some days ago we Martins took a vacation to the beach, we visited Mobile and Fairhope. We witnessed a sunset that couldn’t be described and my words can not do it justice. We laughed and ate and swam and pondered and prayed. We attended church at a Bar turned worship center come Sunday Morning. We made memories and soaked up the sun and surf. 

We enjoyed our time and at the end of it all the King reminded me He is faithful in all things and can be trusted with the deep places of the heart, hurt and healing.

What’s In a Name?

by: Trisha Forsythe

            Names are special and unique. Parents spend a lot of time choosing the right name for their children. Our names have meaning and are special not only to us, but our parents. Our names also give us an identity. 

            Recently, I had a “passive aggressive” run in with a parent about the misspelling of her child’s name. It was an honest mistake–a typo and an easy to fix typo, but this mom laid into me in an email and then posted it all over Facebook. My name was even spelled wrong in the post. I had to laugh at the misspelling of my name because even though it was meant to be an insult or to make me mad, I stopped getting mad about the misspelling of my name a long time ago. Why? Trisha with an “sh” is not the common spelling and Forsythe is a hard Scoth-Irish name. Both of my names are always going to be misspelled (and mispronounced). I know it is going to happen, but I do understand her argument and frustration. I still get irritated with the people who have known me my whole life spell my name wrong. Have you ever felt the same way? Have you ever reacted the same way—whether it was your name or your child’s name? It is normal.

            Yet, I got to wondering—does that change the uniqueness of who we are and our character. I think not. We are shaped by our belief in ourselves, our life experiences, and more importantly what Jesus has said we are. I like the idea that we are princesses (and we don’t have to fight over the order of things). I like that God “knows the plans [he has] for you” and that the “plans [are] for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that “before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you.” He knows us and chose us. These promises don’t change just because our names are misspelled or mispronounced. 

            What I want my name to carry with it is that I loved people the way God instructed, and Jesus taught us. I want to be remembered as someone who was strong enough and brave enough to shout out “Let me tell you what God has done for me” or “Let me show you how Jesus provided for me.” I want to leave a legacy that points to Him (a mission that I am struggling to do every day). I want it to be said of me that I loved God, shared the gospel, and “she loved people.” Proverbs 22:1a says “A good name is to be chosen rather than riches.” That is what I want; how about you? Are we going to let it go when our names are misspelled and that doesn’t take away from the fact that we are loved, and we have a mission to share the gospel–that a misspelled name doesn’t change how God sees us? I hope not. I hope that when we are ridiculed or “blasted” on social media, we remember who we are in God’s sight and that we respond with love so that our “good name” points to God and His love. 

“To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:17 NIV

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

My daughter had a very busy weekend. Her in-laws have a family reunion the first weekend in June every year. It is a two-day event; only this year, she and her husband also had the Garth Brooks concert. She decided to leave the oldest daughter with her in-laws and bring the youngest to us. No problem. They are so easy one at a time.

I knew I was in trouble, though, when my daughter texted me and told me that Tori Laine had fallen asleep. When they arrived at my house, she only woke up enough to insist that her mother carry her in and that I would rock her. She slept another hour. I knew that was not a good sign but with just one little granddaughter, I could handle it.

When she woke up she wanted to play outside, so we played and did a few science experiments. When she got hungry, we came in and had supper and then read books. She played on my phone for a little while and then I thought we should be getting ready for bed. About the time we were settling in, she decided she was hungry. So, we had a quick, late snack. Needless to say, Grandmommy was getting tired.

After our snack we said our prayers. That is one of my favorite parts of having grandchildren spend the night. I love how they are learning to talk to the Lord. After prayers we started singing “Jesus Loves Me,”,“Jesus Loves the Little Children,” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I sang all of our regular verses to “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” but she wanted more. We sang about her cousin’s kittens and then about Aunt Gale’s chickens. We sang about the birds in the sky, then the dogs and the cats.

About that time my daughter sent me a video of Trisha Yearwood singing, and I told her I needed more names. She sent me my granddaughter’s class roll. I got corrected by Tori Laine because we had already sung about a few of them. My brain was about to stop working when she told me she was tired. She held my hand and got really still. I started praying for her like I do whenever we snuggle. I prayed for the Lord to give her understanding so that she would come to know the Lord at a very early age. I was about to pray for the people who would have influence on her young life, when I started hearing “Baby Shark” being sung in a very soft voice. I don’t know about you but I have a hard time praying when “Baby Shark” is being sung in the background.

She finally went to sleep. Praise the Lord!

As I was thinking about all of the verses we had sung for “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” I thought how glorious it is that the God of Creation holds us in the palm of His hands. The God who created the divided the light from the darkness and the evening and morning was the first day (Genesis 1:3-5) cares about me. The same God who separated the waters from the heavens on the second day (Genesis 1:6-8) cares about me. The God who separated the water from the dry ground (Genesis 1:9-10) cares about me. The God who filled the earth with plants with seeds (Genesis 1:11-13) on the third day and saw that it was good, cares about me. The God who created the two great lights of the heaven, one to rule the day and the other to rule the night (Genesis 1:14-19) cares about me. The God who filled the sky with birds and the seas with fish and all that swarms the seas (Genesis 1:20-23) cares about me. The God who created all forms of animals on the earth (Genesis 1:24-25) cares about me. The God who created Man and then Woman in His own image (Genesis 1:26-31), knows me by name and cares for me.

Yes, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. He has Scarlett and Tori Laine in His Hands. He has the Mommies and the Daddies in His Hands.  He has You and Me Sister, in His Hands. He has You and Me Brother, in His hands. He has everybody here, in His Hands, He has the Whole World in His Hands.