Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year

I don’t know about you, but I am totally blown away that 2011 is gone and we are embarking on a New Year. I was reviewing the year to see what accomplishments were made for God’s kingdom and as usual realize that He has accomplished much. We have been so blessed to see the Father work in so many of your lives over the past year. We believe we are only a human extension of His love, grace and mercy as we reach out to hurting families in however He leads. What a privilege to be in a position to see Him work and join His outreach

Many of you have faced many obstacles and found yourselves in hard places this past year. Many days you felt you could not make it, but as you kept your eyes on Him you found He was walking right beside you in it all, just as He promised He would. There is a song, sung by Selah that speaks of His faithfulness. I love to sing it back to Him as a praise song because of His constant faithfulness to all of us over the years. I just imagine Him smiling down on me as I sing (yes, HE loves my singing!) those praises back to Him.

Think on all He has done in your lives as you sit and reflect on the events of the past year. Praise Him for His faithfulness to see you through those times you didn’t think you could or wanted to take your next breath. I remember many days and nights just having to keep His Word close at hand as He spoke to me giving me hope and assurance of His presence. He has always been faithful to see us through.

Now, I ask you, how will you allow Him to use that pain and suffering? Will you be available to His call to help someone else through a difficult time in their lives? Will you be open and bold enough to tell them of how God’s word brought you peace and comfort in the midst of your struggle? In Charles Spurgeon’s devotion he writes: ““We do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses.” Note that it is not said, “touched BY, but touched WITH.” Many a man can be touched by the sorrow of another, but he is not touched with that sorrow. He has feeling, but not fellow-feeling. He pities the sorrowing, but he does not sorrow with them. Our Lord is touched with a feeling of our weaknesses. It is one thing to see pain, but quite another to be touched with a feeling of it.” Allow Him to use that pain you experienced to be touched with the other person’s sorrow as you minister to them.

We look forward to a new year of ministry and we want your input. Let us know if there is a way we could minister to you more effectively. You can either email or write us at P O Box 557, Clemmons, NC, 27012 with your suggestions or if you would like to share a brief testimony of God’s faithfulness to you over this past year. You may even be ready to help us in ministry to families in this coming year, if so let us know. We would love to hear from you.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What is Your Passion?

Hosea 7:6b, “Their passion smolders all night; in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire” NIV.

Recently, in my travels, I noticed a large transfer truck with peppers of all kinds painted all over it – bell peppers, hot peppers, and red peppers, yellow and orange peppers. The words “Passion for Peppers” was also painted on both sides of the truck. You sure couldn’t miss the message it conveyed.

I began to wonder what it would be like to have our passions printed all over our vehicles or on our person as we traveled through life. What is your passion in life? Has it changed over the years? Probably so, I know mine has.

What does passion mean anyway? Funk and Wagnall’s Dictionary defines it as: “Intense or overpowering emotion; an eager outreaching of mind toward some special object; fervid devotion”. So what is on your mind most of the time or to what do you devote most of your time? Maybe that is what you are most passionate about.

Your passion can come out of your own sense of shame or pain. You might be fervently devoted to anti-abortion issues, or mental illness, or autism, or drug addiction, or a hundred other things by which you have had personal experience. You don’t often have a passion for something unless it has affected you in some way. I know I wouldn’t have a heart for the families of prodigal’s/prisoners unless I had walked through it myself. I wouldn’t have empathy for those afflicted by mental illness had I not experienced it in our family.

Our passion may come out in words or actions, but it usually does come out. If we give ourselves to our work people may see that as our passion. If we think and participate in sports all the time, that may become our passion. If we give of ourselves to a particular cause that likely comes from a passion. Something doesn’t usually become our passion unless we have experienced it or been touched by it.

Examine your heart and pinpoint your passion. How are you living it out on a daily basis? How are you using that passion for God’s plan and purpose to touch and influence others you come in contact with throughout your day?

Ask God to turn the smoldering flame of your passion into a flaming fire as you go out into the world with the intent of bringing God glory through your passion. Allow the passion that God has given you to minister to those you come in contact with. We are to comfort others as He has us!

I think of Paul before his Damascus Road experience. His passion was to kill Christians. He had studied under the best teacher in the world…Gamaliel. He had the head knowledge but it wasn’t until he encountered Jesus on the road that he truly became passionate about the things of the Lord. He became fervently devoted to preaching and teaching about His Lord because of his own personal experience.

I was satisfied for so long with my salvation experience and the knowledge I had obtained over the years about God, but it wasn’t until I experienced God that my longing to know Him in a deeper and more intimate way caused me to be passionate about that relationship with Him. Once I began to hear His voice from the scriptures and my time with Him, it became such a passion that I was no longer satisfied with the ten minute time I had been having, I found myself thirsty for more of Him. It became a joy to know Him more fully and learn to trust His love and acceptance of me no matter what I did or did not do. He loves me regardless and I can trust His love. If I fail in some way He doesn’t love me less. That has changed my whole perspective of what love is. He totally completes me!

My life verses became like Paul’s as taken from Philippians 3:10-14: Verse 10 states: “For my determined purpose is that I may know Him—that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, [perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person] more strongly and more clearly” Amplified. I encourage you to read the other verses and make it your passion to know Him more fully.

Prayer: Abba Father, I pray you will turn our passions into Yours. May we become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You. We worship today on our faces at Your feet. Give us boldness to share with others the difference You have made in our lives, just like a blazing fire. We love and adore You Lord, Amen.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Who is in the Wind?

This question brings to mind John 3:8:

The wind blows wherever it pleases.

You hear its sound, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.

So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

The word spirit in both Hebrew and Greek means “breath” or “wind.” Both a breath of air and a breeze are appropriate images for the Holy Spirit.

Consider several properties of the wind.

  1. Wind is moving air, and this fresh air is needed continually for life itself. Even seeds often require wind for their dispersal and subsequent growth. Similarly, the Holy Spirit is the presence of God, the source for all life.
  2. Maple trees depend on the wind to blow their seeds to new places where they can grow new trees. Hot air balloons go wherever the wind takes them.

Wind has no material shape or form. It is invisible; we cannot see the source or the destination of wind. It is a mysterious, unseen force. Nevertheless, its presence is known by its effects.

Likewise, the unseen Holy Spirit can be experienced in a refreshing way. His presence is displayed in the work he does in human lives by transforming, sanctifying, encouraging, and teaching.

  1. Wind is a powerful force. It cannot be stopped or controlled by people. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is not subject to human control. The moving of the Holy Spirit is God at work.
  2. There is great variety in the wind. It may be a soft whisper gently rustling the leaves on the trees, or it may be a hurricane uprooting trees.

Likewise, the Holy Spirit may gently bring a person to Christ, such as a little child raised in a Christian home, or he may work in some climactic, dramatic way to bring conviction and conversion to the hardened sinner.

In Acts 16, contrast Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened (verse 14), and the jailer, who needed an earthquake to jar him to his spiritual sense (verse 30). In both cases, the Holy Spirit did the regenerating work.

Do Not Fear

"Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand".
Isaiah 41:10

We must always remember that God is with us in our circumstances. He is our Commander in Chief; always fighting our battles for us. Find your rest in Him today. We do not live in our circumstances, we live in Christ. Set your eyes on Christ Who stands above our circumstances. You may just see things in a whole new light. It is an act of the will. We must choose to set our gaze on Him. He is the Victor already; Satan has already been defeated in our circumstances. Hold your heads up high my friends. We are in a battle but we are NOT alone. We take our instructions and directions from our Commander; not from our enemy who wants us to live defeated. Persevere in your faith. We are in the Father's bootcamp and we will be strengthened as we keep our eyes on Him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day at the Beach

Jimmy and I were privileged to get away for a few days to the beach. I say privileged because I always consider it just that. To be able to walk the beach taking in the majesty of God's creation as you watch and hear the sound of the waves coming in and out is a privilege. We don't get there near as often as we like but I try to take it all in when we do. We did a lot of walking this trip.
We would get our equipment and march down to sit on the beach for hours at a time. Course I had not only my chair but a bag full of books, my journal, camera, Bible, ipod for music cause you just never know what you might need when God speaks through your time with Him. I don't wanna miss a thing.
Mind you, there was an ominous forecast for the whole week which included lots of clouds and rain. My little friend Debbie must have been praying for our favor cause even though the clouds rolled in and out we never got caught in a down pour. We would walk for quite a distance and always make it back before the rain started.
The last day we were sitting on the beach and contemplating whether to go in when we heard a loud clap of thunder in the distance. I jumped up and started preparing our things for departure. God doesn't have to speak more than once with that message! We left many on the beach and I wondered how they faired when the rain, thundering and lightening began moments later. God gives us warning many times and we have a choice, move or get wet!
We had a great evening together as we watched a movie and cooked shrimp and clams while all snug in our little condo. It was a great time together. I felt so rested by the end of our time there, but interestingly enough ready to return home. No place like home!
I have been able to get a lot done but have lots more things on my to do list for this week. Next weekend I will spend time in the mountains and it will be a different time with the Lord. We have seven mother's coming and it will be my pleasure to make their time a time of rest! Many of them don't get away often so I want to be their willing servant. The Lord has much in store for us. Please pray for all to receive a special Word, just for them during this time. I thank God that He gave me a time of rest in preparation for this time together.
Keep praying for God's favor, Mrs. Hampton, it works!

The Dead Goose

I meant to get back a couple of days after writing about the injured goose and tell you how Jimmy and I came home not long after to a dead goose right in front of our house. The speed limit is 25 in our little subdivision but people do way more than that. Years ago I watched as a young fellow deliberately ran down some geese crossing in front of him. He and his passengers thought it was funny. If I could have gotten hold of him I would have wrung his neck.
We believe that someone deliberately hit this goose and killed him. No one going the speed limit would have hit him with enough force to kill him; these geese are tough birds. The first thought was that the dead goose was the one who was coming around with the injury. We thought he just wasn't able to get out of the way, but then the next day the injured goose appeared in our yard.
The culprits didn't even have enough decency to move the dead goose from the road so Jimmy got his shovel and moved him into the ditch. Too sad! That could have just as well have been a child. I know the geese can be aggravating, but that is no reason to kill them. I think they mate for life. I know they walk over each spring with their new offspring and you better not get close or that long neck sticks way out with the intend of biting you! Our little dog found that out right quick one day. She doesn't get within neck's reach now you can bet your bottom dollar.
The injured goose is now much better but he continues to come over for special treats in our side yard and drinks from the bird bath. He is no longer afraid that we are coming to shoo him off. I am a sucker for the under.....goose! The other geese still don't have much to do with him so guess he thinks we are his family now. It is all interesting.
I have much respect for God's creation which includes the animal world. I try not to kill anything intentionally unless it might be a mosquito, a snake, a spider, a fly, or a roach. And not even those if they are not in my house. I thought a lot of ugly thoughts about the one who killed the goose. I have to forgive though, right? Oh okay, I will.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Injured Goose

We have a lake across the street from us and that means lots of messy geese trump through our yard daily. They make a mess on our driveway and eat up our beautiful green grass. Needless to say we consider them more of a nuisance than anything. But as an animal lover I never want any harm to come to them.
We often see people come speeding down our street and you can tell they are less than patient as the geese waddle across the street in front of them at their own pace. I have even seen cars TRY to hit them. Now that makes me mad! In the spring they have their little ones following right behind. The parents are very protective, as our little dog found out one day. They don't have those long necks for nothing. She doesn't get quite to close now.
Recently we have noticed that we have an injured goose hanging around our yard. I have a bird feeder right outside our kitchen window so that I can observe the different birds comings and goings. The geese often come over to scavenge for seed. The other day I noticed that a goose was hobbling around with what appeared to be an injured leg. I watched him on and off all day and he was always by himself. I called my husband to the window and we decided that he needed some food, so we took some seed out to him and put fresh water in the birdbath. He was hesitant as we came into his space but when he discovered we had food and were not trying to harm him he settled down and ate up. Smart bird, huh?
I got to thinking about what spiritual significance there was to this story. You see his buddies had left him on his own. That is what animals do. When another one is injured they leave them so that they don't get slowed down. I thought how sad! All the other geese were walking around together and there he was injured, left to himself unable to even fly. He kept sitting down, like it was just too hard to keep walking.
Oftentimes that is what we do. A fellow Christian falls down and we leave him to fend for himself. They might need us to walk alongside them for a while with encouragement until they are back on the right path. Instead we go on off with others without a thought to the needs our injured brother or sister has. Is this true of you or do you help to carry your brothers burden? Sometimes it is easier to go about our business believing we won't ever be down ourselves. My heart usually goes out to the underdog or in this case, the undergoose! Think of someone who is down and needs a special touch of love by you. Would you be willing to reach out to that downtrodden person as the Lord leads you? Take a moment to make a call, send a card, or take a meal.
Often our inmates feel deserted. They are left without any support many times from their family or friends. What is the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind". We tend to forget them as we go about our busy schedules. A letter or a package or a book that would minister to them is often the very thing that will give them hope that someone cares about them. Consider ministering to someone today as God directs you.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Can you believe it?

After the marvelous wedding on Sunday of my son and his fiancee ( whom I can now legally refer to as my daughter-in-law) I headed off to the beach with four grandchildren. Mind you I made sure the video player was in the car and we stopped and picked out movies that would keep them all occupied for the 5 hour trip. We had two in car seats with one in the middle and then one in the front with me, all taking turns, of course!
We got down to my friend, Jean's house and unloaded the car and headed straight to the beach. Our 3 year old couldn't talk about anything but sand castles. Believe me he had sand from stem to stern. But they all had a blast, from driving the golf cart to going up and down the elevator a million times, to playing on the WII, and closing out the night in the pool at 10:00 then home to baths. Whew, Maw Maw was pooped but oh such memories. Worth it all.
We were invited to stay another night and since the kids overheard that there would have been world war three if we hadn't. You know, all the cries, and moans and why not's. Well I had no good reason for why not, so we stayed and went to the Family Kingdom and they rode to their heart's content.
The morning we were packing to leave I got a call from our son, saying, "Bring the kids by and we will spend some time with them and take them home." Was that music to my tired ears! See Mom and Dad had gone to the beach for their honeymoon too and decided a little family time would finish their time off just right.
So I had one lone grandson in tow on the ride home. He watched movies and maybe enjoyed the quiet and one on one time too. It was good for all. And guess what! I wasn't really as tired as I had thought I would be. God's strength enabled me to keep going, and going, and going.
Thanks Jean for a whale of a time! You are a most gracious hostess. So patient and kind. We love you!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

You are Beautiful indeed!

Yesterday I had the great privilege of ministering to my first patient of the day spiritually. I could tell we were of like spirits as I entered the room. God gave me an entrance to talk about Him with her not long after. I got her medical information but was prompted to share with her about my recent talk at the ladies Tea at Center Grove in April. God has really used that teaching tool He gave me to share with so many ladies I meet who don't think highly of themselves. I am able to reassure them of His love for them and how beautiful He sees them.
After sharing my experience with her I said, "I don't know why I just shared all that with you". She said, "I do. I have not been seeing myself as beautiful. I hate to look in the mirror". Tears began to run down her cheeks. I remembered that I had put some of my You are Beautiful booklets in the car so I went out to get her one when I finished her interview. Oh how I pray that God will speak to her through them and continue to minister to her heart.
To think that the first printing of the booklets led to a second printing and now I am needing more, I just marvel at how God is using that message He gave me in preparation for the Ladies Tea to end up blessing more and more ladies. The world has poisoned our minds with what a beautiful woman looks like. They say you have to be a size 2, have flawless skin, wear the designer clothes, and have money to maintain all of it. God says, "NO, It is your inner beauty I am interested in".
This lady had plenty of inner beauty. She couldn't see it cause the enemy had deceived her. He had also deceived her into believing that she couldn't do anything about her weight which had her so depressed.
I have been invited to come to the Salvation Army in September and October to share the same message about being beautiful in His sight. I am so excited to share cause I know the Father had this group of ladies in mind when He spoke the message to me. Many of them have never heard that they are beautiful. Many have been used and abused. They can't see the heart of a Heavenly Father and take in His love for them because they may have never even known their earthly father or may have suffered abuse at his hand. I know God is excited that His message continues on. We ARE beautiful ladies, let's chose to believe it!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Come....I have a Free Gift for you!

My husband, Jimmy, and I went to Concord Mills the other day. While going in and out of shops I had a lady from a booth in the walkway try to entice me to come see her products. I said no but then she had the perfect catch phrase, "I have a free gift for you." She got me by the arm and led me over to apply an ingredient that cleansed my skin. The old dry skin came rolling off and it actually did feel a lot smoother afterwards. She talked about how it prevented the pimples (I noticed she had a couple on her own face) and how it exfoliated the skin making it smooth and young. She observed my old age spots and honed in on how her product would make me younger.
She started explaining how the two products were usually sold separately; one for $69.00 and one for $120.00. But today, I could purchase both for $69.00. I told her repeatedly that I was not going to buy but she kept trying, with her hand on my arm.
At the end she even pulled me over to the cash register to show me an even better deal. I told her that she was really convincing but as I said before I was not purchasing anything. The attitude seemed to change. I had told her that I would be praying for her in days to come. She was a Jew, here from Israel she said. Of course her products were from the Dead Sea. In a sort of condescending manner she said, "Oh, I will be praying for you too."
I immediately prayed against any soulish prayers from her. I really don't think I wanted her praying for me. She had indicated she did not know Our Father and I sensed her prayers would be against me, not for me.
Later I heard from a salesman in a near by Christian bookstore that these ladies had been trained for sales and the determination came from the fact that if they didn't sell, they didn't get paid. Can you imagine working all day without pay? I would say that was a way to motivate them.
Got me thinking! We have available the greatest gift of all yet we keep it to ourselves. We don't go out of our way to offer it to the passerby. We often don't say a word, much less keep on trying by another method to share with others in our day to day walk. Our reward will come in eternity. Will you be motivated by that enough to share Christ with those you meet today. A smile, a touch, a promise to pray for them in their circumstances, or a word of witness as to how His coming into your heart has changed you. Others should be able to look at your face and know that you have been with the Father. There should be something different about you just like with Moses. He radiated God as he came down off that mountain. The application of His Word and His presence will make the difference in your appearance and spirit. That's how people will know you have been with Him.
I also envisioned how the enemy works to draw us in with promises of this and that. He tries to hold on to us and entice us to purchase his products with promises of what he can provide. But God always makes a way out. We can choose to stand our ground and say, "NO." Sometimes we yield and then walk away wondering how in the world we fell for his lies. We can get drawn in even when our intentions to speak a word of hope to them is pure. Satan can hold on to us (strongholds) in such a way that if we don't have our armor on and stand on the Word of God, we can be drawn in. Glad I had had my time with the Commander of the Hosts that day. My shield of faith was in place allowing me to resist the tactics of the enemy.
By the way, I never did see a "free gift." Praise Him we can give out His free gift of salvation to all who will receive. I praise Him for the opportunity to share with this young lady. I can still see her face. So blinded! What a great reminder to pray, not only for her but for her people.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Waiting on God

Each time I meet with mother's of prodigal's I am surprised by the emotions it brings up in me. I cry right along with them. I remember the pain and agony so vividly. I hurt for them. I cannot fix it for them any more than I could fix my own situation. They have to go through and learn for themselves what God is saying to them through all the day in day out struggle to keep their head above water.
Hopefully my sharing how God worked in my situation brought them encouragement. I was evidence that you can make it through. I remember the Psalm 69 passage that so often spoke of my own feelings: "Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life. I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me, I am weary with crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait, for my God".
Waiting for God is so hard, but I had a perfect example recently about the benefits of waiting. I had gone to a neighborhood yard sale which has been on going because they are moving. I saw a chest of drawers there that my granddaughters needed. The one they have is falling apart. They were asking $100.00 for it. It was well built by Stanley even though it was old. I mulled over it, came home and talked to my husband about it and then really forgot about it.
As I was driving in the neighborhood yesterday I again saw a sign that they were continuing the sale. I decided to go by today, as it was on my path of walking. I was surprised that first of all they still had it (I first saw it 2 weeks ago) and then that they had marked it down to $75.00. I still mulled over it and started to walk away when the lady said, "I will take $50.00 for it if that helps you decide. See $50.00 was the price I had in mind all along but I am not good at dickering. I said, "Sold". I'd say God worked in that! He knew the need and she was happy to sell it and I was happy to take it to my little granddaughter's!
It took patience. I could have jumped at it the first day and paid twice as much for it. Course it could have been gone, as it often happens, but it was intended for me.
We don't like to wait but God is working all along. If the chest had been gone I had already determined that it was not meant for me, but God gave me favor once again. It will provide a need for many years to come. And guess what, a man was there at the sale and helped my husband load it. I saw God all over that adventure.
Praise Him I have also been able to see God's hand in the life of our family also. I have not always waited patiently, but He has taught me more and more to lean on Him and wait for Him to work. I always tried to help Him, but He is teaching me more and more to let go and let Him do the work that needs to be done. I always mess it up anyway.
I pray for these mother's and feel a special bond with them already. I will WAIT to see how God works in their lives and the lives of their prodigals. I can't fix it for them as much as I want to, but I know the One who can. He will walk with them the way He did with me. As I told them and I will share with you as you read this: "You will live through it, even though it does not feel like it right now". The waters will not overtake you. God will hold you up with His righteous right hand! He loves you so much and He loves your child way more than you do. He wants them to get it too. He will arrange the circumstances that will eventually help them see but it might be a hard road to get there for all of you. Hold on with all your might through prayer, support from others, and persevere to the end. You can do it, you can.