A Simple Response

On Christmas Eve, my pastor, John W. Stevenson, shared a wonderful message entitled Just Say, "OKAY!"  It reminded me of something I'd  written a few years ago. I thought I'd share it as we prepare to enter a new year to encourage you to just say, "OKAY!" Great acts of God are often preceded by simple acts of obedience. —Steven Furtick I was minding my business, going about my merry way, singing a simple song when I heard the whisper. I knew it was God because the idea wasn’t remotely anything I had ever considered. It wasn’t anything I’d ever dreamed of, prayed for, wished upon on star for. I knew it was God because Deborah wasn’t trying to add one more thing to an already jam-packed life, wasn’t trying to add a morsel to her already full plate. Knew it was God because not only was this something I had never done before, I had no point of reference for it…at all! But I’d heard that still small voice. And once you’ve heard it, you can’t un-hear it. You can ignore it. You can choose to disobey it. You can try to flick it away like a fly. But you can’t un-hear it. And I’d heard. So instead of doing what I’ve done more often than I care to admit. Instead of dismissing it as a whim, instead of offering a litany of excuses why I couldn’t or why I shouldn’t, instead of disqualifying myself, instead of seeking…

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The Prayers You No Longer Pray

This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.  1 John 5:14,15 CSB One of my Christmas traditions is reading the accounts of Jesus' birth. I typically  read from the Narrated Bible because  I like the way it takes the accounts of Matthew and Luke and combines them into one seamless story. But, for some reason, this year I decided to read Luke's account from a different version. I've read Luke 1 more times than I can count. But this time as I read I was arrested by one phrase in verse 13. The angel Gabriel is speaking to Zacharias and tells him not to be afraid because "...your prayer is heard." Holy Spirit seemed highlighted those words.  …your prayer IS heard Then I heard Holy Spirit whisper, "Read the footnote." And the footnote indicated that these words could be more accurately translated "the prayer you no l0nger pray" or "the prayer you don't even pray anymore."  Holy Spirit whispered again, "Deborah, the prayer you no longer pray IS heard!" Tears pooled in my eyes.  I can only imagine the number of years Zacharias had prayed for an heir. I can only imagine how he must have felt as years past and he and his wife, Elizabeth, remained childless. Perhaps as they grew older, he remembered Abraham and Sarah. He may have thought and even encouraged Elizabeth with…

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The Best is Now!

Do you know what one of the most misquoted Bible verses is? It's found in John 2. You know, the account of the first miracle Jesus performed? He's at a wedding in Cana and they are running out of wine. His mother, Mary, goes to Him and asks Him to do something about it. At first Jesus seems a bit insolent, but Mary's not fazed by that. She just turns to the servants and says, "Whatever He says, do!" and walks away. Talk about faith! And you know what happens next. The servants, obeying Jesus' orders, fill six large pots with water, and take a cup to the master of the feast. He takes sip of the water-now-turned-to-wine, and says to the bridegroom, "Everybody I know begins their feast with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill, brings in the cheap stuff. But you've saved the best til… " Did you say LAST? Nope, that's not what the Bible says. It says, "You have saved the best till NOW."  (John 2:10—read it for yourself). I love that! He's saved the best until NOW!!! Now (adverb) 1. at the present time or moment: 2. without further delay; immediately; at once; at this time or juncture in some period under consideration or in some course of proceedings described: He's saved the best til this present moment in time! Jesus said to the woman at the well, “The hour is coming, and now is when the true worshipers…

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In the Place of Rest

  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message Anyone who knows me knows that one of my happy places is the beach! The sand, the sun, and the waves revitalize me. I always feel such freedom and peace when I am able to just walk along the shore, feel the sun on my face, the sand between my toes and the waves dance around me as they ebb and flow. It settles me, centers me, and gives me a greater sense of God's love and grace. Yep, the beach is my happy place! I am grateful to once again have had the opportunity for some much-needed beach time. The day we arrived on Galveston Island, I must have walked a good 6 or 7 miles up and down the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, listening for the voice God in the waves, in the singing of the seagulls and egrets. It was pure joy to have Him kiss me with the sun and remind me that I need these Divine Pauses to be re-calibrated and strengthened for all He knows lies ahead for…

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Through the Open Door

“I know all that you’ve done. Now I have set before you a wide-open door that none can shut. For I know that you possess only a little power, yet you’ve kept my word and haven’t denied my name.”  Revelation 3:8 “Access, Acceleration, Abundance. These are the words the Lord spoke to me as we enter this year,"  I shared as I stood before my Heirs Covenant Church family. "Doors are opening, giving us access to places that had once been marked ‘Access Denied.’ When those doors open, we must boldly step through them.” I added God's promise of acceleration and abundance when we obey: “Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s Decree. “Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills."  (Amos 9:13,14 The Message) Three days later, I received this message— “Hi Deborah. I hope all is well with you…I have an opportunity for you to check out.  Are you interested in teaching on a 24/7 global gospel network?” I knew this was the Lord! This was one of those open doors.  And, yet I hesitated. I almost said no. You see, while I love to teach the Word of God and saw this as an opportunity to do what God has called me to do,  stepping onto this…

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Lessons My Father Taught Me

I posted this a few years ago, but wanted to share it again this Father's Day in honor of my father.   William Elder Gaston was born in Sheffield, Alabama on May 7, 1913, the youngest son of William Henry and Lena Gaston. To some he was Brother, to some Uncle Brother. To others he was Deacon Gaston and yet others called him “Professor.”  A very few called him Bill.   My mother called him “Babe.”  I simply called him "Daddy." Daddy  was all of 5’8,  an unassuming man with a gentle and quiet spirit.  Some may say he was reserved.  I remember a man full of jokes (he was the King of Corny), and when he got tickled (usually by his own corny jokes), his whole body vibrated with laughter. I remember a man of prayer, a man who cherished family.  He was a giving man.  He was a man who  trusted God. My father was  a man full of wisdom, a man full of love. Yes, I was a “Daddy’s girl.”  My father couldn’t leave the house without me tagging along. It didn’t matter where he was going—the hardware store, the post office, the gas station—I was right by his side.  To this day, hardware store smells stir memories of Daddy and me shopping for hammers, nails, paint and sundry DIY items. It was on many of those excursions that I learned the most from him—invaluable lessons that are indelibly etched in my soul.  It wasn’t always by…

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