Wednesday, January 27, 2010


"Too Hot To Handle"

Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5

I took one look at my son and I knew something wasn’t right. He didn’t feel good. Sure enough, he’d eaten hot wings the night before (and I do mean “HOT”). The consequences of his bravado showed themselves drastically for a number of hours. All the men in my family pride themselves on loving ‘hot stuff’. Hot peppers, hot wings, hot sauce, you name it, they want to try it. “Oh, that’s not hot!” I’ve heard it numerous times over the years. Apparently this time, the hot stuff was hotter than hot. Slowly I opened my purse and offered a quick solution, the antacid. It was accepted with thanks.

You’ve answered the questions on doctor’s information sheets, “Do you experience frequent heart burn? “ You know the vivid images of acid reflux as the man sits on the side of the bed in the middle of the night, rubbing his chest and then the x-ray picture of fire shooting down his esophagus. Time to run for the antacids: Rolaids, Tums, Prilosec, Prevacid, Zantac, whatever your drug of choice. Heart burn racks up some big time press on television, radio, billboards, drugstores and every other place you look. Do you think it may be a problem??? After some research into the sixth chapter of Isaiah, , I re-discovered the cause of the “Woe is me” Isaiah as it relates to the lips, the tongue, the body, in general. Not just ‘woe is me’, Isaiah, but ‘woe is ME’, Helen. Not that I’ve experienced anything as awe inspiring as Isaiah did when he saw the Lord, but nonetheless convicting in my own life. Unclean lips or heart burn…or both. You may also remember the old idiom, ‘through the lips, over the tongue; look out tummy, here it comes’.

Matthew 15 burned my conscience and I don’t like hot stuff, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’. For out of the heart come evil thoughts…” (v. 11, 18) “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34b). These verses sent me running for the spiritual ROLAIDS. What did Isaiah do when convicted of his sin? “I am a man of unclean lips.” He did the only appropriate thing to do.

James 3:6: “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell”. There are a number of other references on the tongue / lips that behoove us to fall on our faces and repeat after Isaiah, “Woe is me”.

Do you experience frequent heartburn? Is it of a spiritual nature? Please do not misinterpret what I say here. Physical heartburn or acid reflux may or may not be related to your spiritual condition. The ‘unclean lips’ passage reminded ME that not what I put in my mouth is the problem, but what comes out of my mouth that pertains to ‘heart-burn’ (Matthew 15:10). So, if you like hot stuff, that’s fine; just think about what comes out of your mouth after you put it in your mouth. You may discover that it’s too hot to handle. And ‘heart-burn’, if it pertains to spiritual conviction is a good thing. My drug of choice will be as the prophet’s: “Woe is me”. And I’m so thankful that following Isaiah’s conviction and confession, his sin was forgiven and God commissioned him to be the poet-prophet par excellence!

Holy Father, Lord of hosts, thank you for conviction, thank you for Your sacrificial gift for my forgiveness. Thank you that when “Woe is me” burns my heart, You readily provide the remedy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Heart Thoughts from Helen

January Birthday Thoughts

My mother loves to tell the story of each of our births, mine and my two siblings. Each year she reminisces of the days leading up to and following. Our births are special to her and she makes them special to us.

Luke Speir Lynn, David Gary Lynn, Briana Faith Lynn. What do these names have in common other than their last name? Their birthdays all come in January. Their lineage is important. Remembering their birth and retelling the story may seem redundant to some but it’s good for me and it seems to strike a chord for them. God deems our heritage as important.
David Gary, our first born son, breathed his first breath at Allen Bennett Hospital in Greer, forty-one years ago. My eyes weren’t big enough to behold that precious little boy of seven pounds, nine ounces. Cotton top, squished in face, perfect! David loves adventure, was an avid football player, now just as ardent a fan. David loves a challenge and is goal oriented. He’s also a very good writer. As a newborn, he would lie on his daddy’s chest on the couch while his daddy sang to him…………………the Greer High Alma Mater and HOME ON THE RANGE.

Luke Speir, third son of David, born in Lancaster, SC, nine years ago the day before his daddy’s birthday. As soon as we got “the call”, we traveled in the darkness of early morning from McCormick to the hospital there. As we stood with baited breath outside the door, I finally heard the doctor say, “Ah, this one’s going to be a linebacker”. Cotton top, broad shouldered, stocky baby boy. He loves sports and taught me all about who the nominees for the Heisman Trophy were this year as we watched the WHOLE program on television. Right now he plays church basketball and is an enthusiastic hustler on the court, still built like a line backer and so much like his Poppy, it’s scary. He bonded on his daddy’s chest also as a baby. I didn’t hear his daddy sing to him.

Briana Faith, fourth (third daughter) of our youngest son, born in Juneau, Alaska, seven years ago. I arrived the day before her home birth. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Midwives, parents, grandparents gathered in that small Alaskan apartment in the middle of the night for the birth of this brown haired, olive skinned baby girl. “Baby Fafe” is what her small siblings dubbed her. Now she’s known as Briana. I still like Baby Fafe, myself. Her brown eyes light up when I tell her story. She loves to read and write and play dress-up. Briana is the natural nurturer and loves baby dolls. Her daddy bonded with her on his chest and still sings to her, but it’s not the Greer High Alma Mater.

Why is all this important? It is to me and as I read Scripture, the Lord God Almighty recorded the genealogy of so many Biblical characters, it must be important to him. We rush through the reading of them in the Bible, but our own heritage has become a huge business. History…, do we learn from our ancestors? Oh yes, we learn-the good, the bad and the ugly. Will we benefit from it? When I look at David and Luke and Briana, my smile broadens and I thank God for their earthly heritage but I thank God especially for their godly heritage and that they have been and are being raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Our youngest son, Todd, asked me last week what I had prayed for them as they were growing up. “I prayed a hedge around you, Son. I prayed that you would marry a godly woman” Today, I pray they all will be protected from the world, the flesh and the devil.

Happy Birthday David Gary, Luke Speir and Briana Faith. Jesus loves you, this I know; for the Bible tells me so.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Heart Thoughts from Helen

" DeClutter Your Life", or some such article grabbed my attention this morning. There it sat half hidden, scattered amongst periodicals such as GUIDEPOSTS, TURNING POINT DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE, WHISPERS OF HIS POWER (Amy Carmichael), Corrie ten Boom's, I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK, and last but not least, READER'S DIGEST. I laughed out loud (or I think the cyber saying is LOL). Underneath all this literary load, rolled up towels encircle the big basket that sits next to the tub. You guessed it! It's the 'reading room'. At times, it's the only quiet, private place around.

Many years ago in our coaching era when we lived in Woodruff with our two little boys, we hosted a Sunday School 'fellowship' at our old country home. Now, this old house is a story in itself, but that's for another heart thought. A dear friend arrived early and I eagerly asked her if she noticed anything different. We had opened up some of the old previously unused rooms in the house to accommodate our growing class. She glanced around and eventually remarked:"Oh, you cleaned up". I laughed then and I chuckle now thinking about it. With two little boys it was quite the task to keep the old barn like house decent and being the not so neat freak, it was indeed a joke for our house to be 'company ready'.

It's January when all thoughts turn to de-cluttering the premises. Just glance in any store noticing all the organizational helps available. Myself, I'm a pack-rat. They say the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree; my ninety-three year old mother still loves her 'stuff' surrounding her. Dennis is... well, not so much a pack rat but not exactly Mr. Clean either. That usually leads to quite a few discussions at our house as you may well imagine. I'm not sure who wins those deliberations and at times we get rather heated on the subject. To tell the truth, I don't like clutter, but neither do I like to throw things away that I might need at a later date. I like things nice and tidy and clean, but seldom do they end up that way. I can always find more interesting things to do with my time than clean house.

Saturday, as Dennis searched through a box in our garage for a three ring binder for me, he found several and was going to chunk the whole contents of two of them. I flipped through one and found a wonderful wealth of information from a 1987 Billy Graham School of Evangelism conference. We settled on saving part of one and throwing away the other.

Josiah, of 2 Kings in the Old Testament Scripture " did what was right in the sight of the Lord "(2 Kings 22:2) This boy, crowned king at age eight accomplished many things during his reign in Jerusalem. One such significant accomplishment included having the temple decluttered. Lo and behold the Book of the Law surfaced in the midst of the mess. Imagine that! The Word of God found in the House of God. The beauty of this story is that Josiah called all his heads of state together and read God's Word in their hearing. He renewed the covenant of the Lord and all the people pledged to do likewise.

I wonder what I'll discover in all my disorder.

Just think how the Lord blessed Josiah when he found the Book and read the Book and shared the Word from The Book with the people. "Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord"(2 Kings 22:19)...God spared Josiah the grief of seeing His judgment on the people.

To declutter or not to declutter; that is the question. Of course, compromise calms many ruffled feathers in most nests this time of year. Compromising the Word of God however, just won't fly.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Heart Thoughts from Helen

"The Blowing Wind"

The rugs on my patio blew past me like leaves in the wind. I held onto the door to keep it from blowing off the hinges. Howling, cold gusts up to 40mph (or so it seemed) persisted all day and all night. Anything not anchored blew away.

The wind blew in the year, 2010. And the wind still blows cold air across the foothills... I'm listening to it now as it whistles around the trees and the corners of the house. I can't see it, but I certainly hear it and feel the whip lash when I venture outside. Mercy! What a bad hair day. I thought the wind blew this way in March, not January.

Our Sunday School lesson on Sunday began with The Preacher in Ecclesiastes as he spoke of the wind. "The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes ever returning on its course." (Eccl. 1:6). The Preacher, Solomon, seemed to be in a deep hole throughout much of the book.

When I was a girl and nothing suited me, my mother taught me this little rhyme: Nobody loves me; everybody hates me. I'm gonna eat some worms. Little bitty fat ones, big long skinny ones. OOOOHHH boy, ain't they good!! It never failed to elicit a smile to blow away my morose mood. I wonder if Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, thought to cheer her son with some little silly ditty.

Solomon, in all his glory wasn't exempt from needing the cobwebs blown out of his head. January tends to be the month when we slow down from the holiday rush and yet we find ourselves wondering what's next. What will 2010 blow in? Will the well folks become sick and the sick become well? Will our financial futures improve or worsen? Will terrorists succeed in their ever determined mindset to destroy us? Will Jesus come again in 2010? 'The wind blows....round and round it goes ever returning on its course."

Jesus waxed eloquent about the wind: "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)

The wind will blow some things into this year that we won't have a chance to change. We won't know whether we're coming or going. The Spirit of God blows the Word of God and implants it into our hearts to hold onto in the midst of the whirlwind.

James 1:6 "But when he asks (for wisdom) he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."

Solomon saw how needless it was to chase the wind. Jesus tells us that the wind cannot be traced but that neither can the Spirit of God be tamed. James says that it's not good to be doubters, tossed by the wind.

Personally, I have no desire to chase the wind, nor trace the wind nor be tossed about by the wind. I would, however, love to experience the mighty blowing of the breath of the Holy Spirit this year in our homes our churches, our nation and our world. I know that Pentecost will not happen again, but the wind outside reminds me of just how much we need a fresh wind from heaven to blow in 2010.

Acts 2:1-2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting."