Success or Significance?

Photo by Paula May/Unsplash

Success depends on your standards. What is success to some, might not mean a hill of beans to another. However, Significance is another matter. Significant means to be noteworthy, remarkable, consequential, uncommon, rare.

Today, My mother would have been 100 years old. She might not have been successful to the world’s eyes, but she was very significant in many ways. she was a world changer. She never traveled far from home, never went outside of the United States. She was fun, serious, a marvelous singer, a terrific mother. But above all else, she loved the Lord with all her heart and had a zeal for His Good News to reach the world.

I’d like to share with you her story of how my mom influenced nations.

She was born in a large city to a lower-income family who struggled to make ends meet. After turning down a voice scholarship to The Juilliard School of the Arts in New York, she eloped at age 16 with my father, Floyd Carroll, and moved to central Mississippi. A year after their marriage Floyd was in a body cast for almost a year following a terrible motorcycle accident. The young couple moved in with his parents who really were not pleased with the marriage, and certainly let Doris know this. It was quite a difficult time in Doris’s life. However, even in these uncomfortable circumstances God was moving and had a plan for her. She spent much of this time with her husband’s grandfather, Bro. McCaleb, who had been a circuit-riding Presbyterian minister. Brother Mac could no longer drive to speak at various churches on Sunday, so Doris drove him. The two of them discussed the Bible and on the drive home from the churches, Doris could ask him questions and delve deeper into his messages. In fact, you might say, my mom was Brother Mac’s best disciple. This Godly man so enriched her life with the love of Jesus that she would never be the same. He instilled in her a burning desire to study the Bible and a zeal to reach others for Jesus. During this time, God planted nations in her heart. 

After his recovery, Doris and Floyd moved to their own home and eventually had four daughters. Doris was very active in her local Baptist church and became the music and choir director, but her heart was always drawn to missions. Anytime there were visiting missionaries, Doris invited them to dinner. As these missionaries told stories of their activities, Doris’ heart burned to go. But her circumstances denied her that privilege. After all, she was the mother of four young girls and had a family to raise. But as she talked and dreamed about missions, she imparted that love and zeal to her children. To Doris, the highest call of the Lord was to be a missionary in a foreign land.

Doris never went to a foreign land, she never went on a mission trip, and as far as I know, she never left the United States. 

BUT GOD! He brought missions to her doorstep. A young man from her home town met and married a Japanese girl and brought her home to Mississippi. After discovering she did not know Jesus, Doris did not rest until she had secured her a Bible in Japanese. She continued to love her, witness to her and eventually won this young Japanese wife to the Lord. 

But that was not the end of Doris’s influence. Her love of missions was passed on to the next generation and the next generation and the next generation. 

Back in 2015, as my sisters and I talked about our mom, we began to count the nations to which we, our children and our grandchildren have carried the gospel.  At that time we counted over ninety nations to which Doris’s generations have carried the Good News of Jesus Christ. Now Doris’s great grand-daughter, husband and two sons serve as full-time missionaries in an Asian country. My Mom’s legacy continues. Since that day, we have added more nations and the count is continuing to grow.

Doris’s circumstances dictated that she stay at home and so she did. But from that tiny little hamlet in central Mississippi, this very significant woman reached the world.

Success? Maybe. Significant? You’d better believe it!

Doris Rae Williams Carroll left a legacy that only eternity will tell. 

Thank you Lord, for my mom! May I, too, release a legacy to my children, the legacy of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations. One heart at a time.

My Son-in-Love, Rich, in Kenya

Communion as a Nation

Communion as a Nation

This is an invitation to all of those who follow my blog. We are at a critical time in our Nation. I am sending this out with my friends, Briskilla Zaranini of VisualEast and Betty Love of Miracle City Global. Please go to their sites to see the fullness of this grassroots movement to bring unity to our nation!

From Briskilla:

Within the “kingdom of the United States” there is another Kingdom filled with incredible people; who all are part of an incredible family, whose Father is God. The lens of His Kingdom is available to peer through and see fulfillment’s nearness of “The kingdoms of this world, will become the Kingdoms of our Lord and Christ and He will reign forever.”

America’s victory will not be won through low levels of mockery, bickering one with another, bruising with our words through social media nor dinners.Neither is He asking us to respond in false humility, false love, and sappy political acceptance. America’s victory will be won as we yield to the One who designed and birthed the nation. America’s victory will be won as we yield to God, and the power of the life blood of Jesus Christ. America’s victory will be won as we become who God identified us to be. America’s victory will be won and advanced as we come into the rhythm of His movements.

Within this new era we are in, God is making very clear that we are to live from a place of victory. He is instructing us to perceive through the eyes of the High Priest and King of the Kingdom of God. Engaging and being swayed by the political spirit and muddied waters is not the path of God’s dread champions. Instead, when we see through His lenses, we can walk on the path prepared. His ways empower us to move in a victorious knowing. We are not waiting, His Kingdom is here.

Let’s Break Bread together, making room for our Dread Champion-the King of His Father’s Kingdom. Let’s Break Bread together, bringing our thanksgiving to Jesus Christ for His eternal gift. Let’s invite Him to breathe upon us again, and come into His tabernacle. Let’s invite Him to come and find a people desiring to sit and listen to His conversation. Let’s respond to His invitation to become one, as He and the Father are One. Let’s Break Bread together and allow Him to consume us with the life found within His blood.

From Ruthie:

State by state we are becoming divided. But Righteousness Exalts a Nation!

We are in the midst of 70 days of crying out for righteousness in our nation, 70 days for believers to awaken to His call! It is time for th next step: UNITY. We will never agree theologically, politically on many issues. HOWEVER, we can all humbly come to His table at the foot of the cross and break bread together as believers in the power of the Blood of Jesus. It is at that place we come into unity with Him.

Join us April 12-19 for daily communion where ever you are, to bring unity to a torn nation. Then As we trust the Blood of our Champion, Jesus Christ, to bring down the stronghold of division in our land and we will walk in His power of unity.

Please click here for the video invitation.

The Cry of the Innocents

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Poster from James Nesbit Art

I have always tried to post non-controversial, good, encouraging posts on my blog. But this quote from Edmund Burke in a letter to William Smith in 1795 has gripped my heart today. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

I never thought I would see the day in my nation when a governor of a state would publically endorse the murder of a newborn baby. It is as though the evil of abortion has come to a new level. Therefore it is time for the Body of Christ to arise and speak out against the evil of abortion on a new, higher and louder level. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must take a new stand for righteousness and justice for those who cannot speak for themselves. With new zeal, I am repenting for not speaking louder and therefore I am writing this blog and also sending it to all of the public officials who represent me as a citizen of Mississippi and the United States of America.

My Bible reading this morning was from Matt. 24 and Exodus 20. I suddenly realized how interconnedted the two are.

Matthew 24: “Kingdom shall rise against Kingdom.”

Exodus 20: “The 10 commandments.”

The demonic kingdom of the ancient god of Molech is rising and demands the sacrifice of children (Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2-4). But the Kingdom of Heaven says “Thou shall not murder.” And the Kingdom of Heaven also releases Mercy and forgiveness.

I believe that abortion is murder, but there is also a deeper spiritual dimension to be considered: The worship of Molech demands innocent blood. When you see a nation that kills babies in these numbers (64 million since 1972) it causes you to think there is more involved than just the choice of one woman. The abortion industry has become the death mill for the sacrifice of innocent blood. This demonic principality always demands more, ever increasing the sacrifice. Like the grave, it cries “never enough!”

Across our nation there is innocent bloodshed: Some of it from women who have believed the lie of a ‘fetus, mass of tissue’ rather than a baby; Most from the well informed who understand all of the issues, yet still call for the sacrifice.

A baby is a baby at conception:

Jeremiah 1:3 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I sanctified you.”

A baby is a baby at 8 weeks pregnancy.

A baby is a baby at 9 months pregnancy.

A baby is a baby at birth.

A baby is a baby is a baby is a baby!

Forgive us Lord when we do not cry out against this atrocity!

Our voice matters and our vote matters.

If and when we go into a voting booth and vote for any candidate who is aligned with a platform that is pro-choice, abortion and murder, we will be held responsible because their vote speaks.

It speaks in the earth realm.

It speaks in the spiritual realm.

It speaks in the political realm.

This is a spiritual issue of “who will you serve?” Molech or the God who created the Heavens and the Earth? The King of all Kings, Jesus, or a demonic principality that demands innocent blood.

The blood of our King, Jesus the Redeemer, was shed for the forgiveness of sin. If you have found yourself agreeing politically, medically or spiritually with abortion either by encouraging someone to have an abortion, by having an abortion, or by voting for a political platform that supports it, I have good news for you. You can repent, be forgiven and turn from your wicked way. There is great mercy for you!

And Lord, have mercy on our souls, our nation and our churches.

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Photo from FaceBook

We Three Kings/Wise Men Still Seek Him

 

This Hymn always causes me to stop, ponder and realize that the joy of Christmas brings the sacrifice of the cross. Just reading the verses says it all, proclaiming the fullness his purpose. As you read the first four verses, there is a heaviness as you realize he came as a sacrifice.

  1. We Three Kings of Orient are bearing gifts, we traverse so far
  2. Gold to crown him a King-Over us to reign
  3. Frankincense to declare his deity as our God-Worship him, God on high
  4. Myrrh, a bitter perfume to anoint him for burial-Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying

The verse ends with the words “Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in a stone cold-tomb.”

Several years ago I wrote a blog called “Sunday’s comin!” The first four verses of this Carol feel like Friday night- sealed in a stone cold-tomb.

But the carol doesn’t end here. NO! there is more. Oh! the joy of singing the last verse.  Sunday’s coming!

Verse five:

Glorious now behold him arise!

King, and God and Sacrifice!

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Earth to heaven replies.

Yes! Hallelujah to the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Passover lamb, the Risen Savior and Prince of Peace

This Christmas be like the wise men of old. Seek him, worship him and proclaim his Glory!

 

 

Mary, Did you Know?

 

Oh! The joyous sound of carolers singing the familiar songs of the past. Some written hundreds of years ago and others written within the past few years. All proclaiming the miracle of the ages: the entrance of the infinite King of Kings, God himself, into our finite sinful world.

He chose two young, innocent regular people like us to usher him into this life. Mary and Joseph.

What were they thinking when the Holy Spirit informed them of this unique, supernatural event that was to take place? Fear? Excitement? What we do know for sure is that they were humble and very obedient and after the angel’s visit to Joseph it seemed they never wavered.

As a mother I know what it is like to look into the sweet face of your newborn. The wonder. The joy. This tiny innocent face so precious. I’m sure Mary felt the same as most all mothers feel at that intimate moment. Love. Joy. Peace.

Then shepherds arrived, telling of the angel’s visit and proclamations! Knowing the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy and his birth, what were her thoughts? Did she and Joseph discuss all of these strange, wonderful events?

This newer carol has captured my heart, describing these first moments of his arrival into our cold, dark world.

Take a few moments today to listen to this song. Let these words take you back to that cave 2000 years ago and stand in wonder and worship of the child born that night.

“Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city. This is how you will recognize him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11-12. GW translation)

 

 

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Why Bethlehem, the Redeemer City?

Jehovah had spent four thousand years preparing, creating, and setting the stage for this moment in history. It is totally amazing to see how it all came together in a tiny little hamlet called Bethlehem.

Judah’s tribe was known as the redemption tribe because of the law of the kinsman redeemer. This law was initiated when a husband died and left his widow with no children. This law stated the nearest male relative would marry the widow to provide an inheritance for her and also to carry on the dead man’s name. Through a series of events found in Genesis 38, Judah’s tribe originated based upon this law.

Moving along the family line, 1 Chron. 2:51 tells us, Salmon, of the redeemer tribe of Judah, married Rahab, the courageous woman of Jericho, and was the father of Bethlehem. It was in Bethlehem where Boaz, son of Rahab, married Ruth to redeem the inheritance of her dead husband and Bethlehem became known as the redemption city. King David and Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, were both from Bethlehem of the bloodline of Judah.

And Bethlehem, meaning the “house of bread” was and still is known for its delicious bread. In the house of bread, the Bread of Life was born.

Not only was this the land of the redemption tribe of Judah, in the redemption city of Bethlehem, but it was also the place where the sacrificial lambs for the Temple were born. It was necessary for Jesus, our Passover Lamb, to be born in the redeemer city of Bethlehem, known as the house of bread, in the redeemer land of Judah of the bloodline of the redeemer tribe of Judah.

“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David (Bethlehem) a Savior (Redeemer), who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11 NKJV)

Again, why Bethlehem? Of course Bethlehem! No other place in the earth could have received the Savior of the world, the Redeemer, the Passover Lamb.

jesus-birth

O Little Town of Bethlehem

How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven
No ear may hear His coming
But in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him still
The dear Christ enters in

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

Songwriters: Jeremy Michael Lubbock / Pierre Marchand / Sarah Mclachlan. © The Bicycle Music Company

GOD AND MAN AT TABLE

God Incarnate

As I sat at the piano, playing and singing some Christmas carols, another song came to my heart. This is traditionally a song sung for times of communion, the Lord’s Supper, in a corporate gathering. Brother Bob Stamps, then chaplain of ORU with assistance from David Stearman, composed this song back in the ‘70’s during our time at ORU. Gazing at the nativity figures on my piano I had never considered this as a Christmas song, yet it totally expressed the meaning of the birth of Jesus. His birth opened the door for everyone to come: shepherds, kings, wise men and women. My brother-in-law used to say “The ground is level at the foot of the cross with a sign that says ‘whosoever will may come.”

All are welcome, shepherds and kings

GOD AND MAN AT TABLE

by Dr. Robert J.(Brother Bob) Stamps

O, welcome, all ye noble saints of old                                                        As now before your very eyes unfold                                                    The wonders all so long ago foretold.                                                     God and Man at table are sat down

 Elders, martyrs, all are falling down;                                           Prophets, patriarchs are gath’ring round.                                         What angels longed to see now man has found:                                  God and man at table are sat down.

Who is this who spreads the vic’try feast?                                        Who is this who makes our warring cease?                                     Jesus, Risen Savior, Prince of Peace.                                                     God and man at table are sat down.

Beggars, lame, and harlots also here;                                        Repentant publicans are drawing near.                                    Wayward sons come home without a fear.                                        God and man at table are sat down.

Worship in the presence of the Lord                                                   With joyful songs and hearts in one accord.                                        And let our Host at table be adored.                                                       God and man at table are sat down.

When at last this earth shall pass away,                                           When Jesus and his Bride are one to stay,                                            The feast of love is just begun that day.                                               God and man at table are sat down.

 

 

God and Man at Table are Sat Down

Take a moment this Christmas.

Stop and Breathe. Share Communion.

After all, isn’t that what Christmas is really about?

(copyright Song Solutions, UK/Eire and Capitol CMG Publishing, USA.)

 

 

 

Silent Night

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It’s Christmas and my cups are out! Can’t help but smile when you sip hot coffee from a cheerful Christmas mug. This year as part of my own devotion I plan to read a Christmas carol each day. The words are so rich, and I don’t want to miss the message behind the words. Often they were composed with a specific purpose, other times written from a moving experience of the heart, but they always tell the story of salvation in the language of music. Who doesn’t get teary eyes watching little boys in bath robes and sweet little girls with crooked halos singing “Away in a Manger.”

Today the song on my heart is Silent Night. Most of us know the story of the broken organ in a small Austrian village. Joseph Mohr, the priest, had just watched a troupe of traveling actors present the nativity play and his heart was deeply moved. Rather than going home he walked in hushed silence to a hill overlooking the little village. His heart swelled as he reflected on the birth of the Messiah in the stillness of the snowy evening. “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.” Could he visualize the events that quietly took place so long ago in another small villiage in Israel? In Bethlehem? “Round yon virgin, mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild.”

Suddenly that tranquil night was filled with light and angels! “Shepherds quake at the sight!”

The next day he shared this moment and poem with his friend and fellow priest, Franz Gruber. Franz composed a simple melody on the guitar and Silent Night was sung in the tiny little villiage of Oberndorf, Austria, at midnight on Christmas Eve.

Silent Night

By Joseph Mohr & Franz Gruber

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night, Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light;
Radiant beams from thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

 

Silent night, holy night, Wondrous Star lend thy light;
With the Angels let us sing Alleluia to our King.
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

The first verse ends with “sleep in heavenly peace.” I hope today you will sing all of the verses to this beautiful carol and may you also sleep in heavenly peace, because he came.

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“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11 NKJV)

When My Heart is Overwhelmed

53384266861__6A804B9E-63C0-4B76-B89F-432DBC9A3513December First! Christmas decorations up. Christmas cups in the cupboard. The tree, decorated by the sweet hands of grandchildren shining cheerfully in the corner of the living room.  And even a few presents wrapped and under the tree.

This morning as BJ and I sat having our own devotions, with tears in his eyes he read:

“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer.

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61, NKJV)

Several years ago from the southern tip of New Zealand (where the sign pointing south said, “Next stop, Antarctica”) BJ and Joseph, our son, released the sound of the shofar and   worshiped the Lord. Truly from the ends of the earth they had cried out to Him.

Then picking up my own devotional book I read: “From the ends of the earth will I cry out to you. And when my heart is overwhelmed, Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

What are the chances? Always 100% with God! This morning our hearts were overwhelmed with His presence, His goodness and His love.

But what does this scripture have to do with Christmas? Everything! Life without peace is totally overwhelming. From the first fig leaf, we have tried to cover ourselves, tried to hide, seeking for a safe place. From the very beginning he heard our cry and sent a baby to answer that cry. God came down, dwelt with us, loved us and became our cornerstone, a Rock that is higher than we are. Jesus, son of man, Son of God.

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The ROCK that is high than I

Are you overwhelmed by the rush of the Christmas season? Overwhelmed by what is happening in our nation and world? Overwhelmed by situations in your own life?

Cry out to Him. Run to the Rock that is higher than you are. A Rock that is higher than any situation that presents itself today. This Christmas season each time you see a manger remember He came, not just as a baby but as a Rock. No longer a baby in a manger, He is the risen King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Fully, abundantly able to answer even the smallest cry from a hungry heart.

 

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Pioneer!

This morning Billy Joe, and I had such a sweet experience with the Lord. I was reading Dutch Sheet’s new book, The Way Back, which starts with the song, ”Pioneer” by Nancy Honeytree Miller. As we listened to this song several times it touched my heart as deeply today as it did when it was recorded in 1993, and has become the theme song of our ministry over the years.

You see, I married a pioneer.

Pioneer by Nancy Honeytree (click to listen)

About 20 years ago I sat and wept in my driveway. We were comfortable in the church we had planted 15 years earlier. Yet the restlessness in our spirits was evident as we prayed. A feeling of transition yet again permeated our souls. Uncertainty was looming before us. God was calling us to new and uncharted territory. Again. At the time there was no paradigm for a prayer network prayer ministry, but it seemed this was where God was pointing. PIONEER. This song defined our hearts, our souls, our lives.

Gary Nored

Since the 70’s we had heard and pursued a call from the Father to come out of the comfortable and step into new, uncharted areas. But in those uncertain times one of the best gifts God gives to pioneers is other pioneers who have also traveled the unfamiliar territories. They become your life long friends.

We were pioneers in the early 80’s when we stepped out of the Methodist pastorate to plant a new kind of church called Charismatic. A few other pioneers joined us.

We were pioneers in the mid 80’s when we, along with three other pioneer families, took our children out of public school to bring them home to educate them ourselves.

Now we were being called out to raise up a prayer network of intercessors to pray specifically for reconciliation and revival in the state of Mississippi. This song gave words to the strange, unsettling yet sure voice we had followed since our commitment to the Father back in 1971. Stepping out into this new, unknown place, his everlasting arms were sure, solid and held us firmly. Again we found a few pioneers on this new trail too.

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And just as the song described, settlers came behind us and built it better and faster than we could have. There are now many huge Charismatic churches in most cities. The homeschool movement has exploded in our nation. There are numerous prayer networks that are doing it bigger and better and faster than we could have imagined. Most will never know our names, nor the names of countless other pioneers who pursued the call along with us. But these settlers needed and used the paths we had charted in order to build their highways. Isn’t that the way of the Kingdom? Filled with pioneers and settlers, both essential.

The words of this song continue to ring true today, just as the same call continues to resonate within our spirits. Still not sure of what to say when people ask, “Now, what is it that you do?” because there is always a new horizon ahead. We are pioneers, and settling is hard for a pioneer, even at seventy years old.

Now ask yourself: Does this song touch that deep place in your spirit? Do you hear the distant rumble on the next horizon? Are you yearning for more, feeling the transition but unable to define it with words? If so:

You, too, are a pioneer.  

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You are the one to cut the new path now. You do not know where or what you are seeking, but The Father does. He sees, knows and is pleased, always smiling and guiding you to step out deeper into the unknown.

As old pioneers, we are your cheerleaders. We want to give you a hoist up and champion your journey. We want to shout, “Go for it!  Step up higher so you can see farther. Run to find the new thing Father is doing. Cut the trail so others can come behind you. Make the path clear, because they will need this road you are forging to build their highway or maybe even a runway.”

Keep pressing on. You are the pioneer.

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14 (NKJV)

Pioneer by Nancy Honeytree  (click to listen)