Tuesday, August 24, 2010


My Dad ~ Father, Son, Brother & Friend

A tribute to my Dad: Alfred Ray Bishop, given at his memorial service on July 19th at Glenwood Baptist Church in Glenwood, NC.

I think that it is appropriate that this is Father’s Day weekend, and I am here to speak to you about the life of my Daddy. A man we all knew and loved.

I have many thoughts and stories that I could share today of Dad’s compassion, humor, and love of life. However, today I would like to focus on the lessons I’ve learned while observing my Dad in the role of father, son, brother and friend.

In 1 Timothy 3:4 we read that a father “must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.” On the point of management of the family, Dad excelled in leading by example.

Some of you know that some time back Dad professed himself as the “Head-Honker” of the Bishop family; all of his family. That includes those of us gained through birth, and all of you which were grafted in through love.

Needless to say I, being the strong-willed child of the family, didn’t think too highly of Dad’s self-appointed title. I felt that Dad wanted to control or remind me that he was “in charge.”

As you might imagine I provided Dad with the biggest challenge on the respect part of the 1 Timothy verse I read earlier.

Thankfully, by God’s grace, I decided to learn some facts about geese in an attempt to understand, and hopefully alter my thinking in regard to Dad’s self-appointed title and role within his family.

I believe that after I share these facts you, like me, will be convinced that Dad was fully qualified for the title of “Head-Honker.”

· Geese fly in the “V” formation because it cuts wind drag to the next goose in line. The lead bird has the hardest job because it is the one expending the greatest effort. It is not upfront to “be seen,” make decisions for its own good, or to be applauded as the strongest flyer. Rather, its sole purpose is to shoulder the load for the good of the flock.

· I learned that there is no single bird that is always in the lead. The lead will be changed often to conserve the energy of the entire flock.

· Finally, the “V” formation will shift to resemble more of a “check-mark” pattern when the flock encounters cross-winds. This moves the strongest fliers to deflect the blunt of the wind and allows the weaker birds to conserve energy thus will be less stressed.

Dad, like the lead goose kept us flying in true pattern; the path of righteousness before God. He knew that to accomplish our earthly flight we must file a flight plan with air traffic control, before conducting lift-off.

Dad spoke with the control tower on a regular basis; carrying his prayers, praise and petitions for his family, friends and loved ones to the throne room of God’s grace.

He served in his role as father, brother and friend by living sacrificially, utilizing his spiritual gifts of serving, teaching, encouraging, giving generously, leading and governing. He did these things not to be seen or applauded, but to help lessen the burdens faced by all of his flock.

Dad encouraged each of us to move into our full potential. He spent his life training and preparing us for this time when each one of us will be called upon to take the lead flight status.

He encouraged us with humor, grace, and love, helping us to move toward the only goal of lasting worth; Salvation through Christ Jesus.

Dad taught that serving the Lord is not a one-time thing. We must grow in our relationship to Christ each day; always being ready to give an answer as to why we find hope in Jesus Christ.

Dad taught us to deal with the winds of change, through faith in our Savior; unfailing, unflinching, unquestioning faith.

Dad taught us to depend upon the law of truth contained in the Bible. He lived James 1:6 which states, “believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind.”

Dad didn’t question God’s plan. Even when God called Mom to heaven before we were ready to let her go, Dad exhibited trust and faith in Him.

During my study of the geese, the “check-mark” flight pattern became an awesome word-picture culmination of Dad’s relationship to God ~ the relationship of faithful son to his father.

The “check-mark” flight pattern demands the cooperation of the entire flock. The flock must trust and respect the one who is to be the leader, and the leader must rely on the flock to faithfully follow.

Dad had the ability to assess the gifts, talents and strengths of each member within his flock. He made his assessment with humility and faith. He would consult the instrument panel, then trust It to guide in making any correction in course as necessary.

Dad had given over control of his vessel to the Holy Spirit; therefore, he could trust that his reading of life was true and not influenced by worldly factors. His instrument panel was in perfect working order as it was powered by God’s fuel cell; His Word. The knowledge that Dad lived his life trying to walk daily with Jesus gave all of us the confidence and ability to trust him and respect his opinion.

So, it is with great humility and love that I realize my Dad did deserve the title of “Head Honker.”

I would do well to emulate his example. Now all that is left to say is. . .

“FLY ON DAD! I look forward to rejoining you in our heavenly flock soon where we will all sing HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is He; to the ultimate HEAD HONKER!”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So. . .

My last post was full of excitement and I encouraged all to come back soon to hear more about the wonderful things that God revealed to me this year at "She Speaks."

Since that post, at the first of August, life has happened to me in a big way. I have been dealing with frustrating complications of my Parkinson's Disease. I have struggled with many direct attacks from the master of destruction; and I am just now beginning to feel able to keep my head above water.

During all of my trials I know that my Savior has been faithful and true and He has carried me when I have been unable to walk; physically or mentally. There have been many days when I only wanted to curl up into a ball and bury myself under the covers of my safe, warm bed. Jesus would take me by the hand and lovingly coax me up. He had a job for me to do; even if I did not want to face any part of my painful world.

On the days when I would run out of energy before 10:00 in the morning and would wonder how I could possibly keep going until bed-time; my Jesus would supply my need. I walked in His strength.

The days that my frustration level, at any little life stress, would jump off the chart; my Lord would whisper softly in my ear and untangle the knot of nerves that threatened to paralyze me.

I would recall His Word from Zephaniah 3:17; "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." I needed to know my Lord was with me. I needed to feel His might. I needed to believe that no matter how I felt, He always delights in me as His daughter.

I would love to report that today my life is restored to, what I call my "normal" life. Not that I am totally sure what a normal life should look like; but there are battles still to be fought. At least I am able; by my Savior's mercy and grace; to face each new day encouraged and renewed in my desire and commitment to serve my Master with praise and thanksgving. He alone is worthy!

"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom." Psalm 145:3 (NIV)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Listening for the "Voice of Truth"

God is amazing. He takes advantage of anything and everything that we do in His name to reveal Himself and His love to His people.

This year I attended "She Speaks" on the speaking track. The prior two years I had attended on the writers track. I never imagined that this change would bring about so much change in my heart. During my life I have always been told that I was gifted at weaving stories together through the written word, but I have not felt much calling to 'speak' my writing. So when I signed up to be part of a speaker's evaluation group I really knew only one thing for certain. God had given me a message and I was to present it at "She Speaks."

The main title for both of my messages was "The Voice of Truth," with the subtitles of, Who Am I, and I'm Listening God, I'm Listening.

Prior to the conference I had prayed that God would allow me to be a light bearer for Him. I asked for Him to reveal to me anyone who needed a word, prayer, encouragement, pat on the back, hug or blessing from God, and that He would allow me to be His message bearer.

God delivered BIG in so many ways, and I was blown away.

I would like to share just one example with you in which God not only allowed me to 'step out for Him,' but also taught me again just how valuable "listening to His voice of truth" can be.

During one of my break-out sessions on Saturday, God interupted the speaker with the impression on my heart that I was to leave the hotel and find a copy shop and make six copies of my pen and ink drawing of Christ. His instructions were not to be argued with.

I did as God instructed and went to the nearest copy shop and made six copies. I did not know what I was to do with these drawings, but I made the copies anyway. It didn't take long for God to reveal His plan. He led me to use my drawing as a way to open up conversations leading to prayer, sharing and blessing others with His words that He placed upon my heart.

Just about the time I was thinking, "What a gift! God has found a way to make this 'sharing His love thing' easy for me;" I was walking to the book table to pick up a few books to take home and read and passed the terrace and a group of men who were holding hands and praying. At that moment I felt the strong impression from God that I was to take one of those men a copy of my drawing.

What? Wait a minute God. I have no problem speaking to the women here at the conference, after all I am co-leader of women's ministry and speak to and in front of women all of the time. But speaking to men, especially men that I don't know; outside of my comfort zone. Way outside of my comfort zone.

So what did I do? What any scared little redneck girl would do, I stuck my fingers in my ears and hummed "I don't hear you God, I know you're not talking to me," and proceeded on my journey to purchase me some books.

Well, wouldn't ya know, the book table was closed. So, since sticking my fingers in my ears wasn't working and God was still sitting on my shoulder and whispering for me to walk out on the patio and speak to that group of men I . . .

. . . decided to go into the prayer room and pray for God to change His mind, send someone else, or for the men to be gone when I left the prayer room to go back up to my room for the evening.

After spending time wrestling with God, and being blessed by being able to pray with and for one of my sweet sisters, I figured I had spent sufficient time to allow the men to disperse from the patio. Yet, God kept poking at my heart. And I kept arguing. "Lord, you didn't tell me which man to speak to. Lord, they will think I am crazy. Lord, I'm a woman, I know how to share your love with women, but I don't know how to speak to men."

I rounded the corner, praying that the men would be gone. Wrong! They were all still seated in the exact spot they were when I went by the first time. Again, I felt the tug of God to open the door and step out in faith.

But, my feet were trying to propel me on down the hall when I found myself seated in a chair looking out the windows at those men and I heard myself saying, "Please, don't ask me to do this." However, it was clear, I was going to do what He was requesting.

Garnering all of the strength I could manage, I rose to my feet, stood on wobbly legs and walked to the door and opened it wide. I stepped up the the table and politely said, "Excuse me guys. You may think I have lost my mind, but I feel strongly that God has asked me to come out here to you and give one of you a copy of this drawing of Christ. I am not sure who this message is for but God knows. He wants one of you to have this drawing to remember to keep your eyes focused on Christ in the difficult times to come. Since I don't know who is to have this, I would like to leave it here and God will work out who is to have it."

At that point I started to turn to leave them. But one man stood up. He reached into his pocket and took something out. He said, "Well mam, when I was coming out of the airport I looked down and saw this twenty-dollar bill in the gutter. I picked it up and as I did I felt the Lord tell me to hold on to it until He showed me who I was to give it to. Until this moment I didn't know who it was for, but I feel that God is leading me to give it to you. Would you accept it?"

To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I muttered something like, "Although I don't need the money, I will never refuse a gift from the Lord." I took the money stuffed it into my pocket and said to the men, "Thank you for your time and the encouragement that your faithfulness in prayer blessed me with," and then I turned and walked away.

I think that I floated to my hotel room, because I can't really remember walking back. I was filled with the joy of the Lord, and grateful that I had been obedient.

I am holding on to that twenty-dollar bill as I know that God will direct me as to where it is to go.

As I walk from day-to-day, I continue to be blessed by God, and I constantly strive to, "Listen to the Voice of God."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Is God amazing or what?

I knew that "She Speaks" would bless my heart this year, but I was totally BLOWN away, ya'll!!

Don't have time to share right now, but please come back soon cause ya'll won't want to miss hearing some of the things God revealed to me this past weekend.

God is SOOOOOO Good!