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Thursday, April 30, 2015

 
 
Lost

My son was lost at the dentist this week.  His name was called so I let him go back by himself.  After all, he is seventeen.  Then they kept coming back to the waiting room calling his name.  Finally, I said, "He's already back there."  "He is?"  She kept looking and coming back and saying, "I can't find him."  Hmm.  How do you lose a great big guy?  How can he hide in a room full of dentist chairs?  Was he suddenly so afraid of the drills and mouth vacuums that he hid himself?



As it turns out, when his name was called, or so we thought, it was for a "Jared," not "Derrick."  He got Jared's teeth cleaning instead of x-rays and an exam.  It's a good thing Jared wasn't schedule for a root canal or Derrick might have gotten that!


So when I got called in later this week for a scheduled cleaning, I got a filling instead.  You can be sure that I had them check that they had the right person.  Yep.  I wanted to ask them if they could use gold for my filling so that I would have something to leave for my children, but I didn't know if they could understand my macabre humor.


Lost...  "A Canaanite woman came out from that region and began to cry out, saying, 'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.  (That's about as lost as you can get.)  But He did not answer her a word.  (Do you ever feel like God is ignoring you?)  And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, 'Send her away, for she is shouting out after us.'  But He answered and said, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'  But she came and began to bow down before Him (worship Him), saying, 'Lord, help me!'  And He answered and said, 'It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.'  But she said, 'Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master's table.'  Then Jesus answered and said to her, 'O woman your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.'  And her daughter was healed at once."  Matthew 15:22-28


Oops, she, a Canaanite, came when she wasn't called.  Yet, she was so desperate that she caused quite the scene.  The disciples "kept" asking Him to send her away because she was shouting after them.  Annoying.  Then Jesus insults her, in fact insinuates that she is a "dog."  That is what a good Jew would think of her.  However, Jesus knew what was going to happen, but was testing her so that others could witness what He was going to do.  I don't believe He was as cruel as He seemed.  Her reply was perfect.  "Even the dogs feed on the crumbs..."  That certainly happens at my house.  They save me from having to sweep up from under that table after a meal.  He said He was sent "only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," but like Paul, He truly was sent to seek and to save those who are lost.  Even the Gentiles are included in the "Go ye into all the world..."  His ultimate answer was, "O woman your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish." 



Just like my son lost at the dentist, her daughter went away with a cleaning.  Because of her faith her child was healed, as she wished.  I did not cause a raucous at the dentist, but if they still could not find my son when he was lost back there, I was about to, ya know what I mean? 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

 
It is an old saying that mothers have eyes in the back of their heads.  There are the five senses and then one more for moms: seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and then a mother's sense of knowing when something just doesn't seem right. Maybe it's too quiet. Some call it a woman's intuition.  Uh-huh, you know it's true.  But even then, we don't have anything on God. He is the all-knowing, all-seeing One.

"For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth
that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."
II  Chronicles 16:9

 
I'll never forget the collective gasp when little five year old Louie fell and skinned his knee in the Little League stands.  All hearts went out to him as a tear tracked down his cheek because his mother had just died and wasn't there to kiss it and make it better.  His eyes looked over all of us in the stands, and we weren't his mother even if we reached out to help.  God's undying love is there for those whose heart is completely His.  He sees.  He knows.  He can make it better.

 
"For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face,
nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes."
Jeremiah 16:17
 
 
She's been all over the internet and television.  She's been called the Mother of the Year, this single mom of five girls and one son.  She is the mother in Baltimore who saw her sixteen year old son in the crowd of those who were throwing bottles and rocks at the police in Baltimore.  He was wearing a hoodie, a mask, and yet, she picked him out of the mob.  While not necessarily condoning some of her methods, nevertheless, she is to be applauded for taken her son in hand literally and disciplining him (wop, wop upside the head), a little physical force to make a believer out of him.  This was not who she wanted her son to be and was fearful for his welfare, even for his very survival on the tension filled streets.
 
"And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him
with whom we have to do."
 
 
"You can fool some of the people some of the time,
but you can't fool all of the people all of the time,"
and you can't fool mom hardly any of the time,
and you can't fool God any of the time, not ever, never!
 
 
 
 
"Thus says the Lord of hosts, 'If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?'...'Behold, I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; and I will bring them back...and they will be My People and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.'"
Zechariah 8:6-8
 
 
It won't be too difficult in God's sight, whatever it is, even if it seems hopeless in everyone else's sight.   They aren't our mama.  Even better, He's our Daddy!
 
 
 
 




"Country roads, take me home to the place I belong..."  Yes, I was a John Denver fan, my favorite was this and "Rocky Mountain High."  Even more, I'm a country fan, as in wide open spaces.  I have lived out in the orchards and have enjoyed living in small towns with breathing space.  Ahh. 


San Diego is probably one of the most beautiful cities in the world and Point Loma Nazarene University is situated there with a gorgeous view of the ocean.  To go there, we had to leave home, the small community of Los Osos across the bay from Morro Bay, and relocate from a northern shore to a southern shore.  No matter that we were in a big city, I did not take the beauty for granted on the edge of the ocean.  However, I remember coming home from college and visiting friends who were my home away from home.  They had built a new home tucked away in a quiet valley on the edge of the wild.  It took my breath away, not the house, but the stillness of a quiet beauty in nature of the countryside broken only by bird song.  My heart hurt, ached, from the impact of such loveliness like a lover who had been separated from their chosen getting another glimpse. 
 

I read words by an editor of Log Cabin Homes, Diane Hintz.  "Country homes are comfort homes...they are the places we were raised as kids and the type of home we'd like to live in again.  They're homes that feed the spirit...where we want to celebrate holidays, eat meals made by loved ones, and relax with family and friends.  They're homes where we can build bonfires in the yard, let the dog roam freely outside, hang out the laundry and not worry about bothering the neighbors."


Though I love my home, my subdivision does not provide a lot of elbow room.  Sometimes it's hard not to bother the neighbors.  However, a couple of my grown children have been able to locate on their own small chunks of country with large yards for their kids to run free, climb trees, have chickens, sit around bonfires, hang out their laundry, twirl until they are dizzy on tire swings, and to provide a place for gatherings. 



Me, I have my tomato plants, blueberries and strawberries, green space with wisteria, a Japanese maple, crepe myrtles, a butterfly bush, a pomegranate tree, a volunteer Sycamore tree that was a young whipper-snapper last year that is now taller than two or three of me, all in my shoe-box size yard, a yard we planted five or so years ago.  However, when I come over the rise and look down where my home is situated where the snow covered mountains are in the distance, cows are grazing in green pastures, I luxuriate in the wide open spaces where rice farmers invite the wild geese and swans to rest in their migrations.  It is a wink to country, and I am satisfied.


So, as I ponder a country home life, I roused myself to make a country blueberry bread pudding,   comfort food in my little home in my own pinch of the country:   Take a dry loaf of gluten free bread, mix four eggs, a cup of wild blueberries, two and half cups of cream, a half cup of sugar, sprinkled by cinnamon and a tablespoon of vanilla and pour over the cubed bread in an 8 x 10" pan.  Cook for 40 minutes and serve hot with vanilla ice cream.  To savor, close your eyes and imagine you are out on your back porch on a warm spring late afternoon where your dears (grandchildren) and the antelope, I mean, the hound dogs play.  It's okay if that's my supper, though my boys devour left over fried chicken which I didn't have to wring necks and pluck.  Sometimes its best not to go to far back to life in the country.


Jesus was a country boy who grew up walking dusty roads, through wheat fields, preaching  in meadows or from a boat on the shore.  He had to get away at times by himself to the country.  But the city  came to him. "And when evening had come, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him  all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed.  And the whole city had gathered at the door.  And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons...And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. And Simon and his companions hunted for Him; and they found Him, and said to Him, 'Everyone is looking for You.'" Mark 1:33-37.  You can take Jesus out of the country, but you can't take the country out of Jesus: He needed to get out to a lonely place, find a country road to take Him home, home, the place where He could talk to His Father.




Monday, April 27, 2015

 
As a child, I loved anything my mother played on the piano.  However, some of my favorites were when she played the old spirituals like "Get on board, lil' children; there's room for many a more."
 

 Sunday was such a special day as we celebrated and reflected on my husbands almost 37 years of pastoring as he retires from being a senior pastor as he is now the area director over six counties for Teen Challenge.  He will still have opportunities for preaching as well as other ministries.  Yet, as we were surrounded by loving family and friends, it was a tender moment, taking the time to count our blessings.  All our children were married during the time since we planted the church, and our seventeen grandchildren have been born as a result.  Even we added three more to our family by adoption while church planting here.  We can literally count our blessings!  There were saints who have been with us for the long haul, kindred spirits who will always be in our corner whether we are close or far apart,  as well as new precious people.  It's been a wonderful journey.
 

However, I am reminded of the theme verse of New Beginnings which makes the name of our church apropos.

 "Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past. 
 'Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? 
 I will even make a roadway in the wilderness...
Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.
The people whom I formed for Myself,
Will declare My praise.'"
Isaiah 43:18-21

 
 
 
There is a call to get on board with the new pathways God is opening up for His people.
God is not a God of ruts, but of new roadways even in the wilderness.
"Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?"
Don't miss it!
Get on board!
And, yes, there's room for many a more.


 

Sunday, April 26, 2015



"Great Is Thy Faithfulness by Thomas Chisholm"
 
The author of this hymn was born in a log cabin in Kentucky and did not become a Christian until 27.  His health was unstable and he went form various jobs.  He even admitted there was no dramatic story behind this hymn.  Yet Lamentations 3:22-23 became precious to him "His compassions fail not, They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness."  It's not about us.  It's about Him.




What a testimony.  It is not about a somebody, but by a nobody about a great God.  It is not about a crisis event, but about a daily walk with God.  That is not the world's way, but it is God's way to take a simple offering of a simple man's poem and turn it into a blessing for the hundreds of thousands in this beloved hymn, one of my favorites. 





My little four year old grandson woke from a nightmare.  He was practically inconsolable,  Finally, he was able to tell his mother what his dream had been about.  He was a superhero and wanted to fly, but she would not let go of his hand. 
 

We all wish we were superheroes.  We wish we could fly, do great deeds and be flashy famous with our super powers.  Alas, we are held here in our human lowliness.  Children's author/illustrator Richard Scarry had a special character, Lowly Worm.  That's us.  The world today doesn't revel in humility,  but it is a quality God cherishes: "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8.  There it is in a nutshell. 
 



My autoimmune disease combined with other things makes my usefulness even as a grandma puny sometimes.  I always wish I could do more, but am painfully aware of my weaknesses.  They are a constant reminder.  But His faithfulness is super-human and is new every morning.  It is about Him, not us.
 

Friday, April 24, 2015

An unpopular post...

I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God.   I believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  I believe what the Bible teaches about sin and hell is true.  The most loving thing I can do is point someone to forgiveness and a new, born-again life through grace.  I do not put my trust in the highest court of the land, rather in the higher court of heaven.  Sometimes we must obey God rather than men.(Acts :29)

Our country was founded upon this freedom.  Studying my ancestry has revealed that many fled religious persecution whether escaping out of the Tower of London, the gallows, or the seizures of their land and homes.  William Penn was perhaps at first the best at understanding the need to allow this freedom with peace between the local tribes, Jews, puritans, and others who sought freedom to practice their religion.  He had seen, I believe, William Tyndale burned at the stake for printing the Bible in English so that people could understand for themselves what God has said. 


I have stood on courthouse steps and sang in protest about abortion.  I have been assaulted while peacefully standing holding a sign protesting abortion in a silent protest.  But I have not suffered like my forefathers in leaving everything to start over in a new land.  Some of my forbearers fought successfully against slavery in England with Wilberforce and Wesley while probably a majority of my early American ancestry "owned" slaves.  One in particular, a Mr. Ivy, a plantation owner, tried to make marriage legal between black and white in the early 1700's, but was unsuccessful.  This is why I have some black blood in my DNA as they "married" anyway without the consent of government.


 

The Supreme Court is considering this week the question of, is marriage  between a man and a woman.  I must consider God's word.  I do not believe sin is graded, sin is sin, yet some sins bear more severe consequences for the sinner as well as for the family and the country.  This is not about whether Christians should love the sinner.  Yes: love the sinner, hate the sin just as our Lord does. He was nailed to the cross for our sin, yet He loves us unbelievably.   Most non-Christians do not understand that distinction.  For example, a young man I watched grow up, turned from his Christian values, and became a practicing homosexual.  I love this young man, hug him tightly when I see him, and pray for him, especially when he has tried to commit suicide. 


We have had a three year old boy, a foster child, taken from our home and given instead to a lesbian couple to adopt instead of us. I am not saying they are incapable of loving our beautiful boy, but I don't believe she has provided as stable a home as we would have since her partners have changed.  I believe a child's best interest is to be raised by a mother and a father. I have listened to the anguish of a dear relative by marriage tell of his painful childhood being raised by a lesbian mother and the harmful effects it had on him.  Our society is paying the price for fatherless children's pain and  its repercussions.


Regardless of my opinion, I do believe what the Bible has to say.  This is the final word:

"And He (Jesus) answered and said, "Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?'  Consequently they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."  Matthew 19:4-6  (One man and one woman equals marriage as was from the very beginning:  it wasn't Adam and Steve or Adam and Eve, Evie, and Eva.)  No law of the land can nullify God's plan.


Homosexuality is just one of the things on the list, nevertheless, it is on the list of sin:

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, buy you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God....But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  Flee immorality,  Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.  Or do you6:9-11 not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you  are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." 
I Corinthians 6:9-11, 17-20


"But the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers, and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.  I thank Christ Jesu our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service; even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor (dragging Christians from their homes to be killed for their faith, even holding the coats while Stephen was stoned to death).  And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.  It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all."  I Timothy 1:8-16


"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them...so that they are without excuse.  For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools; and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.  Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them,  For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator...For this reason God gave them over in degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error...and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practiced them." Romans 1:18-32


"If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.  Their bloodguiltiness is upon them."  Leviticus 20:13



"You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."  Leviticus 18: 22

Read about Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:16-19:29 

Jesus said, "but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.  It will be just the same on the day that the Son of man is revealed." Luke 17:29-30



"Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.  Yet in the same manner these men also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority...And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted with the flesh."   Jude, verses7-8 and 22-23


This post will not be popular with many in my family as well as friends, but I don't have to wait for the Supreme Court Ruling to decide what is right and wrong.  There has been no evolution in what God has ordained.






 
A happy memory was when my kids were little and they attended a very small Christian School in Roseburg, Oregon, which had an annual speech meet.  The children were amazing!  I can hear their little voices and see their gestures still in my mind.  Somewhere there is an old video that needs to be dug out, but it's probably behind a stack of books somewhere.  A favorite choice was "Spaghetti," by Shel Silverstein. 



Right now, we are transitioning our books from my husband's church office to his new Teen Challenge office trying to decide which go where: home, here, or there for as it seems, books are everywhere!  So with this poem resonating in my head, I made an adaption from "Spaghetti"...


Books
 
Books, books, all over the place,
Up to my elbows--up to my face,
Over the carpet and under the chairs,
Into the hammock and laid round the stairs,
Filling the bathtub, and covering the desk,
Making the sofa a mad lumpy mess...


 
Queen Esther, for such a time as this,
I need to remember that books played a vital role in Israel's history...
 
 
"During the night the king could not sleep
so he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles,
and they were read before the king."
Esther 6:1