Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Sore Shoulder

I have a pinched nerve in my neck which causes pain in my shoulder and down my right arm.  However, if I use very good posture -- keeping my head and shoulders back --the pain seems to go away.  The pain helps to remind me  to do what I should be doing in the first place. . .sitting correctly.

Have you ever noticed sometimes the Lord allows people in our lives who in some way shape or form present pain to us? Maybe they themselves cause us physical or emotional distress or pain, or perhaps they cause it for someone we love --which I think can be harder to bear.  Often we may find ourselves wondering "Why?"  Just why has the Lord allowed this person's influence to be prevalent in our lives?

I sometimes wonder if it isn't because He knows those are the very people who need our prayers the most and for whom we might be most led to pray.  Let's face it, it is the body part which hurts that gets the attention.  Perhaps He knows if this person were not so troublesome to us, we would not remember to pray for them quite as much.

So let us take those opportunities that present themselves, hour b to harbor resentmentsn or frustrations, but to pray for those the Lord has allowed in our paths, even when they may appear as rough stones.

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" Matthew 5:44

Under His Wings

Christmas evening, as we were gathered together in our living room, a tornado tore through the midtown section of our city approximately 1.13 miles from our house.  The tornado sirens were blaring and soon the sound of police and fire sirens followed.  In fact, I can't remember ever hearing so many sirens at one time ever before.

Our grandson Jackson, who is six, asked about the ominous sound which was drowning out our Christmas music and we told him it was the tornado sirens.  He immediately erupted into tears and fear.  Earlier this week, another tornado had come through almost the same area of town and created a good bit of damage.  I suppose Jackson had heard some adults talking about this.  Also, he has seen the movie "The Wizard of Oz" numerous times.  To his little brain, tornadoes are things that "suck you up" and carry you off far, far away.

In an attempt to console him, I wrapped  my arms around him and turned him toward the seven adults in the room.  "Jackson, do you see all these people in this room?  Each one of these people would do anything -- ANYTHING -- to protect you and keep you safe.  We are all here to take care of you."

Little Jackson, for whom tornadoes are more a thing of movie fiction and nightmares than reality, could not grasp the fact that each one of those adults, his father, his grandparents and aunts, and friends, would give their very lives to protect and save him.  He cannot realize how much he is loved and how safe he is in their presence.

In the same way, we can have no concept of how much our Heavenly Father loves us and desires to take care of us and keep us safe.  He is our Tower, our Strength, our Shelter in a time of storm.  We can rest in the knowledge that "safety is of the Lord."


"He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: 
His truth shall be thy shield and buckler" 
Psalm 91:4

 "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: 
for Thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." 
Psalm 4:8

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What It's All About. . .

It can't be said any better than this:

 "And this is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."


 May the truth and light of Jesus Christ our Lord 
shine in your hearts and lives today and every day of your lives.

We wish each of you a very Merry Christmas. 

Glen & Frances 
and, of course, our own little "Snoopy", Sparrow

Monday, December 24, 2012

The One Celebrated Birth

Christmas Eve.

For some it is a time of great anticipation.  For some a time of reflection and worship.  For some a time of preparation.  For some a time of anxiety and frantic last-mintue activity.

On Christmas, we celebrate a birth, one of billions.  I have been blessed to have witnessed the birth of literally thousands of babies.  Birth is such an incredible miracle, but have you ever asked why the world celebrates this one birth? And why now, centuries later, so many are trying to stamp out that celebration. . .to remove the birth from the celebration?


It isn't because of the birth, it is because of the life lived after the birth.  If the Lord Jesus had not lived a perfectly sinless life upon this earth, His birth would have held no more meaning for mankind than any other.  If His death had not been for the redemption of the sins of the whole world, His being born in a manger would have just been a story of a couple who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.  If His cold, lifeless body still remained in that borrowed tomb, there would be no Christmas tree in our living room today, no Candlelight service at church tonight, no lights on the houses all throughout our neighborhood.  There would be no Christmas, for He would not have been the Christ.

But it wasn't.

The Lord Jesus Christ, miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit of a young virgin, did live that perfectly sinless life, though He was tempted in every way in which we are, "yet without sin."  And He went on to the cross, a cruel death of shame and horror, "to give His life a ransom for many."

The third day, just as He said, He came forth from that tomb, that we may one day have the hope of coming forth from ours as well.  More than that, He gives us the sure hope that we may walk out of the "tombs" in which we find ourselves from moment to moment and day to day.  We have left walking in death and darkness and can walk in "newness of life" in this very moment, because of His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection.

So when we look at our celebration of Christmas today, tonight and tomorrow, let us look at baby Jesus and remember that baby grew to be a Man who lived a sinless life for us.  Let us look at our Christmas tree and remember the cruel tree upon which He gave His life for our sins.  Let us look at the manger and remember the tomb from which the Lord Jesus rose from the dead to secure our salvation if we trust in Him.

This is why His birth is celebrated by the world.  This is why we love Christmas so much, because it is the beginning of the greatest love story the world has ever known.  God became a baby. . .for us.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Why Babies?


Happy
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Why do people love babies?

Watch people around them. . .if they pass a baby in a store, they will slow down to look at the baby, perhaps speak to the mother or father.  Politicians love to hold them and kiss them for some reason.  Why is that?  People just seem to be facinated with them.

Even our dog seems to know the difference between babies and adults, or even children for that matter.  When our grandchildren were first born, I was very concerned how our beagle, Sparrow, would respond.  She is a sweet, loving dog, but animals can be very unpredictable, so I watched her carefully.  She smelled the baby over from head to toe, but I never once saw a lick or a nudge.  She seemed to keep a special distance from the baby (maybe it was that diaper smell, I don't know.)

Child (close-up)
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


People just seem to love babies.



Some say it is because babies are totally innocent, and there is truth in that.  They are soft and new, too.  But I think there is something different as well.  As a Labor Room nurse, I've had the honor of seeing literally thousands of babies in my lifetime and I think that babies somehow intrinsically represent something else to us, something deeper, something more eternal.

I think somewhere deep in our hearts, deep in our spirits, when we see a little baby, that baby face speaks to us of how our Lord, the very God of the universe loved us enough to leave the throne of Glory and be made of "no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," (Philippians 2:7-8).

Somehow I think every baby points to us of that baby born in Bethlehem...

"And the angel said unto them, 
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, 
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; 
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,


 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 


And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, 
the shepherds said one to another, 
Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, 
which the Lord hath made known unto us.
 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. "  

Luke 2:10-16




Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ebeneezer and Denise

This time of year my husband and I have a stack of Christmas movies we would love to watch, but life never affords the time for that.  Maybe, if we are fortunate, we can manage to watch one or two of them.  When we are trying to decide which one to watch first it never fails we both choose the same one -- A Christmas Carol.


361/365 - christmas carol
 (Photo credit: jypsygen)
But we are very particular about the version we want to see, we love the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim as Ebeneezer Scrooze.  Alastair Sim was able to portray both the mean spirited harshness of the unrepentant Scrooze perfectly as well as he did the joyous and generous redeemed Scrooze.

One of my favorite scenes comes at the end of the movie.  Ebeneezer, with a heart that has opened up to the Christ-child of Christmas, sits at his desk waiting for his clerk Bob Cratchit to come in for the morning.  He plans to pretend to be angry but is going to raise his salary and offer to help him raise his family as well.  He is giddy with delightful anticipation.

I once had the same exact feeling.

The hospital were I worked had a department for childbirth education and community marketing and my friend Denise was the Department Head. She was a nurse as well as a lactation consultant and had always wanted to work in Labor & Delivery although she had never had the opportunity to do so.  I worked in this department with Denise for a year until the hospital downsized and I returned to my job in Labor & Delivery.

Shortly after I returned to L&D, I became the Assistant Nurse Manager of the unit.  Within a few months, we had a job opening and knowing that Denise was looking for a clinical position, I suggested her to my Nurse Manager.  My manager loved the idea and wanted us to offer Denise the position.  I asked Anne if she would let me make the offer to Denise, and Anne graciously agreed.

I was almost skipping as I walked down the hall and across the crosswalk to Denise's office.  I had to work hard to keep myself from giggling.  I knew that I was about to bring unbelievable pleasure and joy not only to Denise, but also to all those who would be blessed by her care.  Having worked with her for years, I knew that our nurses would find working with Denise a great blessing as well.

I had to wait a few minutes until she was free, but then I sat on the familiar love seat across from her desk.  I can't even remember how I brought it up, or what I said, but I will never forget the look on her face.

She cried.  I cried.  It was a dream come true for her and I was so thrilled to have been given the gift by my manager to be the one to make the offer to her.

Denise came to work with us, and to show you her incredible impact, the next year, from a unit of twenty nurses, she received fourteen nominations for nurse of the year.  She went on to receive the Nurse of the Year award from the hospital.

Of all the wonderful moments I have shared with Denise through the years, this one will always stand out.  The joy, the absolute giddiness I felt in walking over to office was amazing.  The knowledge of how what I was about to do was going to impact her affected me tremendously.

This is our Lord's response to us.  It is His great joy and desire in doing things for us.  I was joyful about Denise because I knew her, I loved her, I knew what her response would be.  How much more does our Heavenly Father know us?  How much more does He love us?  We cannot imagine the joy He feels to be involved in our lives, to meet our needs, to be a part of us.

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Luke 12:32


Here is a youtube video of my favorite portion of "A Christmas Carol":

 ~~~~~
Denise was diagnosed with breast cancer before she came to work with us in Labor & Delivery. She battled cancer her entire time in Labor & Delivery and even through all her chemo and radiation, she was an incredible example to all of us. She raised the bar just by being who and what she was. She encouraged us to reach higher, to learn more and to never just settle. We miss her greatly and we encounter patients all the time who tell us of how special she made their birthing experience.  We know this is true because she made our working experience special as well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pregnant Women and The Hobbit


My job is built on expectations. 


English: Photograph of abdomen of a pregnant woman
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pregnant women are often said to be "expecting" because they are looking toward that day when their baby will be born and placed in their arms.  They aren't said to be "hoping" because  the delivery is pretty much a certain thing, even if the pregnant woman would rather avoid it.  In  approximately nine months, or as we count it, forty weeks, a baby will come. It is just about inevitable.

There is another One who is expecting and His expectation cannot and will not be thwarted.

 "But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, 
sat down on the right hand of God;  
From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. 
 For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." 
Hebrews 10:12-14

The Lord Jesus Christ, having accomplished that for which He came to earth, having offered that "one sacrifice for sins for ever," is now at the right hand of God the Father waiting, "expecting till His enemies be made His footstool".  It is not something that might occur, it is something that absolutely will occur and the Lord Jesus is "expecting" it.  

We can expect it, too.  Sometimes it seems like the enemies of our Lord -- and our enemies, too - are winning in this world.  Don't be fooled. 

My son was telling us the other of a friend of his who had been to see the movie "The Hobbit," based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien.  My son said he hadn't seen it yet, so his friend said, "I won't tell you about it and spoil it for you."

My son just laughed as he said, "I know how it turns out, I've read the book."  Actually, he read the book as a young boy and has probably read it several times since then.  The plot and the ending would not be a surprise to him.

No more should the plots and endings we see unfolding before us be a surprise to us because we have "the Book" as well, the Holy Scriptures of God, and we can read and re-read it until it is as familiar to us and the Tolkien stories are to my son.

So be expectant, look up...our Lord is expecting and we should be expecting with Him.

 "And when these things begin to come to pass,
 then look up, and lift up your heads; 
for your redemption draweth nigh." 
Luke 21:28

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our oldest daughter Marie is a musician and our youngest daughter Emmie is an artist.  When it comes to Christmas these two women come into their own. 

Marie makes sure the house is filled with beautiful Christmas music, both piano and guitar.  Emmie is busy all season long creating things.  For Emmie, the present isn't enough, the presentation of the package has to have the same thought and care the gift has.

I especially love one of the packages she has placed under the tree.  It is to her boyfriend.  The paper on it is hand-stamped with a stamp she created herself.  Last year her sister gave her a stamp set in which a person can create any stamp they wish.  For this paper Emmie created the stamp of a male and female reindeer, nose to nose.  She stamped this design all over the paper.

The paper bears the express image of what Emmie created on the stamp.  It does not vary from the design she put on the stamp.  Each time she pressed down with the stamp she came up with two reindeer, never two bunnies or two fish.

The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus is the "express image" of God the Father:

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" (Hebrews 1:1-3).

If you have ever wanted to know what God the Father is like, just look at the Lord Jesus.  He is never not like the Father. If you see the Son, you see the Father.  To know the Father, know the Son. 

"Then answered Jesus and said unto them, 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
The Son can do nothing of himself, but what He seeth the Father do:
for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." 
John 5:19

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

So, Santa Doesn't Really Do That, Then?

This past weekend our daughter Emmie told our five-year-old granddaughter Emma that the present she had for her was the biggest present under the tree so far.  Immediately Emma had to rush into the living room to inspect the dimensions of all the presents.

"I saw it!  It is the biggest one, it's in the back, behind the tree!"  Emmie and I then causually entered into a conversation regarding our need to finish wrapping presents.  Emma brought that conversation to a dead stop with this question that was poised more as a statement:

"So, Santa doesn't really do that, then?"

Emmie and I just looked at each other and I explained to Emma that not all presents come from Santa, that in fact most presents come from other people who love you and want to give you a gift for Christmas.  Emma's disbelief about Santa was brought to my memory last night when I heard a preacher ask "The word believe can be tricky, can't it?"

Sometimes you may believe something, but not nearly enough to support it.  Take for example a political candidate.  You may believe in them enough to vote for that person, but you may not believe in them enough to put signs in your yard or stickers on your car.  You may not talk to others about them encouraging others to vote for them as well.

There are those who "believe" in the Lord Jesus to the point they believe He was a good man.  They may believe He did good things. But they don't believe in Him as Lord and Savior.  Some may even believe He was a prophet.  Many of those who heard Him speak and saw His miracles believed this. 

There were some who believed He did His works through the power of Satan.  These were the religious rulers of the day who could not accept that He was from God because He spoke against the very attitudes and actions of their hearts.

The Scriptures tell us that even the devils believe in Jesus, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble, But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19,20), but theirs is not a belief that leads to salvation.

Then there were a very few who believed that He was the Son of God who was come to be the Savior of the world.  It was these very few men through whom the Gospel was sent to all the world after the Lord's resurrection.

What about you?  Is your belief a head belief?  Do you believe Jesus Christ to be a "good man", a "prophet"?  Or do you believe Him to be the living Son of God, the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world?"  Do you have a heart-belief?

Make no mistake, there is coming a day when  every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Some will do so with the joyful heart of a believer.  Some will do so with the broken heart of one who realizes they should have believed.

Emma may wonder if Santa really "does that".  There is no wondering about Jesus.  He is, He does and He will eternally do so.


"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, 
and given Him a name which is above every name:  
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, 
and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
to the glory of God the Father." 
Philippians 2:9-11

Stay awake!

I work night shift. 

There are six of us that primarily work night shift in our unit.  A few others rotate down to our shift from time to time.  Those of us who work nights all the time know how to fight the temptation to be sleepy.  We each seem to be acutely aware of what time for us is the most difficult.  For me it is between 4am and 5am. 

You don't find the straight night shift nurses falling asleep.  Why is that?  Because we are very aware of how prone our bodies can be to becoming sleepy and we guard against that.  If we begin to feel sleepy we do something to counteract it.  We get up.  We move.  We do something different.  We drink some ice water.  We have one nurse who chews ice.  I like copious amounts of coffee.

Spiritually, we must do the same thing.  While our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ has created in our spirits a new creature, we still the the law of sin in our members -- our flesh.  And this gives us a tendency to be more asleep spiritually than awake.  The Apostle Paul, however, tells us that it is "high time" to wake up!

"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. . .But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:11,14)

We must be aware that our spirits will lust against our flesh and we must not make provision for  the flesh.  We must do something to counteract it.  We must get up.  We must move.  Pray.  Read the Bible. Sing praises.  Share the Lord with someone.    Do something different.  Do not leave walking with the Lord up to chance or else you may just find yourself asleep.


"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
 (Galatians 5:17)

"For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:" 
(Romans 7:22)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What to put on?

What to "put on" is a frequent question, especially for women. 

When we attend the University of South Alabama football games I always "put on" the appropriate clothes.  Since our seats are usually in the sun I make sure my clothes are cool enough.  My shirt is almost always red,  not crimson like the most famous Alabama team, but apple red.  I like it if my shirt has the Jaguar logo on it as well. 

I would not wear that outfit to the symphony.  Since I rarely have opportunities to dress up, I like to do so when we go to the symphony.  The dresses and heels I wear there would be quite out of place at the football game.

When I go to work I don't "put on" either of those outfits.  I put on wine colored scrubs.  By hospital policy the wine pants designate that I am a nurse.  The wine shirt designates that I work in a unit instead of on a floor (where they wear white shirts.)

Each time I am "putting on" something which is distinctive for me. The Apostle Paul told the Romans to ". . .put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof," (Romans 13:14).

He told the Galatians, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ," (Galatians 3:27).

And to the Ephesians he said,  "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," (Ephesians 4:24).

He told the Colossians, "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:" (Colossians 3:10).

Just as I have put on my scrubs for work -- which shows outwardly the inward preparation and credentialing of a nurse -- we who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ have "put Him on" and we have "put on" the new man He has created in us.

 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new," (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The struggle comes not in what He is -- He is unchanging and perfect.  It is believing that what He has given us to "put on" is the appropriate attire for the moment.  We must believe we are wearing a dress and heels to the symphony, scrubs to work, and a t-shirt and jeans to the ball game.  

We must believe that we are properly equipped for this moment, and in fact, any moment.  The new man He has created in us is "created in righteousness and true holiness."  The Lord Jesus is Himself the One named "Faithful and True."  Therefore we can have great assurance that we have everything in Him we need to face any moment, any trial, any struggle, any temptation.  He alone is abundantly sufficient.

Let us remember our Lord has left us properly dressed for any situation.

"And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, 
clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." 
Revelation 19:8



Monday, December 10, 2012

"Apologize now. . ."

Last night our grandchildren spent the night with us, but their father forgot to bring their suitcase when he came.  Fortunately, we have some spare clothes we keep here for them, so at bathtime, I brought out the pajamas from "their" drawer.

I was helping my six-year-old grandson as he put on his pajamas.  As I held up his shirt, I realized it wasn't his shirt.  It was a shirt I had searched the house for earlier this fall.  I loved wearing it to our local  football games because of its red color and short sleeves, but it had mysteriously disappeared.

Actually, I had believed my youngest daughter had borrowed it and perhaps misplaced it somewhere in her room.  I had asked her about it and she told me she hadn't taken my shirt, but I still held the suspicion she had it and I shared this with my grandson.

"Jack, I was sure Emmie had taken my shirt!"  As I went out of the bathroom to show the shirt to my husband, who knew I thought my daughter had borrowed it, my daughter Emmie heard our discussion.

"I told you I didn't take your shirt!"

Jack motioned for me to lean over.  Then he held his hand next to my ear and whispered softly, "Apologize now."

"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength. . ." (Psalm 8:2).  Little Jack, with his sweet little boy voice spoke so much wisdom and truth in those two words.  And yes, I did apologize.  How much like the Holy Spirit he was beside me.  Small and unassuming, yet he spoke the truth softly and clearly, just as the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts.

As Christians, we all have "a little Jack" inside of us to tell us the right thing to do at the perfect time.  It is up to us to follow that "still, small voice."


 "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. 
And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, 
and brake in pieces the rocks before the LO
but the LORD was not in the earthquake:   
And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: 
and after the fire a still small voice."  
1 Kings 19:11,12

Thursday, December 6, 2012

If You Can Speak, You're OK. . .

In the operating room patients having a Cesarean Section sometimes experience the muscles which "feel" breathing become numb from the anesthetic.  This gives the woman the feeling that she is no longer able to breathe sufficiently.  We have learned to tell the patient before hand that this might occur and that to reassure herself, as long as she can speak, she will be breathing OK.

We tend to take our own breath for granted until we are afraid we don't have it, or we think we can't feel it, as is the case with these women.  I was discussing this with my grandchildren the other day.  Since we were beginning the Christmas season, we were quite naturally discussing gifts.  I was telling them how many wonderful gifts the Lord has given to us.  Equating gifts with something wrapped under the tree, I tried to give them an example.

"Did you know even your breath is a gift from God?" I asked them.  My grandson gave me his usual bright eyed, shocked look.  "The Bible tells us that He gives us each breath."  I went on to tell them that the Lord even made it so that we didn't have to think about breathing, it just happened naturally.

"Just think what would happen if you got busy playing and forgot to breathe?" I put much more emphasis on the "forgot to breathe" and immediately I had their attention.  If nothing else, Grannie Frannie can be a great story-teller.

I grasped my neck with both hands as if I was choking, "Oh no," I said in a frantic, pretend voice, "I was so busy, I almost didn't breathe!  I almost died!" Cackles of laughter ensued.  "What if we got sleepy?  How would we ever sleep?  We'd have to wake up every few seconds to breathe!"  I reminded them of just how thoughtful it was of God to make it so we didn't have to think about breathing. 

From a physiological standpoint, it is really neat how the body makes sure that breath continues, as the carbon dioxide levels rise in the body.  Which is why no one can "hold their breath until they die."  I told the children when they were older I'd explain all that to them.  Although, by the time they are ready to understand it, I'm sure I will have forgotten it.

The point is, every gift we have or will ever receive is somehow from the Lord.  Even things we don't realize as gifts, such as our breath, are gifts from Him.


"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;" (Acts 17:24.)


 Once our sight begins to wane, we realize what a gift that is.  Or our hearing.  Every aspect of these amazing bodies He has created is a gift and each one so unique and special.  When we think we have nothing else to be thankful for, we can just start at the top of our head and go down to our tiniest toe and thank away.  We are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and even our bodies are a great gift.



"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Eating Red Dirt

(I have to confess I stole the inspiration for this one from my husband's teaching of our Sunday School class on Sunday morning.  Thanks, honey!)

My husband and I have had the opportunity to watch our grandson Jackson play T-ball.  It is quite entertaining watching these five and six year olds attempt to hit, throw and catch the ball.  Often they are more interested in digging in the dirt and catching bugs than swinging the bat or catching the baseball.

Sometimes when attempting to run around the bases they will fall down.  You would think the natural inclination would be for them to jump up and start running again, but they often seem to like their prostrate position in the red dirt.  The coaches then yell at them and cajole them to get up and run.

Often in my own Christian life I have fallen down as I try to "run the bases." Just like the children on the baseball field, I seem to be oblivious to the obvious course of action, to get up and start going again.  Sometimes it seems like I have fallen down so often surely the Lord is tired of me falling down and He would rather I just stay face-down in the baseline.  But if I do, I will be a stumbling block to the next base-runner who might not make it to home base because I tripped him up.

Fortunately, the Lord doesn't see things the way I see the them.  His view is much different from my view along the red dirt of the base-line. When I sin, His view is of the Lord Jesus holding out His nail-scarred hands and showing His spear-pierced side where He paid the price for my sin.  The Lord Jesus doesn't have to twist the Father's arm to forgive me either.  His heart is already bursting forth with forgiveness and mercy toward me.  "He delighteth in mercy," (Micah 718.)  The Holy Spirit, already resident in our hearts as believers, then with the enthusiasm of that delightful mercy whispers to us, "Get up!" 

Over and over He tells us, "Get up and start walking again!"  He never tires of coaching His little children to walk, to run toward home base.  He wants us to run, that we may obtain, knowing that "they which run in a race run all...", "...Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible," (1 Corinthians 9:24, 25.)

So, let us not stay lingering in the dirt of the base-line, but let us avail ourselves of the forgiveness our Lord has already purchased for us.  Let us avail ourselves of His ready merciful heart and "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," (Philippians 3:14.)



"For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive;
 and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee." 
Psalm 86:5

Monday, December 3, 2012

"He's my friend. . ."

Yesterday as we were preparing for our Chapel services at a local nursing facility, we were moving residents from the sunroom down the hall to the Chapel.  I was pushing one of the sweet ladies there in her wheelchair and my husband passed by us in the hallway on his way back to the sunroom. He stopped to greet Mrs. Martha and as he walked away she looked back at me and said, as if to explain who he was, "He's my friend."

"I know," I told her, "he's my friend, too."

It was so sweet the way she said it as if all she needed to say about him was tied up in those three words. 

She could have said that he comes twice a week to preach at the nursing facility, but she didn't.  She could have said that he plays his guitar and sings songs, but she didn't.  She said the very best thing she could say,  "He's my friend."   To her the most important thing was to have someone that was a friend, someone who genuinely cared about her.

We all have such a friend and even more.  We have a Friend who knows everything about us, even the things we try to hide from ourselves.  We have a Friend who is always with us so that we are never, can never be, alone.  We have a Friend who is always praying for us. 

Have we entered into a difficult or painful time?  Our Friend is and has already been praying for us to His Father.   We have a Friend who has more strength than we can ever imagine, who has more patience than we could believe possible and who is the embodiment of Love itself.  If ever there was a friend to have, this is the One.


"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you," (John 15:15.)


 Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!

by John Wilbur Chapman


Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.


Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.