Thursday, December 29, 2011

Expectations for 2012

Another year of reading through the Bible finishes with Zechariah and Revelation! Hallelujah! He has a plan that finishes well. Since my emphasis in reading this year was to mark every place that teaches the Sovereignty of God, you can only imagine how marked up my One Year Bible is. But, the point is that I have been thinking back over all that has happened in just this one year and praising God that He is sovereign over all.

Psa 31:15 in NLT says "My future is in your hands." Looking back to record heat in Oklahoma leaving drought conditions, the tsunami/earthquake in Japan, terrible tornadoes in the Southern states, a godly friend being murdered, prayer lists of many suffering with various diseases, economic instability in many countries, and even the dismantling of dictators in Egypt and Libya, I am extremely encouraged by the truth that God is sovereign and my future is in HIS hands!!

Since I joined the ranks of Senior citizens on Medicare, along with my other Beginner Baby Boomers of 1946, the reality of "life is short" hits home a bit more emphatically. But the same breath of any sense of life closing in on me is counterbalanced with a deepening sense and awe of my friendship and fulfillment in Christ. Experiencing His Presence ~ the one true God who is our strong one, all-powerful, exalted above all ~ brings such depth of peace amidst a troubling world that I truly delight in the thought of what He has for me in this next year of 2012. (After all, wasn't it only a couple of years ago everyone was panicked by Y-2K????)

Psa 46:1 - "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear." That verse hung on the walls of the homes where I grew up. Every time we moved, that framed reminder was hung in a prominent place. Those words were embedded in my mind before I was even aware of what they meant. And a second bedrock verse for me as a child was Psa 56:3 "What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in You." No wonder I live in the place of what the Psalmist said in 112:7.."(S)he does not fear bad news nor live in dread of what may happen; for (s)he is settled in her mind that Jehovah will take care of her."

And because "Our God sits in the heavens and He does as He wishes." (Psa 115:3), I can with joy and non-defensively proclaim "My future is in Your hands!" Don't let me set my heart --my basic expectations-- on anything less than You in 2012!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The American Christmas
All... thought you would appreciate this; nothing funny or political. Just a thoughtful approach for an American Christmas!
Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition
As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor! This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands.
Yes there is!
It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?
Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamin’s on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand
Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or a babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oswald Says SO!

This morning I was reading "My Utmost For His Highest" by Oswald Chambers once again. And I was struck by what he said as coinciding with what I have been trying to communicate with all that Monty and I have been experiencing these past three years.
I quote: "The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things--tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. The saint never knows the joy of the LORD in spite of tribulation, but because of it--'I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation,' says Paul."

RO 8:37 "Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rejoice In The Lord

One of the greatest blessings in my life has been learning to live in the reality of Phil 4:4..... Paul's inspired words of exhortation to "Rejoice in the Lord always."! Years of life experiences have afforded me innumerable opportunities to "trust and obey" this verse over and over and thus receive the freedom that comes from such truth!

Many of you know the journey God has been orchestrating for Monty and me the past three years with the many visits to the Oklahoma Heart Hospital. In fact, it was exactly three years ago last week. There were many days/nights when we found ourselves saying goodbye to one another and still finding ourselves rejoicing in the Lord for His faithfulness to us, making His Presence known to us with His peace and comfort..

Well, this past episode of three hospitalizations in a month has been no exception to that experience. And so after hearing some encouraging news yesterday from the Heart Failure Specialist it is not surprising that our response would have been to "Rejoice in the Lord!". Rejoicing in Him and His faithfulness has become our way of life.

The good news is that Monty is doing better because the AV Node ablation that was done two months ago. He's better than he has been in several months! His ventricles are being 100% paced which is giving him a more consistent beat. Instead of giving him a prescription for another medicine, he gave him one for physical therapy which will help him in strengthening and in balance and coordination!!

So, I joyfully share this with the many of you who have been faithfully praying for us throughout this journey! You, too, may also Rejoice in the Lord!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Directing My Steps

Once again the urge to put in writing what I have been experiencing of late has overtaken me. It is not clear at this point exactly which direction I will be taking, and so the last thing I will do is title this post.

I think I need to say that I am a bit surprised at the response of people to my reaction to the serious decline in Monty's health. Some seem to be worried that I am not dealing with my emotions honestly and am stuffing. However, the opposite is true. In fact, it has been our mode of communication pretty much the whole of our 44 years of marriage to talk openly and bluntly about our circumstances, no matter how difficult it might be.

As many of you know, Monty had a serious heart attack, with 6 other heart events in the following days almost three years ago. (Feb 27-Mar 11, 2008 - see previous posts for details.) Since that time we have been so blessed by God's grace in allowing us to do some amazing things: hike up and repel down a cliff, hike throughout the Tetons in Jackson, WY, Yellowstone, and even take a trip to Spain. In and around all of this also have been frequent trips to the Heart Hospital because of various setbacks and crises that needed one procedure or another(14 times). And through all of this, we have both accepted the fact that God is sovereign over the day of our death as much as the day of our birth.
Well, back to the issue at hand................we are in the Heart Hospital once again (the 15th time). His health was declining rapidly in recent weeks and more specifically in the past 7-10 days before we came in here on Thursday (Jan.6). He had admitted to me that he felt like his life was on a rheostat and that someone was turning the lights off.................that his life was just being drained out of him. It was not only his own observation of how he felt, but all of us around him saw the visual manifestations of his deterioration.

When people would ask me how I was doing, some would have a look of disbelief when I said "I am fine, doing very well!" It was as though they think I am in denial of our situation and how serious it is. [A friend (who believes me) recently asked me what kind of response I get from people when I tell them that.] But, the reality is that I am exactly as I should be after walking intimately with Jesus for nearly 50 years. Throughout these years, confidence in Him grew such that “we do not live in dread nor fear bad news, for we know that our Jehovah will take care of us.” (Psa 112:7)

And, in fact, Monty loves to take every opportunity the LORD gives him to tell others that he does not fear death but actually looks forward to what the LORD has in store for him. His confidence is in all that Jesus has done for him, in him and through him. And that sometimes takes some doctors aback!! I admire so much Monty's integrity and openness to talk with me about our situation and all that is happening to me as it happens to him. I have a friend whose husband has had multiple physical changes that have deteriorated his capacity to function in many ways, which has been hard enough. But the worst part for her has been that he doesn't communicate with her about it all.

Today when he was sleeping the chaplain came and visited with me about his situation and how I was doing, counseling me to be sure to take care of myself and not be afraid to cry or show emotions (which I interpreted to mean breakdown whenever someone talks to me about his dying.) Well, after I went back in my ancient history and shared with her how God has prepared me for such a time as this throughout my life, holding Monty, our children, our grandchildren with an open hand………… that He doesn’t have to pry my fingers open to release them. I sensed that she doubted at first that I really had a handle on the reality of the seriousness of all of this……………..but by the time she left, God had allowed me the privilege of sharing with her my confidence in him. So, tapping my arm gently as she was leaving, she added that she thought I would be fine.

That was well and good, but my assurance and peace and joy do not come from the affirmations of others. It comes from years of believing and living Pr 3:5&6.
Today I read in My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers: “It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him………… When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic. The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by Jesus. The only impression left by such a life is that of the strong calm sanity that Our LORD gives to those who are intimate with Him.”

I am “trusting in the LORD with ALL my heart and not leaning on my own understanding; in all my ways, I am acknowledging Him (making Christ known). And He is directing my steps.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In the Name of the LORD

Studying the Gospel of John this semester has been such a blessing to me!! I love how truth that I thought I have "learned" in the past takes on a new value and even a new facet when observed again and again. Such has been the case this past week while working on John 5. The opposition against Jesus started because He was doing something that the religious people thought was "irreligious". When questioned about it, Jesus gave them some new things to learn. They, the religious leaders, couldn't get it. Most "religious people" don't get it.

For many years in my Christian walk, I didn't get it either. I thought "I" had to do what God had commanded. I thought that was what made me a "good Christian". I had made it about me!!! When Jesus answered them when they questioned Him about healing the lame man on the Sabbath, they didn't get it. They would NEVER break the Sabbath. That would be not doing what God had commanded.

Now, I knew that Jesus was my example, but I always used to say, "But He was GOD!!" I am not and I can't obey the way He did. Well, all of this is to say that He did show us how to obey. Jn 5:19....."The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." There it is. It isn't that Jesus wasn't capable of doing anything on His own. He is God. So obviously, He could have done anything on His own. BUT He chose to cooperate fully with the Father, doing, going, working only as the Father worked through Him. Later, Jesus states it in vs 43..."I have come in My Father's name....."!

Jn 5:17 tells them the reason He healed on the Sabbath and told the man to take his pallet and walk was because the Father was working through the Son, Who was in complete surrender to His Father. It was the Father's will that the lame man be healed on the Sabbath. IT is His authority that Jesus obeyed, even when it didn't look right to anyone else. In other words, He and His Father were in total cooperation. This is what it means to do something "in the name of God". The LORD Jesus is driving home the point to us that when we do something in God's name, we are fully cooperative with God. Whatever we do will look like, act like, smell like, be like Him because He is the One in control of our lives.

And that can only happen when we are in a covenant relationship with Jesus. Then as Jesus was to the Father, submissive to Him, in full cooperation with Him and His initiative, so are we to Jesus. Jn 5:30 Jesus tells us that He allowed the Father to initiate and He cooperated 100% with the Father. And then as the Father was to Jesus, so Jesus is to us. He does His work through us as we are fully cooperative with Him. Mt 11:28-29 comes to mind as describing this kind of relationship with Jesus. IT is a rest when I let God initiate and I cooperate. He is leading the "yoke" and I am cooperating with Him. "My sheep hear MY voice and they follow ME."

I think that for far too many years, I was following a lot of other voices that were telling me what I was supposed to be doing for God "as a good Christian should"! I was my works-oriented flesh! And not in the True Vine!! It had man's glory tagged all over it and not His glory.

Here is a great quote from Wayne Barber: "Jesus said, 'I have come in the name of My Father'. Now the thing that grabs me about Jesus, equal to the Father. He never was anything less than God.....lived as if He was never anything more than man....but submissive to the will of His Father. He had chosen to live this way! Why? It's so you and I could understand what it is like to live the Christian life. You see, the Father continues to initiate. But now He communicates to us what that will is and through the power of the Spirit, He enables us to do whatever God tells us to do."

I think the thing that amazes me the most is that so many believers in the LORD Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Christ, God in flesh, Who came that we might have everlasting life in Him think that they can do something to either keep this salvation going or lose it!!! It is so obviously ALL of His grace and none of me!! Praise His name!! Eph 2:8-10. Go "in the name of the LORD"!

Friday, July 23, 2010


I am learning some things about myself, especially the last few days. I used to think I could write. It began nearly fifty years ago when I was a young teen-ager, or maybe even before that, when I first started keeping a diary.

But, recently I have come to see that I am not really a "writer". Oh, that doesn't mean that I don't write.......because I do and I have most of my life. But the past few days I went off to a cabin at a lake to work on a book........a biography of a one-of-a-kind saint. She was such a rare person and I miss her a lot. She turned 95 on June 28 and then went "home" to her many friends and family who have been waiting a long time for her to get there. But mostly, she is with the One she longed to see..........pretty much all of her life.....her precious LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Back to my point about not being a writer! I have discovered that it is not very easy to put down words on a paper that adequately equate an amazing woman who did it right!! Lived well. Loved well. Finished well. I found it much harder than I imagined it would be to tell her story/stories.....many of which I knew so well. The right words eluded me when I tried to described her sweetness, her kindness to all, her joyfulness and her thankful heart. It is clear in my mind....because I saw it and experienced those attributes in various settings with her.

I think I had some self-deception about being able to just write what I knew and thought and loved about her. A writer ought to be able to do that!!