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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Remember the Past, Shape the Future

Take a close look at my picture, please. 

Does it appear as nothing more than a plastic tub… with junk?  Absolutely not! You’re looking at my monuments! They convey messages of hope, and that God is real and powerful. During hard times, they remind me that God is faithful. And I need plenty of reminding because life is full of challenges, trials and strong temptations!

In the Old Testament, a stone monument was commonly used as a memorial to remind future generations of what had happened at each place. Just to name a few:
--A monument at Gilgal reminded the Israelites of their deliverance from Egypt.
--Samuel raised up his Ebenezer stone when God delivered Israel from the fierce Philistines.
--Goliath’s huge sword, placed in the tabernacle, served as another reminder of God’s deliverance.
--A monument was raised when God backed up the waters of the Jordan for Israel to cross into Canaan. Twelve men placed twelve large stones where the priest stood as the waters parted.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

When Suffering and Sorrow Happens

Hinds’ Feet on High Places, my favorite children’s story, is an allegory about Much Afraid (someone inside each one of us) and the Shepherd—Jesus! Much Afraid lives in the valley with her relatives Gloomy, Spiteful, and Craven Fear. Oftentimes Much Afraid makes the mistake of allowing them into her cottage, causing her to feel weaker and more helpless.

The Shepherd encourages Much Afraid to leave the Valley and climb the steep mountain to the High Places. The air is clean there, and the healing streams wash away anything unlovely. No fears of any kind are there because ‘perfect love gets rid of fear.’

“I will help you when you call,” the Shepherd promises. “And as you begin your journey, I will give you my very best and strongest helpers, Sorrow and Suffering. They are two of the best teachers I have.”

Much Afraid burst into tears. She begged for Joy and Peace to go with her. It seemed she was faced with the impossible.

 Do you know someone who loves the Lord, but is experiencing sorrow and suffering? The journey seems ominous.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fear, Leprosy and Praise!

When I arrived at Alicia’s doorstep, she met me with a ‘why are you here’ look. I expected to color her hair, as planned, and enjoy some girl talk. 

 “I guess you didn’t get my text message or phone message,” she said.

Apparently, my dear friend Alicia had canceled our appointment due to not feeling well. She assumed it best to remain quiet and not meet with me.

Earlier that day, I had been outside raking leaves. Then I rushed to get ready to go to lunch with my husband and our elderly friend. I ignored my cell phone and missed Alicia’s messages.

 “Well, you’re here!” Alicia graciously hugged me. “It seems the Lord wants me to get my hair colored today, anyway.”  

Alicia took careful consideration that God’s plan was different than hers.  She accepted it in spite of her physical and emotional struggles.   

While I saturated Alicia’s hair with color, she skimmed over what was upsetting her.  I suggested we pray because Alicia didn’t have the power to deal with her fears. I sensed this was the reason God had me show up.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Meet 'Miss Noboby'

Thea's 80th birthday celebration
in our home!
   “Let's visit the old people!”

     My husband and I had reached Shawnee Garden’s nursing center, our one-mile walking landmark, where we usually turn around and go home.

John resisted, “I’m wearing jogging shorts!”  

“Elderly people don’t care what you’re wearing. They’re lonely; they only want someone to talk to.” John consented.

    After introducing ourselves to the receptionist, we walked down a long corridor where one small framed woman, crouched over in her wheel chair, stared ahead. Hmm…I wonder if her mind is as shriveled as her body.

     “Hi, I’m Pam.” She returned a skeptical look for our smiles. “I’m Thea,” she responded, gruffly.

Thea’s thick German accent aroused our curiosity, triggering a string of questions. She methodically shared pieces of her life story.

Thea grew up in Munich, Germany, during Hitler’s cruel reign. Sometimes she hid for days from the Gestapo. “I still dream of bombs exploding.” One explosion left Thea unconscious and seriously injured.