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Posts Tagged ‘Remembering’

 

 

A praise and glory to our Sovereign God and our Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of our tearful remembering.

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On the morning of September 11, 2001, I lived in Army housing at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, taking care of my two grandchildren…one a year old, the other five, and my son-in-law. Our daughter…their  mother…SIL’s wife, had suddenly passed away in February of that year.

While getting the five-year-old ready for kindergarten, I remember my son-in-law shouting “get to the living room…NOW!” I remember seeing the burning building, then the second plane crashed, and the third…and the horror continued! The cries. And like you, my heart filled with fear. Fear for all the men and women surrounding me that I knew would be called into action. Fear for their children…for my children…both son and son-in-law were military…and fear for our nation.

But God always has a purpose and a plan. And we watched our nation humbled and her people filling churches and turning back to God–for a brief time.

I began meeting with the Pioneer Women of the Chapel…a wonderful, group of Christian military wives who for long years have met to study God’s Word. And over the course of that year God taught me so many life lessons it will take a book to recount.

I remember sitting in the middle of my bed one night during that time, doing my Precept homework and feeling sorry for myself, and frightened for my children and grandchildren, when I read:

 “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5)

Sitting  in the comfort of a warm room, with my grandchildren sleeping safely in the next room, on a military post in Kansas, surrounded by patriot soldiers, and protected by the Sovereign God of the whole universe, I heard Him speak loud and clear through His Word. “Fear not!”

I repented and chose that day to keep my focus on my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to stand with courage…never to cower in fear again.

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And I pass that message on to each one of you reading this post today. God is and always will be on the Throne… ”Fear Not!”

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 Last week would have been our celebration of 43 years of marriage. But God chose to take Dick home on the 22nd of August, 2019.  No surprise to God, but I was overwhelmed with grief…and the past weeks have been difficult to say the least. Yesterday, September 6th, we celebrated Dick’s life with friends and family. And the peace of God’s presence have calmed the waters of fear that threatened to drown me. I don’t know what’s ahead…but God does. Dick’s with Jesus…seeing Him face to face…how can I do anything but praise my Lord and Savior and thank Him for the years He gave us. What about you? Where does God find you today. A treasured friend reposted my blog from three years ago…might want to read it….

Dick and I have just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and while it was a great time of celebration, I paused to ponder some of the things God has taught me along the way. Things, in light of our current culture, I’d like to share with those of you who think y’all might not make next year’s anniversary, or those of you who’ve decided marriage isn’t your cup-a-tea.

One of the first amazing facts, I’ve learned to ponder what God has taught me. God tells us over and over to remember—remember what? Remember what we’ve gone through. Remember how He carried us through the bad times. Remember the joy of the good times. Remember His promises to those who love and obey Him. Remember who He is and who we’re not. Remember and act upon what He desires us to become. But remember, you can’t remember what you’ve never learned.

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Expect difficult trials and times. These forty years the hurdles have been many and varied: Job loss, several times. Critical illness. Heart attacks. Death of a daughter. Parenting grandchildren for a year after daughter’s death. Change in family dynamics. Destructive thoughts and behavior patterns. No job, no income, lots of bills. Anger. Rebellion to God. Caring for elder parents in our home. Death of both sets of parents. All of which lead to the third thing I’ve learned.

God never leaves us or turns His back when the going gets tough. He carried us through many of these harsh life experiences and guided us through the rest. God is faithful—even when we’re not. He is my Rock and He’s taught me to lean on Him. Doesn’t mean the grieving wasn’t hard. Stretched me to the limit. But He has never failed us.

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Keep the main thing, the main thing. Today’s culture tends to encourage us to be attentive to the urgent while by-passing the important. Sometimes at the end of a day I just wanted to jump off the crazy train—too much of everything, not enough of me. Then I began to learn about seasons of life and God’s order. Remember, seasons come and go, they don’t stay forever. What we ought to do, we ought to do now. Like education, college and graduation. Career choices. Marriage. Parenthood. Then your teen’s years swiftly turn into empty nest years. And finally retirement and old age. How’s that for a quick, sweeping  broad brush stroke across the seasons of life?

God tells us to do all things decently and in order. He is a God of order. We don’t see a flim-flam creation do we? No. Down to the last intricate detail, God orchestrated all of His creation and freely gave us life. We’re the ones who embrace confusion rather than order. We become bored with order or tantalized by the haram-scaram voice of deception. And that’s where God found me.

Hold your hand in front of you and consider, what would happen if your thumb were replaced by your pinky? Or how about if your index finger took your ring finger’s place and your thumb nestled in beside it to bump the middle finger to the thumb’s place. The answer is weird, fumbling, chaos.

And many of us have experienced fumbling, chaotic points where we by-passed stages of life or jumbled their order. Like an un-wed single mom attempting to get a college degree. Or grandparents forced to take over parenting the grandchildren because the parents rebelled against God.

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All of us have, in one way or another, violated God’s deliberate order of life and many of us end up with a diagnosis of terminal heart failure…stuffing too much, too soon, into an unprepared vessel. God is always in the business of forgiveness, but the consequences of wrong choices or sin continue to trail behind us like super sleuths.

Whether you believe it or not, God is Sovereign over all things. He knew me and He knew you before we were formed in our mother’s womb. I can’t even comprehend that, can you? Not only did He know us, He granted personalities, skills, talents—gifts, to each one of us. We are all unique.  Created for the purpose of glorifying Him. Do you know He loves to hear the sound of your voice—but is the sound He hears from me pleasing or full of discord? He gives me the right to choose.

I don’t know about you, but much of my life brought shame, not glory to God. I knew He was God, but had no clue what His sovereignty meant.  But because God never changes and is always ready to grant us mercy when we change our ways and accept Jesus’ gift of salvation and choose to obey Him—when I came to Jesus and confessed my sin and shame, He forgave me. Then the key word is surrender. I surrendered my will to His will. My wants to His wants. My choices to His choices for Dick and for me. My obedience to God brings order and peace to my life and my home.

Sovereignty means whatever you’re going through did not catch God by surprise. He’s not pacing the heavens shouting, Oh no! What am I going to do now? He’s in charge of what’s happening—sets the limits of your trials and temptations. Before you were born He knew you. Before a word is on your lips He knows what you’re going to say. And He loves you anyway. Jesus died because of your and my desperate need for a Savior.

And it also means I don’t have the option of allowing my temper to run rough-shod over people. I can’t carry a grudge and be pleasing to Him. I’m accountable to God for every tiny word that comes out of my mouth and every thought I allow to fog my mind. I’m accountable to Him for each minute of every day, whether I choose good or evil. And I don’t get the choice of defining what’s good and what’s evil. God makes the rules. And they’re not old-timey words. His Word will stand forever.

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Next week Part Two: It’s Not All About Me!

 

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“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2 NAS).

 

Have you ever been working in the yard, forgetting about everything but the task at hand, and suddenly realize you are thirsty? So DSCF2652thirsty you drop everything and flee to the fridge or water faucet for a refreshing, cool drink of water?

As I read this Psalm today, I wondered, do I become that thirsty for God?

Does my soul pant for God like the deer pants for the water brooks? Or does my soul pant for the things God has given me?

Do I become so distracted by the abundance of His blessings, I shove Him to the end of my I-love-You line?

Oh, I get up and go to church every Sunday, and I wonder, is worshiping God number one on my list, or am I wondering what the choir director has planned, or what the preacher will talk about? Perhaps the central thought on my mind—where am I going to have lunch and who is going to come with me?

Yesterday we celebrated the 4th of July at First Baptist Dallas. And I knew there would be special music. One of our Texas Senators was going to deliver the morning message. It would be a time of joy-filled, flag-waving worship.

I got up early, knowing church would be crowded, and considered wearing red, white, and blue. But, in light of the shameful events in America and in Texas the past weeks, my heart mourned.

Senator Ted Cruz delivered a powerful message, recalling the founding fathers, principles, and legacy of this nation under God. He called us to prayer and to action. To stand up and speak up.

And I wept.

Our forefathers gave their lives so we would have the freedom to worship God; and, I have to ask myself, have I allowed Sunday morning to become entertainment rather than a time for repentance and confession and true worship of my Lord Jesus Christ?

The choir sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

And I wept.

God has blessed this nation. Prospered us and built up the walls of America as our founding fathers placed their faith and trust in Him, but I’ve sat silent while those who mock God tossed His Word and prayer out of public schools, murder generations of  this nation’s babies, and are determined to force us to accept a deviate culture God identified as unnatural and wrong since the beginning.

 And I wonder, have I grown accustomed to the violation of God’s laws, shrugging my shoulders and shaking my head, while approving and feeding the coffers of movies and TV shows that revile righteousness and worship at the feet of false gods?

Do I refuse to say no to my children and grandchildren when they desire to pattern their dress and behavior after sports figures and teen idols who thumb their noses at the Lord God Almighty?

No, this 4th of July will not be a time of celebration for me, but one of remembering, cherishing, and repenting. Remembering and cherishing the sacrifice of those who’ve gone before me. Remembering and repenting for my silence and my failure to proclaim the whole truth of The Word. And remembering and repenting for allowing my soul to be satiated with the things of the world, rather than thirsting for the living God.

How about you?

In Ezekiel 9:4 God said about ancient Israel:

Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst. But to the others He said in my hearing, ‘Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity, and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.’ So they started with the elders who were before the temple” (Ezekiel 9:4-6 NAS).

 

Where will God find you this 4th of July, 2013?  Will you join me?IMG_1980 190 Sighing, groaning, and praying for God’s mercy and healing for me and the rest of His rebellious children.

 

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