Thursday, June 30, 2005
On another note, I had a friend from AZ call me telling me she was in town for a few days. I've missed Anita terribly when she moved. We met for lunch today and spent hours getting caught up with all the news between us. Thank you, Lord for good friends who are an encouragement to us along life's pathway!
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
Back to the knee....he said that they wouldn't remove the bone spurs at all. When they do that a person's knees get much worse. They also won't remove the cyst. It will just kind of come and go, depending on if I flare up my knee. Certain exercises are out and others are in. *Big sigh* So, for now, I continue to baby it, keeping it elevated when I am not on it and taking time to ice it so the rest of the fluid will hopefully dissipate. I was pleased overall...I just didn't want some 'surgery hungry' guy telling me that I needed surgery. I like his approach and I'm comfortable about the 'wait and see' approach.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Yesterday was an exciting day for our small church family. Five years ago we sold our building and bought land to begin building a new church building for our growing congregation. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine it would be five years before we began building. Actually, as I look back on it the "building" began once we sold. The Lord began "building" this congregation anew. We have stretched, grown, acquired patience, become more prayerful, grown in unity, matured as a body, and become more dependent upon Him.
Yesterday we met on our property for our ground breaking service! What an exciting day it was for all of us. Our pastor built his message upon Psalm 127:1. What an encouragement it was. We have been praying for this property and our outreach in this little town of Bluffdale. It is the first church to be established within the city limits other than the LDS religion. Even the mayor and one of his council members attended. The mayor even spoke briefly about how excited the city was to have us in the community. Pray along with us, if the Lord brings it to your mind, for our outreach in the community. We are excited about the tremendous opportunities that the Lord has for us as we step out and become involved with this town and the people.
May we be a beacon of Hope, directing each person we have contact with to our Lord and Savior. May our joy overflow as we seek to share Christ with a lost and deluded people. May He be glorified in all that we say and do!
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Apr 20, 2005
Waiting to board the plane: I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say that because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons, not the least of which is your ego...
I tried to keep from staring but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long. Clean, but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport... an impersonator maybe?Was a camera on us somewhere?.... There I sat trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him.
Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man. I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.
I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. "Oh no, God please no." I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, "Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!"... There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, "Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane." Then I heard it..."I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair." The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, "God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm you're girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am on him. I am going to witness to this man."
Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. "That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair." I looked up at God and quipped, "I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?"... God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: "I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works." (2 Tim 3:17)
I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens, and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man, and asked as demurely as possible, "Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?" He looked back at me and said, "What did you say?" "May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?" To which he responded in volume ten, "Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that." At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, "SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?" At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, "If you really want to." Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, "Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush." "I have one in my bag," he responded.
I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but I must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair.
I know this sounds so strange but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's. I slipped the brush back in the bag, went around the chair to face him.
I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees, and said, "Sir, do you know my Jesus?" He said, "Yes, I do." Well, that figures, I thought. He explained, "I've known Him since I married my bride." "She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior." He said, "You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself...What a mess I must be for my bride."
Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft. I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, "That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?" I said, "Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!" And we got to share.
I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted because you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need! I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way... all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.
John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
University Heights Baptist Church
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Total books owned, ever~ I cannot even begin to put a number to this. I would have to say 'thousands.'
Last book I bought ~ Tender Warrior: God's Intention for a Man by Stu Weber. It's a gift for my husband for Father's Day.
Last book I read ~ The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. I'm currently re-reading Randy Alcorn's book titled Heaven.
5 books that mean a lot to me ~ This is a difficult one because I can usually find precious nuggats in every book I read.
- Be Ye Transformed: Understanding God's Truth by Chuck and Nancy Missler
- Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn
- Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Blackaby and King
- Spirit Warrior by Stu Weber
- Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Of course there are tons more which I could, and probably should list. There were great books on child rearing, marriage, great fictional books such as This Present Darkness by Peretti which really opened my eyes to how powerful prayer is for us as believers. The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer, books by C.S. Lewis, and Watchman Nee and of course, books by Tozer and Jerry Bridges, to list a few more.
Okay, my turn to tag some people. If you've already done it, let me know. If you want to do it and I didn't tag you, do it anyway and let me know!
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Monday, June 13, 2005
I find it pretty awkward, being on the crutches in the garden. But, where there is a will, there is a way! My dear hubby has been good to help when he can. We should be up in the 90's in just another day or so. I never thought I would be excited about the 90's. Maybe I'm not really excited about the 90's as much as I am excited about the 80's. For me that seems like the perfect temperature, along with sunshine and just the teensiest breeze, a near perfect day in my book.
I have my appointment at the orthopedic surgeon's office for my knee on the 22nd. In the meantime, I continue to pray that the cyst will go away as fast as it came!
Our son is now in Corpus Christi, TX and LOVES it! They have moved into an apartment, C from his time at Moody AFB along with James, and B who roomed with James their last year of college (both were in ROTC, well, all three actually). This should be interesting for James because he chose to spend the last six months at Moody in an apartment by himself, without a TV, with the only furniture being a kitchen table and two chairs, his desk and chair and then his bed and bookcases. He was very focused on making it through those 6 months. Now, they will pool their belongings, in a fairly new apartment with a GORGEOUS view of the beach out their big window! And, a bonus in James' book, is that it is only 5 minutes from base! He hates "long" commutes and his commute at Moody AFB was too long by his estimation! It was only a 20-25 minute drive but when you are trying to get every minute of sleep possible after a late night of studying, I can see where that would be too long of a drive! :) Classes begin the 30th. Until then they continue to 'in-process' and wait for their furniture/belongings to be delivered.
BREAKPOINT with Charles Colson------------------------------
Grace in the Ordinary World
June 13, 2005 This year's Pulitzer Prize for fiction went to a novel that was described by its author as "a quiet book." Marilynne Robinson's novel GILEAD is the simple story of an elderly Iowa pastor, John Ames. And it's something of a milestone for contemporary Christian fiction. In his seventies, John Ames has a new wife and young son who are the light of his life. He also has a fatal heart condition. The novel is written as a letter from Ames to his son, telling him about his family history and other things he will need to know. Despite Ames's natural feelings of melancholy, the tone of this letter is one of great love, reverence, and even joy over all the blessings he has been given. He writes to the boy, "You have been God's grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. . . It may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind.If only I had the words to tell you." The novel examines relationships between various fathers and children. Many of them are full of pain and misunderstanding. That makes the love between Ames and his son stand as a shining example of what the father-child relationship can be. The NEW YORK TIMES said of this book, "'Gilead' is a beautiful work --demanding, grave and lucid. . . Robinson's words have a spiritual force that's very rare in contemporary fiction." A reviewer for PBS's RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY notes that Robinson "has shown the sacramental possibilities of the world." As these excerpts and reviews highlight, there are two things that Robinson does surprisingly well. One is to show the presence of God's grace in our flawed, ordinary world -- the grace that John Ames defines as "a sort of ecstatic fire that takes things down to essentials." Ames's view of the world is thoroughly informed and transformed by that grace. He sees it everywhere he looks, even in the life of a troubled young man he instinctively dislikes. Robinson's second great gift is related directly to the first one. The NEW YORK TIMES reviewer puts it this way: "Robinson's pastor is that most difficult narrator from a novelist's point of view, a truly good and virtuous man. . . .While John Ames may be a good man, he is not an uninteresting one." On the contrary -- he's an utterly compelling man. To write such a character convincingly, especially in a time when the anti-hero is in vogue, is a rare and valuable gift indeed. I've said before that we've seen a long, unfortunate slump in Christian fiction-- a period when many religious novelists and publishers seem to believe that quality writing just wasn't important. But these days, there are signs everywhere that we're emerging from that slump. There is a renewed appreciation that good literature is important, impacting the imagination and the mind as nothing else can. And the honors showered on GILEAD, including the PulitzerPrize, are conclusive proof that if writers who are Christian hold themselves to high standards, and bring true talent, wisdom, and insight to their work, the world will listen and recognize the grace that moves their work.
Friday, June 10, 2005
As I sat in my car I thought about what an excellent illustration of God's guidance! I thought about the Israelites experiencing divine guidance when they were leaving Egypt. Before them lay the Red Sea and Pharaoh and his men were pressing in from the rear. There seemed to be no way out, yet God had purposely led them to that exact spot. Then God "stopped traffic" for them. As God led the Israelites through the Red Sea, so will He lead us.
How easy it would be to get discouraged as I deal with my knee. I did go see the doctor and I have a Baker's cyst behind my left knee. For now, I'm elevating, icing, and on crutches when I have to run an errand. I'm playing the 'waiting' game to see if the swelling will go down and the pain subsides. The 'talk' is if the swelling doesn't go down from the fluid in the knee then they will have to drain it. Now, I don't know about you, but I personally would just as soon NOT have to have it drained. So I am praying fervently!
I am still reading the book by Randy Alcorn called Heaven. This is the perfect time for me to be reading it. Instead of being discouraged that I have a body that seems to be breaking down every time I turn around, I am so stoked as I read about our new bodies that we will have once we are Home! My eyes are fixed firmly on Him who is able to guide me through thick and thin, producing in me the qualities which He desires to see. May I follow directly in line behind Him, oblivious to the 'dangers' around me, firmly focused on the race which is set before me.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
I can honestly say that I haven't had much time to sit down and devote time to figuring it out, even if I had wanted to. My mother has had an infection and then had a terrible reaction to the antibiotic they gave her. They switched to another antibiotic and she had still another reaction. But instead of feeling crazy in her head and having a racing heart, as she did with the first med, the second just caused her to be sick to her stomach. That was much more tolerable in her book. Then my dear hubby came down with some sort of something, fever, chills, achy, and coughing. Sunday was the onset but tonight he has gone back to work. And, alas, I have messed up my knee somehow. I kept thinking that it would get better but, no....it has only gone from bad to worse. AGH! But, with the two sickies on the mend that meant that I didn't have to hobble around as much today. And, I took the opportunity as I iced my knee to dig into what it takes to transfer pics from my camera to the computer.
The big test will be tomorrow when I see if I can transfer yet another round of pics. If I can duplicate my efforts tomorrow then I will consider it a rousing success! :)
I had gotten my hopes up right before our Memorial Day weekend because our son called and said he was going to try to come home for the weekend. Naturally I got all excited! We have always relied on his expertise in educating us on the finer points of 'technology.' Now, that he is definitely gone his father and I struggle significantly when it comes time to learn something new. And, it isn't just electronic gadgets...it could be as simple as a screen door.....
When we bought our new screen door for our little house many years ago, our son was about 3. We bought it dirt cheap on sale. After getting it home and getting it installed we searched and searched for the lock on it. There was none. Quite some time later I was talking with my Mom on the phone and telling her about getting the door, Jim installing it, great price etc and I also mention that there wasn't any lock on the door. James goes running toward the door and begins calling me. I'm still talking so he comes over to get my full attention and tells me there IS a lock on the screen door. I walk over with him and on the handle on the underneath side, which only a three year old would be able to look up and see, there was a little switch when slid would lock the door. You can only imagine how many times he has had to educate his parents from that time on!
Another time he and I were riding in the car (bought new about 2 years before this particular conversation) when he wanted me to do "something" (I can't remember now, but I think it had to do with the wipers). I told him our car didn't do that and he informed me, "of course it does that, Mom. Just like on the Toyota." I did whatever he told me to do and sure enough he was right! I went inside once we were home and asked his father if he new about "something." No he didn't either. See what I mean? Here was a child, nowhere near driving age, instructing his parents on the finer capabilities of the car!!!
I'm sure you don't need me to go on. You get the picture. So now maybe you see why there is so much excitement over my figuring out how to do this, all without any input from our dear son! Yea!!
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Since I've been back I have been swamped with getting 'caught up' with those routine chores. I do believe our rain has caused every weed in the universe to find it's home in our beds! I have spent many days weeding and have tons more to do. My doctor appointments have picked back up, not only for me but for my mother. Jim was home for our holiday and that always means less time on the computer and more time with him (which I love!). Laundry has been another challenge and I really don't think it should be. But, somehow, it piles up too quickly. We have had a wedding to attend, friends over for a rousing evening of Canasta and then, of course, the never ending chore of errands, and we finally did get our garden planted. Yea!!
I have had so many different thoughts chugging around in my mind that I could blog about but when I actually get ready to put it all down I am in a fog. That leads me to think that it must not have been such a momentous thought to share if it truly has fizzled and died before getting put down in print. I look at that as the Lord protecting me from opening my mouth and making a fool of myself! :) More importantly, it probably has saved you from wasting your time!
I keep popping in to visit at all of my favorite places regardless of my lack of writing. Sometimes I leave a comment but a lot of times I haven't taken the time. Thought about it and decided that someone else has probably already said it better! As I work through the use of my time I will begin blogging again, and on a regular basis. In the meantime know that I'm dropping in for my daily visit with each of you and I walk away totally blessed by my time on your 'front porch.' I can't list you all because I know that I would leave someone out but I hope you know that each of you are dear and precious to me!