March 27, 2014

Thank You, Father

By Bill Carr

In humbleness, we thank you, Father,
For the goodness You have shown,
For the blessings and compassion,
For comfort when we walk alone.

Thank You for our daily bounty,
For the love we share each day,
Thank you for the right to worship,
Each in our own chosen way.

Thank you for your hand that guides us,
Right from wrong, in all we do.
May we grow in understanding,
Always grateful--thanking you.

March 16, 2014

Children of Praise

"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise!"
(Psalm 8:1-2a)
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

The last two pews in our church sanctuary are reserved for nursing mothers and families with small children. When we taught preschool Sunday School class, we began sitting at one end of the pew to help parents corral their active little ones between us and them. We still sit in the back even though we aren't teaching a class at the moment and I love watching the little ones worship God in their own way. They do not have any inhibitions about getting up and praising God like the older proper generations. :)

I watched two little sisters this morning having a grand time swaying to the praise music, clapping and waving their chubby little hands. We also allow children and teens to praise God during our gifts of gratitude time. Sometimes they wander all over the map, but sometimes they have real pearls. You know the saying "out of the mouths of babes." Well, it's like that.

Our pastor preached out of Genesis this morning. The story of Noah. He said after Noah came out of the ark, he built an altar to God, an altar of gratitude. By building it and burning a sacrifice on it, Noah was praising God for keeping them safe from the floodwaters that had covered the whole earth. And God found the aroma of the sacrifice pleasing and then blessed Noah and his sons by making a covenant between them. And to sign the dotted line, so to speak, He gave them a sign in the sky -- a beautiful rainbow.

This story reminded me of my bull story from last week and how God kept us, descendants of Noah, safe from the raging waters of Brush creek. Now, not only will I be reminded of Noah's gratitude when I see rainbows, but I will be doubly grateful that God saved both of us from raging waters.

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's day. One of the Irish stories I heard growing up was that at the end of the rainbow was a pot of gold. I believe the story was told to children to warn them that tricky leprechauns would capture and enslave them if they sought to get to it by devious means, but I prefer to think of the pot of gold as an allegory to God's Son, Jesus Christ and his gift of salvation. God destroyed all mankind except the righteous man Noah. Men were not given a choice at that time to turn away from their depravity and be saved from the destructive floodwaters, but because of God's covenant of love with Noah, his descendants were and are now given a choice to turn to Jesus Christ and be taken into God's family by adoption. I'm thankful for that because I am an adopted daughter of the KING -- a princess, really, in God's kingdom.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!"
(1 John 3:1).

March 10, 2014

A Bull Story

We traveled "down home" recently where my husband's ancestors have resided for the past 150 years. We went there to gather the family together -- two of his brothers and their descendants and his cousins to help celebrate his 60th birthday. For those who were able to come, we thank you. We had a lovely time reminiscing.

And during our traveling to and fro, I was thinking of when his grandparents were alive and living in the tenant farm house on the land they inherited when Grandpa's former landlord and lady passed. We drove to it and stopped and walked around the property for a moment to stretch legs and let the dog race around, having a sniffing good time while we were there.

When my hubbin and I were newly married, we decided we needed a weekender "down home" to visit his grandparents. In those days, his family -- dad, mother, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins visited quite often, at least once a month, so it wasn't unusual to find them all down and crowded into the house. It was just a matter of putting dibs on a bed so we'd have a place to sleep.

While we were there, we decided to spend an romantic afternoon shopping in the capital city some 30 miles away. The weatherman had predicted snow which wasn't to begin until later that evening, so not to be deterred, we left early in the day, going down the back roads, across a cement low water bridge with a trickle of water running across it from the creek, and through an almost vanished village to the highway. We didn't leave the city until the white flakes began drifting down and then suddenly anxious, my husband decided we better get back to his grandpa's.

As we turned off the highway, going down the same back roads we had traveled earlier in the day and over the crest of the last steep hill sloping down towards the creek we had crossed earlier in the day, we nearly had a head-on with a huge bull jogging towards us. Now in the country, it's not unusual to find cattle in the roads and you carefully drive around them and go on, then report it to the farmers round and let them go pick up their errant one. Because this was on a somewhat slippery gravel slope, we skidded down towards him, intent on going round him, but he was having none of it. He blocked us at every turn of the wheel. Only when we came to a complete stop, did he run around our car and disappear up the hill behind us. It was getting dusky gray by that time and we slowly rolled down to cross the creek. I sincerely believe that bull was sent to protect us, because when we arrived at where the bridge had been, the trickle had become a five foot deep raging river. The cement could not even be seen under all that dark churning, foaming water, only the two roads leading out of it on either side. We could have easily have been swept away in our little chevette had we hit that water.

It took us two hours to turn our small car around and creep back up the hill. The bull was nowhere to be seen when we finally made it back up to the hill top and no broken down fence along that stretch of road either. Fortunately, there was a blacktop further down the highway that we could take to go round to his grandparents from the other side. They were really worried about us and scolded us for not stopping to call them to let them know we were leaving the city. This was in the days before mobile phones and we were thoughtless. I'm just thankful we made it back to the safe arms of the family home and hadn't taken a cold dip that day! Brrr! I thank the Lord for his goodness and protection!

March 03, 2014

A Kick in my Seat

Art by Lori McDonough
I've recently joined Pinterest -- love all the eye candy there! I've been looking for craft videos to watch and pin to save if I liked them, so I've been clicking on everybody's video boards that I've run across. I been trying to think of something to write for this week as I like to post weekly, but I hadn't come up with something yet until . . .

Last night I got a kick-in-the-seat-of-my-pants -- it had to be a God-thing because I had been silently grousing about not having something to write about and when I watched this video about a little girl who was born with no face, I gave myself a scolding!

You see, I don't like my bod or looks much --- I've always been on the heavy side and got a lot of harassment from unkind toads. Dr. Ketterman sent me to an endocrinologist and after a series of tests, she diagnosed me, not with Cushing's Disease but with Polycystic Ovary Disease and Low-Normal Thyroid Levels. Yes, my hormones were messed up, hence not much in the way of metabolism and infertility and heavy facial hair that I shave everyday. And yes, I've tried several versions of meds and didn't like how they made me feel or act -- like a bear! LOL!

I have much to be grateful for -- I was born with a face -- with underlying bone structures and muscles, eyeballs with lids that blink that I don't have to tape shut every night so I can sleep. While I've had a few surgeries, I've not had to go through as many as this little girl has had. I'm grateful for modern medicine as this little girl had to have surgery immediately after birth in order to breath and eat and see. Before modern medicine she probably would have died. I feel grateful for my cousin's courage. He was born with a cleft lip and a cleft palate and while I knew he had several surgeries to correct his incompleteness, it didn't affect me until I understood what this little girl went through.

And knowing that people need encouragement – I think I will thank my cousin for his courage.