Friday, September 21, 2018

Dining With Jesus


Matthew 26:26-28
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

When Danny and I get engaged in 2004, he is leading the praise and worship band at his United Methodist church's contemporary service in which I will later participate.  It requires a bit of getting used to for me, as I am coming from the Episcopal church, where the word "contemporary" is a huge no-no in light of the staid liturgical tradition.  Honestly, it doesn't take me too long to embrace, wholeheartedly, this energetic and uplifting way to worship God.  But there is one ritual I have a great deal of difficulty leaving behind:  the weekly observance of the Lord's Supper.

The Holy Eucharist, or Mass, as my Catholic brothers and sisters call it, is the focal point of the Episcopal/Anglican Sunday service.  The sermon takes a serious back seat; I once heard an Episcopal priest say, "If the minister preaches over seven minutes, he doesn't understand his congregation's 'fanny time.'"  Not so in the modern United Methodist church!  With Communion happening only once a month, the pastor is not only free to be long-winded, but is encouraged to be so.  Needless to say, my fanny needs significant tweaking in those first weeks of attending Kennesaw United Methodist!

After I get over the initial shock of the once-a-month celebration of the Lord's Supper, I realize, to my chagrin, how much I have taken this commemoration of Jesus' new covenant for granted.  Now, with only being able to partake in the bread and the cup every four weeks, I anticipate this sacrament with renewed joy and thankfulness.

So, when Pastor Graham asks me to assist him in serving Communion recently, I am beside myself with enthusiasm!  What could be better than sharing with and serving others the body and blood of Christ Jesus on such a personal level?

But I'm not prepared, in any way, shape or form, for the impact this this service has upon my very being.

As the individual members of the congregation approach to receive the bread from Pastor Graham and the cup from me, I meet their gazes and say to each one, "The blood of Christ, shed for you."  Their eyes give me an unprecedented glimpse into their souls.  Therein, I see the gamut of emotions:  unbridled joy, uncertainty of worthiness, worries concealed beneath lids closed, tears flowing with gratefulness.

I witness it all.  My own eyes threaten to spill over with the empathetic love and connection I experience with my fellow Christians, those seeking to follow Jesus just as I do.  Those whose experiences, conditions and challenges I can only guess at in that brief, yet unforgettable, moment of relationship.

A relationship that miraculously transcends time and place.  We are at the table of Jesus.  In His presence.  Dining with Him.

We are one in the Spirit, and one in the Lord.

As our nation goes through perhaps the most divisive time we have ever endured since the Civil War, may we all remember that we are God's children, and loved by Him beyond measure.  May we love each other as Jesus commanded, forgetting our differences and focusing on our similarities.

Jesus has set the table for all.  Will you accept His invitation to dine?

Amen!


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

On the Fast Track


Matthew 21:22
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

I cannot begin to thank all my dear friends here at the blog and on Facebook for your kind and generous prayers for the success of my recent cataract surgery.  Yes, the outcome is everything I could have hoped for and more!  Had I been in the "dark" so long that I'd forgotten how brilliant and vibrant the colors of God's creation are?  All I can say is, every time I gaze upon anything, even the television, I am awed and humbled, so thankful that God has seen fit to restore my sight through the capable and talented hands of those who minister to me last Wednesday.

While most of you are praying for a safe operation, as the day approaches, I find myself asking the Lord for something else, something that to most folks might seem frivolous and inconsequential.  You see, I'm not one of those people who can go without food for any significant length of time.  If I'm forced to, I feel drained, irritable and downright grouchy.  Just ask my husband, Danny!  Nor am I a happy camper without my morning coffee.  But on the day of the surgery, I am allowed only a sip of water when I get up.

I have to fast.

And that's precisely what I pray to my Father about.  Because I know, it's only through His strength and grace that I can make it through this ordeal without physically and mentally collapsing.  Only God can place me on the "fast" track.

Does God hear my plea?  You better believe it!  And He answers in a bigger way than I could have ever envisioned, reminding me of just how large and in charge He is.

My fast begins at 5:30 a.m. and lasts until noon.  Not once do I miss coffee.  Not once does my fickle stomach feel anything but full - no growling, no rumbling, no nothing!  And when I'm finally free to eat and drink, I'm neither ravenous nor thirsty in the least.  I sip on orange juice and nibble at a ham sandwich that Danny has brought along, but am unable to finish either.

I am already filled.

Filled by the Holy Spirit.

And my heart overflows with gratitude to the One who received my prayer, and so graciously answered it.

Amen!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

This Is The Game That Never Ends . . .


Daniel 4:3
How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders!  His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.

When our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, turns eight in July, my husband, Danny, and I give her the one, the only, granddaddy and grand-master of all board games:  Monopoly!


Invented in 1903 by Lizzy Magie, and dubbed "The Landlord's Game," Monopoly has seen many transformations throughout the ensuing years, but has managed, even in this age of technology, to remain a family-friendly classic.

Once she learns the rules, Virginia takes to the game like a born entrepreneur.  She can't get enough of it!


We spend hours on the living room floor rolling dice, purchasing real estate, railroads and utilities, and trying our best to buy blocks of property on which houses or hotels can be erected.




So much depends on the rolls of the dice, the dollars in our personal funds, and the dictates of the Chance and Community Chest cards as to whether or not we succeed in outdoing the other.

Monopoly is the definition of risk, luck and savvy decisions, not to mention the inevitable crushing of one's opponent.  The latter is hardly the recipe for God's kingdom, yet I believe that the lessons learned in playing this game show us how to live in the world, yet not be of it.


  • Stewardship - We are called by God to be good stewards of the gifts He's given us.  If we've been given monetary resources in abundance, we need to make responsible decisions about how to use/share those funds for the good of our family, our church family, and others in our community who are in need.
  • Life isn't fair - Jesus never guaranteed us a stress-free, no-hassle life, but He did promise to be with us through it all, no matter what afflictions or troubles come our way.  He has vowed to carry our burdens when we lay them at His feet.
  • Risk taking is a part of life - Jesus sent His disciples out, two by two, to spread the Good News.  There was no guarantee that the Word would be met with acceptance, but off they went in faith, willing to risk it all for Jesus and His Message of repentance and salvation.
  • God's love is infinite, eternal, never-ending - Oh, yes!  And so is the game of Monopoly - never-ending, that is.  Virginia and I play for hours, taking breaks here and there, especially to check out if this Gammie has any moving joints left after sitting on the floor for way too long.  No, we never have a definitive winner, as the pendulum of money and property seems to swing back and forth when least expected, leaving us in perpetual game time suspense.
The Monopoly board remains in place overnight, ready and waiting for the challenge we will take up once again in the morning.  How this brings back priceless memories of the marathon games I play with neighborhood friends as a child, and again, with my own children during the hot and steamy doldrums of summer.

From generation to generation, the game endures.

From generation to generation, God's kingdom, overflowing with love and grace, endures.

And when we allow our Father to have a monopoly on our hearts, we can proclaim in glorious triumph, "We win!"

Amen.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Caterpillar What???


Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?  Up to seven times?
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven."

This August, an army of Orange Striped Oakworms (pictured above) take up residence in the towering oak tree whose branches arch high above our deck.  In this part of their life-cycle, eating is a constant activity, and the oak tree, it seems, provides a bountiful spread.

But as we all know, eating results in the eventual process of elimination.  That's right - caterpillar poop!




Now, these tiny pellets may look innocuous enough, even reminding us of small peppercorns.  But don't let their innocent facade fool you.  When the rain falls, and we've had a ton of precipitation this summer, these itsy-bitsy particles swell to three times their original size!  And to add insult to injury, when we go to sweep the bulbous scat off the deck, they smear, leaving behind an ugly discoloration on the wood surface.  No photo here; I'm leaving to your imagination your favorite illustration of "gross!."

It doesn't take another of these incidences for my husband, Danny, and I to sweep off the deck every chance we get.  Better to be proactive than caught off guard.

And aren't our sins rather like those dry, inert pellets?  If we don't acknowledge them promptly, running to Jesus for forgiveness, asking Him to sweep them from the decks of our hearts, they are sure to swell, fester and leave a poisonous stain on our souls.

Just as Jesus is sure to forgive us when we repent of our sins, we must be just as quick to forgive others.  If we fail to do so, as many times as the circumstances might require, we only punish ourselves.

Simple concepts.  Not easy to follow at times, but follow, we must.

And follow, we can, when we are following Jesus.

Amen!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

I Was Blind, But Now I See


Mark 10:50-52
Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped up and came to Jesus.
"What do you want me to do for you?"  Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."
"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you."  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Recently, I go to my eye doctor for my annual exam.  The evidence is now incontrovertible.  The cataract in my left eye has become so intrusive, it must be removed, and the sooner the better.

Now, I must confess.  My doctor advises me last summer to have the procedure done, but I develop a severe case of "chicken," and decide, because the new contact prescription helps so much, to postpone the surgery.  After all, with everything my husband, Danny, goes through concerning a new pacemaker in 2017, I'm simply not up for any more medical drama.

But this time around, I bite the bullet, scheduling my appointment for cataract removal the moment I get home from the doctor's.  It's set for September 12.  I'm actually relieved to be going forward, knowing how much my eyesight will improve once the offending player is removed, and a permanent (hopefully perfect) lens is implanted.

There is one problem though.  When my contacts are upgraded, I neglect to do the same for my glasses, which I'm required to wear for an entire week before the surgery.  Yikes!  How will that affect my ability to read?  To write?  What about driving?  Will headaches come calling on a daily basis?  Or will my eyes adjust smoothly to this transition?

Instead of worrying about all this, I am praying about it, knowing God will help me get through whatever distress or discomfort I might endure those seven days.  And friends, I would so appreciate your prayers, too, as the wearing of the glasses begins tomorrow.

I have to focus (pun intended) on the ultimate goal:  to see clearly without the aid of contacts or glasses.  Although the blind man in Mark's verses above makes his request to Jesus in person, I'm asking the Lord to work through the hands of the technicians, nurses and doctors to restore my sight, and heal me completely.

I have faith the Lord will do this.

He's the only One who can.

Amen!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Party On???


Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I arrive at my mother's house this past Thursday, and are met at the door not by Mom, but by her housekeeper, Rosa.  Much to our dismay, Rosa tells us that Mom is at the emergency room at the local hospital.  A dear friend has taken her for X-rays to find out if her almost-fall earlier in the week has left her with cracked ribs.

Sure enough, that's the diagnosis.  And to complicate matters, because Mom hasn't been able to draw deep breaths due to the pain, she has developed severe congestion in her lungs.  The doctor decides she needs to stay the night for observation, oxygen treatments and IV antibiotics.  The greatest fear?  Mom condition could spiral into pneumonia.  That can be deadly for anyone, but for someone about to be 90 years young?  Well, to say the least, our entire family is deeply concerned, and prayers for her healing is a constant.

Mom lets everyone, and I mean everyone, at the hospital know that she is turning 90 on Saturday, and is dead set on not missing the celebration.  Fortunately, she is released late Friday afternoon, but not without first agreeing to submit to home oxygen.  My brother, Bill, volunteers to pick her up since, because of MIL, I'm fairly well-versed in how the oxygen equipment works, and the right questions to ask the pleasant technician who sets us up.

Long story short, Mom is so grateful to be home, and overjoyed that she will be able to enjoy her milestone birthday with children, grandchildren and great-grands.  The party is on!!!






The birthday girl with granddaughter, Sarah


Brother Bill and my son, Daniel


Niece, Rebecca, and her friend, Mills


Daddy (John) with the littlest girls

 Bill has a new friend in Virginia


My beautiful daughter, Sarah


Virginia Rose


Savannah Jane


Alexandra Nancy with the untamed locks!


Sisterly love


Some lovely birthday gifts

But now comes the time for my brother and I to pass through the waters.  Bill offers to stay with Mom this week as I'm slated to babysit for Sarah on Tuesday.  On Thursday, it becomes my turn to stay with her for as long as is required.  In light of this, I've decided it's best for me to suspend Meditations of My Heart during the month of August.

My family would so appreciate your prayers for Mom at this time.  Also, if you could pray for Bill and me as we may have to make some difficult decisions in the days to come, that will give us much peace and comfort.

Although we are passing through some troubled waters, roaring rivers and raging fires, we know God is right there with us every step of the way.  His grace, mercy and unfailing love will see us through.

May God bless you all!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mom!


Proverbs 17:6
Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

Even though the photo above is taken eight years ago, my mother, Nancy, looks very much the same now as she did then.  (Regrettably, I don't think I inherited those genes!)  We are blessed that Mom's health is exceptionally good - she still drives, does her own shopping, and makes homemade bread that's to die for!  Her only age-related ailment is hearing loss, but the hearing aids, though far from perfect, do help.  All things considered, it's hard to believe she will be turning 90 on July 28th!

We will be celebrating Mom's birthday at her home on that day.  She will be surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who all love her.  I do wish, though, that my Dad, Bill, was still here to mark this milestone with us.



That being said, I will not be blogging next week.  I will be driving to Oxford mid-week to help my brother plan for Saturday's festivities.  And as usual when in the land of unreliable internet, I won't be making my regular rounds to all my blogging buddies.

But hang in there!  I'll be back soon, hopefully with a passel of family photos and sweet, precious memories to share with you.

Until then, may God bless and keep you in His love and grace.

Amen!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

He Is Passing By . . .


1 Kings 19:11-13
The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Last Tuesday, I receive a most unexpected and remarkable gift.

I arrive home after dropping granddaughter, Virginia Rose, at an activities camp at our church and running an additional errand to an uncharacteristically quiet house.  Husband, Danny, has taken MIL to her dentist in Cartersville to get her bridge repaired.

When I open the door from garage to downstairs, I'm immediately made aware - there is no whirring and sighing from the oxygen generator!

Silence.

As I ascend the stairs to our main floor, no sound of television or conversation disturbs the peace.

Silence.

The hush is so complete, the momentary interruption of ice cubes dropping in the freezer sounds like a clanging cymbal.

The silence, profound and pervasive, commands my full attention.

And unmistakably, I hear God whisper:  Enjoy this moment.  Live into it.  I made it for you.

I am speechless . . .

And in that instant, I know I'm standing not on the wood floor of my humble home.  I am standing on Holy Ground.

Eyes closed.  Breathing deeply, steadily.  I mouth the words, "Thank you, Lord."

Silence.

He is passing by . . .

Amen!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Be Kind


Psalm 141:3
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Proverbs 15:4
Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.

In a recent post at his blog, Cycleguy's Spin, Pastor Bill writes about the danger of rumors in the church.  I couldn't agree more.  Rumors are the kissin' cousins of gossip.  Even when we think the "news" we're telling others isn't necessarily negative or demeaning to the person being talked about, we too often fail to stop and ask ourselves, "Would I say this to the person's face?"  If the answer is "no," and too often it is, better run, and fast, in the opposite direction!

Bill's post reminds me of a wonderful life lesson the children learn at Vacation Bible School this summer.  Granddaughter, Virginia Rose, volunteers during Missions time to take part in a demonstration that illustrates the importance of the words we speak.  Miss Serena and Miss Sandy, sitting on either side of Virginia, squeeze some toothpaste onto a paper plate.  Virginia's task?  Using a toothpick, get that toothpaste back in the tube!



Of course, as we all know, that's an impossible feat.  Once the paste is out there, it's out there!

And so it is with our words.

The children understand the significance of guarding what comes out of their mouths, and are encouraged to daily offer kind words that heal and help others instead of wounding them.



In this day and age of divisiveness in politics and constant spewing of vitriol on the news and social media, words of kindness, consideration and caring are needed more than ever.  So let's not succumb to the rumors, the gossip, the heated exchanges.  Instead, let us commit to spreading the Good News of God's love through Christ Jesus.

Let us choose, as Virginia has, to be kind.

Amen!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Supercuts!


John 15:1-2
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Pictured above is our granddaughter, Virginia's, hair after I've washed, conditioned and de-tangled it.  Ugh!  I can tell right away that she is in dire need of a trim.

"Virginia," I announce, "we're going to Supercuts in the morning.  We've got to get rid of those ragged split ends."

"But Gammie, I like my long hair," she protests.  "You won't let the hair cut lady take off too much, will you?"

"No, I won't, honey," I assure her.  Though I think to myself it would probably be best to lop of at least three inches from her tresses, I promise Virginia that we'll only remove an inch and a half.

When we arrive at Supercuts, I tell the hairdresser how much to trim from Virginia's hair.  She readily cooperates, but not before explaining to us that the persistent knots and snarls are due as much to chlorine exposure, which dries out the shafts, as it is to split ends.  "We have a special shampoo and conditioner designed for kids who do lots of swimming in the summer.  I highly recommend these for her."

Of course, she would!  And of course, this Gammie purchases both at the end of our visit, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, it's the actual haircut!









Ah!  Now that's better!  Virginia loves her new look, especially since the length has been preserved to a great degree.  And she is so happy to be able to comb it out herself, painlessly, for a change.


~

In light of Virginia's recent "pruning," maybe it's time we examine the spiritual health of our hearts and minds.  Are there emotional tangles?  Snarled thoughts?  Stubborn knots of pain or fear?

Let God in!  Allow Him to clip away at those negative "split ends" that keep us from being fully connected to Him.

In God's capable hands, a little trim goes a long way.  He will give us the ultimate Supercut!

Amen!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

God Bless America!


Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ~Declaration of Independence

Happy Birthday, America!  Tomorrow, July 4th, we will commemorate 242 years of independence from Great Britain.  And while many of our celebrations will focus on family gatherings, parades, cookouts, and fireworks, it's also a time to reflect upon the astounding foresight our Founding Fathers had in creating these two documents:  The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution, which they hoped and prayed would keep this country governed by and for the people for generations to come.

So instead of composing an original post today, I choose to share with you some Biblical wisdom quoted from American presidents through the years, statements which confirm that historically, we are "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The reason that Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart. ~Thomas Jefferson

We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it.  We have stoked the whole of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the commandments of God.  The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded. ~James Madison

The Bible is the first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention. ~John Quincy Adams

Finally, it is my most fervent prayer to that Almighty Being before whom I now stand, and who has kept us in His hands from the infancy of our Republic unto the present day, that He will so overrule all my intentions and actions and inspire the hearts of my fellow-citizens that we may be preserved from dangers of all kinds and continue forever a united and happy people. ~Andrew Jackson

I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible.  Take all of this Book upon reason that you can, and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. ~Abraham Lincoln

All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ results in the purist patriotism, in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust, and in the best type of citizenship. ~Grover Cleveland

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education. ~Theodore Roosevelt

Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life.  Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic expression of Americanism.  Thus, the Founding Fathers of America saw it, and thus with God's help, we will continue to be. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God. ~John F. Kennedy

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under. ~Ronald Reagan

America is a nation of believers and together we are strengthened by the power of prayer . . . Our rights are not given to us by men, our rights are given to us by our Creator.  No matter what, no earthly force can take those rights away. ~Donald J. Trump

I close this post with a prayer I cherish in these recent time in America that try men's and women's souls:  If my people called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14

May God bless America, and may we be the people He has chosen for His inheritance.

Amen!

Friday, June 29, 2018

She Has Shine!


James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Before moving in with us, MIL resides in Cartersville, Georgia, just a 40 minute drive north of Kennesaw.  Once a week, my husband, Danny, and I trek up to her house to collect the mail and run errands for her as long as my son, Daniel, can arrange to take off work to stay with her while we're gone.

MIL tells us several weeks ago about a special cashier at her local Ingles grocery store named Barbara.  She is adamant that Danny pick up several items at the store, and search for this inspiring lady in the check-out line, especially to let her know why MIL hasn't been shopping there since January.

"Barbara saw me struggling with the handicapped carts one day, and quickly came over to help.  She inquired about my health issues, and I told her, 'COPD and heart problems.'  Right away, she laid a hand on my shoulder, and I don't like the feel of a stranger's hand on my shoulder, but somehow, I didn't mind this at all.  Then Barbara asked, 'May I pray for you?'  It took me by surprise and took my breath away in the same moment.  'Of course,' I said.  And oh, the indescribable feeling that overwhelmed me as she spoke words I can't recall, but that touched me to the core of my being!  Every time I visited Ingles after that, when I checked out with Barbara, she always offered to pray over me and with me.  I welcomed each one.  Barbara has a gift from God."

Growing up in the deep South in the 1930's and 1940's, MIL has distinct recollections of the phraseology employed by the African-American residents in her community when describing someone filled with the Holy Spirit:  "He/She has shine!"  MIL admits that as a child, she didn't understand the concept beyond its literal meaning, but came to know it later in life.

Danny and I have, too.

Through Barbara.

The first Ingles run after the Barbara request is done by Danny alone.  I'm feeling inclined to listen to the radio as there is no guarantee that the cashier in question will even be working.  When Danny returns, I detect tears in his eyes.  "I did see Barbara," he says.  "She dropped everything and prayed with me."

Oh, boy, did I miss out!  I vow not to make that mistake again.

So this past Tuesday, when we do the Cartersville run, I am all in to meet this amazing woman, willing to God that she will be there so I can thank her for her prayers for MIL, and bless her, too.

God, in His great grace, answers my prayer.



I introduce myself to Barbara, who greets every customer with a "How are you today, baby?" that sounds not in the least demeaning, but like an invitation to intimacy.  Of course, she acknowledges remembering Danny, then after ringing up our purchases, asks me for my hands across the check signing counter to take hers.

They are at once warm, sincere, compelling.  God's Holy Spirit is in their embrace.  Like MIL, I can't recall the words she prays, but the power . . . Oh, the power of God is in those hands, and it's a vibrant, pulsating sensation I will never forget.  Barbara's gift is overwhelming!

Even the printing of the grocery receipt pauses before the prayer is complete, and we share a laugh over this, a welcome respite from the tears threatening to flow on both sides.

And in this day and age, when so many businesses discourage employees from sharing their faith, my hat is off to Ingles for allowing Barbara, this unique, compassionate disciple of Christ, to freely express her love for others on His behalf.

She has shine . . .

Shine on, Barbara, shine on!

Amen!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Freedom!


Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Freedom.

What does that word mean to you?  Think about it for a moment.  Does it allow you to say or do whatever you wish?  Or, is it a concept derived from God's eternal truths?

In watching granddaughter, Virginia Rose, chasing fireflies in our back yard, her "jailing" jar in hand,


I know that both she and I learn a God-given lesson, one given voice by her own admission:  "I don't need to capture the fireflies in this.  I just want to feel them on my hands and set them free."



Freedom.

As a grandmother, I'm bursting with pride that Virginia is beginning to realize, with a heart growing in understanding, that all of God's creation is precious in His sight, and should be in ours.  I recall the days when we would embark on our firefly hunts, with the obligatory air-hole punctured container, only for her to beg to allow them to stay in her room overnight.  The next morning did not produce a pretty picture.  Maybe those not-so-good memories have finally done the trick.

Freedom.

We find an errant firefly, confused and disoriented, in our house.  It's catch and release time for Virginia!  She reclaims her previous prison to now safely enclose the precious bug.


After its capture, Virginia retreats to our deck to allow the firefly to breathe and reclaim the environment into which it was born.




Before it flees, it seems to be giving thanks.


Freedom.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Free from the burden of sin and death.  Free to become all that God intends for us as His children.

Let us ever treasure this freedom, and never cease to give thanks to the Lord for His great love for us.

Amen!

Dining With Jesus

Matthew 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, sayin...