I just returned from a business trip in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is what I noticed as I traveled alone in the airport.
Her giggles caught my attention as I ate my lunch in the food court. A metal railing corralled patrons systematically through the food ordering process, but to a 4-year-old girl, the railing was a jungle gym. I watched as her older brother joined in the fun and tried to teach her some new daring moves. They were having so much fun being kids while their father stood nearby waiting for their food order.
At one point, someone behind the counter turned on a blender and the noise startled the little girl. She covered her delicate ears and ran behind her father for protection.
Sitting on a tiny plane for the last leg of my journey, the woman sitting next to me was traveling home with her husband and their 17-year-old son. The airline made an error in ticketing this family and the son was on a different flight heading to their hometown while the parents were on my flight and planned to drive 45 miles to get home.
The son sent a text to his father alerting him that the airport changed the departure gate for his flight. He became lost in the large airport and feared that he’d miss the flight that was nearing take-off; just as our plane was about to shut the door for take-off. The father rushed off the plane to find his lost son.
When life turns on “the blender” and we get scared, we can stand behind Jesus anytime and He will protect us. Jesus told a parable about the shepherd who was missing one sheep. The shepherd left the flock to rescue the lost one.
Being a witness to two Bible stories in real-time made my trip a complete success.
John 14:27 (NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
It has been nearly two years since we last saw each other. From what Jesus said in the Bible, you are experiencing great weather, you are walking around, dancing, running, enjoying time with your family and friends, no tears, no fears, you are living in a mansion, you get to see Jesus face to face, and spend time praising God with all the angels and saints. You are living the life that was prepared for you.
Life has gone on since your departure. I cannot lie; I was really in a funk for the first year after you left. I attempted grad school, but I could not concentrate. My mind’s eye focused on your final years of suffering as your earthly body deteriorated from illness. Time heals, if you let it, and I let it work for me.
Last night, I was looking at pictures from our time together. Oh, how I miss visiting with you! I wish I could hear your voice and your laugh just once more. You had such a great demeanor. You took on your Heavenly Father’s characteristic of unconditional love. You followed His leading on how to be a great father to your children and a loving husband to your wife.
Thank you, Papason, for the life you gave me. Thank you for many, many great memories.
Happy Father’s day! I look forward to seeing you again. I hope my room in the Heavenly mansion is next to yours.
Deuteronomy 5:16 (NIV)
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
I’m the one with the tongue sharp as a dagger that stabs people in the back. I’m the one who does not have time to visit the sick. I’m the one who doesn’t donate to a food bank. I’m the one who led the rally to stone the adulteress. I’m the one who kills, steals and destroys. I’m the one who hasn’t tithed because I worked hard for my paycheck. I’m the bully. I’m the one…I’m the one…I’m the one… It’s all about me!!
I’m the one that said nothing in secret; I have spoken openly to the world. I’m the one who healed the lepers, the blind and the lame. I’m the one who fed thousands of people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread. I’m the one who kept the adulteress from being stoned. I’m the one who came to give life; life to the full. I’m the one who meets all of your needs. I’m the one that was flogged, scourged, spit upon, mocked, crowned with thorns, and crucified on a cross. I’m the one…I’m the one…I’m the one…I did it for you.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
At church on Sunday, February 13, Pastor Mike Kemper shared with us the very first Valentine.
For God so loVed the world
that he gAve his one
and onLy Son,
believes iN him
but have eterNal
Know that you are loved. ♥
The more the earth rumbles during an earthquake, the more damage occurs. Buildings fall, sidewalks buckle or separate, dishes and windows break, homes are in ruins, and lives are turned upside down. First responders arrive with medical aid, the American Red Cross assists with shelter needs, and people volunteer their time and talents to help with miscellaneous needs.
My family and friends are experiencing personal earthquakes and after-shocks. I do not have medical training to aid the sick and I am not a volunteer with the American Red Cross. What I do have to offer are promises from the Bible.
For those who give their time and talents:
Honor your father and mother,
and love your neighbor as yourself.
It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor,
but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy. Proverbs 14:21
For those experiencing cancer and treatments or failing health:
Woe to me because of my injury!
My wound is incurable!
Yet I said to myself,
“This is my sickness, and I must endure it.” Jeremiah 10:19
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their
synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and
healing every disease and sickness among the people.
For those feeling lonely, scared or broken:
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and staff,
they comfort me.
For those who are held in the bondage of sin:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
For families and friends of loved ones who have recently passed away:
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not
so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a
place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will
come back and take you to be with me that you also may be
where I am.
Then young women will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13
For those who are experiencing broken relationships:
Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.
The more the earth rumbles during an earthquake, the more damage occurs. However, God will send you a first responder if you need medical attention, an American Red Cross worker if you need shelter and His people to assist your miscellaneous needs. God holds you in the palm of His hand and he loves you.
If your particular situation is not listed above, feel free to open your Bible and seek out the Lord’s promises. If you do not have a Bible of your own, you can go to http://www.biblegateway.com and look up God’s promises for your life.
I went Christmas shopping Friday night. I did not listen to the ads on television or radio and I was not compelled by a coupon; I went on my own free-will and a list.
My list contained the name of my great-nephew. “Maybe I could get him something cool to wear” I thought. Nothing seemed to appeal to me as I passed by the shirts, jeans, underwear, socks…until I found myself in the pajama section. My mind’s eye raced me back to my youth on Christmas Eve…finding a new pair of pajamas under the tree. In my family, pajamas were the number one gift to receive. I loved new footy-pajamas as they kept me snuggly warm. The real treat was being able to twirl around in a nightgown and matching robe that my mother stayed up late at night sewing for me. There is just something about a new pair of pajamas. Snapping back into reality, I remember that my sister usually buys her grandson (my great-nephew) pajamas for Christmas. She has similar memories of receiving a new pair of pajamas for Christmas and feels strongly to continue the family tradition.
As I stood there, my mind’s eye raced me back to my painful memory; the last 18 years. Oh, how I wish I could buy pajamas, or stay up late at night sewing pajamas, for my own children. My eyes welled up as I joined reality and walked out of that particular store.
Gift-giving has special meaning for me because of my childlessness. It allows me to let others know I am thinking about them and cherish our relationship.
Can you imagine God’s list that first Christmas? He did not listen to ads on a television or the radio and he was not compelled by a coupon. He was compelled by eliminating death in the world and replacing it with eternal life. God is the ultimate gift-giver. We all can have great Christmas memories by accepting God’s only son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior, who was born man and died freely for our sins. We will be able to thank Him in person for this gift since He is preparing a place for us in eternity.
John 3:16 (NIV, ©2010)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Yesterday, I had a doctor appointment. I was guided by the medical assistant to my cold room where I waited for the doctor to make her visits to other patients. Through the thin office walls, I could hear the conversation with my neighbor. A celebration was going on because she just found out that she was pregnant. I visualized the balloons flying and confetti falling and the hug of joy shared between the mother-to-be and the doctor who confirmed the blessed news.
The doctor left the party next door and entered my cold room. My diagnosis was not party-worthy. “You have severe endometriosis” she announced. “We can remove the endometriosis and try to salvage your ovaries; however, although the blood tests do not indicate cancer, we cannot rule that out until we cut you open because of the masses in your stomach are rather large. If we do not find cancer, would you like me to attempt to salvage your ovaries?” Knowing that my marriage was heading in divorce I could not imagine bringing a blessing into the world of a broken relationship. “Take it all if you need to” was my heart-wrenching reply.
This really wasn’t yesterday, but it sure feels like it. This happened 18 years ago today. This was absolutely a life-changing decision.
God creates a life path as unique as he creates his children. I was newly divorced and barren; two things I never imagined would occur on my path. I know I would have made a great mom to a little human that shared my DNA; however, that is not my path.
The pain of childlessness is the thorn in my side. After 18 years I realize that I can be a mentor to newly diagnosed barren women. I can utilize my spiritual gift of helper because I can leave at the drop of a hat to help anyone who needs an extra hand or a shoulder to lean on. The thorn in my side has turned into the biggest blessing I have in my life because it created an awesome relationship with my Lord and Savior.
Galatians 4:27 (NIV)
27 For it is written:
“Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”
I often compare my life to that of cartoons with which I grew up. My husband can attest to the numerous times I quote Bugs Bunny, but it is Underdog that comes to mind today; he was a great example of a super-hero when I was young. When Polly Purebred found herself entangled in life-threatening situations, she would yell for Underdog and no matter where he was, he could hear her. His ear would go up and he would fly to her rescue. Underdog loved Polly Purebred and risked his life for her.
I often get entangled in life-threatening sin, but I do not call out to my super-hero Underdog, instead I call out to my Savior Jesus. Underdog is a cartoon, Jesus is real. When I call out to Jesus, he hears me and rescues me from the entrapment I got myself into. Jesus did not only risk his life for me; he died for me and rose from the dead to give me eternal life! He did all of this because he loves me.
I have not watched an Underdog cartoon in a long time. I have been spending my time learning more about my Savior, Jesus. Do not waste your time calling out to unattainable super-heroes. Call out to Jesus. Not only will he hear you and come to your rescue, but he already saved you.
Matthew 20:29-34 (NIV)
29As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
31The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33″Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
34Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.