Four days ago Dad was helping my brother install a basement door when he suddenly collapsed. My brother who also is an EMT called 911. Dad insisted that he was fine and was just tired. He was planning on driving home and taking a nap, but when the EMTs helped him to his feet he staggered backwards and collapsed again. When I got the call, my heart jumped and I burst into tears. I shouted out instructions to kids and grabbed my keys.
When I arrived at the hospital, Dad was being tended to in the hallway due to lack of rooms. The doctor came and talked with him and with my brother to determine what tests they should run. Heart. Brain. Lung. Blood. Mom, Bill, and I were listening and trying to process all of the possibilities when Dad spoke up and said "Greater is He who is in me".
Over the next 48 hours lots of tests were run. A blood clot in his lung was discovered. Every time he was rolled out for another test we heard "Greater is He..." I spent both nights at the hospital with him and lost count of how many times I heard him say those words. His heart, brain, arteries, and labs all checked out and he was released with blood thinners and a sprained knee from when he fell.
When he got into the car with Mom he smiled and said "Hey, there's my favorite song". Playing on the radio was the song "Greater" by Mercy Me. "Greater is the One living inside of me than he who is living in the world."
This month's theme of our church's small group is the scandal that is God's grace. God meets each person where we are, accepts us in whatever condition we are in, and moves us forward in love. Grace is the key I have to love God. God's outstanding acceptance of any human that shows up at His door in any condition, makes me deeply and truly love him.
I am so happy to have found this love and this grace I so profoundly need it. In the sermon that the pastor gave introducing the topic he described the most common responses to God's grace that we as humans can have. The first is humble acceptance with open arms. Humble because we admit that there is nothing we can possibly do to earn this gift we have to take it completely without pride. The second is flat out rejection. We reject because we think we are too sinful--too far gone. Or we reject it because we feel that we do not feel that we need it. Both are pride. Both say that, "I am bigger than God. I am beyond God and He cannot help me."
After we rightly and honestly give our mess to God, He calls us to the most difficult of our callings, He wants us to have this for our fellow humans. It is hard to be hurt. It is hard to see what that person has done and said and then let it go. I was recently watching my favorite murder mystery show and they ended with this quote from Faust: "Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future." This is the life I want to live and this is who I want to be. I must realize that I have been given God's grace because I need it, therefore, I must also extend it to others. I want a bigger future.
|Image from: http://www.uppermac.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/fall-leaves.jpg|
I have tried all day to add a wedding picture to no avail-It certainly would have been a beautiful object lesson to these words but..... They are a beautiful couple inside and out. I've seen how they love, encourage, support, advocate and protect each other and how they whole-heartedly undergird each others gifts and passions.
A few friends were gathered together the other evening just sharing and enjoying community. A circle prayer ended a pleasant time. As we were praying,I was standing across from this couple and I remembered their wedding and how this beautiful bride beamed into the face of her beloved and how his face was awash with love and tenderness. What I am about to share is the glimpse that I caught in that moment. This may cause one to say "duh" but---I learned something new and hope I can communicate the same. This couples actions and interactions speak so much of love.And yet---how much more....God--
We are children of the most High God and We know we are the bride-elect of Jesus Christ .And that is "the who" but the snippet was of the "why role". Some had shared this during the evening about the authority that God gave man in the garden-to name and subdue.And that the reference on subdue interprets as "To act as managers who have the authority to run everything as God planned."
And now the "Bridegroom" has gone to a far country as the story goes.He's busy building us a Home so that we can be together forever.And meanwhile...
She firmly believes that one day they will be together forever and in the remembering.......the joy of looking on His face......the look in His eyes expressing HIS loving kindness to her (and all mankind) that is from everlasting to everlasting.
And then the intimate tone of His voice when she arrives at the marriage supper of the Lamb and He looks at us with a Love that we cannot even imagine or measure and with pride in His voice says "Well Done" I entrusted you with managing my ministry in the earth, and because I and my Beloved are one, people saw you but ultimately saw me and we pulled it off-together-WE DID GOOD!!!!!! Let's Par-TY!!!!!!
I love the feel of fur, I always have. I do not have issues with a fur coat. I do not wish to harm animals simply for their fur, either. I just love the soft feel, the joy that the fur bearing animal gets from a human being petting them, and the mutual admiration between human and pet.
I have been missing my dog horribly lately. Especially after one evening recently, when I saw two little reflective items beside the road while driving home in the dark. I slowed down, then I stopped, when I saw the reflections came from a small Beagle dog beside the road. It became confused and darted into the road. Thankfully, I had all but stopped, then I put my car in the middle of both lanes, so as to be an obstacle for other passers by not to harm the dog. It looked back curiously. I waved my hand so as to direct it to the side. It looked back again, and then went into the field, off of the road toward a home on the hill, hopefully, back to it's loving family.
I wondered if the one who killed my precious dog Scooby felt badly at all. It was early in the morning, about 6ish. They probably barely saw him. Were on their way, to or from work, and did not intend for harm to come. I carry not ill feelings, it was just Scooby's time to go. I simply hope to see him in heaven again. I know, I know! I have heard all the sermons, it has been drilled into my head that animals don't go to heaven, or do they? The bible speaks of the new heaven and earth with animals in it. That the Lion will lie down with the lamb. I want a black panther for a pet. I have long admired them, and would love to pet one, but I'm not an idiot. I can wait till the new earth thanks.
A friend once asked me these questions, "do animals have souls?" I said, "no!" She asked, "do they have a mind?" I said, "yes." "Do they have a will"? I said, "oh yeah!" She further asked, "do they have emotions?" I said, "ah yeah!" She said, "then they have a soul, because those are the three parts of a soul and the very definition thereof." All life is in God's hands, and for Him to decide the fate of each. So, here's hoping Scooby-Doo will be waiting for me in heaven, jumping and frolicking around when I get there, just waiting for me. Just so I can pet his fur.
The service today was for my husband's uncle. Also a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. The service was simple and emotional as daughter and granddaughter spoke through tears about their great love for this man.
Both services paved the way for families to come together. Brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandchildren.....some who haven't seen each other for years. Even though life has taken these families in many separate directions, they dropped everything to come together. To be together. Any differences were left at the door and exchanged for fond memories.
Both services spoke of hope. Hope that family bonds are strong no matter what life throws at them. Hope that our family members have merely stepped out of this world into heaven. Hope that because of the grace of a mighty Savior we have the opportunity to see them again.