Have you ever loved someone to death? I can remember when my mom brought my baby sister home from the hospital. I loved her to death! I spoiled her beyond belief. I loved her with my whole heart, until it felt like my heart would explode from trying to love her so much. But, my sister is still with me, and I haven't died yet from loving her. I'm sure now that I could have loved her a little bit more."God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled." ~Author Unknown
I have said before that my father left me a legacy… he left me. He left us when I was two, and my mother was pregnant with my middle sister. He abandoned us, and all we knew was that he went to Chicago. As I saw it, my blood is worthless and I have no ancestry to trace. But, time will tell a different story. On July 9, we learned that our father had passed away, from a relative who had heard it from a distant relative who was in town trying to locate us, since we had not had contact with our Dad’s family in more than a decade. We had been taken to visit our grandparents every summer for two weeks until I was 13. Though we enjoyed our visits there, we learned little or nothing about our Father.
We had tried to contact our father for a while, without success. Finally, in 1996, after 30 years absence, he wanted to see me and my sister, and what we had turned out like I guess, and asked to meet us. We met him briefly at a park with our kids who were still young then. I took him a Father's Day card, the only one I had ever given anyone, since it was a few weeks before Father's Day.
When we met him, we realized that the man who had abandoned us all those years ago was now aging, and had apparantly spent much time homeless. He gave us an address, but when I sent a letter later, it was returned address unknown. I tried to contact him through relatives, to no success. So, for the past 16 years, every time I saw the homeless men under the bridges, I thought of him. Whenever it was snowing, I imagined him freezing cold. I figured one day his family might let us know when he died, and we would at least have a grave to visit. I wasn't doing the math. He was 71 when he died. Many of his brothers and sisters are now passed on.
When I heard that he had passed, I thought they had probably found him dead under some bridge. But, after contacting the County office, I learned that he had been in a nursing home there in Chicago for the past 6 years of that time. He died in the nursing home alone. No family or anyone to love. I learned his cause of death from the nursing home, and that he had been in two other nursing homes for another year before that, making a total of seven years off the streets. But, he came to the nursing home with not even a photo in his pocket, and they had provided the clothes he wore.
I had his body flown to Georgia, and I made the funeral arrangements. I learned from the funeral director that his body had gone unclaimed so long, that he had been embalmed by the local medical college students. They were about to cremate him as unclaimed, until I called. Part of me aches over the loss of the Father I never had, a lonely, penny-less old man with no family, and the homelessness he suffered. Yet, part of me is at peace from the knowledge that someone had pity on him in his final years, that now I will have a grave to visit, and now I have been given the bittersweet blessing of being able to lay my father to rest.
So many times, people just don't care for those who are down and out, or who have made bad choices. They don't realize that there go I, but for the grace of God. It is most sad to realize that I would have much rather flown him in alive, rather than dead. I wanted a father, dead or alive. I wasn’t given a choice. I had to settle for dead. I loved him to death. Now, I can only speak to his grave. I just received his birth certificate from Nashville. But, I don't have him. God is our Heavenly Father, and His feelings for us are much the same. God's grace and mercy, are there for each of us. His love for each human being cannot be diminished. But, how many of us have allowed Him to love us. I am so thankful that I will have a grave to visit my Father now. I just wish I could have been there for him in his last years. God works in mysterious ways.
Earlier this year, I met Randy Dueck, and helped him develop a website for his homeless ministry in California. He would appreciate any donations for his wish list for the homeless, if you have a mind to have a look. He delivers tents and survival supplies to the homeless under the Antelope Bridge. I drove through Atlanta, here in Georgia a couple weeks ago, and I saw some tents under the bridges on the Atlanta interstates. The homeless have tents under there now, instead of the cardboard I used to see them sleeping under. That's awesome! Maybe the homeless ministry is spreading.
My father’s Funeral was such a bittersweet blessing. We played Amazing Grace, by Chris Tomlin, and Only Grace, by Matthew West. My baby sister’s Pastor spoke and sang. My middle sister’s church provided a grave plot at the church cemetery. Our Father’s surviving brothers and sisters came, and many of our maternal relatives and our family members. We had the service in the chapel, and the headstone (when it is finished) will say: “Our Father.” We chose one with a mountain scene and a deer, to remind us of the Tennessee mountain home of our father in his childhood.
While we were at the funeral, a paternal uncle gave us an envelope. He said our father had been left a share in the inheritance from another brother who had died. He had been unable to locate our father in settling the estate. So, the money would now go to me to split with my sister, since it should pass from our father to us after his death. My share was $200.00. I knew I wanted to use it for something I would remember my father by. So, I decided to buy a piece of my Pastor’s vision. My Pastor, Scott Benefield of Tallapoosa Assembly of God has a vision for living a life of purpose. I decided to spend the 200 dollars purposefully on our church’s Food Pantry, to feed the hungry, in memory of the years my father spent homeless and on the streets. I will always remember that my father did not die alienated and alone for no purpose. His homelessness left me a legacy of love for the homeless, the disenfranchised, the hungry, and the lost. That is an inheritance worth sharing!
Life has different meanings for all of us. Some are just existing, while others are living on purpose. Likewise, home for some means a place to sleep and shelter from the elements. To others, a home is a place where we are really alive. My son takes classes on different campuses, all part of the West Georgia Technical College network. Two days a week, his classes are a good drive and the school is across the street from the housing projects. You know, those rows of duplexes that all look so plain and unloved; unloved in. Each one stares at me, row after row, in blank stark poverty as I drop my son off. The children play with sticks outside, like most kids used to do when we were young, but not so much anymore now with video game systems inside most homes. But, these homes stand out for the lack of anything outside them, other than the occasional laundry hanging to dry on the porch. But, there is this one house...
It sits there at the end of the front line, separated by that telephone pole like a separate plane of existence. There on this front porch are all the houseplants and bushes you see. It really stands out, especially with the other half of the duplex being as bare as all the rest. It is quite shocking. The first time I saw it, I said to myself, someone "lives" there.
This is evidence for the existence of a living soul and spirit within man, which sets him apart from all the animals. Plants are living things. Animals are alive, too. But, inside these temples of clay humanity... someone lives here. I see the old man sitting on the front porch sometimes. He is living in his own world there at the end of the projects, across the street from the college. He does not share in the poverty all around him.
If it were left up to survival of the fittest, as evolutionists claim, man would not be interested in such functions that are not necessary to biology. Those plants cost money. And, they are not even edible. But, the old man has spirit. He smiles at me when I look his way. He is different from all the others. This house is different. Life is here.
Today, I heard of the death and passing of a precious angel of a woman who is a part of my church family. She taught the college and career class. She was so sweet to my son. During the meet and greet, he always sits in his chair, while people come by and say hi, because he is not a "hugger." But she was his teacher. She would come and sit right beside him, all serious, looking straight ahead, until he couldn't help but laugh, and then she would hug him, whether he wanted to hug or not. He loved her so much that he would not let me be late to take him to her class. She made a difference in his life. I will never forget the way he always smiled at her, despite himself. She had that way with people. And, as I have heard from a number of the others in our church today, her life is still here. She left something tangible, something living within all she met. It was obvious when you looked into her eyes, that someone really "lived there."
Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. Isaiah 51:11
Yes, the redeemed will return to the Lord at their set time. Their souls will return to God, and they will come into heaven singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They will receive gladness and joy. Sorrow and mourning will flee from them; left here with us who do not have this taste of heaven yet. There in heaven is a part of each of us, because someone we love lives there.
I don't know the statistics for the general population on how commonly people talk in their sleep, or what sparks these night time monologues. But, I know that I have heard both my sons do this, and I have talked in my sleep quiet a few times myself. Though I wouldn't have thought the subject had been on my mind recently, I was surprised to have my husband tell me yesterday that I had been trying to discourage someone from having an abortion in one of these "night talks." I haven't slept talked in quite awhile. But, as usual, he said he questioned me about what I had said, and I repeated once more that it couldn't be done, before becoming silent. I find this intriguing. I don't remember the dream at all, but was told I had said that in my sleep, so apparently I was dreaming about it. I guess this surprises me to find that something that bothers me when I read about it, even causes me to have dreams and talk in my sleep sometimes.
This set me to thinking about the question of when I first heard about abortion. I don't remember when I first heard about it, but the only person I ever knew personally who had one was a friend I met in Brunswick. And, she cried and begged her parents to let her keep the baby, before agreeing to have the abortion, or to never come home again. This was unbelievable to me at that point in my life, when I was already dreaming of one day having babies of my own. I couldn't imagine killing a baby in the safety of its Mother's womb. It is definitely a savage practice, though condoned by our government... murder definitely. I guess it shouldn't surprise me that I would have dreams about such nightmare practices.
What should be more surprising is if abortion doctors and advocates aren't having bad dreams about abortion. If they could only turn from their cold indifference to human life in their sleep, maybe we would all wake up to a better life tomorrow.
I call heaven and earth as witness this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live: Deuteronomy 30:19
Sometimes our bodies can't keep up with our minds. We have so much we want to do, or accomplish, but find our self limited by twos: 2 hands, 2 ears, 2 eyes, 2 feet. Then sometimes it's not the twos, but what has been subtracted. Either way, we all deal with limits. I've been in tremendous pain today, and fell asleep in the recliner when I got home from PT & OT. My husband woke me up kissing me goodby, and I woke up again when he got back from church. I vaguely remembered the phone ringing a couple of times when I noticed the missed calls on my cell phone. I had some of the stupidest dreams about moving furniture, and about my nephew Tay finding one of my puppets, and liking it, all imaginary thinking. I'm having a difficult time with the typing, but, I will try to let you see what I see in this passage. It will be well worth overlooking my lack of finesse tonight .
Job 7:13-18 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; Then you scare me with dreams, and terrify me through visions: So that my soul chooses strangling, and death rather than my life. I loathe it; I would not live always: let me alone; for my days are vanity. What is man, that you should magnify him? and that you should set your heart upon him? And that you should visit him every morning, and test him every moment?
I find this last question shockingly beautiful! You can't really isolate it from the rest of the passage, without twisting it out of context. But, after you've read the passage, take the last question and ask yourself, "when was the last time God ever visited me in the morning?" And, "Does He test me every moment?"
Well, hopefully He will visit you with breath in the morning. When He does, and you feel the passing of life through your nostrils, and your chest moving gently with respiration, you will know that you've been visited by God. Yes, this life is a test, moment by moment. How will you use each breath?
It seems ironic that morals can be "decided" and change. The whole of society is built on the fact of certain inalienable "rights" and "wrongs." Today, slavery is considered wrong and illegal. 150 years ago, slavery was both a right and legal. If morals can and should be allowed to change culturally, then it is a given that in 150 years time, slavery may very well be legal and right again. You can't say that won't happen, because it happened with abortion. Abortion has been a right and a wrong, and right again in recorded human history.
1. Thirty years earlier than the Holocaust, would you shoot and kill Hitler's Mom while she is pregnant with him?
2. Would you drive a bulldozer to bury the Jews alive in a pit, if ordered by Hitler?
3. Would you pull the trigger on order to finish the Jews off for Hitler?
4. Where was every body?
5. Which is worse? Murder or rape?
Now, I will answer the questions someone else is asking?
1. Yes, it is everybody's business.
2. No, death has never been a human right. Neither to take another's life, nor your own.
3. No, we should not just ignore murder.
4. No, it is not about judging, but about legislating. The law must be changed. Women and babies must be taken care of by providing for their livelihood, rather than being "taken care of" in a method that results in death.
Mount Everest is about 5 1/2 miles above sea level, and very few have climbed on foot, only the brave and highly skilled. Many died trying. Mankind has only dug about 7 1/2 miles into the Earth, about the distance across town. The hole lies underneath the tower enclosing Kola's drill. The drill spent twenty-four years reaching that depth, and its progress was finally halted in 1994. The Russian researchers were surprised at how quickly the temperatures rose as the borehole deepened, which is the factor that ultimately halted the project's progress. At that depth researchers had estimated that they would encounter rocks at 212°F, but the actual temperature was about 356°F, so drilling stopped on the SG-3 branch. If the hole had reached the initial goal of 15,000 meters, temperatures would have reached a projected 572°F.
Somewhere within this 13 mile span, we lives an average of 70 years; 5 1/2 miles under and 7 1/2 miles above our potential. Life is indeed limited. And here we live, never more than 6 feet away from death. This is all that separates man from death, six feet of soil.
I don't imagine we can rightly call the 70 year lifespan life, when it is so close to death, and exists in the eclipsical shadow of eternity. No, the opposite of death is eternal life, which man has longed for since time began. Life, much like truth and the right way or path is a philosophical quality that has been pursued by every religion and philosophy. So, when Jesus came calling Himself the the way, truth, and life, He was claiming to be everything for which man was searching. John 14:6 "Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me."
You know how far you are from death already. How far are you from life at this very moment? What exactly is it that it would take for you to be truly alive? Just how far are you from eternal life? Two phonemes. Two syllables. You see, the distance is not in feet because Jesus came down from Heaven to Earth, was buried in the Earth, and rose to Heaven again. He traveled the distance, so we can find life here and now in Him. How far is life? The mere two inches your tongue would move to call out His name in prayer. How far away is my Mother? As far as my cellphone. How far away is Life? As far as His name...Jesus.
There are two sides to every coin. We come to Christ “Just as we are.” But, somewhere beyond redemption, 12 changes are transacted by the ultimate price paid on Calvary. Three bodies were hung up on trees, three bodies were brought down and buried, and one body rose up out of the earth. From one side of the Cross to the other a colossal change took place in the lives of millions of followers in the 20 centuries since.
Yes, twelve changes take place in the lives of those who lift Jesus up today. From the moment we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we experience a turn-around in the elements of our spirit man. All of us have spirits; some just haven’t flipped the coins that were paid and accepted the “change.” One man threw the coins on the ground… at the feet of the judges who condemned Jesus… Judas. Another, Peter, accepted the change that would be transacted in his life and turned over the coins to a new existence. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 4, outlined a dozen of these two-sided coins Christians have turned over since redemption.
1. Hidden Things/ Things Manifested (2 Corinthians 4:2)
We exchange craftiness and deceit for truth. We walk in the truth of God’s Word.
2. Blinded Minds/ Enlightened Minds (2 Corinthians 4:4)
The lost are hid in the darkness while the Christian walks in light.
3. Proud Boasting/ Servanthood (2 Corinthians 4:5)
We no longer live our lives for ourselves, but become servants of God,
living for Him.
4. Frail Bodies/ Mighty Power (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Our spirits walk in unity with the spirit of God, though we are just human.
5. Trials/ Triumph (2 Corinthians 4:10)
We go through trials like Jesus, so we can have the victory like He did.
6. Death/ Life (2 Corinthians 4:11)
We carry the cross of Jesus, manifest His death in our lives, and receive
the rewards of eternal life with Him.
7. Past/ Future (2 Corinthians 4:14)
Jesus was raised up in the past; you and I will be raised up in the future with Him.
8. Grace/ Thanksgiving (2 Corinthians 4:15)
His grace operates through our thanksgiving.
9. Outward Man/ Inward Man (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Even if our body is failing us physically, He breathes life into us day by day.
10. Affliction/ Glory (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Our afflictions will lead us to an unimaginable glory to come.
11. Seen/ Unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18)
We know that there is more to this life than meets the eye. There are things unseen.
12. Temporal/ Eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18)
We don’t place our hope in the physical life now, but in the ethereal life in eternity.
Now, it sounds like we came just as we were, and put on the wedding garments. Matthew 22:11-14 All that remains is for us to accept the change. Allowing the spirit of God to work in our lives completes the transaction. This is the reason that we do not need to wait until we “get our lives straightened out” to come to church. We come just as we are, and Jesus will make us just like He is. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Philippians 1:6 He who began a good work… will perform it!
Our refridgerator and freezer arrived yesterday, so I'm tired from scouting out bargains to fill them. We had to wait 2 weeks after we moved to get them delivered. So, its been rough waiting with no fridge. We're very happy to be well stocked. I bought a jar of mushrooms for the first time and had a difficult time finding them in the store, because I didn'tknow where they would be. Since I was restricted from eating meat for medical
reasons, I have a hard time feeling full after eating a sandwich with no meat.
So, I've gotten used to just eating the mushrooms in restaurants when they are
part of an omelet or pizza, and I just learned not to think about it. You can't
afford to be squemish when you are allowed to eat so little. The mushrooms with
lettuce and tomatoes, and chunks of cheddar and mozzerella, and a little ranch
on whole wheat, with olives on the side, made a tasty, filling sandwich. What do
you eat on a sandwich without meat? Take my poll in the sidebar at the right, and/ or send me recipes at my email below. Much appreciated!
I saw these policemen practice drilling in the parking lot today when I was visiting my Mamma in Dalton. The police station is beside her highrise apartments, and I waited in the car for my son to carry somethings up to her, because I have a hard time walking. That's when I saw these underpaid heros and was reminded of the dangers they face. Yes, it is heroic to stand in the line of fire for public safety. They were apparantly practicing for a 9/11 ceremony for Sunday.
I saw this bumper sticker in Calhoun today and was reminded of another hero...Mother Theresa. The quote says, "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." The line of reasoning often goes that the parent chooses abortion to save the child from a life of poverty. It seems to me that the parent is choosing a life with a better financial circumstance than she could have had with the child. The child's life is sacrificed for her gain. At least, that is my opinion on the matter.
But, this reminded me of my High School American Lit teacher who told us about everyday heros...the Mothers who teach their children important things, the Fathers who stick around and support their children. He said we all have the ability to be heroic for someone in simple ways that will change lives. He was right. Oddly, a mother can not throw her baby in a dumpster, abandoning the child, but she can allow a doctor to rip the child from her and dispose of him for her.
Horrible I know, and I apologize for the gruesome language, but it is a gruesome matter. I am really sorry that I cant do more than mention it. This is my biggest regret, that I live in a country where abortion is legal and funded by my tax dollars, and I don't know what to do about it. I don't feel very heroic. But, then again, we learn coping mechanisms. Just like the policemen drilling to memorialize the dead from 9/11 a decade ago. They cope with the realization of our fear. Likewise, I cope with my medical problems with sitting in the car and eating mushroom sandwiches, among other unpleasant mechanisms. And, that is the heroic in our everyday lives, in doing what we often wish we didn't have to do, because it needs to be done. I haven't found a way to change the world, stop murder, or end terrorist threat, but I can eat my mushroom sandwiches and know that it will all work out because I did what I knew best.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast your bread upon the waters: for you shall find it
after many days.
Our lives are like trails. We begin our journey, only to find our path taking us so many directions we never imagined. I've ridden many literal trails, mostly on my bicycle. Despite the beautiful scenery and locales I have ridden, the most beautiful image that I seem to still see in my mind from past bike rides is wet leaves on the path ahead, swirling around me in the air, and with my son's camo clad back in front of me. I love wet leaves; how they smell, crackle, and the textures and shapes. And, I love my sons.
I was reading Ecclesiastes 11:1 again tonight, and thought of the fact that this verse is speaking of so much more than the investments we make in our children. We do invest ourselves in much in this life. But, the largest investment of myself is the Word of God. I do believe that the Word is specifically what is being referred to in this verse. If you cast out Scripture, like seeds in garden furrows, you will be amazed at the harvest that springs up not only in the lives of those you speak into, but in your own life as well.
God's Word is more than bread, it is breath and life. Those leaves you will soon see being cast down to earth and mounting up on the breeze may be dead and do return to the dust they sprang out of. But, they are only the harbingers of new life; the Spring that is yet to come, when all of the leaves of Autumn and the snows of Winter are forgotten. So, go ahead and find some more bread.