Thursday, April 26, 2007

There is No God Like My God

The Dalai Lama, a Tibetan Buddhist, was on Maui dedicating a temple and speaking to crowds his message of compassion.
Many flocked to him hoping he would provide them what was lacking in their lives. The news media addressed him as His Holiness, as I am sure his followers did as well. How sad to me that this man with a heart of compassion for others could not, does not know my Lord and therefore, will die like any other unsaved person---without Christ and will spend eternity in a Christless eternity. "Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me."

In this morning's devotions, I was reading Psalm 86 and verses 8 through 13a (NIV):

"Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord; and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me."

There is only one God who deserves our praise.

"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!...
To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever!"
Revelation 5:12-13

Praising God, my Savior!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Headed for West Virginia

Yesterday we flew to Oahu to get the last of our eye exams taken care of before we leave on Thursday for West Virginia. We had breakfast at our favorite Zippy's Restaurant and enjoyed a leisurely break before heading to Dick's appointment with his retina specialist. The doctor said Dick's eye is doing great after surgery and cleared us for flying. We had a wonderful lunch with Rich, our son, at TGIFs and caught up on his news of the family. It's always such a joy to see how God is working in Rich and in the lives of his family and friends. We tried to convince him to plan a trip to West Virginia with his family while we are there. We'll see!

Today will be our last minute cleaning of the house and yard, packing last minute items and taking care of last minute errands. I'm dragging my feet a little---maybe because there's a few mixed emotions running around in my head. It's always hard to leave everything familiar for six months and begin anew with a whole new set of parameters in a completely different environment. It's almost like a chameleon who adapts himself into the environment surrounding him by changing his colors. West Virginia is so different from Hawaii. In Dick's words, he becomes an "itenerant lawn mower" while I become a farmer's daughter getting into canning and preserving, etc. We enjoy the environment there, and love being with family, but it IS different than our lifestyle here in Hawaii.

Most of all, we miss Rich, Emily and the boys while we are gone for so long. The boys are at such an age where we could really enjoy their activities with them and see them growing and developing. In six months time, they seem to change and mature a lot. We thank Rich for being so good to keep us up on their activities and to keep reminding them they do have a Nana and Papa that loves them.

We will be traveling overnight tomorrow, arriving in West Virginia around 11:00 a.m. EST on Friday. Mom is so anxious to see us, and we to see her. Pray with us for traveling mercies, for a good summer of health and energy and a great time spent with family and friends. Then pray for our safe return to our beautiful Maui in October!

I will do my best to keep my blog going while I'm there. The internet service is much to be desired in the hills of West Virginia---no high speed internet service where we will be, and slow as molasses! But we love keeping in touch with everyone, so please email often. "Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land." (Proverebs 25:25)

God bless you all!

Monday, April 23, 2007

We are on the winning side!

Do you ever feel a little overwhelmed when you listen to all the bad news on television these days? It's enough to discourage anyone to hear over and over again only bad stuff!!! It makes you wonder sometimes if Satan, the old devil, the prince of the power of the air, is getting the upper hand here on earth! It seems as if he's gaining more control and is working harder to bring disaster and ruin in the world around us. Violence and crime is rampant, criminals are getting younger and younger and we wonder what is happening with our children! Natural disasters, such as tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, storms, hurricanes, are getting larger and more intense in nature and happening more frequently. Terrorism is still a threat over our heads, and wars and rumors of wars are constantly breaking out. Is Satan winning????

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Satan is a mere prince---yes, with limited power here on earth, but only because the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our Lord God Almighty has allowed him freedom for a little while to do his dirty deeds. One day God is going to say enough is enough!!! Satan will see his fiery end forever and ever.

In the meantime, we as Christians who know the King of Kings and Lord of Lords are to sing praises to God and give him the glory due his wonderful name, proclaim God's love to the lost, and serve him faithfully until complete and final victory is won!

"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him, it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." Lam 3:22-26

"we are not to be alarmed-such things must happen, but the end is still to come" (Matt. 24:6)

"All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God" (Isaiah 5:52-10b)

Yes, we are on the winning side! Satan's doom is final! Victory is ours through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dead People Don't Grow

As I was studying my Sunday School lesson this morning, this statement jumped out at me---"dead people don't grow." The truth of that statement caused me to think about my lost loved ones that I have been praying for to receive Christ for years.
Sometimes I think as Christians we go through our day and allow ourselves to forget some of God's basic truths.

How often do we get upset with the non-Christians around us? We expect them to act like Christians and they can't. They are "dead" because of their basic sin nature, and until they are given a new nature through Christ, they will only become more dead as they age. They have not been made alive in Christ by being born again. And yet we expect them to act as if they had. We expect them to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit which they don't possess. They can act only on the nature which was given to them at birth. Until they receive their new nature, they cannot be expected to possess the qualities that new nature brings to them. Even when they become new creations in Christ, we have to give them room to grow in those areas of the fruit of the spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, long-suffering, etc.

Instead of becoming frustrated with the actions of our loved ones, we need to understand them, pray for them, and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives before them. If we lose our patience in front of them, they can see no difference in us than is in them. If we exhibit hate toward another person, they see us as no different from them. If we fret, worry, complain and murmur about everything, how can they know we have peace within? If we speak unkindly to another individual, they imitate us and see no wrong in it. Dead people cannot grow until they, too, are born again and receive the power of the Spirit in their own lives. We need to be more understanding and pray for them more fervently, and especially grow in the areas where we exhibit Christ more clearly to those around us. We need to show them there is a difference in our lives because of Christ.

Can others see Christ in you?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Beautiful Morning in Maui

We have less than six days before we leave our beautiful island of Maui to head for West Virginia to be with my 85-year-old mother and other family members for six months. When I get up to a morning such as this with the sun shining, Haleakala clear without a cloud anywhere, and the soft tradewinds blowing, I wonder why we leave such beauty. It is all because of family. It has always been a heart-wrenching decision to make and I always think how nice it would be to clone myself so that I could be two of the same person able to stay in Maui and go to West Virginia at the same time.

We make the choice to leave because we realize our years left with Mom are growing shorter and shorter, especially since we lost Dad last year. Mom has lived in the same house for over 50 years, and that is home to all of us girls and our families. There is a bond that I feel that speaks "home" to me there, even though we've lived in Hawaii for over 30 years. As you grow older, your heart tends to lean toward the place that speaks home more to you than another. It feels good to be heading toward "home" and yet there's that feeling that you're leaving "home" behind, as well. It's a tug of the heart that never is easy.

In leaving for six months, we also do not get to see our grandsons in that period of time as they live on Oahu in Hawaii. Sometimes we are able to convince Rich and Emily to bring them to West Virginia to see us for a vacation. Maybe this year, too?

When we make plans for the future, no matter what they are, I always remind myself that our plans are simply our plans. It is God that directs our steps and determines the way we should go. It is He that lights our path and shows us if we are following His will for us or not. As long as we are in His will, He will bless us with good things. We pray this summer will be a wonderful season with Mom, my sister, and other family members. If God allows Rich, Em, Bry and Brad to come visit us while we are there, it would be glorious! My time is in God's hands. I certainly trust Him to lead us rightly.

Today I will simply enjoy this beautiful Maui day and rejoice in it!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Nudges of the Heart

Yesterday I was walking in the mall for exercise. You see the most interesting people as you are mingling with strangers and it's natural to wonder about who they are and what their lives are like. As I turned a corner of the mall, I came upon a young man (maybe 14 or even younger) sitting on a bench with his elbows on his knees and and his hands on his face looking down to the ground. He was dressed all in black with metal hanging everywhere, five or six piercings on his face, his hair dyed a bright red and cut in a very unusual cut. He looked so alone. In that instant of seeing him, I wanted to sit down beside him and hug him. He most obviously did not want to be conformed to the normal world around him---he was very much striving to be different. I wanted to ask him---why? What is in that young mind that would cause him to go to such lengths to be diffferent? I assume he definitely was crying out for attention, but I suspect he didn't want a gray-haired grandmotherly type to interfere. He probably thought I'd never understand, and I must admit, I probably would not have understood. But he just seemed like he needed someone to love him.

Why wasn't I brave enough to do what I wanted to do in my heart? With the frightening events of boys who have rebelled in the past in such violent ways, fear was probably the main factor that caused me to walk on by as if I didn't think he existed.
I'm ashamed of that! If maybe he had looked up at me and smiled, I might have attempted to start a conversation.

Was I completely off base by judging him by his appearance only--to immediately assume that this young man was troubled and alone and afraid just by the clothes he wore and by his demeanor? Another fault of mine not to be proud of. The people who follow their heart no matter what fears lie within him are the people that accomplish the impossible.

I said a little prayer for this young man as I walked by. And I asked forgiveness for not being brave enough to follow that little nudge inside to sit down and offer a kind word to him in person, even if only a smile.

"Love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Living Less Selfishly

It seems to me that people as a whole today are becoming more self-absorbed. There are T-shirts and bumper stickers with the phrase "It's all about me." Psychologists are encouraging people to find that inner you and do what pleases that inner self, even at the expense of others, i.e. divorce, gay relationships, etc. " Follow your dream, follow your heart." Our heart often leads us to become very selfish in our own human nature.

How differently Christ taught us! He came to serve, and not to be served. He always did what he did because of his love for others, not because he was following his selfish desires or his own personal dreams. In Phil. 2:3-4, God's word says: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

There's a beautiful old hymn written in 1907 by Charles Miegs that is entitled "Others." I've often thought how wonderful it would be if this hymn would be my life motto. It would take much to live up to it!


Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for --Others.

Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I'd do for you
Must needs be done for -- Others.

Let Self be crucified and slain
And buried deep: and all in vain
May efforts be to rise again,
Unless to live for -- Others.

And when my work on earth is done
And my new work in heaven's begun
May I forget the crown I've won
While thinking still of-- Others.


Others, Lord, yes Others,
Let this my motto be
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.

When we get so wrapped up in ourselves and our own needs, wants and desires, we fail to see the people around us who are hurting, yearning for someone to come alongside and care. We need to make a greater effort to be sensitive to those around us who may need a hug, a smile, a listening ear. Who knows what our efforts may do to cause another to see Christ?

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.....Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." (Romans 12:2a and 3b)


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dealing with the Pain of Sadness

This morning my heart was heavy from the constant barrage of bad news that we have heard on the media lately. If we let the bad news be all that fills our thoughts, we soon become discouraged and depressed. We begin to worry about the world our children and our grandchildren might have to experience if the continuous violence escalates. We know in our heart that God has the power to protect them, and we know the ultimate destination of our loved ones that know Christ and that alleviates some of the concern. But what about those loved ones for which we've prayed for years that do not know Christ? Will they be able to withstand the onslaught of escalating evil if they don't have the power of Christ to see them through?

There are a couple of quotes by Henri J.M. Nouwen that I would like to include here:

"When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair and confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our own powerlessness, that is the friend who cares."

"Joy and sadness are as close to each other as the splendid colored leaves of a New England fall to the soberness of the barren trees. When you touch the hand of a returning friend, you already know that he will have to leave you again...This intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall away from us."

As Christians we know that we cannot escape the trials, troubles, pain and suffering this world can often bring, but we can overcome them because we know the Overcomer!

"In this world we will have tribulation, but take heart! I (Jesus) have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

It is such a blessing to have the community of believers that will stand with us in the face of great tribulation. They provide us comfort, offer us compassion and love, and prayer support during our darkest hours. But even if we stand alone, we will never be left comfortless, because Christ gave us the Comforter who knows our hearts and our needs even before we utter them from our mouths. We need to pray more fervently for our loved ones that do not have that assurance!

What a Friend we have in Jesus
All our grief and pain to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!

We never need to feel hopeless as long as we have the One who is our Hope!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thoughts on Virginia Tech Massacre

Yesterday a very distraught and crazed young man, armed with two weapons, gunned down the lives of more than 30 other young men and women on the campus of Virginia Tech. It was a carnage unlike any other ever committed in the United States on a school campus. This young man then made the choice to point the gun at himself and took his own life. The incident has left the world in shock and is now still trying to make sense out of a completely senseless act.

Our hearts grieve for the families that lost loved ones yesterday. How strange to me that I wrote yesterday before any of this happened about "sudden changes" in our lives. They will have to deal with questions that may never be answered fully for the rest of their lives. The one main question that kept rolling around in my head concerned the heart and soul of the young man that caused all this pain to others. What caused him to lose all hope and conjure up such a horrendous crime? What caused the mind to snap and for him to lose all reality? We can imagine some of the reasons: possible drug use? video games that became too real for him? was it something in his past that plagued him all his life and this last act was the culmination of all his pentup anger? Was it lack of parental love and guidance? Was it simply the pain of lost love that he was unable to accept? Was it self-condemnation for something he had done for which he could never forgive himself and this was his way of ultimate punishment? Or was it just plain unadulterated evil that overtook him and he did not have the strength to fight it?

The world will never know the true answer to the questions we ask. No one could ever know the inner turmoil inside this one mind that drove him to such a vicious act. In Psalm 55:4-5, David experienced maybe a part of what went on inside this young man's heart: "My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me."

The heartache I feel is the "what ifs" as I try to make sense of it:

What if this young man had been befriended by a Christian that would have presented the gospel to him, and he had come to know the love and acceptance of Jesus as Savior--might this all have been prevented?

What if this young man had parents that he loved and trusted and that he felt comfortable enough with to go to them confiding his deepest hurts and troubles---might this not have happened?

What if this young man had a church family and a pastor that he could have gone to for help for his troubled heart, might this have been stopped?

Where did society fail this young man? How did the Christian community fail this young man?

The questions are many, and the "what ifs" unanswerable, but the fact is, a terrible, unbelievable, unfathomable crime was committed. Young lives were snatched into eternity before their time, and our hearts mourn for them and their families. May God comfort them as only He can to bring about some sense to it all.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." II Cor. 1:3-4 "He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us as you help us by your prayers." (II Cor. 1:10-11)


Monday, April 16, 2007

Our Stabilizing Force

Life is strange in that we go along life's path rather mundanely, each day more or less the same, even falling into a lifestyle based on habit and feeling comfortable in the sameness. Then ZAP! Something hits us broadside unexpectedly that knocks us off-balance and we reel from the suddenness of its appearance, such as the death of a loved one, an unfavorable diagnosis from the doctor, a lost job, notice of a transfer to a faraway place, etc.

How do we react to sudden changes in our lives? Do we panic? Do we bury our heads in the sand and hope it goes away? Do we fret and worry? What brings us back to that stable, comfortable place after we have rocked and reeled for a while?

The one and only stabilizing force for me is anchoring myself to The Rock, Jesus Christ. He cannot be moved. He is always there to remind me He is in sovereign control of everything that comes into my life. The unexpected didn't surprise Him. If I keep my mind focused on Him and keep Him central in my thoughts, then I won't reel from fear, worry or panic. There are so many promises in God's Word that speak calm and assurance to us. We can depend on His promises. He is our God that we can trust and depend on when we don't understand what is happening around us or to us.

Prayer is our link that brings that sweet comfort and calm in the eye of the storm. When we speak directly to God and pour out our hearts to Him, He is faithful to hear us and to let us know He is present with us. In order to hear Him, we must quiet our hearts before Him. We need to shut out the outside forces that tend to draw us away from God. He can whisper to us when we train our hearts to seek Him in that quiet place. When we "abide" in Him, He reveals His character, His nature to us that brings us that assurance that we can trust Him through any circumstance.

Several have shared their experiences this week where you feel like you've been broadsided and you weren't prepared for the changes that will occur following the sudden interference in your daily routine. I pray that you will seek comfort in the only true stabilizing force that can bring everything back into perspective, that will calm the storm, that will ease the pain through His comfort, Jesus Christ. He is our peace.

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."( Psalm 30:5b)
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing."(Psalm 30:11)

May God be your comfort!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Burdened for Others

This morning my heart is heavily burdened for friends and family who are facing tough trials in their lives. The needs are so varied and yet, each individual feels the weight of each trial they are enduring. As Christians, we are so privileged to be able to go directly to God with our burdens---He truly is our burden bearer. Without Him, we could not face some of the trials life brings without falling apart emotionally. But God's grace is sufficient, and it is abundant, and it is freely given, and it flows down from heaven as we need it.

As we lift our prayers to God's throne of grace, Jesus intercedes and goes directly to the Father with our request. God answers every prayer! It may not be what we in our hearts want or expect, but the answer will be sent to us by a loving Father who loves us beyond measure and who knows what is best for us. We can trust His faithful watchcare over us and our loved ones. He knows the ins and outs of every situation, and sees what we cannot see. Faith is trusting that God will do what He promises, and will never fail us when we need Him. He will never leave us or forsake us.

Those that have entrusted me to pray for your needs this week, please know that I am praying for each and every one, and no matter how great or small those requests may be, I know that God will hear those prayers and answer according to His perfect will. I pray that God's presence, His love, and His comfort will go directly to your heart and you will know that He has heard and that He loves you with an everlasting love that cannot end.

Praying fervently,

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dick is Home!

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." (Psalm 68:19)

Dick was released from the hospital today with a very hopeful prognosis. The small stroke he had has done no permanent damage, and it was a small warning sign that allowed the doctors to prescribe a medication to hopefully prevent any further strokes from occurring. He has follow-up visits with his neurologist, his cardiologist, and his endocrinologist during the next two weeks. If all continues to go well, they will give him the release to travel to West Virginia, as planned.

We feel so grateful that this momentary scare has turned out so well thus far, and it makes us aware how fortunate we are that we heeded the warning sign early and got to the hospital quickly. I am so thankful for all the prayers that went up for Dick and for God listening to those prayers to bring about such a good result. We know that Dick is not out of the woods totally yet, as the diabetes has taken a toll in several areas of his body, but we trust that God will continue to get us through any rough roads ahead. There is a certain freedom that comes in complete submission to God's will. It makes us grateful for the little things in life that come every day to us. We hopefully will not take life so for granted in the future.

I am so very aware of the precious gift of family and friends with which God has blessed me! Thank you all for standing by us through this scary moment in our lives!

God bless you all!

A Long but Good Day

Yesterday was a long day both for Dick and me. I got up early at 5:00 am to have time with the Lord and to gather personal items to take to Dick that he might need in the hospital. I got to the hospital about 8:45 am, and the neurologist had already been there to see Dick. He confirmed that Dick did have a small stroke at the base of his brain in the area which affects the facial and head areas. He thought we were very fortunate in that the problem was found before any damage was permanently done. He felt it was a warning sign that something more serious could happen. (Wonder who sent that little warning---God is good!) The doctor felt a change in his medication from a small aspirin a day to Plavix would take care of the matter. Later his cardiologist came in and wanted to get an echocardiogram to make sure there were no small blood clots lying in the heart area. Dick had that test, and it was negative. So if he got through the night last night without any problems, he will be coming home today with a simple change in his medication. We specifically asked the doctor if he could travel, and the doctor felt there would be no problem at all for future travel.

So I humbly thank God that He watched over us and I especially thank all of those who prayed for us and sent such loving notes to encourage us.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:4-7)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What A Difference A Day Makes

"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." (Proverbs 17:1)

My husband and I got up like any other day yesterday, Dick reading the paper, me doing the crossword puzzle. We idled the morning away enjoying our coffee putting off the projects we had in mind to do until just a little later.

At mid-morning, I had a checkup with my primary doctor to make sure I was okay for another six months until I returned back from our trip to West Virginia to see her again. She went over my last blood test results concerning my thyroid, and everything sounded just fine. Then she said, "there is something here I am a little concerned about. Your lymphocytes are slightly elevated from your last visit, and I think we need to get them checked out with a hematologist/oncologist." I heard oncologist and immediately stopped breathing---oncologist means cancer! When I voiced my fear, my doctor calmed me down and said that elevated lymphocytes could mean a number of things----we just need to check it out. When I informed her we were leaving for six months in two weeks, she said it would not be enough time to check things out here, but I should look for an oncologist in West Virginia---don't wait for six months until you return! That is something lovely to look forward to!

I went home determined not to panic. Dick was mowing the lawn, so by the time he got inside, I had determined in my heart not to worry until there was something to worry about. We were laughing at how we were falling apart. It wasn't an hour later when Dick began experiencing a tingly face, mouth and lips, slurring his speech slightly and feeling unbalanced. This was the fourth day that he had these symptoms and I insisted he call his doctor. The doctor insisted that we go to the emergency room right away. We did! They checked him thoroughly with an MRI, a Cat Scan, and an ultrasound on his carotid arteries. Nothing definitive showed up on the tests, but the doctors were sure that Dick's symptoms indicated TIAs that had occurred, which could lead to a possible major stroke, and he wanted to keep him overnight at the hospital for observations. After six hours in the ER, I went home alone.

"In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

This morning as I write, I have no idea what lies ahead for us. But I am confident of this one thing, whatever lies ahead, God is walking with us and will see us through whatever we must go through. I thank Him for His faithfulness, for His presence, for His promises, and for the blessing of family and friends that will support us through anything that we face. I know I have those that read this today that will pray for us, and that means the world to have our names presented before the throne of grace where all power lies!

Trusting in Him,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thoughts on Aging

My son, Rich, wrote a cute blog yesterday on the fact that he is getting older and ready to tackle his mid-life crisis! Thinking about the brevity of life, and how fast it flies by, I began to ponder my own aging. I'm already 66. If I am very fortunate, I could have maybe 20 or so more years here on earth to enjoy---but it's likely that much of the enjoyment will be mixed in with fading hearing, eyesight, and aching joints as I age, and more dependence on others to get me through those last years on earth. In James it says: "What is life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (Jas. 4:14)

God will leave me here on this earth as long as He has a purpose for me to fulfill. I never want to lose sight of what He desires for me no matter how much longer I have here. I may only have 10 years, 5 years, or maybe just a day, but I want it to mean something for God's kingdom purposes. In Ecclesiastes, Soloman said "However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all." God created us for His pleasure, He created us that we may glorify Him in all that we do, and He desires for us to tell others about Him so that they, too, can enjoy His presence for eternity. In Psalm 71:18, the Word says, "Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, til I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come." We have a purpose no matter how long God gives us in years here on earth.

I read a beautiful devotional a while back that I keep in my Bible. I think I'll repeat most of it here:

"It is wonderful to be young, with clear sight, acute hearing, elastic step, pulses drumming to the march of exhilarating health. But old age has glories that youth cannot know. It is a blessed old age indeed if it ends brightly at evening time.
Old age celebrates the harvest--youth the sowing. Like fruit in the fall, the harvest of old age will either dry up and wither, or grow mellow and sweeter as it ripens. You cannot escape the advancing years. Youth stays long enough only to strengthen our shoulders for the burdens ahead. Life leads inevitably to the evening time. But the best things are the oldest things--things that have endured and stood the test of time. So don't be ashamed to own your age. Everything that abides must become old: mountains, rivers, oceans, stars. But the evening time of life can be bright only if we have the One who is the Light as our evening Sun. Nothing is sweeter than a gently mellowing Christian, still growing and resting in Christ as he faces God's tomorrow with confidence."

Rich, you can have your mid-life crisis---have fun with it! But how far better to grow mellow in the Lord and finally be at rest and at peace in knowing you walked with Jesus by your side the whole way through life, and finding that deep abiding joy only He can give, and passing that knowledge on to your boys!

Getting older but finding joy in it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Catching Up on Family News

I trust your Easter was very memorable for you as you celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. To rejoice in the knowledge that we serve a living Savior is a joy unlike any other. We do not serve a god that is made by human hands, who cannot hear our prayers, or who cannot know the needs of our hearts. We serve a LIVING Savior who loves us, who hears our prayers, who leads and guides us and provides for our needs.

We just spent such a lovely four days over the Easter holiday with my great-niece, Arley, from Oahu. She's a very beautiful, quiet, demure young lady who enjoys spending time with her aging auntie and uncle which makes our hearts soar. We did a lot of touring the island, spent a blessed Easter Sunday first by attending an awesome Easter Worship service at our church and then having dinner with friends at their home for Sunday dinner. Arley went back to Oahu last night to begin a brand new job this morning as an optometrist assistant. I pray that all goes really well for her in her new venture.

All of my nieces and nephews are special to me and since they were very little, I've said many prayers on their behalf. I know there are loved ones in your family whom you've longed for them to know the peace that Jesus can bring to their hearts. Never give up praying for them and trusting God to work in their hearts to bring about the answer to your prayers. We know their salvation is the longing of the Savior's heart, too. It is His will that all men (and women) come to know Him in a personal way.

In two weeks, Dick and I will be leaving Maui to return to West Virginia for six months to help do projects around the house for Mom, who is now 85 years old, and to get together with family and friends as much as possible. Between now and the time we leave, many details have to be taken care of, and I feel time is running out on us. Please pray especially for Dick who has many health issues to settle before we leave. Please pray for our travel time, the safety of our home while we are away, and the care of our 15 year old cat, named Trouble.

Looking forward to what God has for us in the next six months!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


"Oh, death, where is thy victory? Oh, grave, where is thy sting?"

"Up from the grave He arose
Like a mighty triumph o'er his foes
He arose a victor o'er the dark domain
And He lives forever
With His saints to reign!
He Arose!
He Arose!
Hallelujah! Christ Arose!

"He is not here! He is risen!"

Christ is ALIVE!

"He lives! He lives!
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives! He lives!
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives!
He lives within my heart!

We serve a risen Savior! Hallelujah! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26)

Happy Easter, everyone! Have a most blessed day!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Evening after Jesus Died

When Jesus uttered in his last breath, "It is finished." and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit as he died on the cross at Calvary, have you ever thought what did the crowd surrounding the cross do then?

Mary and the women with her, and the disciples went away dejected, discouraged, and without hope, as they felt that hope was dashed as they watched their Messiah die. It was as if all that Jesus had taught them went in one ear and out the other and they had completely forgotten that Jesus said he would rise again in three days. That didn't enter their hearts as they grieved together their loss. The women must have gone home to begin preparing the spices for the burial, and to prepare food for those that would come to grieve with them. The disciples probably just sat remembering all the good times they had with Jesus sharing with one another and yet feeling that those experiences were mere memories and they would never see their Master again.

Have you ever thought of how the priests and elders that had manipulated all the events of that day went home that evening? The priests probably went home very smug that they had accomplished their dirty deed and their jobs were safe now. They need not worry any longer that their jobs were in jeopardy. Now they could sleep soundly because they could get up in the morning and continue in their money-making positions.

What about the soldiers that led Jesus through the streets to be crucified? They were probably closest in proximity to him throughout that eventful day. They knew the extent of his suffering as he struggled to carry the heavy cross laid on his bleeding back. They are the ones that nailed his hands and his feet to the cross. They even had the audacity to remove his clothing and gamble for the only possessions Jesus owned---have you ever wondered why they would want clothes that were bloodstained and dirty from the road dust that gathered on them while Jesus stumbled and fell through the streets that day?
They even mocked him and gave him vinegar to drink while he suffered so from thirst. They even accepted bribe money to tell a lie about what happened to him after Jesus' body was no longer in the tomb. When they went home after that very long and hectic day, as they lay in their bed that night, what do you think went through their minds? Were they puzzled by this man they had nailed to the cross? Were their hearts so hardened that they had gone home that day satisfied they had done their job well? Did any sense of remorse enter their hearts? Did they ever consider they may have killed The Messiah? Did any one of them weep and ask for repentance for their evil behavior that day?

How about the crowd in general---the ones who had become frenzied as they screamed "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"---the ones who had mocked and spit upon him, the ones who watched the blood pour from his body on the cross? Did they go home that night with a contentment that their bloodthirsty appetites had been satisfied? They got what they wanted and felt that sense of power that brought the event about. Were they smug in their ability to convince Pilate to have Jesus crucified and to have a known evil murderer released instead? Did any one of them go home that night and ask "What have I done?"

What about Barabbas? Have you ever wondered what this evil murderer felt when he was released for his evil crimes? Did he continue on his evil path of murder and destruction of other peoples' lives? Did it over cross his mind to wonder about the man who enabled him to be released?

Have you ever asked yourself if you had been in the crowd that day demanding Jesus' death if you had lived then? How do you respond to Jesus today? Do you consider him an out and out liar as He proclaimed His Messiahship by raising from the dead? Do you consider him a good man who once walked on the earth long many years ago, but He has no significance on your life at all today? Do you not think about Jesus at all? OR, do you know Him as the Risen Savior who accomplished the greatest act the world has ever known or will ever know again? He rose again from the dead, conquered and has victory over death, and is alive today sitting at the right hand of God, the Father, interceding on our behalf! He is knocking on the door of every heart waiting for them to open the door and receive Him as Lord and Savior. Have you responded and do you know Him as your Savior?

Jesus is alive!

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Blood of Jesus

Today is Good Friday, the day the world remembers that Jesus died on the cross, shedding his precious blood to pay the price for all past, present and future sin of all mankind. His shed blood satisfied the debt of sin required by our Holy God so that we might share eternity with Him forever.

Why is the blood of Christ so important, so precious and so powerful? The requirement of a blood sacrifice for sin by God, the Father, began back in the Garden of Eden when God accepted Abel's sacrifice of "the firstlings of his flock." When God destroyed the earth by a flood, except for Noah and his family, the first act Noah performed once he stepped foot on land was offer to God a burnt sacrifice. Abraham offered his son, Isaac, to God to be sacrificed on the altar, but God provided instead a ram to be used for the sacrifice, thus giving us the first lesson of a substitutionary sacrifice.

In Leviticus 17:11, God tells us of the redemptive power in the blood: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul."

Scripture also tells us that "without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin." It was by the power of Christ's own blood that He was raised from the grave (Hebrews 9:12)

We are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (I Peter 1:18-19)
We are reconciled through the blood (Romans 3:24-25)
We are cleansed by the blood (I John 1:7)
We are sanctified by his blood (Hebrews 13:12)
We can enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-22)
We are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11)
Our heavenly robes are washed and made white by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-10, 14)

Yes, it is GOOD Friday. As Jesus' blood flowed out of his body that day on the cruel cross of Calvary, the whole world mourned, even the earth quaked, the sky turned dark, and fear and sadness were in the hearts of those who watched as the blood flowed from His body. But Christ had to die so that your sin and mine could be paid for in full. His blood was the very redemption necessary for us to be able to enter into the Holy of Holies with Him. How humbled and grateful we should be on this day as we remember what price He paid for us to be able to live with him forever.

We can sing with the whole heavenly chorus: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Jesus' Heart

All during Jesus' ministry here on the earth, He demonstrated His deep and abiding love for mankind. You can feel His heart for all the people who came to Him during the three years He walked on the earth. You can feel His heart as He healed the sick, the lame, the deaf, the blind. He wanted to ease the suffering of a hurting world. When he learned that His special friend, Lazarus, had died, He wept to the point that the Jews remarked: "See how much he loved Him."

There is no greater demonstration of His heart for the world than on His journey toward the cross. Before He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, He stood on the Mount of Olives looking over the entire city, and He wept over it. You can feel the ache in His heart as He says, "If you had only known on this day what would bring you peace"---now it was too late. He came to save God's chosen people. He came as the Messiah they had long been waiting for, and yet they did not know Him or recognize Him. They rejected Him outright. Oh, the pained heart of the Savior!

In the Upper Room, he shared His heart with His disciples letting them know the events that would occur soon in their future. He told them they would be persecuted, betrayed, even put to death because of Him, but encouraged them to stand firm and they would save themselves. He told them He would go to prepare a place for them in heaven, but would return to them and take them to their heavenly home with Him. Can you imagine how Jesus' heart felt knowing that the 12 men he had loved and trained and entrusted the precious gospel message with, would ultimately have to suffer great pain, persecution and sorrow because of Him? You can feel the love He had for them as He washed each disciples' feet personally.

You can feel His heart as He prayed in the Garden of Gethesemane with such deep anguish of soul that He sweat great drops of blood from His pores. Who was He praying for? He prayed for Himself that He might complete the work that the Father had sent Him to do. He prayed for His disciples that God would protect them from the evil one and would sanctify them with the truth that Jesus had entrusted to them. He prayed for you and me -- all believers---that we would believe the message that God loved us and that Jesus would pay the penalty for our sins by His shed blood on the cross and that we would accept His precioius gift of salvation that we might spend eternity with Him.

Then lastly you can feel Jesus' heart as he hung on the cross, and to the very men who put Him there to suffer and die, He cried out to the Father: "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
The Bible tells me so!

Jesus loves you and me!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Judas' Betrayal and Peter's Denial

As Easter approaches, our thoughts turn to Christ's cruxifixion and the events leading up to it. This whole week I've thought alot about the comparison between Judas' betrayal of Jesus and Peter's denial of Him prior to Jesus' arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus Himself predicted that both Judas and Peter would not stand with Him during His greatest hour of need. Even in Old Testament times, Judas' betrayal was prophesied, even to the 30 pieces of silver he would take to accomplish the task. Neither Judas' betrayal or Peter's denial took Jesus by surprise.

Judas and Peter both were chosen by Jesus to become apostles, men to whom He would teach great truths in order that they might carry on His message of salvation to the uttermost parts of the world. He called them both close friends whom He trusted. They spent three years of their lives listening, learning, watching Jesus perform His miracles, and being convinced that Jesus was truly the Messiah sent by God.

And yet, both men experienced very different end results at the end of their lives. Something happened within Judas' heart as he observed Jesus and His life. Envy, jealousy and greed began to grow deep within his heart. As treasurer, a respected and honorable position that Jesus entrusted to Judas, Judas began to find fault with the manner in which money was spent. He began harboring resentment and anger and he ended up making the choice of his own free will to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He betrayed Jesus with a kiss leading the army of soldiers to arrest Jesus in the Garden.

Peter, having the exact same teaching experiences from Jesus that Judas had, responded very differently. He boldly proclaimed that he would follow Jesus even to death, if necessary, and would never allow harm to come to Jesus. He fought valiantly when Jesus was being arrested by cutting off an ear of a soldier who came too near to Jesus. He was bold and brash in his commitment to follow Jesus to the end.

However, after Jesus was arrested and taken to the court to be charged, both Judas and Peter had changed their attitudes.
Judas began to feel deep remorse and tried his best to undo the harm he had done by giving back the silver to those who had paid him to betray Jesus. He was not successful. He recognized how deeply he had betrayed Jesus and became so deeply grieved that he hung himself in the field that was purchased by the same money in which he took to betray Jesus. They call that field the "Field of Sinners", or the Potters Field. The question often comes up---was Judas' remorse that drove him to suicide, a remorse of repentance or a remorse that he could not live with the guilt of what he had done. No one knows the answer to that question. Scripture does not reveal where Judas is spending eternity. I believe so strongly in Jesus' great mercy and that Jesus' mercy extends so greatly to all men that if Judas had cried out, "Jesus, forgive me" as the rope tightened around his neck, I believe he could've been saved. However, I do know that Judas had no further opportunity to further God's kingdom here on earth! His ministry (if he had any) ended right then and there. He had nothing else to give! So whether he is spending eternity in hell or heaven, the end of Judas' life is very sad and could've been so different if he had made different choices.

Peter, the strong, bold, defiant Peter, also denied Jesus as he watched Jesus being taken away to appear to the court. Jesus had warned Peter that he would do so, but Peter couldn't fathom that he would do such a thing! But he not only denied Jesus once, he denied him three times in a row! At the end of the third denial, a rooster crowed and Peter remembered that Jesus said he would deny him. Scripture says "he wept bitterly." Peter felt deep remorse as did Judas. However, instead of leading to a tree of suicide, Peter's remorse drove him to repentance and led him to the foot of the cross! He watched Jesus die on the cross, he felt great sorrow as he felt that all his hopes had died with Christ, and yet he did not run from it as Judas did.
He and John were the first ones to appear at Jesus' tomb on the third day and realized that Jesus was not dead, He was risen!
Can you imagine the great joy that Peter felt when he saw Jesus in his resurrected body for the first time? Yes, Peter denied him, but his repentance brought him to a much greater end result than Judas. Peter went on to be "The Rock" that the church of Jesus Christ was built on. He testified to all that Jesus did, he performed miracles in Jesus' name, and he was the one chosen to take the message of salvation to the Gentiles. What a greater end result than Judas experienced, and we know that Peter is in heaven spending eternity with His Lord and Savior. Did you know that Peter died a martyr's death and was crucified upside down on a cross? All for the promises of His Savior. He never denied him again!

The choices we make here on earth do make a difference! We have the choice to follow him or deny him.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jesus on a Mission

From the very first breath taken by Jesus at His birth, He was on a mission given to Him by God, the Father. Jesus' mission from Day One was firm and unchangeable. He had a purpose for his life and with every step he took, with every word he spoke, he determined steadfastly to fulfill his mission given to him by the Father. He knew his ultimate destination, and he resolutely carried out his mission flawlessly and perfectly.

Even before he was born and he was in his mother's womb, Jesus' mission was given to Mary, his mother, by an angel of the Lord: "She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins."

John the Baptist announced Jesus' mission at his baptism: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world."

Jesus himself knew the purpose for which He came:

"I did not come to judge the world, but to save it...for I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."

When he knew the time was upon him when his purpose would ultimately be fulfilled, he prayed fervently in the Garden of Gethesmane: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Thy will be done." He knew the suffering that was ahead of him, and yet he conceded his will to the Father's will so that the mission for which he came would be carried out.

Finally, the hour arrived when what he came to do would be accomplished. Every lesson he taught, every miracle he performed, every word spoken brought him to this point where he would submit himself fully and completely to God's purpose. His blood was shed on the cruel cross of Calvary to pay the penalty for your sin and mine. With his last breath, he proclaimed to the world "It is finished." He knew he accomplished the mission for which He was sent to the earth by His Father in heaven.

The Father's approval and acceptance of the mission of Christ was loudly proclaimed when Jesus arose from the dead and left the tomb empty! He again walked on the earth alive in his resurrected body. He was then transcended into heaven to accomplish the last of his mission---to prepare a place in eternity for all who would accept his precious gift of salvation. He shed his blood for you and me so that we could enter the Holy of Holies and spend eternity with God. Have you accepted Jesus' sacrifice for you?

Let this Easter be a reminder of what Christ accomplished for us!

Monday, April 02, 2007

What Does Easter Mean to You?

We are now in the week leading up to our celebration of Easter, the day all Christians remember the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We serve a risen Savior ! He is alive today! Do you know Him personally? Do you talk to Him every day? Do you honor Him with your obedience? Do you seek His will for your life?

Take some time to pause and ponder what Easter means to you personally. Maybe Easter is just a fun day for your children to wake up to hidden Easter baskets filled with goodies? Maybe it's a day when you get a new dress to wear to church on Easter Sunday? Maybe it's a day when you watch your young children hunt colorful eggs in the grass. Maybe it's a day when you gather with your extended family around a large table filled with scrumptious foods that have been tradition in your family for years. These are all activities that have become "tradition" on Easter and a part of many memories stored in your memory bank. Certainly not bad things, but is that all Easter has become for you?

Jesus Christ was sent to earth by His Father in Heaven for a very specific purpose! His whole 33 years of life on this earth was centered on the goal of his final destination, the cross! Why? To pay the sin penalty for you and me! To be the blood sacrifice to satisfy the demands of our Holy Father so that we may have access to our heavenly home for eternity! He presented to the world that He was the long-awaited Messiah, but even God's own chosen people did not recognize Him! Instead, at the end of his life, He was scorned and abused beyond recognition and placed on a cross, crucified and died to pay the penalty of sin for you and me! He was our sinless sacrifice and could appease our holy God by redeeming us by His blood! He paid the price of your sin and mine and offers us the free gift of salvation when we accept Him as our own personal Saviour. And, glory to God, He was raised on the third day and we serve a living Savior! He is in heaven interceding on our behalf and will some day come to reign again on the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

If you know Him as Lord, then this Easter will be far more meaningful to you than the traditions that have become normal for most of the world. Our hearts will bow before Him and we will proclaim him as King of Kings, and we will have overwhelming gratitude for the price He paid for us on that cross! We serve a living Savior, He's in our hearts today!

Do you know Him as Lord?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Palm Sunday

Today is the day most churches remember the triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey and praise was given to Him by the crowd as King. We call this day Palm Sunday, because the crowd placed palm leaves before him on the road to pave the way for the Messiah to enter the city. As we read the Scripture in Luke 19, Jesus Himself orchestrated the triumphal entry. He arranged ahead of time for the disciples to go directly to a specific home to find the donkey, untie it, and bring it to Him. He was fulfilling the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." When Jesus entered the city, the first question asked by the people in Jerusalem was, "Who is this?" They did not recognize Him as Christ, the Messiah, who came into the world to save them from their sins.

Jesus knew when He entered the city that He would not be accepted. To me I think the saddest verses in the whole of Scripture is when Jesus was approaching Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it. He said "if you had only known on this day what would bring you peace..." Then he foretold of the destruction of the city He loved so much that it would be destroyed by its enemies where no stone would be left standing. His righteous anger became apparent when he went to the temple and began throwing out the merchants there who were defiling the temple by selling their wares. He then preached to the people as never before, because He knew his time was limited. Scripture says the people hung on every word. Were people awakened that day to the truth of Jesus as Messiah? Most were not---instead they began plotting how to kill him.

Where do you stand on this Palm Sunday? Do you recognize Jesus as Lord, the Messiah, the Christ who came to save you from your sins or are you among the crowd of people who are listening to what He says but trying hard to find a reason to discount His words and find them unacceptable? Are you going to remain in the crowd that will eventually say "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!? Jesus wants to bring you peace---eternal peace that will last for an eternity. Recognize Him today as your Savior!

My heart weeps for those who do not know Him personally!