I'm honored to have a devotion running today at Christian Devotions.US.
Fear lurked around the edges of the bed I lay on, ready to pounce. Did I have a brain injury? Would it require surgery? . . . .
(read more HERE)
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
(If you know the name of the person I refer to below as T., please for safety reasons, do not mention the name in any Facebook responses or comments to this blog.)
That’s what the subject line read on the email from our friend T. in Asia.
Oh, no, I thought. For some time, the government of the country where she lives had cut off her access to foreign funds making her ability to take care of the sixteen orphans in her care challenging. Much of her support comes from the US.
When I clicked on the email, I found the situation to be even direr. In only a few weeks, T. has to leave the country to renew her visa, a process she has gone through for the past nineteen years. Repeatedly over the past year, missionary friends of hers have been denied access back into the country and are forced to buy plane tickets on the spot to return to the US. Only two weeks ago, this happened.
She has the same kind of visa, and without divine intervention, she may face the same consequences.
She would leave behind her life’s work. In addition to the sixteen children she mothers now, there are over two dozen more she has raised, which are young adults or in college.
Her youngest child is HIV positive and lives with T. in her apartment. She came to T. when she was only weeks old, and T. is the only mother she has ever known.
These were children abandoned, with nowhere to turn, but God gave them a hope and a future when they came under T.’s care.
Folks, money can’t help now. The only thing that will help is prayer, and I’m asking you to pray as I am, morning, noon, and night. I wake up with this situation and I go to bed with it. The verse I am praying is from Proverbs 21:1, “In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him” (The Message).
Pray God would turn the King’s heart like water, and that a door would be opened up for T. to continue her work in Asia. Yes, she has a team of people in place to continue caring for these children, but she is their mother. If you have children, imagine having to leave them, not knowing when or if you would ever be able to see them again. Pray like that. Pray with that urgency.
Friends, thank you. I’ll keep you updated.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Early one morning, Jerry and I stood staring at the top of a huge metal power pole near us. A pecking sound closely resembling the decibel level of a jackhammer resonated throughout the neighborhood. The crested head of a giant pileated woodpecker bobbed up and down at the pole apex.
“So what do you think he’s doing?” I mused.
Pileateds are magnificent birds and I love seeing them, but his incessant drilling was puzzling and annoying. The woodpecker had been there several mornings in a row.
We batted theories around. Jerry thought he was hunting for food. I thought the constant hammering on the metal pole had jarred his brains loose addling him so much he’d lost his ability to differentiate metal from wood and just kept boring into the steel. He didn’t seem to be the brightest bulb in the box.
Again, this morning, I heard him. Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-a-tat-tat. You’d think he was drilling through concrete.
I decided to do a little research.
Turns out both Jerry and I were wrong.
He was not looking for food. He was looking for a honey.
The loud rapping is something of a mating call. “I’m available,” He was saying. Far from dimwitted, the smartest woodpeckers find something to make the loudest sound so they can establish their territory to all the other woodpeckers.
Well, hello. We’d completely missed it.
That’s when I heard that still small voice telling me there was a lesson here. Sometimes, I draw conclusions about other people based on my perspective rather than stopping to ask for God’s perspective―the truth.
It reminds me of what God told Samuel, “God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart” (I Samuel 16:7 The Message).
Ah, the heart. God looks past all the exterior smoke and glass and sees what is really going on. God responds to that deep need.
My friend Betty recently shared a quote she’d heard that if you’re not standing in the gap for someone, you’re standing in judgment.
Ouch, Betty. Another reminder that God calls us, too, to look on the heart.
The woodpecker’s drumming has stopped. He must have found the woodpecker woman of his dreams.
But his presence in our part of the world left us much to think about. Now we can do that thinking in peace.
To hear his drum and learn more about the pileated HERE.
To hear his drum and learn more about the pileated HERE.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
For the Fourth of July, a re-post from the Dream Summer Series about our family's 7,000 mile cross country trip. Also, HERE is a link for a World Radio Segment I recorded about this adventure. Happy Fourth!
According to the parking pass in our scrapbook, we entered Mount Rushmore at 1:21 p.m., way past lunchtime. So we headed for the cafeteria at the base of the monument. The dining room was divided into sections by state, each one designated with a flag. We found our spot under the red and blue Georgia colors, which gave me a twinge of homesickness as we sat down, but not for long.
That’s about the time I looked up at the monument and had a very North by Northwest moment. I’ve never been sure if the movie was shot on location or just had a very convincing set. In any event, I could picture Grace Kelly and Cary Grant bursting in any time.
The faces of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt were ever with us as we devoured our food. Jerry and I marveled at the engineering feat creator Gutzon Borglum had accomplished through his Mount Rushmore sculpture. Borglum, according to the guide for Mount Rushmore, had studied under Rodin and also "designed the flickering flame on the Statue of liberty’s torch." He "created more art displayed in our Nations’ capital than any other artist.”
After we finished our food, we followed a path along the base of the monument to get a closer look. I felt I was living in a Weekly Reader. As a child, I never dreamed that my universe would expand to a point where I’d actually visit the places we studied. In contrast, my children have probably never dreamed they wouldn’t visit the places they study.
I was struck by how many other nationalities I saw visiting the monument. From all over the world they came to see this sculpture in the Black Hills of South Dakota called “America’s Shrine to Democracy.” Some of the visitors I saw probably did not come from countries who subscribed to a democratic understanding of government. I thought of this long after we left the monument, and wished I could have spoken with them about their experience that day.
I wanted to bring in sleeping bags and sleep under the gaze of these stone men, but of course, the National Park Service would’ve never gone for it. So, we reluctantly said good-bye to our large Presidents and hoped to see them again soon.
President Ronald Reagan said of the Mount Rushmore sculpture, “Even after the many years it will take to wear away these rock carvings, their ideals, the principles of democracy and freedom, will live on. For more than 200 years now, this great country of ours has enjoyed the freedoms these four giants fought for. So, let us cherish that freedom, and never lose sight of this Memorial and the men behind it.”
Today, as Reagan said, let us cherish freedom, both physical and spiritual. If physical freedom is not yours because of where you live, spiritual freedom is always available. “So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Unbelief is the only wall that can separate you from this liberty.
May God’s freedom be yours today.
More Dream Summer posts HERE.
"Mount Rushmore National Monument Official Guide" and America's Shrine of Democracy by T.D. Griffith were used as a sources in this post.