Monday, July 29, 2019

Aloneness….. & God’s Goodness

There are days and moments of time, that how alone I am in the world now that my brothers are gone really hits like a ton of bricks. Today was one of those. BUT GOD. This is a testimony of HIS goodness, not my distress.

The morning began with downpour when mom needed to get in the car to go for an appt. I began praying, (selfish prayer because I didn't want to get wet strapping the scooter down) that there would be a break in the rain while we loaded the car. THE RAIN LET UP. God thing # 1.

Half-way to Ellington, the car overheated complete with steam boiling out from under the hood.... After inspecting, knew I had to call for help. Mom can't get in just anyone's car...worry number 1. How to make appt on time or we can't get her medicines that are needed worry # 2. What to do with the car. Worry #3. Who to call for help...worry # 4. Breakdown in area with no cell service...worry #5. I began to pray. God, send someone along, God, give me wisdom what to do here and God let me have at least enough cell service to call Ted to see what I should do. God thing #2 cell service... I got out and hopelessly looked at the motor & steam, looked at my phone & had enough service to call Ted...which panned out useless, he was at spot he didn't have service. Then who to call while God was giving me bars of service???? Cars passing by not even slowing down, didn't have much hope of help. The list of who to call didn't exist. There wasn't anyone I could think of who could come help that I had a number for. Allen would have been my 2nd choice. .. As panic began to settle in a truck slows down & pulls in behind me & a truck pulls in coming from the other way. God thing # 3 The one, when they figured out we needed help with mom being able to get home, drove to make calls WHERE THERE WAS CELL SERVICE. The other helped me to get enough fluid in and follow me into Ellington even though they were headed to work in the opposite direction.

Long story. I know. BUT a reminder. I AM NOT ALONE. God is with me and while HE doesn't always choose to show me in such a tangible way, HE IS THERE. The one thing in my aloneness I can count on in life is HIS GOODNESS.... especially in the storms. There are still other concerns to deal with... BUT GOD. I know I can rest in Him.

People.......that is a whole different story.

Psa 91:1-2 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Big Brother





Image may contain: 1 person, child and outdoorEver since that phone call that rocked my world yet again, I have been thinking of the line in the kid’s song…. AND THEN THERE WAS ONE.  I don’t pretend to understand. 
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NINETEEN months ….JUST NINETEEN…. That is all that separated us.

Big Brother defined as the one who beats you up but doesn’t want anyone else to…

Big Brother, while the one who beat the tar out of you, was the one who fiercely defended you…..

Big Brother, the one who climbed being the second story man, while the little sister was the one who stayed on the floor for you to hand the bounty…..

No automatic alt text available.Big Brother, the one who didn’t want the pesky little sister around, but was a captive audience when you had the measles…the one who was in bed sick with the little sister reading, talking, and singing to help you pass the time away….. Or was it the chicken pox…. Or both.

Big Brother, He is the one who ganged up with you against the peskier little brother and convinced him that he was adopted because he belonged to the “milk man.”

Big brother, the one who when playing school, made the pesky little sister stay inside until she read your reader before she could come tag along....

Image may contain: one or more peopleBig brother…  the one who watched about and took care of everyone and everything…the one who at times I got so frustrated with and called Boss Hog. (In love of course ;0) )

Big brother…the one who shouldered much more than most know....

Big brother…. The one who I always thought would be there to do what you did...

Big brother…. Too stubborn for your own good....

Big brother…the one whose shoes I am left to fill, but don’t quite know how….

Big brother…. If I had known when we crossed paths coming and going at the door that Saturday morning…that would be my last moment to speak…. I would have stopped and listened better and said so much more.  I think perhaps we were both wrapped up in functioning, both with our own physical ailments, mine a horrible headache…. Now I know that yours was so much more serious…..

Big Brother… if I had only known, I would have listened better as you talked about mom’s farm and dealings…. You told me everything I needed to know to get my footing if I would have paid better attention, but I was wrapped up in what I did and dilemma’s you didn’t want to listen to …..

Big brother…. Little brother…. I didn’t ever dream I would be the last one standing….. I was the wimpiest of us three…. So unreal… so very, very unreal.  I keep thinking someone will pinch me and I will wake up.

Image may contain: 3 people, including Allen Foster, people smiling, people sittingBut God…. My faith phrase…. But God…. And only Him will I be able to half-way fill your shoes and make sure all is well with the farm, (that farm was your joy, your baby)  and with mom’s needs.  But God. 

Isa 24:15  Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires….

2Co 1:3-5  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  (4)  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  (5)  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Love You Glen Allen Foster.  September 22, 1958-November 5, 2018


Monday, October 29, 2018

WORSHIP?


As I pulled into the yard this evening, the sun was shining through the sugar maple whose leafs are still full, but are the most vivid yellow color.  I could only imagine how ALL of CREATION WORSHIPS the creator.  As the leaves danced in the breeze and the sun cast a glow on them, I thought of a CREATOR who spoke the Sun into existence and told the trees when to go dormant for the winter.  A God who created a myriad of beautiful colors and things that we take for granted; however they worship the creator.  How do they worship?  In Psa 66:4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. The earth obeys the voice of the Father. Obedience is just one of many facets of worship as we have been learning in Bible Study.  
I came up the road home today and pulled into the yard to a dazzling display of God’s creation.
It would seem that God is speaking to my heart about MY worship.  Am I like Goldilocks in the Three Bears?  Do I need things just right according to my standard?  Do I need a certain song? Do I need the right music with the song?  Do I need the building not too hot, not too cold but just right? What do I need to Worship?  Wednesday the stage was cleared.  There were no musicians for the piano or guitar.  There were no extras to run a sound system to go to the plan b of soundtracks.  It was just voices to be lifted in praise.  It was not the most comfortable of settings.  I found myself thinking of how often do we let the “music” move us and carry our emotions?  God spoke into my heart to imagine what the worship sounded like to HIS EARS when Paul and Silas sang praises in the prison at the midnight hour. They had been beaten and locked up and there were no musicians, no right conditions, just them, the chains, the bars, and the rock and yet they lifted their voice in praise.  Was the voices cracked from pain?  Possibly.  But it moved the Father that the very foundations of the prison shook.  I found myself asking, when is the last time my praise came from a singleness of heart solely  to lift the Lord on High NO MATTER WHAT is going on around me?  When was the last time Worship moved the Father to shake the foundations of the place I was in?  Read the story in Acts 16:23-26 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:  (24) Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.  (25)  And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.  (26)  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
Another worship service, again God spoke to my heart as worship was hindered and tight.  Is this your best?  If this was the last time that you could Worship me on earth before you stood in front of me, would you be pleased or ashamed?  It broke my heart to think of my goldilocks mentality.  I could offer excuses that this wasn’t going right, or that something else needed changed or that someone was hindering me, but reality is the question was mine.  How would I answer to God for myself?  Would I be able at the moment to blame or shift the attention?  Again my heart broke.  The Word tells us in  1Ch 16:29  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.  In John, he tells us in 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
I am left with my two questions, as the Holy Spirit shines a light into my life and asks me to search my heart, 1) Am I giving my best in worship, no matter what?  2) Would I stand before God pleased or ashamed of my Worship if I were to stand in front of HIM? 
God, help me to be as all of creation and worship you with a pure heart, with all I have, come what may.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

SHARDS


Have you ever wondered when your heart is crushed in a jillion pieces, how it can shatter even more?  I find myself wondering often at times, just how many more ways can a heart shatter.   Yet.  A careless word, a wrong thought,  a meaningless action, pound and shred what is already broken.  A phone call, demands on you that you don’t have it in you to fulfill, circumstances,…a loss, rejection,  another blow to an already shattered heart smash, smash, smash, the pounding continues….

Shard: a fragment.  Sliver: a small, slender, often sharp piece, as of wood or glass, split, broken, or cut off

Tiny slivers, that when you try to pull them back together cut and hurt.  Tiny slivers that when you speak around them, the air causes them to fly through the air and stick in someone else and hurt them or perhaps they try to walk through the pile to help you and get cut in the process. Tiny slivers that splinter and wound. Tiny slivers that are impossible to sweep back together.  Tiny slivers that will wound those trying to help you. Tiny slivers. Tiny slivers that you grab a hold of tightly and pull them to you rather than risk opening your hand and trusting. 

I find that one of the HARDEST things to do when sitting among the shards and slivers, trying to put the pieces back together,  is to just sit still and trust God. To trust that God is not going to crush you but that HE  is fixing what is broken.  I find that opening my hand and exposing the pieces takes more courage than I often have within myself.  Trust oh so difficult.  BUT if I wait, and let God be God and trust the master craftsman, He will gather the pieces, will fire the oven and will create a far more beautiful work than I could ever accomplish just by gluing the broken pieces together.  There is GREAT HOPE in brokenness if you think about it for it allows you to be open to God's workmanship.  How amazing when God sweeps in and does what only He can do....for  "I" am no longer in the way......

JESUS said: Luk 4:18-19  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  (19)  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Psa 34:17-19  The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.  (18)  The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.  (19)  Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

Psa 51:16-17  For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.  (17)  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.






Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Broken Flower


Much of the pomp and circumstance had died down and I look across the room filled with proud family members of the graduating class and out of the corner of my eye, I spot it, a broken red carnation, lying in the floor by the seat of the one who had received it earlier.  My heart broke in as many pieces as the flower seemed to be with my thoughts of what that flower represented.

Earlier, this flower had been given to a young man to present to a mom, or grandma, a significant female caregiver in appreciation for the love and hard work it had taken to get them to this place in life.  Soon after he had been handed his flower, the stem snapped off in his hand and he stood with the broken flower.  He was told to be careful and to hold it just so to keep it intact to give away.  (There were no flowers to spare or to replace it with.) I thought no more about it, until I spied the broken flower in the floor where he had sat....long after the time had passed for giving the flower away.  I was so wrapped up with my responsibility, my little charges doing what they were supposed to that I had paid no attention to him.

When I caught a glimpse of that flower in the floor, I sat broken in heart thinking about how this young man's life and how many other children have lives that are as broken as that flower.  Most don't say a thing.  They just live every day, doing everyday things the best that they know how to and to appear "normal."  Sometimes there are telltale signs, behavior, lack of effort, etc. but, other times these broken children appear "normal." 

I thought about that for whatever reason, reasons that had nothing to do with a child, how family bonds get broken.  In this instance, it was obvious that there had been no one there to receive the offering of the flower that he had been given to give.  Tears formed in my eyes as I began to think about the brokenness in our world and in the lives of many kids.  I began to pray not only for this young man but for all the kids who live in such brokenness all of the time.  They didn't choose.  They didn't choose for their families to be torn apart.  They didn't choose to be shoved aside while the "adults" in their lives follow selfish, self-serving pursuits.  They didn't choose to be born to broken people who have no idea how to mend the brokenness to be a parent.  They didn't choose to be second to an addiction or to an unhealthy relationship.  THEY DIDN'T CHOOSE.  


I began to think about how children ultimately pay the price for adult brokenness.  I thought of often we are quick to criticize or quick to speak of how awful or quick to just shake our head and wish someone would do something with them and ignore the reality of what is going on.  I thought of how quick we are to dismiss the problem as belonging to someone else.  I thought of how we wag our head and tongue talking about how that child might or might not "make it" to be a "productive" citizen.  I began to wonder do we even try to look deeper, to look with hearts of compassion and to search for a way to maybe hedge the gap in a youngster's life.  My thoughts then turned to what is my responsibility in this and what can I do?   

In the brokenness of my life I have learned that "BUT GOD" and apart from God there is nothing that will heal the brokenness.... God is the ultimate healer.  He is the curse breaker.  He is the restorer.  I have learned that only when Christ steps in and puts a balm of healing on a hurting heart will that heart be healed.  What am I to do?  PRAY.  Put hands and feet on that prayer and LOVE with Christ's love.  LOVE sometimes has to get in the trenches and get dirty.  LOVE sometimes had to go beyond the brick walls that are in place for self-preservation.  LOVE has to sometimes be patient and kind when it is not given any reason to be.  LOVE has to look past the circumstances of the moment into the possibilities. Speak words of life; speak words of hope into a young life.  If as Christ's child, I choose to ignore what has been put in front of me, then where is my heart truly? Life is full of choices.  In this case, do I choose to ignore what is in front of me, or do I choose to be as Christ would call me to be and be present in a broken child's life as a positive influence for Him?   There are ministries and opportunities all around us if we choose to look.  These kids don't ask anyone to love them; in fact, the most unlovable are often the ones who need love the most.  They don't always walk into our churches or into our homes; however if we choose to look with a heart that sees, we can make a difference. 

I had wished for a camera to capture a picture at that moment.  I pray that God burns the image into my memory and that HE not let me forget that little broken flower and what it represented. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

ROADBLOCKS



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This Christmas season, I find mmyself thanking God for the “roadblocks” in life. The definition of "Roadblock": 1. A barricade often with traps or mines for holding up an enemy at a point on a road covered by fire,2. A road barricade set up especially by law enforcement officers, 3. an obstruction in a road, 4. something that blocks progress or prevents accomplishment of an objective.

 As I read prophecy and fulfillment of prophecy, God used Roadblocks to fulfill His plans. He used things that would seem to prevent the accomplishment of his objective, that could only be seen as His Sovereign guidance when we look back.  He used the ungodly, He used circumstances that seemed that He was absent and not present.  All things worked together for good. Rom 8:28  states that 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. For example when scripture said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, a census was ordered.  When scripture stated, out of Egypt, Joseph had to flee to Egypt for protection of the Son of God.  

I find myself thinking about the Roadblocks in my life and realize while I fuss and balk that they exist, the same God who before the foundation of time had a plan to save mankind and saw that plan laid out and become a reality with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, is the same God who before the foundation of time laid out a plan for my life. The Psalmist tells us that even before we were formed, God wrote our days.  Psa 139:16  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.  I find myself thinking that if roadblocks did not exist, I would sit in my comfort zone and be content.  I would not seek, I would not grow, I would not be shaped or molded into the image God intended for me to be molded into.

This Christmas season, and all the seasons of life we walk through, let us not be so quick to get discouraged when the roadblocks, those obstructions that crop up, or those things that seem to prevent, seem larger than we can scale, but rather pray that God would help us to see His hand in the obstacles. Let us pray for wisdom and for the Holy Spirit to help us to discern when to fight because it is the enemy trying to detour us or  when the roadblock is placed to change us into Christ's image. Let us be alert to the possibility that God is trying to perform a work through us and may we have enough wisdom and discernment in those moments to surrender to His working hand.  May we learn to embrace those roadblocks as part of God's plan for our lives. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

BLESSED




What does it mean to be blessed? Most people have a lot of different ideas of what ‘blessed’ means to them. In November, we often watch those begin a daily journaling of things that are thankful for. According to Webster (and the way people describe the word) blessed means bringing pleasure, contentment, or good fortune. Blessed also means held in reverence; honored in worship. In the Word of God, the word blessed can be found over 300 times and in places it means to kneel in adoration and in other it means happiness.

I find myself walking through a season that has caused me to rethink what I would call “blessings.” I find myself looking into a mirror held up by the Holy Spirit of God and through circumstances beyond my control and seeing how self-centered I actually am. See, my idea of being blessed is “happiness, things going the way I want them.” However, I am learning that the deeper meaning of blessed is being able to kneel in reverence and worship no matter (as the Apostle Paul would say) if I am abased or if I abound. [Phil 4:11-13]. The apostle said that he learned to be content in whatever state that he was in. That my friend is where blessings lie I have discovered.

In this season where difficult choices are having to be made and road is a whole lot rockier that I would like to walk and settling for what I don't "wnat", I have discovered that the blessings are not “things.” It is not in coming and going and life being as it always was and assuming it will always be. I have discovered that the real blessings are in not getting what I deserve. The blessings are in being preserved from harm. The blessings are in coming into the throne room of God and being met by His presence. The blessings are in family and friends and church family sacrificing time and talent to come alongside and walk shoulder to shoulder helping when they have their own lives to see to. The blessings are in picking up the Word of God and having just the right Word or in encountering God’s presence just when you think you might not be able to take another step. The blessings of a folded up paper being put in your hand when you are in dire need, to discover the Lord has provided an answer to prayer. The blessings are in knowing that God cares more about your eternal nature than your earthly comfort. The blessings are in a child’s arms wrapped around your neck in sincere love. The blessings are in being able to reach out to another in Christ’s love.

I have been challenged. My challenge to myself and to you are put things where they belong. We are not entitled to anything except eternal damnation. Look beyond the surface. If everything you own was stripped away and you stood with Christ in your heart and that alone—then you are a very rich person, a very blessed person indeed.