Saturday, October 3, 2015

Celebrating the Creator and His Creation

What a wonderful week we’ve experienced seeing and celebrating God’s wonderful creation.  On Sunday, we worshiped with Chad and his family at First Baptist Church of Gatesville.  Part of the service was the Home dedication for six children.  There was a time of commitment for the parents, family, and church members to help in the process of raising the children to know, love, and follow the Lord.  As pastor, Chad did five of the dedications.  He asked Larry to do the time of commitment time when he and Lori dedicated their home for Sawyer.  We celebrated and thanked God for the beautiful creation of Sawyer Mae.  Chad also recognized a church member who celebrated his 106th birthday that week!  He stood as they sang “Happy Birthday” to him!

 On Sunday evening we met up with Larry’s brother, Terry, and his wife, Debbie, to spend the week with them in the Big Cedar Lodge area near Branson, Missouri.  They picked us up at the airport and then we drove another two hours.  On the way, we were able to watch and marvel at the lunar eclipse/blood moon/supermoon through the clear night skies of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.

  This week we have enjoyed the beauty of the Ozark Mountains. Tuesday, we spent most of the day and evening at Johnny Morris’ Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve enjoying more of God’s incredible creation.   We took the 2.5 mile Lost Canyon Nature Trail from Top of the Rock on an electric cart.  The waterfalls, rock formations, Table Rock Lake, and scenery were amazing.  Part of the trail went through Lost Canyon Caves with stalactites, stalagmites, waterfalls, and more rock features.  Afterwards we went through the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum with carbon-dated animal skeletons, Native American artifacts, and displays of historical Civil War items.


Around sunset we gathered at the Chapel of the Ozarks.  Inside the chapel, when standing by the cross, one could see their own shadow along with the shadow of the cross.  A few minutes before sunset, we went outside as a bagpiper began playing “God Bless America.”  As the sun dipped below the horizon, a cannon was fired.

Fall is just a few days from being in full swing here.  The leaves are beginning to change colors and a cool front has made the weather very pleasant.  What a wonderful display of God’s creative handiwork.

One morning we played 18 holes of miniature golf.  Larry would stand behind me, with his hands on my hips, to keep me balanced.  It took a little over two hours to play.  I was able to stand and walk for that entire time.  It has been years since I could do that.  I am grateful for the stem cells God created in my body that are bringing about renewed energy and strength.

And God created families.  It has been such a blessing to spend this week with Terry and Debbie.  They have been coming to this area for 14 years now, so they know what to see, when to be there, and what to do.  We thoroughly enjoyed and were grateful for the sweet time of fellowship spending time together with them.

And today is our oldest son’s birthday.  Scott is a blessing to our family.  I am amazed to see the ways that God continues to work in and through him to encourage, challenge, and make a difference for His Kingdom’s work.  Scott continues to inspire and teach me. 

This week we have celebrated family, babies, the life of a 106 year old man, amazing places, weather, and scenery, and a son’s birthday.  We have worshiped the Creator and thanked Him for His creation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
Isaiah 40:28

Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Psalm 96:13

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17 

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.

I Samuel 1:27

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.

Psalm 127:3

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Birthday and a Home Dedication

This week Mom celebrated her 85th year of life.  Whether 5 or 85, balloons, cards, phone calls, gifts, birthday cake, and singing helped make for a festive occasion.  Amazingly, the longer she lives, Mom remains pleased and delighted with little remembrances.  I am so grateful for the things Mom has taught and modeled through the years.  Even now, her contentment and appreciation of life are a blessing.  On the wall in Mom’s room are framed high school graduation pictures of all ten grandchildren.  Every night she prays for each one of them by name.  I do remind her to not to forget to pray for their parents, too, since thankfully she does not have our graduation pictures on the wall.  Her love and influence now includes nine great-grandchildren.  What a wonderful heritage for our family to be blessed with a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who loves the Lord.

 On Sunday, we will worship with Chad’s family at First Baptist Church of Gatesville.  Part of the service will be Home Dedication where parents make the commitment to teach and model for their children what it means to love, follow, and obey the Lord.  Our youngest granddaughter, Sawyer, will be part of this occasion.  It’s also a time for the church family and extended family to come alongside the parents to commit to pray and offer their support and encouragement during the years ahead.  What a special week to be able to celebrate and honor the oldest and youngest members of our family.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31:25-31

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, September 19, 2015


I find it interesting that the same letters that are used to form the word “Listen” are also found in the word “Silent.”  Amazingly, the words complement each other in what it takes to be a good listener.  Having grandchildren has helped me desire to be a better listener.  I want to be intentional in taking and making the time to listen to the little things they say now in hopes that they will entrust me with their thoughts and ideas in the years to come.  

One day, when Scott was young, he was telling a story and wanted me to listen.  I assured him that I was listening, as I busily unloaded the dishwasher.  He informed me that he wanted me to listen to him with my eyes, too.  What a wise lesson to take to heart then and now.

As I am beginning another Bible study, I also desire to listen and be silent so I can hear, see, and learn the lessons God wants to teach me during these days.  Although those are not necessarily easy things for me to do, the stillness, silence, and discipline will help me have a better chance to hear and see what God wants to say and teach me.

So may I be still and listen in silence with my ears, eyes, and heart so as to discern the lessons I need to learn.  And when I have heard and learned may I willingly and obediently put them into practice.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
I Samuel 3:10

Let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—
Proverbs 1:5

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
Proverbs 4:1

“Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.  Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.
Proverbs 8:32-33

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
Proverbs 19:20 

 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
John 10:27-28

 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:19-20, 22

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Labor Day 2015

Labor Day is a time to reflect on and be grateful for the employment and jobs we have had through the years.  It is also a time to remember and be thankful for the work ethic that was taught, modeled and expected from parents, grandparents, and other significant role models in our lives. 

The Labor Day holiday is also another occasion for our family to get together.  During our growing up years, Mom would make homemade biscuits for breakfast to begin the day.  I’m not sure how or why this tradition started, but we enjoyed it.  Now we gather for lunch and enjoy spending the day together.

Four generation pictures were also on the agenda for this year’s celebration.  

 Debbie, Mom, David, Ryen, Sawyer, and Chad

 Andrew, Lena, Mom, Robin

 Robin, Mom, Andrew, and Lena's hands

What an important reminder of the privilege and responsibility of training the next generations to work with integrity, honesty, respect, and Kindness.   Most importantly, may they learn that in all they do to take it to heart as if working for the Lord.  May all who come behind us find us faithful working in and for God's Kingdom. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
Ephesians 2:10

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
I Corinthians 3:9

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
I Corinthians 15:58

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:9-12

 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 1:3