Monday, December 19, 2016

The Doubters

From Max Lucado's book-Fearless--What did Jesus do with the doubters in the Upper Room. Luke 24:27 "And beginning with ones and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." A face to face, put your hand on my wound visit. A meal is served, the Bible is taught and the disciples found courage.
What would Christ have us to do with our doubts? His answer, touch my body and ponder my story. We still can, you know. We can still touch the body of Christ. When we brush up against the church, we do just that. "The church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself." (Eph. 1:23) May others brush up against us and see Jesus!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Storms We Face

From Max Lucado’s book “ Fearless.”
“But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves… Matt.14:24-32
Peter and his storm riders knew they were in trouble. “in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves.” Apt description, perhaps for your stage in life?” The disciples fought for nine hours. Then about 4 AM the unspeakable happened. “They spotted someone coming on the water.” They didn’t expect Jesus to come this way. Neither do we. We expect to see Him in peaceful hymns or Easter Sunday or morning devotionals. 

But it is in a storm that He does His finest work. For it is in storms that He has our keenest attention. Jesus replied to the disciples’ fear with an invitation worthy of inscription on every church cornerstone, “Don’t be afraid, Take courage, I am here.” 

Power inhabits those words. “I am here,” changes everything. Perhaps that’s why God repeats the “I am here” pledge so often.The Lord is near Phi. 4:5; You are in Me and I am in you, John 14:20; I am with you always,, to the very end of the age. Matt. 28:20.

We cannot go where God is not. Look over your shoulder, that is God following you. Look into the storm; that’s Christ coming toward you. Much to Peter’s credit, he took Jesus at his word. “Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. So He said, Come. And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” 

Peter never would have made this request on a calm sea. Storms prompt us to take unprecedented journeys. For a few historic steps and heart stilling moments, Peter did the impossible. He defied every law of gravity and nature, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

When Peter saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, Lord, save me! Peter shifted his attention away from Jesus and toward the squall, and when he did, he sank like a brick in pond. Give the storm waters more attention than the Storm Walker, and get ready to do the same. Whether or not the storms come, we cannot choose. But we can choose where we focus during a storm. “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” Heb. 2:1. 

Do what it takes to keep your gaze on Jesus. Feed your fears, and your faith will starve. Feed your faith, and your fears will. Lam. 3:22-23 “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 storm didn’t cease. “Lord, save me!” Peter cried. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” Jesus could have stilled the storm hours earlier. But He didn’t. He wanted to teach the followers a lesson. Jesus could have calmed your storm long ago too. But he hasn’t.  Does he also want to teach you a lesson. Could that lesson read something like this, “Storms are not an option, but fear is?” 

His lesson is clear. He’s the commander of every storm. Are you scared in yours? Then stare at Him. Remember the words, “I am here."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Making a Memory in Memphis

I enjoy spending a day in Memphis and acting like tourist. We went with another couple downtown to take pictures and walk around. Beautiful day with temps in the seventies. 
Started off walking across the Mississippi River and back on the new walking bridge. I think a mile and half each way.

Then lunch at Flying Fish and walk about the Peabody. We saw a camera crew filming a reality show for Bravo. 

Next to a castle I have read about named Ashler Hall.

 It was once owned by a man Memphis knew well. Prince Mongo. He claims to be the ambassador of the planet of Zambodia and claims to be 333 years old.  He fits in fine in Memphis. Even ran for mayor and received votes. The castle is now empty and run down. The owner's brother was there and saw me taking pictures outside of the iron fence. He said you can come in for five minutes and opened the iron gates. I guess he was afraid I would get in those gates and take forever. I hurried and got some shots then he said, come in for 1 minute. Got a few shots inside. Very kind man.  

Next, we rode through Rhodes College Campus. Beautiful buildings for the very liberal elite. I dared my friend to jump out and say, "How about that Trump winning the election?" And then give a thumbs up. She wisely didn't take the bet.

This reminded me of myself.

Next we rode through National Cemetery. Realizing the next day was Veteran's Day, it was a sobering sight to see the lines of graves of those who bravely fought.
We ended the day at the famous Jerry's for a sno-cone that has ice cream mixed up. It was wonderful.
It was the end of a memory making day!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Today is Veteran's Day

National Cemetery in Memphis TN

Today is Veteran's Day
Yesterday we went to this cemetery looking for a friend's parents' graves. As we walked around, we remembered today is Veteran's Day. What a sobering moment it was to stand in this place and think of the sacrifices that were made for me and my family to be free today. 

This week we had the right to vote for leadership and today we have the right to voice our opinion. These graves mark the men and women who fought for that right and I am thankful. 

We are free today because of my Lord and veterans who fought for me. 
I love my country. 
God Bless America.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13
Song wrote by Keith Urban called "For You"
All I saw was smoke and fire I didn’t feel a thing
But suddenly I was rising higher
And I felt like I just made The biggest mistake
When I thought about my unborn child
When I thought about my wife
And the answer rang out clear
From somewhere up above
No greater gift has man Than to lay down his life for love
Maybe you don’t understand I don’t understand it all myself
But there’s a brother on my left and another on my right
And in his pocket just like mine
He’s got a photograph And they’re waiting for him back home
It’s weighing on my mind I’m not trying to be a hero
I don’t wanna die But right now in this moment, you don’t think twice
I wonder, would I give my life
Could I make that sacrifice?

Friday, October 21, 2016

West Tennesse in the Fall

Just some random pictures of fall days in Tennessee.
A couple of beautiful but entirely different mornings. First a clear morning with a colorful sunrise. Of course my dogs have to be right in the middle of wherever I am. 

Then another morning so foggy you couldn't see.  I went out with intentions of taking a picture of my horse running over the pond levee to the barn for their morning feed. But they were already at the barn waiting impatiently for me.
So what do I do? I got him and walked him to the other gate on the opposite side and waited for the run. It didn't take long and I am sure he was a little put out with me. He had to go all the way back to where he was just a minute ago!

The next two pictures were taken in the middle of the day. I was driving down a lonely stretch of backroads in the country and I looked and there was a T Rex eating vines in field. Actually it was Kudzu taken over like it usually does.

This picture is my two friends getting ride for a fall ride. 

And my last pictures are of a sunset over a cotton field. 

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Lost Puppy

There are a lot of tragic events that go on in the world today. So a puppy running away is a very small event. But if you are the owner, it is big to you. Our young neighbor, Lucy, bought a beautiful,six month old golden-doodle puppy. The first night, the dog slept in her bedroom being loved by a girl. But early the next morning her mom opened the door and the dog darted out and kept running. Her mom was unable to catch him and she and Lucy was heartbroken. 

Thus started nine days of neighbors and friends spotting the dog and trying to catch him. Each time he would run and hid in the woods. 

We would drive down the road looking and occasionally spot it. One neighbor sat out in the woods holding a hotdog hoping the smell would lure the hungry dog to her. She could see it in the woods with its tongue hanging out but couldn’t get close. They would set food out but to no avail.  I rode my horse through the woods and down the trails but saw no sign of him. 

Meanwhile Lucy was miserable. She would walk the roads shedding many tears. She told me she sat at the window with binoculars watching the fields. My heart broke for her.

After about a week, this six month puppy did an amazing thing. He had been hanging out about a quarter of a mile away and suddenly one night, Lucy looked out the window and he was sleeping outside her bedroom window. Now remember he had only spent one night there. When she tried to get it to come to her it ran again. Longing to go home but also afraid. Sounds like us Christians sometimes. Wanting to come to God but also afraid and staying in our old lifestyle. 

Several of us were praying so hard for this little dog and grieving owner. I would pray, "Jesus, let them see you through this puppy coming home.” It bothered me so much that this puppy was alone in the woods at night. We would find garbage on the road where someone had thrown trash out and he would get it for food. Lucy sat out a trap with food but it remained untouched. She had even got the owner of the puppy that was this dog’s brother out and they walked the fields with it.

On Sunday night (a week from when he ran away) I was coming in from church and spotted him down the road. I drove down there but he hit the woods and disappeared. 
Now these woods have a fenced highway bordering one side, road in front and huge ravine on another side so it is boxed in somewhat. I called Lucy and went home and changed clothes and got my two dogs and rode my bike down there. She and I and the dogs searched all the trails but all we got were mosquito bites.  Lucy was now buying McDonald hamburgers and using them as bait.  She walked the woods with a burger in her hand. 

The next day in the middle of the day I rode my bike past the area and here came Lucy out of the woods, sweating with bug bites all over her. My heart went out to her. I told her she had to go on and not let this consume her. She was doing everything she could. She and I both said we are praying so hard. While we were talking, we heard a dog bark, so we searched the woods again but again no puppy. 

This brings the story to day nine. Before I go on, let me say, my God is an awesome, powerful God with a tender heart. 

I have walked in the mornings at 6 AM for fifteen years now, maybe longer, with a couple of friends. Solved many problems and could solve world problems if they would listen to us. We were walking past Lucy’s house when I saw the dog up near the house just standing in the pasture. Then I saw Lucy easing around the house. The dog hesitated and thought about not running. Didn’t he know that food, protection, love were all waiting in open arms for him? Again like us Christians-- We can be dirty, tired, and lost and our Father is waiting with open arms for us. But sometimes we choose to run and stay in our wilderness.

The dog, which Lucy is calling Houdini by now, runs through the pasture toward the road where we are standing. I had my two dogs with me so I turned them loose to see if the puppy would go to them. Houdini stops and tries to hide. I went in the pasture and tried to corner him while my two friends guarded the road. We got close but then he ran past them to the woods where he could hide and feel safe. Instead of continuing our walk we were all determined to keep looking. I felt like the puppy was weak and we needed to push him. 

I took my dogs into the woods.  There were thoughts of snakes and ticks but I couldn’t dwell on that right now. The two friends watched the road so we would know he was still in there. You have heard of a prayer walk, well that is what we did. They prayed and watched and I prayed and walked. I made it all the way to the lake but saw nothing. The dogs would run ahead and I hoped they would flush him out. 

Finally I started the trail back to the road, and the dogs were ahead of me in the tall grass. Suddenly I heard a yelp. Praying it was the puppy, I hurried through the woods to the area where I had heard him.  My dogs were there but I couldn’t see the puppy. Then I turned and there, out on a log hanging over the twenty five foot ravine, was the puppy.
 (I had to go back later in the day to take pictures of that log!)

He had walked out on the rotten log and was hanging on with nowhere to go but straight down. There was nothing but air and a long fall beneath him. I tried to get my dogs back and they did so good and listened. Then I had to ease up to the log and had no choice but to get on it to get the puppy. Now, I don’t want this in any way to say I was brave or heroic. You have to understand this felt like such a God-thing. He trapped that puppy with no escape but death. He put him in the only area that I would be able to get it. As I got closer on the log to him, I reached out and grabbed his fur. Now he could have still fallen if he moved but he hunkered down and held on. I had to get my hands under and lift him. He is a half grown big dog so it wasn’t easy. But I was moving on adrenaline and excitement. I was able to gather him up and back off the log. A God thing. 

The feeling was the same as if you had almost had a bad wreck and you saw at the last second how God delivered you from a terrible accident. I was so grateful. I keep repeating, “God you are so good. Thank you, thank you. I am so glad You did this.” I was ecstatic. I had to walk through the woods and weeds to get to the road with him cradled in my arms. He relaxed and laid there so that helped, but I wasn’t letting go.

When I got to road and came out, my friend said she would have loved to have had a picture. I was smiling so big and cradling this dirty, wet, smelling puppy. Lucy had just left because she had to be somewhere and her mom was driving out heading to work. She was so excited and called Lucy who turned around and came home. It was a long walk to the house but I wouldn’t put him down. The funny part was my friend is not a dog person. But she grabbed the rear end to help carry him and we awkwardly headed to the house. When we got to porch, the mom said here is the cage but we said no, lets go in the house and close the door. I wasn’t taking a chance.   

We put him in cage inside and then Lucy come flying up. The look on her face said it all. She was so happy.
 I took my dogs home. They were tired but had fun rescuing. 

I have talked to her throughout the day and she went out and bought a harness, and flea soap. He was covered in ticks. 

Her last text stated that he starting to look better. What a sweet picture and story ending. 

When he was on that log it reminded me of the story in Luke of the lost sheep. Luke 15:4-7 “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.” 

Think about that. We are like Houdini and that lost lamb. Our Lord rejoices over that one person who had rejected Him, wandered in the wilderness and then when we turn back, He rejoices and loves on us and carries us.

Thank you, God. You are a good, good Father.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Road Trip to Amish Community

I love a road trip, especially when I have the camera sitting in my lap. It means our trip will involve me saying, "Stop, wait, back up a little, I'm getting out." 
This trip was to Pontotoc Mississippi and we went to the Amish Community in Randolph.

I love everything about riding down those roads. The beautiful white houses and red barns with clothes hanging on the lines. Young kids cutting grass with a horse and sickle. Buggy and horses everywhere.

There are signs at the roads telling what they sell. I have bought horse supplies on a previous trip at one house that sold saddles and such. This trip we bought homemade squash pickles, green tomato pickles, watermelon and a large jar of honey. Last time we bought honey with the comb in it. Very good. I wanted to buy sorghum. We went to the house where they were making it on our last trip but they were out. 

It is August now and the heat has been unbearable. High 90's and 100's. Yet these people are without electricity and are out working in heavy dark clothes.  

We were told at one house that there was an auction going on at one of the houses where the family was moving out. As we pulled up I realized the parking was different than most parking lots!

 The auction was so interested. I could stayed all day. Old sewing machines, wagons, chairs, and more. And the Amish all came to shop and sell.   

I hope to make another trip soon. Maybe on a cooler day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Heal our Land

Daniel 10:“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days.

When the prophet Daniel didn’t get an answer to his prayer he withdrew for three weeks of fasting and spiritual discipline puzzled by the silence of God. Finally an angel explained the battle going on with the king of Persia. What seemed like to Daniel like a case of unanswered prayer had, in ways hidden to him sparked a battle among unseen combatants in the spiritual realm. Prayer is our strongest weapon agains invisible forces. (Philip Yancey)

Paul said in Eph. 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ps. 106:23  “So He said He would destroy them had not Moses stood in the breach before him.”
God says he would have destroyed the people had it not been for Moses interceding through prayer for them.

Ezekiel 22:30 “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it but I found none.”

Help us Lord to stand firm and stand in the gap for our land and our families. Help us to be that man God is looking for.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

How Much Longer Lord

David, being chased by Saul,  wrote Ps. 13, "How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?"

(From David Jeremiah's book, "Bend in the Road") Like a child in the backseat on a long trip, we call out the same questions to God, "How much longer, Lord? How much farther? Are we there yet? 

There are some prayers that God does not grant either the first or second or third time. Often time, this delay will keep us in a state of humility and make us realize the value of grace.

David finish this Psalm with this, "But I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me."

When you can't feel His hand, Trust His heart.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

I Am Weak But He Is Strong

I bear willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop. I sometimes question whether I have ever learned anything except through the rod. When my schoolroom is darkened, I see most. —Charles Spurgeon

1 Peter 1:6-7, 10 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The weaker we are the stronger His grace is revealed, Or to put it another way, “When this little light of mine becomes dimmer, His great floodlight shines all the more brightly." Pain offers us great wealth. When life wounds us and we are in deep pain, we instinctively cry out to God. Life is difficult and difficulty is the only path to wisdom. Pain draws us to God’s Word.—David Jeremiah.

Tried for a season, pure for eternity, Warren Wiersbe.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Bend in the Road

Sometimes we come to life's crossroads
And we view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision
And he knows that it's only a bend-

The road will go on and get smoother
And after we've stopped for a rest,
The path that lies hidden beyond us
Is often the path that is best.

So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load
And have faith in a brighter tomorrow-
You've just come to a bend in the road.

Helen Steiner Rice.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Horse Show

Had a wonderful time at the Germantown Classic Horse Show. Beautiful horses and fun to watch. I went to see a friend of mine and his wife compete in the Speed Racking Class but you have to sit through many classes before their time. Here is the Grand Master leading the stick horse race.
 Also the beautiful opening act with the girls and their flag presentation. 

Here is my friend on his horse, Fury. He was flying and put on a great show. He came in third in a group of 12. Great performance.
 Intense in their job!

 She did wonderful on her first time in the ring in a long time.

 Beautiful Horse.
 I was just going to go one night but ended up going all three. I was afraid I would miss something.
Can't wait to next year!