Here I Am

Frankly, I am torn, because I have so many thoughts running through my head about which I could write. I know many have commented that last week’s blog was a powerful call to action. Afterward, I wrote a response to one of my friends, and I may include that response stripped of the name, in a future blog. Not this week, though.  Jeremiah 7 is for another week. My poor little brain feels so overwhelmed with all I could write about….

Recently, I had the great fortune to pray with my friend Jenny, who is a pastor. (Pastors who are friends = four.)  Quite out of the blue, she reached out to me last Friday, suggesting that she come to pray with me. Her entreaty was timely.  We met Saturday morning at 11:00 here at my house.  Jenny and I prayed so long even Georgia, who is not fond of people came out to see that what was up.  So unusual. Jenny’s appearance was quite spur of the moment. Indeed, in a moment of discouragement, I had asked the Lord to show Himself to me.  He sent Jenny.  I asked Him again on Sunday and Daniel and Carol, friends whom I had met three years ago here on the island, appeared at the door Monday morning. Knock, knock? Having sequestered herself in a specially fashioned hole on the underside of the box spring upon their arrival for dinner, Georgia reappeared later that evening while Daniel and I shared some of Carol’s homemade lasagna and garlic bread. I only mention her brief appearance, because Georgia is so very frightened of strangers. Leviticus 25:55: 55 I am the Lord your God who brought your Siamese cat out from under the bed. Hey, a little biblically inspired humor never hurt anyone….

I am at a place in my spiritual journey, not where I question the work of the Lord, but the hearts and intentions of men.  Daily. Jenny discussed her own struggles in preaching the Gospel. She taught; she preached: she did all to further God’s kingdom, but was anyone really listening? Was she making a difference?  (Not that I would claim to be pastor.)  She said early on to feel isolated and powerless is part of spiritual growth. After all, we cannot force people to accept the Lord. Is that not  what ISIS does?

She briefly related the story of Jesus’ journey to pray in solitude, which he undertook so often. Who can forget this: Mathew 13:22-23: 22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

This passage comes just before Jesus walks on water and saves Peter from drowning. Interestingly, also in this passage, the Lord tested Peter’s faith: Mathew 13:29-30: 29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

Prayer in solitude was how the Lord prepared Jesus for what came next. Gini exuded the confidence that such is what the Lord is doing with me. O. K. Lord, You have my attention.  Isaiah 6:8: Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

As I tell you my story, I wish not to draw attention to myself, but to reassure those of you who might feel similarly, “Leave to thy God to order and provide; In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.” So say the words of the second verse of the wonderful hymn “Be Still My Soul.”

What, if anything is this mission God has for me? For any one of us? Jesus teaches if we follow him we can perform miracles: John 14:12: 12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. Most people when they think of miracles, they think of big miracles: raising the dead, healing the sick or giving sight to the blind. I would submit to you humbly our job on this earth is not to perform the great miracles, but the small ones: talking a despondent friend out of harming herself, turning an alcoholic away from a life in the bottle, helping an Alzheimer’s patient find the words to express himself, leading the Lord’s children back to His teachings, His house one by one.

As I prepared to write to you today, I thought, “What shall I write? It’s too late. I am tired.” But earlier this week I pondered this question; “What does it mean to be a Christian?” First and foremost to be a Christian, you must accept the divinity of Christ. If you cannot do that, you may adhere to some of Christ’s teachings, but you’re not a Christian. You say, “Now wait a minute….Who do you think you are telling me that I am not a Christian?” O. K. If you follow Marin Luther King’s teachings to the letter, does that make you a Kingsman? Is there a difference between Christ and any other man with a spiritual underpinning? Yes. Divinity.

So I leave you as the Lord has left me: meditating on the word divinity: The divinity of Christ.

If I am to undertake the journey, I must accept without question or hesitation the divinity of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. John 6:8… Here am I; send me.

Sandman

 

(Photo credit: Bushko Oleksandr/Shutterstock)

David and Goliath

shutterstock_62045947-3874497314-1528907685357.jpg
Photo Credit: Anelina/Shutterstock

I feel that I am living in a time of manifest, engulfing evil.  Not that I’ve studied him, but the Old Testament god Moloch comes to mind. Rampaging, burning everything in his path, mercilessly devouring sacrificed children. Daily in the Middle East ISIS sacrifices Christian children, as well as those of other faiths. Yet the people in the West do not see it, or they simply turn their heads. We Americans, I would venture to say, are momentarily sun-blinded by our cell phones, our iPads, our Facebook friends. Every day, I ask, “Where is the outrage? Who stands against this in church?” At times, I feel like a voice screaming in the wilderness.  I hear the trees move above me, their branches scraping, the rushing wind, I even hear my own footfalls on the leaves. I walk the path God entreats, but where is my fellow man, my fellow Christian? When will he save his brother?

Tonight, I stood on a stile on south beach by the club facing the southwest. The wind must have been blowing at least 25 to 30 knots. I thought of walking the beach around to the next beach access, but then I realized my cries for help, if such were uttered, would go unheard, die unanswered. My voice would carry only into the next breaking wave, then to be scattered with bits of blowing foam on the beach and into other turbulent breakers. As it was just twilight, I thought I would save my trek for a calmer day.  Sound preparation in body, mind and spirit is the steel of valor.

I am thinking of one man in particular as I write this blog.

This, I reflect, is the year of cancer. Almost everyone whom I know has either had it, or has it, or is in the process of vanquishing it.  One cruel, wily, often merciless opponent.  Cancer killed my father and my best friend, Dusty.  I never really understood the pain until my Aunt Jo Anne had suffered from metastatic breast cancer which resurfaced in her spine. She was brave, even on morphine, she was oh so brave. Like many who have endured radiation and chemotherapy, she had trouble eating. Food was tasteless to her and she, in particular, couldn’t stand the smell of turkey—too much like her chemotherapy said she, but she did love a tasty, tender filet mignon!

What of this cancer? This Dad killer, this Dusty killer? I pray about it. I pray for Jesus healing hands to rest upon the shoulders of those afflicted whom I know. I have even asked God if I could trade places with some of my friends, if I suspected they had it. When you love someone that much, you’ll give your life for them.  I remember praying that prayer once for a girlfriend and minutes later almost choking on my lunch.  It was as if God were testing me, saying, “Did you mean what you said?  Never forget that I, Lord of all lords, King of all kings, can seize your life from you in an instant.”

As I think of this latest friend, a Marine’s marine and Vietnam vet who now struggles with Agent Orange-induced cancer, I am 700 miles away powerless to help him. Many days I have pondered tactics: “What other treatments should he consider? What other courses of action? “When should I go to see him?” I have beseeched the Lord on his behalf, but no miracle prayed for miracle has presented.   The only thought I have over and over is this: “The Lord often saves his bravest warriors for his toughest battles.” If you knew my friend, you’d know this fits him to a T. I have seen this with my father, with Dusty, with Aunt Jo Anne, with Dana and many, many others.  Some, like my dear friend Marie, have beaten cancer, this scoundrel, this wrecker of lives at least three times. I have often wondered how she did it:  Special DNA? Tough German stock? (Sorry P. C. zealots, you’ll find none your free speech suicide pills here.)  Bravest warriors? Toughest battles?  I think back to the story of David. David and Goliath which I reread again today.

Goliath strode onto the battlefield supremely confident of his power, his prowess in battle. Heavily armored, he terrified the Israelites, 1 Samuel 17:11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.  David came as a hum ble servant of the Lord: 1 Samuel 17: 26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? For the Lord had prepared him well for this day, this battle, unpretentious shepherd though he was. The Lord had prepared him well. He had fought both a lion and a bear to free a purloined lamb from their clutches: 1 Samuel 17: 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David displayed the confidence of the Lord’s will with him such that Saul allowed him to go into battle to save the Israelites from certain slavery and servitude under the Philistines.  Think of it: the once mighty, now fearful king trusted the fate of his kingdom with a mere shepherd: 1 Samuel 17: 37 David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. David invoking the spirit of the Lord, together with his “sling” and his “five smooth stones” confronted Goliath using even the same language that Goliath had in describing what would be his end. In that instant, I can hear the subtext—David in effect saying, “I am your equal”: 1 Samuel 17: 45…I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 1 Samuel 17: 46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

So today I think of my friend battling cancer and heart disease with “his sling” and his “five smooth stones,” the love and grace of the Lord, Jesus miraculous power to heal which assured David victory against Goliath on the battlefield: 1 Samuel 17:  47 … the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands. My friend must summon the same courage David drew upon if he is to be victorious. In this last valiant effort, twirling the sling of the might of the Lord above his head, he must draw upon the exquisite power of the Holy Spirit with steadfast aim to lead him to sure victory.

As I reflect upon the cancer that threatens to take my friend from me, the Iran nuclear deal’s passage in the Senate this afternoon, the murderous wrath of ISIS and even the anniversary of 911 attacks here in the United States and abroad, I humbly ask the Lord to confer upon my great friend and also upon me the courage of David knowing “1 Samuel 17: 47…the battle is the Lord’s.”

Sandman

Thoughts on September 11

As we all think back to the morning of September 11, 2001 mourning those whom we lost that day as well as those whom we have lost in other terror attacks, let us not forget that whether we like it or not and whether our leaders have the courage to admit it to us or not, we are at war with radical Islam and radical Islam is at war with us. We did not initiate this conflict. While we seek peace, we live in a world where jihadists who have made clear their intentions seek to impose a caliphate upon the entire world. Therefore, let us not shirk from the duty of defending ourselves, our Constitution and Judaeo-christian our way of life.  To quote George W. Bush whose words that day stand after any attack: “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.”

Herewith one of my favorite passages from the Bible which comes from Ephesians 6:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints[.]

Though we mourn, we must remain vigilant, ready to answer the Lord’s call.

Sandman

 

(Photo credit: Wantanddo/Shutterstock)

Unsung Heroes

shutterstock_649754650
Photo credit:: KelseyJ/Shuttesrstock

Vietnam’s been on my mind lately.  I’d like to dedicate this blog to every serviceman, and I daresay woman who ever fought or served in Vietnam.

Dear Jane,

Thinking of you as you prepare to go to the oncologist’s office.  I know tomorrow is going to be especially hard, as all may learn of an unfortunate, definitive diagnoses. I pray that it is not what I think it is.  Please know that I’m with you in spirit. I’ve thought of your husband John constantly for the past 48 hours, particularly of his service in Vietnam and how it changed the course of his life.

The Vietnam generation is truly one of the “unsung hero.”  Foolishly, as a country, we gave back every inch of ground our soldiers ever won. We did not celebrate them when they got home—no parades, only pickets. We denied them certain victory which would’ve been ours, and, unwittingly, we poisoned them. Despite all of this, men like John, each a hero in his own right, came home to resolutely, cheerfully raise his family and to build his life, to touch so many of us, to inspire us to be our best, to never give up, to carry freedom’s torch in our own way to the next generation. Whether he ran a grocery store or a multinational corporation, we couldn’t have done it without him.  Were it not for his counsel on many an occasion, his embodiment of courage, some of us might not be here.

“Thank you for your service” just doesn’t do it. John, I fear, will need a divine miracle. This Marine’s Marine who fearlessly walked on point through the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam, who survived the Tet Offensive, will face tomorrow an even greater foe than the Viet Cong or the North Vietnamese, and he will need every ounce of strength and will he can muster to win the fight. I’m with you John!

I’ll pray for him and I hope everyone else who reads my blog will do so as well.

Love,

Sandy

Sandman

 

(Photo credit of Vietnam Hat: ThomasPhoto/Shutterstock)

Iran Nuclear Deal

Lord hear our prayers!

Tomorrow, as our leaders gather in Washington, D. C.

to deliberate over the shame known as Iran nuclear deal,

we humbly ask that you instruct them to do what is right:

to do what is right for Israel, to do what is right for America,

to do what is right for the free world, for all who love liberty.

Bestow sight upon the blind, humility upon the vain,

reason upon the irresolute, wisdom upon the imprudent.

Unite us as one people against our common enemy:

the henchmen of tyranny, spreaders of slavery, suffering,

vile defilers of our Christian faith.

Lord, have mercy upon us!

Know this rampaging evil engulfing the whole world

reflects not who we desire to be, reflects not Christ’s teachings.

Foolish, we freely admit we have not acted soon enough,

not comprehending the full fruits of the error of our ways,

the same lesson unlearned in the Garden.

We who love You—we who know Your son Jesus died on the cross

that we might have eternal life—

we ask for Your blessing, Your guidance in this—our darkest hour.

Steel us anew that we might hone the sword of Your wrath to defeat our foe.

May we raise the cross once again in glory!

In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Amen.

Sandmant

 

(Photo credit-Chess: Sergey Peterman/Shutterstock)

Prayer for Courage, Strength and Wisdom

Almighty eternal Father!
As I pass through this life,
I humbly ask for three gifts:
Strength, courage and wisdom:
Strength that I may be victorious over any and all challenges set before me.
Courage that I may press onward resolutely despite the odds.
Wisdom’s guidance in all my endeavors,
whether they bring me good fortune or ill,
such that I may learn their lessons.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
Amen.

Sandman

 

(Photo credit Praying Man-Halfpoint/Shutterstock)