Gotta Have A Drink!

“We drink from the Niagara Falls of grace!”, said our pastor a few weeks ago.

If you have been to Niagara Falls, you know the feeling of its power!  When I was there years ago, it almost made me feel like I could be pulled into it!  Imagine trying to get a drink of it into a cup or into your mouth as at a drinking fountain.  It would be impossible, it would be fatal.

By the means of our individual faith in Jesus Christ as our savior, God has rendered upon us the verdict of “not guilty”.  He has declared that we are righteous, no longer in jeopardy of His condemnation because His Son took that in our place.  Because the issue of sin has been dealt with (to God’s satisfaction) in judgment by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, God is free to lavish His blessing upon us.  He now makes each of us who believe in Jesus Christ, stand before Him in joyful confidence right smack in the powerful flowing force of His loving kindness! Substitute the mental picture of the water of Niagara Falls with a picture of God’s grace as the waterfall.  Imagine being surrounded by it, engulfed in it, submerged in its infinite depths; always and forevermore caressed, cared for and blessed by the immensity of His favor upon you as an individual person!

This kindness of God is called grace and it is defined as the “absolute freeness of the loving-kindness of God to men, finding its only motive in the bounty and freeheartedness of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor”.

Heb 4: 16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

I am so grateful for, and so in need of, the grace of God which He lavishes upon me at all times!  But sometimes I feel my need more desperately than at other times.  These acute personal “times of need” are times when I am physically weak or ill; when I am facing a pressure situation or a circumstance that is confusing or which cannot be changed; when I am grieving, fearful, worried and so on.

This verse encourages us to approach God with all the “stuff” that our lives are made up of.  The compassion of His heart toward us is called mercy and is defined as, “a special and immediate regard to the misery which is the consequence of sins…extended for the alleviation of (those) consequences”.  He wants us to run to Him, dump our concerns in His lap, and feel the gushing of His powerful grace!

Thinking of the waterfall as the immense never ending supply of God’s grace, we can bring to mind again that His grace is always more than we can possibly make use of!  A moment can be taken at any time and in any situation to ponder the provision, power and scope of it; and to “drink in” it’s adequacy for our constant times of need.  Its the best drink of all!!

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Time passes faster than it seems it can!  The past months have flown for us as we have tried to be available for Roy’s sister Barbara to assist her with medical issues and lack of mobility.  Toward that end, we knew we had to make some alterations both inside and outside our home.  At first we had big ideas about adding on a whole apartment for her, but ended up scaling that back to the minimum needed in order for her to come live with us.

We turned two bedrooms into one large room so that she had a bedroom, sitting area, computer area, and craft work area all in one room.  A walk-in shower had to replace the bath tub.  An outdoor ramp and larger driveway made getting in and out of the house easy for her using either a wheel chair or her mobility scooter.

Just as we began moving forward with these changes, I awoke one morning with numbish tingling feet.  The strange sensation progressed over the next week up my legs and lower torso almost to my waist.  In an effort to maintain my balance on these strange feeling feet, I began to walk with an unsteady gait and soon took to using a cane.

I began to wonder just what was up?   This isn’t a good time for this to happen, God!  I mean, we are needing to help Barb!  This time isn’t about me, it’s about what she needs!  Even as such thoughts rattled around in my head, I was not alarmed or too concerned.  I was able calmly, if somewhat slower, to go about the things that needed to be done.  Over the 59 years since I became a christian, I have slowly learned that my best laid plans are pretty much different from the Lord’s perfect plans!  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord”. (Isaiah 55:8)  His ways of doing things are very high above mine, and I take Him at His word with confidence.

100_2649-cropped-cSo it came to pass that over the Thanksgiving week a year ago, Roy and our son Vernon moved Barb and part of her things from Phoenix into our home.  It was a huge adjustment for us all, but especially for her as she had to let go of her home place, most of her belongings and the last bits of her independence.

The best thing about that last month of 2013 for us all, was that Barb was with us here for Christmas.  With us and with our children and grand children!  She spent hours pouring over mail order catalog to order gifts for everyone.  I like to think it helped ease her transition into our family and into her new circumstances.

Barbara passed away in September, which I will tell you more about later.  Meanwhile, some people have so much to give to others and Barb was one of those people.  The abilities of all kinds that the Lord God heaped upon her have blessed so many.  I would like to share more about her with you and will start tonight with one of her many writings:


I do not know what mysteries lie in my future way;
I cannot plan for any step beyond that of today.

The past has given many days of dark uncertainty,
But always through them, into light, my Lord has guided me.

I see no reason why today should cause me any fear
Although the way ahead of me is far from being clear.

I do not need to figure out my plan of life, nor try
To steer my course by my own thought, my will to satisfy.

I rest secure in God’s great love, His purpose for today.
I do not plan for any steps, for HE shall lead the way.

— By Barbara K. Smith

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Heads Up!

It is that time of year when we are in between two anniversary dates, Tait’s birthday and Stephen’s death date.   It is a time when my mind goes often to our two boys who have gone on ahead of us into eternity and the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.     I have decided to copy in another passage from my autobiography about that instead of writing something new.

“…., two years past Tait’s home going, I sent this e-mail to a few friends and relatives:

April 20, 2004

“My heart is full tonight of the grace of God directed toward me, as today I have had a keen sense of the loss of our dear son Tait just two years ago. Yesterday was the second anniversary. I had forgotten it completely, which I think is a good thing that my emotions not be dictated by a calendar on the wall, but then I received an e-mail from a relative about it.

In addition, in cleaning out drawers today, I came upon a photo of Tait as a toddler and lost my composure completely for the rest of the afternoon. However, a devotional booklet had such a profound text of scripture for today. 2 Corinthians 4: 17 which says,weights 1

“for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

It is the first time I have thought of my grief as being a “light” thing. And to contrast so sharply the glory of God that we have even now in our life in Christ and will have for all eternity in heaven with Him.

To think of that glory as a thing of substance with a weight so great as to press upon me so much more greatly than the pressure of the painful affliction that grief has been to my soul! The comparison is mind-boggling! It has lifted me up in praise toward the One who loves my soul and gives me His own life! How can I keep from praising Him?

My grief is but for a moment, from God’s perspective outside of time. But the glory that is mine and will continue to be mine, because I belong to Christ, is eternal!

My soul is at peace again.”

anvil 2Of course, we must look UP in order to see the weight of glory that God gives to us, it is not visible in this world!


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The Real Beginning

Maybe it is time I gave you the story of my spiritual rebirth at the age of 12, in 1955.  It began when I found a Bible in an old trunk and began to read alone in my room every night at bedtime.  The following text is taken from my autobiography, chapter 3, page 27.
“As I read in the New Testament about Jesus, I thought constantly about Him. I could not stop being full of
a feeling that He was right next to me at all times!  I began to pray hesitantly; awestruck by a growing
realization that Jesus had died for me personally!  Mixed with that was an agony of guilt as I thought of
how sinful I was. Over and over I told God about my sins and asked Him to save me. I cried with grief
over my sins and guilt. I thanked Him for Jesus and told Him that I knew Jesus had died for me. I do not
know how long I went back and forth between sadness about my guilt and joy that God cared about me,
whether it was days or weeks. But a time came when my heart was at peace. At the young age of 12, I
knew without a doubt that God had done something in me, that somehow I was different!
This spiritual experience was a thing I could not explain, neither the words nor the understanding were in
me to express what had happened. My heart was constantly filled with a great wonder that I had not ever
known before. The following chorus of an old song expresses what I was feeling:
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul, –
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me – Thy great salvation so rich and free.
Author unknown
What I had experienced is expressed in the Bible in Hebrews 6 verse 11 which says, “he that cometh to
God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” This is what had
happened to me, I had believed that God exists, that He IS. As evidenced by my constant reading and
cries to Him, I had also believed that He would ANSWER me.
The idea of a reward was not really a concept in my head. I just had a desperate need for knowledge of
Him as a Person. My prayers were cries for Him. I wanted escape from the guilt that I felt as an imperfect
person who could not help but sin.  In other words, I could not help but remain imperfect. Who is God?
What does He think? What does He think of me?  What was I seeking? To find out who God is, for sure. To be free of guilt? To escape punishment? No doubt all of these were in my heart.
God is so much more than what we think He is! He is a rewarder! He goes beyond our expectations, to
show us His glory and make us His own when we long after Him with our whole beings. God rewarded
me then by giving me some knowledge of Himself in the form of a keen awareness of His presence in the
world and in my life. I thought about Him constantly!
Thus it was that I began on the REAL journey of my life. A journey with God, a daily process of getting to
know Him better all the time as I continued to read the Bible, and a process of growing up in the life of
Christ which He had put within me. I have written these comments now, many years later from the
perspective of having grown much in understanding of spiritual truths as they are stated in the Bible.
This little poem well states my position spiritually at that time:
And what shall be the ending?
I’ve touched the fringe
of what Thou art,
And Thou hast begun to show me,
Lord, that is all transcending;
I’m standing on the rippling shore;
Love’s ocean depths are all before.”
           –Miles J. Stanford (Imag-ination 14 page 31 — emphasis mine)

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Thinking About Details

Of late my thoughts have turned repeatedly to a particular couple of verses in the Word of God.  The first being Luke 12:15b, “for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth”.stuff 1

Our house is full of stuff that we “possess” and since Roy returned from Phoenix recently with a truck of stuff from his sister’s house, our house is now over stuffed!  And there is more yet to come as Barbara still has furniture and other items in her house, which she cannot use while in a group home.

Not that everything has to be kept, but its hard to part with our stuff, so she is keeping more than she will probably use in the future if her living situation changes again at some point.  It is her stuff, not mine, and she needs to have the privilege to keep it or get rid of it as she sees fit.  In time she will part with more.  But that time is not yet.  Meanwhile, we are custodians of that which is important to someone else.

Along with these details of life, there is some compression of nerves in my spine, which hasbalance 1 made my feet numb-ish and my legs weaker.  It makes for unsteady walking and less stamina to function.

The first verse reminds me that the stuff which surrounds us and the state of my ability to function normally, are not the things that make up my life.  None of them are the purpose, nor the meaning, nor the fullness of my life.

Not too far behind on the heels of the first verse, comes another from the Word of God for me to think about.  Colossians 3:3 says, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with  Christ in God.”

Now here is a thing!! I am dead God tells me, yet I live here among the stuff, daily doing this or that with it.  But my real life is not here, it is hidden where I cannot yet see it!  I cannot measure the fullness of it’s purpose.  I cannot know it’s total meaning.  I cannot tell it’s full extent.

My life is where Christ is, there in the full majesty, glory, and huge vastness of the Godhead!  God has hidden it safely there because I am not yet what I will be when I finally go to be with Christ in that place where He is with the Father.  I am not yet ready to behold the complete wonder of who I am in my life in Christ.  But I will be soon!

There is a great revealing yet to come in my future, in our futures actually, the full revealing of who we have been made to be in Christ!  The “stuff” and ailments that make up our daily lives now, are just useful items in the preparation that God is doing to get us ready for joining Him one day soon.

scales 1How wonderful that God has given us the Holy Spirit to bring to our minds at any time, the things we have read in the Bible, thus strengthening us to go confidently on day by day, because we know that all the details of this life have great meaning in God’s scale of values!  He wastes nothing, not the tiniest detail of our lives in His program of growing us up into the image of Christ!

Dear friends, tonight as I send this out to you on this blog, my prayers for you go out too.  May you find cause for rejoicing in the Lord as you think about the details of your life, and that “hidden” life which you have in Christ!

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Time Out

Years ago we had a street like this near here.  When the kids were small they loved going ups and downs 4on the “roller coaster road”, squealing for Daddy to drive faster!  Now a days it’s not as fun a road since it has been widened and even leveled somewhat.

When I found this picture on Google Images today, I said to myself, “my life has been just like that road lately!”  I’m sure you can identify your life with this road too!  In fact most of life is like this, to some extent or another.  Maybe the hills are not so steep at times, then at other times maybe they seem as steep as Colorado’s mountains!

Being a blogger, such as I am, I feel it my duty to post something every now and then.  Lately, however, inspiration has been sorely lacking!  Nothing grabs me as a thing worth writing about.  So I feel a need to offer an explanation for my lack of posts and for my rotten attitudes of late, if you have been near enough to me to notice them.

Stress is a word we hear all the time these days.  We are encouraged to reduce the amount we have, and are told that we need a break.  I do not remember hearing the word “stress” when I was a kid, yet my parents and grandparents lived with some situations that must have been extremely stressful for them.

Life happens, ya know?  Here’s a run down on what’s been happening here for us:  our stress 3twenty year old grand daughter Madeline has moved in with us from Louisiana;  Roy has been in Phoenix assisting his sister Barbara again for the past five weeks;  we have been in the earliest stages of plans to move Barbara here to live with us, which probably means adding on to the house;  our daughter Ruth has moved out of our house to her own apartment, which is a real joy for her but a loss for me as she makes me laugh all the time.  Okay, those are the “biggies” of daily life at our house!  Color me “stressed”.

I write a lot on here about trusting the Lord and “thinking on things above”, as God’s word encourages us to do.  There are times, however, that I must admit that it’s not all that easy to focus my mind on the wonderful things God has in place for us in heaven that he poursstress 4 out for us to make use of in facing the stresses of daily life.  It can feel down right scary sometimes if circumstances deteriorate or are very uncertain.  Then again, it can be scary to feel like you are coming apart no matter how constantly you call the promises of God to your mind.  That’s what has happened to me lately.  For several weeks I felt like a pressure cooker slowly building inside, about to blow my gasket!  I was jittery inside, my hands were shaky, and I constantly felt irritable and easily confused.

But God has “supplied all my need” a few days ago in the form of a clinic visit for a routine check up for my XLH.  My blood pressure was WAY up where it shouldn’t otta be!  Now, they say hypertension is the silent killer, but some of us are sensitive to it in that we don’t feel very well when our blood pressure is up.  I am so grateful for that clinic visit and for my good doctor!  He changed the dosage of my medication for hypertension, my blood pressure has slowly dropped, and I am now feeling much more like a regular person!  Moral of the story for me is, check your blood pressure more often!

Moral of the story for us all is:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths”. Proverbs 3: 5 and 6.  Plus take care of your health!


And if someone offers to put a pizza in the oven for dinner, let him!

Thanks, Vernon!!

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For The Joy Set Before Him, part 4

  1. We have now been made to walk in spiritual light rather than in our former spiritual walk in darkness 1darkness – I John 1:7 and I Peter 2:9.
  2. We have been made victorious, we are triumphant – 2 Corinthians 2:14
  3. We have been given the joy Christ has, a joy sourced in Him.  It is not from within ourselves nor is it the kind of joy anything in this world can give us.  John 17:13
  4. We have received constant access to God’s throne that we may be able to speak to him at any time.  I John 5:14 and 15, Ephesians 2:18 and 3:12.
  5. We have been made priests. Priests in the Old Testament offered sacrifices of praise, which we now do with the words from our mouths.  They went before God on the behalf of the people and we have the privilege of doing this too when we are praying – I Peter 2: 5 and 9.
  6. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation, so that others around us may be brought into fellowship with God just as we have been. – 2 Corinthians 5:19.
  7. epistle written 1We have become a letter about Christ that others can read as they observe our lives – 2 Corinthians 3: 2 and 3.
  8. We have been invited to receive the grace of God constantly to meet every need throughout our entire lives. – Hebrews 4: 15 and 16.
  9. We have been given spiritual gifts so that we can minister to each other in the church in order that we all grow in Christ – I Peter 4:10, Ephesians 4: 11 to 13.
  10. We have the privilege of constant cleansing of personal daily sins – I John 1:9.
  11. Christ can now live his life through us – Galatians 2:20 and 4:19.                                          lists 3
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