Friday, August 31, 2012

Purposefully Listening


Her hand wiped the table clean as if directing the music of her praise song, her vocal statement uttered to herself--but purposefully out loud to bring her morning worship to the Lord.  She caught my attention immediately and I listened--purposefully.

"Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus.
You can have all the world,
But give me Jesus."
We (sister and I), sat in the self-serve breakfast area of the hotel, after gathering our meal choices, a freshly-made waffle, the butter pooling in grid pockets, bacon curling around the plate and the coffee awakening us to the day. Soon enough, this WOULD be a day to reflect on generations past.
Staying over night in a town called Springerville; it is just outside of another town we planned on heading out to after checking out. That town, my grandfather's birthplace and that of his father and his father's father, awaited our discovery. It is called St. John. in the state of Arizona.
"I like your song," I said. She looked up at me and smiled as she contined to work.
A middle-aged man came into the dining room; a man she obviously knew and began to chit-chat with. My sister and I eavesdropped on their playful banter.
He finished his quick meal then left after a hug and good-bye words. She resumed her duties and her singing--a different tune, but one I knew as well continuing to give praise to her Lord while maintaining her work area, servicing her guests.
Such peace I began to feel as I listened to her soft worship.
"I know that song too," I said. She then came over to our table as I continued to sing some of the lyrics with her.
"Was that the owner of the hotel?" I inquired.
"Oh no. He works for the railroad. He always stays here."  (long pause). He almost died last year...his heart."
She stopped again and looked at me, resumed her singing. This third song surprisingly contemporary for this older saint. She continued to stand in front of our table, apron tied crisp around her waist; her years neatly laid out on her thankful face. And she began to sing:

I looked over at my sis as tears naturally began to well up.

"This song means a lot to us, it's special to my sister," Lauren said.

The waitress, she stops singing, folds her hands in front of her and looks at me as if searching for my own truth.

She speaks: "You are recovering, aren't you." (It was a statement, not a question).

"Yes," I said. And I knew what she meant as all three of us began to sing the chorus again, a dream of Heaven and eternity.

"I have a son in Heaven. It's been five years."

She cupped her hands over mine, continuing to sing, lavishing her words and her quiet confidence in her Lord.


"Wow, that was wierd," Lauren would say as we headed out.

"These things happen to me a lot. You know. I write about it. This time, God showed up to both of us. You experienced this blessing with me! How cool is that! Sometimes, God is not exclusive. I think this was more for you."

Driving to St. John forty minutes down the road, we'd find ourselves later standing in an antiquated cemetary among numerous grave markers embellished with my family name, listening to thunder and lightening cracking the dark, ominous sky.  (This story to be cont.).

No Lord, I could never imagine what amazing blessings You pour out to me, even while sitting in a small hotel, in an out of the way town, by perfect strangers. (or walking the streets of Flagstaff). These things have an eternal meaning, for You purposed us to reflect Your glory here and I have met your servants along the way. Thank you for singing waitresses and for giving me glimpses of Your Glory. Amen.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Red -Bearded Blessing

Hebrews 1:14 (NAS) Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

A leisurely stroll on vacation, a walk of discovery through an artsy old section of a college town, vibrant with youth, trendy eateries and other shopping; God chose to reach His arms out and give me a hug this evening. I just love when He does that! 

Stopped at a corner, along with my sister, we chose our direction, straight ahead while waiting for the light to change. Behind me, I glanced at three young men sitting against the wall, their musical instruments twanging and strumming, piping and perpetuating income as the open guitar case captured lose change.

The middle guy caught my eye. He had an untrimmed reddish beard, and his framed face was topped by a cap with the same color hair sprouting out all sides.  The other two musicians appeared a little more “presentable”, (whatever that means). All were smiling, happy, as Mr. Redbeard shouted out to me.


“Hey, (as he looked right at me) what’s your favorite song?”  (no breath, no answer from me because time stood still). My sister turns her head and looks as he answers for me.

“Oh, I know.”  He begins to sing and his two partners on either side accompany him.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see. My chains are gone. I’ve been set free. My God, My Savior, has ransomed me.”

The light changed and my sister wanted to fly across that street.

“Wait, I said, I’m not leaving until they are finished singing.”

I hunched down in front of him and placed a few dollars in his guitar case. 

 “Thank you,” I said as our eyes met again. “That IS my favorite song. It is the last song, last words my son sang to me before he died and went to be with Jesus five years ago.”

“Be Blessed”, he said, with a huge grin surrounded by his reddish beard.

My sister and I continued to walk up the street, though we changed our original direction. Overwhelmed with joy, we didn’t get far before I needed to go back. I wanted to take their picture.  I did not have my camera with me, but remembered I did have my cell phone. Not more than a few minutes had passed.

We returned to the scene, but the trio no longer embraced that corner. They were not across the street, walking near-by, nor catty-corner. The music left; the bearded stranger and his back-up closed the show with my encore.

Whatever sadness, disappointment, hurt, tragedy you have suffered in your life, I believe with all my heart that God grieves and suffers along with us. He never leaves us alone. When we look for His blessings and hold fast to the heart knowledge He gives us that He is ever present, He presents us amazing gifts that attend to our wounds and fill us with His Peace. 
There is a song by Mercy Me called “The Hurt and the Healer.”  The words say,
“I’m alive, even though a part of me has died. You take my heart and bring it back to life.” God does this for me, and it is never how I might expect it, so I know it is completely and lovingly from Him. 

Thank you Lord for my red-bearded angel and his band, who ministered to both my sister and me that beautiful Thursday evening in Flagstaff, Az. A Train runs through the middle of this town surrounded by glorious mountains and majestic deserts, and I believe a stopover in Heaven.   CV 


Friday, August 10, 2012

THE Olympian

I Corinthians 9:24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I love watching the Olympic Games. The sporting field's popular sports like track and field, swimming, and gymnastics get a lot of attention, but the lesser known athletic passions get some new followers and a world-wide audience too, if only for the two weeks; and there is always the inspiring personal stories. 

What would Jesus do if He were in the Olympics?

Would He be a WEIGHT LIFTER?

We know He's done some awesome things in and through WATER.

The Equestrian events?  He created the HORSE, so I'll bet He knows what to WHISPER.

God is Triune, Father, Son, Spirit, so what else? The TRIPLE JUMP.

He has BALANCE, RHYTHM and is quiet adept at all the APPARATUS presented to compete in this life.  He worked out here.

He WRESTLED with the opponent, and He WINS!

He wants us to SYNCHRONIZE His will with ours.

God is a TEAM PLAYER, but He is the COACH.  We need to remember that.

His TARGET is Sin and His ARROW is Love. His blood, sweat and tears verify His commitment, and His victory over failure,  we share.

When we follow Jesus, we are guaranteed to STICK our LANDING.

Funny though, HE is the One to present us with a GOLD METAL.  He didn't hear His National Anthem on the podium of the cross.   What he heard is our cries, our prayers, our devotion, our agony in defeat and our praise to the Triumphs of His Glory!

Lord, I am thankful You are my Personal Trainer and that I am on Your team.  Walk, jog, run, sprint, sail, fly, hurdle-- paddle this life with me Lord, as I strive to Go for The Gold, a medal of Grace and oh, so much more. Amen.