From the Shadows

Last Spring Carole was visiting her mother at the rehabilitation center in Fairfield Bay, Arkansas.  They were attending a worship service being held for the residents and her mother, Marcy, was in one of those ‘Deep Shadows”; you know the kind where you are not sure if they are aware of anyone or anything. The lady playing the piano was from the center and was just playing songs as she remembered them. A few of the residents were singing along and others like Marcy were just there.  Her head was bent over; there was no response to anything or anyone. She was deep in the shadow of that land where only those who have visited know about.  Then the lady began to play the great old hymn, “In the Garden”.  Carole said Marcy begin to raise up and holding her head high started singing that great old song; I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses; And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.  From out of the land of shadows Marcy recovered a moment from the past and a promise of the future. Her body now in disrepair gave way to her mind and for one moment the land of shadows became the land of hope and peace as she journeyed to that garden with Jesus.  Marcy went to the Garden this January and now knows the beauty of her memory.

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Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 10:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Broken Hearts

Like a mother making over her child as she takes care of the ‘hurt’ on his finger; God takes care of our broken hearts and heals them with His love.  There is nothing like a mother’s kiss to seal a hurt and make it all better. Mothers are good at that and they loving do just that.  I wonder why we do not understand how much God wants us to call on Him when our lives are hurting. He is so often the last one we call on for help.  It is as if we feel like we don’’t want Him to know our hurts. We want to keep secret that which has caused us to feel broken.  I wonder where we think He was when the ‘secret’ was committed. Where are you going to hide from God, how are you going to hide, and why would you want to hide from the one who loves you the most and longs the most to be your help. We sure do make life difficult, when we could just come with pouring tears to Jesus and He will receive us with open arms.
Ivan

Thanks  for reading the stories. I enjoy this ministry and want you to feel free to share them with others.

Published in: on January 28, 2011 at 10:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just a Drink of Water – (Final)

How do you know that? Who are you and why all this concern with me?  Who has been telling you about me and why?” She spoke with a fear in her voice as she stopped her walk and looked toward him.  “You have a lot of questions?” He answered, “In fact you are troubled about a lot of things and even a bit fearful about some things.” She tightened her grip on the pick in her pocket and said, “You are a crazy man, Why won’’t you to leave me be.  Sure I fear some things.  Some nights when I am trying to fall asleep I fear not waking up and having to meet God, I do fear Him, but I don’’t fear you crazy man.” With that she pulled the pick from her pocket and looked fearfully at him.  “I will leave.” He said, “But I might have had an answer or two.” He turned, walked away; then over his shoulder he said, “By the way I am He. You really don’’t have to fear me. Just get to know me.” With that he turned the corner and vanished.  -Ivan-

I changed the paraphrase of this wonderful moment in the life of Christ because I believe this is the way most people would receive it today.  We love to scoff.

Published in: on January 27, 2011 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just a Drink of Water (Part Two)

She noticed him out of the corner of her eye as she left the store with her one package of needed supplies. She was sure she didn’t know him but she was certain that he was watching her.  She put her free hand in her pocket and felt the pick she always carried; one sudden move and he would be missing an eye.  “Excuse me Miss”, she heard him say, “I was wondering if you might have a drink of water you could spare me on this hot day?”  She turned to look at him and said, “Do I look like a well to you or a kitchen faucet? Go away.” “Sorry”, he said, “Just thirsty and thought maybe you had an extra bottle of water in that bag.” “I bet.” She responded, “I know what you really want and I ain’t giving so beat it, go away. I don’t buy bottle water; I drink out of my faucet. Do I look like I got bottle water money?”  He turned and asked, “Maybe I could go home with you and your husband would give me a nice glass of that tap water?” “Go away, crazy man, I ain’t got no husband and you ain’t going no where with me.” She answered quickly.  “I got enough problems without you so get, just get.” She said as she picked up the pace and walked toward the street. “You are right you know. You don’t have a husband, you have had five but at the moment you are just living with a guy.” He said with a tone of concern and not judgment.
More tomorrow…

Published in: on January 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just a Drink of Water (Part 1)

The mid afternoon August heat radiated from the black asphalt road like waves of fire over her worn out body. She hated this town, this heat, this long walk to the store in the middle of the day but most of all she hated her life. This place had been a pit of darkness for her and while she had left a dozen times life had always forced her back to this small town horror.  Her mother had always said she would be nothing, just a tramp, failure, looser and she had been right. Her father treated her like a tramp and she hated even the thought of him.  Yet back to this dark hole life continued to drive her. She would get to the store, spend the few dollars she had on what she had to have and get out without running into any of her ‘friends’.  Not that she had any; friend was a poor choice for a word to describe anyone in her life. Sure she had been popular with the guys in school but it was a trashy popularity and she knew it.  She was sure she held her class record for ‘made guys’ some record, and certain with five marriages under her belt she held the class record for former husbands.  Not that she really had a ‘class’, she had dropped out in the first part of her last year to have a baby, the first of too many. She hated this place and all of its memories. Get to the store, get out, don’t see anyone, and get back to the dump she called home, those were her thoughts now as this August afternoon tried to burn her body as well as her soul.
More tomorrow

Published in: on January 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Failure of Fear

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7

In these trouble times with all of our fears God must be saying to us, ‘Stop being so afraid, believe me, I am going to win.’  I have suffered from fear since I was a small boy. There was the fear of failure, missing the ball, not doing as well as others, and a thousand other fears. It was a very crippling destructive problem in my life. I always felt inferior, not prepared, and just not able to do the job. This weight came to life when I was in the Navy. I was so fearful of failure that I could not perform. I worried about each detail until my mind was so cluttered with the fear that I just wanted to throw in the towel. A Chief at San Diego saw this in me and said, ‘Ivan with your fear of failure you are never going to be able to do enough just to get through.  Would it not be better to give it your best shot and see how it goes?  If you fail at least you tried, if you don’t try then you have already failed.’ He was right.

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Pillow for Jesus

Come and lay your head in my lap, come and rest awhile with me. I will be so much the stronger to know that you found me worthy of just holding your head for even a moment.  I visited in their home when I was stationed in San Diego. They were one of the few older couples in our church at Balboa Park and always invited the sailors to go home with them for lunch on Sunday.  The house was small and humble but neat and well appointed a welcomed break from the sterile environment of the Navy quarters. I noticed this beautiful, but well worn pillow on a table in the hall and asked the lady what was the special meaning that had to be attached to a pillow in such a place of honor. She explained that the first time she hear the scripture that Jesus had no place to lay his head that she went home and cried all night.  Her mother being full of wisdom got her this pillow and told her to put it in the bed and each night as she prayed for her to close her prayer by inviting Jesus to lay his head on the beautiful pillow. She said she
knew as she grew older that it was a bit crazy but I always wanted Him to know He had a place in my heart.  WOW, what a heart.

Published in: on January 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Tower Fell

She showed the blows of the last ten days since her husband had been killed in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. At 8:52 he had called to tell her that a plane had hit the North tower and he felt like he should leave his office on the 92 floor of the South tower and come home. Eleven minutes later at 9:03 his building was hit between the 78th and 84th floors. He never made it down.  She said, “Chaplain, I really don’t know what I am going to do now that my life has been destroyed by these crazy men, but one thing for sure I am going to find some spiritual peace. Three Sundays ago, Joseph, her husband, and I attend church for the first time in our married life and that afternoon as we watched an NFL game on TV, he muted the sound and said, ‘Sweetheart, I listed to that man this morning and I think maybe we should do something about our religious life.’  I agreed but we never spoke of it again until his call on 9/11.  As he was rushing to hang up he said, ‘Baby we had better get things right with God.’  With that his voice forever fell into silence.  I never hear it again.”  I pray that Joseph made that decision on his flight to safety that began his journey to eternity. Angelia made her decision that 21st day of September 2001. Don’t wait for the Tower to fall.

Published in: on January 20, 2011 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pete’s Old Store – (part three)

The driver rushed in and before the door could slam and the bell ring he said, “Mr. I am on my way to a horse show and I have forgotten the blanket for my horse would you have one I could purchase?”  “Certainly”, Pete replied and went to the back room where he kept the blankets picking the one off the top of the stack and returning to the counter where he placed it down and said that would be $3.95. “No sir”, the man said, “this is a fine horse and I need a better blanket.”  “I understand” Pete replied and went back to the store room, pulled a blanket, still in it’s plastic cover, from the middle of the stack and brushed off the dust as he returned to the waiting horseman. “I think this is more your taste.” Pete said, “That will be $19.95.”  “Better”, the customers said, “But understand this is a prize winning horse got something a little nicer?”  “Now I understand”, Pete said as he went to the storage room took the blanket from the bottom of the stack, removed it from the bag and folded it nicely across his arm returning to the waiting customer.  “I believe I found it.” Pete said presenting it to the horseman in a very formal manner. “This one is a bit high at $79.95 but it’s my finest.”  “That’s it, thats It.” said the customer.  With that the store became as silent as death for all the men knew what Pete had done and were anxious for the coming scripture verse.  The old cash register clanged as seldom were so many keys used and the bell seemed to ring louder as the register door hurried to open.  Then as the excited horseman left the store all could hear as Pete said, “He came unto me a stranger and I took him in.”

From a story told to me by E.D. Miller in 1973.  O course I embellished it a bit.

Published in: on January 19, 2011 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pete’s Old Store – (part three)

The driver rushed in and before the door could slam and the bell ring he said, “Mr. I am on my way to a horse show and I have forgotten the blanket for my horse would you have one I could purchase?”  “Certainly”, Pete replied and went to the back room where he kept the blankets picking the one off the top of the stack and returning to the counter where he placed it down and said that would be $3.95. “No sir”, the man said, “this is a fine horse and I need a better blanket.”  “I understand” Pete replied and went back to the store room, pulled a blanket, still in it’s plastic cover, from the middle of the stack and brushed off the dust as he returned to the waiting horseman. “I think this is more your taste.” Pete said, “That will be $19.95.”  “Better”, the customers said, “But understand this is a prize winning horse got something a little nicer?”  “Now I understand”, Pete said as he went to the storage room took the blanket from the bottom of the stack, removed it from the bag and folded it nicely across his arm returning to the waiting customer.  “I believe I found it.” Pete said presenting it to the horseman in a very formal manner. “This one is a bit high at $79.95 but it’s my finest.”  “That’s it, thats It.” said the customer.  With that the store became as silent as death for all the men knew what Pete had done and were anxious for the coming scripture verse.  The old cash register clanged as seldom were so many keys used and the bell seemed to ring louder as the register door hurried to open.  Then as the excited horseman left the store all could hear as Pete said, “He came unto me a stranger and I took him in.”

From a story told to me by E.D. Miller in 1973.  O course I embellished it a bit.

Published in: on January 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment