Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: December 2018

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Happiest of New Years.

Peg was on the phone this morning, talking to one of her sisters. As I was sitting in the Living Room, there, looking around, I was struck by something that really warmed my heart.

There's a lot of stuff in the picture, and I don't know if it all can be called a blessing from God. But my, my ... what blessings the stuff reminds me of.

  • The stockings on the mantle: They hint at the family we're blessed with. Sons, Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren, and even a Granddaughter's sister and her offspring. We were all here, celebrating Christmastime, a couple of days ago. And it was an absolutely delightful mess! Plus, the fact that the 15 of us all sat, talked and played, opening presents, in our Living Room, tells me what a blessing we have in the home we own. 
  • The little stuffed doggie on the hearth: 20+ years ago, when Mom died, I inherited her 15 or 20 stuffed animals. Subsequent to that, Peg would buy me more, to add to my collection. I even featured the doggie in a blog post, many years ago.
  • The cars on the shelves over there: Our younger son, while traveling to 49 states in his job tending to bank computer programs, used to bring me 1:18 scale car models from all over the country. A result of that is a collection of about 100 (mostly) Ferraris and other exotic cars.
  • I bought a few of those models, myself. Several from the local Sharper Image store, which that younger son's wife managed. One, I bought during a tour of the Audi Factory in Ingolstadt, Germany, and one in the BMW factory in Munich ,,, during visits with friends there in Germany. And they also remind me of the visit to the Dachau Prison Camp, Hitler's Kehlsteinhaus ... The  "Eagle's Nest" ... and the Nazi Documentation Centre at the foot of Kehlstein Mountain in Obersalzburg.
  • The little read stool/bench with the Alabama logo. I made it from the last remaining wood from the big cabinet housing dad's Wurlitzer Home Theater Horseshoe Electronic Organ. It had quit working, was not practical to repair .... especially considering that a $150 Electronic Keyboard can now do a lot more than the Wurlitzer could when it worked ... so I dismantled it and kept the bench. I also made similar stool/benches with Auburn and Braves colors and logos, and the 3 are reminders of the times Dad and I spent together, playing stuff in an accordion/organ duet. Plus, the Great Grandkids routinely sit on them when playing with toys on the big tables.
  • The bald eagle painting on the fireplace: A reminder of how Dad loved the nation and its symbols. Especially so the Eagle. I'd mentioned that to my friend Tom Kimbrough, whose wife was a painter. As a result, she sent Dad a print of her Eagle painting, which Mom gave me after Dad's death. And if you can see it, there's also a little statue of the Eagle, atop the shelves with all the car models, which was also Dad's.
  • The toys in the plastic boxes: they are there primarily for our Great-Grandsons. But the three neighbor kids from across the street, come over occasionally to play, because they know they're welcome and we have lots of toys! And ... their mother is from Enid, OK, and her parents are members of Emmanuel Enid, where my good friend Wade Burleson serves as Pastor.
  • The fireplace itself, which really grabbed me when I first walked into that living room. And the recesses on each side, with all those plants growing there. Reminding me that only God can give that increase. Also, hanging in those recesses, are ceramic birds from Cancun and bells from Latvia and other places we've visited. And one set of bells was brought to use by a wonderful young lady from Latvia, a friend who came to visit us here, a couple of times.
  • And, saving the best for last, my wife of 59+ years, talking to her sister in Indiana. We'll have been married 60 years on next March 13th .... yes, we were married on Friday the 13th ... and without her I would doubtless be in a Homeless Shelter. Or in Prison.
There's more, of course, but what I've mentioned is enough to remind me that everything I have ... make that every thing I see ... reminds me of how great God is, and what wonderful care he's taken ... and is taking ... of me.

And how He loves me.

If this doesn't make for a Happy New Year, nothing ever will.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Seeds and Water .....

I was born in 1938, while my parents were living in Calumet City, IL. A suburb of Chicago, Cal City had a smarmy reputation, well deserved, but it was a terrific place to grow up.

Among other things, whatever racial tolerance I have today, I learned there, amid the largely Polish, Italian, Jewish and Catholic population (the city of 13,800 had several dozen Catholic churches).

After my Freshman year in High School, dad's job took us to Indianapolis, where Mom & Dad had been raised. The house in the photo above is where we landed when we moved, in May of 1953.

My first glimpse of the home, as we first approached it, was from just about the position in the photo. And what I saw then bears little resemblance to what you see in the picture. The house has been painted, the garage moved, the driveway is totally new, and much other plant growth has occurred..

When we first saw him, Dad was mowing the front yard ... with a motorized sickle bar ... the yard being quite long with grass and weeds. Also there were two saplings, lying on the ground, little bigger around than my thumb.

A few days later, I helped dad plant them.

Those saplings are, today, the two biggest trees in the photo.

Trivial fact: The house to the right of ours was owned by Ed Tudor, owner of Regency Electronics, They manufactured the world's first Transistor Radio, in 1954, after developing it in partnership with Radio Shack.

The trees grew because, most directly, Dad and I planted them ... as had the landscaper from whom Dad bought them. Subsequently, God fed them and watered them.

For 65 years.

The photo reminded me of what the Apostle Paul said to the church at Corinth, in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7: 

"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave growth. So then neither the one who plants, nor the one who waters, is anything, but only God Who gives the growth."

We are, in our humanity, eager to see the results of that we do, here on earth, in the Lord's service. But I am forced to ask: Is God less diligent in what He does, in response to what we do for Him here on earth, than He is with two saplings planted by a Dad and his 14-years-old son?

I don't think so! In fact, He has promised that if we plant and water, He will give the growth!

The meaning of that is full of meaning, to me. It tells me that the things I do here must be done in faith that God will do His part, if we will do ours. Complete with a promise to bring results He sees as best. And I lean on that promise!

I cannot know what's the best outcome in my work here, which is affirmed in another promise He made. Jeremiah 33:3:

"Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things you know not"

As with the trees, we may never see the results of our work here. But that's OK with me! It tells me that even our service for Him must be done in faith. Faith in is ability to use our efforts to bring results we know not. And God, when He so chooses, can easily lift the veil and show us the results of what we did for Him.

After all, Romans 8:26 says we don't even know how to pray as we ought. Thankfully, He has His Holy Spirit intercept our prayers and translate them into what we'd pray if we knew what He knows.

I like how He does trees. Even more how He brings results to our efforts here.

Whether He shows us the results, or not.

Friday, December 21, 2018

It's All About The Light

I took this picture while sitting at our Breakfast Table a couple of days ago. Hey, it's winter, I had surgery a couple weeks ago, and I'm not up to much beyond squeezing a shutter release button.

I snapped the pic because I'd noticed something I'd seen thousands of time before (We've lived here nearly 36 years). Namely, that the branches are really twisted and seemingly misshapen.

Naturally, my next step was to Google "Why are tree branches crooked?". The answer I found, which is what I thought it'd be, was interesting.

Before Bill Humphreys launched our subdivision, it was really heavily wooded. There were 50+ trees in the lot across the street which were knocked down some years after we moved here. And we lost dozens of trees off our lot, as well.

Tornadoes are a bad deal. Trust me.

In any event, the limbs seem, at once, beautiful, strange, and ugly. Until I understood that they were simply following the light, many years ago, as they grew. Then, they made sense. And, after all these years, and storms, they are still there, just as they grew all those years ago.

At that point of realization, my thoughts turned to The Spiritual. And shortly to two different aspects of that.

The first is, God's word is a lamp unto our feet. God lights the way for us, if we will only follow that light! As He is the inventor of the universe and directly or indirectly all that is in the universe, common sense would seem to dictate that He knows best how we should live. And since God loves us ... and I am unsure that any of us fully understand the depth of that love ... then common sense also dictates that He wants us to live a life of real fulfillment.

Then the other aspect hit me. Jesus said He is the light of the world, and He wants to so inhabit our life that His light will show through us. Try to wrap your mind and your heart around that!

Imagine the President called you one day .... if you don't like him, then pick someone you do like .... and ask to run an errand for him. He had a check for $100,000,000 for Puerto Rico (or perhaps the Gulf Coast Cities hit by the hurricane) and he wants you to deliver it. So he sends the Air Force One 747 to pick you up, fly you to the recipients' location, and present the check.

You fly there and there's the Governor of Puerto Rico, or perhaps Florida & Alabama, and you step out onto a platform and present the funds, amid crowds cheering, Brass Bands playing, and the Press snapping your pictures. If you're at all like me, you'd be happy to run that errand, and feel honored to do so.

Even though it wasn't your idea or your money!

If that strikes any sort of chord with you, just imagine that it was God, rather than a politician, who made that call to you. Who asked you to run an errand for Him. To represent Him personally in something He wanted done. What a privilege that would be!

Make that "What a privilege that is!"

Our lives are about following the light God gives us. And following the Light that is Jesus. Chances are good that our lives may seem twisted, to the world ... see Jim Elliot for details ... but that really shouldn't matter to us. What matters is that our lives look straight to The Light.

The One Who made the world.

And lives in us.