Monday, December 13, 2010



"He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intercede; His own arm worked salvation for him" Isaiah 59:16 NIV

Lessons learned at the University of the Feet extended themselves to post graduate work in the basics of breathing. It's one thing to have limited mobility because of foot surgery but quite another to pant from pneumonia. Asthma, though not alien to me, took a back seat a number of years ago and has been controlled for the most part, for which I'm most grateful. A couple of weeks ago it reared it's ugly head as a result of an upper respiratory infection resulting in pneumonia. My, how quickly we forget just what an important role breathing plays in our existence. So, lame in the foot and lacking in proper lung performance, my life in learning new lessons took me to my old journals. I like to call it HARVESTING. In the midst of it all, I am reminded of my deep desire to be an effective intercessor and the struggles and groans that go along with such.

From my journals dating back to 1981 (and there are many more prior to that date), the pleadings of my heart record prayed prayers, praise prayers, importunate prayers, intercession, supplication, and name it, I prayed it. My family, my friends, my fellowship of believers, my follies, my failures, all lay at the foot of the cross. My thoughts, my devotional times, my cares, my concerns, all, turned into prayers prayed.

So, while I've been incapacitated physically, my heart as turned once again to more strenuously to intercession.

"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right." (1 Samuel 12:23, NIV)

What can you do when your body must be still? Breathe your prayers upward and wait expectantly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HEART THOUGHTS... from Helen


“At this she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me---? Ruth 2:10

“What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” I asked the teenager at the grocery store check out line.
He replied, “I’m going to my grandmother’s and I can’t wait.
I asked, “What makes going to your grandmother’s house so special.”
He quickly responded, “She’s the best cook ever!”
I suppose you’d call that ‘comfort food’ if your grandchildren can’t wait. That’s the same answer I received from others. I can’t help but smile because I’m the grandmother now. While one of my sons will be at his in-laws this year, my other son and his family will be at our house. Hopefully, his five children will feel about my food like the young man in the grocery store.

Growing up in the low country of South Carolina, I remember going out to my granddaddy’s farm on Thanksgiving after the devouring of the feast. My siblings and cousins and I would go out to the pecan trees which lined the lane to the barn and pick up pecans. Finding those mottled brown nuggets under the multicolored leaves was like mining for gold and the end result was just as good for me. If I recall correctly at times we got down on our hands and knees to search for the bounty. We’d get two in our hands and squeeze with all our might to crack them and pick out the marvelous meat inside. The trick is not to get any of the shell along with the meat, because everybody knows that just turns your mouth inside out. That also reminds me of a t-shirt I saw with a squirrel on it that said, “My family tree has a lot of nuts.” Perhaps that could be said of your family also.

What will our grandchildren remember about coming to our house for Thanksgiving? Will it be the bountiful food or playing ball in the back yard or shooting caroms or laughing at remembered family antics (the nutty things) or watching football?

I want it to be a special Thanksgiving. A spiritual marker, if you will. Of course, these two wishes are always at the top of my list for family gatherings. I don’t want to get so caught up in the cooking, serving, and cleaning that I can’t enjoy the fellowship and share my thankful heart. I want my family to share their ‘thanksgiving’ also. And somewhere along the way, when they’re older maybe their memoirs will relate Thanksgivings at our house and they will say: “I’m going to Nana and Poppy’s for Thanksgiving and I can’t wait”. I want to fall on my face like Ruth and exclaim:

“Why have I found such favor in your eyes?”

O Lord our Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for your bountiful gifts to us even if some of them come in packages that look brown and mottled and we have to work hard to get at the good parts. I think every day will be Thanksgiving when we get to heaven!

Friday, November 12, 2010


"For this is what the high and lofty One says-He who lives forever, whose name is holy. ""I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."." Isaiah 57:15 NIV

Election time: Have you noticed that that those who hold high and lofty positions in government pull out all the stops to meet the lowly voter? It's take off your tie or jacket, roll up your sleeves, put on your jeans and tennis shoes and rub elbows with the "people" time. Let's meet the constituents. Instead of the 'sacred' halls of Washington, Columbia, Columbus, Ohio, Carson City, Nevada, Tallahassee, Florida and all around the country, the candidates donned their local garb and came into folks' back yards, main streets, and town halls to taut their rhetoric. Yes! We must vote! And yes, I did vote, prayerfully and trust THE HIGH AND LOFTY ONE to raise up the leaders He chooses for such a time as this.

This passage from Isaiah 57 speaks to me of the Only High and Holy One and what He considers of utmost importance. I'll report...and you decide.
Divine condescension (His)
Contrition (ours)
Christ's indwelling (His in us)
Cause for such (Why would He do such a thing)
Remember Who He is and never forget that He is holy and one holy night He condescended to come to earth to live with servants who demonstrated contrite hearts. Joseph and Mary met the requirements. Do we?

Remember who you should be: contrite and lowly in spirit. Repentance is required to have a contrite heart. I don't know what the holy couple had to be remorseful about, but I know it doesn't take long for me to come up with a penitent attitude when I think of God's holiness. How's your heart?

Remember His purpose is to revive the spirit and heart of the lowly and contrite. It isn't to beat up on nor cast aspersions.

The High and Holy One dwells in a high and holy place but also lives within the contrite heart through the power of His Holy Spirit to revive the spirit and revive the heart. Are you in need of revival?

We've witnessed many who think they're high and holy in this election. 'But also', we've witnessed those humbled with a contrite heart. Only THE HIGH AND HOLY really knows the hearts that exhibit contrition and humility and He promised to live within and revive their spirits and their hearts. I'm amazed at the energy demanded of these candidates during such crushing schedules. Honestly, I confess to coveting some of that energy. I'm quite sure I would need the promise of revival should I be involved in the election process, other than participating in the voting booth. How do you think the high and holy One would have you respond?

"A Message from the high and towering God,
Who lives in eternity, Whose name is Holy:
"I live in the high and holy places,
But also with the low-spirited, the spirit-crushed.
And what I do is put new spirit in them
Get them up and on their feet again.
(Isaiah 57:15...THE MESSAGE)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

HEART THOUGHTS .... from Helen

"...she fell at his feet" John 11:32

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news." (Isaiah 52:7)

I'm taking a page from the book of be found in the library at THE UNIVERSITY OF THE FEET. My syllabus includes several weeks' worth of foot pain beginning with surgery on Tuesday and ending with a few more weeks of recuperative time. Bunions cause pain, preventing many activities and many pairs of shoes lying dormant in my closet. And then there is the problem of a neuroma that must be removed. So, do you have your Google search going yet? I'll save you some time because I know you rushed to do your research at the U of F library.

Bunions: an inflammation of the sac bursa around the first joint of the big toe, accompanied by swelling and sideways displacement of the joint. When I saw my foot x-rays, I nearly fell off the table. These are not the beautiful feet I read about in Scripture. Oh dear, no wonder my feet hurt. Neuroma: usually benign tumor growing on the sheath of a nerve (under my third and fourth toe).

While I'm learning more at Foot College perhaps I'll take a refresher course at spending time at the Master's feet. Mary certainly learned a lot doing just that. Spending time at the feet of Jesus, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, demonstrates just what a real education is all about. In fact every time we encounter this Mary, we find her attending the University of the Feet, learning, feeding, and ministering. An apt lesson to learn!

Luke 10:39, tells us that "she sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said". Unfortunately, Mary received quite the reprimand from her sister for not helping Martha, prepare the food and wait on their Guest. Have you ever been rebuked for studying too much? Have you ever been scolded for partaking of 'soul food'? When is the last time you sat raptly at His feet and listened to Him?

In John the eleventh chapter, Mary sought the Lord after her brother's death when her sister informed her that "The Teacher is here ...and is asking for you." (v. 28) He sought her; she found Him. In your grief, do you hurry to Him who has the only comfort that counts?

In the twelfth chapter of John, Mary anoints the feet of Jesus with about a half quart of expensive perfume. She then wiped them with her hair. It seems spending time at Jesus' feet educates you far beyond the obvious. She apparently wanted to do her part in anointing His body for burial. Mary sacrificially broke open her most precious possession and poured its contents on His soon to be pierced feet. What does the song say? Broken and spilled out just for love of you Jesus... (Steve Green)

Lord, You know I've never liked school in any shape or form but to sit at Your Feet and to look into Your Face, surely learning will take on new meaning. I enroll now in THE UNIVERSITY OF THE FEET, knowing how expensive the tuition but I simply must learn another lesson in pain and patience as You, O Excellent Rabbi, teach me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


“Abide in Me” John 15:4….

Her blond hair all askew, my six year old granddaughter crept into our bedroom about four-thirty on a Saturday morning. I sensed that she was up and observed her silhouette before she slipped into the room. She whispered in my ear:

“I need to be with you, Nana.”

Naturally, I opened my arms and she climbed in to ‘be with me’. She soon slipped into slumber once again, all warm and snuggly between Nana and Poppy. Not an unusual scenario, but she hadn’t exactly expressed it so sweetly previously.

“I need to be with you, Lord.” I said as I kept my early morning appointment with the Master this morning. I walked into the study and faced the picture of Fern Beckham’s COMPASSIONATE CHRIST, hanging on the wall. I love the expression on this particular rendering of the face of Jesus. It seems to express a different sentiment for each rendezvous. This morning, He seemed to smile at me, open His arms and welcome me in.

Do you need to be with Him? He senses your presence and eagerly awaits…

Friday, October 8, 2010


Lessons learned at the end of the leash

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.”
(James 2:1 NIV)

Freckles emerged on our scene as a nine day old pup. She did not meet the requirements of the Great Dane breed’s coloring to be used in reproduction, so we took her in. We reared her on a bottle until she came of age. Fawn, brindle, blue, black, Harlequin, Merle and Mantle describe Great Dane colors. She matched none of these. She mingled between a harlequin and a merle. Thus, the name Freckles. Dennis’ mother never remembered her name and called her Pepper. Freckles, AKA Pepper, thought she was human and manifested many characteristics of the species. Freckles and Oliver became fast friends. I never worried about being alone and rarely did I feel it necessary to lock the door when Dennis happened to be gone. My dogs intimidated most strangers.

We owned a green Volkswagen and often took our dogs to ride along with our boys…Now there’s a picture! Back when Gas Stations attendants filled your car and washed your windshields, we found out just how protective Freckles could be. The station owner, whom we knew well in our small town, stuck his hand in the window to give us our change and our Dane nearly took it off. She shook that little green VW getting to the window. Size does matter when canines come on board small automobiles

Another such incident took place when we hosted a Sunday school party at our house. One fellow decided to make friends with Freckles. Phil said, “I deal with dogs all the time. No problem”. He put one foot inside her pen and she moved her dog house three feet trying to get to him but not to make friends. Great Canines show their devotion in daunting and myriad ways
She loved David and Todd. They straddled her like a pony and played with her but when Dennis rough housed with our boys; Freckles would stand on her back legs and look him in the eye, daring him to hurt them.

Our Freckles however, developed some weird characteristics. She wanted puppies so badly that she thought she was expecting when it wasn’t so; clinical term being Pseudocyesis. So, she adopted a leather belt. She carried it around, cuddled it, and took great care that nothing happened to it. She also adopted one of the boy’s stuffed animals, carrying it around and never so much as breaking a stitch on it. Finally, Freckles did indeed birth three pups, all strange colors. Her Harlequin husband’s features predominated. It was a cold Saturday in February when I sat in the large dog house in our back yard assisting with the delivery. Bless her heart, every contraction that gripped her body, she jumped to her feet, circling, looking for the result. She and I spent some meaningful hours crowded in that dog house.

As time went by we moved into the old parsonage behind Fairview Baptist Church in Greer while Dennis served on staff. We anguished over how to deal with our majestic Great Dane and her fiercely protective attributes. Finally we felt it necessary to find another country home for Freckles where she could roam and not be cooped up in town with a lot of strange people surrounding her. She just wasn’t a people puppy with anyone but her own. Our love for the Great Dane breed remains with us today. To be as big as she grew to be, she never exhibited any rowdy behavior in our home and she spent a lot of time in the house as well as outside. Great describes the majesty of the Dane.

GREAT Lessons:
  • Taking in the unwanted reaps GREAT rewards.
  • Great devotion comes in all sizes, shapes and colors.
  • Great family values rub off on pets and people
  • Great breeding may matter to some
  • Great Love requires a recipient.
  • Great sacrifice is painful

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


All of us acquire tiny sample containers of various products. One of my small jars contained hand lotion. After I used up all the sample of lotion, I washed the small jar and put vitamin capsules in it to carry in my purse. The first time I swallowed those vitamins, they tasted worse than usual, until I realized that the taste of hand lotion had permeated the vitamins. The container had so absorbed the perfume of its contents, it was a part of it...making my vitamins taste like perfume.

We are all just clay containers, absorbing whatever is instilled within us. I wonder just what we taste like to a world that needs the nourishment of heavenly vitamins. Our grandchildren preferred fruity tasting vitamins when they were younger. Perhaps the taste of" love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control "(Galatians 5:22) might be just what the doctor orders and "against such things there is no law".

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Lessons learned from an Old English sheepdog, extraordinaire

You know the saying that when God closes one (or two or three) doors He opens another. After our terribly bad luck with dogs for a few years, our Good Shepherd knew the time was right for another try at raising a dog.

A dear couple in our Sunday School class in Woodruff owned the momma Sheepdog that mothered three gorgeous pups. Late on Christmas Eve after they had come over to share in Santa gifts and the boys nestled all snug in their beds the Armours presented us with the cutest eight week old red ribbon bedecked Old English sheepdog pup I have ever seen. Our hearts melted.

Sir Oliver Cromwell V graced our home for a little more than nine years. His endearing way of waking me in the mornings would be to just plop his head on the bed breathing in my face until I woke up. The old country farm house that we occupied in Woodruff during our coaching days grew dramatically cold during the winter months which gave Oliver the perfect opportunity to cover both our little boys with furry warmth at night.

We never told Oliver that he was anything but a regular ole dog thus when he sired several litters of very well bred Old English sheep dog pups, his blood line displayed itself beautifully. In fact, Oliver had one blue eye and one brown one, but his pups always had blue eyes. Dennis loves to tell the story of the day we took Oliver to meet one of his 'brides to be'. He had been wandering around in the pasture and generally being a dirty dog. We should have at least bathed and groomed him but this opportunity sort of popped up out of the blue. When we drove up in the yard and out came the bride, Penelope, we knew we were in trouble. Gorgeous, groomed, polished, cleaned up for the wedding and here's this "Guess who's coming to dinner?" dog, jumping out the window. It was a Kodak moment or in today's cyber lingo, an LOL moment for sure. Penelope's parents were not ecstatic and I don't think the couple ever made it to the honeymoon. Absolutely her loss.

Oliver demonstrated his intelligence in so many ways but his gentleness, humility and love for children stands out. Every sheep dog needs something to shepherd, so ours chose to herd up all the cows in the pasture behind our house much to the displeasure of their owner. He just couldn't help it. We called him from the pasture and he would stop and look at us...then look at those cows, hesitate a moment and then the call of the wild took over. He never hurt them only herded them.

The German shepherd across the street liked to play with Oliver. They played beautifully together as long as they romped in Major's yard, but as soon as Major came in our yard, it changed the whole complexion of things. . Major fled the scene. To be as gentle spirited as he was, he did not like other dogs in the yard

Oliver accompanied us to Greer and then to our first pastorate in Calhoun Falls, SC. The town loved him but he became known as our prodigal due to his wandering into far places where he had no business. Our first Sunday in town, Mr. Johnny Burton told the congregation:"If the new preacher and his family are half as friendly as their dog, I believe we'll get along just fine." Mrs. Mable Cobb, our dear neighbor was terrified of dogs until she met Oliver. He would wander into her wash house out back and stand there listening to Miss Gussie as she carried on a one-sided conversation. Oliver became personally acquainted with the black and white patrol cars in town. They brought him home a few times from his wanderings. Once Officer Dixon told Dennis: "Preacher, if I'm gonna be haulin this dog around in my car you're gonna have to give him a bath." Sheepdogs require a lot of grooming so we decided to have him sheared yearly. He loved it and pranced around for days showing off his 'new do'.

The report has it that Oliver presented himself at the bank window one day. Whether he made a deposit or withdrawal no one said. He also loved to meet folks coming out of the local Fast Fare hoping to con them out of their snack food. The people in our small town befriended our sheepdog but the canines never figured out exactly what to do with him. He wasn't popular with his peers. Another German shepherd episode took place when a neighbor dog came into our carport. He didn't do it again and our shaggy dog whupped him good.

When chastised our Oggie could hang his head lower than a whale's belly in the bottom of the ocean. We felt so guilty disciplining him and truly he needed very little except for his tendency to wander. He had a habit of coming to our kitchen door each morning for his piece of toast, preferably buttered. One morning he actually brought his bowl and just stood there until we filled it.

In his last year we realized that Oliver's eyesight and hearing deteriorated greatly. During a thunderstorm he became disoriented and disappeared for two days. We were frantic until Mrs. Claude Simpson came by to tell us there was a dog in her shed that looked like ours. He was so terrified that we could barely coax him to come out.

We happened to be out of town when we got the phone call from our deacon chairman. Oliver found his way to a teenage carwash at a nearby church where he lay down to enjoy the kids which he loved to do. Unfortunately one of the guys accidentally backed over him in his jeep. The whole town mourned our loss. His picture made the front page obituary when I wrote an article for the local newspaper entitled an "ODE TO OLIVER". So many memories of our version of Disney's shaggy dog pop into mind it's hard to do just one article.

Lessons learned?
  • Love flows from the Gentle giants of the canine species unquestionably; shouldn't ours?
  • Joy unspeakable exudes when you get a 'new do' or a 'do-over'.
  • Peace resides when you abide by house (yard) rules.
  • Patience takes the prize for adults and children
  • Gentleness goes a long way in a world gone mad
  • Humility and longsuffering ...against such there is no law.
  • Faithful friends leave fractured hearts when they find their final way HOME.

Friday, September 10, 2010


One Drop Remaining

“Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” and she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” (2 Kings 4:2 NASB)

I wonder …If there were but one drop left in your cup, what would you do with it?
Back in December of 1981, our family of four emptied our house into a moving van and left every familiar face and moved to a small town in rural South Carolina to pastor our first church, while Dennis finished seminary. Since my salary as a nurse ceased and his salary as minister of youth /activities at a large church dropped dramatically, we decided we’d stock up on some food stuffs. We purchased a case of macaroni/cheese, a case of Rice-a-Roni, a case of corned beef hash and I don’t remember what else. It evolved into a joke in our home what was for dinner each night. We had a set routine and it varied very little and the house usually entertained visitors unawares and sometimes unannounced. I wondered what it would be like to live in such uncertain circumstances. We never hungered … physically nor spiritually.

The Shunamite woman came to the prophet Elisha with a story of emptiness.

• First he told her to gather jars from all the neighbors.
• Secondly, she was to pour out what little oil she had into the borrowed jars.

This woman, freshly widowed, fearing for the captivity of her sons to pay her debts, wondered what her decision would cost her. In her emptiness she poured out herself and her oil in obedience to this man of God, trusting.

When she began to pour, miraculously, more and more oil flowed from her jar. The borrowed vessels filled until there were no more. As soon as the supply was full, the flow of oil ceased.

Would you be obedient enough to pour out the last drop in your cup?

What would happen if you did?

What will happen if you don’t?

I wonder…

Friday, September 3, 2010

HEART THOUGHTS... from Helen

…it is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Acts 26:14 NIV

Lessons from the leash

It was summertime in the south. It was hot! It was also the beginning of football season in Woodruff. Dennis prepared to go with the team to football camp in North Carolina. On Saturday we rode to Pickens to a kennel to pick out a collie pup for me and our two young sons.

Instead of a puppy, we came home with a two year old female collie named Cher. She was with pup and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the prospects of raising collie puppies.

On Sunday after church, we connected Cher’s collar to a rope and attached her to the clothes line to give her some running room until we could prepare a bigger space for her outside. We had no idea how she would adjust to her new surroundings so far away from her kennel so some precautions seemed appropriate.

Two little boys and a husband about to leave town for a week kept us busy, so we didn’t check on Cher for a while. When I glanced out of the high kitchen window in our farmhouse kitchen, I noticed she was at the near end of the clothesline close to a bush. Something didn’t look right. I looked again to pay closer attention. Cher, wrapped around the bush, pulled at her leash. I ran out the door and down the steps while calling Dennis’ attention to the problem.

She had bound herself so tightly around the bush, her collar was choking her. Her breath, nearly gone, she fought us as we did our best to loosen the noose around her neck. Panicked, we both pushed and pulled as she slowly choked to death right in front of us. In the hot August afternoon, the sweat and tears flowed freely as we realized we’d lost our brand new expectant dog.

The misery of that steamy August Sunday continued as I dealt with the inevitable fact that Dennis had to leave for football camp that same afternoon. I remember listening to his green Volkswagen crunching out the gravel drive way leaving me alone with my grief and two little boys. The vision of that beautiful collie struggling to loosen herself from the ties that bound her never left me. What killed her left a deep impression on both Dennis and me. We are careful about dog collars and where and how we confine our canines. But there are other lessons to be learned from Cher.
  • Best laid plans of …men and families often run awry (Steinbeck paraphrased)
  • Pulling at restraints can choke
  • If you get caught in a thorny bush …stand still until help comes
  • Don’t fight the hands that seek to free you from your plight
  • Facing grief alone sends you to The Burning Bush that is not consumed…where God speaks.
  • Looking back at unpleasant experiences may lead to holy ground; slip off your shoes.
Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground”. (Exodus 3:5)

Friday, August 27, 2010



I don't like to see blackberry season come to a close. I still see a few around at the roadside stands. Steamy hot summer days spent picking blackberries conjures many memories. Our family of four covered every inch of flesh we could with old clothing, sprayed with insect repellent to deter chiggers and headed for those briar infested bushes. When the boys were small we made quite a game of it and every time we saw the big juicy berries, Dennis would cry, "HARK, I see blackberries." We'd all go scrambling to where he pointed. Hence, in our family, blackberries retain the name, HARK. We dared to place our feet and hands in places I never thought I would to pluck those elusive sweet 'hark' berries.

One blackberry season years ago when depression dulled my senses, Dennis and the boys persuaded me to forge into the bushes again. We eventually found a patch of trellised vines. Nice picking! That night I dreamed...A huge cluster of perfect blackberries appeared before my face. A quiet voice encouraged me,: "This fruit is yours for the picking. All you have to do is reach out and take it."

Since that time, blackberries bring sweet memories of the Fruit of the Spirit He offered, and I continue to taste, as long as I reach out and pluck the promise.

"The Spirit, however, produces in human life fruits such as these: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENEROSITY, FIDELITY, TOLERANCE AND SELF-CONTROL...and no law exists against any of them." (Galatians 5:22 JB Phillips)

HARK! There must be some blackberries hiding within all that fruit.

Friday, August 20, 2010



Enoch walked (in habitual fellowship) with God (Genesis 5:22, AMP)

I've heard it said that every walk with the master is the very best walk a dog ever takes. Willie Baby was my second collie and resided with my parents in the lower part of the state until we could bring her upstate. Not my choice of names, but she was Willie Baby when I met her so I didn't change it. Willie Baby loved to go for walks. She would get her leash and stand by the gate until I joined her.

Walking with the Master may be addictive. It became so for Adam and Eve. I would presume that each walk that the original couple took with God was also the very best one ever, until that last time that God came looking for them. Enoch's habitual walk with God certainly kept him in good standing and then he walked right on into glory. (There's a story about another Enoch, a dog that took a prayer hike with Todd and Joice from Alaska to Canada)

Walking with the Master overcomes obstacles and brings great rewards. Willie Baby married Charlie, a friend's German shepherd. One of the pups became a gift to my parents. My mother named him Chili (Charlie/Willie). Mother always had good names for animals. Chili turned out to be their best dog ever.

Walking with the Master takes you wherever He leads. When Dennis took a coaching job in Woodruff with the legendary Willie Varner, Willie Baby accompanied our family of three. W/B and I strolled David all over Woodruff. One older gentleman commented one day, "I bet that dog would tear anybody up if he messed with that baby." I couldn't help but be comforted that he thought so, but she was a gentle spirited collie. Unfortunately, Willie Baby disappeared from our household in Woodruff, never to be retrieved. We never knew what happened to her.

Walking with the Master demands determination and commitment. It didn't take us long to acquire a female German shepherd we named Princess. She met an untimely demise; she was poisoned after we moved to Fountain Inn. Following Princess we acquired another collie that we named Lad, a dog. He was a pretty little thing but died after being hit by a car. For several years the Lynn family had really bad luck with dogs. We didn't give up however. The dogs that followed include Cher, Frog, Blackie, Oliver, Freckles, Lulu, Sebastian, Wiggles and now Sadie. Just think of all the dog stories and leash lessons we have to look forward to in the coming weeks.

Leash lessons:
  • Daily walking with the Master may be addicting.
  • Daily walking with the Master overcomes obstacles, even strange names
  • Daily walking with the Master strengthens you to follow wherever He leads
  • Daily walking with the Master motivates you
  • Daily walking with the Master aids in the grief process
  • Daily walking with the Master demands determination and commitment
  • Daily walking with the Master may lead to slaying giants.

Three year old David asked, "Mommy, read me story."
"What story do you want to read?" I asked.
"You know! That story about the giant and the German Shepherd."

Our David learned early just what biblical shepherds can do when they walk with the Lord.
"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." Genesis 3:8 (AMP)

Friday, August 13, 2010


“Take time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit. Bodily fitness has a certain value, but spiritual fitness is essential, both for this present life and for the life to come.” (1Timothy 4:7b-8) JB Phillips

Are you physically fit but spiritually flabby? We live in a nation that fanatically demands physical fitness.

Our ten year old grandson, Boaz and I went for a “walk/run” recently up to the Richard Jackson Park off Hwy 101. Wonderful place to go and exercise on the well kept track around the baseball fields that predominate the park. The complete outside loop measures 5/8 mile. We did about two and a half loops until the heat beat me. Boaz is going out for football for the first time and I decided to give him opportunity to start getting in shape. It also gave him a chance to run my golden retriever, Sadie. So, off they ran and I walked behind enjoying watching them run. It’s a pretty isolated park and hardly anyone else was there, so the quiet morning exercise encouraged me and exhausted my companions.

Years ago I faithfully followed the ‘shape up’ crowd into aerobics, exercising to Christian audio tapes. One of the cool down tunes was “El Shaddai”. I’m not too sure that God Almighty, the Powerful smiled on my sweaty, contorted limbs and yet I determined to present a fit, not flabby, body to Him. Shortly thereafter, I herniated a disk, which brought aerobics to a halt. Years later, we purchased a treadmill that has been enjoyed and used by everybody in our household over the years. It recently underwent its own work out to get in shape and got a tune up. I love it. I can listen to my music and walk and worship as I walk.

Our forefathers had no problem staying physically fit. Hard work took the place of aerobics. Totin’ and hauling, shoveling, digging, building, animal husbandry, gardening, washing and cleaning, substituted for pumping iron and working out at the gym. Today’s sedentary society finds that sort of ‘exercise’ archaic.

My grandchildren can do push-ups with the best of the crowd and do them regularly. Sometimes, they do them to show off; sometimes they do them for disciplinary reasons. Nonetheless, it doesn’t hurt their physical fitness.

Don’t misunderstand. I am a strong advocate of physical fitness. Our lives, however, and now my age, consist of more than the physical. A person IS a soul that indwells a body, NOT a body that happens to possess a soul. Our primary need is SPIRITUAL FITNESS. Just as physical fitness calls for discipline, spiritual fitness calls for determination. We will not always inhabit these earthly tents, but our souls exist eternally.

Are you physically fit…but spiritually flabby?

Friday, July 30, 2010

HEART THOUGHTS... from Helen

"Sisterly Love"

“The person who obeys God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35, THE MESSAGE)

My older sister, Judy and I use what might be termed ‘sister speak’. Sister speak involves code words from years of memories shared. She’s my ‘Big Sisty’ and I’m her ‘Lil Sisty’. Silly? Probably. But who’s to say what constitutes silly in family traditions. We giggled a lot as little girls. One such giggle fest took place in church. A vivid memory unfolds, as I remember somehow one of us breaking a little strand of fake pearls and them all tumbling to the floor (not carpeted) in the middle of the service of this little country church. Judy and I got the giggles and couldn’t stop. We often got the giggles when we’d go out to eat which wasn’t a frequent thing back in the day. Daddy got so embarrassed one Sunday we were threatened with having to go sit in the car. We couldn’t stop.

Judy is three and a half years older and my brother, Gene is seven years older than me. I am the baby in my family of origin. My mother still calls me her ‘Baby Chile’.

Sisters share a lot of history, both good and bad. We fought over who would wash the dishes and who would dry the dishes. Who would dust and who would cook. We joked over the old song “Clementine”. You remember that one, don’t you? One of the last lines being: “til he kissed her little sister, and forgot his Clementine.” I did tease her about that. Even though it never happened, I loved picking at her about it. I don’t think she always appreciated it. We argued over the telephone as teenagers. Only one phone at the end of the hallway and I can see her sitting with her knees pulled up to her chin whispering into the mouth piece so no one could hear. I did the same thing when it was my turn.

Judy always looks her very best, not a hair out of place, not a wrinkle in her attire… so not like me who flies by the seat her pants... She is well put together. Another memory that comes from our church growing up years is that of an older woman talking to mother after the service. “That Judy is the prettiest little thing.” As I looked up into their faces I waited for her to include me; she didn’t. She distinctly looked at me and said nothing. Oh well!!!!

My sister, Judy, reveals her generous and empathetic heart to all who seek her shoulder to cry on. She truly exhibits care and understanding for those in pain and need. When my daddy died Judy took my mother in from Bethea Retirement Community to house and hold her close in her fresh widowhood. At the time Dennis and I took care of his aging mother in another part of the state. Judy and my brother-in-law, Jim, took such good care of mother, spoiling her like she’d never been spoiled her whole life. She thrived on it. She lived close to our old home place and in the same town as her other family members and doctors. They couldn’t have done a better job of honoring our mother.

As years passed, mother aged, Judy and Jim aged and health issues cropped up that resulted in mother’s decline leading to the stroke that hospitalized, and then required nursing home rehabilitation. It was an evident fact that Mother needed more care than we were able to administer at home, so she resides at National Health Care in Sumter. Only those siblings who have had to make such decisions and then live with them know the trauma that accompanies them. And who is it that takes care of all the paper work, the day to day business, the laundry, the loving, and the phone calls the encouraging, the trips to doctors, and the birthday parties? It’s Judy and of course her hard working husband, Jim, right alongside.

I admire my sister’s gifts of service, love, hospitality and over all willingness to do whatever is necessary ‘because that’s what family does’. Judy is a hugger and an affectionate sibling. She and I have a sister’s bond that cannot and will not be broken. Do we always agree…does any sibling? But we choose to move toward what we do agree on and carry on. As Judy struggles with her own health issues, she continues to listen to others and encourage them in theirs, because she knows whereof she speaks. She’s right as she reiterates the saying of today, “It is what it is”.

I think of sisters in the Scripture such as Rachel and Leah in the first book of the Bible, Mary and Martha from the tenth chapter of Luke. There are so many lessons to be learned from each one. Over time I believe we can identify with both sisters in both stories in a variety of ways at different times in our lives. The Lord loved both sets of sisters and He chose to display their good traits along with their better ones. Jesus, Himself had two sisters, I believe, and brothers in his earthly family. He surely knows the interchange, good, bad and indifferent, that takes place in the family unit.

Jesus also said at one point, “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35 NASB)

I’m so thankful to say that my sister does the will of God. In ‘sister speak’ you could say, we are sisters times two.

Friday, July 23, 2010



“Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV)

Pierre Beauregard III, a medium French poodle gained access to our home shortly after our matrimony. Dennis felt sorry for him. Beau belonged to my groom’s longtime friends who loved him dearly …until they adopted a baby boy that they loved more and Beau got relegated to the out of doors, a place he was not accustomed to and didn’t care for at all. Can’t you just see it now, Coach Lynn walking a chocolate poodle in the rain in front of our honeymoon cottage on Brushy Creek Road in Greer? It wasn’t a good fit. But he meant well…Coach Lynn, that is. He wanted to save this dog from a chain and possibly the pound.

It all went down hill shortly after our marriage when Beau didn’t want to relinquish his spot beside me in the bed. (Yes, we rue the day we allowed him on the bed) He made the mistake of growling at his master. Not a good thing to do. This dog demonstrated no sorrow whatsoever for his errant behavior and continued to defy the master of the house. I don’t suppose dogs show godly sorrow but I know a lot of them do show some humility.

We acquired a fence in our back yard for Pierre Beauregard to romp in while Dennis coached and I worked in the Emergency Room. We knew we were dealing with a shrewd yet smart animal when Beau dug out under the fence and came to the front scratching on the door to get inside. After many efforts at containing him, frequent baths due to the mud puddles he dug getting out of the fence and enduring the condescending looks of the groomer when we took him to be trimmed; we decided to just not keep him in the fence because he wasn’t staying in anyway. What was Beau’s solution? He dug himself back under the fence into the backyard and presented himself at the side door to be admitted. OH, he did frustrate the newlyweds. Dennis, who was teaching/coaching at a local high school at the time advertised at school for a new home for our poodle. Pierre Beauregard sensed the future and began to ‘do his business’ right in the middle of our living room in front of the television. He was placed with a student whose parents called us shortly thereafter to ask if he was up to date on his shots. It seems Beau had bitten his groomer. Poor Beau just couldn’t get over the rejections in his life. I have to admit, we were among those who rejected the impudent little poodle and we are dog lovers.

Lessons learned from Pierre Beauregard III:
  • Rejection in any shape or form may result in rebellion
  • Rebellion may develop into a number of reactions
  • Reactions vary from compliance to lack of repentance to outright revolt
  • Revolt rarely wins friends or influences people, especially when the people rule
  • Relocating a rejected poodle to the newly wed game has its repercussions (or… timing is everything)
We didn’t really want to get rid of Beau. Our desire was to rescue him, love him and give him a better life. He failed to adapt to us and us to him.

Do you suppose that God, our Father has that in mind for us when we find ourselves in a rebellious situation no matter what the cause? I’m glad He doesn’t reject us as children but He chooses His own restraints in teaching us important lessons even if they come at the end of a leash or inside a fence. How do you respond to God’s restraints?

“Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.”

Friday, July 16, 2010



“I delight to do Your will, O my God”. (Psalm 40:8) AMP

Tanmarque’s Happy Princess fulfilled a youthful dream when my grandparents surprised me with this precious collie pup. Princess proved to be my Lassie for true and real. As an adolescent I marveled that she always desired to please me.

Princess memories flood my mind as I smile remembering them. Some of the most memorable include her uncanny ability to sniff out snakes and slay them by carefully stalking, then snatching them quickly and shaking the life from them. I attribute her determination to a bite she received on her nose as a pup. Her elongated nose grew to enormous proportion one summer day and the vet felt it was snake bite. This collie demonstrated her hatred for creepy crawlies by a definitive snake bark. Our family came to recognize this bark and to heed it appropriately. One dark August night she tended her ten pups in the back yard pen when we heard that specific bark. Sure enough, she found a huge rattler, which my daddy killed, probably saving her life after we rescued all the pups in our kitchen. Her protective instinct would not be deterred. We forced her inside also.

Let’s back up a bit to those ten pups. My mother (ninety-four) insists that I include this part of Princess history. After giving birth on our screened front porch on a hot summer day, Mother discovered Momma collie going back and forth into the living room from the front porch. She investigated and found that dear royal Princess felt that nothing was too good for her babies so she carried each one gently into the living room and tucked them in the corner of the couch. I happened to be working at the time, so didn’t get to witness this enthroning of the babies. Mother couldn’t decide whether to be upset or laugh. We never forgot it. Princess delighted to do for her family what she felt to be the very best. When said pups left the nest their momma, just like mine, knew just what to do. She instinctively separated the pup leaving and gave it her best wishes, nosing and licking it as if she knew.

While in high school, Princess trotted beside me as I walked to the bus stop two tenths of a mile down our dirt road each day. Her deepest desire was to be with me and to be obedient. She also knew instinctively when my bus returned and she joyfully greeted me when I arrived.

Princess, I’m sad to say, acquired a taste for the neighbor’s chickens which he finally despaired of enough to shoot her. She came home and died under her beloved dogwood tree outside the kitchen window. At the time I attended nurses training in Greenville and didn’t get to tell her goodbye. For years afterward, I dreamed I heard her barking; thankfully it wasn’t the snake bark. I don’t believe there are poisonous snakes where she resides.

Lessons learned from my precious Princess?
  • Devotion unspeakable
  • Love unbounded
  • Faithfulness undeniable
  • Joy unspeakable
  • Confidentiality unequalled
  • Patience unending
  • Delightful obedience…
Shouldn’t all these attributes define our desire/delight for our Master?

“I delight to do your will, O my God”

Friday, July 9, 2010



“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2 NIV

Duchess joined our family around the same time that adolescence arrived for me. She derived her heritage from the Heinz 57 family. She was black as the ace of spades and apparently acquired some shepherd and some lab in her ancestry. Duchess, though a medium sized friendly dog tried her best to keep up with whatever went on at our country home. She dearly loved to go rambling around the country side where we lived on my Granddaddy Goodson’s farm in Oswego, South Carolina. She loved to follow my Daddy when he drove the tractor. She loved to go down the lane with Momma and me to gather eggs from the chicken coops. But the singular thing that I remember about Duchess, my dog, was that she dearly loved flopping down in any mud puddle she came across. I can see her now just plop right down and smile all over herself, long pink tongue hanging out the side of her mouth, happy as she could be. Momma would fuss and I would get to hose her off until the next time.

Isn’t it funny the things we remember about our pets? I wish I had a picture of Duchess to show you how happy she was in the mud puddle. You’d have thought she was part pig. She did not, however, endear herself to us when she chose to run up and shake her muddy self all over us.

What did I discover from Duchess?
  • Mud Puddles can serve a purpose
  • Duchess taught me that it is the simpler things of life that make us happy.
  • Flopping down in a mud puddle beats running around like a chicken with its head cut off
  • Mud puddles are for cooling off sometimes. They may not be the most attractive way to relax but they surely can help the immediate heat of a situation.
  • Dogs named Duchess may not act like the royalty the name implies, but they get the job done nonetheless
  • Dirty is a relative term. To Duchess being muddy meant nothing more than temporary comfort from the heat of the day. She knew I’d wash her up and she’d be soot black and shiny again.
  • Don’t stay in the mud puddle too long and be compared to the “sow that is washed goes back to her swallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:22b) NIV and end up lazy, listless and at loose ends.
  • And by all means, when you’ve been in the mud puddle, don’t run up to your friends and shake your mud all over them.

Friday, July 2, 2010


"Life's Lessons learned at the end of a leash"

Mr. Trouble II: The name itself alerted us to the possibilities of taking on our friend's Boston terrier. I was around the age of six when our family agreed to adopt Mr. Trouble from church friends who were to be deployed overseas. This small black and white bundle of energy with nerves of steel quickly stole our hearts. He adjusted well to our family of five and we soon accustomed ourselves to his antics. The only problem with this situation resulted from Benji, the black cocker spaniel next door.

Trouble, (for short) and Benji, kept up a running battle with each other and I do not exaggerate when I say "running battle". They hated each other from the moment they lay eyes on each other. It was quite a precarious situation to let Trouble out without first checking next door to see if the neighbors deemed it necessary for Benji to also take his business outdoors. If it so happened that both dogs were out at the same time, you could see them squaring off at each other.

Trouble lined up in the corner of our yard, scratching the ground with his paws like a Spanish bull, and Benji, lowered his head in the opposite corner of his yard, as if waiting for the signal to begin round one. In the middle they met like boxers in a ring and CLASH, SNARL, JUMP, REAR, GROWL AND BITE. No amount of hollering from any of us could dissuade them from their battle. After many attempts at various ways of safely and not so safely breaking up these dog fights, we came upon the idea of turning on the garden hose and soaking down the two antagonists. That seemed to do the trick until the next time both dogs went outside without a leash.

I've often wondered what makes certain dogs get along and others to be natural enemies. The same could be said of the human species. You know what I mean; sometimes you just naturally have an aversion to another person for no apparent reason other than they make your skin crawl and your blood pressure rise. I wish I remembered who authored a book about 'irregular people 'in your life. If I recall correctly, it dealt with this issue quite well.

How do you deal with conflict or that 'irregular person' in your life? Some folks naturally enjoy lining up on opposite sides of the yard just waiting for the right moment to:

Jump in and attack, usually with words that bite and snarl or actions that intentionally irritate, clash and cause unnecessary controversy.

Some may remember the old idiom, "fight or flight". Which applies to you?

Is your response to 'ignore it and it will go away?

Then there is the person who hurries down the other isle of the grocery store to avoid confrontation.

Some people just deny it's even a problem.

The Biblical account of David, the young shepherd turned warrior, grieved over his nemesis, King Saul, who sought at every turn to take his life. He tried everything he could to remedy the situation. (See 1and 2 Samuel in the Old Testament)

There are many other pairs of antagonists in Scripture: Cain and Able, Hannah and Peninah, Rachel and Leah, Jacob and Esau. Conflict remains as old as time.

"A soft answer turns away wrath" (Proverbs 15:1 KJV) surely did NOT work for Mr. Trouble and Benji. But would that plus, "Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. "(Luke 6:28 NIV) work with those irregular people in your life? Sometimes it does and sometimes, it just doesn't! I suppose we are to try anyway, no matter what the result of our efforts may be. After we've made an effort at all the remedies we know to get along with no results, we may need to drag out the garden hose and squirt some fresh cold water on the situation. This time of year with 100 degree temperatures, that might feel pretty good if you like that sorta thing. A cup of cold water in the Name of Jesus may just do the trick...or a glass of iced tea, or lemonade or even Diet Coke.

What I learned from Mr. Trouble II:
  • conflict exists (sometimes for reasons beyond our comprehension)
  • confidence in my ability to deal with it depends on the methods I incorporate
  • Christ Jesus IS THE CUP OF COLD WATER SPLASHED IN MY FACE to remind me
    Who is the Master

Thursday, June 24, 2010


"Recognizing a Crooked Stick"

"To their shame they are a perverse and crooked generation..." (Deuteronomy 32:5)

"And the crooked shall be made straight and the rugged ways made smooth." (Luke3:5b)

Someone has said that "the best way to show up a crooked stick is to lay a straight one beside it." That reminds me of an early summer morning thirty-something years ago.

As was my custom, I woke early and made my way through the old country house in which we lived in Woodruff. Quietly, so as not to awaken little boys and their daddy, I walked through the den toward the kitchen. In the early light of morning, I glanced at what I thought to be a stick on the carpet. Coming back the same way, I looked closer at the 'stick' to see that it was crooked...symmetrically. Realization woke me quickly and my instincts took over.

Grabbing the first thing I could get my hands on, without taking my eyes off the now moving ''stick'. I proceeded to immobilize it by digging the broken end of a yard stick into its middle. Vaguely, I remembered fussing at the boys the night before for breaking my yard stick and for leaving stuff scattered everywhere.

Now, what do I do? The wiggly 'stick' wanted to crawl up the yard stick. The carpet wasn't firm enough for the jagged end to pierce the thing. I certainly wasn't about to turn it loose long enough for it to crawl under the sofa and get away from me. Finally, after exerting all my strength, I pressed the life out of it.

Our oldest grandson posed recently in his back yard, holding up what appeared at first glance to be a five foot stick. It wasn't a stick. On their arrival home from church, their dogs alerted them to the problem in their garage. Their crooked 'stick' met its demise at the hands of Luke, their nine-year-old.

How can you recognize a crooked stick? You lay a straight one beside it. We live in a crooked and perverse generation. If you don't believe it, watch the nightly news. Can you recognize the difference between false doctrine and the Truth? Jesus is the yardstick...or the hoe handle. He's our example and serpent slayer, no matter that the 'stick' still slithers its crooked body all around.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


"Rain, heavy at times, with the threat of thundershowers."

From my office I see the magnolia tree in our front yard. The limbs hang heavy with rain drenched leaves dripping as the "heavy at times" inundates them. I watch them droop and begin to assume the position myself. Do you ever do that, gaze at outward circumstances and soak up the sorrow? Shortly afterward, on the radio, this wonderful old hymn sang its way into my ears, then my soul:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.
O what a foretaste of glory divine.
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His spirit, washed in His blood.
Perfect submission, perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love
Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest:
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
This my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
..Fanny J. Crosby

The trees, not long ago, thirsted for water. Perfectly submitted, absolutely un-anxious, the trees felt blessedly assured that water would come. Perfectly delighted they stand tall as showers of mercy wash them today. The leaves hang heavy because they can hardly contain the blessing. It drips on me.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long

Friday, June 4, 2010



"Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come (Leviticus 23:41) NIV

Celebrations, holidays, birthdays...What's your take on memorializing a significant event? How do you usually observe Memorial Day? Is it a day of remembrance or a day 'off', a day of play and/or partying? I am always moved by the images that I see in National observations to our fallen war heroes. In particular, the military men who fold the flag so precisely capture my attention. We own such a flag folded in honor of Dennis' Uncle Arthur who served in five major battles of World War II. I watched as the flag snapped this way and that until it was precisely wrapped and handed to the families of fallen men and women. Throughout the 'holiday weekend', I've seen many quips, cartoons, and eloquent speeches given concerning our men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. One cartoon in particular is of a man grilling the usual food stuffs outdoors. The thought bubble over his head listed the many things on the menu but...going up in the smoke above the barbeque were pictures of the military who are forgotten in the rush of 'celebration' to meet and eat and disregard the real meaning of the day. All over the world all year long we tend to forget the meaning of real celebration in lieu of the party that accompanies them. Christmas has become Santa Claus and gifts; Easter eggs and bunnies, holidays instead of holy days.

Today I just want to give tribute to the military and their families who don't 'celebrate' but commemorate Memorial Day. I appreciate the sacrifices made for our political freedom. I remember also, the PRIME EXAMPLE OF SACRIFICE made on a Roman cross for our spiritual freedom. Men and women who follow in Christ's footsteps as the ultimate model of and for freedom "memorialize" the experience and demonstrate what in actuality it is meant to be. Thank you! Thank you, Thank you!

It's also been a week of celebration in our family. Catie, (Catherine Joy) our oldest granddaughter, and Jacob Hayes, our second grandson, graduated from Mountain View Elementary this morning. These fifth graders will go to Blue Ridge Middle School next year where our oldest grandson, Caleb, attends. This Nana and Poppy will thrill to experience three in Middle School and five still in Elementary School. WHOA! There will be many more graduation celebrations to attend.

But before I continue there is something I'd like to say about Mtn. View Elementary School. We are thrilled to have our children and grandchildren associated with this school. Tommy Hughes, our long time friend and principle of Mt. View, epitomizes what elementary school should be all about. He's by far the best principle I've ever known. He loves the kids and they love him. His heart beats for their well being and education. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Mr. Hughes. You are loved.

Not only did we celebrate graduations but also two birthdays. Catie, born on Memorial Day eleven years ago and Boaz, her brother is ten today. Remembrances abound in the Lynn household this week. I remember not being able to get to Canada in time for her birth. I called Todd to inform him of when I would be arriving and he was in the delivery room with Joice where the birth was taking place. He shared his first words about his baby girl while on the phone to me. "Oh, she looks like a little smurf".Catie doesn't resemble a smurf anymore and in fact gave a lovely parting speech this morning to her school.

Boaz, coming one year later, was also born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, while his parents were in Seminary. It's a tad difficult to monitor travel so far when babies decide to be born, so, we missed his birth by one week. Most folks raise their eyebrows when first hearing the name Boaz these days. It's not your common popular baby boy name. I researched the Biblical Boaz considerably after Todd decided to change his name from Elijah Christopher to Boaz Nathaniel on the second day of his life. When he told me on the phone that he had some news about the baby, my heart did a double flip, fearing a medical problem. It was only a name change due to the fact that his dad felt he didn't look like an Elijah to his daddy and Boaz seemed to fit the baby boy. I love the name Boaz and what it stands for...kinsman redeemer. It's indicative of our LORD and what He's done for us. We do celebrate both our grandchildren's births proudly.

Obviously the LORD God, Himself felt that celebrations served a good purpose. Just read about the Jewish feasts in the book of Leviticus and all throughout the Scripture.

Birthdays, Memorial Day, Graduation Day, all hold significance in our lives. How will these things be remembered in the years to come?

How do you celebrate important days in with your kin? It will become a family heritage and a gift to your progeny.

  • Remember the real meaning of the day
  • Renew old memories that glorify the occasion
  • Refresh each other with true stories of bygone days
  • Rekindle relationships
  • Rededicate yourselves to the Lord God Who grants you all celebrations

Friday, May 28, 2010


"A Lesson from a Puppy"

"I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

We have a new canine cousin to complete our extended family. Our oldest granddaughter, Catie, received her birthday present early. She's wanted a puppy since their previous dog Duke died several months ago. Duke, a lab, husky mix from Alaska, truly exhibited all the traits of a good family pet. Duke was a good dog. He'd been shuffled around many times in many ways and always loved his master and family. After a proper time of grieving, our youngest son, Todd, agreed to this rescue pup for Catie. They went to the Humane Society to search for the proper pup. The result is "Lizzie", a twelve week old Dalmatian mix. Lizzie, whom Catie says, 'called to her' from her kennel, is now a part of the Lynn canine enclave. In my eleven year old granddaughter's words, "Lizzie seemed content to be alone but also wanted to be loved." Our other son, David has two rescued dogs: Rugby, a yellow lab and Toby, a black dog of undetermined origin belonging to Jacob their eleven year old.

This pup is nothing like the pups in our past. She's been to visit a few times and I am so enthralled with watching our twenty-two month old golden retriever, Sadie, and Lizzie. They do what I call a dog dance. After checking each other out all over they have become the best of friends and have a ball. In the dance, our Sadie is the jitter-bugger and Lizzie is the slow dancer. They pounce and play and stop on a dime and twirl around and race off to another part of the house or yard.

One of Sadie's newest play toys is an orange hard rubber bone. She hasn't taken to it vigorously yet, but Lizzie decided she liked it. On our trip outdoors Saturday, Lizzie took the orange bone and headed immediately for the soft dirt of my flower bed by the patio. I was sitting in my chair observing the dog dance while four little girls played inside. Lizzie proceeded to dig fast and furious with orange bone beside her. Determined to bury 'her 'bone before Sadie picked up on her stunt, she would dig and glance at Sadie who wasn't about to be left behind in this game. So, both dogs began to dig scattering dirt all over the place. If it hadn't been such a funny dance they did, I'd have been really ticked, but since I hadn't put any flowers where they were digging, I just watched, smiling.

How does a puppy know to bury a bone? Or better still, why does a dog bury a bone? Seems to me they'd chew it up rather than bury it. We've had other dogs that buried bones that we found in our back yard at a much later date. Seems a waste of a good bone to me.

Since pondering these things in my heart, I've come up with my own personal analogy. It may not be too spiritual but when I read the above verse from Psalm 119:11, I couldn't help but nod my head and think of Lizzie (Dennis calls her Elizabeth).

When I come across a particularly appropriate scripture, I want to hide it in my heart for whenever I may need it, either for myself or someone else. I often write them on index cards and carry them in my pocket or purse to dig out and hand to someone with whom I come in contact during the day. Oh, I cannot tell you the times the Lord has provided 'bones' to be gnawed on, absorbed and shared. I usually call them gems of treasure, gold, silver, precious stones mined from digging into the WORD, but in this instance, bones buried in the deep dark part of my heart seems to work for me ...and for Lizzie.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


"You cannot purify the water by painting the pump." (Adrian Rogers)

We all know the function of a pump. It propels water by forcing it through a pipe. The pump, though important, serves only as the means of obtaining the water or whatever else happens to be in the well.

The recent and current news coverage of the uncontrollable oil leak from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico reminds us of the grave importance of accuracy and safety in pumps. In the spring of my twelfth year I learned how to use a hand pump. More importantly, I discovered just how vital water is to everyday life.

Our family lived for a short while in Angola, Indiana, where my Daddy joined the road construction force that built the Indiana Turnpike. Before housing became available, we lived in a rather primitive cottage, situated beside a small fishing lake. By primitive, I mean, we did not have indoor plumbing and frequented a small house behind the house for necessities. The kitchen (?) inspired my mother's ingenuity to say the least and my sister, Judy and I learned how to prime a pump, among other things. To obtain water to do all the things that water does, we pumped water into the kitchen sink and proceeded from there with our daily chores, always leaving enough water contained to pour into the pump to prime it for the next person. Water first, then other things.

The pump, obviously very old, was not a thing of beauty. The pure water that we urged from its well, however, cleansed us, fed us and hydrated our bodies. It was essential for our livelihood. The appearance of the pump had nothing to do with the purity of the water that flowed upward from the well. As my Mother so aptly quotes: "What's in the well comes up in the bucket", or pump as the case may be.

Three of the special uses for water in Scripture include cleansing, purification, and baptism. Moses, instructed by God, told the Israelites to wash themselves physically and spiritually, to prepare to meet Jehovah God for worship. (Exodus 19:10) Washing on the outside doesn't do a thing for the inside. God demands spiritual cleansing before we can come into His presence to commune with Him.

Are you having trouble communicating with the Father? Showering your body, (painting the pump) may improve your outward appearance and that's good, but more importantly, launder the inside. HOW? Come clean with Christ Jesus about your sin. Keep short accounts on a daily basis. Sometimes, moment by moment, we need to confess. You do remember when Jesus took up the basin and the towel to wash His disciples' feet. Peter objected at first and then told the Lord to wash him all over if that was required. Jesus reassured Peter that he was already clean within but needed that daily cleansing from walking in the world. The feet would do nicely this time. (John 13:6-10, my paraphrase) He who died for our sins prepares us for spiritual unity..the washing of the water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26).

Painting the pump may improve the outward appearance, but purifying the water within requires more than a bucket and a brush.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


"Crucified with Christ"

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." NIV

I'll never forget the day that the above verse of Scripture came alive for me. I'm not talking about my salvation experience here; I'm talking about an "AHA moment" when God reveals Himself afresh through His Love Letter to us. You know, those moments when the light shines on a passage and it bounces off the page to your brain and into your heart. It was the early '80's and we lived in Calhoun Falls where Dennis was pastor of First Baptist Church while completing his Master of Divinity at Erskine Theological Seminary. I, in the meantime, earned my "PHT" (putting hubby through) degree, learning what it means to be a pastor's wife, raising two boys and using my nursing skills at the local clinic. Nights and some days were spent typing papers
for Dennis on an old Royal manual typewriter.

My prayer closet consisted of a rocking chair squeezed between the bed and the double windows in our small bedroom overlooking a prolific fig bush in our backyard. As the early morning sun shown revealing a new day, our dear Old English Sheepdog, Oliver, liked to prop his big fuzzy head on my foot and glance at me through shaggy bangs that almost covered his mismatched blue and brown eyes.

One such morning, Galatians 2:20 rose from the dead, so to speak, in my heart. We all know or think we know about crucifixion. At least we've read about it and watched it on television and in movies. The only thing we can actually say about it is that crucifixion means "death" in the most horrible fashion imaginable. In as much as I can identify with crucifixion, which is not at all, it declares that I am dead. My flesh may be still walking around in this earth suit, but as Eugene Peterson puts it in THE MESSAGE, my ego is no longer central. What I want is not uppermost in my mind. I am dead to myself.

In the biography of Amy Carmichael, Elizabeth Elliot's title to the book seems to explain it beautifully: A CHANCE TO DIE. A chance to self. Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:31, "I die daily". Sounds pretty radical, doesn't it? If I die daily to myself, the Word says, Christ lives in me. Christ died once so that I may have the choice to die daily to my own flesh so that He might live in me. It's not me that's living this life, it is Christ living in me, through me, for me. Each day, the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Now I don't know if that's 'theologically' correct, but I know that the Good News of that verse freed me to realize anew the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

I almost ran to my spiritual mentor with gladness of heart. "Did you know that I've been crucified with Christ? It's no longer ME that's living, but Christ living in me, and that the life I'm now living, I'm not living for Helen or in Helen's strength or knowledge, but I'm living it by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me?"

Wise person that he is, he smiled a knowing smile. He already knew that.

Did you know that?

"I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. " Galatians 2:20 (THE MESSAGE)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


"The Power of Prayer"

Former Governor Mike Huckabee’s interview with Franklin Graham last night on television demonstrated the forever truth that God's children stand firm in their commitment to pray whether the government approves or disapproves. The National Day of Prayer garners more and more attention, even though"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." much of it is negative this year. No matter! God knows and predicted as much. (James 1:2 NIV)

"All these were constantly at prayer together." (Acts 1:14)

A number of years ago, my Sunday School Class in Travelers Rest met to pray corporately for revival. I assigned an area of the church sanctuary for each member to cover in prayer. The north wall, the south wall, the east wall and the west wall, including the choir loft and the balcony were manned by intercessors. Each warrior held an assigned list of names from the church directory. It was a about 7:10 pm when the vigil began. I stationed myself behind the piano.
At about 7:45, my knees demanded a position change so I moved from the floor to the pew. In so doing, I glanced around the sanctuary...and saw no one. UH-OH!! I sucked in my breath in surprise. Immediately I sensed them all to be there, even though I couldn't see them. They WERE there, but they were all on their faces before the Lord. In awe, I finished my prayers in praise.

Our mandate to pray for revival included this note from Ron Dunn's book, DON'T JUST STAND THERE; PRAY SOMETHING. "At Pentecost, they prayed ten days, preached ten minutes and three thousand were saved. Today, we pray ten minutes, preach three days and are ecstatic if anyone is saved. "

David Brainerd prayed in knee deep snow until the snow melted; he got pneumonia and died.
When will we realize that we can never pray enough? We can not fathom the depth nor the height to which God Almighty (El Shaddai) will go when His children come to Him humbly seeking His face.

It was one of those awesome, holy moments, when our hearts united, we fell to our knees and God showed up!!

Do it again, Lord!

Friday, April 30, 2010


"Roller Coaster Ride"

“It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) THE MESSAGE

Roller-coasters fascinated me in my much younger life. The thrill of the climb and heart stopping plunge downward sent a rush of adrenalin that must resemble that of the old commercial the “Dew-crowd”.

I’ve since come to realize the danger in such a drastic transposition, both physically and emotionally.

“Lord, since I’ve’ been there and done that, level me off, emotionally, in this up and down world of confusing circumstances. Even when You say “No,” as You did to the Apostle Paul, don’t let me lose my enthusiasm. He didn’t fold his tent and silently creep away into the night when Your Spirit kept him from going into Bithynia. Lord, forgive me for demanding my way, but grant me a glorious gladness in doing it Your way.

“Lord, Paul’s journey took him from mountain top to valley, from freedom to bondage, time and again…and he was obedient. Even when prison doors shut him in and stocks bound him down, he sang! Help me to praise You in the dark dungeon of disappointment. In paralyzing stupidity, speak through me that others may hear me praising, not screaming.

“Father, give me that holy boldness, that gift of encouragement, to share joyously Your love and provision, no matter the outward circumstance. You gave it to Paul, would you grant it to me? And, yes, Lord, I read of the price he paid. In fear and trembling, again, I stand waiting for my ticket to rise and fall as You determine the course ahead. Grant me that infinitely greater power to ride out the turmoil of this world, because I have been born from above."

(addendum: This Heart Thought penned May 1, 1995, grabbed my attention this morning. I’m not sure of the roller coaster ride of that moment but I can well guess that daily we all experience the same rise and fall of facing life’s challenges. Since I’ve been there and done that actual roller coaster thing, I’ll be content to wear the T-Shirt and wait for life’s next hill to climb and depth to plunge.

What roller coaster ride are you experiencing? Just because you can’t see over the next hill, doesn’t mean you’re alone on the journey.

“We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV

Thursday, April 22, 2010

HEART THOUGHTS... from Helen

"A Picture Worth A Thousand Words"

“If you’re swept off your feet, it is time to get on your knees.” Frederick Beck

“And when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the LORD…" Isaiah 37:1

Hezekiah prayed to the LORD saying, “O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth, You have made heaven and earth.” (Isaiah 37:15-16)

A picture is worth a thousand words. One morning during my teenage years, I inadvertently intruded on my mother’s private worship time. I opened her bedroom door without knocking and discovered her on her knees before the Father. That memory is indelibly imprinted in my mind.

Perhaps that’s the reason the story of Hezekiah strikes a chord with me. Around 701 BC, Judah’s king heard distressing news of enemies surrounding his kingdom. He sent emissaries to hear what Assyria field marshal, the Rabshakeh, had to say, instructing his men not to negotiate with the enemy. Threats from without being fierce, the king ran to God’s house, seeking God’s will, God’s protection, God’s guidance.

Have you been swept of your feet in fear?

Not only did Hezekiah run to God’s house, but he sought God’s man of the hour, Isaiah. The prophet consoled King Hezekiah, assuring him of God’s protection and provision and God’s revenge on the enemies of His people. In essence, he told him not to be afraid, He would take care of Assyria. Because of Hezekiah’s faithfulness to seek God, his fear turned to faith.

To whom do you go when surrounded by enemies?

Lessons learned from King Hezekiah (Isaiah 37)
  • No matter how Satan attempts to frighten us into surrender ,run to God of the Angel Armies, kneel before Him alone, plead our case
  • Never negotiate with Satan
  • Seek godly counsel
  • Trust God’s Word in faith
Judah’s king Hezekiah faced three tests in his life. The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, numbers just one of such tests.

I don’t know what test or what enemies surrounded my mother at the time I discovered her kneeling in prayer…perhaps among them was her teenage daughter, or two, or a son serving our country in Germany. Nonetheless, she taught me by her example. She will be ninety-four years old on April 25. The enemies that surround her today include the inability to kneel because her knees won’t allow it. Perhaps she wore them out in prayer. She is confined to her bed almost exclusively. She is unable to read her Bible due to the enemy of macular degeneration, but if you begin to quote a familiar Scripture, she can finish it for you. Does she pray? …oh yes, without ceasing, just as the Word instructs.

Fear not, Mother, God has promised to take care of the enemies that surround you. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


"What Kind of Tree Is That?"

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to the level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:2 (THE MESSAGE)

“Nana, what kind of tree is that?” Nine-year old Boaz asked from the car in my front yard.

“Bradford Pear Tree.”

“Does it grow pears?”

“No, actually it doesn’t.”

“Then why is it a pear tree? “

“Good question, Boaz. The Bradford Pear is shaped like a pear but bears no fruit except for the beautiful blossoms.”

Spring brings new life. Have you noticed? The sap in the trees couldn’t wait any longer! It bubbled up from the roots to the trunk to the branches to the limbs. Now, spring nudges the old away and pushes the new, tiny, fresh green buds out the ends of the tree fingers.

Baby buds look so clean; as with all new life that springs from renewal. Just soaking in the glory brings a smile.

The growing stage of life in Christ follows the beginning state or ‘the Will Principle’. Once we set our minds on things above, His thoughts bud within us; not unlike new growth on the trees. New, fragile thoughts spring into refreshing ideas that grow into action and produce the Fruit of the Spirit.

Our body grows by producing new cells. Our lives sustain that production. The newness shows life. We don’t even think about it; we just expect that it will happen. And it does.

Expect newness in your walk with Christ. His mind constantly renews us, like spring births new life. Renewal brings newness, new insights and fresh spiritual energy. The world’s stagnant conformity must fall from our limbs when we submit to Spiritual growth. Truth wakes us up…eager to meet the new day.

Renew your mind. It’s invigorating! And, besides, renewal is a command.

Thursday, April 8, 2010



During this past week we observed the remembrance of Christ’s week of passion. In a number of ways we experienced just how beautiful is the body of Christ on earth today. The story and depictions of the crucifixion distress us with horror of Christ’s physical body during the horrendous events of that weekend. The excruciating scourging, spitting, pulling out his beard and all the other despicable things done to Him during the mock trial and agonizing via dolorosa cause us to wince and turn our heads. Have you ever wondered at the hands that made that cruel crown of thorns? You cannot possibly weave a crown of such dire pain without shedding your own blood on the sharp points. The same blood that made the crown would be mingled with that of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. Thought provoking…

Frances J. Roberts, in her devotional book, COME AWAY MY BELOVED, states: “The world is waiting for a robust Church to minister to its needs; and how can an ailing, dismembered Body bring healing to a sick and dying world?” We witnessed that robust Church Body this past week.

Early in the week we received news of dear friends whose oldest son died of cancer. He was thirty-nine. Talk about passionate agony and grief! In the midst of it, however, the BEAUTIFUL BODY OF CHRIST came to stand by this grieving family in a precious way to minister in the name of Jesus. How beautiful were the hands that prepared the meals, served the meals. How beautiful were the hearts that hugged and eyes that cried, the feet that walked the way of suffering, waited in line to pay their respects. How beautiful were the visits, the condolences that honored and ministered as the present day Body of Christ. Just as He said we should do, so we tried our best to do in His Name. How beautiful is the Body of Christ.

On Maundy Thursday we gathered around the tables of a small country church to share in the Lord’s Table in honor of that Last Supper He shared with His disciples. “This is MY BODY which was broken for you”….”This do in Remembrance of ME.” This is My BLOOD which was shed for you”.

Then on Friday we traveled to our former church in McCormick to share in precious celebration of the LIVING LORD’S SUPPER. Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper was dramatized by local men in period costume and looked just like I pictured the disciples to look. It was spectacular and humbling. Each disciple’s monologue ended with “Is it I, Lord?”

Such appropriate music accompanied the presentation by the group, CHOSEN, that my heart thrilled to hear them sing once more. One song, however, persists in my mind. Twilia Paris captures the week for me in some of the lyrics of HOW BEAUTIFUL…….

Is the Body of Christ
How beautiful the hands that served the wine and the bread and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful the feet that walked the long dusty roads and the hills to the cross.
How beautiful how beautiful is the body Christ
On Easter Sunday we gathered as a family and prayed around the table at our oldest son’s house to enjoy family, food, and fellowship and to celebrate the fact that our youngest granddaughter, Eliyah, who is five years old, made a public profession of her faith in Christ.

How beautiful is the Body of Christ

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Heart Thoughts from Helen - April 1, 2010

“Rabboni!” (John 20:16-NIV)

I never liked school. You could say I was a school refusal. My mother would bribe me with quarters and fifty cent pieces (back when there was that) to stay in my first grade class room. It wasn’t the teacher, Mrs. Reed who was a very nice lady. I just wanted to stay home with my momma. And I was stubborn. I’d put my blond head on my desk with my fist clenched tightly around that piece of money and cry and cry. My memory fails me as to when I realized that no amount of crying would keep me from school. Learning my lessons lasted a long time. As a matter of fact life’s lessons linger for a lifetime.

Of course later on in junior high and high school I enjoyed all the extra curricular activities which overcame the school phobia. Still, testing beleaguered me. Even now I don’t test very well.

Mary Magdalene, a tested woman of faith learned to trust because of her trials. Demon possessed when first she met Jesus, she learned that He could and did free her from her tormenters. From that day of deliverance, she organized the first women’s ministry. In gratitude she served the entourage of followers and ministered to the needs of the Lord Jesus Christ. After witnessing the crucifixion in anguish of heart, she could hardly wait to minister one more time to His stricken body. One of the last at the cross, she was first at the Resurrection. This woman in Scripture whose name cries out through the centuries teaches us even more of life’s lessons from that first Easter morning.

Mary of Magdala, beset by grief, overwhelmed by sorrow, tested to the ‘enth degree, sought the body of her Lord. She couldn’t wait to get to the tomb, worrying the whole time how she could roll away the stone to get to her appointed task.

The Master Teacher taught Mary Magdalene forgiveness; He taught her freedom from bondage; He taught her agape love; he taught her ministry; he taught her that suffering serves a purpose; He taught her that this ultimate test at Calvary did not end in death but life everlasting.

At the moment, she wasn’t testing very well. She sought the Savior who found her rather than her finding Him. He was a one on one teacher. He was her Personal Instructor who spoke her name. In a moment’s time, Mary recognized the Master and responded to Him. “Rabboni!” Teacher… O to sit in that classroom.

From that moment on that graveyard gave way to the great mystery and became the world’s first school of evangelism. He commissioned her to go and tell His brothers that He conquered death. From the depths of despair to the heights of heaven, lessons learned at the feet of her Rabbi would never grow dim. Mary Magdalene passed that test with flying colors and flying feet as she ran to tell the GOOD NEWS.

Are you a school refusal in the Lord’s graduate school of suffering? Do you hate testing? I am and I do, but having the Risen Lord Jesus as my Rabbi makes a huge difference.

The lesson for today? He is risen! He is Risen, Indeed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Heart Thoughts from Helen

Of Palm Trees and Parades

Palm fronds: a leaf from a palm tree, used as a symbol of victory or success

“They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” (John 12:13 (NIV)

When I think of palm trees I think of gentle breezes, blue green waters, and sand between my toes and the sun on my face. I think of a picture of my husband leaning against a palm tree on a Caribbean beach just a couple years ago. I don’t usually think of palm trees as symbolic of Jesus ‘victorious entry into Jerusalem except at this time of the year. I don’t usually consider palm trees and parades in the same thought. They are, however, pertinent to the Passion of Christ.

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (John 12:13 NIV)

Most folks loves a parade. In McCormick, the small town in which we lived for eleven years, parades drew the town’s people en masse. Some of our grandchildren enjoyed these parades as demonstrated in many photographs we’ve taken during that time. Instead of palm fronds, candy is strewn all across the street. It’s a festive time. From where we lived, just two blocks off Main, we could walk to the parade. Older people brought lawn chairs and sat out in front of the old train station/ antique store. Christmas parades, Gold Rush Festival parades, July 4th parades. What is it that gathers a crowd to a parade?

One of my greatest desires as a girl was to ride a horse in the Christmas parade in Sumter. As a teenager my dream became a reality. I loved every minute of it: from the long ride into town to the lining up at the end of the parade (we all know why the horses are last on the list of entries), riding down Main Street on the crisp December day. It was thrilling. Don’t ask me why.

“See, your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zech. 9:9)NIV

Jesus chose a colt, the foal of a donkey (Matthew 21:2; Zech.9:9) to ride in a parade into Jerusalem. The same Jerusalem that He wept over not long before transformed into a victory procession for the King of Kings. I’m thinking of a donkey on which His mother, Mary, rode into Bethlehem prior to His birth. No parade for her. And then there’s that white horse in Revelation 19 whose Rider is called, Faithful and True. Now that will be a parade you don’t want to miss.

People placed palm branches before the KING before they knew how He would reign. They didn’t know what victory would be won the following week. But He did!

Palms branches prior to His Passion,

Palm branches before the brutality,

Palm branches: symbols of victory and their owners showing no shame shortly thereafter.

The palms of hands that struck Him bear no resemblance to the “Hosanna” palms strewn before his humble yet regal ride through the city for which He wept. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children”.

And now they gather…but not to be drawn together under His wings as little biddies for refuge.
Palm branches, praises sung, prayers prayed, preparation for a preponderance of agony, a parade of people pleading for a Savior.

Oh, the pathos of the week to come. Then, that same gentle Jesus made a whip and did some holy house cleaning in the Temple. “My House will be called a House of Prayer, but you’re making it into a den of robbers” (John 21:13)NIV

After I rode on horseback in the Christmas parade years ago, I had to turn around and take that horse back to the barn, brush, water, feed him and then go home. The parade was over but work prevailed. After my grandchildren watched the parades in town, ate all that candy and one or more got down off their Poppy’s shoulders, we went home to do whatever needed to be done.

What happens after the parade? You do whatever comes next.

What did Jesus do after the parade? He purged the Temple; He prepared for pain. He poured water in a basin, took up a towel and washed feet. I wonder if Jesus needs to purge our temples today. Not just the local church, but THE Temple of the Holy Spirit, my body, in which He dwells?? Perhaps our feet need to be washed from walking in the world.

Will you celebrate this Palm Sunday singing Hosannas to the king of kings and then be shocked when He proceeds to ‘clean house’ before He can use you in His service? Will you, like Peter at first refuse to let Him wash your feet? Will you fall asleep when He wants to meet with you during the wee hours of the morning? Or will you run scared at the first sign of danger? Will you betray Him like Judas, or deny Him like Peter? Will you be available to care for His family like John? What will happen to the palm branches after Palm Sunday? What will you do after the parade?

O, Holy One of Israel, impress upon my heart the meaning of it all.