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!