He Makes Beautiful Things out of Dust

Yep, my house is under there.

My Facebook post from April 27, 2012

“Today, one year later, I’m awakened by my alarm clock, not my daughter to beg me to take cover.  Today, one year later, I shop for wedding dresses with her rather than huddle with her and her brother in the bathtub. Today, I am thankful. I’m thankful for neighbors that rush in after the storm. I’m thankful for a sister and a mom that opened their homes. For friends and family who helped to gather our belongings for us to move away for 99 days. A brother with connections to big chainsaws and bucket trucks. I’m thankful for my pastor whose birthday I won’t be so quick to forget again…and his wife; who helped me to remember it was that day, and who wanted to bring a hand saw to help. I’m thankful for our house of worship where we met that weekend and I truly worshiped like no other time before “unplugged”. I’m thankful for a brother-in-law and a brother that know how to build things.  A husband that’s quite handy to have around too.  And for a sister-in-law that knows how to pack things. Today, one year later, I’m thankful for blessings and blue skies, for my job that allows me summers off, for Alfa Insurance; yes I said it, and little baby ducks, old pickup trucks, slow-moving trains, and…wait… that’s Tom T. Hall. Most of all, I am most thankful for His promise, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” ~ Psalm 91:1”

Today, April 27, 2017, I wake up to a sprinkling of rain. I’m always a little anxious on this day, I still get very nervous just thinking about it, but on rainy days just a bit more. After being huddled in the tub with your two children, April 27 + rain = apprehension.

It was a morning of getting to sleep late because school was delayed (due to weather). Little did we know, school would be DELAYED. Anna, my oldest, came to me and begged me to take cover with her and her little brother, Noah. I relented, painstakingly. Everyone knows I like to sleep. We all climb into the bathtub, and I realize this is REAL. We hear absolute quiet, and then just as quickly as it turned quiet, it became very loud. We could hear the house being hit by the trees, crashing in, rain pouring in. I spread my body across the kids as best I could. Anna was on her cell phone, receiving texts, talking to her Aunt Delana. Noah yelled, “Pray momma!” Anna yelled, “Get on top of me too!” I couldn’t reach her as well as I could him, I couldn’t pray with words. If ever I needed intercession from the Holy Spirit it was right there. And then it was over. We walked out of the bathroom to find a mess. Neighbors, whose homes were not as badly damaged, rushed over. Noah grabbed every towel he could find. He wanted to save the piano, of all things, which he did. My sister sends her husband with a chainsaw. Tony makes it home from work to see the devastation. We walked out of there alive, unharmed. Many people had much more damage than we did.

250+ people lost their lives that day as multiple tornadoes ripped our state apart. Later that afternoon another one twisted its way through a community close to home and took many.  Today, we remember and pray for the families that had their lives ripped apart.

No TV for 16 days, so we only knew what we heard or read on Facebook. No electricity for 9 days, thank God for generators. Gas was hard to find to run the chainsaws, but we were thankful for what little we had. What was left of our home ended up in the cul-de-sac. The neighbors loved us.

It took a lot of people and a lot of work to put our town back together, but we did it. It’s more beautiful now than it was before.

“Oh sing to The Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things!” (Psalm 98:1)

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Early Church

At this time of the year, we celebrate the splendor of God’s creation in the beauty of the flowers, and the sound of chirping blue jays. We enjoy our families with rituals of food and fellowship, laughter and play. Some of us will also sit in services of silence with sacred readings, or celebration music and uplifting words of encouragement. We will reflect on the holy, and the sanctity of all life.

In the Christian calendar, yesterday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. During this week Christians are asked to consider the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross, an event that took place almost two thousand years ago. What will you do to honor Holy Week?

I started with alone time at church this morning. I had to go to church to pick up some music for a friend. I got up a little earlier than normal, and left home earlier than I intended. I’ve never been to church that early in the morning. The quiet enveloped me. After locating the music I was looking for, I sat on the front row, as I had several minutes to spare before going into work. I sat there and looked around at the beautiful place of worship that God has given us and thanked Him.

I thanked God for the moving Palm Sunday service that we had yesterday, and for the reminder of His shed blood and broken body through the Lord’s Supper. I prayed for our people, and for Easter Sunday, that we might glorify Him. I prayed that I might glorify Him, so that they might know Him. I sat for a while and was just there. Alone. With God.

I enjoyed starting my day like that. I must do it again very soon. Church at 6:30 am is not so bad.

I will honor Holy Week by remembering that Jesus “took my sin and my sorrow and made them his very own. He bore my burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone.” (Gabriel, 1905)

I Stand Amazed in the Presence: Charles H. Gabriel, (1905)

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The GAP

“Hey, I’ll be praying for ya! Keep your head up. Gotcha on the prayer list at church.” How many times have we said this? Or heard this from someone else? We need to stand in the GAP (and I’m not talking about the store) for our friends and relatives that don’t know Him, are ill, or going through tough times.

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30) The Lord was searching for someone who would intercede for Jerusalem and do what was necessary for her salvation. When He looked He found no one who would intercede for the nation and the city.

Every day, we should try to find someone or two someones to stand in the gap for. We need to commit to praying for them, on their behalf because they might not be able to pray for themselves. The best gift anyone can give to another is to pray for him or her. We live in a sinful world where bad things happen to people. Praying for another person not only helps that person find God in the midst of trouble, but also helps us recognize the blessings that God gives us daily.

First Timothy 2:1-5 says: 1 “First I tell you to pray for all people. Ask God for the things people need, and be thankful to Him. 2 You should pray for kings and all who have authority. Pray for the leaders so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of worship and respect for God.  3 This is good and it pleases God our Savior. 4 God wants all people to be saved, and He wants everyone to know the truth. 5 There is only one God, and there is only one way that people can reach God. That way is through Jesus Christ who is also a man”. (ICB..International Children’s Bible) It’s that simple.

It is my hope that you will take very seriously the honor that you have of standing in the GAP and praying for other people.

GAP – God Answers Prayer