Beloved

My beloved spoke, and said to me:

“ Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!
“ O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”

Song of Solomon 2:10-14 NKJ

Hear the Voice of My Beloved (sung by Cynthia Clawson)

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Prayer Meeting

My next door neighbors hosted a home prayer meeting once a week. It was usually adults only, but one week I didn’t have a sitter for two-year old Caleb and I decided to take a chance that he would be “good” and I took him with me. Little did I know that God had arranged a divine appointment for Caleb with a couple who were visiting from Africa. They were house guests of one of our couples and had come along that evening. Well, Caleb was an “angel”, smiling, and blowing kisses, raising his hands during worship, and laughing his charming chuckle. (Caleb had Down syndrome.) As the meeting came to a close, the young couple from Africa came over to me and kissed Caleb and kissed and hugged me with tears in their eyes. I did not know until later that they were scheduled for an abortion because they had been told their baby would have Down syndrome. They cancelled the appointment the next morning!

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Pinnacle

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

“ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
Isaiah 6:1-3

As a girl, I went to Camp Pinnacle in Clayton, Georgia, for a week of summer church camp. The staff woke up us at 4 a.m. for a hike up Mount Pinnacle. My best friends from school and church were with me as we made our way up the steep slopes with our flashlights. It was completely dark when we got to our destination and our leader demanded that everyone sit down, turn off their flashlights, and not move or talk until given further directions.

Before long the brilliant morning sun rose over one of the foothills revealing that we were on the edge of the pinnacle overlooking a beautiful valley of pastures and farmhouses. Someone started singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” and all the girls joined in. It was one of those goosebump moments I’ll always remember whenever I hear that song.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.

Click on the link below to hear the song:

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What a Waste!

Before World War II began, Corrie ten Boom, had a Sunday school class for children with various disabilities in Holland. A Nazi soldier saw her with her little group listening to Bible stories and songs in the city park and remarked, “Surely one ‘normal’ convert would be of more worth that all of these! What a waste.”

When Jim Eliot, Nate Saint, and other missionaries set out to bring the gospel to the Waodani tribe in Ecuador, previously unreached with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and lost their lives fulfilling the Great Commission, many said, “Such brilliant minds and promising careers. What a waste!.”

When a plain village woman broke an alabaster box of costly perfume to anoint the feet of Jesus shortly before his death, many who were present cried, “Surely this perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor! What a waste!”

I had a young man question me just recently, “Why do you keep talking about the cross and Jesus’ death? Wouldn’t it have been better if he had lived to be 100 and died a peaceful death from old age? Jesus came to set a good example for us, but each of us must earn our own salvation, he insisted. What a waste!”

Jesus said to his followers: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:54 Jesus knew that many were offended because He said He must die as a sacrifice for the sins of many.

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:66-69

I am going to try to tie all these thoughts together with yet another “Nana Story from the Olden Days”, as my grandchildren call them, or as we said in the sixties, “A Blast from the Past”.

When I was 11, I could not swim. Not a lick! But all my friends were swimming out to a platform in the middle of the lake. I thought I could make it by hanging onto an inner tube, but the tube got away and I was in way over my head. I humbly yelled for help as I went down the first and second times. Then I found myself waking up on the beach in the arms of a strong, handsome lifeguard named “Kit”.

When I was helplessly drowning, I didn’t need Kit to demonstrate his backstroke and set a good example for me. I didn’t even need lectures about staying in shallow water. I needed a “savior”!

Not one of us can save ourselves. Not one has done anything to earn salvation, but the Bible says:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

Was Jesus’ death a waste or was He broken and poured out for you?

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God is our refuge!

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the most High. Psalm 46:4

I can remember when I was in elementary school that our teachers read from the Bible to us each morning as class began. We said a blessing together at lunch. At parent/teacher meetings, different grades would present a program, and often, the children would memorize a Psalm to recite. Favorites were Psalm 23 and Psalm 100.

Even when I first began teaching in 1972, in rural Georgia, our prinicipal would begin every faculty meeting with a prayer for God’s guidance and blessing. After my children entered Alpharetta Elementary School, our pastor, A.B. Hatfield, was invited to speak at a PTA meeting. He stood and quoted Psalm 46 from memory. I can still hear his resonant voice as he spoke with such love and reverence for God’s Word: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Today, in America’s public schools, it is politically incorrect to even mention Easter or Christmas. However, at the state university where my son attends, there is a growing group of students who meet faithfully each week to celebrate their faith, to worship and pray for their campus and for the nations. God hears and is answering their prayers! We are about to see the greatest revival in history. How blessed we are to live in such a time as this!

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

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Mercy and Grace

When my grandchildren were younger, Damian was eight and Skyler was four, I went to Virginia to be with their Dad on his thirtieth birthday. I stayed with the kids while their parents were at work. It was a beautiful September day and they wanted to ride their bikes to the park. When we arrived at the playground early that morning, the equipment was still wet from an overnight shower. Water puddled on the slide. “Sorry, Skyler,” I explained, “You won’t be able to go down the slide.” Before I could finish my sentence, up the ladder went Damian, and down he came right into the puddle. I was just about to fuss at him when he took her hand and sweetly said, “There you go, Skyler; my jeans soaked up all the water. Now you can slide!”

That is grace!

I also have a big brother. He once bought a beautiful new Cutlass convertible. He let me drive it to Atlanta one rainy day. There was construction beside the expressway and mud and water and oil created a slick spot. When I had to hit my brakes, because another car swerved into my lane, the car spun around and I found myself going the wrong way in early morning downtown traffic. Needless to say, his car was totalled, another car was damaged, and my brother’s insurance was cancelled. When I faced him later that evening, his face showed nothing but concern for me and all he said was, “I am so glad you are okay!’ He never mentioned the car to me again.

That is mercy!

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God is with you!

Fear not. I am with thee. Oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous omnipotent hand.
(How Firm a Foundation)

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not. I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you
with My righteous right hand.

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. Amplified

Isaiah 41:10 The Message
Don’t panic! I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear, for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength.
I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Deut. 31:8 It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit–depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm]. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” NLT

Josh 1:9 Contemporary English
I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the LORD your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.

Romans 16: 20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Jesus said, Ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. Don’t be passive, timid, or fearful. Come boldly before the throne of God.

Quiet down and listen! Sit down and rest. Catch your breath. Recover your strength. Come close. Tell me all that’s on your heart. Together we’ll decide what is right. I was the first on the scene and I will see you through. Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear. I am your God and I will give you the strength you need. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady. I’ll keep a firm grip on you. You are mine and I’m not letting go. I’m right here. I’m more than enough.

Now I am asking you to reach out to receive from your brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, and let Me help you through them.Then when you have been delivered from fear, sickness, anxiety, unbelief, unforgiveness or whatever is troubling you, I will use you to set many others free.

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