In Consideration of Eternity

“Jerry is dead,” he told me, then a few minutes into the conversation my son Michael began crying. Jerry was his beloved neighbor, and during the night, just hours after Michael had visited with him, he unexpectedly died. Mike was devastated. As far as we know, Jerry had not made preparation to meet his God.

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“I’m so upset.” Michael could hardly speak for crying. “Maybe I should run through the streets of Lake Havasu reminding people to get ready to meet God.” But no, we agreed, that would be unlikely to effect anyone’s salvation.

Over the last few hours I’ve considered the conversation at length: It has caught anew my regard of eternity. It has caused me again to think of Scripture, God’s holy word; its infallibility, its verity, its absolute judgment, its happy message, and its grim reminder.

20150210-untitled (11 of 12)Eternity is sure. Where will I be? Where will Bill, our next door neighbor, spend eternity? Your friends, family, neighbors? . . .mine? where?

…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

Hebrews 9:27



Posted in Death, Devotionals, Eternity, photography, Shirley Buxton Photography, Word of God | Tagged , | 1 Comment

To Sense the Holy

20141207-untitled (45 of 119)-3The recent death of the truly inimitable preacher of the Gospel Rev. Charles Grisham had such a powerful effect on me that I have been deeply moved in my soul, and have considered at length how it is that we stand in the holy presence of God, and how it is possible that at these times we may not recognize the ordained turf beneath our feet, nor truly discern the lofty calibre of those with whom we associate. I met Brother Grisham when I attended Apostolic College in Tulsa, Ok. where at the church associated with the college, pastored by Rev. C. P. Williams, we routinely had services which were distinctly touched by the presence of God. I had never before, not have I since, been in a church such as that one. First Apostolic Church of Tulsa holds a dear and revered place in my heart. I was just 17 years old then, and now am 76, but during these long intervening years, the glory and the wonder of that place have not faded from my mind. 20141207-untitled (45 of 119) Special God-ordained places have existed since antiquity; indeed one biblical account of such is quite familiar to most Christians around the globe. The startling account is recorded in the book of Exodus as young Moses tended sheep in a wilderness area near Mount Horeb. His attention was caught by the sight of a bush, no doubt an ordinary scrubby plant and of no particular beauty. Except, that it was aflame! Moses gazed at the bush, perhaps startled by the fire itself, but particularly intrigued and puzzled, for although the fire continued to blaze, the bush itself was not consumed. It’s form remained, its branches twisting and turning in the identical pattern as had been so at the beginning of the burning. Moses stared. And then, from the bush, a voice spoke–God’s voice. Don’t go any nearer, Moses. This is holy ground. Bend over. Take your shoes off. You are standing on holy ground. 20141207-untitled (45 of 119)-2 So, tonight, to my children, other friends and family, and to you if you escape those categories, I encourage the long consideration of the holiness you may encounter today or tomorrow or next week. There will likely be no radio announcement of the event, nor other media notification, no billboard, nor airborne blimp trailing a sign. Rather you may note a unique fire in the eye of a man or woman of God, or note a sense of another world in his words, and when he leaves the room it is as though the air has been sucked thin, but a warmth lingers, pure, good. You may experience a distinct sense of the holy in a church service, or as you thumb God’s Word, or as you pray in your living room as the sun tips its hand one morning. Be not reluctant to acknowledge such an essence, such an entity, such a wonder as the holy, unusual presence of God. Let us with care sense those about us who are uniquely touched by God. Our days are long and mundane at the best; more likely as beads on a string, they are threaded with worry, disaster, and with heartbreak. Wise are we to finger the ordained and hallowed that brush against our needy selves.

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As The Oil of Aaron

20150118-untitled (17 of 28)Yesterday I sat in a Sunday morning service, a special service, as it was the 5th anniversary of the pastorate of Rev. Patrick Garrett and his wonderful wife Holly in the city of Yucaipa, CA. I looked especially close at these three men; my husband, Gerald Buxton, the special speaker for the day, Chris Hodge, of Lake Isabella, CA. and Patrick Garrett. A sweetness infused the atmosphere. A certain holy presence moved as do fine draperies caught in a spring breeze, gentle and warm. and I was comforted. This morning as I recalled yesterday’s service, I was reminded of David’s writing in Psalm 133.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Unity. David was quite taken with the subject and compared its pleasantness to the all-pervading fragrance of the oil with which Aaron was anointed: It was poured generously on his head and thus ran down through his beard and, finally, completely to their hem, infused his garments. The oil was precious, had been prepared in a particular way, and any use except for holy sacraments was strictly forbidden.

Such a demonstration tells the beauty of brotherly love, and of unity. How blessed we are today when we sit in the presence of such attitudes. Stay the bicker, the nit-picking, the questioning of motive, the press of organizational structure. While holding firm to Jesus Christ and to the essentiality of His shed blood, and to the precepts of God’s holy Word, let us set aside our petty differences, cast our vision ever upward, and embrace our brothers and sisters in Jesus.

It seems fitting that my piece is posted on the day set aside to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King.

Posted in Apostolic Church, Christianity, Church, Pentecostal | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Of Two Women

By an entry in a book titled The Intellectual Devotional, I recently was reminded of Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643) who was an early female religious leader in America and who was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony after she refused to stop having church services in her home, even though Puritan authorities had ordered her to do so. On Mondays she opened her home to women to discuss the previous day’s sermons, but John Winthrop, the colony’s governor warned her that these activities were “not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God, nor fitting for your sex.” She rejected his orders and was excommunicated from the colony.

The role of women in the church, and especially what God intends in that area, always makes for a lively discussion, and while in this piece today I do not wish to examine the issue, I must point out that in all Christian churches today, women play a much more visible and important role than they did in generations before.

My interest was piqued in the subject by the recent death of Jan Holmes, a Pentecostal pastor’s wife of Little Rock, Arkansas. I was not privileged to know this person, who by every account was a sterling, exceptional being. By internet radio I listened to her final ceremony; a magnificent service, fit for royalty. The music was stellar, nothing short of glorious, and varied from vocals to instrumental offerings. I am told that in attendance were 400 ministers from all over the country and from other parts of the world and that the total attendance was between four and five thousand persons. Numerous dignitaries from the political scene were there, representing the state, the county, and the city.

It interests me that in this very conservative Apostolic church the majority of the speakers were women. So far we have come. What a telling contrast between the opportunity given and grasped by Jan Holmes and by that denied in that long ago era to Anne Hutchinson.

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My Tribute to Andre Crouch

I cannot tell you how many times my soul has been blessed by the compositions of Andre Crouch. Today, he stands before his maker, having been changed from mortality to immortality, for reports are that he died several hours ago of a heart attack.

Surely one of the most beautiful songs ever sung is My Tribute; its words and chord progressions are nothing short of majestic. I understand he wrote this song, and others, when he was merely 14 years old.

How is it that God moves on human beings to pen such divine music? Do angels hover, removed from the heavenlies to stay for a moment over dirt? Does a single drop of the Holy penetrate a human brain? Does celestial for a time linger by an instrument, flow through fingers, through ink on paper? How is it so?

I give honor to this man who through his music imparted praise and glory to God.

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The Color of God

No color would be here. No form. No raging sea, nor gossamer thread in blue sky. Were God not, no paintings would be hung, no symphonies sounded, no wail of newborn. Bleak, grey, nothing. No hope. Rather is our magnificent world; people and place of color, gifts, talents and genius. The Sabbath of two; one within, the other a day set aside. Today, across our country and around the world will move God’s church into the sanctuary where praise and honor will be lifted to the Almighty, the Creator, our Saviour.

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My Children and Heaven

untitled (4 of 9)I will consider myself a successful mother if all my children make it to Heaven.

Edit: On my facebook account to which this article is linked, someone made the following comment:

  • To all moms out there whose children are unsaved I say, ‘you have laid your children on the alter of prayer…you pray for them daily…you have raised them right and yet they remain unmoved…I consider you a successful, deserving of honor mother. You have the horns of the alter in your hands. Your children will rise up and call you blessed.’
    I responded as follows:

    Shirley Buxton Christie Banda is certainly right to acknowledge there can be godly mothers whose children are unsaved. Without question this can be so, and her advise to continue to pray for our wayward children is sterling. Even a mother cannot assure the salvation of her children, for each of us must make that decision for ourselves. The thrust of my words was to point up that a mother doesn’t have to be successful as far as the world judges success–high-powered jobs, fashionable clothing, social graces, physical beauty, or towering homes with magazine interiors. NO! With none of those to my credit, I will consider myself a success if my children make it to heaven.
Posted in Child rearing, Christianity, Heaven | Tagged , | 2 Comments