Just a Shaky, Muddy Frame

Too well do I know my lack of godly qualities. If you were in my company for any length of time, you would no doubt agree with my assessment, having observed less than sterling attitudes and actions. However, since in quite limited ways are you able to examine my soul and mind—my very thoughts and intents—it is next to impossible for you to know me as I know myself. While I am fearfully in touch with my own struggles, my doubts and failures, it brings me no joy to acknowledge such shortcomings.

It’s good for me to say these things, though. And, it’s good for you to hear of my sad state, for while every man and woman struggles—indeed sins—satan would have all of us believe we are the only ones who with such regularity and skill falter and fail. He smears guilt on our psyche and gloatingly sneers, “God can’t love you. You won’t be saved. You’re bound for hell. Look at you. You’re nothing but a sinner.” Not at all is this true.

This morning I want to remind you that God knows—really knows—us. And despite His knowledge of every secret sin, He continues to love us, His mercy still flows, His grace abounds. Oh, happy thought, blessed thought; comfort divine.

David had a unique understanding of this truth—David, the “man after God’s own heart,” David, the king who committed unspeakable sin. In his 103rd Psalm, verses 13-14, moved by the Holy Ghost, David eloquently writes:

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

Oh, my God, how beautiful, how glorious! God knows us, looks on us fondly, even pities us. He understands our frame, recalls that of mere dust has been made lowly man. You?…yep! You’re just dust…and I?…the same…muddy, shaky, a pitiful frame.


Reposted from Feb. 2, 2006

Last Year’s Seed

(Anyone may read this piece, and I hope you are blessed by it, but I wrote these words with one person in mind. You will know who you are.)

It was a few weeks ago that I noted it. I wish I had gone straight to the house, picked up my camera and returned to photograph the fledgling. But I did not, so I’ll just have to tell you how it looked. Growing within the tiny cracks formed by slabs of rugged wood and aged bricks was what appeared to be viable, healthy greenery, and not at all resembling  any weed with which I was familiar. I bent low, thinking, That surely resembles a plant that flowers–a Marigold, to be exact. It was so tiny, though, so insignificant that I walked on, at the moment paying little lasting attention. The plant, though, was not hindered by my ignorance of its being, nor did it shutter itself for lack of companionship, nor for the understanding that its spot was not a carefully prepared flower garden with plentiful fertilizer and abundant water. Rather the plant struggled about in the paltry dirt source and continued to push up stems and leaves, and though I could not see the activity, somewhere deep within its system, bright, fragrant flowers were forming. I began watering the little fella, for I finally understood that indeed growing within our back yard was a healthy, progressive, insistent Marigold plant. There are no other such plants in our gardens. Last year, however, I had a pot full of the beautiful little yellow and gold flowers.

DSC_4145One day not long ago, I photographed this beauty. I then sat down on the step where it grows and cried, as I do now. I cry for you who as this moment know you are a scattered, neglected seed. You know you should be tended, but you are not. You should be watered, and fed, but often you are not. You should be cultivated.

But God made you to produce, to blossom, to bring forth new life. And so you will.

No doubt my little seed came from last summer’s healthy flower pot. At summer’s end, the once beautiful group faded, the golden leaves brittled into brownness, and then fell to the earth. Beat about with rain, and sleet, and covered with snow, the seed settled into a sandy crevice between stone and wood. He survived cold. He endured neglect. He coped with booted heel that walked over his tenuous spot. Perhaps he shivered. Perhaps he gasped in thirst. And had there been thinking abilities, he might have wondered if he could actually make it by himself.

But that scattered, unrecognized seed was far from extinction. It made no difference to him that for most of the spring no human being even knew of his existence. It was of no consequence that I tended other flowers, that I groomed their beds, fed them, talked to them, and showed them off. No, for that seed in my back yard bulged with life, and NOTHING would keep him from doing what God destined him to do.

And you, a human being called of God to live for Him, to blossom and to share your talents and abilities will find a way to do so. For you bulge with life, with passion, and with purpose. Such traits are given of God, and can be destroyed by no man.

DSC_4148Buds which have not yet opened depend on you, on your growth, on your development.

So, I challenge you, my friend. Be as strong, as brave, as beautiful as the Marigold plant that blooms at this moment in my back yard. He let nothing deter him. Neither neglect, disdain, nor ignorance kept him buried in a grave. He shot forth, his every talent and ability used to its maximum capacity. And so will you, somehow, some way. It’s in your blood. It is your DNA. It is your salvation.


Casting Bread

While my husband was in a commercial store yesterday, a young lady approached him, asking, “Aren’t you Brother Buxton?”

Seems many years ago my husband funded her so that she could attend the school he founded while he was pastoring New Life Center (now The Lighthouse) in Rialto, CA. She was so grateful, and before she left the store she came to him and asked if she could hug him. Jerry doesn’t even remember helping with her education.

When he told me about the encounter I thought of the scripture in Ecc. 11:1-2:

Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight, for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

It was a sacrifice of money and of time during those days of building the church school.  He was already very busy for we were rearing our four children, and he was the lead pastor of the church with all the myriad, and sometimes complicated issues involved in such a job.  But what glorious returns these small sacrifices have returned.

untitled (14 of 19)Today you may be feeling a bit drained, emptied out, and fatigued. You may be a giver who feels used, unappreciated, perhaps even overwhelmed. I’m here today to remind you that when you cast bread upon the water, it will return to you, and you will be blessed. Whether  you’re ministering to your family, your church, a civic organization, or an art museum, the principle is consistent. Be encouraged, friend.


“Be still, and know that I am God . . .” Psalm 46:10

How difficult it is. How we strive. Squirm. Restlessness. Toss on our beds, wakeful through the night. Agitation. The earth rocks. Our heads reel, as do our hearts.

How difficult. How we strive. Questions. Fewer answers.

“Be still,” God says. Shh. Listen. Calm. “Be still, and know that I am God.” In the stillness, know. Without words, understand. In the hush of silence, grasp the thought. God is God. Not to worry, He says.


Moments, years, decades pass . . .as dew falls from morning leaves, and then we are old. Still, hushed. Understand now, grasp the meaning, “. . .know that I am God.”

Three Lions I Know

20150518-untitled (8 of 9)“Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid? The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his hole with prey, and his den with ravin.”

These verses from the second chapter of Nahum struck a chord in me as I read them early this morning. The house was quiet. I was the only one awake. I began to think of three men; two young beings, and one who at 59 would be categorized as late-middle age. The two younger ones are my grandsons. The one pictured in this piece is Nathaniel, 18 years old, who in three weeks will graduate from high school. The other young one is Gentry, 17, who will graduate next year. The third is the late Samuel Gutierrez, who last Sunday morning in that mysterious way slipped off  his exasperating human cloak, tucked his arms through the sleeves, and settled into his eternal righteous garment.Sam Guiterrez was the associate pastor of The Anchor Church in San Diego, CA.

Lions. All lions.

20150518-untitled (6 of 9) Whelps. 20150518-untitled (1 of 9) I know my grandsons well. They are fine young men who love God and who have committed their lives to Him. I fear, though, they have little comprehension of the challenges and sorrows that life is about to heave at them. Despite their eagerness and their excellence, if one looks quickly and closely enough, a blink of tender baby may be glimpsed. A grey shadow of vulnerability flutters about the air where they stand.

They need old lions. Yes, they do. These boys of mine–and yours–are in need of mature, heavy, fierce old lions. Our daughters need them. Lions who will pace, and who will tear apart the charging, treacherous enemy, who will feed his whelps, and who will provide for his lioness.

I didn’t know Sam Gutierrez well, but I recognize that he was an old lion. Daily I have come to understand that my life would have been enriched had I been given the opportunity to call him friend. I know him from afar, from watching him preach over the internet, from reading the numerous accolades that have been published since his death, from hearing the words his pastor Jim Larson spoke as he tried to express to their church his barrenness, his sense of loss, his shock at the loss of this man, this exceptional man, this great man.

I know him from hearing the sermon he preached exactly two weeks before his death. Entitled The Compromise of Jehosophat, with stunning boldness he preached the necessity of upholding Apostolic, biblical principles. A masterpiece.

I know him from words my son Andrew tells me. “It’s interesting that he was a youth leader at his age,” I said to Andrew on the phone. “He was timeless, Mom. Timeless. Everyone loved him.”

Gentry was with Andrew and his wife as they visited in the hospital just hours before Brother Gutierrez died. The condition was grave as he struggled with death; blood pressure plunging, in and out of consciousness. However, when the three walked into the room, he opened wide his eyes, looked at my 17-year-old grandson, and said, “Hi, Gentry.”

An old lion. Standing before him was a whelp over which he must guard. Painfully. within the steel grip of death itself, he paced, and tore, and fed. Surely burned into the brain and soul of Gentry is the image of this remarkable man who fought for him, who made him safe. Who is now gone.

Lions. Old lions. We need you. Fathers, pastors, youth leaders, friends, mentors. We desperately need you. In homes around the world, in churches, in community centers, in schools, in congress . . .

“Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid? The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his hole with prey, and his den with ravin.”

20150518-untitled (9 of 9) We don’t know enough. We’re not strong enough. We’re too frail, too little, too inexperienced. We need old lions. The roads ahead are treacherous. We’re in danger. We need old lions . . .to fend for us . . .to show us the way.


Some of you who will read here will be friends of Sam Gutierrez. I would so appreciate it if you can take the time in the comment section to tell something of him. Additional old lions may come to the minds of others. Please tell us of them.

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.

20150210-untitled (10 of 12)

“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



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.

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.

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.