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.


No Hiding

“How sad,” I had noted in the margin, and when I read there again recently, I agreed with myself, for the words noted in the third chapter of Genesis are in reference to Adam and Eve as they hid themselves from God. Pitiful is the thought that I should have the urge to hide from God.

Admittedly, there are times I am ashamed of myself, and it would be with raw embarrassment and with much trembling should I find myself in the visible presence of God, and there be pressed to lift my downcast eyes into the gaze of He who is indeed holy and perfect; holy and perfect to such degree that I strongly suspect I cannot hope to comprehend. Yet,  my pragmatic side fusses and insists on my recalling that I cannot hide from God. Ever. He sits high, looks low, nothing is hidden from Him. Besides that, I really don’t want to hide from God. I can’t imagine–even in my darkest, lowest state of being–that I would want to be away from the presence of God. For it is only in Him that I have hope, and where even a scent of grace and mercy wafts about me.

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Hide from God? No, instead I rush to Him, He who “knows my frame,” and thus understands my underpinnings, my weaknesses, my holy desires, my ambitions, my longing for Him.

Glory in the Future

Let us not glory in our history, golden though it may be, for the past is finished, cast in concrete, unchangeable. (Yet will come the day when such memory is profitable and should be recited, for the analyzing of accomplishment and the knowing of its structure is of value.) Neither let us wallow in failure’s slough where sour scents may disgust us and where dank reflections may mar our vision.

Rather let us circle our hands about this new moment, this new year, these new opportunities–raw, ethereal, and pliable. Edging beside us, beside each of us, is this splendid fresh day, a pristine journal, multiple dangles of hope that shimmer into the future.

The hands of Another cover ours and steadies our tremble. The mind of Another encapsulates our thinking and settles our apprehension. The arm of the Almighty circles our shoulder, pulls us to Him, and turns us so that our face shines with the glimmer of hope, of faith, of opportunity.

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To Believe

Philosophies abound. Those who are believers, those who are atheists, and even those who are agnostics all have considered the subject of whether there is a God, and most have settled on a stance. Papers and books have been published–words by the tens of thousands–arguments and debates continuously resound throughout the world. In speeches and sermons, a consortium of thought is routinely examined as rationalizations and justifications for each belief is fervently discussed.

All who read my work know I am unequivocal in my belief that there is a God. Superior, everlasting, with no beginning and no ending is God: God, who created all things.

I am convinced that even if I should be wrong–that there really is no God, no Heaven, no Hell, no life after death–I still have chosen the better way. Consider with me that if it should turn out that my life, or yours, is no more significant than that of a loved puppy or a cherished stallion, and that when we are laid into the earth, it is truly the end. There is nothing else; no resurrection, no Heaven, no God, no Hell. Even should this be so (understand I adamantly reject such thought) I am yet convinced that my belief in God and all that view entails is the preferable way and would have given me a happier, more contented and fulfilled life than has the one who lived as a non-believer or as an agnostic.

Today I attended a funeral. It was a happy occasion. Happy? you say. Yes, happy. Oh, there were tears, and I know the family of Brother Kendrick are suffering deeply with inexpressible grief, and that the dull ache his leaving has ripped into their hearts is heavy tonight. Even so, even for them, there was happiness today at the funeral in Bakersfield, CA. For we are believers. We believe in Heaven and we believe in God. Heaven is a real place, and tonight Brother Kendrick has escaped the suffering of this world and is present with God. It’s a good thing to believe that. It is comfort. It is of such joy that today when hundreds of us sang hymns of the church, coupled with the sadness of our loss, there was a definite spirit of rejoicing.

Yes, it’s a good thing to believe in God, in the Bible, and in Heaven. It’s a good thing to share these beliefs with dozens and hundreds and thousands, so that when we are together–even as we huddle about a casket–we smile, and sing, and look into the eyes of our friends with that knowing, faraway look. One day . . .one moment . . . for each of us . . .

Not long after we moved into our home here in Crestline, our dear next-door neighbor, a gentleman now in his ’80s, said to us one day as we entertained him in our home. “I envy you.” He smiled as he looked at both Jerry and me. “I’m not a believer. I wish I were. I envy your faith.” Somehow Bill–an agnostic–understands that to believe is the superior way, the way of peace, of joy, and of happiness.

I’d love to hear from you who visit here, so please leave a comment. I’m interested in your take on this subject.

Also, if you’d like to be notified when I make a new post, please click at the appropriate place near the top of this page.

Blessings always…..

Unrecognized Treasure

Recently at an Easton, Md. Goodwill store, someone dropped off the painting depicted here. It was jumbled in with wooden spoons, cast off clothing, tattered books and dented pots and pans. But a sharp worker recognized the painting as being valuable, called attention, and it recently sold at Sotheby’s for $40,600.

The painting was the creation of Edouard Leon Cortes, a French Impressionist. His work is beautiful and this link shows more of his paintings.

Some unidentified person drove or walked to that thrift store, probably opened the trunk of their car and set off items they no longer needed or wanted. It is likely they did not recognize the value of the painting, nor did they understand that a masterpiece was in their possession. They failed to comprehend they were setting aside a treasure.

When I read this story, I immediately thought of the treasure we have in our lives when we possess the gift of the Holy Ghost, when we understand who Jesus is, and when we give Him the control of our being. It’s an amazing thing, and startling to consider.

Paul spoke about it in this way: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” II Corinthians 4:7

Amazing, for God hath said, “Let us make man in our image,” and so we are flesh and blood as was Jesus Christ, and within our earthy, mortal, decaying bodies dwells the almighty God. It is truly a wonder.

It is astonishing that we have a desire to do right, that we have faith to believe in the supernatural and that we understand in a small way–as through a glass darkly–the treasure with which we are conferred.

My other blog is here.

The Reach To Finish

“But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.” II Corinthians 8:11

Have any projects laying around half finished? Come on now. Have you? I think most of us do, whether it be a manuscript for the great American novel, an enterprise to be finished in the garage, photograph albums to be arranged, or a partially knitted afghan. Perhaps it is an idea for church growth that merely needs to be fleshed-out so that its energy and life may be released, or perhaps it is an idea for a visionary series of lectures. Could it be a song…although you have never written music…but somehow you hear the music in your soul?

Honor Books tells of physician A. J. Cronin who having practiced for ten years developed a gastric ulcer, and consequently required complete rest. He went to a farm on the Scotland Highlands. Cronin writes, “The first few days of leisure were pleasant enough, but soon the enforced idleness of Fyne Farm became insufferable…I had often at the back of my mind, nursed the vague illusion that I might write. I had actually thought out the theme of a novel–the tragic record of man’s egotism and bitter pride…”

“Upstairs in my cold, clean bedroom was a scrubbed deal table and a very hard chair. Next morning I found myself in this chair, facing a new exercise book open upon the table, slowly becoming aware that, short of dog-Latin prescriptions, I had never composed a significant phrase in my life. It was a discouraging thought as I picked up my pen. Never mind, I began.”

According to Honor Books, even though Cronin struggled to write 500 words a day and eventually threw his first draft on the farm’s trash heap, he finished Hatter’s Castle. The book was dramatized, translated into 200 languages, and sold some five million copies. The world had lost a physician, but gained a novelist.

There may be some reading here today who have toyed with an illusion of doing something grand, something seemingly beyond your reach, something that will enrich the church and the work of God. Do it! Do it now…today. Reach for the pen, or make the phone call, or travel the distance. You CAN do it.

Finish doing it, Paul spoke to the church at Corinth. You’ve thought about it, you want it, now go for it!


My other blog is here.


The great-granddaughter of a Civil War-era storekeeper in Tampa, Fla. is suing the city for a 147-year-old unpaid promissory note. With interest, the note is now worth over $22 million.Tampa issued a promissory note for $299.58 to pioneer storekeeper Thomas Pugh Kennedy on June 21, 1861. And his great granddaughter Joan Kennedy Biddle, 77, who has known about the note since she was a little girl, wants to collect with interest.Image from St. Petersburg Times

The financially-strapped city of Tampa, in need of ammunition during the Civil War, issued the note to Thomas Pugh Kennedy on June 21, 1861, the St. Petersburg Times reported Sunday. Kennedy’s great-granddaughter, Joan Kennedy Biddle and her family are suing to collect the payment, plus 8 percent annual interest.

The entire article is here.

There are those who doubt whether this debt will ever be paid, even though the repayment of the loan was promised to the lender. With God, there is never a doubt, a slight thought that He might not be true to His Word, nor a flicker of apprehension. When God makes a promise, He keeps it. When God says He will do something, be assured it will be done.

“Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.” II Chronicles 21:7

Jehoram had ascended to the throne, but he was not a righteous king. Far from godliness, Jehoram had slain many people, including his own brothers. He was a wicked man…but because he was of the house of David, God would not destroy him, for God had made that promise.

Oh, how glad I am to be doing business with Jesus. How comforted I am, how secure I feel, how protected, because I’m serving under one who not only is strong and victorious, but who never breaks a promise.

Have a promise from God you haven’t seen fulfilled yet? Hang in there. God never goes back on His Word, never forgets, never gets confused or ranges into indifference. His promises are sure!


My other blog is here.

A Bible Instead of Bullets

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Image from

When, early this morning, I was reading my Bible and looking through some of my material, I came across a note I had scribbled in 1991. Taken from World Fibre is this story:

In the early hours of August 20th, Bible Society workers in Moscow were handing out Bibles. They ran out of New Testaments, and instead offered soldiers a colorful children’s Bible. Knowing he would have to hide the Bible from his superiors, and realizing his uniform had only one pocket large enough for the precious book, he hesitated a moment…then emptied his ammo pocket and shoved in the Bible. He went to the barricade with a Bible instead of with bullets.

I was so touched when I reviewed this account a few hours ago, and I thought long on this unknown young man who, because of his faith in the Bible, chose its physical presence over bullets that he would surely need. I have no idea of the end of this story and of this man, but I do know reading the account today reaffirmed my own love for the Bible. Not just the Word it contains, but the physical book and the comfort it may bring.

In preparation for posting here, as I searched for an image of a Bible, I found this wonderful story on

Pfc. Brendon Schweigart, 22, who is from Andover, was helping retrieve a tank in Iraq when he was hit by a sniper’s bullet earlier this month.

Schweigart said the bullet stopped right where the Bible was in his shirt pocket. “(The Bible) definitely prevented more serious injury, because if it wouldn’t have been there, it would have ricocheted off my bullet-proof plate and more than likely would have gone back into my chest, causing more damage,” Schweigart said.

Schweigart said he also thinks prayers from those in the United States helped him recover.The 22-year-old said he will stay in Iraq until his tour of duty is finished in winter. “Thanks for the prayers and the letters,” Schweigart said. “Everybody wishing me to be well and thanks everybody for the support.

How powerful is God’s Word…primarily for its truth, but at times for its physical presence.


My other blog is here.

God Said, “Abhor It.”

As a younger person, I can’t recall hating sin as much as I do now, and as I consider that statement it makes sense that I would not, for in my youth it was impossible to fully understand the horrendous results of sin. And, pressing further, I at this age, probably do not thoroughly grasp the ugliness of such consequence nor can I in every respect take in its shocking results and after-effects. But I understand enough to know I hate sin and its products–the sorrow and grief it produces–and that my disgust and loathing is God-given.

I Corinthians 10:6 “…we should not lust after evil things…”

I Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Those scriptures taken from Pauline epistles are clear instruction that God’s people should not lust after evil things. Don’t traipse along after evil, Paul warns, and furthermore, don’t even give an appearance of evil. Shun those things, abstain from them.

Then Paul presses more deeply into this question of the Christian’s attitude toward sin.

Romans 12:9 “…Abhor that which is evil…”

My American Oxford Dictionary says abhor means to regard with disgust and hatred. Detest, hate, loathe, despise, execrate, shrink from, recoil from, shudder at.

Sin is not cute or funny or to be lightly regarded or excused. Sin is despicable and deadly, and God’s instructions to His people go past that of not sinning ourselves, but commands us to detest, loathe and hate sin. It is not to be tolerated or danced around or chucked under the chin, as would a mother pet a favored child. For sin is insidious and to be greatly feared.

Cancer is one of the hideous results of sin–not a disease caused by a person’s individual shortcomings, but a disease that is a result of original sin, the uprising of satan in Heaven, and the fall of man in Eden. I hate cancer, I hate this disease that wreaks havoc with families, that rapes lives and brings down tiny children and snatches life from virile handsome young fathers.

My thanks go to Mervi who on his blog today, through several links, reveals the story of Shane Champlain, of Bakersfield, CA., who on Friday at the age of 29 died of Glioblastoma, one of the most lethal forms of brain cancer.

The following pictures and text are from the Bakersfield Californian.


Shane Champlain races his son, Ethen, to first base during a tee-ball game. Shane played linebacker in his high school football team and is proud of his sonês interest in sports and his ability at such a young age. Members of his church, including the children, know about Shane’s illness and help support the families spiritual, emotional and financial needs. He and his family, wife Shandahn and children Ethen, 5, and Emilee, 10 months, are dealing with the financial and emotional burden.

Shane and Shandahn Champlain, along with their children Ethen, 5, and Emilee, 10 months, attend a service at First Pentecostal Church where they are members. Their church has been a great source of support during this difficult time.

After receiving the news that he will need a third surgery to treat his brain tumor Shane Champlain sits with his father, Doyle Champlain, while Shandahn, Shane’s wife, checks to see how much they will have to pay for the doctor visit. The financial burden has been devastating to the young family.

After a 5 a.m. start from Bakersfield, Shane Champlain has an appointment with Dr. Timothy Cloughesy at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center to discuss the MRI results of his brain. The tumor in his head has grown. Some of his options are a third surgery and experiment therapy that has been helpful to other patients. His wife Shandahn and parents Doyle and Robyn Champlain are with him to go through this difficult time.


Edit: Thursday March 13 Thanks to Mervi who has also supplied this link called Shane’s Cause.
There are many pictures there, and a brief documentary by his wife.

I don’t personally know this family, but I’ve been to their church many times, and have probably met Shane’s parents–perhaps even Shane himself. I grieve with all of them today, and pray comfort for them.

I detest sin, hate the devil, abhor his unspeakable ways.


My other blog is here.

Apostolic Board Meeting at Hastings

Board Meeting at Hastings, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.
We don’t have a church office at Christ Alive, so we often use Hastings Book Store for meetings. On Tuesday at 1:00 we met for further planning of our Tent Crusade that is scheduled for March 14-16. An evangelism committee who has been involved in many such events met with Jerry and me, as did Mike. Cheryl and Skip have been attending our church for several weeks and are eager to help with this project and were also there.
How else can we reach the cityhow else will we attract them to this meeting? was the question on the table, when the coordinator lifted his eyes and spoke to the young women you see pictured here. “We need your opinions, girls. Give us a hand, here, please.”Although appearing startled at first, they were agreeable, we swung chairs around and they joined our planning session. The young man you see is 14 and was sitting across the room when we first went in. I had gone over, given him a card and invited him to church. Now, we also called on him, and he joined us at the table.

After we had talked with the girls for a while, had gathered ideas from them, invited them to church, and they had gone back to their spots, Sydney (in the white jacket…) came back over and said, “I have one more idea.” We talked about it, decided it was a very good, unique suggestion. Today at 2:00 I’m meeting with Sydney at Hastings to implement her plan. The young boy stayed with us throughout the meeting, and I fully expect he will be at church on Sunday.

Other wonderful developments:

* A highly visible piece of land on Highway 95 has been made available for the tent crusade at no cost.

* A board room at one of the banks in town has been opened for our use at any time we need it.

* A gentleman whose profession is creating “voice-over” commercials has agreed to produce spots for our crusade at no cost. He will be producing one for every type of radio station in this area: country, rock & roll, and Christian.

Jesus called it the abundant life. Joel prophesied it, Peter first saw it happen, and now it continues here in Lake Havasu: The Holy Ghost is being poured out in a phenomenal way.

“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day, But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” Acts 2:14-18


My other blog is here.