Ever Learning

“I didn’t go to the Bible study because I was ‘dogsitting.'” Actually she said she was “taking care of the babies,” but both she and Jerry knew she was referring to her caring of two small dogs. Admittedly, adorable dogs…pampered dogs.

I wasn’t there when she said it, but Jerry told me about it later. I just stared as he relayed the message, and a kind of sadness settled over me. For the one who said that to him is really a sweet and loving person, who in many ways has begun to reach out for God, and who has made great strides in ridding her life of negative and harmful habits. I feel sympathy for her…sympathy because just yet it appears this very sweet lady may need a wee adjustment in the setting of her priorities.

But how can I judge? For often I am guilty of the same thing. Oh, it is not revealed in such flagrant demonstration as the missing of a Bible study because I don’t want to leave an animal alone. Rather it is highlighted by my limited amount of Bible reading, my pitiful measure of energy given to witnessing to other people and my small effort at intense personal prayer. God help me to improve my own life, to delve more deeply into the ways of God, to perfect my own spirit. Have patience with me God, please extend anew your grace and mercy. For without them, I am destined for damnation.

I love the words of David in Psalm 27:4-5…and this is truly my prayer.

“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”

I do desire my Lord. I do want to seek after Him. I do want to dwell in His house and behold His beauty.


My other blog is here.

An Unusual Love Story

Eyes on the Future, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I’m not fond of internet stories that have been forwarded many times for a couple of reasons: 1. I’m not sure they are true. 2. There is danger of acquiring viruses that way.

However, a story Jerry gave me yesterday which had been sent to him by a colleague is such a beautiful one and crammed with such a dynamite lesson that I am bringing it to you. The story may be apocryphal, but my copy of the story ascribes the author as being Captain Kenneth DeCelle who is with the United States Army, although he says the story is not his.

“We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, Hi.” He pounded his fat baby hands on the highchair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.

‘Hi there, Baby. Hi there, Big Boy. I see ya, Buster,’ the man said to Erik.

My husband and I exchanged looks. What do we do?

Erik continued to laugh and answer, ‘Hi.’

Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, ‘Do ya pattycake? Do you know peek-a-boo?’

‘Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo.’

Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. ‘Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,’ I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing.

As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s pick-me-up position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man’s.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s raged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain and hard labor, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back.

No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck.

The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms, and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, ‘You take care of this baby.’

Somehow I managed, ‘I will,’ from a throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain.

I received my baby, and the man said, ‘God bless you, Ma’am. You’ve given me my Christmas gift.’

I said nothing more than a muttered thanks. With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. (In the car) my husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, ‘My God, my God, forgive me.’

I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, ‘Are you willing to share your son for a moment?’ He shared His for all eternity.

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me that to enter the Kingdom of God we must become as little children.’

Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.”


The baby pictured above is Drake Buxton, one of my great-grandsons. His parents, Chris and Christiana, brought him and his sister to see us on Sunday.


My other blog is here.

A Gentle Deal

“And the king (David) commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom…” II Samuel 18:5

In my study yesterday I read again this bitter story where David’s son undermines him, steals the hearts of the people, wages war against his father and tries to take the throne from him. During one of these dreadful days as David fled for his very life into the mountains

“…David…wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.”

I weep with David for I have sons, and the love I have for those young men and for my daughter is beyond sounding. Its raw deep cannot be fathomed, and I suspect that a person who has not a child can in no way understand the passion of such relationship. So, I see David weeping as he trudges up the hillside, head bent, head covered, his feet bare…weeping, soul-sick.



THE land on the east of Jordan, where David found a refuge,
was called Gilead, a word which means “high,” because
it is higher than the land opposite on the west of
Jordan. There, in the city of Mahanaim, the rulers and
the people were friendly to David. They brought food of
all kinds and drink for David and those who were with
him; for they said, “The people are hungry, and thirsty, and very tired, from their long journey through the wilderness.”

And at this place David’s friends gathered from all the tribes of Israel, until around him was an army. It was not so large as the army of Absalom, but in it were more of the brave old warriors who had fought under David in other years. David divided his army into three parts, and placed over the three parts Joab, his brother Abishai, and Ittai, who had followed him so faithfully.

David said to the chiefs of his army and to his men, “I will go out with you into the battle.”

But the men said to David, “No, you must not go with us; for if half of us should lose our lives, no one will care; but you are worth ten thousand of us, and your life is too precious. You must stay here in the city, and be ready to help us if we need help.”

So the king stood by the gate of Mahanaim while his men marched out by hundreds and by thousands. And as they went past the king the men heard him say to the three chiefs, Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai, “For my sake, deal gently with the young man, Absalom.” (Scripture translation from the Baldwin Project)

Deal gently, men. Deal gently with my son.

And to those who have wronged us, we pray aloud, deal gently, God, deal gently. And perhaps, just perhaps, those against whom we have trespassed will in a gracious forgiving moment pray also, deal gently, God, deal gently.

[Illustration] .

Powered by ScribeFire.


My other blog is here.

Everyone Is A Winner in God’s Kingdom

Well, I surely have no idea who will be the winner in this scenario reported by AP, in which 50,000 scratch-off tickets were sent out–everyone of them mistakenly declared to be the winning tickets for the $1,000 grand prize. It will be interesting to see how the company handles this little problem.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) – Everyone’s a winner after a direct-mail marketing company hired by a local car dealership mistakenly sent out 50,000 scratch-off tickets to residents – all of them declaring the ticket-holder the $1,000 grand prize winner. Just one of the tickets was supposed to be the grand prize winner.

Jeff Kohn, Roswell Honda general manager said a typographical error by Atlanta-based Force Events Direct Marketing, which printed the advertisment, had given all 50,000 scratch-off tickets grand prizes.

“Unfortunately, they missed it in the proofreading,” said Kohn, who was able to stop an estimated 20,000 direct mailers from being sent.

Kohn said the dealership is “making a full-faith effort” to investigate the mistake, which he said is “not how we portray ourselves or our community.”

In a statement, Force Events apologized “for any inconvenience this may has caused car shoppers in the Roswell market” and asked that any questions and concerns be directed to the company.

Force Events representatives are expected to be in Roswell on Thursday to sort out the mess, Kohn said.

Remainder of the story here.

Such a problem can never arise in God’s Kingdom. We’re all winners! Valid, ticket-holding winners! Jesus tells a story in the 20th chapter of Matthew in which everyone was a winner–everyone was treated the same, but some people objected. Remember this account?

1FOR THE kingdom of heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out in the morning [a]along with the dawn to hire workmen for his vineyard.

2After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

3And going out about the third hour (nine o’clock), he saw others standing idle in the marketplace;

4And he said to them, You go also into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will pay you. And they went.

5He went out again about the sixth hour (noon), and the ninth hour (three o’clock) he did the same.

6And about the eleventh hour (five o’clock) he went out and found still others standing around, and said to them, Why do you stand here idle all day?

7They answered him, Because nobody has hired us. He told them, You go out into the vineyard also [b]and you will get whatever is just and fair.

8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, Call the workmen and pay them their wages, beginning with the last and ending with the first.(A)

9And those who had been hired at the eleventh hour (five o’clock) came and received a denarius each.

10Now when the first came, they supposed they would get more, but each of them also received a denarius.

11And when they received it, they grumbled at the owner of the estate,

12Saying, These [men] who came last worked no more than an hour, and yet you have made them rank with us who have borne the burden and the [c]scorching heat of the day.

13But he answered one of them, Friend, I am doing you no injustice. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?

14Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this man hired last the same as I give to you.

15Am I not permitted to do what I choose with what is mine? [Or do you begrudge my being generous?] Is your eye evil because I am good?

16So those who [now] are last will be first [then], and those who [now] are first will be last [then]. [d]For many are called, but few chosen.

Come on, everybody. Hire yourself out. Grab a tool, sow a seed, dig a furrow! Started early? Great! Coming aboard late! Wonderful! God’s wages are sure, generous and dependable. No questionable tickets! No nefarious promises! No mistakes!


My other blog is here.

With Salt, Please

With Salt, Please, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6

I can’t recall any sermon or lecture concerning salt that has not fascinated and inspired me, for although salt is such a common item, and there is no functioning kitchen that doesn’t contain this seasoning, its properties are far-reaching and with many lessons attached. Salt and its qualities must pour from the kitchen, flood into the living room, the dining room and the bedroom. It’s lessons are myriad. Paul knew this, of course, as he addressed the saints in the church at Colosse, and by extension, as he addresses us here in the 21st century.

Salt was used during Paul’s day in sacrificial rites, and although such is not part of our salvation during this dispensation, we are instructed as people of God to:

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15

Salt preserves. A dynamic understanding is here, especially as applied to the words that come from our mouths. Grace, Paul says. Let your speech be always with grace. It’s unpleasant to consider how many relationships we may have damaged by the lack of grace in our conversation. Is it possible we have turned people from God by the lack of wisdom, tact and grace as we speak to them? Think of your family and friends, and their reactions when we are salty, when we are full of grace. Tight friendships and close family bonds are preserved as a generous sprinkling of salt accompany the words that spring from our mouths.

Salt makes things taste better. All of us are faced with trying situations, times of disappointment and frustration, profound and seemingly unanswerable questions, periods of ill-health or disability, cycles of disillusionment with our own progress…The salt of grace makes these more palatable, more easily endured.

Salt makes one thirsty. Want to draw people to God? Want to introduce them to the overcoming and joyful life of a Christian? Make them thirsty for what you have. Stuff yourself with grace so that sparkling salt issues from you, and those with whom you come in contact are so caked with salt that they must have water. Yes! The water of everlasting life.

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1


My other blog is here

The Grace Walk

It was in the book of Ephesians that I was reading this morning, when this jewel of a verse captured my eye–and my heart.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” 4:29

“Whoa!” I said to myself. “That’s a great theme for this day.”…and for any day, I now add.

So for today, let nothing ugly, mean, untruthful, arrogant or thoughtless come from our mouths. Let that part of our bodies that so often gets us in trouble, be softened with compassion, beauty, truth and humility. May its utterings be God-like, elevating and full of hope.

For in so doing, according to the last part of the verse, we “…minister grace to the hearers.” Now I like that. I want to walk around today handing out bits of grace to those with whom I come in contact.

How about you? Want to join me?


My other blog is here.