Still

“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.

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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.”

Stalwart

In the evening of yesterday, I spoke with a young man who told these sentiments: “I hate it when people speak in a hard-set way of themselves and others of their group as being so right, and of dissenters of their views as being so wrong.” In my judgment the  statement was a pure one, with no moral and biblical absolutes being in the mix, so don’t think the atmosphere was of liberality with a paucity of high-set bars and a lack of virtuous expectations. Not at all, for at the core of the conversation was the thought that we as people who are striving for godliness need to be precisely aligned with God’s Word.

My heart–not that beating one–the other one, the seat of my emotions, lurched in my breast and brimmed with pleasure and a certain pride.

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Stalwart are such young men. Their shadows lie long as they pass.Image

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Inland Lighthouse Celebrates

This past weekend Inland Lighthouse Church of Rialto, CA. celebrated several significant mile-markers in the life of that great church. Included was the dedication of their new building, the 76th anniversary of the founding of the church, and some important anniversaries in the lives of Pastor and Mrs. Larry Booker. Sunday night was designated a “home-coming” service and all who had ever attended there under the ministry of any of the pastors were urged to attend. Of course we went, and before the preaching of Rev. Nate Wilson, my husband, as one of the former pastors, made special remarks. It was a delightful weekend of celebration, beautifully organized and splendidly accomplished.

Our grandson Nathaniel stands with Jerry just before we entered the building for the evening service.

God Things

Hands, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.
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On Sunday in Chula Vista, CA., the ministry laid hands on my grandson Joel Buxton, and he was sent forth as an ordained minister of the gospel.
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Throughout the world–even the church world–there is a strong possibility that the laying on of hands has not been fully appreciated, and, too often, has even been totally misunderstood. Blessings, healings, the Holy Ghost and ordination may be conferred by the laying on of hands. Consider these scriptures:

In addition to the spiritual significance of such actions, the scientific medical community has come to acknowledge what the Bible teaches and what believers have contended, that is, that miraculous healings may be accomplished through the laying on of hands. Understand that no man can heal, but God has chosen to use these methods as His instruments of healing and blessings. In recent years…

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The Essence of Harvest

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

What a practical elegant lesson is here for us Christians. The job Jesus left for His followers is direct and simple; sow seeds. Spread the Good News, make disciples. Sow seeds. Physical laws are inescapable, binding us to certain expectations and conclusions that challenged or ignored inevitably result in disappointment, or even danger, as can be exhibited when one purposely or inadvertently steps off a two story building. In His astounding teachings, Jesus often told stories around these natural, well-understood laws. Perhaps one of His most repeated parables is that of the sower who went forth to sow. Read those accounts in Mark 4 and Luke 8.

Later, in a couple of places, Paul takes up the call,  shouts a warning concerning this law of God’s:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall be also reap.” Galatians 6:7

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” II Cor. 9:6

So, today, my friend, recall that control you have over harvest is small. Small, you say? Yes, small; small, but absolutely sure. Plant seeds. Dig into dirt, poke in bulbs and corms; harvest will come. Plant few seeds; harvest will be skimpy. I suggest the planting of many seeds. Fling wide and often your precious kernel. A bountiful harvest will result.

If you look about today and you’re in a spacious field of harvest, get out your scythe and your combine. Rejoice. More likely you will find yourself with a handful of seeds and a long row of dirt. Rejoice…and at the end of the day, judge yourself as suggested by Jesus, Paul and Robert Louis Stevenson

The Stunning Secret to Success

“But Mom, you and dad are doing the best you can. Don’t worry about the rest of it.”

The statement had evolved in a conversation with my youngest son, Andrew, during which I spoke of worries around not doing everything that needs to be done here in our mission church in Lake Havasu. I knew he was right, for I often console myself with that very understanding: God sent us here to bring in this work, and He knows us, knows our ages, our inadequacies and our few abilities.

God. No one like God. Why He seems to find pleasure in taking small things, sorry places, weak, inept and unfit people to effect powerful and magnificent work. It’s a rather good move on His part, this God of mine, for when He uses such circumstances and such people, it is God alone who receives the glory. For none dare say the accomplishment springs from the people who  scurry about with books and phone calls and Bible studies and sermons and music and remodeling and hospital visits and counseling and…

This lesson was jolted again into my thinking when I read the following story  this morning.

Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your biggest strength. Take, for example, the story of one 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.

The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move.

“Sensei,” the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”

“This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.

Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.

This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened.

“No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.”

Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.

“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”

“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grap your left arm.”

The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.

Author unknown Source: Inspirational Stories

As I finished reading the story, I thought immediately of the great Apostle Paul, and reaching for my Bible, I turned to the well-marked scripture in II Corinthians 12:9. A couple of verses above this Paul had spoken of a problem he had–perhaps an illness or a disability. He talked to God about the situation and in verse 9 tells of God’s response. Love it!

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Isn’t that the greatest thing. Through my weakness, my disabilities, my meager and pathetic efforts, the power of Christ rests on me!

The Lifter of My Head

Psalm Series Number 3

Scholars believe that when David begins this Psalm by speaking to his widespread trouble, he actually was referring to Absalom who rose up against his father, and who tried to wrest the kingdom from him. Pitiful are these opening words when David wails,

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me,”

and then continues in verse 2 by noting that his enemies harshly castigate him by saying that not even God can help him.

“There is no help for him in God.”

So much is contained in these two short verses. The deplorable thought of a son who would speak and act against a godly father is a subject that is filled with much pathos and tragedy, and though in the end Absalom came to a bitter death, the hurt expressed here is wrenching. Discouraged and bruised, David moans aloud his rebuke of the troops that have gathered against him.

Are not family hurts and schisms the most grievous of all. Can not our children or our parents or our close friends gash our minds and cause excruciating heart wounds such as can no one else. They who are so dear and precious wield dreadful power of extraordinary injury.

And so David laments.

And then, interestingly, is introduced the word Selah, an expression that is not totally or clearly understood. In the main–though the term probably has to do with a rest in a musical score–the term calls for a break from reading, a space to contemplate what has just been read, a respite, a moment of cogitation, of reflection. The word is used only in the Psalms, and once in the book of Habakkuk.

Verse 3, through the concluding one, note a drastic change in tone, one in which David remembers that God is a “lifter of mine head.” What a tremendous word-picture is that of our Jesus bending over one of us–defeated, enemies around us, maybe bleeding, perhaps mortally wounded–BUT Jesus lifts our head! He restores us, soothes our hurts, wipes our tears, mends the broken places in our hearts.

David snatched himself out of his gloom, and reports being able to sleep, even though the enemy was all about him, having courage restored, and knowing that God had torn apart his enemies, even to the breaking of their teeth!

Love this Psalm, although its early verses are painful.

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My other blog is here.

Confluence

It is in the Scajawea State Park in Pasco, Washington that the Snake and Columbia rivers meet. From that point on, there is no longer a Snake River; all that is seen is the Columbia. A significant confluence has occurred.

Such a confluence in the spirit exists because we have made the wise decision to come to Jesus. Our old lives are covered by the flow of Calvary’s blood, we merge into Jesus Christ, and no longer is our old life visible, rather we have integrated into one with God. We are fused and interlocked with Him.

What an almost incomprehensible thought is this. We who have been lost and twisted as a raging river have become part of the Divine. Paul’s words to the church at Ephesus say it this way:

“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” 5:30

And to the Corinthians:

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” 6:17

Because of a confluence that has obliterated our old ways, we are now at one with God, and we have become holy. So acutely united with Him are we that we have become bone of His bone, and of His flesh do we exist.

Our own spirit has been subjugated to His, so that godly thinking and spiritual philosophy become our own. It truly is miraculous, for no longer visible, or of any significance is our former life, our misjudgments, our flawed thinking, our unsound, cracked and crazed goals.

We’re a joined river, flowing now to eternal life.

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My other blog is here.

Of God, of Me and of the Sea

A Child and the Sea, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

“The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

Proverbs 8: 22-30