Friday, December 26, 2008


A chill-to-the-bone wind was blowing and we were late. The invite simply said to be there at 4:00 p.m. for rehearsal, so I figured five or ten minutes wouldn't matter. "Everyone will probably be running a few minutes behind and we'll blend in with the crowd," I thought. We had only been to the church ONE time, YEARS's the most prestigious, wealthy congregation in our small town. (i.e. They ONLY paid $10,000 for an orchestra to play along with this year's Christmas Cantata.) We didn't know ANYONE who attended this church, we just wanted to enjoy the opportunity to be part of a community choir and sing Christmas music .

When we pulled up to the parking lot it was FULL but there was NO ONE in sight. We were cold. We were irritated with each other for being late. And we felt a great sense of insecurity about the whole situation.

We found an open door leading into a hallway which we assumed led to the sanctuary. We saw NO ONE as we walked through the unfamiliar halls hoping for some direction. Going up a little flight of stairs we opened a door at the top and were immediately ushered into the most amazing scene.

The huge cathedral type sanctuary had spectacular stained glass windows which, just at that moment, were absolutely FLOODED with light from the setting sun. The orchestra (40 talented musicians) filled the front and the choir were all in their places on the platform. Every eye seemed to look our way as we stumbled from the dim, narrow, hallway into the warmth and joy of that moment. We were greeted with smiles, kind words, and handed a book of music.

As the orchestra began to play I felt as though I had been ushered into heaven!!! The sound was breathtakingly beautiful as voices and instruments blended in perfect harmony. It seemed surreal, the contrast was so great from the shivering cold, ill-feelings, and insecurity, to the warmth, beauty, and acceptance suddenly thrust upon us.

It was a MAGNIFICENT MOMENT bringing to mind the reality of the fact that I am ONE STEP AWAY from another MAGNIFICENT MOMENT!!! Some day I will step from the momentary, mortal ills of this life, to a scene of glory and radiance FAR beyond anything I can now comprehend!!

"...when what is decaying is clothed with what cannot decay, and what is dying is clothed with what cannot die, then the written word will be fulfilled: "Death has been swallowed up by victory!"

What a magnificent moment THAT will be!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Lord Will PROVIDE

Many years ago, sitting in the congregation of an outdoor camp meeting in Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to experience something that has impacted my life in a remarkable and unforgettable way. The preacher was Evangelist McDonald, (I have never seen or heard of him since) a very tall, thin, raw-boned man with brown hair and fair skin. He wore a white dress shirt buttoned to the top without a tie or suit jacket and had, as I remember, a cheerful, rosy cheeked, countenance. His voice seemed to boom into the summer air as we sat on the hard wooden benches enduring the heat.

A delegation of ladies from the Caribbean were sitting near the front punctuating the thick air with an occasional, heartfelt "Amen". They were delightful ladies, their faces shiny and glowing with the love of God.

I cannot remember anything about this particular sermon on this particular afternoon EXCEPT the following: Suddenly, in the middle of his sermon, Evangelist McDonald began to sing. His voice was untrained but strong and he carried the tune well. With confidence he began to sing from memory these words:

Though troubles assail, And dangers affright;
Though friends should all fail, And foes all unite,
Yet one thing secures us, Whatever betide:
The Scripture assures us,"The Lord will provide,
The Lord will provide!"

His voice grew stronger and his face was radiant as he continued:

The birds, without barn Or storehouse, are fed;
From them let us learn To trust for our bread;
His saints what is fitting Shall ne'er be denied,
So long as 'tis written,"The Lord will provide,
The Lord will provide!"

The little Caribbean ladies were amening and lifting their hands as he launched into the third verse:

When Satan appears To stop up our path,
And fills us with fears, We triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us, Though oft he has tried,
The heart-cheering promise,"The Lord will provide,
The Lord will provide!"

As he began verse four something unusual started happening.

He tells us we're weak, Our hope is in vain;
The good that we seek We ne'er shall obtain;
But when such suggestions Our faith oft has tried,
This answers all questions,"The Lord will provide,
The Lord will provide!"

Suddenly Evangelist McDonald, was walking down off the platform still singing, his voice growing louder and triumphant:

No strength of our own, Nor goodness we claim;
Our trust is all thrown On Jesus' dear name.
In this our strong tower For safety we hide;
The Lord is our power,"The Lord will provide,
The Lord will provide!"

The little Caribbean ladies were now in the aisle dancing, hugging one another and praising God. The Evangelist took one lady by her hands and seemed to twirl her around and around as his voice reached a crescendo:

When life sinks apace, And death is in view,
The word of His grace Shall comfort us through;
Not fearing or doubting, With Christ on our side,
We hope to die shouting,"The Lord will provide,
The Lord will provide!"

As the song reached the high notes, it seemed God's Spirit rested on us in an unusual and supernatural way. We seemed to be closed in, away from the world, close to God's heart. It was a scene of rejoicing I will never forget. The truth of the song, the manner in which it was sung, and the consequent breakout of the PRESENCE OF GOD made an indelible impression on me that has brought me through many lean times. Indeed, THE LORD WILL PROVIDE!!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Best Problem

Everyone has some sort of problem......well, everyone except my mom. She's always happy, she's always "FINE", and she always has a good day. But I feel quite sure that she is the exception. Most everyone else I know is NOT always happy, is NOT always fine, and is NOT always having a good day!

Most likely we should not compare problems but when I am engulfed by something difficult for me I try to get a new perspective to help me through it. Mother has a saying that may have led to these mental gymnastics. The saying, no matter what has or is happening to us....."It could be worse."

(For example, the other day while eating dinner together I made the comment, "This meat sure is tough." Mom's response? "It'd be tougher if you didn't have any!")

Since Mark and I have been somewhat short of funds lately, I decided to consider the problems others are presently dealing with and this is my discovery. I HAVE THE BEST PROBLEM!!!!!

Many who have "money to save, money to spend, money to lend a friend", have far, far worse senarios: failing health, the loss of a loved one, the heartbreak of a "prodigal" child, an unhappy marriage, a ghastly disease, or in my opinion the absolutely, most dreadful.......a lack of faith and consequently NO RELATIONSHIP with God!!! This one truly frightens me beyond words. I would be terrified to lose my faith or my walk with the Lord.

THE BEST PROBLEM shortfall. We are relatively healthy, have our family close, enjoy a happy marriage, and best of all are getting to know the truth of His word which cannot fail. He HAS, IS, and WILL supply our needs, and NOTHING can separate us from HIS LOVE!!!! (A "shouting" point indeed!)

This perspective is giving me quite a lot of comfort at the moment. I praise HIM that He is able to do superabundantly, far over and above all that I dare ask or think--infinitely beyond my highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams!! (Eph. 3:20)

God, THANK YOU for giving me the BEST PROBLEM.....well, it doesn't even seem like a problem now. Actually, the possibility presenting itself to me at the moment is the fact that I HAVE NO PROBLEMS AT ALL!!!!!