Sunday, March 30, 2008

Grandpa

I am not very good at writing stories like this but I will at least try to record this for my memory if for no other reason.
Wednesday, Grandma awakened my parents about 7:00 to tell them that Grandpa had just fallen. They came down and got him in his chair. He was really confused so they just figured he had an infection again. Those are always the first signs of a UTI (urinary tract infection) for him. He almost always falls and then is totally confused about every thing. Most of the time though he bounces right back with in about a day. We start making him drink more water and usually he gets an antibiotic and he is fine.
He really wasn't getting over this one very quickly. Grandpa's usual nurse was on medical leave so he had an other nurse come out to see him Wednesday. She wasn't used to what was normal with him and what was not. She went ahead and called his doctor and he called in a prescription for an antibiotic.
Friday my parents were supposed to leave for an over night trip to Ohio. Dad was debating going or not because Grandpa was still sick. He decided that everything would be fine and they would go ahead and go.
Saturday morning we could tell he was a little worse but I still wasn't terribly concerned (I think I must be slow or something). By noon however, things were headed down hill in a hurry. He was having a hard time breathing, his coloring looked terrible, and he almost completely unresponsive when we would try to talk to him. We called the on-call nurse, but she didn't answer. We called our neighbor who is a nurse just so she could give us an opinion on what we should do.
When she came over the first thing she said was "Wow, his coloring doesn't look good!" She said that his pulse rate was bouncing all over the place and his oxygen was very low. We called Dad, who by this time was on his way home, to ask him what he thought we should do. He and Jennifer (the nurse) both came to the conclusion that we needed to call an ambulance.
When he got to the hospital the problems were a lot more serious than we had thought. They decided that they needed to put him in the ICU. We were kind of surprised at that.
I called my aunt, who lives about three hours away, as soon as he left in the ambulance. She decided to come up right away with her son, daughter-in-law and grandsons. An other cousin was also coming up to see him. By this time we were all realizing that Grandpa was probably finally going to get to go Home which is what he has been praying for for 3 years.
My parents got to the hospital about 5:00. They had to come home a little before 7 so Dad could teach a class.
Dad went back in to the hospital at 10:00 so I went with him. On the way to the hospital we stopped by to see our friend who has been Grandpa's nurse for the last two years. Dad told her that he really didn't think Grandpa was going to make it through this. She said she really didn't think so either. They both said that the reason they decided to go ahead and take him to the hospital is that they didn't want him dying with just my sisters and me there. That would have been really hard.
When I walked into the hospital I couldn't believe how many things they had him hooked up to! He had an oxygen mask on that covered most of his face. He woke up after I had been there for a few minutes and I waved at him and he waved back. I was glad to see that much response.
Aunt Cathy, Kaleb, and Grandma all decided to stay the night at the hospital. Dad, Beckisue and I went home some time after 11. We didn't really know what to expect over night.
This morning my mom came in right after I had awakened and told me that Aunt Cathy had called and said that Grandpa was sitting up eating breakfast, and had wanted to know if there had been an accident or why was he in the hospital! No body could believe it! We stopped by for just a minute on our way to church and I couldn't believe how different he looked. They had him off the oxygen mask, and his eyes looked normal. He greeted us when we walked in with his usual greeting. I was totally shocked! The nurses told us that he was going to be discharged that afternoon! Now, how often does someone go from the ICU to home???
He is home now. He is not totally back to normal, and the nurse said he wasn't completely out of the woods. Of course, you never know about tomorrow at any age but you especially don't know what is going to happen when a person is 97!
He is still pretty confused about things. I asked him if he was glad to be home from the hospital and he said "Was I in the hospital? I don't remember it."
We are glad that he is home. I am so thankful for Grandpa and the heritage that I have been blessed with!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Mountain Top Day

Christian often talk about "mountains and valleys" of life. Today was totally a mountain top day!
First and foremost, we celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord! That alone would be enough. But we were also blessed to have a baby dedication, three baptisms, and the Lord's Supper. We had quite a crowd today, but many left before lunch so by the time we had the Lord's Supper (which was after lunch) there weren't so many.

Courtney, Baby Ava and my Dad





Courtney's Baptism




Tony's Baptism
The picture of the third baptism didn't turn out at all. These are blurry but not quite as bad.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tiffany's Letter for March

I received an other letter from my friend, Tiffany today. I wanted to share it like I did the first one.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day tomorrow as we celebrate the Resurrection!

March 2008

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth:
He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so He openeth not His mouth.”
~ Isaiah 53:7 ~

Our family recently visited the Creation Museum, which is a little over an hour from our new home in Kentucky. It was a phenomenal experience. And though I was blessed and challenged by a great many things there, the thing that affected me the most was seeing the models of the sacrificed lambs upon the altars. There were three such models that I recall, each gruesomely displaying an animal with bloody muscle and bone exposed. In all of the pictures that I have seen in the past of sacrificed lambs, goats, rams, or bulls, though bloody they still look like animals, with wool and skin attached. But in these models, the wool and skin were removed, exposing raw meat and bone. From the book of Leviticus, we read that the animals used for sacrifices were even more mangled than these.
Immediately I thought of Jesus, our precious sacrificial Lamb, and of the verse in Isaiah 52 which reads, “As many were astonied at Thee; His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” (verse 14) When I came home, I began a search through select passages in Isaiah, the Psalms, and the Gospels, that describe Christ’s suffering and crucifixion. Many, though not all, of the questions I have had about certain passages were clarified as I studied the original Hebrew words used.
In the passage from Isaiah 52, for example, the word “astonied” (which, I confess I always tend to read as “astonished”) means “to stun, grow numb, devastate” or figuratively, “to stupefy.” It implies that what one sees is so terrible that it horrifies or appalls. Seeing the lambs on the altars left me speechless. I cannot even imagine what it was like to see Jesus so changed. And yet this passage says that the face our Lord was so “marred” (the word literally means “disfigured, corrupted, or ruined”) “more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” In Psalm 22:17 we read a prayer from Christ’s perspective: “I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.” The word “may” was added in translation and is not in the original text. The word “tell” means “to score with a mark as a tally, to record, count, or number.” It wasn’t just that people could see His bone, but that so many of His bones were seen that they could be counted. This is unfathomable.
Returning to Isaiah 53, we read that “He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)
The Hebrew word for “griefs” is choliy (pronounced ‘khol-ee’) which is usually translated “sickness” or “disease.” It can also mean “malady, anxiety, or calamity.” The word for “sorrows” is makobah (mak-o-baw) meaning “anguish or affliction”, but can also be translated “pain.” This verse became increasingly precious to me as I spent much of 2007 in daily pain, battling sickness and disease. How beautiful it is to know that “He hath borne our griefs [sicknesses, anxieties], and carried our sorrows [anguish and pain].”
“He was wounded,” we read, “for our transgressions.” I nearly made the old mistake again thinking, “Well, I know what that means!” Yet the Holy Spirit prompted me to search it out and when I did, I discovered yet another incredible truth. The word “wounded” is chalal (pronounced ‘khaw-lal’), and means “to pollute, defile, or profane.” Our precious, holy, perfect and spotless Savior was wounded – polluted, defiled, profaned – for our transgressions. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) “And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” (1John 3:5) It is amazing to think that His sacred body was so disfigured and dishonored in order that He might bear the penalty for our sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) And from 1 Peter we know that we “were not redeemed with corruptible things . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world . . .” (1 Peter 1:18-20)
Coming back again to Isaiah 53 we read that “it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief.” (verse 10) The word “bruise” means “to crush, crumble, break” or “beat to pieces.” I have often wondered at this passage. How could it please the Lord to crush His Son? Yet when I looked this up in Strong’s Dictionary, it said that “it is not so much an intense pleasurable emotion as a favorable disposition, or the prompting of the heart to take a certain course of action from a sense of fitness.”
The magnitude of Christ’s suffering is depicted in even greater detail in Psalm 22, the very psalm He quoted in part as He died. Part of this psalm reads:
“Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and Thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. . . . Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for Thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.” (Isaiah 53:11-17 & 20-21)
The word pictures in this psalm are incredibly vivid and powerful. We see bulls, lions, dogs, even unicorns! The word “unicorn” is actually rem (rame) which means “wild bull.” Our word “unicorn” is from the Latin words meaning “one horn.” The rhinoceros is a wild, one-horned animal and a male rhinoceros is called a bull. It is likely that this passage is referring to this enormously powerful creature.
The phrase “my darling from the power of the dog” has often puzzled me as well. But the word “darling” (yachiyd, pronounced ‘yaw-kheed’) by implication means “beloved” or “life” and can be translated “only, only child, only son” among other things. Here, according to Strong’s, it means “self” or “soul.” Jesus cries for His Father to save Him from the sword, to save His soul from the power of the dog, from the lion’s mouth, and from the power of the wild bulls.
Isaiah 53:12 reads, “Many bulls have compassed me.” The word “compassed” is used later in verse 16, “For dogs have compassed me.” It’s a word that means “to revolve, surround, border, to turn, or go around” and is a verb that “represents a circular movement.” The visual image is tremendous: angry bulls and fierce, yelping dogs not just surrounding, but circling, pacing around the bruised body of our Lord. I can almost hear the incessant yapping of the mockers, the roar of the furious crowd intimidating Him, encircling Him, hungry for His blood. Matthew Henry, the great theologian, says that the bulls represent His enemies that were of a higher rank, the chief priests and elders – “fat and fed to the full, haughty and sour” – while the dogs represent those of a lower rank, “filthy, greedy, and unwearied in running Him down.”
We frequently call to mind how the physical torture injured Him. But often we forget the hateful cries that wounded – polluted, defiled, and profaned – Him, to whom only praise and honor was due. And more astounding than this is the spirit with which He received those bitter blows. “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) Oh, what an example He set for us! First Peter 2:21-24 reads, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
One last thing. In the passage we looked at earlier from Isaiah 53, there is a phrase that made me stop and think. It is from verse 3 and it reads, “He is despised and rejected of men . . .” Not ‘was’, though later in the verse the past-tense form is used, but ‘is’ – present-tense. “He is despised and rejected.” His life, His cruel death, His miraculous resurrection, and His example of perfect obedience is absolutely ridiculous to those who do not know Him. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness [literally, “silliness or absurdity”]; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) My prayer for each one of you today is that you believe in Jesus, the precious Lamb who was mocked and marred for our transgressions, who was wounded to pay the penalty for sin.
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in Himself: He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because He believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1John 5:10-13)

Love and prayers across the miles,

Tiffany

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mr. Snowman

I spent the afternoon at Fran's with Beckisue week before last. We had just gotten a fresh snow so Beckisue decided she wanted to build a snowman. It was pretty warm so it was so nice for playing in the snow. That was the first time I had built a snowman in a LONG time!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ava's Quilt

A friend of mine just had a baby in January and I made a quilt for her. The pictures didn't turn out very well, but hopefully you can get an idea of what it looks like. Each of the muslin blocks had a Bible verse embroidered on it except for one which had the baby's name and birthday. I had fun with it, but was I ever glad to have it finished!

Here is a picture of the whole quilt. For some reason I couldn't get it to turn! It is the right direction in iPhoto. When I put it on here it won't stay that way!

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Annual Lordship Assembly

My family attended the annual Lordship Assembly in Union City, IN this week. We had a wonderful time as we always do! I think there were about 11 pastors there. It seems every year keeps getting better. There were a few sermons that really stood out to me. Pastor Ben Mott preached a sermon on the Crucifixion that I don't think I will ever forget. It was SO powerful. I am so thankful that God has placed these pastors and their families in my life. They are so dear to me.
There didn't seem to be as many people singing or playing instruments this year, so my family did most of it. Pastor Townsend sang a few songs. Pastor Shepherd requested that he sing The Captain song. That is one of my favorites that he does. Bethany was supposed to play a song with Jonathan and me the last night but we ended up not being able to. I was very disappointed. That meant that Bethany didn't get to play at all. :( One family from Cornerstone sang and played one song. When Monica, Jonathan and I started to play Leaning on the Everlasting Arms and our instruments were way out of tune! We played about two measures and I stopped everyone and said we had to tune! It was terrible! Of course, all the pastors, in typical fashion, started bantering jokes back and forth. We eventually got them tuned and played the song with out any major errors after that. Later on that same evening though, I tried to play Come Thou Fount and my violin was HORRIBLY out of tune! I don't know what happened to it. I don't usually have problems with my violin getting out of tune. But, what ever the case it was really bad. But, since I had already stopped once that night I didn't want to stop again. That was probably a mistake. I think just about everyone thought it sounded terrible (unless of course they were tone deaf!). When we were practicing a song to sing Wednesday morning, Pastor Mott walked up and started reading the words over my sisters shoulder and singing along with us. Jonathan asked him if he would like to sing with us later, so he said he would. It was SO much fun. I think he enjoyed singing with us as much as we enjoyed singing with him. It was so funny when he walked up to sing because he walked over to my dad and shook his hand and gave him a hug and said he was joining the family! He is an absolute riot.
Tuesday afternoon the ladies went to lunch at the chocolate factory in Union City. Bethany and I walked there since it isn't too far from the church. We enjoyed the beautiful day and our time together. Some times after the ladies luncheons all the ladies will go shopping or do some sort of activity, but this year I think everyone just decided they would rather just rest and visit. Though, I think a few ladies went shopping.
After the last service Wednesday night, the Wassons, Townsends and my family went to Bouser's Barn for our annual farewell get together. It is always fun but kind of sad too since we know that we will be saying good bye in just a few minutes!
We are already looking forward to the ELC conference in August. I am learning not to wish away time though. It slips by far to fast as it is.

Monday, March 3, 2008

When I was in Kentucky, Tiffany gave me this letter that she had written. I thought it was a wonderful study and I wanted to share it.


Growing up, I had always believed his verse to mean something like: Honor and love the Lord above everything else, find pleasure in loving Him and be full of His presence, and He will grant you your heart's desires. In essence, " Love the Lord with all your heart and He will make your dreams come true."
But recently, the Lord has led me to study this verse again, to go back and look up the original Hebrew words used. Doing so has completely transformed the way that I look at this verse. Let me share:
First of all, the Hebrew word for "delight" is anag (pronounced aw-nag) which means "to be soft or pliable." It's also translated "delicate." At first, I thought maybe I had looked the word up wrong, because it wasn't what I was expecting at all! I was expecting the word "delight" to mean "find pleasure in, love, honor" or something like that. Most of the other words that are translated "delight" in the Old Testament are from Hebrew words that mean that very thing: "be pleased with, take pleasure in, have delight in," etc. But in this particular instance, "delight" means "to be soft or pliable." (I learned a valuable lesson during this study. Far too often when I read Scripture, I say, "Oh, I know what this means" when I really need to be crying out, "Lord, please help me to understand what You mean in this.")
I had originally started looking at Psalm 37:4 in-depth when I was studying another passage about delighting in God: Isaiah 58. Essentially what is happening in this chapter is that the Lord is showing the children of Israel the differences between their idea of a fast and His idea of a fast, between their plans for the Sabbath and His plans for the Sabbath. He is showing them that they are just checking spiritual boxes, but the attitude of their hearts is not pleasing to Him.
Isaiah 58: 13&14 reads:
"If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath,
[literally, turn away thy foot from trampling the Sabbath]
from doing thy pleasure on My Holy day; and shalt honour Him,
not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure,
nor speaking thine own words:
Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord;
and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee
with the heritage of Jacob thy father:
for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."

The word "delight" is found two times in this passage. First, we are exhorted to call the Sabbath "a delight." This word - oneg - literally means "a luxury." I love that. Ever since I discovered this, I have been saying on Sunday, "Ah, a delight! a luxury!"
The word for "delight" in verse 14, is the same word used in Psalm 37:4, anag. The Lord is saying in this passage that if we will do all of these things (through of course the power of the Holy Spirit working in us), then we will delight ourselves in the Lord - or literally "be soft and pliable" in His hands.
Understanding the real meaning of the word for "delight" in these two passages completely changes the picture I once had in min when I read, "Delight thyself in the Lord." Before, I had pictured myself with an upturned face, glorying in the Lord. But now when I read this verse, I picture myself bowed low in brokenness, being soft and pliable in the hands of the Lord. It makes me think clay and the verses in Jeremiah 18 when the Lord sent the prophet to the potter's house:

"Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the
wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:
so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord.
Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine hand, O house of
Israel."

My favorite part of this passage is the part that reads, "as seemed good to the potter to make it." We are His and if we delight in Him - or become soft and pliable in his hands - then He will mold us and make us into what best pleases Him.
The rest of Psalm 37:4 reads, "and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." The Hebrew word for desires" is mishalah (pronounced mish-aw-law) which means "a request or petition." So often I find myself thinking, "The Lord will give this to me if it's His will to do so." But I forget that His will might be for me to first ask. This word, Mishalah, suggests more than just an unspoken desire. This word suggests ac action - that of asking. This makes me think of the verses in James 4 - "... ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss...."
So what should we be asking for? What should be the "desires of our heart" if we are "soft and pliable in the hands of the Lord?
When I think of the desires of my heart, the first thing that comes to mind is the calling God has placed on my life to one day be a wife and mother. My prayers for that have changed over the last few months as the Lord has been teaching me about presumptuous sins and how so often my prayers presume that certain things will absolutely and unquestionably happen, it's just a matter of God's timing. But none of us are promised tomorrow, nor promised a husband and children. Now instead of just praying for my future husband as if it's a guarantee that I will one day be married I've started praying, "Lord if it is your will for me to get married one day, I pray that your will bless my future husband."
When it comes to praying for children, I always think of Hannah's prayer in 1 Samuel. How often have I cried out to the Lord with such passion, pouring out my heart before the Lord as Hannah did? Not often enough.
This brings to mind Romans 8:25-27 which reads:
"But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it
Likewise the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot
be uttered.
And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because
He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. "

If we delight in the Lord, if we are soft and pliable in His hands, then our desires - our prayers and petitions- will be directed by the Holy Spirit. For as this verse says, 'we know not what we should pray for.' And how does the Holy Spirit direct us? Through God's word. This is one thing that the Lord has really been impressing on my heart lately: Pray the Word, pray the Word, pray the Word! The book of Psalms, for example, has hundreds of beautiful prayers to pray.
What a comfort it is to know that when we are soft and pliable in His hands, He works in our hearts so that what we desire becomes what He desires for us. Then the prayers that we pray will be prayers united with His will, because the Holy Spirit is all the while teaching us how to pray and what to pray for, through His Word.
"Delight thyself also in the Lord [be soft and pliable in His hand],
and He will give thee the desires [requests and petitions] of thine heart."