Injections–Part One

Am I injected with Truth?

Do I hear the truth and respond, “Yes, but. . .”?

That thought filled my mind as I left the parking lot of my doctor’s office today.  About two weeks ago my eyes were injected with a clotting agent that keeps the macular degeneration stalled.  It is not one of the easiest things I have done every three months or so.  Research doctors have not yet come up with a drop we can administer ourselves.  It takes an injection.  I get one in each eye.

Today I was injected with an immunization that is supposed to protect me from pneumonia.  Parents see that their children receive immunizations to stave off measles, mumps, typhoid, tetanus, and a variety of other things.  If only we were so careful to take from God’s Word what will stave off the onslaughts of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  John, the apostle warns Believers this:  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

That answers a pertinent question.  Why is it so easy for Believing Christians to squabble?  Although it is a piercing answer, it is simply because the world is more important to them than the Heavenly Father.  What do we get easily annoyed, or offended?  Too much world; not enough Father.

Facing the world, the flesh, and the devil is a triple threat!  Far too often, we just blame everything on the Devil.  The fact is, because we do not exercise the love of the Father, as expressed in I John 2:15, our indulgences tend to be from the world values instead of eternal values.

The only remedy for these ongoing battles is to inject truth into our lives through a daily time of real devotion to God.  Sit at His feet, immerse the thirsty soul in the contents of God’s Word, allow the Holy Spirit to have control.

I am troubled by the anger and dismay of my countrymen over political upheaval.  I am even more dismayed with those to claim to be Christians are acting in the flesh instead of the Spirit.

I expect my arm will be a little sore later today.  It is part of the treatment.  We can also be certain that God will use His mighty Word to sometimes bruise us. It is His kindness keeping us close to Himself—yes, keeping us close, holding our hand, sweeping us into His everlasting arms.

Stay close to the Shepherd of the soul.  It is His protection.

–Part Two will be in a day or so.

Solomon’s Temple and . . . Me!

If you think I am comparing myself to the splendor of that luxurious, opulent building, you would be wrong.  Neither am I contrasting my weaknesses, shabbiness to the Temple.  It is a phrase that caught my attention yesterday.  In Second Chronicles 2, Solomon sets out to build this majestic building to house the Ark of the Covenant and items that the Tabernacle had held.

In correspondence to the King of Tyre, Solomon requests not only wood for the building, but also artisans who could do wonderfully molded and carved works of gold and silver.  “Send me. . .” he says in verse 7 and again in verse 8. King Huram replies in return by verse 13, “I have sent. . .”  On most days when I was reading through this passage and chapters on the building of the temple I would not have paid attention to those words.  I may have wondered why there were no Israelites who could do such artistry and moved along in the reading.
Yesterday, however, was different.  Once solidly into my day, I had a job as a vendor to replace metal brackets on the back of a merchandising fixture.  I knew the fixture would have to be unloaded, taken off the present bent brackets, and then replaced.  I am not mechanically minded.  I showed the project to a grandson who explained how the project would work and he assured me that I could do it, but if I had questions, to call him.  I was so uncertain.  After reading those verses, I knew what I had to do:  ask God to send someone to help me.  So, I did just that.

When I arrived at the store, the department manager was on the floor.  That hardly ever happens.  I told her who I was and my project.  She said, “I can help you, that is a heavy fixture.”  Wow!  Once we got the fixture down, she went back to her work and I tentatively replaced the brackets.  She checked back with me just about the time we needed to hoist the brackets back into place.  “Send me. . .” I asked.  “I have sent. . .” God replied.

My Good Shepherd was there all along.

Birthdays

My oldest grandchild turned twenty this weekend.  That made me do some deep thinking.  That means I have been a grandparent for twenty years!  Most days I just keep plodding along doing what I think is best for that day.  I haven’t worked a “regular” job now for ten years so most of my days are made up of my own choosing rather than a time clock.

The celebration of time markers, like birthdays and anniversaries, always give me pause.  It is good for us to just stand still for a brief time and look back, and then forward.  I am left with one sure thing:  the title of this blog site, “The Shepherd’s Presence” is apt.  There is no better place to be than beside my Savior, the Good Shepherd, Jesus.

I placed my faith in Jesus in January of 1960.  There was no inkling of excitement but rather a peace that flowed over me.  Fifty-six years ago that peace came to me, and only when I left the peace moments here and there have I known anything but that deeply settled peace that comes from knowing the stability of faith in God.

We all lapse now and then if we will admit it.  Worry creeps in.  Fear lurks in the corners of our minds.  The abiding presence of my Good Shepherds has always made Himself known.  The most important birthday of all of my remembrance was that day in cold January, 1960 when Jesus came to stay.

Reader, if you are searching for peace, confidence in eternity, run to Jesus.  He will save and He will stay.  You, too, can know the “peace that passes understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)  Struggle no longer.  Jesus paid the price for your redemption.  Placing your faith in Jesus is the very best decision you can make in your life.  The second birth is the best birth of all. John 3:6-7, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I say unto you, you must be born again.”

 

 

Squeaky (from my old story file)

In my opinion, this is a storyteller’s delight.  There are so many storytelling techniques upon which to utilize that the storyteller holds the audience captive.   I have Squeaky play on the steps, he goes up, up, up, and then D O W N using the voice to color.  And when he swings on the cups, I have the audience swaying back and forth!  Here it is:

Once there was a little mouse that lived in the basement of Mrs. Brown’s house.  His name was Squeaky.  Squeaky had a little cousin mouse whose name was Tweaky and they played together.  They would play tag in and around Mrs. Brown’s fruit jars, and hide-and-seek in and out of Mr. Brown’s galoshes.

One day it rained and Tweaky’s mother said, “”Tweaky, you can’t go over and play with Squeaky today because you might get your little feet wet running across the grass to the Brown’s house.”  Well, that made Squeaky a very lonesome mouse that day.  He ran around Mrs. Brown’s fruit jars all alone, and that was no fun.  He rain in and out of Mr. Brown’s galoshes, but that wasn’t any fun either.

Then he sat down to think.  As he thought, his eyes wandered until they came to the basement steps leading up to Mrs. Brown’s kitchen.  He remembered that his mother said, “Squeaky, don’t ever go up those basement steps.”   But mother wasn’t around right now, and well, maybe if he just went half way up and then right back down, it would be all right.

Squeaky looked about; no one was watching, he thought.  He ran up the steps, and arrested half way up, but you know after Squeaky had gone half way up, he wanted to go all the way up.  He thought, “I’ll go to the top of the steps, surely there is nothing wrong with that.”

Upon reaching the top step, he rested again and said, “I wonder why Mother did not want me to go up these steps?”  Then seeing the door was open just a crack, Squeaky poked his little nose through.  What do you think he saw?  The most beautiful red rug he had ever seen in all his life!  He looked about.  Mrs. Brown wasn’t in the kitchen just then. What was that small room with all the shiny objects hanging from hoops?  Little Squeaky scampered across the red rug and into the pantry to find out for himself.  He ran up the wall of the cupboard and there Squeaky ran in and out of Mrs.Brown’s nice shiny pots and pans.   Then he had more fun swinging back and forth, back and forth in Mrs. Brown’s cups which hung from little hooks.  Oh, Squeaky though, “I have never had so much fun!”

He became tired and sat down to rest.  What was that he smelled?  Why, it smelled just like cheese.  And we know that cheese is to mice what ice cream and candy are to boys and girls.  Mice love cheese! Then he saw it.  There was a nice big golden piece of cheese just full of holes on a big wooden platter.  Oh, Squeaky had never seen a platter like that before, but he knew the cheese.  He came over to the cheese to take one good whiff of it, and then, you know how your dog gets so excited when you come home from school, the he runs around and around you?  Well, Squeaky became so excited thinking, “All this cheese to myself!” that he ran around and around the trap and just then—the trap went off and caught Squeaky by the tail. He squealed and squealed and pulled and pulled but the more he pulled, the more it hurt. Trapped mice have as much feeling in their tails as we have in our arms and legs.  Mrs. Brown heard him squealing and hurried in to the pantry. As Mrs. Brown was just reaching out for Squeaky, suddenly he gave a big jerk, and got part of his tail out of the trap just in time.  Oh, it hurt, but Squeaky didn’t have time to think about that.  He ran down the wall across the red rug in the kitchen, squeezed through the crack in the doorway, and hurried down the basement steps just as fast as his little legs could carry him.  It was ten minutes before Squeaky could answer his mother’s questions and tell what had happened.  Squeaky learned his lesson.  Obey your mother without question.

 

My note:

The original story has an application tacked on to the ending, but I don’t like to do that.  I either incorporate something in the introduction, or just let the story itself teach the lesson.  A good memory verse to use before the story is I Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptations taken you but such as is common to man:  but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”  KJV

Memories of Winter in Wisconsin

Indulge me with a ramble from my youth.

The weatherman is telling us it is bitterly cold outside tonight.  Well, for a fact, it is cold, bitterly cold I question. Truthfully, I am glad to be inside and that my gas furnace is functioning.  Something just grates on me, however, when I see school delays due to the frigid weather.  Why?  Well here’s why.

Back about a hundred years ago when I was a kid, I lived outside of a little town in Central Wisconsin.  My dad was a dairy farmer and like many of our neighbors who were also dairy farmers, the cows had to be milked twice a day regardless of the temperature outside.  Life just moved on.  When the Upper Midwest is blanketed with snow or -30 degree weather, they just brace themselves and work through it.  Midwesterners figure out a way. Snowplows run to keep the roads manageable.

It was so cold in our farmhouse that I could see my breath in the room when I jumped out of bed and into my clothes for the school day. Such cold teaches a child to be organized about clothing choices. My dad had, of course, been up early and stoked the bed of coals left from the overnight “bank” of firewood and the downstairs was starting to get warm.  I remember dashing downstairs in sock feet and into my outdoor four-buckle farm boots and into a warm coat just to run to the outhouse.  One didn’t stay too long on those sub-zero days.  “Business” was done in a hurry!  My mom was in the kitchen which was warming up nicely by the cookstove and she was making hot oatmeal.  On lucky days, we had hot cream of wheat.

Since I lived two miles from the one-room school house where I attended classes for six years of my life, (the school closed in 1952) I walked on nice days but if it rained, snowed, or the temperatures were below thirty degrees, Dad would take me to school.  I wasn’t a praying Jesus girl back then, I just crossed all my fingers and toes that the car would start so Dad would drive me to school.  Even if Dad had to hand crank the car, he always managed to get it started. Snow drifts were an adventure to my dad!  Dirt roads didn’t seem to get icy.  Maybe because there was dirt for traction for spinning wheels eventually. We did get stuck now and then and those were not happy times.

The school house was also heated by a big pot-bellied wood burning stove.  It was the responsibility of the school board to make sure the woodshed was supplied with wood for the stove.  They took turns starting the fire in the morning before the teacher arrived and then it was her responsibility to keep the fire going during the school day.  I am sure she was underpaid considering that she taught all eight grades, kept the fire going on cold days (which were plenty in Wisconsin), kept the water bucket full for drinking and hand washing, sprinkled the wonderful smelling sweeping compound on the hardwood floors and swept, and kept the chalk boards cleaned and full each day for each class.  The school had no telephone.  If we had a genuine emergency like the day Dale Yohn nearly bit his tongue in two on the teeter totter, one of the “big boys” in the eighth grade ran to the nearest house and called for help.

The only time I remember school closing was when all of us got the chicken pox at the same time. Since we all drank from the same water “dipper,” I suppose that’s how it came to be that every single one of us had chicken pox about the same time. There were days when the road I lived on was not plowed early enough for me to go to school; the school was open for those who lived close enough to walk.

So, school started on time even in the weeks when it would be below zero for days on end.  Wind chill?  We didn’t know about wind chill!  We played outside in the snow.  We all wore snow pants in which we girls tucked our skirts.  We were wrinkled, but then, everyone was wrinkled! In those years before tights, we girls wore long cotton stockings held up by garter belts.  The boys wore longjohns. Our feet were clad in shoes and overshoes. We built snow forts and had teams for snowball fights.  Sometimes the sissy girls played a snow game called “Fox and Goose” instead of being in the snow fight.  I was usually behind a fort making snowballs for the big boys!  Our brave Mrs. Jenks, about whom I wrote earlier in a blog, threw snowballs with us or refereed Fox and Goose. It was also the only time she could use the privy in peace.

I don’t know if those were the “good old days” or not but none of died and were seldom sick with bad colds.  I think the fresh air was good for us!  Our education did not suffer.  Many of us graduated from high school and several of us went on to college.  Two or three of my friends from the Chain O’Lakes School even have written books.  I own three of Gerald Apps’s books he authored.  My mom bought me a signed copy of his book called, One Room Country Schools:  History and Recollections from Wisconsin. I have the book stuffed full of newspaper clippings.  One of them; has a header titled:  “Help, David threw my shoe down the toilet hole!”  Yes, I attended school with David Kolka.  His older sister was the teacher for one year.  She graduated from the teacher’s college with a two-year certificate, lived at home and taught me my fourth grade year.  Her nickname was Dolly and we all knew her but didn’t dare call her anything except Miss Kolka.

So, now you know why it unnerves me when school is delayed because the temperature is below 32°.  My dad would claim those kids are pansies.  I don’t know if it is the kids, or the parents, but someone needs to send those kids to school cold or not, and for a full day!

My grandchildren will be in school, on time, regardless of the cold weather.  They attend classes through Pensacola Christian Academy via computer in a room specifically set for classroom.  Their mother is a teacher. They will go out in the 1° weather in morning about 4 A.M. and deliver more than 100 newspapers.  They have some of their grandparents in them!

William H. Harrison (book review)

This book was published by Twenty-First Century Books, Minneapolis.  The Copyright is 2007.  I quite accidentally chose an author who is a descendent of Harrison.  Meg Greene is a resident of Virginia.  This book is in the juvenile section of our library although the readability is about sixth grade level.  It has 108 pages and has good supportive photographs intertwined.

I selected a juvenile book for Harrison because, oddly enough, our county library system is void of books on Harrison.  Since Harrison was the first territorial governor and had much to do about the settlement of our state, I was surprised.  Early in my teaching career, I was “volunteered” to teach Indiana History, so my research had already gained me information about Harrison’s military achievements in the Northwest Territory.

I learned some interesting personal information about Harrison in this edition that was fascinating.  Harrison was born (1773) on a Virginia plantation to aristocratic parentage.  He was of bright mind but all he really wanted was to be a good soldier.  His parents encouraged him to train as a medical doctor and would have paid handsomely for his education, but Harrison left home for the frontier and helped negotiate Indian treaties and establish my state of Indiana.  His wife was also from a family of means but she gave it up to move with him to Vincennes.  Together they had ten children.  There were times when they faced financial crisis because a soldier’s salary was not much but Anna also learned how to live off the land on a farm Harrison had purchased before they married.  Acquiring land had been reserved mostly for the wealthy.  Harrison changed that his first year as a delegate for the Northwest Territory with a bill called the Harrison Land Act.  Frontiersmen who had a dream had him to thank for being able to homestead land.  Harrison was also responsible for bringing a judicial system to the expanding West.

Harrison was also of the Whig persuasion and Fillmore (the previous book I read) was instrumental is seeing Harrison nominated to the Whig ticket.  Harrison was the first President to campaign on his own.  Up to his time, Presidents did not personally go on a campaign route, hold rallies, or have slogans.  That all started on the Harrison-Tyler ticket.  Sadly, Harrison was also the first President to die in office.  He had readied himself for office after winning with both electoral and popular vote over Van Buren.  He understood the political system since he had already served both in the House of Representatives and the Senate.  His wife, Anna, would have preferred that he retire on their Ohio farm.  She was not present for his inauguration for she was getting things in order to move to Washington.  The Inauguration was on March 4, 1840 and Harrison succumbed to pneumonia on April 4, 1841.  Although some historians say Harrison died because he delivered such a long-winded inaugural address without coat, hat, or gloves on a cold, windy day, the fact is, Harrison had been ill from the long river boat ride up the Ohio River and had a “cold” already.  Although he improved in health, he was caught in a rain storm a few days later at a Washington market and pneumonia set in.

This book was an enjoyable read and is perfect for the junior reader.  I highly recommend this age-level reading for getting just that facts without embellishments of opinion.  The book is well-documented with an extensive bibliography.  Harrison is usually known for his short Presidency.  He did so much more!

Harrison’s grandson, Benjamin, served as our twenty-third President.  I look forward to reading his biography later but next I am hopping to our thirtieth President, Calvin Coolidge.  Rather than being driven by order, I am allowing myself to be driven by curiosity.  I hope you are enjoying these book reviews as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.

 

Batteries

Our power source.  That big battery in the car, the batteries in the flashlight, the little button batteries that make the watch run—they are all a power source.  This morning I went to my devotional group thinking that when I came back home I would need a little more heat.  It is damp outside which seems to make the cold more intense.  When I came home, I noticed the temperature had dropped even more.  Ah, the batteries that control my thermostat have lost all their power.

Fortunately, I had some AAA batteries on hand and now the furnace received a signal from the thermostat that vacation time is over!  It will take awhile but the house will get warmer and all is well.  The recharge is presently working on my Kindle and my cell phone is next in line. Even my bathroom scale is digital and runs on one of those button batteries.  Just think of all the devices you depend on that have batteries!

We all need a daily recharge too.  It is called the Word of God.  Even if you think that the Scripture didn’t have much in it for you today, the work of the Holy Spirit will bring to mind what you need later in the day or evening.  What we memorize of it will always be with us to render aid in times of distress or temptation.  It is a power source that never goes dead.

 

A Sincere Apology

I neglected to read far enough down on the PDF of the story I published on my blog via a link today.  It was a “preview” and of course, it is for sale.

I truly don’t think any of my readers would copy it, reprint it, and put it out for sale but I also don’t want to break copyright laws.
The declamation is a cutting from the novella/short story that Ben Williams wrote back in the 20’s  so it is near expiration.

I did find the full length story on line once ant it is at least 3000 –5000 words in length.  My cutting is 1100 words. I do apologize.   It is such a good story!  It is truly a treasure to me now that I know I own a rare item.  It is available for sale on the link I provided.

I don’t want wordpress to be held accountable for publishing what I know is copyrighted.  Sad face.

“They Grind Exceeding Small” (story from my file)

As I prepared my devotional lesson for this week the subject was money, taken from seven verse in Proverbs chapter 28.  They are v erses 6, 9, 11, 19, 23, 24, and 27.

Our attitude toward the poor is an element in these verses.  We cannot and should not hide our faces from the poor.  We must help even if we think that the poverty is somewhat self-inflicted.  Jesus told us we would have the poor with us always.  The Johnson Administration waged a “war on poverty” that has not been successful.  The government cannot do what God’s people in God’s body, the church, should be doing.  The Church takes care of its own.  At least it should.

The story illustration accompanying my devotional this week reaches WAY back to my eighth grade year, 1956, when I had my first taste of performance speech delivery.  Since the declamation is still under copyright, I can’t put it on this blog except by link.  Here it is:

https://rockbranchproductions.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/theygrin_v.pdf

I hope that the story challenges you and that indeed you may be able to use it in presentation in the future.

It is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who penned the words in a poem entitled, “Rebribution” that may well have inspired the story by Ben Ames Williams.

Though the mills of God grind slowly;
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all.

 

Houghed

The word is pronounced “hocked.” Yes, I researched the word.  For some reason I remembered a sermon in which the pastor gave attention to the military device that David used as recorded in II Samuel 8 and I Chronicles 18.  The word, houghed, means to hamstring or disable.  The procedure could have been as easy as tying together the hind legs of the horses on the picket line.  My love for animals wants to believe that David did not deliberately give a life-time disability to all of those horses by cutting the hamstring.

In addition, the King James translators added the word, horses.    The reconnaissance soldiers in David’s army could have also easily loosened the chariot wheels so that the slightest movement would disable the chariot.  My animal loving heart wants me to come to that conclusion.  With the exception of just two or three English translations or versions, the word houghed is rendered hamstrung.  Of the two or three others, the word is rendered “crippled.”  One, the Darby, set the word, horses, in brackets as an added word, and rendered that the chariots were crippled rather than the horses.  Darby and I seem to be standing in a very slim minority!

Ah, but here’s my point:  what stops me?  As I struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil, a three-pronged enemy, what stops me?  What defeats me before I barely get started?  Knowing our weakness is often the starting point toward success.

So, at this beginning of a new year, before that resolution lists gets longer and longer, it may be wise to make a plan toward achieving that longed for goal.

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