Mothers of America

America loves mom, baseball, and apple pie. America was formed at mother’s knee. Proudly standing beside their husbands, they helped tame the Old West; labored in the factories during World War II, prayed for the troops on foreign soil  who were fighting for freedom.
Mothers have made America what it is today. Have you ever noticed that when the media interview a football star after the game, he usually waves at the camera and says, “Hi, mom,” never “Hi, dad.”
Which of us can name the mother of Billy Graham? What is she known for? I’m sure she was a worker in her church, probably teaching Sunday School, but did she have a career? Did she make a name for herself in Southern society? Did she make her mark in history by running for the state senate?  Not that we know of. As far as we know, the greatest thing Billy Graham’s mother ever did was raise her children to serve God.
It should make us mothers humble to realize that we hold the future of our country in our hands. We cannot do this formidable task of raising our children without divine help.
My 98-year-old mother went to be with Jesus last year. She went to work as a housekeeper and caring for children when she was a teenager, and then during World War II she worked in the Army base laundry. When   her children were young, she took in washings and ironings, then went to work at the school cafeteria until she retired.
Mother was well known as a woman of prayer. She prayed for her children, as well as other people. People frequently visited our home to ask for her counsel and prayer. In her last years, she said, “I wonder why the Lord is leaving me here so long,” to which I usually replied, “Your grandchildren and great grandchildren need you to pray for them.” She lived every day of her life in service to the Lord and taught her children to love and serve Him too. Her children and grandchildren are proud to be descendants of such a woman of God.
“Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, ‘There are many good women, but you are the best!’  Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised. Show her respect—praise her in public for what she has done.”  Proverbs 31:28-31 CEV.

Get up early this next Sunday morning and take your children to church. Give your children to God and ask Him to teach you how to raise these children for Him. At bedtime, kneel down with your children and teach them how to pray. No career, no amount of money, nothing else you do in life is as important as this.
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Got Your Back

Two girls were discussing the night out with other girls at a club. One of the girls was having a fuss with another girl, and her friend told her, “Don’t worry. I’ve got your back.” She meant she would cover her and protect her if the situation got out of hand. Sometimes you’ll hear someone say, “I’ve got your 6.”
In the old West movies, when the hero says, “Cover me,” the others start shooting while the hero runs to a better position to get the bad guy.
Sometimes we have a problem and need someone to have our back. Maybe we need someone to vouch for us or witness for us in a legal situation. In some cases, we might need a friend to help us in a serious situation, like when in the hospital, or taking care of children when we have an important appointment. That person can be considered as having our back or being our backup.
The back is a very vulnerable spot on the body. You can’t see your back. When attacked from the back, your elbows or feet are just about all you can use defensively. In the old West, shooting someone in the back was about as low as an outlaw could stoop.
“The glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. Then you shall call and the Lord shall answer; You shall cry and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” Isaiah 58:8-9.
In the army the rearguard covers the back of the troops, protecting them from an enemy attack in the rear. God is covering our back. When we call out to the Lord, He will hear us and provide an answer. He might have someone speak up for us, or provide something we need, or pray for us.
God will protect our back like the rearguard.


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Jesus Died

One thing can be said about Jesus–He died. He died a horrible death. Millions of people have watched a reenactment of his death in movies and millions have been visibly touched to see exactly what all He went through when he was crucified at Golgotha.

He died a sacrificial death. He didn’t die for any crime that He had committed. He lived a perfect life, never committed any sin. In fact He alone was the sinless sacrifice.

He died by laying down His life. No one killed Jesus; He gave Himself to die. In the Garden He prayed, “Father, if there be any way, let this cup pass from me. But nevertheless, Thy will be done.” He laid down His life in prayer first. The people who carried out the crucifixion were merely instruments of His death. They were doing exactly what the Father God wanted them to do.

He died for you, me, and the whole world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV.

He died in our place, so we wouldn’t have to. The Bible says, “The soul that sins, it shall die.” Even though, some day our physical bodies will die, we will live forever with the Lord, because of His sacrifice.

Many great leaders of other religions died too. Buddha died. Mohammed died. Many of their followers visit their tombs and mourn their death. However, Jesus not only died, but He rose again from the grave.

During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He raised many people from the dead, but they eventually died again. When Jesus rose from the grave, He was in a new glorified body that will never die. Then He ascended to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father God, Creator of the Universe.

And that is the difference.

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Going Fishing

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After Easter

The story doesn’t end with Jesus on the cross, although that is the focal point of our salvation.

Every drop of blood in His body flowed out, ran down His brow, ran from the wound in His side, from the stripes on His back. His blood ran in rivulets down the hill, over the cliff of Golgotha, where according to legend, His blood flowed into the tomb was where Jesus was to be buried. Jesus didn’t die because His blood was all gone from His body. He died because He voluntarily gave up His Spirit, His life.

Jesus Himself said in John 10:17-18, “I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself.” Then the first day of the week, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus took up His life again and rose from the dead, but the story doesn’t end there either.

In the garden, He appeared to Mary. That night He appeared to His disciples. Later He appeared to the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Then in the presence of at least 120 people He ascended to heaven, but that isn’t the end of the story either.

After Jesus ascended to heaven, the Bible says now He is seated at the right hand of the Father, where He ever lives to make intercession for us. But the story didn’t end there either.

Jesus will come to take us to heaven where we will be with the Lord, but the story doesn’t end there either.

Then Jesus and His resurrected saints will return to the earth and we will live on earth with Him for a thousand years, but that isn’t the end of the story.

At the end of the thousand years, Jesus will re-create heaven and earth, and heaven will come down to earth, right over Jerusalem. Then we will rule and reign with Him forever. That isn’t the end of the story either.
That is only the beginning.
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Sweet Words

If I were to define my worst trait it would be my big mouth. Oh, I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble over the years because of my mouth.
One time we’d been fishing and were leaving the creek, with Dad driving a big Dodge pickup with an overhead camper. We pulled up to the road and stopped, waiting for a car who was going  to turn in where we were coming out,  but she couldn’t see around us to see if she had room. In other conditions, Dad would have just backed up a little to let her in, but there was someone behind us too.
I was in the passenger seat with my arm hanging out the window and I just mouthed, “Can’t you see we can’t move? Come on, lady.” She was almost facing me and I could see her face as she hollered out at me, “What did you say?”
I said, “I only said we can’t back up.” Well, she couldn’t hear me, so she said, “Say that again,” and I could tell she was getting mad. Now I was an adult, maybe 30, and I decided maybe I’d better act apologetic before she jumped out of that car, pulled me out, and stomped on me.
While I was smiling and shrugging at the lady, Dad waved at the guy behind us to come on around us, and he did, so then Dad backed up, so the lady could turn in. It turned out okay but I should have just kept my mouth shut.
Have you ever had to eat your words? I did that day, and I’m sorry to say, that’s not the last time I’ve had to back up and retract something I have said.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.Psalm 19:14 NKJV.
I’ll keep my words sweet in case I have to eat them.
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Storms of Life

Another thunderstorm blew through town this evening, and it thundered occasionally for several hours. Most of us didn’t get very much rain this time, but we had received rain a few days ago.

Until the time of Noah, mankind had never experienced rain. In Genesis 2:5-6, “For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, ….but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.”

God spoke to Noah telling him that because of the wickedness of the people on the earth, He was going to destroy them all. God told Noah to build an ark and gave him all the details in how to build it. In Genesis 7:4, God said, “I will cause it to rain forty days and forty nights,” then God put Noah and his family into the ark which would ride upon the water. From the day that Noah and his family entered the boat, their lives were never the same. The world that existed when they entered the boat was different from the world to which they returned, and their lives were spared.

When Noah and his family left the Ark, Noah built an altar to God and God spoke to him again, telling him that he had placed a rainbow in the sky which represented God’s promise that He would never again destroy the whole world (and all the people) with a flood.

I was not singled out to experience the storm. Everyone in northeast Oklahoma experienced the same storm, although it wasn’t exactly the same in every location. Some places received rain but others only had thunder.

He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45 NKJV.

Are you facing struggles in your life, storms that threaten to destroy your world? It might destroy things around you, but it won’t destroy you, if you will just allow the Lord to put you into His ark of safety.

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Strange Fish

When we were first married, my husband had a streak of good luck fishing for unusual fish. He kept bringing home strange looking fish.

A true pre-historic fish, the spoonbill is a boneless fish, with a spinal cord that looks like a rope and a tail that looks like a propeller and a big flat spout that looks like the beaver’s tail. Also called a paddlefish, they can grow up to 7 feet long and up to 200 pounds and in Oklahoma at least they are caught by snagging or using a giant hook to catch them on their body.

 The biggest spoonbill my husband ever snagged was 60 pounds. He hung it by the “paddle” from a tree, cut around the tail, and pulled the spinal cord out. We chopped it into big chunks, dipped it into cornmeal, and deep fried it. It was very good. We froze a large amount to eat later, but when I thawed and cooked it, I didn’t like it.

Once hubby came home with buffalo, buffalo fish that is. Most people throw them back since they are full of bones. I didn’t really want to bother with it, but Mom said that they used to eat buffalo, after it was pressure-cooked, so we canned it. In January when I opened the fish to eat it, the fish reminded me of jack mackerel, and we made “tuna” sandwiches and “tuna” patties.

Paul had some rough times too and he mentioned frequently that he worked for his living instead of depending on the people in the churches.

“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Philippians 4:12 NLT.

There are many things that we ate back in those early days of our marriage when we were struggling to get by because we weren’t too good to eat fish that wasn’t commonly served.

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Ironing the Wrinkles Out

During World War II, Mother worked at the Army base laundry where Dad was stationed and because she could iron so well, she was assigned to iron the officers’ uniforms. After I was born, Dad bought Mom a wringer washer, a sewing machine, and iron, so that she could take in washings for a living, while he worked as a mechanic. She washed and ironed clothes for the businessmen of Vinita.

For many years, an ironing board and iron was always set up in the front room of our house. The ironing board represented hard work for 10 cents a shirt. I could make more money than that waiting tables. No more ironing for me.

I was so happy when they started putting polyester in shirts and pants. The only time I ironed was to press the seams when I sewed. I trained my two kids to toss wrinkled clothes into the dryer and “fluff” them. Now I occasionally iron a dress for church or a funeral, but it is rare.

“That He
[Jesus Christ] might sanctify and cleanse her [the church] with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 4:26-27 NKJV.

Jesus washes us with the Word of God, in the agitator of life. He is turning up the heat on the dryer to get the wrinkles out of our life. Sometimes He can just toss us into the dryer to “fluff” us, but if the wrinkle is too deep then He gets that heavy iron from the top of the woodstove.

When you are agitating in the washing machine of God, sing “Hallelujah.”

When you are tumbling in the dryer, being fluffed, shout “Praise God.”

When the heat is on, rejoice.

When the intense pressure of that hot iron is removing the wrinkles from your heart, bow down in gratitude for His mercy.

And thank God, that He loves us too much to leave us in our sorry state, but will do whatever it takes to prepare us for that Special Occasion in heaven, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of God.
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Teach Your Children

When we kids were little, sometimes Mom took in kids to babysit. One time in particular that I remember, Mom took in a pretty little dark-haired girl about 3 or 4 who stayed overnight with us for a couple of nights. She really missed her parents and cried quite a bit. The first night she wouldn’t go to sleep. I think Mom was trying to get her to go to sleep in the baby bed, but she just kept crying and saying something over and over that none of us could understand.
Mom kept asking her what she was trying to say and finally figured out that she was saying she wanted to sleep on the “davenport.” Suddenly Mom understood and the little girl went sweetly off to sleep on our “divan.” The whole problem had been simply a matter of understanding the words she was saying.
 Mama loved little children. She was always glad to have children hanging around the house with us, and when she later went to work at the school cafeteria, she loved every little kid that went through her cafeteria line.
Mama taught Sunday School as well as teaching us Bible stories and songs at home. We learned the song “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
 We held in our hands little Sunday School cards with a picture of Jesus on the front and the story and verse on the back. We gazed on the picture of Jesus holding the little lost sheep, and fell in love with Jesus while we were children. We were taught in a level of language that we could understand.
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut. 11:19 NIV.
It is easy to believe in Jesus as your Savior when you are raised from babyhood hearing about Him.
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