The River

Years ago, I went to San Antonio to a telephone company school for 2 weeks. That weekend while I was there, several of the students who were from the area invited us who were from out of state to go downtown to The River.

We parked on the street, which was almost totally deserted and walked down the stairs to where shops and cafés lined the river on both sides. The river was packed with people, walking on the banks, shopping, and riding in flat-bottom boats on the river.

When I saw the famous “River,” I was astonished. “You call this a river? It’s no bigger than Bull Creek in Vinita, Oklahoma,” I told them. “I’ll bet I could wade across that river and it would never reach my waist. We have the Grand River in northeast Oklahoma, and what about the Mississippi River? Now those are rivers.” But of course, those San Antonians were proud of their river, as they should be, so no offense.

I remember lying on a quilt in the back of the station wagon in the dark, listening to Daddy and Granddad talk in hushed voices while they fished off the bank of some river all night. It was probably Grand River, below the dam at Langley.

There’s another river that I love to think about, but I’ve never been there. It’s been described several places by different people, but my favorite description is in Revelation.

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb….. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light.” Revelation 22:1, 5 NKJV.

I can just imagine Daddy and Granddad sitting on the banks of the River of Life in heaven, pure and clear, fishing and enjoying their new life, but they won’t be fishing in the dark. No, the Lord Himself is the Light.
Lavon Hightower Lewis

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Building an Altar

The dearest place on earth to my heart for many years was the old wooden altar where I asked Jesus to be my Savior when I was 7 years old. And I frequently knelt there in that same tear-stained spot at my end of the altar to meet my Lord in prayer.

Years later, at a different altar, I rededicated my life to Jesus and then put my 3-year-old son on the altar to dedicate him to the Lord. That same altar was where I was married the second time and where I dedicated my daughter when she was two weeks old. I found my place there at the end of that altar too, where I shed many tears in prayer over the years.

Abraham built an altar at Bethel, which means “House of God,” in Genesis 12. Then he built an altar in Hebron, which means “Friend of God.”

Abraham’s last altar was on Mount Moriah, where Abraham made the ultimate sacrifice, his only son Isaac, but God stopped the sacrifice and provided a ram caught in the thicket to take Isaac’s place. This was symbolic of God providing His own sacrifice, His only Son Jesus. Abraham named that altar Jehovahjireh, “God, my provider.”

From Bethel the “House of God,” to Hebron “Friend of God,” to Jehovah Jireh “God my Provider,” the names he gave the altars suggest he was getting closer to God as he traveled on his journey.

Can you point back to the altar where you gave your heart to Jesus? In your journey through life, have you moved from worshiping at the House of God, to being a friend of God, to knowing that God is your Provider?

Hebrews 10:19, 22 NKJV, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, ….let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”

God always hears our prayers, no matter the position of our bodies, as long as our hearts are knelt in prayer before Him.

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Called by Name

We have an indoor cat named Sassy, but she doesn’t know her name. In fact, most of the time we just call her “kitty,” as in “here, kitty, kitty, kitty,” so I guess her name is really Kitty.
We used to feed 5 or 6 cats outside. That practice got started innocently enough. A couple of cute little kittens wandered up, so hubby felt sorry for them and started feeding them. After a while, he wanted to quit feeding them, but it was winter, so I asked him to keep putting out food till spring. Then it was almost winter again and the cats had more kittens.
The outside cats didn’t have names and they scattered when the back door was opened. If you tried to call them, they ran out of the yard. Since hubby fed them, you would think he could get close to them, but they were too wild. They should have been named, held, touched, petted, and talked to when they were babies, like we did with our indoor cat.
Jesus said in John 10:3-4,14 “The sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name. . . And the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”
 
Just like my indoor cat has become familiar with my voice by being around me, I have become familiar with Jesus’ voice, by hearing Him speak through His Word, the Bible. A non-Christian might think this is strange, that I can say, “I hear Jesus speak and I know His voice,” but I have been listening for His voice since I was a baby Christian, just like my indoor cat listens for my voice.
Spending time reading the Bible and talking to the Lord gives me a relationship with Him. When He speaks through His Word, I hear Him. When I speak to Him, His ear is open to my prayer and He pays attention.
Jesus is my Good Shepherd and He calls me by my name.
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The Harvest is Ready

Fall is truly upon us. The hay is in, the pumpkins are almost ready for harvest, and we are getting ready for winter.
This time of year, the farmer walks the fields, checking the harvest. The machines are repaired, oiled and gassed up, and ready to go. All the harvesting supplies are made ready.  Everything that has been done all through the year has lead up to this point. From the plowing, planting, fertilizing, right through the irrigating or praying for rain, the farmer has been preparing for this moment when the crops are gathered in.
God has given us the good fruit of the earth another year, just like He promised in Gen. 8:22. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night shall not cease.”
 
God has been preparing us all our lives for the harvest. One plows, another plants, one fertilizes, another waters, but God gives the increase.
The church has been planting and watering a long time. Most churches are full of people who have been prepared for harvest time through the teaching of the Word of God. Many faithful workers in the church are now being prepared to be harvesters in the fields.
Spiritually, too, the harvest time is nearly upon us. God has oiled and gassed us up, repaired what need fixed, and now we are getting ready to go. God is walking the fields, checking the heads of wheat, looking at the clouds, gauging the season. He knows it is just about time. Any time now, the harvesters will be heading into the fields to gather in the precious grain of the Lord—the people.
Jesus Himself spoke of this moment when the last great harvest would take place at just the right time. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.John 4:35.
The call of God is going out. “Prepare for the harvest.”
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The Shaking

 

Several years ago cracks developed in our walls and at the doorways and windows, and in the exterior brick. To preserve the value of our home, we called a company that repairs foundations and after a hefty amount of money was exchanged, our home was fitted with 14 piers, buried in the earth at certain places around the perimeter of the house.
 
These piers were screwed into the ground until they hit bedrock, about 14 feet down and they now hold our house level, which is guaranteed as long as the house stands.
 
The workers dug up my plants and shrubs all around the house, dug holes as deep as a man is tall, to place the piers. They were to replace the shrubs just as they found them, but one hibiscus disappeared, one or two shrubs were planted too close to the foundation, and a couple were almost sticking out of the dirt. I was so glad to have that job finished, I let it go.
 
Our world is going through a shaking. The sandy foundations that we have built upon have allowed cracks to develop in our walls. It isn’t just the natural world, which is experiencing earthquakes; or the financial world where the solid companies of our past have fallen; or the political world where changes are happening. There are also major changes in the religious world.
 
It would be really easy to be shaken in our faith. Maybe you have been planted in a different spot and it is uncomfortable. Maybe your roots are sticking out. Maybe some of you have been lost in the re-planting. Wherever you are, you must not dry up and die. You must dig your roots back into the soil, even if it isn’t the place where you previously were planted. If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, you belong to the kingdom of God that cannot be shaken.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may  serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28 NKJV
 
You must drill down to the bedrock, to the Rock of Ages, the solid Rock of Jesus Christ.
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Pictures of Jesus

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PICTURES OF JESUS

My favorite picture of Jesus is the one on my little Primary Sunday School card I found recently, with brown hair and beard, and such a kind face, holding the little lamb He had rescued over his shoulders. If you showed that picture to people, many would say, “That’s Jesus.”

Then there are the black-and-white drawings of the laughing Jesus passed around the internet recently—Jesus with a baby, and Jesus with young children gathered around.  Just the thought of Jesus laughing, a big deep belly laugh, makes Him seems so real to me, so human. He was human—all man and all God.

About 20 years ago, the large church I was a part of put on an Easter program, complete with a cross that was lifted up on the stage with a man playing the part of Jesus tied on the cross. He hung there suspended as Jesus had been, but the marks and the blood were all fake. Very realistic, but fake. I told him, I don’t know how a man who is Polynesian from Hawaii and part native American can look so much like Jesus who was Jewish.

The most important part of every picture of Jesus is His eyes. Every artist has worked hard to capture the essence of Jesus Christ in His eyes, no matter what the rest of the picture looks like.

However the truth is we have no idea what Jesus really looks like except for the description in Revelation 1:13-15, “and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass.”

I just know that when I reach heaven, I will know without a doubt just Who Jesus is, when I see Him face to face.  He’ll be the One looking at me with eyes of love and a smile on His face, saying, “Well done, Lavon, and welcome home.”

Lavon Hightower Lewis

 

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Do Unto Others

One important thing our mama taught us was to say we were sorry. I can remember saying, “But Mama, I was right. They were wrong. I shouldn’t have to apologize.”
But she’d say, “Yes you have to. Even if you were right, you should tell them you are sorry that you had a fuss. Or you are sorry that you got angry. Or you are sorry you said those words.”
She had a whole repertoire of famous sayings for each situation, one of which was “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
 
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise..” Luke 6:31 NKJV.
Oh, yes, we had to live by that one. I can just hear her saying, “Do you want Frances and Velta to act that way to you? No? Then don’t act that way to them.”
We had to share and share alike. If we were drinking a bottle of pop when company came, we either had to share it or put it away. We didn’t drink pop or eat candy in front of anyone without offering to share with them.
When Velta the next door neighbor girl came over, if we were drinking pop, we had to share. She lived with her grandmother who didn’t buy pop, so she only got pop when she came to our house. I remember many times Velta taking a drink of my pop out of the bottle I sat on the edge of the piano while I played music.
If company came, such as the family which eventually had 7 boys, we either let them play with our toys and risk breaking them, or run and hide them before they came in the house. It wasn’t their fault, they were rough little boys, and we couldn’t refuse to let them play with our toys.
Everyone loved our mother and loved to come visit at our home. She was often known by little kids as Mama Hightower. She was very loving but she also taught us to live the way God and she wanted us to live.
Now I’m glad that Mama and God never let me get away with anything
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Aliens Among Us


I watched the old Star Trek from the beginning with William Shatner as the captain. Then came Captain Piccard. Then there was the lady captain, I forgot her name. I even have the Star Trek movies boxed set. One year, I was late for choir practice every week because I had to see the ending of the TV show.

Star Trek’s fascination for me was what kind of alien they were going to come up with next. I just loved those little furry balls that were almost like a dog, but the cute ones were always the ones that were the most dangerous. And then there was the robot, Data, who was always trying to find a way to “feel” like humans feel.

The movie industry has taken the subject of aliens to great lengths. The alien show usually has this basic premise: other beings come to earth, invading the bodies of human beings.

Jesus came to earth in the body of a baby and grew up. He died on the cross, was buried, rose again and ascended to heaven. Then He sent the Holy Spirit to earth to create a new race of beings. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” That word, creature, has been defined as a new race of being.

In Hebrews 11:13-14, spoke of Abraham, Sarah, and others, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises. . .confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He has prepared for them a City.”

In shows and movies, outer space aliens invade, but the Holy Spirit issues an invitation to the person to accept Jesus and be born again, to become a member of a new race of being. We become strangers and pilgrims, walking the earth, searching for our hometown, the great City, the New Jerusalem.

We Christians are the aliens, a new creation, a new race of holy beings,born of God.
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Work Calendars

I could go back in my work calendars and tell you exactly what shift I was working on which day and year, all through my career with the phone company. I can tell you who my babysitter was and probably how much I paid her. I can tell you when I took my vacations and what days the kids were out of school.

I can also tell you from the calendars how many Sundays we attended church, and which weeks my children attended Church camp, practiced for the Christmas program, or when I sang a special at church. Isn’t it silly to hold onto all those old calendars? But those calendars are like a diary of my life, in my own handwriting.

The Lord has a record of our lives too, written in God’s own handwriting.

“Lavon’s name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in 1957 at the Fourth Street Mission in Vinita, OK. and was baptized in Mustang Creek. She has two children and 2 grandsons. She retired from the phone company after 32 years.”

He has written down all those important details that sometimes get overlooked by others. He sees the motives and intents of your heart, not just what you did, but why you did it. There is so much more written in God’s memory book of your life in between all the milestones.

“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.” Malachi 3:16 NKJV.

God has a book with your name on it and He is keeping a record of the times of your life.

Lavon Hightower Lewis

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The Great Reunion

We threw together the First Annual Brock family reunion last weekend held at the cemetery where my great grandparents were buried. Our plan was to meet our cousins in the cemetery to visit and decorate the graves, then go to the second cemetery, and from there head home.

When we pulled into the first cemetery, I was surprised to see two of my dad’s first cousins standing there waiting for us. I jumped out of the car and ran up to them and hugged both ladies with tears of joy in my eyes. I really had no hope of them showing up, since we hadn’t heard from them, but there they were, and I recognized them right away. Another cousin with some young children came, as well as some of the family that went with us. It was a joyous occasion.

We visited and I gave my little speech about the family tree and how we were all related. Then we decorated the graves, while the children played around on the open area of the cemetery.

However there were so many other family members that we had contacted who weren’t able to attend and we were sure sad that we didn’t get to see them. We hope to see them next time.

It’s funny that the reunion took place in a cemetery, where our relatives are buried. However there is coming a great reunion one of these days, and those who are dead in Christ will meet with those who are alive in Christ, but it will take place in the air, not in a cemetery. And this time there will be no one missing from the family of God.

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” First Thessalonians 4:16-18 NKJV.

One day the family of God will be reunited with the Lord and each other. Won’t it be glorious?

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