Turn Here

Have you ever been driving along through town and had a thought, “I should turn here”? Perhaps you did turn and found out later that there had been a wreck on the main road and you would have been tied up for hours.

That happened a while back on I-44 between Vinita and Tulsa, around Claremore. There was a semi-truck wreck in the section of construction where it narrowed to 2 lanes and some of the people were trapped on the turnpike for several hours. Some cars ran out of gas as they waited. A few people were near exits and able to get out, but most were just trapped, bumper-to-bumper, till the truck could be moved to one lane.

God is trying to lead us to safety all the time. I am not saying that the ones who were trapped on the turnpike were not led by the Spirit and the ones who took the other road were led by the Holy Spirit.

What I am saying is that His Holy Spirit is speaking to us, softly, sweetly, by impressions and thoughts. He wants to show us the correct path. Most of the time, the Holy Spirit is leading us in spiritual things, but sometimes He wants us to stay on a certain earthly path for a reason.

Most churches have some prayer for safety. We call it “traveling mercies.” If not for the mercy of God, we would all be consumed. The Holy Spirit is always speaking to me. I will listen next time He says, Turn here.

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13.

Father God, deliver us from evil. A good prayer to pray anytime you start the car.

Snow Memories

I looked out the window at a foot of snow in my yard. Snow that hadn’t been stepped in. Pure snow in sweet drifts. The snow covers the dead grass, fallen leaves, wilted potted plants, upended sandbox, ruts and bare spots on the lawn. The fresh blanket of snow makes everything look perfect.

The blizzard of the century! That is what they were calling that snowstorm in Oklahoma. Before the weekend was over the whole United States had some kind of change in the weather, because of El Nino or something or other.

I remember working at the Glass House Restaurant during the winter of 1968 when we had a similar snowstorm. The Glass House is built over the Will Rogers Turnpike outside of Vinita and because of the storm, the turnpike was shut down and many people were stranded at the Glass House. There were people wall to wall. We sold out of food. The hot water heater went out and the dishwashers were running cold water. We employees worked many long hours and when I finally left, I drove an hour to make it two miles back into town. I was dog-tired but I felt fulfilled, because what I was doing benefitted a lot of people.

Over the years, I had to drive in all kinds of weather because of my job. One of the greatest benefits of my retirement is that now I can hide in the house in bad weather and not have to get out and drive.

In the Bible, snow is symbolic of forgiveness. Psalms 51:7, 10 says “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Isaiah 1:18 says Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Theologists call this the great exchange.

Jesus came to take away my old black evil heart and give me a clean, pure, white-as-snow heart.

Precious Memories

If you want to get people started laughing or crying, just start talking about Christmas memories. Everyone has a story.

I remember bringing the Christmas tree home from school the last day of school. We were poor so the school gave us the tree.

I remember walking through Otasco looking at the toys lining the aisles.

I remember looking through the Sears Christmas catalog at all the new toys.

I remember the year my sister and I got transistor radios and brother got a battery-powered police car with lights that flashed and a siren.

I remember buying hair combs for Aunt Leona, handkerchiefs for Daddy and our uncles, pretty handkerchief for Grandmother.

I remember the year we bought Mother a silver-coated serving plate at the jewelry store and learned years later that she had to pay the rest of the cost of the plate since we didn’t have enough money.

I remember learning all the words to the Christmas carols at school in October and November so that we could sing them for the Christmas play.

I remember dressing in old sheets to play the shepherds and being jealous of the cute little girl who got to play Mary.

I remember singing “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night” and feeling my chest fill up with love for Jesus.

I remember the first Christmas after my son was born wishing I had a home church to go to for Christmas.

I remember the first Christmas after my daughter was born, when she was 6 weeks old, attending the Christmas program in which my 6-year-old son was a king, dressed in the dark blue velvet costume I had made him.

I remember all the years that we spent our shopping days practicing the Christmas cantata and program instead of going to Tulsa to shop in the mall.

Most of all, I think of the loved ones who are spending Christmas in heaven this year and I wonder what it must be like to see Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior face to face.


Getting My Joy Back

I was not glad when I got out of bed this morning. Some things have occurred recently that tried to take away my joy.  Now I know I’m not the only one who has troubles. Life is full of troubles and it doesn’t seem to care much who you are or what your position in life.

Just so you’ll understand, I wasn’t unhappy, I just wasn’t glad.  Sure, things weren’t good, but they sure could have been worse.

Saturday on a trip home from Tulsa, one of the girls mentioned the old praise song, He Has Made Me Glad. I lead worship on Sunday morning from the piano, so I started the music with that old praise song from 1976. (I looked it up.)

“I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart. ….He has made me glad, Oh, He has made me glad, I will rejoice for He has made me glad.” (Taken from Psalm 100:4)

We sang a couple of times through and then from some place deep within me a little something began to stir as I sang. The feeling rumbled around inside me, until I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I stood up, left the piano bench, and raised my hands to the Lord.  We just kept singing a cappella, until we sang through two or three more times, then I went back to the piano to go on to the next song.

Now maybe you don’t do things like that in your church, but it’s acceptable in ours and it has been a while since I stood with my hands raised toward heaven.

At that moment, in one instant, God gave me back the joy that troubles have tried to steal away. My troubles haven’t gone away, they’re all still there, but my heart has changed.  I might not be happy but I’ll have the joy that only the Lord gives.

God does many things “Suddenly.” I’m patiently waiting for my “Suddenly” to come to pass. Circumstances change. People grow up and change. In a moment’s time, things change and will never be the same again.

With God all things are possible. It’s time to rejoice.


Coming Back


Garth Brooks is coming back to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a concert. The ticket sales broke his previous record with 105,000 tickets sold in two hours, so he scheduled four more shows, bringing the total to seven shows. Garth Brooks’ last concert in Tulsa was 17 years ago.

Everyone knows who Garth Brooks is, but just in case you don’t, he is the best-selling album artist in the US since 1991, even selling more than the Beatles, but falling behind Elvis Presley for overall album sales. Garth was born and raised in Tulsa, and went to college at OSU, Stillwater. He and his second wife Trisha Yearwood have lived in Owasso, Ok., near Tulsa for several years. Garth’s roots are in Oklahoma and he is deeply loved as an Okie and as a great musical star.

In announcing the concerts in Tulsa for 2014, Brooks says, “Tulsa, I told you I’d be back.” His many fans, called believers, have patiently waited for Garth and his band to return to Oklahoma.

That reminds me of the story of Jesus talking to His disciples at the Passover meal the night before He was crucified. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself.” John 14:2-3. Yes, Jesus said, “I’m coming back.”

As Jesus was being lifted up in the clouds into heaven, two angels appeared to the disciples and the great crowd of people who were there when Jesus left. The angels said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11.

I love that, the Bible says, “This same Jesus.” Not another Jesus. Not somebody claiming to be Jesus the messiah. Not some self-proclaimed messiah, but the same Jesus that walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee, who healed the sick and raised the dead.

He said He’ll be back. I’m just waiting for that moment when the angels announce His appearance.