November 25, 2012

A Giveaway...

Just a quick heads up that I'm smack-dab in the middle of a nice giveaway over at Welcome to Willow House. Please dash over and join the fun -- $130 in free Willow House products would make a great Christmas gift, no?

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Me & George Washington

While the pilgrims began our Thanksgiving tradition, our first president is responsible declaring it a national day of thanking God for His provision in the formation of our country.

Here is President George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation:

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. 
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. 
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. 
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. 
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.         (Text and Manuscript Photo Source)

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!

November 6, 2012 long as life endures

This morning, I was privileged to witness a remarkable testimony from a dying saint.

We had heard others tell of this man's faithfulness in serving God over the years. Church members told of his service as a deacon; his wife of fifty years shared how he had fed and clothed the needy. Doctors might say he suffered from MS for many years but, in reality, he thrived in spite of the disease.

Now, at 82 years of age, he is helplessly waiting to die.

Jeff and I first met Cash as he lay in the Veterans Hospital, already under hospice care. Days later, he was moved the a nursing home for the final days of his journey home. We'd stopped by to visit there several times, especially checking on his wife, Delores.

When we stopped by today, Delores was not yet there. Cash seemed restful, so we thought we'd just leave a note and go. But Cash began calling out in his weak voice, becoming a bit agitated. We didn't understand what he said, what he needed. So Jeff simply began reading Psalm 23 aloud. 

At this point, the years of faithfully feeding his soul produced the most lovely fruit in this man. For even as Jeff  read each verse, this dying saint would join him in finishing it, his voice faint, yet confident. This continued throughout the whole Psalm. Jeff gently held his hand to pray with him, but Cash removed his hand and placed it over the top of Jeff's, grasping it with what probably seemed a tight hold to him.

We sat with Cash a few more minutes, as he seemed to wish us to stay. When we sang Amazing Grace, he joined in as best he could, as well. When we finished, he began to say, or sing, something which sounded very much like "Alleluia". We sang that little chorus with him, as well, and he settled into peacefulness.

As this man faces his final hours of life his flesh seems reluctant, yet his soul is so ready to face his Creator and Redeemer. On this side of things, we don't understand why this inward struggle. But we know that our very days are numbered by the Lord. And we read, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (Psalm 116:15 ESV).

On the way to visit Cash today, Jeff had me look up the lyrics to Amazing Grace on his phone (oh, the wonders of modern technology). The site listed a verse I had not seen before, yet it was so appropriate for our visit today. Here it is, paired with the more familiar verse which preceeds it:

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.


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