Accidents Happen… Or Do They?


Texas has seen quite a bit of rainy weather over the past few days, so when my car had trouble gaining traction a few times yesterday I dismissed it as related to the recent rain and wet ro2Corinthians12-9-my-grace-is-sufficient-for-youads.  This morning as I drove around Dallas completing errands I learned differently.  The man in front of me started to turn into a parking lot, so I applied my breaks.  I discovered very quickly that I was not getting enough traction and that the three car lengths I started with had come down to one.  At this point, I attempted a hard stop only to discover to my horror that my breaks still could not achieve enough traction and that I had only three options:

  1. veer to the right and hit a pole,
  2. continue straight and hit the car in front of me, or
  3. veer to the left and hit the car(s) to my side.

So I did the only thing I knew to do: I cried out to God.  Right when I thought I had no good options left, traffic opened up on my left and, by God’s grace, I veered  through the window He created and up onto the median.

As the saying goes, “Accidents happen…” (unknown, n.d.)… or do they?  Whenever we cannot explain something bad happening or when we make an error, we tell each, “accidents happen” (unknown, n.d.).  How can we say, “accidents happen,” and still believe in a sovereign God?  By its very definition, “sovereign” implies complete control of events (“Sovereign,” Merriam-Webster, 2013).  Jeremiah wrote,

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  The you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile” (Jeremiah 29:11-14, ESV).

The Proverbs state that

“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.  Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.  The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble…  the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (16:1-4, 9; ESV).

Furthermore, the word “accident” is defined as “an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance” (“Accident,” Merriam-Webster, 2013).  I believe, therefore, that thedownload very fact that we have a sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God means that accidents do not happen.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace” (Ecclesiates 3:1-8, ESV).

References

“Sovereign.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, 2013. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sovereign).

“Accident.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, 2013. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accident).

Greater Love


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Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you.  These things I command you, so that you will love one another” (John 15:12-17, ESV).

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“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that He answered them well, asked Him, ‘Which commandment is the most important of all?’  Jesus answered, ‘The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.’  And the scribe said to Him, ‘You are right, Teacher.  You have truly said that He is one, and there is no other besides Him.  And to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.’  And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’  And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions” (Mark 12:28-34, ESV).

I have been blessed to come from a long line of U.S. military veterans.  Whether these men and women believed it or not, God’s all-sufficient grace enabled them to act out the second greatest commandment–some to the point of ultimate sacrifice: death.  As we celebrate Memorial Day in the U.S. today, I wanted to honor these men and women and pause to thank God for giving them His grace in order to make such sacrifices on our behalf.

Francis Madison Gerstner Bailey

  • Conflict: WWII
  • Branch: ?
  • Date of Service: ?

Curt Begert

Bernard Ambrose Clarey

  • Conflict: WWII
  • Branch: Navy
  • Date of Service: 1934 ~ ?

Jack Clarey

  • Conflict: Vietnam War
  • Branch: Navy
  • Date of Service: 1965 ~ 1970

Mike Clarey

  • Conflict: Vietnam War
  • Branch: Navy
  • Date of Service: 1968 ~ 1971

Steve Clarey

William Andrew Clarey

  • Conflict: WWII
  • Branch: Navy
  • Date of Service: 1943 ~ 1946

James A. Clavenna

  • Conflict: Operation Desert Storm
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Date of Service: ?

Jennifer Clavenna

  • Conflict: ?
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Date of Service: 1997 ~ ?

William Henry Cross, Jr

  • Conflict: ?
  • Branch: Navy
  • Date of Service: 1973 ~ 1978

David Darst

  • Conflict: WWII
  • Branch: ?
  • Date of Service: ?

Kristin M. Davis

  • Conflict: ?
  • Branch: Army Reserve
  • Date of Service: ?

William John Davis

David Richard Doherty

  • Conflict: Vietnam War
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1973 ~ 1975

James Dopita

  • Conflict: Vietnam War
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Date of Service: 1976 ~ 1980

Robert Paul Hardin

  • Conflict: WWII
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1942 ~ 1950

Paul Martin Jacobson

  • Conflict: Persian Gulf War
  • Branch: Marine Corps
  • Date of Service: 1988 ~ 1992

Robert Earl Lee

  • Conflict: ?
  • Branch: Navy
  • Date of Service: 2002 ~ ?

Kathryn Melby

  • Conflict: ?
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Date of Service: 2005 ~ 2013

Lawrence Earl Melby II

Alford Miller

  • Conflict: WWII
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: ?

Faith Marie Mueller

Daniel Joseph O’Hearn

Francis Marcus O’Hearn

  • Conflict: WWI
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Date of Service: 1917 ~ 1918

James David O’Hearn

  • Conflict: Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Branch: Marine Corp
  • Date of Service: 1999 ~ 2004

John Brian O’Hearn

  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Date of Service: 1956 ~ 1959

John Lynch O’Hearn

  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1959 ~ 1961

Lawrence S. O’Hearn

  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Branch: Navy
  • Date of Service: 1954 ~ 1955

Louis Dan O’Hearn

  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1954 ~ 1955

Michael Dan O’Hearn

  • Conflict: ?
  • Branch: Navy
  • Date of Service: 1981 ~ 1988

Paul O’Hearn

  • Conflict: WWII, Korean War
  • Branch: Naval Reserve
  • Date of Service: ?

Paul Thomas O’Hearn

  • Conflict: WWII
  • Branch: Navy
  • Date of Service: ? ~ 1945

Philip Maurice O’Hearn

  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Branch: ?
  • Date of Service: ?

Victoria VanDyke O’Hearn

  • Conflict: WWI
  • Branch: American Red Cross Nurse
  • Date of Service: 1917 ~ 1918

William O’Hearn

  • Conflict: WWI
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Date of Service: 1917 ~ 1918

James Ambrose O’Hearn, Jr

James Ambrose O’Hearn, Sr

  • Conflict: WWI
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1917 ~ 1919

John Bernard Powers

  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1953 ~ 1955

Billy Jewell Teater

  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: ?

Marion Teater

  • Conflict: WWII
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: ?

Billy Gene Toon

  • Conflict: Korean War, Vietnam War
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1946 ~ 1971

Donald L. Toon

  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1954 ~ 1956

Gary Dan Toon

  • Conflict: Vietnam War
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1964 ~ 1972

Howard Dale Toon

  • Conflict: WWII
  • Branch: Army
  • Date of Service: 1942 ~ 1945

Don Maurice Yancey

“They Are Precious in His Sight…”


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January 22, 2013.  Today marks 40 years since Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion.  I grieve for the murder of millions of babies since that moment in history.  I also grieve for the potential parents who will always carry the scars left by the act of abortion.  No matter what the parents or doctors or others may say abortion not only steals the lives of those who cannot defend themselves it also leaves terrible scars on the souls of the parents of those children who have lost their lives to the silent holocaust that is abortion.Edmund Burke Quote

Scripture is very clear regarding the issue of abortion:

“When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine.  But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exodus 21:22-25, ESV).

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones.  I myself will set my face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name.  And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death, then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after Molech” (Leviticus 20:1-5, ESV).

“And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.  ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image'” (Genesis 9:5-6, ESV).

“‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen'” (Deuteronomy 27:25, ESV).

“At that time Menahem sacked Tiphsah and all who were in it and its territory from Tirzah on, because they did not open it to him. Therefore he sacked it, and he ripped open all the women in it who were pregnant.  In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi began to reign over Israel, and he reigned ten years in Samaria.  And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart all his days from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin” (2 Kings 15:15-18, ESV).

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV).

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19, ESV).

Scripture is also very clear that God will hold every person responsible for their actions; this includes inaction.

“If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul” (Ezekiel 3:18-19, ESV).

Why did Roe v. Wade happen?  When did Americans start believing that it is okay to violate the rights of one person in order to uphold the rights of another?  The Founding Fathers stated in the Declaration of Independence that they “[held] these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Edmund Burke (1729-1797), an Irish member of the British Parliament and a strong supporter of the American Revolution, has been credited as having said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  And 40 years ago, on January 22, 1973, evil triumphed because too many people remained silent.  We, as Christians, must take a stand for those who cannot speak for themselves.  Satan tells us that the weak, the infirm, the disabled, those who are “different,” have no purpose.  He whispers in our ears that only the strong can survive, only the strong can overcome, only the strong have value.  Satan seeks to destroy the weakest amongst us because he knows that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and that God often chooses to reveal Himself and His omnipotence by using those whom society has deemed of no worth and incapable of accomplishing anything of value.  And why would God choose to do things this way?  Because His presence is made all the more glaringly clear in circumstances the world sees as impossible to overcome.  His grace is sufficient.  His power is made perfect in weakness.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.  Amen.

For those with questions or needing guidance for an unplanned pregnancy: http://www.dallasprc.com/

Never Once


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Recently, as I listened to Matt Redman‘s Never Once, the Lord reminded me of several situations I have gone through over the last few years.  In particular, He reminded me of his faithfulness to “‘never leave [me] nor forsake [me].’  So [I] can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:5c-6, ESV).

I will never forget the first time I cared for a terminal patient as she began the dying process.  She was from Eastern Europe, only spoke her native language, understood very little English, and had no one at the bedside to translate for her.  By the time I came on shift, she had already lapsed into a coma.  I spent most of the evening in her room talking to her because I hold the strong conviction that no one should die alone and without someone holding their hand telling them how precious they are in God’s sight.  Whenever I care for an actively dying patient who has no one at the bedside, I always ensure that either myself, another nurse, or a tech/unit secretary is in the room talking to the patient and holding their hand.

At one point during the night, I started singing various hymns.  She never responded to anything I did or said… until I began singing Abide With Me by Francis Henry Lyte (1793-1847).  The woman who hadn’t responded to anything I had done or said–even painful stimuli–and was very clearly near death opened her eyes, looked me straight in the eye, and feebly began singing along with me in her own language before lapsing back into a coma.

Knee Pads


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Recently, my dad shared a link on Facebook to a YouTube video regarding the 2011 Children’s Miracle Achievement Awards.  This program sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals recognizes outstanding pediatric caregivers for their commitment to and impact upon children’s health.  One of the recipients, Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh, was Matthew’s primary cardiac surgeon until this past year.

Whenever someone receives this award, the program creates a video featuring the recipient and a family impacted by the person.  The family in the video talked about their daughter’s surgery.  They went in anticipating a five hour surgery; it ended up lasting 15 hours instead.  When Dr. Nikaidoh greeted the family afterwards, his first words were to say, “I’m so sorry it took so long.”  As the mom in the video said, “He had been in surgery for 15 hours.  What a man of character to look at a family and to be so humble to say, ‘I’m sorry it took so long.'”

The summer after I graduated high school I did an internship at Children’s Medical Center.  At one point in the internship, I had the opportunity to sit in on the Cardiac Grand Rounds as people from the various healthcare disciplines came together to round on children and work on coordinating their care.  I didn’t notice Dr. Nikaidoh’s presence until near the end.  In two years of nursing school and nearly two years of nursing, I have rarely known a surgeon to possess such an unassuming presence and humility of spirit.  Experience has given me different expectations and has taught that the surgeon is almost always the first one noticed.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.  Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD (Proverbs 16:18-20, ESV).

After Matthew’s birth, every doctor gave us dire predictions on his chances of survival.  Dr. Nikaidoh was no different.  However, in one conversation after he explained the situation to him my dad said to him, “Dr. Nikaidoh, my wife and I are Christians… we don’t know if Matthew will live seven days, seven years, or 70 years, but we understand that we may have to let him go…”  After the discussion ended, Dr. Nikaidoh got up and quietly walked to the door.  He stopped on his way out, turned back to my dad, and said, “I Christian too.”  Two weeks later, as my parents walked with Matthew’s medical team as they wheeled his bed down the hallway towards the OR for his first open-heart, Dr. Nikaidoh told my parents, “I go do best job, you go pray.”

Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing praise.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be heard.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:13-15, ESV).

Several years after this, my dad took the day off of work to take Matthew and I on a field trip to the Science Museum in Fair Park.  While we waited to tour the museum, my dad struck up a conversation with a woman in the crowd.  She had come with her 16-year-old granddaughter for the same reasons Dad brought us. While we waited she had noticed Matthew’s outward physical challenges.  After a few questions about Matthew, she told my dad about her granddaughter’s own medical challenges.  The girl had been born with a rare heart defect.  She told Dad about how the girl’s cardiac surgeon at that point in time attended a bible study with his wife, but did not believe in Jesus.  She spoke about how she and her family witnessed to him many times.  Up until this moment, the grandmother only knew about Matthew’s visible medical problems; she knew nothing about his multiple, rare heart conditions.  After dad asked the surgeon’s name, my dad had the privilege of sharing with this grandmother the news that not only did Matthew share the same cardiac surgeon, but that the seeds the woman and her family had planted more than 15 years before had taken root and, by the grace of God, bloomed into a faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior.

And I am sure of this, that He Who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6, ESV).

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him (Psalm 126:5-6, ESV).

Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.  Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.  For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor.  Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor (John 4:35b-38, ESV).

I firmly believe that if Dr. Nikaidoh had not come to believe in Jesus and listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Matthew would not have been allowed to have the surgeries he so desperately needed to survive.  The medical community viewed these surgeries as simply a cruel method to provide false hope to the parents of a child incapable of surviving.  I believe that Dr. Nikaidoh did what he did because the Holy Spirit led him to do so and take the necessary leap of faith.

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God!  Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:10, ESV)!

For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more.  He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry.  As soon as He hears it, He answers you.  And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left (Isaiah 30:19-21, ESV).

In the interview for Children’s Miracle Achievement Awards, Dr. Nikaidoh spoke about a mission trip to Cuba.  Dr. Nikaidoh served as a “seating specialist” where he helped to fix wheelchairs.  Before he left for Cuba, a friend suggested he take knee pads with him, since he would spend a lot of time kneeling on the ground during his time in Cuba.  He then spoke about a lesson he learned while kneeling down: “And then I learn when you get down on the knees, that is a servant position.  And in whatever you do, that you are on the same level as a person sitting on the wheelchair.  That position is extremely important.  And that we should start wearing knee pads in our heart.”

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3:12-17, ESV).

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  ThereforeGod has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:3-11, ESV).

The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor (Proverbs 15:32, ESV).

The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life (Proverbs 22:4, ESV).

As Dr. Nikaidoh said, we should all take to wearing knee pads in our hearts.  I have learned in my practice as a Registered Nurse the effect pride and humility in the caregiver have upon the ultimate outcome of a patient.  Pride can blind the caregiver from recognizing subtle changes until too late to prevent permanent injury or even death.  Likewise, humility opens the eyes and ears to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and so early warning signs can be caught and acted upon.  I pray every time I walk into work that God will give me knee pads in my heart, so that I might glorify Him as well as provide the best care for my patients.  May we all learn to wear knee pads in our hearts every day and everywhere we go and in everything we do to the glory of Christ Jesus.

Dancing With Jesus


 

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Today marks my Papa’s fourteenth birthday in heaven.  On December 5, 1997, Papa stopped by our house on his way to visit a client.  He always made a point of stopping by our house for a quick visit anytime his job brought him into the vicinity of our house.  Those visits were one of the highlights of my early years.

Later that day, my family went out for the evening and upon returning home found several voice messages left my Nana and my aunts.  We learned that a bus rear-ended Papa and he was in the ER.  During the accident, Papa hit his chest on the steering wheel.  The force of the impact unbeknownst to himself or the ER physician caused serious damage to his heart.  Unfortunately he did not experience the typical symptoms of such an injury and when the ER staff could not find anything wrong, they discharged Papa home.  The next day Papa returned to the ER where they admitted him to the Cardiac ICU.  After two weeks, God took Papa home.

On December 24, 1997, we celebrated Papa’s first birthday in heaven.  I remember one of my uncles asking me a question about Papa and responding with “I miss Papa, but I’m glad he’s with Jesus because I know that I will see him again when Jesus comes for me.”  Even at the age of nine years old, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the knowledge that because Papa and I share a Savior I have the assurance that death will only serve as a temporary separation.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Behold! I tell you a mystery.  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’  ‘O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?’  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:50-58 ESV).”

As I listened to the radio this Christmas season, I heard a song called “Dancing with Jesus”.  I too, like Mary, hold onto Hope and dream of Heaven’s day when I will dance with Jesus.  In this world of ours, we too easily forget Hope and the coming of Heaven’s day.  I challenge you to remember how fleeting this life is and to not put off making your peace with God because “in the twinkling of an eye” the last trumpet will sound and the opportunity will have flown.

“Dancing With Jesus”

“A mother’s watching her newborn

A smile of joy upon her face.

She can’t believe the day is here

The angel had proclaimed.

Little eyes are opened and the baby starts to cry.

She picks him up into her arms and sings a lullaby.

Now she’s dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

She’s dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

A mother watches in despair.

Tears well in her eyes

For the path of pain her son would take;

The way He had to die.

But standing underneath that cross,

His life begins to fade.

She reaches up and holds to hope

And dreams of Heaven’s day.

Where she’ll be dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

Glory, Hallelujah in the highest.

Glory, Hallelujah in the highest.

We’ll be dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

We’ll be dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

We’ll be dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.”

~ Daniel Doss and Sam Mizel 2010

We Are The Reason


UNDER CONSTRUCTION

“And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, ‘Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?’  And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Mark 2 :16-17, ESV).'”

“‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10, ESV).'”

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost (1 Timothy 1:15, ESV).”

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in your judgement.  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.  Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice.  Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from Your Presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to you.  Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.  For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:1-17, ESV).”

October 31, 1991: I claim this day as my spiritual birthday.  Sometime between October 21st and November 4th, I came to understand the gift of Christ and my inability to please God without Christ.  Dad, in seeking to help my 3-year-old mind understand my brother Matthew’s infirmities and need for all the medical equipment and treatments, drew a picture of two hearts: one whole heart and one with a crack down the middle.  He pointed to the cracked heart and told me that God made Matthew with a broken heart and he needed all the tubes, wires, nurses, and medicines to help make his heart whole.  He then pointed to the whole heart and told me that God made me with a whole heart and so I did not need the things Matthew needed because I had a whole heart.  It was at this time that I finally understood all the stories about Jesus my parents and members of our church body had told me my entire life as well as all the verses my parents had me memorize.  Everything finally came together and, by the grace and leading of the Holy Spirit, took hold of my heart, soul, and mind.  The Holy Spirit used the physical brokenness of my brother to serve as a live picture to help me to understand that just as Matthew needed the physical healing brought through the gift of modern medicine I needed the spiritual healing brought on by the gift of the Great Physician to heal my spiritual brokenness: Jesus Christ.

By God’s grace, Matthew’s heart has been repaired through the God-given blessing of medicine and his physically broken body lives by the grace and strength of the Great Physician in defiance of science, man’s knowledge of medicine, and the teaching of evolution.  His brokenness testifies that His Grace is sufficient.  Not only does my brother’s physical body glorify God in its weakness, but–by the grace of the Holy Spirit–Matthew’s spiritually broken heart has been healed by the same gift of Jesus that I received around October 31, 1991.  Together, our spiritual hearts give testimony to the fact that Jesus came to save sinners: the least, the lost, the unlovable, the despised, the rejected, the broken, the disabled, the weak amongst us because His Grace will always be sufficient.

“We Are The Reason”

by: Avalon