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).

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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

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.

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


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“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

My Hope is in You


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God has powerfully used music in my life.  Even as I developed in my mother’s womb, my parents made sure that the music they listened to brought glory to God because they knew that God could use it to influence my life later on.  I went to my first concert at the age of eight months old.  My parents tell me that anyone could tell that I loved every moment of listening to Michael Card as he performed to God’s glory; to this day, his music remains among my most favored.  I love music and have sung in a church choir every year since the age of three years old.  Music is a wonderful asset in hiding the Word of God in your heart.  I cannot even recall how many times God has brought me comfort or shown me how to comfort someone else by bringing a hymn, an anthem, or a song to my memory.  In my last post, I mentioned God’s use of the anthem My Shepherd Will Supply My Need to remind me of His Presence in my life even when I felt abandoned and alone.

More recently, God reminded me of His loving Presence after a particularly difficult day at work.  I left work feeling completely defeated after a day filled with demeaning verbal abuse from a visitor.  This combined with the already overwhelming feelings, frustrations, and fears brought on by the trial I mentioned in my previous post left me feeling utterly defeated and hopeless.  As I drove home, Aaron Shust‘s recording of the song My Hope Is In You came on the radio.  I found my self crying for the third time that day; only this time, my emotions revealed the healing that God can bring through the sound of His Word set to music.

 “I lift up my eyes to the hills.

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,

Who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;

He Who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, He Who keeps Isreal

will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your Keeper;

the Lord is your Shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil;

He will keep your life.

The LORD will keep

your going out and your coming in

from this time forth and forevermore.”

~ Psalm 121 (ESV)

 

“Lead me in Your Truth and teach me,

for You are the God of my salvation;

for You I wait all the day long.”

~ Psalm 25:5 (ESV)

My Hope Is In You
I meet with You and my soul sings out
As your word throws doubt far away.
I sing to You and my heart cries,
“Holy!  Hallelujah, Father, You’re near!”

My hope is in You, Lord.
All the day long, I won’t be shaken by drought or storm.
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing, “My hope is in You, Lord.”

I wait for You and my soul finds rest.
In my selfishness, You show me grace.
I worship You and my heart cries,

“Glory!  Hallelujah, Father You’re here!”

My hope is in You, Lord.
All the day long, I won’t be shaken by drought or storm.
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing, “My hope is in You, Lord.”

I will wait on You.
You are my refuge.
I will wait on You.
You are my refuge.

My hope is in You, Lord.
All the day long, I won’t be shaken by drought or storm.
My hope is in You, Lord.
All the day long, I won’t be shaken by drought or storm.
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing, “My hope is in You, Lord.
My hope is in You, Lord.
Yeah, my hope is in You, Lord.”

~ April Geesbreght 2010

Arr. Aaron Shust 2011

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need


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I went to Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia two weeks ago to visit my brother Matthew for his birthday.  While I was there, Matthew reminded me of several anniversaries of major events in our family’s life that would occur during the coming two weeks.  He mentioned in particular the beginning of one of our family’s many medical trials that started in October 2006.  After learning some difficult news, we sent out a mass email detailing everything to our friends and family so they would know how to pray for us.  The children and youth choral director at our church responded to the email by sending us a copy of the order of worship for that coming Sunday.  In her message, she said something to the point of “this was orchestrated by God for you…”  I remember reading through the program and fighting back the tears as I felt God’s love unfold around me.  When my mom told us the doctor’s news, I later went to my room and poured out my sorrow and fear to God and asked Him, “Why?  What is Your purpose in this?”  Mrs. Fray was right; God answered that prayer through that very service (October 22, 2006 PCPC Order for the Worship of God).

Through the intervening years with all its ups and downs, trials and triumphs, I have seen the evidence of God’s faithfulness.  Not once has He ever dropped me, left a promise unfulfilled, deserted me, or left me without hope.

By God’s design, my choir sang “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” as the musical offering on October 22, 2006.  This particular anthem has always been a favorite of mine, but it took on a special meaning that morning.

“My Shepherd will supply my need:
Jehovah is His Name;
In pastures fresh He makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back
When I forsake His ways,
And leads me, for His mercy’s sake,
In paths of truth and grace.”

“When I walk through the shades of death,
Thy presence is my stay;
A word of Thy supporting breath
Drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows,
Thine oil anoints my head.”

“The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise!
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.”

~ Sir Isaac Watts

It never ceases to amaze me how God’s mind works and how He moves to remind us of His promises and faithfulness.  A week after Matthew reminded me of this anniversary, our family entered another phase of that same trial.  God, in His omniscience, knew I would need that gentle reminder that “[His] grace is sufficient for [me], for [His] power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9a, ESV).”  His preparation of my heart, mind, and soul has given me the strength to “boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me… (2 Corinthians 12:9b, ESV).  His grace enables me to find contentment in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities (2 Corinthians 12:10a, ESV).  Though I may fear what the future holds medically, I know that God understands and will conquer my fears and enable me to continue running with endurance the race set before me while looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of my faith (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV).  For He has shown me that when I am weak, then I am strong.