Thursday, May 4, 2017

God is faithful




                      by: Mary Reneau

Where am I, oh Lord, where am I?  My mind was filled with questions as the lights kept circling overhead.  Gradually my eyes began to focus on the people around me.  Men and women in white uniforms.  I must be in a hospital.  How did I get here and when?  My mind kept repeating the question, “Where am I?” 
                   
As the confusion lessened, I began to remember how I had arrived at this place.  It had all happened so quickly.  A burning, stabbing pain and within a few minutes I was in the hospital with a heart attack.  I had truly believed that nothing could come into the lives of God’s children without His permission.  Could this heart attack be His will for my life?
My husband, Richard, and I had been living in Trinidad, California, for a year.  Our children were all grown and we were beginning to relax and enjoy just being together.  We were both in good health and spent most of our spare time hiking on the beach or backpacking in the back country of Northern California.

While Richard worked, I kept myself busy working with children through Child Evangelism Fellowship.  Richard had a ministry on Sundays in the county jail.  We were contented with our service to God and our position in the world.  Maybe we were too contented.  Could this be why God had let me have this heart attack?
When the doctor had said, “ Your heart is dying for lack of oxygen, you must have surgery”, my life became filled with uncertainty.  Where was the peace and security I had felt in the Lord all these years?  I had searched my memory for something in God’s word to hold me steady.  In counseling with young people I had often used I Corinthians 10:13, 
“There hath no testing taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not let you be tested above that you are able; but will with the testing also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”. 

With this verse God gave me peace.  I had no fear, even when the doctor told me some of the tests could be dangerous.  Hadn’t God promised that there would be nothing that I could not bear?  He would make a way for me to escape the dangers involved.

I quoted this verse to my family and friends to ease their fears for me.  I said it over and over to myself when I was alone.  The tests showed that I needed three coronary artery by-passes.  I hadn’t expected this, but I clung to my verse and flew to Eugene, Oregon for my surgery without fear.
Now what had happened?  Why was I here in this place where I kept going from light to darkness?  Had I had my surgery?  Was I dying?  Where was the verse that I needed?  My mind could not bring back the words that would save me from this engulfing panic.

In the midst of all the noise and confusion three small words came to my mind:  God is faithful.  I wanted to shout, “Yes, yes! That’s part of it”.  I needed to know the rest of the verse.  “Oh Lord, help me.” I prayed.  Immediately my fear left me.  Why did I need to know more?  God is faithful. This was His promise.  It did not matter where I was or what was happening to me.  God is faithful.  With these thoughts came peace and I fell asleep.

The next time I awoke, Richard was sitting by my bed.  I knew the operation was over and I would soon be going home.  I have never been able to explain to any one what happened to me from that experience.  When friends say,”What a terrible experience you had,” I can say, “No, it was wonderful.  God taught me something special.”


It is not the promise we need to remember, it is God’s faithfulness. 
I know nothing can harm me as long as I believe God is faithful.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

M R Ducks





My mom used to make up funny little stories and sayings to make her grandchildren laugh. Invariably they made us all laugh too, and when we get together someone always brings up some of her stories, songs or sayings.

This is one that I think of often when I am out birding along the rivers and waterways in my travels.
This is what she used to say, "

"C M ducks?  M R'nt ducks! S M R. C M Wangs?"


You may have to read it over a time or two, but keep at it, you'll get it.








Anyway, this leads me to my photo theme today....ducks, ducks and more ducks.  Before I began birding with my son, Matt, I did not know how many different species of ducks there were.  Still don't know for sure, but I know there are a lot more than just  Mallards.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                Red-Breasted Merganser(female)



                                                                                    Red-Breasted Merganser(male)







I have often told my children that I know God has a sense of humor because of all the unusual looking animals He created. That is certainly true in the Merganser family, with their matching 'brush cuts'.'

Muscovy
                                                                                                             
                                                                         Wood Duck (male and female)


The Muscovy Duck is very large and wary. To me he looks almost prehistoric. 
Most found in North America are escapees from a domestic flock. In fact, we had two of them on the farm when I was growing up.

The male and female Wood Duck do not look at all alike. He is decked out in brilliant greens,oranges and browns for most of the year. The female is a unremarkable grayish brown with a white eye ring. This is true of most bird species, and I have often wondered
why that is. I like to think God created them this way to protect the females. The brighter the color, the more likely they can be spotted by their predators. So, the male, in a sense, protects the female with his bright colors. Just my personal theory.


I have shown you only a very few of the variety of ducks I have seen, but I would like to share something my birding travels have taught me.

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are yo not worth much more than they?"
Matthew 6:26

Our heavenly Father loves us more than the "birds of the air", and He will take care of us.
I never tire of seeing God's messages to us in the beautiful creation around us. I hope you 
take the time to look around you, and see God's hand in everything. This is His creation, made just for us.

A Peaceful Noise by Mary Reneau




A peaceful Noise?  No way can we imagine such a thing! Our whole effort seems to be directed to escaping the noise of everyday living. We go to the hills or we seek the seclusion of a quiet lake. There we can relax and be free from noise and strife. Noise and strife,the two words seem to go together. How then can there be a peaceful noise?

One long weekend recently, my husband Richard
and I,decided to seek peace and quiet in the hills. We loaded our backpacks with enough food for two days and packed into Wilderness Falls. After three hours of hard hiking and setting up camp near the falls, I was ready for a rest, but not Richard. Off he went with his fishing gear after the elusive trout.


I spread out my sleeping bag and settled down for a short nap. At first all I could hear was the roar of the falls, but slowly, I began to hear other sounds. There was a soft musical sound as a small stream made its way over the rocks to the river. A soft whistling of the wind in the trees was added to the blend. A peaceful noise? Yes, it was like a lullaby and soon I was asleep.


Afterwards, as I thought about it, I realized there was a lesson in this. There are times when we cannot take to the hills and the noise and strife seem to be getting the best of us. What are we to do? God tells us in His Word
“The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. And my people shall dwell…in quiet places.” (Isaiah 32:17, 18)

He doesn’t tell us to take to the hills. He wants us to listen to the undertones of His voice through His Word. He tells us,”…to study to be quiet.”(I Thess4:11) Yes, the noise and strife are still there, but we can be quiet inside and dwell continually in a quiet place. The blending of strife and God’s Word can be a peaceful noise.

Published in The Highway Evangelist,

A Christian Truckers magazine. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Cabin






There is a quiet here.  It soaks into my soul.
A peaceful kind of quiet, that speaks to my heart and makes me whole.
This is a place God has touched, and in it,touches me.
 



  Squirrels racing madly round and round the trees.
 Chipmunks with their faces full.
 Bird songs trill.
Hummers hum.
Yet midst it all, that quiet still is here.
 Here in my heart, soaking into my soul.

I’m at the Cabin.
  Here I find something I find no other place.
Something that shapes and     strengthens my faith. 
  It must be You my Father,
Yes, I know it’s You. 
     Thank You for this place.
Thank You for your Grace .

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dad to some,Grandpa to others


I am taking Dad home...to bury him along side Mom and my brother Rich. This will be a journey of faith and healing.
Before I start my road trip, let me tell you a little about Richard LaSalle Reneau, my Dad.





Dad was not a perfect man. He would be the first to tell you that.
But the thing I remember the most is that he was a man of prayer. He prayed daily for his children and grandchildren. He was not the most gentle man, but he believed God wanted him to tell the 'good news' of Christ, and he did it the only way he knew how...straight out. He didn't know how to do it any other way.

Before Dad came to Christ, I often  heard him wonder aloud that God could save such a sinner as he was.
On Dad's 90th birthday, we had a family reunion and all but a few grand- kids and great grand- kids were there.  Dad had a burden that his family should know Christ, so whenever we were together, he would take the opportunity to "preach' to us. This time was no different, but God had mellowed him over the years, so he said he only wanted to tell us the two most important things in life. One, was that we know Christ as Savior, first and foremost. Second, was that we love  and be faithful to our families. God has given us both, he said...our Savior and our families. I guess it hit home, because one of his Grand-kids, Patrick I , reminded us all of that very thing at Dad's memorial service. He challenged us to live for Christ and take care of our families. Patrick has picked up the mantle.








 Dad loved the outdoors. He never missed a chance to 'go to the hills.'
 He and mom could always be found in that old blue van somewhere in the hills...Big Flat, Ship Mtn Road, the Go Road, French Hill, Bear Basin...




You name it, they had been there. What a blessing  and example it was to me to see their love for each other and how much they enjoyed being together.
After Mom was gone, he didn't go to the hills much anymore. Just wasn't the same. 

 
Dad also liked to golf. Not because he was especially good at it,and he was pretty good, but because it gave him a chance to talk to his friends about the God he loved and served. Dad golfed 3 to 5 days a week until he was 90 yrs old.

That's when he began to feel the effects of the cancer that had been growing in his body for several years.

 Another thing Dad loved was to walk on the beach. He and mom often went to Fort Dick beach to walk, look for agates(well mom did), and just sit and have a cup of coffee together. Even when mom was too sick to walk anymore, they would drive up the coast for the day, get something from Mac Donalds and find an  ocean overlook to eat their lunch together, or to their favorite place...the hills.

 


Dad was proud of his service in WWII. He was proud of being a Marine, and he would tell you that he knows God's hand of protection was on his life. Before Dad came to Christ, he was a drinker and a fighter. He spent many a night in a military brig.  But God saved him out of that life and sent him to men who needed to know Christ and what He could do it for them. That's why he believed God spared his life and sent him to preach to prisoners, which he did for over 50 years.
 He said he spoke their language, because he had been in their shoes.


When Dad came to live with me in October of 2015, his body was filled with cancer. He was in a lot of pain and needed help getting around. I know he was sorry to leave his beloved Del Norte County, and it was a sad time for him leaving his youngest son Pat,as it was for Pat, but I loved having him here. I will always be thankful God allowed me to be there when Dad was ushered into the Kingdom. 
His last few months here were not easy. I often heard him praying at night when he could not sleep, asking God to take him home. He longed for his heavenly home and to see his Savior, but I would also hear him say, "Father I know You know best." He often wondered why God was leaving him here so long, but as I heard him talking about Christ with his hospice aides,nurses and even the doctor, I knew why. God still had work for Dad to do, and he was faithful to the end. Just one day before God took him home, he told the doctor that he had nothing to do with how good his children turned out. God had done it all, along with his "dear,sweet wife, Mary".


So, thank you Dad for teaching me to trust, 
even when I cannot see around the bend in the road. For teaching
me the importance of prayer and of being in God's Word every day.
I will always remember our times together and 
thank God for you.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow,Snow and more Snow





  

Snow,Snow and More Snow.


The Winter of 2013-2014 has been a long,cold, snowy one. In spite of a little 'cabin fever', the beauty of it more than makes up for it in my mind. 


 
There hasn't just been several inches of snow, but rather, several feet of the white stuff. It has given me lots of opportunities for photos of the birds coming to my feeders when their other food sources were buried. 


But it wasn't just the snow that was a problem for the birds,but the extreme cold, 
sometimes -10 with a wind chill 
of -35 degrees was a real danger to them as well.


                Were they worried? Not a bit! 

 Matthew 6:26 says, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them..."

 





Can we learn a lesson from the birds?




 

Yes! No matter the problems we face,we do not need to fear or worry!



The rest of Matthew 6:26 says,"...Are you not much more valuable than they?"









Once again, Gods Word tells us to trust in Him.


"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow,for tomorrow will worry about itself."




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Camp Barakel...Where God has Blessed

I recently returned from a weekend at Camp Barakel where I volunteered in the kitchen for a weekend retreat.





While there, I took several walks around Shear Lake and in the surrounding woods.  What a beautiful time of year it is here in Northern Michigan. 
I have always said, my two favorite seasons here are Winter and Fall. I know that may seem a little backward to some, because many  retired Michigan residents,  head for warmer climes  in our colder months. In fact, many people have asked me why I spend my summer months out West, and the winter months here in cold,  snowy Michigan.  I love the Winter, that's all I can say. Of course it helps that I no longer have to drive to work on snowy days. I can sit inside with a cup of tea and enjoy watching it fall lazily to the ground.






But, back to my purpose for this writing....I love the colors of the Fall season,I love Camp Barakel, and I want to share them both with you.


As I already stated, Barakel
is situated on beautiful Lake Shear. Not a very big lake,about 65 acres, but a real treasure that's tucked back in the woods off M-72 and offers a real retreat for many city bound people. 




 

Follow the link and check it out.
You  just may find yourself up that way someday.