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'.'

                                                                         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.