Friday, June 27, 2014

Who Gave Us the Flies

I sat down in the old handmade rocking chair. The damp wood felt cool on my back and I looked out across the green carpet of the prairie and took in the morning air. A fly caught my eye, and I couldn't help but smile. I closed my eyes and gave thanks to The One, who gave us the flies.

Days ago, as Revival was just getting kicked off, our preacher had stood and made note of a fly in the church. It had found rest upon The Altar and he noted there must be something sweet to eat there, because as soon as the table is spread, the flies are usually the first to eat.

We've heard a lot of intense, bold, strong preaching this week, and it hasn't all come from the appointed pastor invited to lead our Revival. We have been Blessed with voices of many this week. Shouts from the crowd, Amens from Believers, arms lifted from the Blessed and music from the gifted.

I looked up at the tree tops as the sun brushed over them, spilling onto the dark meadow below. The light added diamonds to the soaked green-land and the value of that field just increased. My eyes watered from the thought of the earlier message about our worth to The Lord...and it is all because of The Son, who paid the ultimate just for us...well beyond what we feel our value may be.

The wings of the insect lifted it in the air and something caught my eye on a tree just out of reach. I stopped rocking the old chair and when the creaking ceased, I could hear a symphony of birds. For just one song, they were all in unison, some belted high and others low, but the land was filled with music. I stared at the tree and when the breeze passed through the leaves just right, I could see it. There was an intricate yet delicate spider's web. It moved without effort of its own but I knew it had a purpose. It was a trap for the fly.

I remembered the church fly. I wondered if it had heard all the shouting, had seen the lights of the old church house, or had made it there by mistake. Either way, it was there, inside those four walls. I had looked for that fly last night from the very pew I sat upon, and wondered if it was still there. I prayed silently that everyone would bring more to the table and that it hadn't run bare because my children still needed to eat, we all were still looking for something else sweet. The fly was nowhere to be seen. Three people stood from behind me and walked over to the piano. They took common song, common verse and added The Son, diamonds fell upon the pews and the value of those words had just increased.

I looked around certain I'd see the fly. With the manna being spread, I was sure it would return. The last time I'd seen the church fly, it had taken flight from the fingertip of the six year old who sat in the floor, beside me. Her red hair pulled back and freckles atop her nose, she played with tiny dolls. The half dozen or so toys listened to her sing the hymnals as she placed them across the pew. The fly had landed on her finger and I looked down at her as she sang every word to those old gospel hymns. Just as the wings lifted the fly back into the air, I noticed her toys were all face down. They were all kneeling in prayer and The Lord knew I would want to see that. I smiled at her and then at her mama and the simple, small detail in the path of the fly, had just been a Blessing.

A lot was said in the service last night but I was still in search of the fly. I wondered if it had fallen into the traps, after all, they are everywhere out there. I knew the devil would feed on anything, anyone. Some traps are set as delicate as webs and as we walk down the Christian path, some things can blindside us, just like the preacher had said. Before we know it, we are pulling at something completely unseen by the eye rather felt on the flesh, and we just want it off.

I watched people kneel again at the front of the church and on the other side of a yellow flower which sat atop the altar, I heard a voice. I lifted my head and found myself captivated by a man on bended knees. His eyes were closed tight, sweat graced his brow from a Spirited night of preaching and the more he spoke, the stronger his voice got. He was praying for me...he was praying for my little country church. Tears formed in my eyes as the touching words were gathered by the same God that had just taken up mine. Of all the things he could be praying for, he was praying for us. As soon as he finished I saw it. The fly spread its wings and went straight up to that altar. I smiled and wiped my eyes as the service soon came to a close...and I gave thanks to The One, who gave me, gave us, the flies.


Monday, June 23, 2014

That Suitcase

The preacher stood and offered any last chances for the congregation to do as they feel led before he began. When no one spoke, he reached under a bench and pulled out an old suitcase. He rarely ever brings in props to tell a story so I knew he must have been shown something special. He began with news of young ones leaving the nest, going to college, and opportunities that have been presented within his own household that led to a phone call.

His sister couldn't have known or rehearsed the words that would spark such a Sunday Service as this, but with our preacher seeking her wisdom, the advice of a sister did just that, igniting a fire we so desperately needed. He assured her the family had been prayerful about the possibilities, the opportunities that arose for his only son, and she simply said, "You and your wife have been packing his suitcase all his life."

As the preacher tearfully introduced the story, we all began to wipe away the rivers that submerged our vision. He must have sat and prayed and pondered about what all he and his wife have been packing all of these years. He unzipped the metal that enclosed the meat of the message and we watched with bated breath. I took in air and filled my lungs just hoping that I might see anything in that suitcase that has been packed for our children.

He reached inside and pulled out a figurine of Jesus. I exhaled with relief knowing that we have successfully introduced our own to this man, this King of all Kings, this Savior of our's. He then pulled out what he referred to as a road map, much needed for all travels of life. Reaching in again I wondered what he might pull out next and in his hand he held a Bible. It was small and pink with a Breast Cancer pink ribbon printed across the front. Something he had found some time ago and decided to keep. Little did he know The Lord had big plans for it. I thought of all the ladies who have traveled that very road and they all sit now, looking up at this with health in their eyes and Christ in their hearts. He reached in again and pulled out a large model of a church house. It was painted beautifully and he held it high and spoke of how this item was necessary to pack for your children. With another sigh of relief I watched as his stature changed at the thought of the next item.

His voice began to tremble even more as he reached into that suitcase again. He said that when The Lord revealed to him what the next item was going to be, he knew he didn't have any. He picked up the phone and called his Mama. "I need a pair of praying hands," he said to her. She quickly responded with "You got it, what's wrong?" He began to chuckle in Spirit and his body began to tire and draw to a slump and he wept. She thought he needed her to pray for something but in his hands he held a mold of a set of hands pressed together in prayer. He knew she had some and she lent them without a second thought and she too, couldn't have imagined what he needed them for. He walked back over to the luggage and I wondered what would come next.

His hand wrapped around something and when he pulled it back out, he held a cross. He talked about bringing your cross wherever you go, bearing large ones at times and small ones on occasion. I was unsure if my heart was really beating anymore as I sat there trying to keep my eyes clear enough to see. As he prepared to pull out the final item, he stalled for a bit. He said the last item was up to us whether we have it or not. I wondered what he could possibly have to left in that bag and I tried to guess what it could be....a Light? Was it our light...but I realized it would be the light of others we might actually need for ourselves since we don't often use our own to see. We often see better when others are shining so I awaited anxiously for him to pull out the next item because I couldn't even guess what it might be. Confusion briefly paused me into research of why we might need water as he held the clear plastic bottle in his hand, other than to quench our thirst. He explained The Biblical description of the Spirit and the Water. He held back his urge to open the water and pour it upon the crowd but The Spirit would be the final item. We needed the Spirit in that suitcase.

He eventually closed on the powerful message and we all tried to walk out of the little country church, knowing we couldn't wait to come back. I think everyone in that room, went home and took a gander at what they were packing in that suitcase. Revival began this day though it don't officially start until the next day's setting sun.

Most of us returned to find a full, packed church at the evening service as a preacher from another church came to share more of His Word. Many of his members joined him and just like that, with the first breath of the first hymnal, chills ran across my arms as the strong voices banded together and laid before The Lord a bounty like no other. One man stood and sang a song and you could see the might in his eyes and The Spirit lifted his chest as he belted with assurance and certainty the words of the song. I was thinking of how simple a song can be but when you put The Spirit it in it, it becomes food for even the dogs under the table to dine...and I was Blessed this day, just because these people, these visitors, had packed The Spirit into that suitcase when they came over. The Lord fed me this day though I deserved nothing more than crumbs. He took all that we had and just like two fishes and fives loaves, he fed the multitude. Consider the ravens...consider the lilies. I am a Blessed person this morning!

Consider the Ravens

He took his Bible in his thirteen year old hands and walked to the front of the church, relieved that on this Wednesday night, many seats were vacant. Standing for his first Devotion he looked at me one last time and opened his Bible and moved his bookmark with nervous fingers. "Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap..." I have repeated this verse over and over ever since he spoke it, considering those ravens.
 
My eyes finally awoke to the Sunday morning sun. I thought of the ravens, no storehouse nor barn, but yet they are fed. I thought of the church. Many others, just like me, were preparing to be fed this very morning in The Lord's House. I imagined many searching through their storehouses, their Spiritual Barns and gathering everything they had to place on the table. I felt like maybe I didn't have anything to bring this day, yet I hungered...so I considered the ravens.
 
We began in song as we all came gathering in. I quickly thanked Him for inviting me to the table, though I may be a dog underneath it, a crumb is all I seek. I had been teaching my "littles" Sunday School class about 5 loaves and 2 fishes. I knew that The Lord had plenty for us all, even those who brought nothing but their own Spirit, their own hunger to the table.
 
A flock of small little girls asked to lead a song, not even found in our song books. The piano sang first and tears began to fill my eyes. Meekness from the little girls was hidden by courage and boldness. That spoke volumes as even at such a young age, they were feeding the multitude. Strong voices from our little country church thickened the air and with every deep breath I was being filled by His promise. Their little voices echoed each verse and my heart expanded with every word...

"That heavenly home, (that heavenly home)
lies over death's sea,(lies over death's sea)
there loved ones I know, (there loved ones I know)
are waiting for me.(are waiting for me)
With Jesus we’ll live (With Jesus we'll live)
In glory divine (In glory divine)
That Heavenly Home (that Heavenly Home) will surely be mine.(will surely be mine
)"


A Deacon stood and spoke with tears in his eyes and Spirit in his voice. He asked us to consider the rainbow. The red is always on top to cover, consider The Blood and consider His Promise and I thought of that eternal Home. He asked his wife to sing a song she hasn't sang in quite some time. She picked up a red hymnal and opened to the lyrics of the song never heard by my ears before. As the words left her lips the room got even sweeter. "Consider the lilies..." My eyes poured as she sang of the very ravens that circled me all week. I sat there considering the ravens, considering the lilies. I sat in awe of His perfect timing and gathered up crumbs from the under that table, He had so much more to give, and I had no idea...

(to be continued)




Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Glimmer of The Son

I asked The Lord to let me walk, not run. I didn't want to overlook Him today, knowing that by the day's end, I would be standing in front of the crowd of people which filled our pews at the little country church I love so much. I already knew what I was going to do, what I was going to say, the story I was to tell, though rehearsing it was useless. I knew that HE was in charge and choosing words at this point wasn't necessary...He'd get me through it.

The clock was ticking and with only two hours to go, I found myself alone on the front porch reflecting.
I watched the little ten year old girl with a freckles gracing across her innocent face, nervously ask if I would do the next Devotion. I smiled and quickly relieved her of the fear of rejection, the nerves the pushed the words out of her mouth, with a quick, "Yes, of course I will." She smiled back as we chatted about nothing and everything outside of the old church house. Tears filled my eyes as I thought...He already knew. He was lining me up last week and I had no idea...


My mind left the church parking but my body remained on my front porch.

I was driving down that Alabama highway. The dark wet pavement was littered with branches and leaves from the brief storm that had just passed through. I looked down the road that my church sits upon but this time I didn't turn. The sky was brilliantly bright with the setting sun. One side was painted with fresh cotton candy and the air even smelled sweet. The other side was as golden as I imagined the streets of Heaven. The hill underneath glowed with the embers falling straight from the sun. I thought of church family in the area and wondered if they were looking at the same sky, if they were allured by the mastery, the site of what HE can do right after a storm. I suddenly felt like The Lord was touching someone. I knew that someone underneath all that shimmer was being Blessed, being changed and my heart began to swell at the thought.

I pulled up at the brick church where my children were attending Vacation Bible School. I opened my door and one of my dear friends was standing there to greet me. A smiled adorned her face and a tear gleamed behind her lashes. Holding back a shout, she let loose the jubilant words, "She got Saved tonight!" My heart grew with those few words and tears filled my eyes too as we walked together towards the Lord's House. My daughter...He was Touching my child this time, this night, underneath the glitter of that setting sun. I knew immediately why the other little girl had picked me to do the next Devotion, I had good news to share.

My child told me in great detail what had happened. She said she could hear every single word the preacher was saying. I imagined her on that pew between all of her friends and the conviction that distressed her face as it was described to me. She walked up to the front leaving peers behind to watch as she asked for forgiveness of the black sins binding her feet. The Lord forgave her as she asked Him into her heart and the same God that reached down and touched me when I was about her age, reached down and promised her an everlasting Home with Him. She told me that she felt like it was her last chance and she had to take that opportunity, knowing it wouldn't be offered again.

I was back on my porch as tears rolled down and I thanked Him once again. I thanked Him for everything that had led to that Thursday storm, that Thursday sun, that Thursday Touch. I knew that the deaf child of mine couldn't have possibly heard every single word of that preacher without The Lord's Touch. I saw flashes of her in our church, turning to the wrong page of the hymnal, the wrong chapter of a Book in her pink Bible. It all started with us walking through the glass doors of our own church. He knew all along. He had laid the foundation over the last few years from the hands raised in Praise to the intense preaching that crept right up through the wooden pews and captivated even the deaf. He sent us to a church that can be felt, even when it can't be heard and I thanked Him again for that. We are Blessed people...yesterday, today, and forever because He is the same yesterday, today and forever...

My heart pounded as I stood in front of the church. I told the story the best I could but at that point it really didn't even matter that I am a terrible speaker, that I'm nervous in crowds, or that my voice is broken with tears because He got me through it. He gave me that story and it was more beautiful that I ever could have imagined for me, for my child. No matter what circumstance you are facing, no matter the storm that comes, there is a glimmer from The Son that awaits. The preacher stood and read the words from Hebrew 13:8 and all I could do was smile in agreement.

As we left that little white country church, a rainbow spread across the sky. Again the sun was setting on the damp ground below and its brightness was captivating. My daughter pointed to the sky and said, "He probably did that for us. You know, He lit the pathway." She grabbed her Bible and opened it and read the words, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." And He just keeps on giving...



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Folded Wings

The day began slowly, just the way I like. My feet took me to the hill where the damp air was filled with lilies and a freshly stained wooden porch. The clouds darkened the prairie where the tall grass grows and I longed to feel the sun. My paltry mouth opened with small words but I needed to give them to The Lord, if I wanted to feel that sun. Instantly, my little country life warmed up with an orange glow and everything was clearer. The leaves waved good morning in the breeze as the birds spilled music onto the meadow below. I drew in a long deep breath and held it in with my eyes closed so I could consume the entire meal that was being plated before me.

With a rapid flutter of wings, my attention was drawn to a tree where two birds took flight together. I watched them sail across the land below and I smiled knowing they have probably flown together for years. The span of their wings were comparable and from head to tail their bodies were in sync and I watched. I couldn't take my eyes off of the two and I knew He had more. The elegant flight of the pair seemed to be carrying them to a bird feeder in my yard when suddenly they split and went in different directions. One flew to a tree top where it joined other birds in song. The other flew to a power line where crows cawed in protest. I wondered why their journey had split right when they were about to be fed but all I could do is watch.

Voices merged from the treetop and I imaged there was one calling over to the bird left with the crows. I wondered what the couple had seen from the air around the feeding place that may have prevented them from eating what had been prepared. The one with the crows hopped down from the line which it had stood upon. The song from the other one fell upon the lilies and I watched the bird at the bottom of the hill take each cautious step across the yard. I wondered why it was walking when perfectly good wings could make the journey over to the feeder much faster.

I pondered upon walking instead of soaring. I looked toward the songs of the trees and I knew even the strongest wings needed rest. I know in our own lives, some days we seem to sail right over everything and other days, we walk right through it. I looked back at the bird on the ground and it was pecking at the ground with each and every step. The bird was already feeding. It had not waited to make it to the table where the others were being fed, it was taking what others had left behind and finding nourishment in it. Feet carried it through the grass that must have been difficult for the small gait of a bird to maneuver, but yet, it was feeding. Wings spread out and soon the bird was in flight. That treetop gained one more voice and I smiled, pleased the pair perched together again.

I reflected on the flight of the birds. Soaring together full of strength, they parted to take rest. One filled up in the top of the tree and sang with a chorus of others while one sat with crows. The crows watched the bird hold firm in its stance despite their attempt to run it away. They watched as the bird walked below through treacherous conditions and fed, despite an easier meal which awaited not far away. Encouraging song lifted each step as the bird made its way across the yard until it finally had filled its own belly, and the bellies of those watching the courage of feasting with folded wings. And then the praises that lifted when the bird once again took flight, to rejoin the other one.

I wondered what it felt like to watch from above as the brave bird walked below. I wanted to be a brave bird. Should I ever need to feed from another table, could I have the same fill as the bird who took the difficult path? In the flesh I was concerned that the two had flown in different ways at first glance but now I know there are reasons why. It may have not been for their benefit, it may have been for mine. Today, I want to be the one walks with folded wings or the one who encourages from a treetop, and not the one who caws like a crow. For even the crows will need to know how to feed from another table at some point. As long as The Lord is preparing what we feast upon, our bellies shall be full always. Blessed again this day, and thankful for His Presence always.