Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Divine Mercies – The Valley of Vision

From The Valley of Vision:

THOU ETERNAL GOD,

Thine is surpassing greatness, unspeakable
      goodness, super-abundant grace;
I can as soon count the sands of ocean’s ‘lip’
  as number thy favours towards me;
I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise.
I thank thee for personal mercies,
  a measure of health, preservation of body,
  comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food

    and clothing,
  continuance of mental powers,
  my family, their mutual help and support,
    the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
    the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
  my country, church, Bible, faith.
But, O, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness,
  the days that add to my guilt,
  the scenes that witness my offending tongue;

All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without,
    condemn me —
  the sun which sees my misdeeds,
  the darkness which is light to thee,
  the cruel accuser who justly charges me,
  the good angels who have been provoked to leave
    me,
  thy countenance which scans my secret sins,
  thy righteous law, thy holy Word,
  my sin-soiled conscience, my private and
    public life, my neighbours, myself —
      all write dark things against me.
I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess,
  ‘Father, I have sinned’;

Yet still I live, and fly repenting to thy oustretched
    arms;
  thou wilt not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
  thou wilt not condemn me, for he died in
    my stead,
  thou wilt not mark my mountains of sin,
    for he levelled all,
  and his beauty covers my deformities.
O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging
    to his cross,
  hiding in his wounds, and sheltering in his side.

Father, I thank You for all that You are to me, all that You do and have done for me, all, Father. As I read through this prayer written so long ago, I grasp it all for these words speak of my life. I bow before You, my Heavenly Father, Lord of all, in humble adoration. ‘Yet still I live’ marks the sudden change within me for I live because Jesus died for me. I still live because You love me, Father. You have blessed me in the midst of afflictions, trauma, fearful moments, and You are always with me. Always. Thank You, Lord, In the beautiful Name of Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Valley of Vision quote @ Banner of Truth

“The Valley of Vision” A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions” Edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Word

As we ponder the birth of Christ in these days and weeks prior to December 25th, may we seek the Truth of Christ. I have been humbled in realizing that Jesus had a heart, plus eyes and ears, a mouth which utters sounds all like I do. He saw and heard and spoke while His heartbeat kept His blood circulating throughout His body, just like mine! The human body is truly a creation of God. It is extremely complex and oh, so beautiful…all at the same time.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

A baby…a human being…Christ…the Messiah…Jesus…Immanuel…God with us.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their lights.
Psalm 33:6

This baby Who by the time He came to earth has already created heaven and earth, animals of the dry land, creatures of the waters, and of the air. He has created man and woman with the Father as well. He is the Son of God. He is one of the Trinity. He is God. He is the Christ, the Messiah.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
. Isaiah 9:6

Millenniums, centuries have elapsed since the human being was created. And I, a human being, am here in 2021 A.D. celebrating the birth of Christ. My Lord and Savior is Jesus, the One Who spoke words like me yet spoke words into being like no other.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it. John 1:1-5

λόγος

logos

I. of speech

A. a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

B. what someone has said: a word; the sayings of God; decree, mandate or order; of the moral precepts given by God; Old Testament prophecy given by the prophet; what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim

C. discourse: the act of speaking, speech; the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking; a kind or style of speaking; a continuous speaking discourse – instruction: doctrine, teaching; anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative; matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law; the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed

II. its use as respect to the MIND alone: reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating; account, i.e. regard, consideration; account, i.e. reckoning, score; account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment; relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation; reason, cause, ground

III. In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.

He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13

From the Puritan prayer book, “The Valley of Vision,” page 16, “The Gift of Gifts:”

O Source of all Good,
What shall I render to Thee for the gift of gifts,
Thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, Proxy, Surety, Substitute,
His self-emptying incomprehensible,
His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
He came below to raise me above,
He was born like me that I might become like Him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to Him He draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to Himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
He united them in indissoluble unity, the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to Him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
He came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father,
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in Him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born Child to my heart,
embrace Him with undying faith,
exulting that He is mine and I am His.

In Him Thou hast given me so much that heaven can give no more.

In the Beautiful Name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Manger @ Unlocking the Bible

Word @ Heartlight.org

The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Thankful, Thankful, I Adore Thee

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
Psalm 50:23

תּוֹדָה

tôwdâh

to-daw’

properly, an extension of the hand, i.e. (by implication) avowal, or (usually) adoration; specifically, a choir of worshippers:—confession, (sacrifice of) praise, thanks(-giving, offering).

The Hebrew word “thanksgiving” in the ESV, as above, can be translated in a number of ways. See a few other versions of Psalm 50:23:

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”
NKJV

“Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors Me, and whoever orders his conduct I will show him the salvation of God.” CSB

He who is sacrificing praise honoureth Me, As to him who maketh a way, I cause him to look on the salvation of God! YLT

Matthew Henry comments on this one verse in his “Commentary on Psalm 50:”

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; we have it, verse 23, which directs us what to do that we may attain our chief end. 

  • 1. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and we are here told that whoso offers praise glorifies him; whether he be Jew or Gentile, those spiritual sacrifices shall be accepted from him. We must praise God, and we must sacrifice praise, direct it to God, as every sacrifice was directed; put it into the hands of the priest, our Lord Jesus, who is also the altar; see that it be made by fire, sacred fire, that it be kindled with the flame of holy and devout affection; we must be fervent in spirit, praising the Lord. This he is pleased, in infinite condescension, to interpret as glorifying him. Hereby we give him the glory due to his name and do what we can to advance the interests of his kingdom among men.
  • 2. Man’s chief end, in conjunction with this, is to enjoy God; and we are here told that those who order their conversation aright shall see his salvation.
    • (1.) It is not enough for us to offer praise, but we must withal order our conversation aright. Thanksgiving is good, but thanks-living is better.
    • (2.) Those that would have their conversation right must take care and pains to order it, to dispose it according to rule, to understand their way and to direct it.
  • (3.) Those that take care of their conversation make sure their salvation; them God will make to see his salvation, for it is a salvation ready to be revealed; he will make them to see it and enjoy it, to see it, and to see themselves happy for ever in it. Note, The right ordering of the conversation is the only way, and it is a sure way, to obtain the great salvation.

You created us, Father, to glorify You, to show the world the One to Whom we lift our hands in praise for Who You are, for all You have created, for all You do in this world, and for all that You do for me, for all that You are to me. You have given me life through Your Son, Jesus Christ. You have given me purpose by creating me in Your image. You have given me peace, knowing I can rest in You. I can rest because I have come to know that You are my God. You, Lord, have saved me from my sinful ways. You guide my steps. You guard my ways. You forgive me. You love me. I want to order my ways to praise You. I desire to watch my words coming from my mouth, that each and all would magnify You. I want to glorify You, Lord, in all I am and all I do. In You Alone. I pray in the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics: @ Pinterest

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Crystal Storm

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Pinterest

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Pinterest

Pondering

Memorial Day – 2020

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.” Per the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Honoring those who have died in service to the United States of America is a bittersweet moment for me. I desire to honor those men and women who have placed their lives on the line for me and the country I call home.

I have two dear men, in particular, who fit that category…my Daddy and my husband, Kenneth. Both of these men died from war-inflicted wounds of contamination: my father, Ralph D, Ross – Post WWII Manhattan Project radiation, Kenneth – Agent Orange/Vietnam War. The two most special men in my life have left their earthly home….gone from my earthly life. Yet, both are with me in my heart. I loved them both dearly.

Kenneth C. Gill
US Army 101st Airborne Infantry
Served 1967 – 1970
Vietnam 4/1968 – 4/1969
born – Salem, IL 1947 – died – Lufkin, TX 2018

June 7, 2018: He served in the Vietnam War 1968-1969 with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He returned to the states and completed his service with the 82nd Airborne in North Carolina. He was exposed to Agent Orange throughout that year marching through rice paddies and areas that once had been wooded areas, defoliated with AO.

Kenneth in Mason, Texas with one of his favorite characters from a book!
The author of “Old Yeller,” Fred Gipson, was from Mason.
The city library has a statue of the dog and the boy Travis.
Inside the library is a mini-museum featuring Fred Gipson.

In January, 2018, we found out he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which is one of the cancers connected with Agent Orange. We believe he had had it for some time due to symptoms we better understood after the fact.

Kenneth was a wonderful husband of 25 years. I was truly blessed. Thank You, Lord. As I walk these days without Kenneth, I still am filled with love for this man whom You loaned to me. I am grateful, Lord, every day. You are the One I walk with today.

Ralph D Ross
US Navy Physician
World War II – Pacific
1942 – 1945, then continuing on til his death in the US Navy
born – Sterling, KS 1913 – died – Bethesda, MD 1960

September 18, 1960: My father’s life vanished in his prime – 46, a Navy doctor, a career spiraling upwards, a lovely wife, 3 daughters (12, 10, 7). The Navy was so special to him, so much so that he did not intend to retire at the 20-year mark!  He served in WWII in the Pacific Theater as surgeon, infection control medical officer, doctor, user of Penicillin in its early days to cure Syphillis.  From 1946-1951, he became a part of the post-WWII Manhattan Project, serving as a Radiological Safety Officer, while he continued to practice medicine in the Navy.  He was on Bikini Island for Operations Crossroads in 1946, then on Eniwetok for Operations Greenhouse in 1951.  By early 1960, he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer…a death sentence then. It can be connected with radiation poisoning. Daddy was the best. I still miss him so!

My parents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. An honor, to say the least! (The photo above was taken on a Memorial Day weekend, as told by the flag. I had a friend of a blogging friend take it while she was there. Thanks.)

Mama became a Gold Star Widow; we became Gold Star children. “They are the Gold Star children, war’s innocent victims, and their pain shimmers across the years pure and undimmed. They pass through life with an empty room in their hearts where a father was supposed to live and laugh and love.  All their lives they listen for the footstep that will never fall, and long to know what might have been.”  **

Eleanor Malcotte Ross
born – Chicago, IL 1914 – died – Portland, TX 2013

January 30, 2013: My mother was an unsung war hero, too, although she did not die from war-related causes!  Not only was she a Navy officer’s wife, but worked during the war for the Naval Supply Depot, keeping the Navy-at-war in food and other supplies. She was a special woman! Lots of fun too!

Buried with Daddy at Arlington National Cemetery.

Father, thank You for these very special people in my life. They have meant so much to me over the span of my lifetime. I am so grateful for the love I have known from each one of them. They loved me, each in their own special way. I honor the service they offered to this country. Thank You for bringing Daddy and Kenneth home from wars so that Daddy could be my father and Kenneth could be my husband. I am sorry they each died from contamination of war-related agents. I am so sorry for that…for my loss as well. I also honor the many more who died from their service to the United States of America. Please protect those many more service men and women who continue to be in harm’s way around the world, Lord. Hold those who have served but are dealing with the effects of war. Some are wanting to get ‘back-to-normal,’ others are dealing with homelessness, and others are medically or psychologically traumatized. Please care for them all, Father God. I pray all in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Photograph: Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day, Flags In @ https://s.abcnews.com/images/US/160520_abc_vod_orig_memorialday_presidents_mix_16x9_992.jpg

All other photographs are my own. Please ask permission to use.

** Quoted in We Were Soldiers Once…and Young by Lt. General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Veiled in Flesh


Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”
**

As we sang “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” tears welled up in my eyes.

Christ Jesus “veiled” a fleshly robe, becoming man and dwelt among us. I got a beautiful picture draped across my heart and eyes of Jesus being veiled in flesh. This is incredible even though I know He came and I know He was a man for thirty-three years, God for always. I believe this, having come to know Christ as my Savior and Lord. I have faith in this One Who left the Father to dwell with us. Yet, the thought of the Christ being veiled with flesh dropped me to my knees. It was so much more than the Baby in a manger. Christ came to save one such as I. Christ came to draw me to Him. Christ came to be with me. Thus my tears.

Emmanuel (Immanuel) is God with us. Jesus is Yahweh saves or the Lord is salvation.

“She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:21-23

The Prophet Isaiah: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

So beautiful! ‘Tis no wonder that I cry. God came to save me. He rained His grace and mercy upon me forever and ever long before I was ever born, created in my mother’s womb.

For 26 + years now, He has been reigning in my heart. He lived on earth, veiled in flesh, so that I may truly live. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Christ came, veiled in flesh, but He died in that same flesh, torn and bruised, bleeding and broken, for this same me.

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. Luke 22:63

As many were astonished at You—
His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and His form beyond that of the children of mankind—
Isaiah 52:14

According to Josephus, cruxifixction was brutal, an awful way to die. Christ died this way. He did this for me, for you, for each of us. I am sorry, Jesus. Forgiven, I am but I still weep for what I did to You.

Had He not adorned flesh, could or would it have been different?

The plan was in its perfect place and robing Yourself in flesh was what was needed to save us from this sin. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Thank You for Who You are and for what You did. May this life I live adorn You with glory and honor and praise. I love You, my Lord Jesus. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

Credits:

First photo: Tess Cooling Calligraphy @ https://cooligraphy.co.uk/portfolio/hark-herald-angels-sing/

** Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!

  • Original lyrics by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788).
  • Published 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems.
  • The lyrics was changed by George Whitefield (1714 – 1770) and others, resulting in the version known today.
  • Original first line: “Hark how all the Welkin rings”.
  • Music by Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847).
  • Mendelssohn’s tune was adapted by William H. Cummings (1831 – 1915) in 1855 to fit the lyrics.

Last photo: Faith Church Blog/Lafayette

Sing unto the Lord this whole beautiful song: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing:

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
stamp thine image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

God So Loved…Me…You

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Oh! What a promise John 3:16 is! God is Love. He loved His creation so much that He sent His Son…to live amongst His children…to teach and to heal, to love and to die.

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.   This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John 4:9-10

Jesus showed the world that the love of the Father was in Him by loving those He touched, physically and spiritually. Even today, Jesus loves. He loves me and He loves you. The sacrifice that Jesus made over 2,000 years ago still affects us today. He came to save us and draw us to Him so that we will be with Him for eternity. Hallelujah!

The word love in these verses is the word agape:

ἀγαπάω

agapaō

pertaining to people: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly

pertaining to things: to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

This is one of four Greek words in the Bible which differentiate between the various meanings of love in the New Testament. Agape is the one used most often. It is the kind of love that God has for us and which we are commanded to have for one another. Jesus called us to love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  
1 John 4:7-8

“Love” appears in the Bible (depending upon the version) between 310 times in the KJV to 551 times in the NIV. No matter what version you are reading, the word “love” is scattered often in the Word of God. God is love and wants us to know that. His Word is beautifully rich with LOVE! I praise You, Father. I praise You.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit.   1 John 4:11-13

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.   If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.   This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:14-19

I am humbled dearly by the way God drew me to Him and took a hold of my life. I can look back and see years passing while He patiently waited for me to seek His face. Oh, my! I have read these words in John 3 and 1 John 3 many times and sense just a wee bit of how much He loves me. Just a tiny percentage of God’s love for this one creation. He loves us each and all…yes, not just me, but all of us. My heart is overflowing with gratitude that He would do this for me, for you. And then…

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:5-8

While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me. He did not ignore me or leave me to my own ways and problems. He came to me. He waited at the door until I knocked. He was there for me. And He went to the Cross for me where He was horrifically crucified on that Cross and my name was upon that Cross. My sins took Him there. He did not sin. I did. He did not utter a word, but it is my words and my actions that nailed Him to that Cross.

Father God, thank You for loving me so unconditionally that You sent Your Son to that Cross to die for me. He took my sins with Him. He carried my burden to that Cross. He loves me so that even today, He draws me near to Him so that I can and will know the way to walk each and every moment of this day. Lord, I pray I listen and discern Your way in which I should go. I pray for those around me who do not know You. Oh, how I pray for repentance, for that turning around toward You so that they will be spending eternity with us. Oh, how I pray this, Father God. I thank You for loving me so tenderly and sweetly, Lord. You are such a gift to me each and every day. I lift my hands in praise to You, giving You all the glory, Precious Father. In the powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

graphics:   https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/john/

graphics: https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/1_john/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Thank You, U.S. Veterans

American Flag Eagle Wallpaper (10)

I honor you, the Veterans of these United States of America.

I am a proud widow and a daughter of military veterans.

This day makes me stand proud although sad.

It makes me sad for all those who have lost their lives due to war.

I honor those veterans who return with physical, mental, emotional wounds.  I am so very sorry.  I pray for you and your families.  I honor the families who serve alongside of their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, grandchildren for they are serving this country as well.  Thank you to each and every one of you.

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My husband, Kenneth, was an United States Army combat veteran, 101st Airborne Division/Co. B 3/506; served in Vietnam, 1968-69 serving from 1967-1970.  Kenneth died this past June 7th of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a recognized type of cancer caused by Agent Orange.  Yes, Kenneth served on the ground fighting in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  Agent Orange was definitely present there.

Yes, this next photo is my Kenneth in 1967 when he was going through the U.S. Army Airborne School (or Jump School {as he called it}) as part of the 101st Airborne training in Fort Benning, GA.   (P.S. I wish I had known him then!! : ) )

Kenneth jump school

Kenneth, you were a soldier once…and young, along with so many others in so many wars.  I look at this photo of you and see such a very young man…a boy!  Boys, now girls too, tend to fight the wars, don’t they?

“The Class of 1965 came out of the old America, a nation which disappeared forever in the smoke that billowed off the jungle battlegrounds where we fought and bled. The country which sent us off to war was not there to welcome us home. It no longer existed.” *

In the Prologue of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, the authors were speaking of the Vietnam War.  That is the war my Kenneth fought in.  He came home with what we now call PTSD, but there was no label back then.  They just came home and did the best they could.  Kenneth made it.  I am sorry he fought in that war.  I am sorry we as a nation fought in that war.  I am sorry so many died in that war.  I am just sorry about all wars.  I do not like arguments let alone wars.

History_repeating_vietnam

I am sorry that we did not welcome you home as all service men and women deserve.  So I say to you and to all Veterans, Welcome home.

Kenneth in Vietnam

Kenneth, I have always been so proud of you.  I respected you and loved you with my whole being.  Although I did not know you back then, I am so glad and grateful I was blessed to call you my husband for twenty-five years.  Thank you for marrying me and loving me as you did.  You were the best husband and friend to me.  Thank you, Love.  I am so sorry that Lymphoma took over your body though (for my loss).  You are with Jesus now and that is the best news of all!  Praise Him.  Praise the Lord.

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Scan 7

My father was a Navy doctor, a “lifer.”  He loved his Navy.  He served in WWII in the Pacific and then went on to be a part of the post-war Manhattan Project (Bikini, Eniwetok Islands) where radiation exposure took his life by Pancreatic Cancer.  He practiced medicine in the Navy for 20 years until he died at age 46.

My Daddy died when I was 12.  Thank you, Mama, for loving us through such a difficult season of life, of death, for all of us.

My parents are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

My family is honored.  We miss them.

Daddy, I miss you so much.  It has been 58 years since you died, yet it could have been yesterday.  I sometimes feel like I am still 12, having that giant Daddy-hole in my heart.  I love you so and wonder at all I missed by God taking you home so early in our lives.  I am glad we had Mama for almost 99 years.  She had a hard row ahead of her with three girls-me just on the verge of becoming a teenager.  But we made it.  We all turned out well.  Daddy, thank you for loving us so.  Thank you for your dedication to the Navy and being a doctor.  You were loved by so many and missed by so many.  I pray I will see you again one day on the other side.  I love you, Your oldest daughter

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Freedom is not FREE…never will be either!

Freedom comes with a huge price…one worthy of a fight…but where do we as the United States of America draw the line.  As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI, while pondering WWII, especially this weekend as our nation celebrates Veterans Day, how many wars does it take to be free? How many lives?

Where have all the soldiers gone
Gone to graveyards, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn

Oh, when will they ever learn? **

When will WE ever learn?

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  1 Peter 2:16 ESV

For He Himself is our peace, Who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making

peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  Ephesians 2:14-21

Jesus paid the ultimate price for our/my freedom.  You offered Your Son as the Sacrifice to redeem Your children to You.  I am and will be grateful forever, Abba Father.  May I live as You have called me to live, Father God.  Thank You for these men and women who have served and are currently serving this country.  I pray that we do not forget them but honor them in this life for the honor with which most have served. I lift up those today who came back from war with scars on or in their bodies, minds, and souls. Protect and heal them, Father. I pray for the families of those fallen soldiers, the families of those who are currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, in other areas of this world where they are in harm’s way.  I pray for the families of those who have returned from war injured in one way or another.  Oh God, be with them each and all.  I lift up our Coast Guard who are risking their lives to interdict the drugs and the cartels who are making these runs.  I lift the military who have been called to our Southern border alongside the Border Patrol.  I pray You give them and the government wisdom and compassion regarding those many who are seeking asylum to a country they hope is a better place to live.  Oh, Father, there are so many concerns.  I pray on my knees before You. Thank You for hearing my cries.  May we each turn to You and know that You are God and Father of all.  Amen.

 

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American Flag:  http://wallpapernpictures.blogspot.com/2012/07/american-flag.html

Fall in Arlington National Cemetery/Veterans Day:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/11/11/veterans-day-weekend-fall-color-at-arlington-national-cemetery-photos/?utm_term=.ca70a6b848a1

Private photos from my own collection of Kenneth, Daddy, gravesite at ANC

History Repeating Vietnam/Vietnam Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C.:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_Veterans_Memorial

* Quote: from “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young” by Hal Moore and Joe Galloway

**  from “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Pete Seeger, 1955

God's Word · Pondering

Kenneth

Kenneth

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

My sweet Kenneth left this earth in the early hours of Thursday, June 7th, 2018.  Peace, love and awe were written all over his face and in the ways of his still hands…truly, he showed me the way he died.  A beautiful moment, yet so hard on my heart.

He has left this harsh world for the glories of heaven.

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In January, 2018, Kenneth became very ill, was transported to Houston Methodist Hospital where Diffuse Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was diagnosed. He chose hospice versus treatment and we were blessed with five precious months! Kenneth did all he could to make sure this house was in order for me. He taught me things I would need to do and know; had me take notes for repetitive chores that I will need to remember.

We spent time talking of life and death and of our faith in Christ. We loved one another dearly and deeply. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on May 22. We had a wonderful and special marriage. I am so very grateful to God for my husband, Kenneth.

Kenneth served in the US Army as a Sergeant E-5, 3rd/506th Airborne (Combat) Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. He served in Vietnam from 4/1968-4/1969. This cancer has been identified as possibly caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
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Agent Orange

Our Vietnam War Veterans may not have been welcomed home rightly upon their return to US soil, but Kenneth received a beautiful welcome into his heavenly Home by Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior.

Praising the Lord in my sorrow,  I ask You, Father, to watch over my steps, to guide me each day as I follow You .  Thank You for the sweet five months Kenneth and I had together at the end of his life.  I so praise You, Lord, for the peace that I saw upon my sweet Kenneth’s face.  I loved him so and thank You for the 25 years we had together.  I have You for Eternity and what a glorious thought that is to my heart.  I will look to You as my Husband and Redeemer, Lord, for You say in Isaiah 54:5:  

For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.

And You care for and about the widow, as I am one now:

Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in Me.  Jeremiah 49:11

I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

 

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Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Every Purpose Under Heaven

 

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I continue to be woven by the hands of God through all of life’s circumstances, events, conversations, precious time spent with my husband.  God is so merciful.  He allows hard, yet quilts it with the downy feathers or soft rabbit fur as for a nest.  He gives us His grace in portions, some small, some huge.  He is so fine and so beautiful.

As many know from my last post, my husband, of almost 25 years, has been diagnosed with Lymphoma.  He has chosen to be under hospice care, and to be ushered into Heaven in God’s perfect timing.  Kenneth served in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.  He was exposed to Agent Orange which could very well be the cause of this cancer.  Life is fragile any day and especially when one fights in a war.  We see affects today with our soldiers coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many other places these days.  There are prices paid when one serves this country in the Armed Services.

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For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.  Psalm 139:13-16

God created each one of us.  He made these bodies so magnificently…just think about the mechanics of all of the working parts, the symmetry between those parts, and the details of each part…the skin, the heart, the eyes, and all.  We have been built by The Master Craftsman, Architect, Creator….The Master Weaver.

My husband’s already frail body has a cancer.  He has chosen not to fight it for many of his own reasons, but the real reason is God.  He is calling him Home.  Each night, while in the hospital, God came.  He would be there with Kenneth in the quiet, in the dark.  Kenneth knew and waited, listened, believed.  On the surface, Kenneth was there in the hospital waiting for answers from the doctors.  In the depths, the real answers were coming from the LORD.

I saw Christ in Kenneth more clearly each morning when I came to visit.  I was affected dearly by what was happening to my husband.

We have been home from Houston for about six weeks.  Kenneth and I are continuing to feel God’s Peace and, now, His purposes for us.  We have new mornings for which to be grateful.  We share precious time together.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.  Lamentations 3:22-26

We are more in love than when we got married which is hard to imagine.  We were so crazy in love 25 years ago.  We are growing in the LORD each and every day, growing closer to one another too.

Kenneth has begun teaching me things I will need to know when I am a widow.  (Yes, that is hard to write, think, say, yet, unless God has a miracle in store, I am headed that way.) He is working on small projects as he is able so as to make things better for me.  He is so delighted to have these tasks to do, not only for me, but to give him purpose for each day.  He came home to die, yet only God knows the number of days for Kenneth.  To while away the unknown number of days sitting around or lying in bed is not good for the soul…if one can help it.  Purpose of heart, purpose of mind, purpose of being are vitally important for life.  Kenneth is very much alive today.  He is being held by God.  I am in His arms as well.  Each day is a learning experience and one not to be missed.  Our eyes, ears, and hearts are wide open for this time.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

[A time for EVERY PURPOSE under Heaven…we are living this right now…right now on earth…under Heaven.  Thank You, LORD.]

Ecclesiastes 3-1 To Everything There Is A Season Under Heaven brown

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck 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; A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw 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 of war,
And a time of peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Beautiful words to embrace.

Our time together is precious.  We do not know the number of days.  We only know that This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  [Psalm 118:24]  Today is the day to be God’s creations together.  He is giving us daily gifts.  When Kenneth’s days are up, I will truly be sad; I will miss him so.  He is so good to and for me.  God blessed me with this man.  So we take today.  Today is holy ground.

Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”  Exodus 3:5

God could also bring a miracle.  And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

Father, I lift my voice: “Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.” [Psalm 28:2]  …the innermost place of Your sanctuary.  Father, You have given Kenneth such insight, love, and kindness.  He shares it with me and I am so blessed.  Thank You, LORD.  I pray Your watch-care over him every day, all day.  Hold me close and never let me go.  EVER, Abba Father.  I ask You to guard my heart.  Guide me upon Your path for my life.  I thank You for loving us so.  Thank You for giving us these many years together.  And should there be more, I thank You and praise You now.  As we have been praying all along, LORD, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  I pray in the Name of Your Son, my Savior and LORD.  Amen.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

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http://eweniquelyewe.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-bit-of-weaving.html

http://ejdodson.blogspot.com

Knowing-Jesus.com: https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/ecclesiastes-3-1-to-everything-there-is-a-season-under-heaven-brown-4101

https://www.embeddedfaith.org/embedded-faith/tweetspiration-thursdays#.Wp3GcyHw-Uk

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Praising God from Whom all Blessings Flow

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Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.  Psalm 37:5

Have you ever dreamed of making a change in your life?  Dreamed about it for years on end?  Thought about it so much that the dream changed again and again?  That has been the way for my husband and me.  We felt it was time for us to move to a place where the allergens would be less, different, and the air cleaner and fresher.  We wanted a place where we, as seniors, could feel a bit more at ease regarding finances, weather, taxes, and other senior concerns.

Last Spring, we finally felt that it was time to make this move.  The older we were getting, the more difficult this seemed and we thought we better do this now or we wouldn’t have the ability to move.  We prayed, knowing that God would lead us.  He took New Mexico and Georgia out of the running and headed us to East Texas…Nacogdoches, Lufkin.  We would sell our home in Portland, TX which was tough….leaving the home my husband built himself for us 23 years ago.  We lived in it all but one year of our marriage.

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.  Psalm 9:10

So we began the sorting out, having a garage sale and, at the end, a moving sale.  One day, Ken was in the yard taking photos of our home for we were going to sell our home “by owner.”  A car stopped; the man asked Ken if, by chance, he was going to be selling this house?  God brought a man by at that very moment who became the new owner of this home.  G appreciated the beautiful craftsmanship my husband had put into the cabinetry throughout the house and the quality workmanship that went into the building of this home.  G bought a lot covered with lovely trees, Mesquite, Live Oak, Anacua, Arizona Ash, surrounding this home.  We never even listed it.  Escrow went smoothly.

For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.
Psalm 92:4

My husband’s two sisters opened their doors to us…places to stay between looking for a new town, finding a home, and escrow.  Just where were we going to live?

Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.  Psalm 150:2

After perusing the internet for homes for sale in East Texas, we found more homes in our price range in Lufkin.  A neighbor in Portland guided us to a great realtor.  We like the town of 35,000 pop. with just about everything we could possibly need or want.  We found a house that is now our home.  It is close to just about everything we need.  God stopped us from buying some homes.  We could see He was with us.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  Psalm 95:2

Our new home has issues but we feel God giving us strength and ability to handle them, doing the work ourselves or hiring help when we need that too.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,….  Psalm 92:1-2

We are finding doctors, feeling God’s direction in that as well.  We sense His closing doors when we are headed the wrong way.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.  Psalm 62:8

This truly has been a journey where we have depended upon His guidance…

…a journey where we have had to walk with blind trust, with our eyes on Him.

In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid what can mere man do to me Psalm 56:4

We are so blessed.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure.  Psalm 147:5

 

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When thoughts began to rise for this post, the following was nothing we could have known, although God knew.   Hurricane Harvey was yet to develop in the Gulf:

Our home was in Portland, TX.  Hurricane Harvey just devastated Rockport, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Ingleside, all small towns on one side of Portland and wreaked havoc in Corpus Christi which is on the other side of Portland.  We were not there, although we have friends there so feel very connected.  Our friends are okay.  Some houses not, but the lives of those we know are safe.  We had desired to move away from the coast more and more as we aged.  The older one gets, the harder it is to board up, evacuate, and manage through the aftermath of a hurricane.  Our former home made it through the storm in tact, but most of the trees in the yard lost at least one major limb.  G shared that with us Saturday.  We were grateful to God for keeping G safe and his new home in one piece.  We prayed for him in these regards.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.  1 Thessalonians 5:24

We feel so blessed to be here and not there.

For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,

In Whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.

The sea is His, for it was He Who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.  Psalm 95:3-5

God gave us direction and we obeyed.  Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You. 

O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!  Psalm 84:12

Father God, You have blessed us beyond measure.  We are continually learning to trust You, knowing that You know the very path You wish for us.  You keep us sheltered under Your wings.  You hold us near in all times.  May we remember these things, that we would turn to You for all of our needs.  We have seen Your mighty works in our lives so beautifully and clearly.  Oh, LORD, You are our All.  

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From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the Name of the LORD
is to be praised!
 
Psalm 113:3

May I walk near to You and know Your still, small voice.  May I sense Your very Presence with me.  Thank You, LORD. 

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!  Psalm 150:6

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together… Psalm 34:1-3

In the Strong Name of Jesus, I am so grateful.  Amen. 

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