Freedom from prison

I have named this year Freedom. It is becoming increasingly clear why this word came to me on the eve of 2015. I will soon be posting the particulars about a big conference that the women of my church are organizing that has everything to do with freedom. I think it is amazing what the Lord orchestrated us, His daughters in a small country church, to do; but that is a story for another day. Today I am linking to Leslie Leyland Fields’ post. She asked fellow bloggers to link up to her because she felt her message needed a wide audience. I was a bit blind-sided by what I read there. I can’t imagine anyone asking me to do what a woman asked Leslie to do for her, but, nonetheless, I trust Leslie. See what you think.

For freedom,

Dawn

Freedom – A Prayer for Wendy

O Holy Father, Thou hast freely given Thy son,JesusPaidItAll

O Divine Son, Thou hast freely paid my debt,

O Eternal Spirit, Thou hast freely bid me come,

O Triune God, Thou dost freely grace me with salvation.

Prayers and tears could not suffice to pardon my sins,

nor anything less than atoning blood,

but my believing is my receiving,

for a thankful acceptance is no paying of the debt.

 What didst Thou see in me?

that I a poor, diseased, despised sinner

should be clothed in Thy bright glory?

that a creeping worm

should be advanced to this high state?

that one lately groaning, weeping, dying,

should be as full of joy as my heart can hold?

that a being of dust and darkness

should be taken like Mordecai from captivity

and set next to the king?

should be lifted like Daniel from a den

and be made ruler of princes and provinces?

Who can fathom unmeasureable love?

As far as the rational soul exceeds the senses,

so does the Spirit exceed the rational in its knowledge of Thee.

Thou hast given me understanding to compass the earth,

measure the sun, moon, stars, universe.

but above all to know Thee, the only true God.

I marvel that the finite can know the Infinite,

here a little, afterwards in full-orbed truth;

Now I know what a small portion of what I shall know,

here in part, there in perfection,

here a glimpse, there a glory,

To enjoy Thee is life eternal,

and to enjoy is to know.

Keep me in the freedom of enjoying Thy salvation continually.

~ from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions by Arthur Bennett.

 

 

 

 

 

Exoneration Thanksgiving

My husband and I must drive 40 minutes to get to church and no matter what the season it is always a worship experience. The diversity of God’s expression of love for us is simply amazing. Today I give thanks for

#1354 clouds making shadows on mountains. One shadow looked like a giant eagle this morning. It stretched across two mountains – now that is a big screen!

#1355 real vultures swooping over our car on their way to breakfast. They were like mini pteradactyls, quite spectacular.

#1356 the huge, circular bales of hay sitting in the fields, the hard work of our parishioners.

#1357 cows chewing their cud as we speed byIMG_4746

#1358 the crisp morning air that gives a spring to your step and has you bringing out the jackets and sweaters you have not seen in 6 months–a new wardrobe!

#1359 fields that have given up their fruits.

And then this happened. My husband was listening to the radio this morning and he heard that a man had been arrested for embezzling $100,000 from the local American Legion. They said the man’s name and he knew it was he. This man had had my sister fired accusing her of embezzling funds. She was the manager of the Legion, had been for 35 years. She handled the money. She was beginning to notice cash was disappearing. She had to go. He was on the Board of Directors. He was in power over her and she left in disgrace. She never stole a dime, but he said she did. She has suffered for 3 1/2 years awaiting this verdict. It came this morning!  I continue to give thanks

#1360 that my sister found enough strength to hold on.

jesus-holding-man2#1361 that Jesus sent his angels along her long hard journey.

#1362 that Dave Rising became a psychologist even though his father said he should become a minister. I believe his wise counsel kept my sister alive.

#1363 for everyone who stood by my sister’s side, especially those who gave her jobs, convinced of her innocence.

#1364 that my sister has a closer walk with Jesus.

#1365 and that healing may now begin.

He is with us,

Dawn

If you won’t give this up, I will take it away from you

I knew that the Temple of God in Jerusalem had been destroyed twice and that a new temple is being planned for rebuilding as I type this and that there is a school to teach the new generation of Jewish young people how to sacrifice again. What I didn’t know is that God had the temple destroyed because the people saw it as a place to go to have their sins forgiven so that they could go right back out to sin again. They saw the Temple as their source, not a heart-felt life change, as a place to wash up to go out into the filth again.

14 So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel. Jeremiah 7:14-15

Whoa, He had to get rid of the place that was throwing the people off-course. He had to eliminate the symbol of cleansing so that the people could get the cleansing principle into their hearts! Wow! This really spoke to me. January this year God had to get rid of my job so that I would have to depend on Him as my source. As long as I had my job, I was not listening to Him. I would make excuses, “Not right now, God, I have to do this. Not right now, God, you know I have to work. No, you couldn’t mean this, God, you know I need this money. You know I must have insurance.” Yada, yada! Well, since I wouldn’t leave, He had me removed, but in His great and tender mercies, He had also prepared, ahead of time, for my needs and the needs of my family to be met. That is the heart of my Father. Since then, I have been privileged to lead many down-sized families on the path to total dependence on God. Last night my husband and I were sitting around a table with just such a family. I leave a copy of Reflections from one thousand gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters for each family. It is innocent enough to leave on their tables and ask them to read a page a day for comfort knowing that after I leave it will cause an explosion in their lives if they read it. This was in my e-mail box today from the couple who received their copy last night:

Thank you for our new homework we read the book last night like kids with a new reader!

I say all this to make a point: My job was my temple. Once my job was removed, I could really hear God. If memory serves me right, once the Temple was removed and the people were held captive in Babylon, they began to hear God again. In the stillness of your time alone with God today, ask Him if there is something in your life keeping you from hearing Him. If He points something out, get rid of it. He’ll get it eventually, anyway! I know!

In this with you,

Dawn

Freedom from the flood

“It made me think about what George Carlin said: All you need in life, is a little place for your stuff. That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time.”

I was with a woman last night who had lost all her possessions in the floods that ravaged our area. She said it was freeing really. It was stuff she had to go through and decide what she wanted and what she didn’t want anyway. That’s why it was in the basement. I know this feeling of freedom. When I would go on short term mission trips, I would take all the personal items I would need in a back pack and fill my allotted two suitcases with provisions for the people I was going to help. I lived for a month with 3 suits of clothing (2 for work and one for worship), toiletries, underwear, nightwear and some miscellaneous body care items. Honestly, I didn’t need anything else. Like Geroge Carlin said, “[I] could just walk around.” I enjoyed beating my one suit of clothes on the rocks with the women in the late afternoon and then laying those freshly washed clothes out in the sun on the rocks to dry. It was the equivalent of having a latte with friends back home.

I have been trying and trying to remember the name of the “syndrome” that describes the experience you get when you fix something up or purchase something new and then discover that everything around the newness looks really bad. You get the feeling that you have to fix everything or you have to get all new things to go with it. Can anyone help me here? One of the ladies at my church yesterday had painted the door to the fellowship hall green to match the shingles on the church roof. The ladies discussed how good the door looked, but said they really had to paint all the trim now because it was very obvious that it needed it, now that the door was done. See what I mean? The more you have the more you need.

Anyway, when I saw the picture of the huge animal being pulled uphill by a lone person, I couldn’t help but think that maybe the lightening of the loads caused by the flooding may revolutionize some lives. The conversation with my friend last evening confirmed this may be so. Would to God that we would learn our lessons from the flood.

Have a wonderful weekend, Friends,

Dawn

Wondering about Wandering – Part 1

I was over at He Sees Me http://heseesme.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/splintered-hands-and-ham/ where Danelle wrote about Ham, Noah’s youngest son, who departed from the ways of the Lord even though he grew up building the ark and having lived on the ark and was a member of the only family to survive the flood. How could he turn his back knowing all that he was spared?

My mind was taken to the second verse of the song “They Word is a Lamp onto My Feet” as it was sung by Amy Grant:

 Now I will not forget Your love for me and yet
My heart forever is wandering

Jesus be my guide and hold me to Your side
And I will love You to the end

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path

Why is it that our heart is forever wandering? Are we afraid we are missing something? Well, yes we are. If you take one path, there are others you are not taking. The better question here, may be “Did I take the wrong path? If so, am I missing something better than what I have?” “Is the other person’s grass greener?” I started to wonder if we may not be programmed to think we are deprived people? “Do we have to fight against honing a victim mentality?”

At this juncture I am entertaining two answers to this wandering question. One comes from an experiment Mark Buchanan did with middle-school kids. The other comes from a book by James Schwartz called The Paradox of Choice.  I am going to present this “Wandering” post in three parts because there is so much meat to it and I want you to be able to grab on to the pieces and leave me comments. Please. I covet your comments. I learn so much more about a topic when you talk to me about what you got out of the words here rather than me just “talking” to myself. Also, when you leave your own life experiences of how you dealt with similar questions/issues in real time, my heart soars and the neuronal synapses fire at lightening speed. You are all just so stimulating. Please get a cup of tea, coffee or chocolate milk and sit down with me some time(s) during the next three days.

I bought a new car last week. It is a 2011 Mazda 3. My friend has a Mazda 3. I liked what she had. I went and got one of my own. Over and out. I didn’t spend months comparing automobiles, warranties or options. I wanted a certain few things, well 3 things actually (comfortable seats, compact size and automatic locks). This model had it with style and within my price range so I went and got it. I paid for it and now I’m good for possibly the rest of my driving life. This car could well outlive me. It’s that good. Some of you reading this are going crazy! You can’t believe I would make such a high end purchase with so little investigation. Others of you feel vindicated that there is someone else out there like you. This is where I will begin on Friday. There is a key to being happy within a purchase situation such as this.

Come back tomorrow to pick up your key!

Prayerfully seeking ways of proactively keeping my heart connected to Jesus,

Dawn

Incandescent light bulbs and slavery: The right of ownership

So today South Carolina vows to produce their own  incandescent light bulbs for their own South Carolina citizenry because the federal government made said light bulbs illegal as of January 2012 beginning with the 100 watt-version. When I read that headline in my online news, I thought, “How ironic!” Old South Carolina is seceding from the Union, in a sense, over light bulbs! This is the same South Carolina that 150 years ago lead the succession of the southern states over the issue of slavery. They are the ones who shot the first shots that began the Civil War.  On April 12, 1861, the battle of Fort Sumter (South Carolina) marked the beginning of the bloodiest war our nation has ever known.

The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, which unanimously passed South Carolina’s Senate panel, would allow South Carolina manufacturers to continue to sell incandescent bulbs so long as they have “Made in South Carolina” on them and are sold only within the state. It’s really not about the light bulbs, says Rep. Bill Sandifer of Seneca, S.C., it is a matter of rights. The same logic was used on December 20th, 1860, when South Carolina held a secession convention in Charleston. The debate was quick and short. Representatives voted unanimously, 169 to 0 for secession. The Federal government had no right to tell a state whether they could or could not have slaves. The South could see the “handwriting on the wall” when Abraham Lincoln, a clear abolitionist, was elected president 5 months earlier.

Speaking of the presidents. I find it ironic that the presidents at the time of both of these events that are objectionable to the South Carolineans, have almost identical credentials and they come from the same state!!!  Lawyer Abraham Lincoln served 8 years in the Illinois legislature and one term in the U.S. House. Lawyer Barack Obama served 8 years in the Illinois state Senate and nearly four years in the U.S. Senate. I think that is uncanny, and a bit foreshadow-y, too. Obama clearly identifies Lincoln as one of his heroes. He had a bust of Lincoln set in the Oval Office to take the place of a bust of Churchill that had been on loan to President Bush. So, I wonder just how messy this “war” of the light bulbs is going to get…

My hope is in the Lord who made heaven and earth,

Dawn

Reality…is found in Christ

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

These verses from Colossians 2 are so needed today. What is right? What is wrong? Who can be trusted? What is the standard by which I am judged? I was over at (in)courage this week where Ann Voskamp asked people to share a lie that they confront and their response to that lie.

Hundreds of women responded about how inadequate they felt. How they hated their bodies and bemoaned the fact that no man would ever want them. They talked about their weight, their attitudes, their cutting tongues and their lack of ______ (fill in the blank). My heart ached for these Christian women. My memory verses from Colossians tell me that reality is found in Christ! What does He say? Ann Voskamp made a list so perfect that I am just going to lift it and put it here, in case you missed it over at (in)courage:

When the lies hiss loud — I come back to this, steep again in this:

Who I am in Christ

Because you are in Christ, every one of these statements is true of you.

I am loved 1John 3:3

I am accepted Ephesians 1:6

I am a child of God John 1:12

I am Jesus’ friend John 15:14

I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him Romans 8:17

I am united with God and one spirit with Him 1Corinthians 6:17

I am a temple of God. His spirit and his life live in me 1 Corinthians 6:19

I am a member of Christ’s body. 1 Corinthians 12:27

I am a Saint Ephesians 1:1

I am redeemed and forgiven Colossians 1:14

I am complete in Jesus Christ Colossians 2:10

I am free from condemnation Romans 8:1

I am a new creation because I am in Christ 2Corinthians 5:17

I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved Colossians 3:12

I am established, anointed, and sealed by God 2Corinthians 1:21

I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind 2Timothy 1:7

I am God’s co-worker 2Corinthians 6:1

I am seated in heavenly places with Christ Eph 2:6

I have direct access to God Ephesians 2:18

I am chosen to bear fruit John 15:16

I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house 1 Peter 2:5

I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His nature 2 Peter 1:4

I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews 13:5

God works in me to help me do the things He wants me to do Philippians 2:13

I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need James 1:5

——–http://www.incourage.me/2011/06/when-you-take-the-scraps-of-lies-make-a-truth-quilt.html

I pray you get alone with Him, away from everything that would distract so that you can hear His evaluation. You will be amazed at who you are in Him. I praise Him for the freedom He gives me as a gift. I did not earn it. He gave it to me. I just needed to pick it up. Perhaps you need to pick yours up, too, or, at least, locate it again.

Have a blessed weekend,

Dawn

The Velvet Revolution

This week on my internet server news was a headline How Close Did We Come to Nuclear War? They did a piece on the Cold War years and the dangers of those years. Having lived through the school air raid drills of the 1950’s and 1960’s where you were told to go under your desk and cover your head, I know how real the threat was. In fact, I had a childhood neighbor almost go insane with worry that it might happen at any minute. She had her basement filled with food stuffs, water and medicines for survival in case of nuclear attack.

I had tears in my eyes when in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down peacefully. Communist regimes in the Soviet Bloc were toppling like the domino theory in reverse and with a minimum of bloodshed. It has been called the Velvet Revolution by many. When President Reagan cried out on June 12, 1989, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” and then that wall actually came down 5 months later, it was a magical moment, some even called it a miracle. I watched it on television with tears streaming down my face. As a 30-something mom with 4 children, I believed this meant a better world for my family. My oldest son was in his senior year of high school. I wanted him to have every opportunity, and freedom was his best chance at that.

What is little known about this incredible historical turn-around, however, is the church’s role in bringing it about. In 1982 a group of people from Nicholai Church in Leipzig, East Germany began to meet every Monday to pray for peace and freedom in their nation. In May 1989 the larger community began to become involved. By summer the group was so large the Stasi, the East German secret police, had begun to monitor the prayer services. On September 4, as the group was leaving the church they were attacked by the police. Lesser people would have disbanded, but the group continued making a pact to always use nonviolence as a response. Because of news media coverage (western press “just happened” to be there for the Leipzig Autumn Festival and the cameras were rolling during the attack), the group was now growing exponentially and the cathedral was packed every Monday evening. On October 2 there were 20,ooo peaceful protesters outside the doors of the cathedral with another several thousand inside. The East German world was being overturned one prayer at a time.

The East German government sent out word that the counter-revolution would be stopped by whatever means necessary on October 9, the very next Monday. Christian Fuehrer, the pastor of the church at the time, recalls

Christian Fuehrer, pastor of Nicholai Church, got things started

Around 6,000 to 8,000 people were crammed in to the churches in central Leipzig, and a total of 70,000 people had gathered in the city. Everyone was holding a candle, a symbol of non-violence – you need to hold a candle with both hands to keep it from going out, which makes it impossible to throw stones.

Later, a member of the SED Central Committee said: “We had everything planned. We were ready for anything – except candles and prayers.” The police had not been briefed for this possibility. Had we thrown stones, they would have known what to do: They would have attacked. But the tanks had no choice but to withdraw without a single shot being fired, and that’s when we knew that the GDR would never be the same again.    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,3805080,00.html

And it wasn’t ever the same again. The Berlin Wall was taken down one month later and the reunification of Germany occurred in 1990, the year my son graduated from high school. Freedom: what a great graduation gift, and he was saavy enough to realize it, even at his tender young age.

On this Walk with Him Wednesday, I am inspired by these pray-ers that never gave up. They believed and they changed their world. I live in a world that needs changing, too. I have been committing the Word of Colossians into my heart and memory faithfully. I, also, need to make prayer a more prominent part of my day. Thank you, my dear German brothers and sisters in Christ for your bravery and commitment that still inspires today.

Walking with Him,

Dawn

The cost of “free”dom – thoughts on Memorial Day

“When the ways of people please the Lord, he makes even their enemies live at peace with them.” Proverbs 16:7. I think about this in relation to America and terrorism. I see no way to deal with terrorism other than that the Lord intervene, but I really don’t see how He can intervene if we, as a people, are not pleasing Him. I think about this on Memorial Day, a day we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. I remember how Paul prayed for the early church at Colossae, “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will with all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives, so you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way.” (Colossians 1:9b,10a.)

Today my husband and I will plant flowers on the graves of deceased family members who served in the military. My husband is a genealogist so he has a lot of information on our relatives. Today I give thanks on Multitudes on Mondays for those of our families who fought for American freedom throughout the centuries:

Tiadaghton Elm where Fair Play Men signed the Tiadaghton Declaration of Independence

# 150  Robert Love – (a distant relative of my husband, great great great great grandfather) one of the “Fair Play Men” who was elected to settle disputes in the Jersey Shore area before there was law. He was one of the men who signed the Tiadaghton Declaration of Independence which was signed about the time that the official Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia July 4, 1776. This “local” document was signed under the famous Tiadagton Elm in present day Clinton County. He is recognized by the American Daughters of the American Revolution as a patriot his part in declaring independence from England. He served with Thomas Robinson’s Rangers in the Revolution. The book Little Pine Valley Story tells his story.

# 151 Samuel Winder was my great-great grandfather. He fought in the Civil War “to free the slaves”. He was one of the soldiers of the 203 regiment PA Infantry, Company H. In the book Advance the Colors by Richard H Sauers, the story is told how January 15, 1865 they were the first unit to  arrive to take the fort by siege. His regiment climbed the steep slopes up to Fort Fisher, a supply storage unit in North Carolina, in order to take it. He was wounded 4 times: L thigh, R wrist, L side of jaw, and L thumb, but continued to climb and was ultimately successful. After the battle, Admiral Porter remarked, “I have since visited Fort Fisher and its adjoining works, and find their strength beyond what I conceived. An engineer might be excusable in saying they could not be captured, except by regular siege. I wonder even now how it was done…and yet it was captured by a handful of men…and in seven hours after the attack commenced in earnest.” from the pages of the  History of  Pennsylvania Volunteers by Samuel P. Bates.

# 152 Charles Miller, my husband’s great-great-great grandfather, was in the 112th Regiment, 2nd PA Heavy Artillery, Company H whose main duty was to protect Washington DC. He was shot in the right leg, captured by the Confederates and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond after fighting a battle at Fort Harrison, Va on Sept 28, 1864. At Libby Prison a Confederate surgeon amputated his leg. He was paroled and told to go home. Somehow, immediately after the surgery on October 4, 1864 he made it back to Union lines and was in hospitals in the Annapolis/Baltimore area over the course of the next year. Ironically, the 1870 census lists him as being a shoemaker.

# 153 Carl Berry, my husband’s uncle, quit his job to join the Army during World War II when he could have been exempted because he had a job making uniforms for the armed forces, but he wanted to be in the fighting force. He was on the ground in Europe. They sent him home after he was wounded, but, once healed, he returned to the battlefield and was killed in the Battle of the Bulge.

# 154 Clinton Solt, my husband’s uncle, was in the Air Force during World War II. He crawled back in the tail of the plane after it was bombed to rewire the steering mechanisms which

Uncle Clinton standing by bombed plane he rewired for the landing

then allowed them to steer the plane again and fly to safety. His mechanical ability and bravery saved the lives of all those on the plane that day.

# 155  My father, Floyd Schon, fought 28 days during World War II — on Iwo Jima. He was a Marine and fought in hand-to-hand combat when enemy soldiers got down in the hull of the tank he operated. I have letters my grandmother kept that he wrote to her telling her he was o.k. and not to worry. He was never o.k. again. He shook in his sleep, drank too much and always felt guilty that he survived Iwo Jima when so many had died.

# 156 My husband’s father, Harry Russell Blanchard, Sr., was a sargeant in the Army and spent most of his time in the Philippines during World War II. He was a quiet man and never shared much about his experiences.

# 157  My husband’s cousin, Clinton Solt, flew a helicopter during the Vietnam War doing search and rescue. Not only did he survive, but many others survived because of his bravery.

# 158 My husband’s brother, Ralph Blanchard, was career Navy, retiring as a Chief. He was in the Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. One story my husband shared with me was when Ralph was a gunner’s mate. The gun overheated and could have exploded. Ralph cleared everyone out and manned the gun till he was able to disable it, risking his life alone.

#  159 My daughter, Joyce Blanchard, was on the first air craft carrier to leave for duty after 9/11. The USS Theodore Roosevelt was out to sea without going into port longer than any other ship in Naval history. America just didn’t know who her friends were after September 11, 2001 so they didn’t dock. My daughter tells how every so often a helicopter would have to come to take sailors who were “going crazy” from the claustrophobic conditions off the ship. She worked 20 hours, slept 4 hours and got up to work again during “shock and awe”.

I feel a bit like the writer of Hebrews as I post all this. After he lists all the great saints of the faith, he says, “And what more can I say? For time will fail me if I  tell of …..” (Hebrews 11:32) Yes, time would fail me if I listed ALL the great freedom fighters on both sides of our family. There were many more and civilian heroes, too.  My husband’s grandmother’s childhood home was set up as a hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Today I honor each and every one of them. I sit in my sun room free to watch my mama robin and sip tea as my dogs sit around my feet because they gave.

Praying for wisdom to please Him in every way, while I say, “Thank you, Family,”

Dawn