Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas to All and keep reaching for The Star

Dec 26 2017

Good Morning,

I am writing this in the morning hours on the day after Christmas.  I'm sitting here reflecting while my wonderful little family is sleeping.  Our Christmas this year was not spectacular in the common sense of the season, but for us it couldn't have been much better.  We didn't give large expensive gifts or those hard to get popular gifts that most folks would attribute to a "spectacular" Christmas.

Our Christmas was most spectacular because of family.  We tremendously missed those that have gone on to their heavenly homes, but we rejoiced because we were together.  As we opened gifts from each other here in our humble little home, we were all here.  For the first time that we can remember my youngest daughter and my wife were here at home on Christmas!  It may not seem like a big deal to most but to me and my family it is huge.  Alina, my youngest has a special genetic condition that is the only one on record, and has cause developmental issues that allows her to get sick easier and more completely than most children her age.  

This year was the first time we've all been home together for Christmas!  In years past I'd have the big kids at home and my wife would be with our littlest at the hospital.  Anytime they have to be away from us and in the hospital isn't an idea time but Christmas is just a little harder.  I've tried telling myself that it's just another day, Christmas is no different than any other day but I haven't convinced myself of that yet.  So this year is special.

This year we went to the movies on Christmas day, just our little family.  We saw "The Star".  This was just one more way to celebrate our King coming to earth.  We praise God for all He has done to save us and for all the many blessings he has given us.  This year our greatest blessing is being together.  We are living a Doxology moment.  Praising God from whom all Blessings flow, Praising Him all creatures here below, Praising Him above ALL heavenly host, Praising Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  AMEN

We had a hospital stay over Thanksgiving and through the first of December.  It was all looking pretty discouraging but she made it.  She made it out and stayed out. We've had a few trips to the hospital during December but somehow she stayed out.  Even though we know she isn't feeling 100%, we did get to celebrate her December 23 birthday at home this year and we celebrated Christmas all together.  

This makes me focus on the manger.  My little family's celebration is nothing compared to that one Starry night, but it is great to me and my family and it points us to the night of His birth.  

I can only imagine what it was like that night in the lonely stable when a baby was born, shepherds suddenly appeared from their fields and Angels sang glorious songs.  Not all saw or heard but those that believed I am sure were blessed beyond measure.  I know my child is not the Messiah, but because of her I celebrate this wonderful event with a joy filled heart and a little more understanding. PRAISE GOD!  All Praises to my Lord and King.  

As many of you know we were also involved in starting a group called Alina's Angels.  We, along with some friends gathered some small gifts and made them in to comfort packages.  During this time of gathering and bringing together, we've all been sick with a cold or some sort of bug.  I truly believe this happened to distract us from our mission.  Fortunately while we were down, there were other brothers and sisters in The Faith that continued to work.  I thank them whole heartedly for this! This isn't the first time I've experienced this.  I've been part of several other missions where spiritual warfare has taken place.  I have seen folks get sick and have to leave trips, I've seen others have bad dreams even to the point of two separate people having the same dream.  All of this is a distraction from serving.  It's an attempt of an entity that has already lost the war to gather as many souls as possible and keep the Good News from reaching the ears and hearts of those in need.  We've nursed Alina to keep her out of the hospital and had many lifting her in prayer.  We've fought off these different bugs that would be detrimental to the delivery of the packages.  Thank You all for praying for my family.  We know that Alina's Angels is something that needs to continue simply because of the push back the evil one has given us.  This too is part of why I give Him praises this Christmas.  To God be ALL the Glory.  I am thankful that He allows my little family serve Him through serving His people. 

I know all this seems to be a little scattered and messy but it's the stream of conscious writing.  As things that have my heart over joyed come to the surface, I write.  I have been talking to my wife about "Old Christmas" which is a celebration of Epiphany.  It is more pure and sincere than what we are doing for the December 25 Christmas celebrations.  We may not be able to get anything together this year but in upcoming years, look for it.  It follows the 12 days of Christmas and the journey of the Wisemen.  I have more research to do on this but many of the Orthodox churches still celebrate it.  Some call it Little Christmas. 

With everything I have shared in this Blog Post, I must say Thank You to everyone who has been instrumental in helping me and my little family.  Thank You for the prayers you have prayed and the Love and support you have shown us.  I praise God that you are in our lives.  Please continue to Lift Up my family and the ministries that we are involved in.  God has touched your hearts as well as ours.  We are Grateful for this!

To God Be the Glory!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Memories of the Broken Hearted and then a kick in the teeth

My oldest kids started second grade just a few days ago.  I have been thinking and praying that their year of second grade is much better than mine was.  It all hit me just all of a sudden.  I had wished them well on my way out the door that morning, telling them to have a great day at school.  While at work later that morning my wife sent me a text with first day pictures and that's when it hit.  I was suddenly thinking about being in second grade and trying to think of good memories and I came back blank.  I had no good memories of second grade.  The only thing I remembered was my sister getting killed in a car wreck and everything that went with that, and continually having to stay in during recess because I couldn't get my work done for some reason.  It was just a very sad year as I remembered it.  That was Monday.  I got over it and I praised God for Blessing me with a fantastic wife and family, and the time we get to have together.  Well, on Wednesday (yesterday) I noticed a friend of mine had posted a picture of another friend.  I thought "I haven't talked with him in a few months, I need to give him a call".  That's when the friend that posted the picture called me and let me know that our mutual friend, brother in Christ, and servant of Jesus Christ had passed away.  For a minute I just couldn't move.  Words escaped me.  I found it hard to breathe and had a sick feeling in my gut.  I was again extremely sad for the second time this week, but this wasn't the past it was the here and now.  Jay McGee was a true servant of Jesus Christ.  We went on several Appalachian Service Project Mission trips together over the years and Jay had a true heart for the people he served in the name of Jesus.  Jay loved the people of the mountains.  We had talked several times over the years and he had bought himself a house in the West Jefferson area.  The Lord was leading him there.  Jay told me at one point he wanted to be able to help folks in the hills, kind of like an ASP but all the time, not just one week out of the year.  I remembered that last night when I heard my wife talking about it.  Jay served locally as well.  Jay McGee has touched lives in the Thousands upon Thousands in the name of Jesus.  Many of the people that will read this knew Jay, and will recognize that I have not embellished one bit.  If you think about the Thousands of people Jay was in contact with face to face, think about it in a compounded way.  For every person Jay shared the love of Christ with,  they have in turn have had opportunities to share about Jay, his passion, his kindness, his friendship, and his dream...... Which all point back to Jay's Lord, Jesus Christ.  As sad as it is for all of us left behind, I can't really be sad.  I don't think Jay would want us to be sad for him, especially after he has heard "well done My good and faithful servant".    So here is to Jay McGee!  Jesus follower and lover of life!  
From Jay's Facebook post:

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
Albert Pike

~Dei Gratia~

That's so Jay!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dreaming in Color and Flashes of Light

My family dreams.  I mean literally we have dreams that can stir your soul.  My grandma had dreams, my parents had dreams, I know at least one of my nieces has dreams, I think my kids have the dreams too, lastly I have dreams.  My kid's and I were talking about dreams on the way home from Bible school tonight.  I told them that I used to have one particular dream every once in a while.  I've changed dreams in the middle of dreams before.  I have had dreams that have awakened me and caused me to pray for people.  One of those instances was an old friend of mine that I had reconnected with on the FaceBook a few years ago.  I had a dream about her and I can't really remember the details but I remember waking up and having to pray for her.  I sent her a message to let her know I was praying for her and threw in a few pleasantries to keep from seeming like a big weirdo and hit send.  Well, she was up and proceeded to tell me that she had decided to leave her husband.  I immediately knew why I'd had that dream and it was so I'd pray for my friend and her soon to be ex-husband, who I'd know for many years.  I eventually had to delete her from my friends list because I didn't want to watch the upcoming situation, even if it was from afar.  I just knew to keep praying.  I've had several dreams that I've not mentioned.  I've had dreams that I've lived out.  I know the whole deja vue deal and it's completely different. 

Well tonight as we discussed dreams and just had some daddy and kid time on the way home,  one dream that has been on my mind for over a year now decided to slip into the forward space in my mind.  
One night as I had a dream that we were on my mom and dad's porch, my grandma's house was still beside theirs.  In this dream the kids and I were playing in the yard and street.  Suddenly there were Bees everywhere.  I sent the kids running for the house and I ran to distract the Bees.  Everyone on the porch was yelling about the bees and I remember my dad getting stung as I was trying to run up and keep the bees away from the porch and the kids that were running to the back door.  At this point all details of the dream disappear and I clearly hear, "End of Life Illness".   I woke up and checked my phone.  I had a couple of missed calls from about 30 minutes to an hour after I'd gone to bed.  You know, just enough time that I'd be asleep good and not hear the vibration of the "VIP" callers that were two of a handful of folks that could still ring my phone after 9pm.  The first missed call was from my dad.  The second was from my sister.  I woke my wife before ever listening to the voicemails and told her this was it.  I listened to the voicemails and learned they were taking my dad to the hospital because he was having severe abdomen pain.  I again told my wife that "this is it, he won't be coming home from this trip".  I called my sister and was told they were transferring to Charlotte.  I met them in Charlotte knowing that this was it.  I called and talked with my boss about having the next few days off because I knew those were my dad's last.  I started telling my dad when I'd leave "don't go anywhere until I get back". He'd always tell me okay, I'm not planning on going anywhere.  Well that last night before I left I said it again but this time he didn't say it.  I recognized it but didn't say anything.  I cried a little on the ride home but I knew it was his time for His time.  I can remember the call when my sister called me that night.  My sister was staying the night.  It was about 10pm when the call came.  I looked at my wife and said "it's done" and then answered the phone.  My sister gave me some of the details but I knew the end of the story.  In the fashion of my dad being who he was, in the middle of him going home my sister called him "Daddy"......  He woke up and looked at the nurse and my sister and said "what's wrong" and he just laid back and crossed over to be with Jesus.  I don't know why I have these dreams or how any of this spirituality stuff works but I do know that Jesus is The Way.  There is a reason for it all even if we don't understand.  It's not always about our understanding, It's about Truth whether we can decipher it or not.  I don't know if it would be called a gift.  I know other people that dream just like I do.  It freaks me out sometimes.  It goes hand in hand with the look people give me to let me know it's their time.  My Grandma did it, my grandpa did it, my mom did it and my dad did it.  The look is like they are looking as deeply into your soul as they possibly can. Almost like they are soaking up every last detail that they can get.  Between the dreams and the looks it's haunting sometimes.  I still see their eyes looking at me and I still remember the dreams.  I know all this seems weird especially if you don't believe God talks to you.  I know he does and I miss it when I can't hear it or sense it.  With all of these ramblings and confessions, I encourage you to search for the voice of God.  When God speaks and reveals things to you it is humbling and encouraging all at the same time.  

Thank You God for leading me and talking to me in Your own ways.  Let me use what ever way You see fit to embrace me.  Please move in the lives of the people reading this and praying that You will use them.  Father if anyone reading this does not know You, please reveal Yourself to them and let them accept the free gift of grace You have provided us.
I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.