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The God of our Salvation!

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Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation!
—Psalm 68:19

 

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In Memory…

In memory of the brave Granite Mountain Hotshots who perished on June 30, 2013

 

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I am blessed and privileged to know several firefighters. All of them—and I know this holds true for all firefighters—put their lives on the line every time they suit up in their turnouts. Whether on the job or in their personal lives, they are selfless and giving people who always seem to think of others before themselves. They are the embodiment of 1 John 3:16:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 

The collage below shows the long funeral procession from last year, 19 white hearses accompanied by fire and police vehicles. The lines of people on both sides of the highway spanned miles.

The memorial service took place in Prescott, close to where we live, and Rick and I were privileged to open our home to my son, Alan, along with Justin and Zane, two firefighter buddies from Dallas Fire Department who are also members of the Dallas Pipes & Drums. Each of them attended and were involved in the memorial service, along with many, many others.

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Let’s not forget the sole survivor of that Granite Mountain Hotshots crew, Brendan McDonough, who read “The Hot Shot’s Prayer” during the memorial service:

When I am called to duty, Lord …

To fight the roaring blaze …

Please keep me safe and strong …

I may be here for days.

Be with my fellow crew members …

As we hike up to the top.

Help us cut enough line …

For this blaze to stop.

Let my skills and hands …

Be firm and quick.

Let me find those safety zones …

As we hit and lick.

For if this day on the line …

I should answer death’s call …

Lord, bless my hot shot Crew …

My family, one and all.

 

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I want to thank all firefighters for their unselfish and giving service, even though that never sounds adequate to express what’s in my heart. God bless you and your families with His everlasting love and peace…

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Independence Day … and an update [Repost]

Independence Day

I am very thankful that we can still celebrate Independence Day here in the United States. Many of us typically celebrate with fireworks, picnics, barbecues and family get-togethers which commemorate probably the most important day in our country’s history. As a nation, the United States of America is very blessed because of the sacrifice of all those who fought to procure our freedoms.

--PatrioticSoldier

The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! —Psalm 33:11-12

Let us never forget how blessed we are as a nation … under God … whose freedom was bought at a great price.

Update on Monday’s post about the

19 Granite Mountain Hotshot Firefighters

I do not want to minimize the importance of this July 4th commemoration, the reason we celebrate it, or the enormous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in the various branches of the military to protect our country and our freedoms. But I also need to share further information about some other heroes who sacrificed their lives to protect us earlier this week.

Please forgive me if it seems that I am dishonoring or disrespecting our military in any way by talking about these other brave souls. It is absolutely not my intention to do so.

This is just a simple tribute to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot Firefighters, and the family and friends they left behind. A wonderful Facebook group established to honor the memories of these fallen heroes and to support their families created the great banner image below.

I did not personally know any of these brave men but my son did and so did several of my friends. We are all grieving their deaths, most of whom were so young.

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The Yarnell 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots:

yarnell19-2Credit: Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots Facebook page

Andrew Ashcraft, 29
Robert Caldwell, 23
Travis Carter, 31
Dustin Deford, 24
Christopher MacKenzie, 30
Eric Marsh, 43
Grant McKee, 21
Sean Misner, 26
Scott Norris, 28
Wade Parker, 22
John Percin, 24
Anthony Rose, 23
Jesse Steed, 36
Joe Thurston, 32
Travis Turbyfill, 27
William Warneke, 25
Clayton Whitted, 28
Kevin Woyjeck, 21
Garret Zuppiger, 27

You can read the “Families, Friends of The Yarnell 19 Speak Out” story here.

Several members of our church are retired firefighters who come out of retirement every year to help fight these wildfires. I am very thankful to each and every one of them for their service over the years.

Our church has been for praying for the families of the 19 men who perished in the Yarnell Hill fire and for firefighters who are still fighting the Yarnell fire as well as other wildfires in Arizona and other western states.

Please keep in mind—and in prayer—that there was a survivor of that horrible wildfire incident last Sunday. Of the 20-man Granite Mountain Hotshot team, one of the men survived. This was most likely because he was assigned to be the lookout that day and happened to be away from the rest of his team. He was up on a ridge checking weather conditions and radioing the information back to the rest of his team when they perished.

I’d rather not share his name here because he is more than likely struggling with why he was the only survivor. Maybe someday he will be ready to talk about this; maybe not. At any rate, he should be allowed the time and space to get through his many conflicting emotions about that fateful day without media or anyone else crowding him.

Our church held a prayer meeting on Monday night which I was sadly not able to attend, but I’m thankful that one of the ladies had the foresight to take some photos to share with us.

This is the result of how they decorated one of the parking lot fences:

Pray4FireCrewsLook closely and you’ll see it reads “Pray 4 Fire Crews”

The next photos show the alternating messages on the digital sign outside the church:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13

Still Here!

Blog-Break

I put myself on a blog break last month, which you can read about here, but I think I tried to come back too soon and too strong. Our summer monsoon season has started, and for me that means constant migraines—yes, I mean 24/7 quite literally. So for about another month, I’ll continue to lay low to conserve energy for other things, but you’ll still hear from me here once or twice a week as my energy allows.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people,
and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people,
and God himself will be with them and be their God.
 
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
Then he said, “Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true.”
—Rev 21:3-5

 

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My Hope

 

MyHopeIsInTheLord

 

 

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Come to Jesus

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Come to Jesus

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest. —Matthew 11:28

Resting is not something that comes naturally to me. Back in the days filled with activities, rest came as an afterthought. How things have changed! In this season of my life I need to rest between tasks in order to not become overly fatigued. Gone are the days when I could clean my entire house in one morning.

Awhile back a song kept playing itself over and over in my mind and made a great impact on me. I can relate to these words in particular:

“Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!”*

These lines remind me of the immense comfort I can find in Jesus when I let myself completely rest in Him. He hears my cries and knows my pain, and I am calmed when I remember that He holds my life in His hands.

When we live with daily pain, so many hours are filled not only with pain, but toss in extreme fatigue, canceled plans and stress and you have the perfect formula for frustration.

Are you like me, thinking you can’t possibly make it through the day or maybe even just the next hour? Do you wonder if you will ever be able to lead some kind of normal life again?

Beloved, God reassures us that He is always available and waiting for us to lean on Him. He encourages us to turn to Him and let Him bear the brunt of our burdens. In return we will find rest and that peace that surpasses all understanding.

The ending of this song is a great encouragement for me to keep on trusting that God wants the best for me because in the end we will never feel pain again as we revel in the glorious presence of Jesus Christ, our LORD and Savior.

“And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!”*

*Copyright © Chris Rice, “Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)”

 

If for any reason you cannot view this video, you can read the lyrics here.

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Mother’s Day Blessings

This is a repost of last Mother’s Day message. Enjoy!

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This is for all of you Moms out there and for all of us whose Moms have already left this world.

The Lord took my Mom home six years ago but this is how I often remember her:

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When I was growing up, one of the houses we lived in had built-in brick planters that bordered the front porch. Every year Mom would plant bright red geraniums in those planters—just like the ones in this photo. They made the entrance to our home look so pretty! I wish I had a photo of her standing next to those gorgeous geraniums but I guess that doesn’t matter because I’ll always have the memories in my mind and in my heart.

Beloved, whether your Mom is still here with you or dancing in heaven, what memory is your favorite about her?

I love and miss you Mom!

Mom(smaller)

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2014 Update: In Mom’s honor, I decided to continue her geranium tradition. I bought a gorgeous red geranium plant the other day and will be buying more in the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait to see them all in bloom!


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My Balm of Gilead

Here is another great piece from The Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord.
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Balm of Gilead

Is there no balm in Gilead? —Jeremiah 8:22

There are experiences of suffering through which the Master wills that we should pass. There are burdens which He does not lift, though He takes us, burden and all, into His everlasting arms. But in every suffering which He permits, He is our “Balm.” He eases every pain. He comforts every sorrow. He strengthens us in every weakness. There is a “Balm” in our Gilead. Shall we take from Him the comfort which He offers us today?

[Taken from Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord, by Charles E. Hurlburt and T. C. Horton. Copyright © 2002 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.]

My thoughts

Is there no balm in Gilead,
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no recovery
For the health of the daughter of my people?
—Jeremiah 8:22

 

Waiting is difficult, especially in the midst of pain and suffering. There is no doubt that life here on earth is hard. We often feel as if we’re treading hopelessly through thick mud that is trying to suck us in. 

111805-BleuWe once had a sweet Sheltie. Bleu would get all shook up whenever he heard any kind of motor or engine noise. Out in the backyard, he barked and would dig at the ground when he heard someone in the neighborhood using a lawn mower or leaf blower. When we started the truck to go somewhere, he would bark and run around in circles until we had backed out of the garage. Even sounds like the blender or vacuum cleaner caused him to bark in agitation. As the noise continued, he would run for one of his stuffed toys and carry it around like a toddler with their security blanket. It sure was a funny sight to us.

Isn’t that the way we are when faced with adversity though? We search for something to calm us down and quiet our hearts. Maybe we immerse ourselves in a book or magazine, or park ourselves in front of the TV for hours. Perhaps we use the internet to shop for things we can’t afford and don’t need. And how many of us turn to our own version of  comfort food when we’re feeling low?

A little at a time, God has been showing me that the only way to get through anything tough is to go directly to Him. Beloved, that’s what He is there for!

Through reading my Bible and devotions, and praying for specific needs, God is always faithful to show me in His Word what He wants me to do. I have tons of past experience in trying to do things on my own before I finally remember how much better things are when I look to God first.

How much better would my life be if I always remembered to seek God first before leaping ahead of Him?

It’s important to remember that God doesn’t ever allow us to go through more than we can stand, even though the circumstances seem
overwhelming. When the crucial times are over, we can look back and see that God was with us all along, carrying our load for us just as His Son, Jesus Christ, did for us on that cross at Calvary.

Beloved, right now you can give your pains, frustrations and anxieties over to the only One who really cares about you and your problems.

Jesus carries

Jesus is our Balm of Gilead.
We can always count on Him to carry us through. 

The other day I once again heard John Waller’s wonderful song “While I’m Waiting” from the movie Fireproof and realized how well it speaks to the great peace and comfort we can feel as we wait on God to walk us through those inevitable tough times.

If you cannot view this video for any reason, you can read the lyrics here.

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God is Able

2Cor9-8

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
 
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart,
not grudgingly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
 
And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that always having all sufficiency in everything,
you may have an abundance for every good deed;
 
as it is written,

He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever.”
—2 Corinthians 9:6-9

 

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My Redeemer Lives!

 

 

I love listening to Nicole C. Mullen’s “My Redeemer Lives,” so when a good friend posted this video on her Facebook page, I knew I had to share it with you considering that we just celebrated Resurrection Sunday.

I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and that in the end He will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see Him with my own eyes—
I, and not another.

    How my heart yearns within me!
—Job 19:25-27

 

 

If for any reason you cannot view the video, click here to read the lyrics or listen to the song.

Other places to read more about Jesus Christ, our Redeemer:

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