Blog # 47 February 24, 2018
FUNCTION WITH UNCTION
( Part 3 of 3 )
Life brings a lot of twists and turns on our journey...a lot of unexpected stuff. Some things shake us to the foundation. (I’m glad my house is built on a solid foundation.) Sometimes we are lower than a snake’s belly. Well, children of the King, we can’t stay there. We have within us the power to get up and get going. It may take some grit and determination on our part; but, never underestimate God’s miraculous power working in us to bring the victory. “Everyday is a victory day when you put it in the hands of the Lord”...a line from a chorus I use to sing.
Here are the last eleven spiritual vitamin pills, making a total of 31; so that, should you decide to print these; you would have one for every day of the month. There’s nothing better than God’s Word, His promises, to make a life turn around; to make a life abound; to make us function with unction!
1. Eph.6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
2. Believe the Word; Believe God’s power; have faith. Eph. 6:16, “Keep the shield of faith with you to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
3. “I’ve got confidence; God’s gonna’ see me through. No matter what the case may be, God’s gonna’ fix it for me.” This powerful song was sung by the Downings many years ago. Phil.1:6 reminds us of our confidence, “being confident of this very thing that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
4. Hebrews 10:35,36 speaks to us about keeping on keeping on. “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward...so that after...you may receive the promise.”
5. Success requires diligence and discipline. No discipline seems joyful, but afterwards yields the successful fruit, brings the reward, so Hebrews 12:11 records.
6. Psalm 120:1 admonishes us to call on the Lord in our distress. “In my distress I cried to the Lord and He heard me.” You can count on Jesus. He hears and answers our prayers.
7. With every success, every victory, praise the Lord. Even praise Him before the victory, while in the valley of despair. So many of the Psalms begin with “Praise the Lord.” (Ps 111,112,113) Psalm 116:1,2 says “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.”
8. “Pray without ceasing,” “Ask & ye shall receive.” Nothing is too difficult for Him.
9. Matt. 6:34a, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things…” The Collingsworth Family sings a song that I love; FEAR NOT TOMORROW. I’m not sure what you are going through, but God is already in your tomorrows. He will take care of you. Remember what Karen Peck tells us. When He’s 4 days late He’s still on time. Mark 5:36 tells us “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
10. Keep hope alive. Is. 49:23 tells us that God has promised those who hope in Him will not be disappointed.
11. Make your faith great. Have great faith. Jesus spoke an awesome Word to the Syrophoenician woman. He said in Matt. 15:28, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. He is no respecter of persons; man or woman with great faith can see mountains moved.
Oh God, I want to function with unction!
Blog # 46 February 16, 2018
KEEP PUTTING ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER!
(Part 2 of Spiritual Vitamin Pills)
Life is full of challenges. Often we get down in the dumps! But, it’s time to get up. Shake off defeat and pessimism! You can make it. So can I. God provided everything we need to make it...to thrive...and to live abundantly. So, now get up! God is good all the time.
1. Let’s begin by giving Thanks. Ps. 106:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.” Realizing our blessings, goes a long way to joy. If you want joy, real joy, get on God’s glory train!!!
2. Live, Laugh, Love. Enjoy the day. Sing praises. God inhabits the praise of His people. John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.”
3. Think on this. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
4. How about this powerful Word? “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
5. Ok now, no excuses! His Word says, “Call unto me and I WILL answer and show you great and mighty things." WOW! What more do you need?
6. “Lead us (me) not into temptation, but deliver us (me) from evil.”
7. “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Oh my! Oh my!
8. “If you can believe, all things are possible.” Hey, rejoice! We can climb every mountain! Nothing is impossible when you put your trust in God.
9. “Be strong and courageous,” Joshua 1:6,7, & 9 state clearly.
10. Pray every day. Phil. 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Remember always, thanks is a good thing.
Hopefully, these 10 “pick me ups” have gotten you moving to a brighter day, a happier time, a productive season and a successful victory over your enemy. There are 2 things I know:
1. Jesus does not want us down and out (Why are you downcast?) and
2. We do not want to be downcast. It’s a lot more enjoyable, productive, and influential to live in the sunshine.
I’m getting up! How about you?
Blog # 45 FEBRUARY 10, 2018
Life is full of difficulties. And often, we get down in the dumps. Well, we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps! Does that saying ring a bell??? What about pulling ourselves up by using our minds, thinking on whatever is praiseworthy? (Phil. 4:8) I used to sing a little chorus about being on the happy side of life.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I’m hoping to print 31 of what I might call “Spiritual Vitamin Pills,” one for each day of the month. However, not all 31 in this blog; 10 now, 10 on Feb. 17, and 10 on Feb. 24. This idea came to me when our precious son was calling daily for a powerful Word. Here I go!!!
So until next week, I’m climbing...on my way to the top! Bess
Blog # 44 FEBRUARY 3, 2018
A TRIBUTE TO MY FRIENDS
I am so blessed. I have a “million” friends!!! Well, not exactly sure of the number. All types of friends; shopping friends, decorating friends, neighbor friends, church friends, business friends, family friends, Christian friends, music friends, teacher friends, and on and on it goes; but, my best friend is Jesus.
“I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood; joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod. For I’m part of the family, the family of God.”
This popular song written by Bill and Gloria Gaither has been sung by thousands. How about millions???
I call my friends, Special People. Here’s what I think of them.
There are some people who stand out among the crowd, not because of
Their high-ranking position,
Nor their friendships,
But because of their heart.
You are one of these people who stand out among the crowd, because of
Your heart of thanksgiving,
Your heart of compassion,
Your heart of caring,
Your heart of sharing,
Your heart of love and devotion to God,
And yes, because of your overflowing heart.
This is my tribute to you. Because of your giving life, because you give, many are blessed. So may God’s bountiful grace, mercy and blessings, bring great joy to you and yours. Thank you for your kind and loving friendship. We never travel this journey alone, earthly friends come along side of us; and, Jesus, our greatest Friend, never leaves us alone, but always walks with us.
Blog # 43 . January 26, 2018
Saturday, January 27, 2018 begins the winter crusade of Music and the Word at Lake Gibson Church. It runs through Wednesday, January 31. There are so many exciting things about this crusade/revival! One, the workers are some of the very best; Dr. Jim Diehl, the evangelist; Triumphant Quartet, the singers...plus the outstanding church choir. Two, the crusades have been live streamed for many years...and so, you, out there somewhere, can view it online. And three, the Spirit of God is always present. That’s the crown jewel of the meetings.
So, because our world is in a mess; because our nation and our society is so in need of revival, renewal, and awakening, I’m praying… “Revive us again; fill each heart with Thy love. May each soul be rekindled with fire from above...and please, send a great revival in my soul”. May many be saved during these series of services.
This song of St. Francis of Assisi is my prayer.
“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console, to be understood, as to understand, to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life!” Amen.
Crying out to Jesus for help and hope for us all,
Blog # 42 . January 19, 2018
Every couple has their personal wedding date. Charles and mine was August 19, 1960. As you can tell, we’ve travelled many miles together, always strengthened by God’s almighty hand. As we look back over our years, we can truthfully say; we have had a wonderful life. And the joyful journey continues.
God ordained marriage; that is, one man for one woman. Gen. 1:27 says
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”
He first made the man Adam; then, the woman, Eve, and the two became one flesh in marriage. Gen. 2:24 says,
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Well, we are happy to declare the merger, the union, the marriage of our wonderful and loving son, Charles Jr., and his precious and sweet wife, Kaye, to you on this January 19, 2018. They tied the knot tonight. The private ceremony took place among family at the altar of Lake Gibson Church and of course, his Dad performed the ceremony. A little later, a public reception was held in the fellowship hall of the church.
I tried to find the lyrics to wedding songs that I would have remembered, like “Because of You” and “I love you truly," but couldn’t find them on “google.” But I found a portion of this love song in my collection of music; don’t know the author, and, maybe Chuck and Kaye saw in each other what these words say.
“ You are the promised kiss of springtime that makes the lonely winter seem long. You are the breathless hush of evening that trembles on the brink of a lovely song. You are the angel glow that lights a star. The dearest things I know are what you are. Someday my happy arms will hold you, and someday I’ll know that moment divine, when all the things you are, are mine.”
And so, the Bride and Groom have started their journey! We wish them well! Matthew 19:6b says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
I’m still loving this man of mine!!!
Blog # 41 . January 12, 2018
We Kirbys have been so blessed with righteous forefathers. No one can take that away from the descendants of the Pearson/Kirby union. While I spoke last week primarily about the Pearson Family line, we have a rich heritage on the Morgan/Saxon line, the Kirby line, and the Bell line. Those descendants of ours who are outside the fold, must come on in and claim their inheritance, that is, their spiritual heritage, the solid promises of God.
The Morgan/Saxon line on my Mother’s side was filled with faithful, stalwart, and passionate Christians. My home church in Houston, MS was named in honor of this side of the family and the service rendered to God and His church by them. My home church was named “Saxon Memorial Church of the Nazarene. On a side note, the little boy sitting at the sign is our son, Chuck; the little girl was my sister’s daughter, Angela, Chuck’s cousin.
The Kirby and Bell Family trees are filled with hard working, dedicated, loyal servants of God.
Charles’ Dad would work all day; then go straight to the church property in Jackson, TN, to help his pastor build the church, laying concrete blocks. He was also involved in the music, leading hymns when needed. He also played the guitar; while, Charles’ Mom played the accordian. Mrs. Kirby was famous for her good cooking, and feeding the pastor and/or evangelist on Sundays. “Faithful” is the Kirby/Bell name!
Let me re-phrase a paragraph from last week’s blog. The world didn’t give all these shouting grandmothers & faithful grandfathers an inheritance among the sanctified; and, the world can’t take it away. Neither did the world give the continuing generations the inheritance among the sanctified; and the world can’t take it away. The death of these saints (young or old) does not (will not) annul the promises of God. God’s promises are for all who call on His name and are saved by grace through faith because of the shed blood of Jesus, who paid the ransom for sins.
How can we ever thank God enough for the plan of salvation; and, that it is for who ever wants it? He included you; He included me. Wow! We have a rich inheritance in Christ. Praise His Name! How can we ever thank God enough for Christian Parents and Grandparents? We are blessed; so blessed.
Thanking God for my Christian Heritage,
Blog # 40 JANUARY 5, 2018
I want my children and grandchildren to know of their inheritance...spiritual, that is. That’s why I loved recording in a Pictorial Family Directory in 2011 (along with Kaye’s help), our family tree, beginning with my Dad’s parents, my grandparents, Edd and Mattie Pearson. It was my grandmother, who raised 10 children, a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, who started a Sunday School in her home in the country that would eventually lead to a full-fledged church, organized on May 14, 1939, named Pearson’s Chapel. It was a Church of the Nazarene denomination; and, it is still going strong 78 years later in a beautiful new church building. Charles and I were there this past August, as we celebrated our Pearson Family Reunion.
Our wonderful devotional this morning reminded me of “what the world didn’t give me and what the world can’t take away”...family inheritance, family heritage, the promises of God. WOW!!! The covenant made to Abraham was renewed to his children. The death of Abraham did not dis-annul the promise of God. Nor the death of my Pearson grandmother, nor my mother, nor me, will affect the spiritual heritage, legacy, inheritance, or promises of God for my children. Great is His Faithfulness.
Enjoying these thoughts prompted me to hurry to my box that housed my family reunion “stuff”, and pull our the program I put together up in the mountains last spring as I prepared for another reunion. A picture of our family tree with grandparents, then the ten children ( My Dad’s name was Gus), on to the Grandchildren, Great Grands, Great, great Grands, and Generations to come. Included in the program were 2 great hymns, HOW GREAT THOU ART and GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS.
My challenge today for those who read this blog is that when you read God’s promises, you would be encouraged to know they don’t pass away; that God’s Word is true from cover to cover; that what God promises, He will perform; that the promises of God are for you, your children and for generations to come. Take this promise, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Phil. 4:19, and meditate on it and praise God for His everlasting promises.
Standing on the Promises,
BLOG 39 for Dec. 29, 2017
Out with the old; in with the new! 2018 is upon us. When it gets here, it will be open 24 hours a day for 365 days. There’s a lot of opportunity available for us in this open door. What will you (I) do with your (my) open door?
Beginning again...starting over...has been a great blessing for me through the years. I’ve done it numerous times., even when writing my blogs. It’s interesting to me that God has provided many chances for us to start over. Take, for instance, day and night. Night is the death of each day. And then the morning comes, a brand new day, a chance to start over, to begin again. There is something so rewarding and redemptive about getting a 2nd chance.
So here we are on the verge of year 2018. It will be another 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or you name it, chance for each of us; our chance to make spiritual, positive, corrective, inspiring, healthful changes. Wow, what an opportunity awaits each of us!
May I challenge each of us to walk through God’s open door. Jesus said in John 10:9, “I am the door”. And, Paul said in 2 Cor. 2:12, “...a door was opened to me by the Lord”. Here are some suggestions that might jog your memory about a change you need to make and help you take advantage of this present opportunity that presents itself to you.
Quit being negative; be positive.
Quit drinking alcoholic beverages; choose other “good for you” drinks.
Stop smoking; save the money; consider your health.
Lose that extra weight you’ve gained for your health’s sake.
Begin exercising; start walking.
Get a job; quit laying around; be industrious.
Mend that broken relationship.
Get help for your addictions.
Get out of abusive relationships; get counseling if needed.
Choose Christ; call upon Him; repent, believe, receive His salvation.
Pray more; start going to church.
Love your family; pray, provide and play with them.
You may have been going the wrong way; 2018 is your chance to “Turn around, God is calling. He’s calling you from a life of wasted years.” God is providing us with a 2nd chance every new morning. Make the days count. Watch out for your Open Door.
Happy New year to all, as each of us begins again, walking through our open door.
Blog # 38 December 22, 2017
“I wish I had another life to give to this Savior of the world.”
The Guardians, an outstanding trio, on their “Lift Him Up” CD, sing a song, written by their lead singer, John Darin Rowsey, I think. The song touches me every time I hear it; and, it moves me heavenward. Here are the lyrics.
(1)“What did I ever do that You would lift my load of care?
What could I ever say to make You hear my earnest prayer?
There’s at least a million things I’d say about the way I’ve lived.
I wish I had another life to give.
(2)You can brag on nothing good I’ve done,
When all I did was wrong.
You picked up broken melodies,
And turned them into song.
And tho’ I can’t repay Your Grace
For all the things You’ve been;
I wish I had another life to give.
Chorus: If I had another life to give,
a chance to show how much your love has meant;
I’d make Your will my heart’s endeavor,
a work of love that lasts forever
...if I had another life to give.
(3)So Lord, I give my hope to You, my victories and defeats;
And every trophy that I’ve won, I’d lay them at Your feet;
For I could never pay the debt I owe for sin.
I wish I had another life to give.
I listen to these lyrics sung; I speak the lyrics; I read the lyrics; I sing them and I share them today as my testimony of how much I love Jesus, God’s Son, born in Bethlehem, crucified and died at Calvary, buried in a borrowed tomb; and, that same Jesus rose triumphantly on the 3rd day, bringing redemption to a fallen race...that includes me. He is now seated at the Father’s right hand, making intercession for us. He has made a difference in my life. May I present to you, Jesus, the One and only? Oh come, let us adore Him.
Blog # 37 December 15, 2017
DECORATING and CELEBRATING / GETTING READY FOR CHRISTMAS
Is your home beginning to look like something special is about to happen??? I wonder what’s happening in your “barn”? Is your mantle decorated? Stockings hung? Table set? What about decorations over your doors; hung in your windows; on top of your china cabinet; Christmas pillows on your sofa; table centerpiece; front door entry; Christmas tree up?
Have you finished addressing and mailing your Christmas cards? Are the gifts all wrapped? Is the baking all done? Are the halls all decked with boughs of holly? Are you ready for the greatest celebration of them all?
The 2nd verse of Andrew Culverwell’s song speaks of celebration.
“Celebrations come because of something good; celebrations we love to recall. Mary had a baby boy in Bethlehem - the greatest celebration of them all.”
Yes, what a blessing to remember and celebrate that “something good”; that “something life-changing”; that moment that Jesus, the Light of the world, was born. Micah 5:2 says,
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
That Baby born in a manger became our redemption. He had a Divine purpose. His birth was the beginning of His earthly purpose, a path to Calvary. Thank you Jesus. Gloria and Bill Gaither said it beautifully in one of their many songs; and, I want to quote some of their words as my testimony so the world will know where I stand, what I believe..
“My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary... Now years have passed since in my youth, I weathered storms of doubt in search of truth; sweet Jesus calmed the tempest of my soul’s unrest - praise God! The Calvary road has stood the test. My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary. O blessed Rock of Ages cleft for me. I gladly place my trust in things I cannot see. My faith still holds on to the Christ of Calvary”.
So, let the celebration begin! “Come on, deck the halls; ring the bells; set the table; get ready for the celebration of a KING!
BLOG # 36: DECEMBER 8, 2017
I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas lights. I enjoy them on store fronts, in Christmas trees, the candle glow in windows of homes, and God’s lights in the heavens...star light, star bright...shine on harvest moon...the sun will come up in the morning… Well, what do you know; it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!
God had a lot to say about lights. Remember Gen. 1:3, “Let there be light” and there was light. Jesus said in John’s Gospel 8:12, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me, shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” We are admonished in scripture to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." (Matt. 5:16), “Walk as children of the Light” (Eph. 5:8), and there are many more.
WOW! What a reason to light the Christmas tree. WOW! What a reason to celebrate Jesus’ birth. WOW! What a reason to rejoice and sing. Philip Bliss wrote the words and music of this familiar song. “The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin; the Light of the world is Jesus. Like sunshine at noonday His glory shone in, the Light of the world is Jesus. Come to the Light; ‘tis shining for thee. Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me. Once I was blind, but now I can see. The Light of the world is Jesus".
The lights of Christmas wake us up to the realization that the Baby born in Bethlehem of Judea over 2000 years ago at Christmas time is the True Light of the World. So, “come on, ring those bells; light the Christmas tree. Jesus is the King, born for you and me. Come on, ring those bells; everybody say, Jesus, we remember this your birthday.” (Andrew Culverwell)
Celebrating His birthday with great joy,
BLOG # 35: DECEMBER 1, 2017
I remember Charles saying many times in our life journey that when he left the office for the day or landed at the airport after a trip away, when he turned his car toward home, it was a wonderful feeling. His heart was with the family he loved whatever house they lived in and in whatever city. Home is more than a house or a city. It’s a state of mind.
The season is ripe for remembering this special song, “I’ll be home for Christmas." Home, that place where our vehicle goes when day is done; when the challenges are passed and the family gathers and their hearts leap for joy!
I left off last week in Pasadena, California. We went there with so much excitement. We enjoyed many Dodger games. Had a great church and parsonage; and, met many wonderful people. Among them was one Linda Niblock, who has now moved to Lakeland, FL. Who would’ve thought it???
Then the journey of our hearts took us to Little Rock again where we founded Little Rock Christian School. Micki attended there. Charles was Principal and I, Assistant Principal for a time. The Niblock's from Pasadena, moved there for awhile to help in the school and on staff. Chuck finished High School there. The people at the church were just wonderful. The parsonage was beautiful.
From Little Rock area, our hearts journeyed to Florida...Winter Haven. We moved into the parsonage, enrolled Micki in High School and went off to Trevecca Nazarene University while Chuck enrolled in Bethany Nazarene College. Bought Micki a dog and eventually bought a lovely home with a swimming pool. Our ministry and time there was wonderful. The people were great; the church grew; properties bought and buildings erected. Micki and Bob got married there. I started an Inspiration Shop in an area inside the Church. I taught for a short while at WHHS and Auburndale HS. There’s too much to tell; just know, that our hearts were there.
Indianapolis, IN, called. By this time, Chuck and Micki were both married and not at home. We moved. Back then, Pastor Jon helped lots of ministers in their move, and, he helped us. (It’s a small world after all.) Our home was two story; in a lovely suburban area of New Palestine. I sang in the choir, co-taught a Sunday School class and while there, Charles and I, along with a church couple, boarded a train and went to Chicago for a day of sightseeing and shopping and having fun in the Christmas Season. After we got home, Charles fell and broke his right knee. And for Christmas, we were meeting our children at Stone Mountain, GA. Yes, we still went. And we took turns pushing Charles in a wheelchair. Certainly our heart was at home in Indy.
Our hearts took us to Melbourne, FL. We rented for awhile and even stored some of our furniture in Carol and Dale Wilson’s garage. Eventually we bought a home in Malabar, which we loved. Bob and Micki moved from the Washington D.C. area to Melbourne. During our pastorate there, Kyle, Cody and Michael were born. Chase came along soon after we had moved to Lakeland. We had a great congregation...lots of good people. Micki and I had the honor and privilege of playing in patriotic piano concerts, along with 6,7,or 8 other pianists. I bought Charles his first golf course membership while there for Christmas. Wow, what joy. Our hearts were at home there.
And our heart journey took us to Lakeland, the final pastorate. We’ve lived in two homes, one on the north side; and, one on the southside. Both have been special. The Parliament Place home was beautiful. For a period of time there were cows in a pasture behind it; and, we loved going out and seeing the cows. In fact, I even named them. The Creekwood condo on the southside has been and still is great. No yard work. Plenty of room. Golf course in the back; on the 18th tee. Canal on the side. Enjoy the neighbors and the security. It takes 30 minutes to drive to Lake Gibson Church; but, like Charles always said, “The difference is worth any distance.” Home is more than the dwelling; it is family, love, friends, achievements, revivals, and concerts. It’s even more. It’s loving and serving Jesus. We’ve encountered all of these at Lakeland. At one time, Bob and Micki were on staff with us. The church was enlarged to accommodate 400 additional people. Saturday Nights and Sunday Nights in Lakeland were established. Church attendance grew. What a wonderful church! What a wonderful city! What a wonderful Home! All climaxing 56 years in pastoral ministry and 57 years of marriage. And in retirement, it continues to be home for 6 months in the winter; while, the Smoky Mountain country community of Cosby, TN, is home for 6 months in Spring, Summer, and Fall. God has been good.
Our heart has followed us all the 56 years, making us feel at home. “Feeling at home in the presence of Jesus….just feeling at home, feeling at home.” I leave you now, “thinking ‘bout home.”
BLOG # 34: NOVEMBER 24, 2017
I’m all mixed up. No smart replies, please! Here’s what I mean.
We’ve arrived home in Mulberry. Oh, how Charles and I have loved this 19 year (Lakeland area) home. Our hearts have been here. But, alas, we’ve been at home for the past 5 months in the Smoky Mountains. Our hearts were there, too. No wonder I’m all mixed up. And, in the tomorrows, we’ll be at our new Heavenly home. Our hearts will be there then and really, have already been there.
I’m reminded of the many homes we’ve had over a lifetime. Our hearts were with them all. First, there was the upstairs apartment at the Martin’s home in Nashville, TN. I was with child. Chuck was born while we were there. And, my, how Mrs. Martin helped us. Charles and I were continuing our education; and, I was editing the college yearbook. Of course, my heart was there.
Next, our home was in a 3 room apartment of Mrs. Eunice Phillips’, right next door to our first church, in Greenwood, MS. Interesting events there are these. I began my high school teaching of English and Speech. Charles began his bivocational sales job with Mutual of Omaha, while pastoring. Greenwood, MS is my birthplace and Charles and I spent our first night there after our wedding, on our way to Hot Springs, AR, our honeymoon destination; so it holds a special place. Our next home was an actual house in West Memphis, AR. We were so excited about our first home! It had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, LR, eat in kitchen, and carport. Charles pastored the church; I taught school there, and Micki was born there. Oh, what memories...and you can rest assured that our hearts were at that home, as with all others.
Then Texas called. Moving there was an adventure. The parsonage, to us, was like a rich man’s home. It was partially furnished. There was a living room with separate den; a utility room with a freezer, filled with food; a piano in the living room; a big fenced backyard, which was wonderful for our small children. It was there at a district assembly that I heard Dr.Ed Lawler say over and over again, “We’re a dried eyed people in a hell bound world”. It moved my heart toward evangelism; and, the result was introducing my neighbor to Jesus. My heart was at home there.
From there, it was back to Arkansas… Little Rock. Chuck started to school. Our home was wonderful and beautiful, surrounded by trees and a nice yard; a country type setting. We put in our first artificial fireplace and enjoyed it. I even painted the kitchen cabinets in an artsy color. We entertained a lot. We purchased our first piano there and I started teaching private piano lessons. While there we purchased a second car, a volkswagen bug. Here, We were given 2 chickens; had no place to keep them, except an old house out back. So we put them there until Charles could wring their necks like they did back on the farm where he grew up. And I, a city girl, had to try to clean them and pull out all the feathers. What did I know about such things? We encountered our first house break-in there; nevertheless my heart was there.
Then Virginia called...that is, Virginia Beach. Oh what a joy! Our home was lovely, but smaller than the last two. It had our first study. Micki started kindergarten there. Chuck was in public school. Micki would play for hours in her bedroom, like she was a gospel singer with a mike. Chuck and I took judo lessons. We all dressed up often on our Old Fashioned Days at church. Yes, our hearts were there.
Texas called again. This time it was to Lubbock, out on the high plains where the sand blew!!! Oh, those sand storms! What a great church (as were all the others); great in its people and building. Chuck and Micki were in school. Our home was special & beautiful. It was furnished by the church. After we were there a while, the church let us buy our own home. What excitement. The first home we owned (Okay, we were making payments on a mortgage!), was a 4 bedroom, 3 bath, LR/DR combo, big den, kitchen, 2 car garage, fenced backyard. While there, a big dog followed Chuck home from school. Chuck wanted to keep it. We tried to find the owner, but could not. So we kept it. Sometimes later, we had a dozen puppies! It was here that Micki played Skip-Bo; it seemed like for hours, with a friend from down the street. Oh the memories. Yes, our hearts were there.
The time came for our short pastorate in Pasadena, California. I guess, our house was the nicest parsonage ever; but, let me stop here and praise God for unbelievable homes everywhere we’ve been. Our hearts have been at every stop on our life’s journey. This is a good place to stop and continue next week, the journey my heart takes. Until then, my heart will go on singing!!!
LEAVING THE MOUNTAINS / BOUND FOR THE BEACHES
We left the mountains yesterday on our trek to wonderful Central Florida, the land of beaches and sunshine. For many years Charles called it, Paradise. Well now, he has a 2nd Paradise, the land of Smoky Mountains.
We stayed long enough at our mountain view cabin this time to witness the remains of Spring, the entire Summer, and Autumn...thru the peak of colors and the falling of leaves. The peak was later this year; it came in early November.
And WOW, what a WONDER GOD is! As I looked out the big window one morning, I was moved with the incredible beauty and the richness of the colors. It was as if God put a big, sky consuming, rainbow of rich colors in front of us. And, as we drove on the Foothills Parkway, it near moved us to tears of joy and thanksgiving at God’s gift of nature.
Every season has its beauty and blessing of God. In the midst of all the Spring, Summer, and Fall beauty of these mountains, we have been ( or maybe I should say, “I have been…”) like nomads, like pilgrims on a journey, wandering in the wilderness, like trying to find our way. And we continue that journey as we relocate to Florida for a few months.
Decisions! Decisions! Decisions! May God help us. And I can testify to God’s faithfulness. He’s true to His Word. He will never leave or forsake us.
At this stage and age of our lives, we have begun the final climb to the top of God’s mountain. We pray it will be a safe journey, a beautiful journey, and an extended journey. May God be praised with our living.
We’ll soon be at our Florida dwelling; ready to greet each day’s joys and challenges. Thank you Jesus for safe travels. Make us a blessing to someone today, sweet Jesus. Bess
BLOG # 32: NOVEMBER 11, 2017
We were driving to the Post Office the other day to get our mail, as is our custom. On the way, I saw some things I had not seen before due to the fallen leaves. The autumn leaves had fallen exposing an undesirable sight. I saw an old dilapidated chicken house, a bunch of old wrecked vehicles, and an old run-down, uninhabited mobile home. Not a pretty site, to be sure.
While I’ve seen undesirable sites because the cover-up was removed, I’ve also seen desirable sites, once hidden by the leaves on the trees. Falling leaves reveal what’s behind them. The lesson for me from this experience is this: that “What’s behind the green door” is important.
I once covered up my sin. But, one day, I met a MAN who could clean up the mess behind my “green” door. Jesus is His name. Now, I want to forever have a clean heart, a beautiful life, a Christian life. I want no expose’ to reveal any ugliness, but only Godliness. May it be so.
Hope and pray that when the magnifying glass is put on you or me, it will reveal a dedicated Christian life...a thing of beauty. May we be vessels of honor for Him, Jesus, the great Emancipator.
May you have a great week. Praying for my blog followers, for safety, hope, health, happiness, and supply. God is able. Nothing too hard for our God. He’s able, more than able to see us through.
P.S. I have a broken heart over the tragedy of lives taken in God’s Sanctuary in the small Texas town. I’m praying for God’s comfort and supply for all the families affected. Crying about what sin does to a person. May our hearts burn for revival...for souls.
BLOG # 31: NOVEMBER 3, 2017
THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES
It’s FriDAY, November 3, 2017. God woke me up this morning to a bright, new, expealidocious day! I wonder what this day holds for me? One thing for sure, no two days are alike. Another thing I know is that this is the day God made and I am rejoicing in it.
I love the words of Sweden’s Fanny Crosby, Lina Sandell: “Day by Day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here. Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure, gives unto each Day what He deems best, lovingly it’s part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest.”
I want to tell you about some of our yesterDAYS. I’ll begin with last ThursDAY, Oct. 26. We met friends, Gene (retired minister/chaplain) and Peggy King & daughter, college roommate, Helen Burch from Virginia at a great restaurant in Dandridge for some good catfish; then from there we rode with them to Clinton, TN for a Hymn Sing headed up by Gerald Wolfe of Greater Vision fame. It was wonderful; so uplifting! What a great time of worship we had. And what dear lifelong friends, God provides for us!
On another new day, SunDAY, October 29, we met friends Cecil and Ruby Felker from Nashville at First Baptist, Sevierville, for services and then shared lunch at KY Fried, the $5 deal (you know you get a chocolate chip cookie), while enjoying great fellowship.They are so much fun to be with.
Then up pops another new day. MonDAY came and we woke up to snow on the mountain tops. Like I said, no 2 days are alike. We had computer problems...really keyboard problems. So this day we took our laptop to Staples to find out what was wrong; and, ended up buying a new keyboard. Thank the Lord, it’s up and running now. And as the day wore on, Charles built a rip roaring fire and we enjoyed shrimp cocktail, and finished the day off with pecan pie and ice cream!
The night passed and TuesDAY rolled around. There were chores to do; laundry, house cleaning, and a big surprise!!! Sybil and Sandy phoned and were passing through on their way to FL by way of a Georgia stop...so we just had to meet them at one of our favorite restaurants, the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge. What a great time we had. Thanks “girls” for coming.
As WednesDAY, Nov. 1 dawned, excitement filled the air as we anticipated the Putmans’ arrival. Neal and Frances, have been wintering in Florida in recent years, while enjoying the gospel concerts. We enjoyed their visit very much, buying their lunch at Carver’s Applehouse Restaurant as we celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary; and taking them to our famous, historical Dry Goods Store. Thank God for Family and Friends.
God woke us up ThursDAY. Had a light to come on, on the dashboard of the car and we needed to check that; so, off went Charles to take care of it. And I had to get our TN monthly cabin business taxes paid online. After that, we went out for Mexican food; stopping off at Carver’s for an ice cream cone; turtle tracks, my favorite; butter pecan, Charles’ favorite. And then drove the Foothills Parkway to see the colors. They were spectacular! Pictures from my iphone don’t do it justice. Oh, for God’s Handiwork!!! It cannot be matched.
While I’ve not spoken of our tears, they can come on any given Day and are no respecter of persons; but, I’m reminded of these few words of a song, “Tears are a language, God understands”.
In conclusion, Christy Lane made famous this song. “One day at a time, sweet Jesus, That’s all I’m asking from you. Just give me the strength to do everyDay what I have to do. YesterDays gone, sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never be mine. Lord , help me toDay, show me the way one Day at a time.”
It’s FriDay, November 3rd. God woke me up and I’m excited to see what God has in store for me toDay!
P.s. I’m reading a fabulous book, “You Don’t Cry Out Loud”, The Lily Isaacs story
BLOG # 30: OCTOBER 27, 2017
BUILDING A NEW HOME / A NEW LIFE
Jesus had a lot to say about building. He told us in Matt. 7:24-27 to build our house on the Rock, not on sinking sand. 2 Cor. 5:17 says:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Building a new home has some of the same building blocks as building a new life. It’s all about a CHANGE. Ernie Haase and Signature Sound wrote about change. Here are some of those words.
“He made a change in the way that I’m walking. He made a change in the way that I’m talking. Old things pass away, behold everything’s new. He made a change in the life that I’m living. I’m born again, set free, finally forgiven. If He can make a change in me, He can make a change in you.”
So for 4 months or so, we have been working hard, making changes in our mountain cabins. Being long distance owners brought some challenges in the upkeep (building blocks; like the pruning of rose bushes, etc.). Building a new home is all about the growing process, the changes that need to be made.
Some of the building blocks/changes we’ve made, have included painting doors and decks, putting new chains on the porch swings, installing a new picture window and new carpet, buying new stainless steel kitchen appliances, new den furniture, new hotel resort Jamison mattresses in one cabin, new wall decor, new bath room items in one cabin, new towels, new linens, and many other items through the 12 years we have had these cabins. And it all looks good!
As the years come and go, we will need to do more, building upon these improvements. Just as in our spiritual life, the Light keeps shining on our pathway, letting us know the changes we need to make. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior (born again), we begin a wonderful process of growing. We must not quit growing, making positive changes in our life, our homes.
I challenge you to read I and II Peter about fruitful growth in the faith. Add to your reading, Colossians, Galatians, I and II Corinthians. Listen to these portions of scripture.
“...come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you…..let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Cor. 6:17 & 2 Cor. 7:1.
I close with this question from Isaiah 66:1.
“...where is the house that you will build me?”
BLOG # 29: OCTOBER 20, 2017
We’re rich! Are you surprised? You know, we gave up a salary 5 months ago when we retired. And, at present, neither of us has a part-time job. But I want to assure you that we really are rich; though, not in wealth nor material possessions. We’re rich in things that matter. Our riches are at Christ’s expense. Oh, how He loves us. His outstretched arms on Calvary’s cross made the difference for us. His blood atoned for us. We stand redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. His life in us produces love, joy, peace, healing, necessities of life, and abundant blessings.
We’re rich! One of Webster’s definitions for “rich” is “well supplied”. And I believe we are well supplied. Jeff and Sheri Easter sing a song I love that says:
“There’s a roof up above me; I’ve a good place to sleep. There’s food on my table and shoes on my feet. You gave me your love, Lord, and a fine family. Thank you Lord for your blessings on me.”
We’re rich! George Beverly Shea put the music to these beautiful words in 1939. The words are our testimonies.
“I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His than have riches untold. I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands, I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand…..I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.”
Rejoicing in His riches,
BLOG # 28: OCTOBER 13, 2017
Living with an 80 year old Man
(A short and sweet blog)
There are challenges for sure! At least that’s what I’ve been told by others. They say, (Who are they?) Every morning when you wake up and wonder where you are, you grab your cane; get up; reach for your glasses and teeth; put your clothes on and grab your hair piece. Ready for the day!
Oh well, I’m glad my 80 year old man never wonders where he is and is physically fit, so has no need for a cane. He doesn’t wear glasses; nor does he have false teeth. And, the hair he has, is still glued to his head.
Wow! What a man!
I’m blessed beyond measure. I live with a man who has a heart for God. I hear him pray every morning. He’s a hard worker; a good man; a faithful husband and father. He cares for the body of Christ. He loves the church. He still has a “hot” heart for God and His kingdom work. He wants to stay in God’s harvest field, bringing in the sheaves.
Wow! What a man!
How many “old” men of God have done great exploits for Him? We have a book, full of stories of the conquests and great work done for our Lord and Savior. It’s the B-I-B-L-E. That’s good enough for me. And remembering my journey with this 80 year old man, brings joy as I recount the many miracles, the accomplishments, the advances, the souls saved, the churches built up.
Wow! What a man!
Don’t despair of old age...nor young age. All God’s children have a special place in His kingdom. Spring turns to summer; summer to fall; and fall turns to winter. And then we’re home… that is... home, where the heart is. So it’s time to turn your heart toward HOME, as James Dobson would say. I leave you with this sobering question. What about your heart? Is it right with God?
Loving this 80 year old man of mine,
(Think I’ll keep him!)
BLOG # 27: October 6, 2017
The years teach. Time has made a change in me. These thoughts refer to the process of getting older. I’m wondering how many years it will take for me to reach my destination? My journey started a long time ago, one November day. Ecclesiastes 3:2 tells me the start of my life journey...a time to be born. So to answer my own question, the count of days, years began when I was born.
Years have come and years have gone. With each year, a birthday comes. Now birthdays are good for us. The more you have, the longer you live. Who knows the length of my days? Only God does. But I know the joys and challenges of my journey. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”
My journey began in Mississippi, growing up, going to school; then off to Tennessee to college; then to Mississippi for my first HS teaching position and Charles’ first pastorate; on to Arkansas for more teaching years and another pastorate, then to Texas, next Arkansas; then to Virginia; back to Texas; next California; back to Arkansas; then Florida; on to Indiana; and back to Florida. What an incredible journey!
Those counting days brought some grey hairs. But don’t be alarmed; God has lots to say about grey hairs. Prov.16:31, “Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” Job 12:12 says,
“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”
Psalm 92:14 says, “They still bear fruit in old age…”. There is a common belief that we gradually become less useful as we grow older. But when we live our lives for God, we may have our greatest adventure as we age. Noah, Moses, Joshua, Abraham...to name a few, did mighty things in their older years. I can’t leave out this precious scripture. “I have been young and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging for bread”.
Read Ecc. 3. It is so good...there is a time to be born; a time to do the God-given task; a time to enjoy the gift of God; a time to give an account; a time to die...to reach one’s destination; and much more. “Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today.” Love that song by the Gaithers.
Counting the days of my journey and making the days count,
BLOG # 26: September 29, 2017
Do you Wonder???
Do you wonder what and how the Kirbys are doing in retirement? Well, here’s an update.
In the 4 months we have been at our cabins in Tennessee, we have been excited and frustrated, at peace and in turmoil, happy and sad. Does that sound like the human condition? “Sometimes, I’se up and sometimes, I’se down.” Let me explain.
Excited...excited that we’ve had something to do. Working always helps. Updating our cabins with new carpet, new stainless steel appliances, some new furniture, new wall decor, new picture window, paint, planting flowers, new pots and pans, new swing chains, and other misc. Items.
Frustrated...frustrated that we were not (and still are not) at the top of our technology class. Did you think we were actually taking a class? Since we do have a cabin rental business and depend on its success in our retirement, we needed to set up an office...a desk, lap top, printer, WiFi, files, etc. Well, finally after a few months and intense help, we’ve gotten our small/corner business office set up and running rather smoothly. Thanks to Duane Kendall. Before leaving Lakeland for these mountains, Andrew Gash gave us iphones and he began our lessons on them. After arriving here, Duane Kendall continued the lessons. We cannot thank these two guys enough. Duane continues to be our genius teacher. Maybe we’ll help you next time you are frustrated. Do you dare ask us???
Peace...peace in God’s Word; in His care; in His supply; in His direction. Every morning, I thank God for His Word. It truly is a lamp to my feet, a light to my way. I don’t have to worry or fret (tho’ sometimes I do. I’m sorry…). God’s Word brings peace. One song writer said it this way, “God will take care of you, through every day o’er all the way”. And another writer said this. “Oh, the peace that Jesus gives, never dies, it always lives; like the music of a song, like a glad eternal calm, is the peace that Jesus gives...is the peace that Jesus gives.”
Turmoil...turmoil concerning the uncertainties of life. Uncertain about our future; uncertain about our health; uncertain about our cabin rental business; and what about our country and world; and our beloved Lake Gibson Church; and our kids,family, and grandkids? This is the time I must sing when imprisoned by turmoil. All I must do is cast all my care on Jesus, for He cares for me. So, I will. Will someone record this testimony?
Happy...happy to be a child of the King; happy to share His love to a world. Glad for the opportunity to have given largely to the Sunset Gap Ministry to the Appalachian people. Happy for great neighbors, for personal friends, for new acquaintances. Being a child of the King is a joy-filled thing. There are victories around every curve. And you never walk alone. Wow!
Sad...sad at times as we adjust to retirement. Sad because we miss belonging, we miss pastoral ministry, we miss friendships and fellowship. But God has a new ministry for us; and, we will rejoice in it. We will not stay on Frustrated, Turmoil, or Sad streets; only move on Excited, Peace, and Happy streets.
The 2nd verse of one of our favorite songs says this.
“Tomorrow I could rise to find that everything has changed. This way of faith could take me to some unexpected place. But in all the twists and turns of life, I’m sure of this one thing. Where the road is so uncertain, my God will go with me. My God will always be enough for the longings of my soul. He alone can fill my cup ‘til my spirit overflows. From a well of living water, He renews me with His love. My God will always be enough.”
Serving with you the incomparable Christ,
BLOG # 25: September 22, 2017
Psalm 37 is a great inspirational and encouraging word. Just listen to some of its jewels.
Trust in the Lord.
Feed on His Faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord.
Commit your way to the Lord.
Rest in the Lord.
Life brings changes. Sometimes those changes are to our liking; sometimes, they are not; but trust, but feed, but wait, but rest.
If you are in a hurtful, discouraging place today, read Psalm 37. It’s too bad that hurt often occurs within the body of Christ, the church.
Many times in our christian service, we constantly hit closed doors. It hurts. It brings discouragements.
Changes are made and we’re not told.
The picture we gave or the pew we purchased in honor of parents, is taken out of the church.
The honor once given, is removed from the wall.
You were not asked to sing or play the piano.
You wanted to sing in the choir, but were refused.
Someone got your seat; you had to sit at the back.
The church was not friendly.
I could go on and on; but, my word to you and me today is this: Look on the sunny side of life. Have faith. Enjoy God’s presence. Rest in the Lord. Be positive. Be an encourager. “Let the sun shine in. Face it with a grin. Open up your heart and let the sun shine in.” That is, the SON shine in.
God keeps watch. God remembers the good you have done! God will take care of you. So, fret not.
“I have been young, and now am old; yet, I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” So rest.
This little pencil is thinking of you and praying for you,
P.S. Mother Teresa said, "I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” May the beauty of Jesus be seen in us.
BLOG # 24 . SEPTEMBER 15, 2017
HURRICANES AND PRAYERS
Thinking of the seriousness of the weather and the projected path of the recent Florida hurricane, Charles and I were constrained to pray for life and property, to ask for God’s protective blood covering over our FL home, and the homes of our children and grandchildren, our Creekwood neighbors, our Lake Gibson Church property, and our Lake Gibson Church family and friends. Before and during the 2 hurricanes, we prayed for all Texans and all Floridians, who would be affected by them.
And yet today, we are still praying; this time our prayer is 3-fold.
1.PRAYING FOR HELP
We often hear the phrase, “Help is on the way”. Well, truly, God’s help is on the way (many times in the lives of His vast army of volunteers); He’s on the way to those who have lost so much during these hurricanes.
2. PRAYING FOR HOPE
The scripture says. “Hope in the Lord”. There is always a brighter tomorrow. So, dear God, blow away the dark clouds of depression, despair, disillusionment, and doubt. Replace it with hope, expectation, blessing, and the sunshine of a new day.
3. PRAYING WITH THANKSGIVING
And finally, after Irma, my personal prayer to God for my family, neighbors, church family and friends. It’s a short prayer...a simple prayer… a clear prayer...a universal prayer...a prayer approved by God...a daily prayer...a heartfelt prayer...a joy filled prayer...and a prayer written for the whole world to see.
THANK YOU JESUS.
I’m loving Him more everyday,
BLOG # 23 SEPTEMBER 15, 2017
“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”
Psalm 119: 97
God is unlimited by time.
You can always count on God’s love because it is even more reliable than the rising of the sun.
Journey through life with God.
God’s joy in us can coexist with the most difficult circumstances.
Whatever you have plus God equals an incalculable fortune.
God gifts us with an unimaginably glorious life that will never end.
Spending time with God is increasingly countercultural.
In the midst of intense spiritual warfare, put on the whole armor of God.
Clear out clutter and open up your heart to God’s Wonders.
Though you may feel isolated and alone at times, this is only an illusion.
Pondering Jesus’ willingness to suffer can strengthen you to endure your own hardships.
Be still in God’s Presence, and wait patiently for Him to act.
You are never alone because of God’s continual Presence.
God is the ideal Person to be in charge of your life.
“Let the …..meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and …..Finally brethren, whatever things are true,... noble,...just,...pure,lovely,...of good report,....meditate on these things.”
Phil. 4: 6-8
Thinking about Jesus, His power and awesomeness; what He’s done for me, and what He does for me everyday. I wouldn’t want to live a day without Him. Enjoying my journey with Him.
P.S. These 14 statements are thoughts taken from Oswald Chambers’ Devotional, “My Utmost For His Highest.”
BLOG # 22: September 1, 20177
The Cross of Christ means so much to me...because “The Way of the Cross Leads Home.” And I’m on my way. Remember that old hymn by the same name.
”I must needs go home by the way of the cross; there’s no other way but this. I shall ne’er get sight of the Gates of Light, if the way of the cross I miss.
(Chorus) The way of the cross leads home. The way of the cross leads home. It is sweet to know as I onward go. The way of the cross leads home.”
Ever since we purchased two cabins in the Smoky Mountains, there has been a cross on the property of a factory in our small community of Cosby. Recently the factory went out of business; and, we wondered if the new occupant of the property...whoever it was...would remove the cross.
Just a few weeks ago, improvements began on the property. Would the cross come down; or, would it stay? I’m glad to say that so far, it is still standing.
I can truthfully say to renters, or visitors, or family, that the way of the cross leads home (to Majestic View Cabins). So, should you be coming, just follow the crosses on 321; then Greasy Cove Road to Buckeye Lane to Majestic View Cottage Rental sign.
The big cross at the factory is the #1 marker; then shortly, pass marker #2, the Allen Baptist Church square sign with a cross on it; then very close, see the smaller shaped cross advertising Denton Baptist Church, the #3 marker, turning there...and on to the cabins.
It was the cross, the atonement, that made the difference for me. So if you want joy, real joy, let Jesus come into your heart. Just “Kneel at the cross; leave every care; kneel at the cross; Jesus will meet you there...come while He waits for you. Listen to His voice, leave with Him your cares and begin life anew...Jesus will meet you there.”
I’m on my way to Heaven by way of the cross; there’s no other way but this.
Come go with me…..
BLOG # 21: August 25, 2017
God washed our car.
We’d been to Lakeland, FL for a simple medical procedure and were driving back to the mountains, when we ran into rain. It was quite a downpour, but lasted just a few minutes. When we ran out of it, and were back in the sunshine, it reminded me of how we in the midst of life’s challenges, the dusty and dirty places, (we) need a washing, a personal “car” washing. God had washed our car with that downpour.
Living life day in and day out, year after year, through the toils of each day, the rough and tumble of life’s challenges, (living life) gets us dusty/dirty. It’s not just our cars that need washing from time to time, we do also. Nothing like being washed with God’s Spirit. It feels so-o good.
The clean car when we take it off the dealer’s lot, doesn’t stay clean, but needs frequent washings. You may have been driving in a dust storm on the high plains of Texas. Or, maybe you got stuck in the mud on a dirt road.
We all got washed in the blood when we found the Lord. We got cleansed by God’s Holy Spirit when we surrendered our lives to His will and His way. And God is continuing His cleansing as we grow in Him. There’s no one perfect except the Lord Jesus Christ. We need (and we can get) spiritual washings throughout our Christian journey.
When life’s struggles have disillusioned us, when life events have hurt us deeply, when challenges are too big for us to handle and we have temporarily forgotten God’s ability and His great care for us, it’s time to go to Him in prayer for a refreshing, a washing. He’s as close as the mention of His name.
So wash me, Lord. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow for the issues of today. And, who, reading this blog, needs a washing today? Jesus is ready to forgive, to restore, to cleanse, to lighten your load, infuse strength for the day, and turn things around for you. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WHEN YOU PUT YOUR TRUST IN GOD.
I stand before you, Lord, for a washing. Keep me clean in this dirty world.
BLOG # 20: August 18, 2017
Charles has, for a long time, called me a “city slicker.” Can a “city slicker” ever become a “country girl”? What do you think?
Since moving to the mountains, I’m wondering, “What does it take to become a country girl?”
Does moving to small town USA, alias, Cosby, TN, the backdoor entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains, the moonshine capital of the world, qualify me as a country girl?
How about shopping at the Cataloochee grocery store (established in 1927)?
Cataloochee Grocery Store
Or shopping at Newport Dry Goods store?
Newport Dry Goods Store
Or reading the Newport Plain Talk newspaper, established in 1900!
Newport Plain Talk Newspaper
Well, I do believe one must have a “moving day”; moving from the past to the present; from the old to the new. So here’s what I want to tell you. I’m choosing, moving, and making my way to a “heavenly country,” whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:16.
Hebrews 11:16New King James Version (NKJV)
16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
The gospel song writer put it this way:
Oh yes I'm moving, moving, moving, moving Moving up to gloryland Oh yes I'm moving, moving, moving, moving Holding to His nail-scarred hands Don't know when I'm leaving but I'm ready to go When I get to heaven I'll be welcome I know Oh yes I'm moving, moving, moving, moving Moving up to gloryland
HERE IS A SLIDE PRESENTATION WITH ALL THE PICTURES I TOOK ON THIS TRIP:
BLOG # 19: August 11, 2017
Here are a baker’s dozen faith and confidence builders. And here is the bottom line...God will take care of you. Read in unison with me the second line of every one. I’ll read the first line.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
2. Sickness here and sickness there,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
3. The rain falls on the just and the unjust,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
4. Night falls and day dawns,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
5. Loss happens and gains come,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
6. Sadness tonight; joy in the morning,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
7. Defeat today; hope tomorrow,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
8. Death now, life tomorrow,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
9. Financial disaster now; riches tomorrow,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
10. Prison today, freedom tomorrow,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
11. Guilty today, forgiven tomorrow,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
12. Sick today, healing tomorrow.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
13. Heartbreak now; hope & comfort ahead,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Keep the faith, God will take care of you.
BLOG # 18: August 4, 2017
Saturday, August 5, we will be at my “Pearson Family Reunion,” remembering with thanksgiving, the efforts of Mama Pearson, my paternal grandmother, in soul winning, in reaching out to her country community, resulting in the organizing of a Nazarene Church, located a few miles out from my small hometown, Houston, MS. We have had these reunions for many years. It seems as if family reunions have a life span. Who knows if there will be anymore; and if so, how often and how long? Pray for our safety in travel to and from the reunion.
On our return trip we will go by Neal and Frances Putman’s home in
Glade, TN, for a visit. It will be good to see them. Neal is a great booster of Lake Gibson Church and the Saturday and Sunday night concert series in Lakeland, FL.
I want to express sympathy to the Lake Gibson Families who have recently lost loved ones. we are praying for you all during this difficult time and the awful adjustment in the days ahead. Also, We are praying for those who are sick and even in the hospital. Furthermore, we continue to pray for the great Lake Gibson Church in their search for a new pastor. The church is great, first of all, because of Jesus Christ, its Head; and 2nd, because of its great devoted, active, on fire, Christian laymen. Love God’s family so much.
Tune in to my next blog,
BLOG # 17 July 27, 2017
Are you fighting a battle today? On whose armor do you have? Did you put it on today? Do you seem to be losing the battle, making no progress? Are you sad, depressed, feeling hopeless? Are you willing to learn the best way to fight your battles? Well, take heart. God’s word says, “The battle is not yours; the battle is the Lord’s.” This is a divine word.
Some earthly person (not sure who…), somewhere has said, (and, I concur.) that: “The eagle does not fight the snake on the ground. It picks it up into the sky and changes the battle ground; then, releases the snake into the sky. The snake has no stamina, no power and no balance in the air. It is useless, weak, and vulnerable, unlike on the ground where it is powerful, wise, and deadly. Take your fight into the spiritual realm by praying; and, when you are in the spiritual realm, God takes over your battles. Don’t fight the enemy in his comfort zone. Change the battle ground like the eagle; and, let God take charge through your prayer!” (unknown)
Put on the whole armor of God. I’m praying for you.
BLOG # 16 July 21, 2017
My last few blogs have been about this area of the country that we call our 2nd home. I’ve talked about the churches, law enforcement, neighbors and friends (old and new). Now we will conclude this series of blogs, talking about the scenery. It is beautiful.
Have you ever seen anything as lovely as a tree??? There are all sorts of trees; evergreens, dogwood, all type of flowering trees, cedars, oak, pine; you name them. Charles and I love them; even though he cuts some down and we pay some others to top many of the trees around our cabins so we can view the mountains. Charles says he can hear them growing. And the trees draw a variety of beautiful birds. What can we say about God’s playground? It is spectacular!!!
Let’s talk a minute about God’s stairs to Heaven; climbing those sparkling mountain stairs. Climbing, viewing, or driving up those hills of God, one encounters the awesomeness of God’s creation. One may discover a waterfall or an endless, panoramic view of a range of mountains. These mountains declare the glory of God.
The beautiful green valleys reveal to us God’s majestic creatures. In them, we discover herds of elks, deer, bear, peacocks, and other animals. Oh, how excited we get when we see some of these. It is a pastime for Smoky Mountain visitors. God has made everything beautiful.
Our cabins are surrounded with trees. From our cabins, we can see God’s mountains. And close by, we can look in the valleys for elk, bears, and deer...even deer and peacocks in our own yard.
And what about rivers and lakes? Our cabins are about 5 to 10 minutes from the Pigeon River, a place to fish, do water activities like whitewater rafting, etc. We are about 20 miles from big Douglas lake where people boat and fish. The French Broad River is also in our general area.
All this gorgeous scenery is the product of God’s great and majestic creation.It was and is good! Thank you, Lord, for this great gift to us. I’m enjoying God’s playground.
BLOG # 15 July 14, 2015
I’m blessed, so blessed. How are you feeling today??? Hopefully, blessed beyond measure! Family and Friends, old and new, are a great part of our blessings. Thank you for being our friend. When you move to a new place, you need to find new friends. And, yes we have.
Recently, we’ve had visits from family and some longtime friends. Micki,Bob,& Chase, our family and Jay & Pat, our longtime friends, got to visit with us in these beautiful TN mountains. What a joy and blessing.
We’ve been meeting a new neighbor/couple from Kansas City...so nice. We’ve been enjoying our other neighbors, some from Texas, some from Michigan, some local. Most of our neighbors are Christian; maybe all. What a delight; what a joy; what a blessing.
And how about those retired college friends and retired preacher friends and other retired Florida friends who live here or have cabins here??? Now do you call that blessed? I do. What great fellowship! What great fun!
This Smoky Mountain area gets thousands of visitors every year. I’m sure on any given day, someone would be in the area that we know or who know us. There is so much to do and see here. Our 2nd home is an exciting place to live. So thankful for our primary FL home and this 2nd cabin home. We love both places and both peoples. Until next time, be blessed.
BLOG # 14 July 7, 2017
Our ministry continues as we serve God in retirement. God uses us in prayer, in conversation, in preaching/speaking, in cooking, in singing, in writing, in helping,and in many other ways. We thank God for giving us opportunities to serve Him in our comfort zones, as well as, opportunities in new and different ways.
Upon our presence here in Cocke county, we’ve been delighted to see on the back of law enforcement officers’ cars, this saying, “In God we trust”. And it’s in bold “stand out” letters.We understand from people in the community that Cocke county’s sheriff is a christian and when he writes articles for the THE NEWPORT PLAIN TALK newspaper, he often gives his testimony at the end of it. Interesting fact, the Newport Plain Talk newspaper has been in existence since 1900.
Serving Christ is more than newspaper articles, lip service, sayings on cars, church buildings, even going to church. It is being a true follower of Jesus Christ. It is practicing what you preach. It is living for Christ and serving where the rubber meets the road. It’s a heart after the heart of God. I want to be that type of Christian...that the world may know Jesus and His love.
But let it be known that I am so thankful for (1) all the God honoring churches in East Tennessee (2) all the Christian law enforcement officers who drive those “In God we trust” vehicles and (3) all the Christian neighbors and friends in this community, town, and area. East Tennessee is our 2nd home. We love this area and these people. (Lest you forget, our primary home is the paradise called Florida. We love that area and those people.) This old time religion makes me love everybody.
Enjoying friendship with Jesus in this journey,
BLOG # 13 JUNE 30, 2017
Happy 4th everyone. And a happy birthday (the 3rd) to my wonderful son. Love him so much. And to my niece, Angie, Happy birthday on the 4th; and to my brother, Fred, happy 15th.
Well, God is good; life is good. I thought I’d begin introducing you to our new community/area. I’ll give you a bird’s eye view during the month of July. So stay tuned!!!
Our community is COSBY; the nearest town is NEWPORT; and our county is COCKE. It appears to be a church going area. There are churches EVERYWHERE. The pre-dominate denomination is Baptist. Next, I’m guessing, would be Church of God (Cleveland) since Lee University is in the East Tennessee area. Then there are lots of other churches, like Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, Catholic, Nazarene, Methodist, and independent churches. Most churches are small in size. It appears as if many churches have a split over problems, and then a another church is started. Anyway...we have churches galore!
We have visited First Baptist churches in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Newport, Sevierville, Dandridge, and Morristown. Recently, we saw Clayton of TRIUMPHANT fame at Sevierville Ist Baptist. We’ve been to other Baptist churches also; been to First Church of God, First Methodist of Newport and Liberty Church of Cosby. We do plan to visit one church that meets in the theater in NEWPORT. One of our neighbors goes to this church. We are glad to be in a religious minded community. We are blessed.
NEWPORT 1ST METHODIST
NEWPORT 1ST BAPTIST
NEWPORT LINCOLN AVE BAPTIST
Let us go into the House of the Lord.
I love His House and His Family.
BLOG # 12 JUNE 23, 2017
There’s something special about these mountains. We’ve been here for about 4 weeks...done a lot of work, seeking to improve our cabins as we can, and, of course, we’ve sat on the porch, looking at the mountains, enjoying this area of the country. We miss our pastoral ministry life; miss our loving church family, but God has a new plan for us now. And we will follow that plan. Where He leads, we will follow. We are making new friends, adding to that list of “old” friends. Here’s an encouraging word from the Lord for us all today.
Isaiah 46:3-4 “Listen to me...you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He. I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you.”
And another one,
John 14:1 “Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God.”
Maybe someone needed those scriptures today. Be blessed by our wonderful Lord. I’ve made up my mind that I’m gonna’ have a great day!!!
BLOG # 11 JUNE 16, 2017
I want to say a special “HAPPY FATHER’S DAY” to 5 wonderful men in my life, Gus Pearson, Charles Kirby, L.O. Kirby, Chuck Kirby, & Bob Luetkemeyer. How blessed I’ve been...and how blessed we all have been if our parents had Godly parents. My dad, Gus, and Charles’ dad, L.O., each had a rich Christian heritage, having been taught the scriptures by Christian parents. Even if one had wandered away but for a season, their rich biblical heritage would have steered them in the raising of their children in the right way.
This week I thank God for my father, Gus, now deceased, who raised me right; I thank God for my husband, Charles, who raised our children right; I thank God for Mr. L. O. Kirby, my father-in-law, now deceased, who raised Charles right; I thank God for Chuck, who used the Christian principles instilled in him as a child to guide his 2 boys, our grandchildren in the right direction; and I thank God for Bob, our son-in-law, for being such a Godly father, raising their 2 boys, our grandsons to serve God. The Godly heritage continues...To God be the glory.
AM I BLESSED, OR WHAT??? Yes, I am.
Love to all these men!!!
BLOG # 10 JUNE 8, 2017
Do you still have your “ears” on??? What sweet things is He saying to you
today? Not only does He speak with gentleness & kindness, encouraging and strengthening us for each new day; but, God teaches us, admonishes us, even chastises us. Whatever He is saying to you today; the question is, are you listening? Yes, Lord, speak for your servant is listening. Has your sin been uncovered? Are you being tempted to do something that is not Christ-like nor Christ-centered? Have you been neglectful in visiting the sick; or, doing what God wants you to do, whatever it is? How is your prayer life? Are your tithes paid in full?
What’s He saying to each one of us this very day (Me included)? Let’s listen. Let’s obey. Our God is an awesome God. You don’t want to live a
day without Him. Clean me up Lord. Live your life through me, Jesus. Teach me Your ways. What do You want to say to me today?
BLOG #9 JUNE 2, 2017
I saw this on a church sign recently and it spoke to me. That’s what I’m asking myself. All through Isaiah, you will find the words, “Listen to me...” Thumb through Isaiah and see. Good advice from God’s Word.
As I look around today, I see a world full of trouble. The Bible declares in Job 14:1, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Psalm 88:2-3 says “Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of troubles and my life draws near to the grave.”
Trouble comes in many different forms; heartache, sorrow, sickness, hurt, anger, fear, despair, discouragement, anger, and many other ways. Trouble, also, is no respect of persons. What are we to do? Is there help anywhere?
The answer is ‘Yes’. God has the answer for us in His Word. Words like, Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) “Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” And how about Isaiah 43:1-4? “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned..., for I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One...your Savior...you are precious and honored in my sight...I LOVE YOU.”
You can’t get better than that!!! Count me “Listening”.
I’ll be somewhere “listening”,
BLOG #8 May 26, 2017
Just call me”In Love”. With Charles, certainly. But, I’m really speaking of Jesus. You might ask, “Why?. Well, ‘if it keeps getting better and better, Oh Lord; I don’t know what I’m gonna’ do’. Retirement is not for the weak. And I don’t have blinders on. BUT GOD...! Do you know that God makes all the difference. If your faith is rooted and grounded in Jesus, His death & resurrection; then, you know that new days, blessed days are coming. I already feel stronger based on my belief system. Nothing is impossible when you put your trust in God.
If God has ministered to you through this blog; send me a quick
email. May you have a wonderful, new week.
BLOG #6 May 12, 2017
With a grateful heart, I write my blog today. First, I thank God for His manifold blessings. They are too many to count. How great is our God. Next, I thank my dear life partner, my husband, Charles for standing by me through "thick and thin." Next, my precious children, Chuck and Micki and their families for giving me such great joy. And I'd NEVER leave out our many friends and prayer warriors.
Thank you for your love, friendship, many kindnesses, and your prayers. Thank you for praying for my healing. Our God hears our prayers and answers them. HE is miraculously touching me. THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR THAT MIRACLE. MY SHOULDER WILL BE LIKE NEW. I've touched "His garment" in prayer and He is touching me and making me whole.
Thank you, one and all,
BLOG #5 May 5, 2017
As I write this blog, I’m sitting on our cabin deck, looking at God’s nature...the majestic mountains, the tall, lush green trees, the beautiful flowering plants and, at the same time, rocking my cares away. You can’t look at God’s magnificent creation and concern yourself about anything. Oh, how sweet it is....
As we spend more time in the mountains, we hope to enjoy deer and lots of different kinds of birds in our small backyard. We, of course, will try to entice them to come, putting up salt and mineral blocks and then seed for beautiful, colorful birds.
“This is our Father’s world; and, to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world. I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas- His hand, the wonders wrought.”
WOW! What a beautiful world.
So thankful for the beauty of Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and the whole world. What a Creator God we love and serve. This is the day to praise Him. Be bold in your praise. God inhabits the praise of His people.
Love to all,
BLOG #4 April 29, 2017
Here’s another favorite song of mine. It always encourages me. I’m singing this today...TRUST HIS HEART, written by Eddie Carswell and Babbie Mason.
1. All things work for our good, though sometimes we don’t see how they could. Struggles that break our hearts in two sometimes blind us to the truth. Our Father knows what’s best for us. His ways are not our own. So when your pathway grows dim and you just don’t see Him. REMEMBER You’re never alone.
(Chorus) God is too wise to be mistaken; God is too good to be unkind; so, when you don’t understand, when you don’t see His plan; When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.
2. He sees the Master Plan and He holds our future in His hand. So, don’t live as those who have no hope; all our hope is found in Him. We see the present clearly; but, He sees the first and the Last; and, like a tapestry, He’s weaving you and me to someday be just like Him.
WOW! When we don’t understand; when we don’t see His plan; when we can’t trace His Hand; we can TRUST HIS HEART. Oh, how much He loves us. Choose your song today and sing it to Jesus. May the joy of the Lord be your strength.
BLOG# 3: April 22, 2017
One of my favorite songs is an oldie Goldie, titled “GOD REACHES DOWN” by Frances Erickson & Floyd Hawkins. It has such beautiful harmony...written for a duet. Here are the lyrics,; they may encourage you today.
1. Just when the burdens of life are most heavy, Just when my cup seems too bitter to bear, God reaches down with His hand of compassion, lifting the load and soothing my care.
(Chorus) God reaches down; God reaches down, just when it seems I no longer can stand. Giving me strength and renewing my courage. God reaches down His almighty hand.
2. Just when it seems beyond human endurance, when great afflictions have saddened my way. God reaches down with His love everlasting, whispering, “Lo, I’m with you always.”
3. Sensing this truth that God knows all the reasons. He knows each test that will bring heaven’s gain, Confidence leans on His arms everlasting. Morning will break; then all will be plain.
Oh yes, My God reaches down to help me, to encourage me, to strengthen me. He’ll do it for you, too. Continue singing your praise to the Lord. Do it daily.
BLOG # 2: April 15, 2017
After Easter, somebody needs to testify. So here I go. I love music; love to play the piano and sing. So I want to sing praise to the Lord every day for what He’s done for me. I want the world to know that I do believe in a hill called Mt. Calvary. I do believe that the Man on the middle cross was God incarnate, Jesus the Son of God, my Redeemer; that He suffered such cruelty, shame and awful pain to pay my sin debt. I should have been crucified; but Jesus, God’s Son took my place. So, why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come? I will arise and SING PRAISE TO THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOD. Sing along with me today.