Blog 117 for June 29, 2019
As I’ve been thinking of America’s July 4th, 229th birthday, my thoughts have turned to pledges. As we’ve all been alerted to legal and illegal immigration lately and the pathway to citizenship, it calls us all to commitment, to promises, to pledges, to stand for something.
Growing up, I learned pledges in school, clubs and at church. Also, if need be, I made up my own pledges and promises. In my life I have pledged to the Flag of the United States, to God’s Holy Word, to be a Christ follower. I pledged when joining church, when getting married, at a baby dedication, and at ordination ceremony. Many times along the way, I would promise, scouts honor, I won’t tell or I promised to keep or do something. I’m wondering if any of you who are reading this blog have forgotten the promises you made.
Here are pledges I’ve made, both in my yesteryears and in these now days.
“I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s holy Word; and will make it a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my pathway, and will hide its word in my heart that I might not sin against God.”
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
“Will you have Charles to be your wedded husband...to have and to hold…; will you stand by him in sickness and in health so long as you both shall live?. Will you be with him in poverty and in wealth, and shun all others , and keep yourself to him alone as long as you both shall live? I STILL SAY, “I WILL.” (These are not the exact words, but they are close.)
Though this was not what I pledged when I joined the Houston, MS, Nazarene Church as a child, I agree with this church membership pledge I found by “googling”..... I used some points, mentioned there, and added some of my own. I pledge
To be a functioning church member.
To be a unifying church member.
I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires.
I will pray for my church leaders.
I will lead my family to be healthy church members.
I will treasure membership as a gift.
I will pay my tithe and give extra offerings.
I will find my place and serve in the church.
When Charles and I made our pledge, vowed our vows on our knees in Little Rock, AR, First Church of the Nazarene at our ordination service, we vowed to keep ourselves unspotted from the world and to preach the gospel.
When I found Jesus as my Savior, I made a vow to Him to be a Christ Follower. It still stands. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” I Peter 2:9
As we approach the Birthday of our Nation, listen to God’s Word. Prov. 14:34 “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Ps. 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.”
It’s time to celebrate, a time to get-together, a time for fun, joy, and reflection, as our independence came at a great price. I love this song.
“This is my country, Land of my birth. This is my Country, grandest on earth. I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold, for this is my country to have and to hold.”
P.S. Happy Birthday America; Happy Birthday, Chuck; Happy Birthday Angela; Happy Birthday Fred...all have July birthdays!
Blog 116 for June 22, 2019
SUMMER IS HERE!
Yesterday, June 21, 2019, was the official beginning of summer! Are you ready to play? ...To romp around God’s awesome playground? It’s time for a vacation, a get-away, a retreat, the time to get outside! The Great Smoky Mountains are the oldest mountains in the world, so an article by Arvielle Patterson, said. There are panoramic vistas of rushing rivers and majestic mountain ranges. Natural beauty abounds everywhere. People flock to this area of the country because of the endless things to see and do.
From the beginning of creation, the beginning of human life, God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden. As we drive around in these awesome mountains and enjoy the bright, colorful and abundant daylilies, as well as the beautiful, healthy, luscious rose bushes, we are awed by God’s beauty. In fact, just sitting on our cabin deck, we can view the majestic mountains and enjoy the variety of trees, full of new leaves, adorned for summer and fall.
I appreciate the beauty of the earth. I appreciate God’s creative masterpiece, this earth of which I’m a part. So viewing the spectacular vistas and participating in the wonders that abound around us, make for refreshing days. Should you come to the Smoky Mountain Area this summer, give us a call. And make memories as you “play” in God’s awesome playground.
Folliott Pierpoint wrote these words in the 1800s.
Vs. 1 “For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies. For the love which from new birth over and around us lies.
Refrain: Christ, our Lord, to You we raise this, our hymn of grateful praise.
Vs. 2 For the wonders of each hour of the day and of the night. Hill and vale and tree and flower, sun and moon and stars of light.
Refrain: Christ, our Lord, to You we raise this, our hymn of grateful praise.”
There are other verses as well. Please listen to the beautiful YouTube rendition of “For the Beauty of the Earth” performed by the Mike Curb Congregation.
Enjoy your summer outside playing and gazing at God’s Masterpieces. I shall enjoy mine.
Blog 115 for 6-8-2019
DOLLYWOOD, HERE WE COME!
It was a great Wednesday. The sun was shining; and, it was not too hot! We met Florida friends, Steve and Cindy Stutz at Dollywood. Our plans were to enjoy the Kingdom Heirs, see the new section that had just opened, and see Dolly Parton’s show, “My People”; then off to the Old Mill Restaurant for some good vittles. By the end of the day, we had accomplished our plans.
Not only are Steve and Cindy friends, but they are extra special friends. As you can tell, we were enjoying ice cream, while we waited for “My People” show to start.
Now the “My People” Show is all about Dolly Parton’s family. While it is a great live show of her brother, her niece, cousins and others, it is an opportunity to see her...that is, on the screen!!!
The new section that they have opened in Dollywood is a paradise for children and families. Just look at these pictures. I wanted to ride a BEAR, but Charles wouldn’t do it. So many cute things.
After a good time at Dollywood, we left, headed for the restaurant. We have learned that you split meals there. So we ordered our favorite, one turkey and dressing meal and split it. Ordered an extra chowder, and 2 sweet teas. Oh, how good! Satisfied and tired, we, each headed our vehicle in the direction of our Smoky Mountain homes, away from home.
I’m thinking, we must learn more and more to enjoy life’s journey. Take a break. Have some fun. Enjoy dear friends. Well, I’m signing off for now, until next week’s blog.
Blog 114 for 6-1-2019
OPEN MY EYES!
Many of you, our blog readers, probably know that we read John Henry Jowett’s, “My Daily Meditation” along with the appropriate scripture in our daily devotions. How we enjoy it. Sometimes, it’s almost beyond our understanding; but, most of the time, God reveals His message so clearly.
Recently, like about 10 times, we were reading about blindness and sight with portions of scripture such as, “Show me your ways, O Lord...that I might see” and “Lord, that I might receive my sight” and “One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.”
So, I’ve been thinking about times we might be “blind”; have a blind spot. I came up with these; we can be blinded by the actions of others; blinded by a lack of knowledge; blinded by appearances; blinded by disobedience; blinded by the masses, the bigness, the forest; blinded by circumstances; blinded by prejudice; blinded by judgments.
But nothing escapes the eyes, the knowledge of God. God’s vision is not general, it is particular. When He looks at the human race, He sees every man, woman, boy and girl. When He looks at His sheepfold, He sees each sheep. He calls them by name. When He looks at the forest, He sees every tree. In John 9, the scripture says that we don’t “see things as they are.”
I am wondering if every struggle in this Christian journey of life is a blind spot of the REAL? According to the writings of Bro. Jowett, sight allows one to recognize perils, behold the “enemy”; his wrath and his teeth. Sight allows one to recognize our great ALLY. ”If it had not been the Lord on our side...” Ps. 124:1,2 Thank you, Jesus, for the recognition of YOU in our midst...YOU, moving mountains...YOU, opening our eyes to the circumstances around us. The Spirit of Discernment detects hidden treasure and hidden foes.
A retired missionary/minister, Richard Klein, here in these Smoky Mountains, put this on Facebook once and I wrote it down. It said, “You see worthless; God sees priceless. You see pain; but God sees purpose. You see unworthy, undeserving, but God sees you through 'Eyes of Mercy.' Live like Jesus! Your life is your greatest battlefield.”
The eyes of the obedient are anointed with the eye salve of grace and glory. Show me your ways, O Lord...that I might see. I want to see. Walk the journey with me, eyes wide open!
Blog 113 for 5-25-2019
REMEMBER THE FALLEN MILITARY
MONDAY, MAY 27, 2019
May I share a little history of (USA) Memorial Day? It’s a federal holiday in the U.S. for remembering the people, men and women, who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Many reading this blog, may remember that it used to be called DECORATION DAY, when people would go to cemetaries and place flowers or flags on the graves. Charles remembers this well.
Memorial Day is considered the official start of summer vacation in the U.S.; while Labor Day, the first Monday of September, marks summer’s end. Cemetaries are visited on Memorial Day to honor those who died in military service. You’ve seen, as have I, beautiful National Cemetaries adorned with American Flags on each grave.
In 1966, WATERLOO, N.Y., was declared by the Federal Government to be the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo first celebrated this special day on May 5, 1866; and, hosted lots of annual events in the ensuing years, remembering the occasion. Businesses would close; residents would decorate the graves.
The Civil War, which ended in 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history; and, it required the establishment of the country’s first National Cemetaries. So on May 5, 1868, the leader of an organization for Northern Civil War Veterans, General John A. Logan, called for a special National Day to honor those who died serving their country. He said that May 30th would be designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country. “Those bodies lay in almost every city, village, and hamlet church graveyard in the land,” he said.
On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETARY, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 UNION and CONFEDERATE soldiers buried there.
By 1890, many Northern states had made Decoration Day an official STATE HOLIDAY. On the other hand, Southern states continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I. It was during and after World War I that the holiday began to recognize and honor all American Military Personnel, who died in ALL wars, not just the CIVIL War.
Two other days celebrate those who serve or have served in the armed forces; VETERANS DAY (Nov. 11, 2019) and ARMED FORCES DAY (celebrated May 18, this year).
Most of this information came from Wikipedia and googling Memorial Day - History. May God bless all those who serve, past and present. It’s a blessing to go to a cemetary and see the decorated tombs of those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice. MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA.
Blog 112 for 5-18-2019
IS YOUR CONFIDENCE IN JEHOVAH, STRONG TODAY?
Several days ago, I sat down with pen and paper, hoping for inspiration for this blog. Day after day, I struggled, as to what to write. I guess I’ve had “writer’s block.” I certainly drew a blank for many days. But, time's up...Duane called…”where’s your blog?”
So, here I go again, trying to write something that will not only encourage and bless you, but encourage me, as well. I was sitting on the couch with notebook in hand, when my eyes glanced at a small plaque on the side table. It read, “The Lord Himself watches over you. The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” Psalm 121:5
After doing a little study of this chapter 121, and the surrounding chapters, I discovered that beginning with Psalm 120 through Psalm 134, they are called “Songs of Degrees,” or “Songs of Ascents” or “Songs for the Goings up.”
These Psalms are called Pilgrims' Songs, suggesting that these were sung by those pilgrims who went up to Jerusalem to worship. They were songs of desire, hope, and approach. Listen to some of what they were singing, and let your confidence in Jehovah build.
Ps. 120 - “In my distress I cried unto the Lord, AND HE HEARD ME…”
Ps. 121 - “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills...MY HELP COMETH FROM THE LORD.”
Ps. 122 - “I was glad when they said unto me, LET US GO INTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.”
Ps. 123 - “UNTO THEE LIFT I UP MINE EYES…”
Ps. 124 - “IF IT HAD NOT BEEN THE LORD WHO WAS ON OUR SIDE…”
I could go on through Ps. 134, and may do that in another blog.
Can you visualize the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem to worship, singing songs of confidence, help, hope, praise, assurance, and thanksgiving, remembering from where God had brought them? By the time they arrived, they were filled with STRONG CONFIDENCE IN JEHOVAH GOD. While exile was difficult, their hearts were filled with confidence in a God who cares, a God who provides, a God who answers, a God who supplies.
Are you needing help from the Lord today? He’s only a prayer away. Think on the miracles He’s done for you and your family. Think of His great faithfulness. Think of His awesome love. Read Ps. 121.
Blog 111 for 5-11-2019
I AM SO THANKFUL!
As I reflect on Mother’s Day 2019, I am so grateful that my 2 children belong to Jesus and are daily growing in His love and plan for their lives. The 2nd Sunday of May is always Mother’s Day. And this Sunday, as with the few recent Mother’s Days, I will be miles away from my wonderful children, Chuck and Micki, and their families; but, everyday I pray for them. Today will be no exception. They will be presented to the Throne with their challenges and needs.
Today, I want them to know how thankful and blessed I am to have been honored by each one's birth. That God would grant Charles & me, a boy and a girl, is so special. And we have enjoyed the journey. A son is special; a daughter is special. Baby Chuck came naturally, and was a delight with a great personality. Baby Micki came early by cesarean section and was a great joy. Oh, how I liked to dress up Micki. How I liked to fix her hair. Not sure either child liked me dressing them alike. And Micki had her own ideas about hair-dos. She didn’t choose my styles. These were wonderful days, as I reminisce today.
Life for any of us is not without challenges, obstacles, and hard spots. Hurts, needs, despair, and hope are in our passage of time. But, through it all, we can learn to trust in God. We can learn to depend upon His Word. We must everyday, put on the whole armor of God for standing.
I sure hope I’ve been the Mother in child rearing that I needed to be. I hope that in these present years, I remain strong, kind, and helpful to that grown-up son and grown-up daughter. May I still teach by example. May my influence for righteousness be that bright light that points Chuck and Micki to God.
Sacrifice and tears, as well as contentment and joy, are in our bag as moms. And in some instances, “It’s not an easy road.” But the key, the answer, the strength to carry on, is found in Jesus, His Godly Armor, and the Bible, God’s authoritative Word.
Mothers out there...Mothers reading this blog, YOU CAN MAKE IT. You can get through those teen years. You can get through whatever the challenge is. God has promised, “As our day, so shall our strength be” (Deut. 33:25b). He has promised “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). God will watch over our children.
Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers. And to my dear children, I am so thankful for you and your families and your faith in Jesus. Keep Him first. Trust His heart. He loves you with an everlasting love.
Blog 110 for 4-13-2019
It’s COLLEGE GRADUATION time for our youngest grandson, Chase Robert Luetkemeyer. He graduates with a two-year degree from Eastern Florida State University in Melbourne, FL, with an Associate of Arts Degree on May 9, 2019. How time flies. It seems like only yesterday, that he was a preschooler. Early on, he learned how to wash a car, assisted by his dad. And he’s kept on learning through the years. What a precious, delightful grandson he is, all grown up now. This year, he’ll turn 20 on June the 20th. His educational focus is in the technology field; pursuing an Information Technology Degree, as he, in his own time, completes the four-year degree..
It’s CONGRATULATIONS time for Chase. Congrats on this great achievement. Of course, he is a straight A graduate, having made the President’s List all through these first 2 years. Wow! I can’t claim that. I went to college, even graduated, but did not make straight A’s. I guess I was too interested in the extracurricular offerings.
We’re in the Mountains and won’t be able to be at his graduation, but our hearts are there. We love everyone of our grandsons, Kyle, Cody, Michael, and Chase. But this is Chase’s Day! Chase’s Graduation Day! We want to sing his praises. Chase has dreams, ambitions, & desires like anyone else; and, one day he will achieve his highest goals. He thinks working with big corporations like Harris, or Rockwell Collins as a SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR might be enticing. Go after it, Chase. We’re in your corner!!!
He has achieved much in his life, going to public school early on, but being home schooled most of the time, making straight A’s continually. He loves sports, and played basketball & soccer in high school, with soccer being his favorite. In his senior year, he received the MVP Soccer Award, and in basketball, he received the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He likes softball, too, and presently he plays Outfield (and second base sometimes) for his Medi-Share Christian Care Ministry Team.
During the summers and while in college, Chase worked part time at Medi-Share Christian Care Ministry...in the Information Technology department there.
Chase is a fine Christian young man. We are so proud of him. Glad God gave him to Bob and Micki, and thereby, giving him to us as a precious and priceless GRANDSON. Chase, we love you; congratulate you; and wish you the best life has to offer. “Be strong and of good courage…” Deut. 31:6; Josh.1:6; Josh.1:7.
“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.” Ps. 27:14
We’re blessing the Lord for the gift of CHASE.
Grandpa & Grandma Kirby