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Tag Archives: Music

The Mighty Magnet (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
The Mighty Magnet
October 4
And I, if l be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32)

Come, ye workers, be encouraged. You fear that you cannot draw a congregation. Try the preaching of a crucified, risen, and ascended Savior; for this is the greatest “draw” that was ever yet manifested among men. What drew you to Christ but Christ? What draws you to Him now but His own blessed self? If you have been drawn to religion by anything else, you will soon be drawn away from it; but Jesus has held you and will hold you even to the end. Why, then, doubt His power to draw others? Go with the name of Jesus to those who have hitherto been stubborn and see if it does not draw them.
No sort of man is beyond this drawing power. Old and young, rich and poor, ignorant and leaned, depraved or amiable–all men shall feel the attractive force. Jesus is the one magnet. Let us not think of any other. Music will not draw to Jesus, neither will eloquence, logic, ceremonial, or noise. Jesus Himself must draw men to Himself; and Jesus is quite equal to the work in every case. Be not tempted by the quackeries of the day; but as workers for the Lord work in His own way, and draw with the Lord’s own cords. Draw to Christ, and draw by Christ, for then Christ will draw by you.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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Broken and Smoking (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Broken and Smoking
September 8
A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench. (Isaiah 42:3)

Then I may reckon upon tender treatment from my Lord. Indeed, I feel myself to be at best as weak, as pliant, as worthless as a reed. Someone said, “I don’t care a rush for you”; and the speech, though unkind, was not untrue. Alas! I am worse than a reed when it grows by the river, for that at least can hold up its head. I am bruised — sorely, sadly bruised. There is no music in me now; there is a rift which lets out all the melody. Ah, me! Yet Jesus will not break me; and if He will not, then I mind little what others try to do. O sweet and compassionate Lord, I nestle down beneath Thy protection and forget my bruises!
Truly I am also fit to be likened to “the smoking flax,” whose light is gone, and only its smoke remains. I fear I am rather a nuisance than a benefit. My fears tell me that the devil has blown out my light and left me an obnoxious smoke, and that my Lord will soon put an extinguisher upon one. Yet I perceive that though there were snuffers under the law, there were no extinguishers, and Jesus will not quench me; therefore, I am hopeful. Lord, kindle me anew and cause me to shine forth to Thy glory and to the extolling of Thy tenderness.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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A Mountain Choir (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
A Mountain Choir
July 7
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. (Isaiah 49:13)

So sweet are the comforts of the Lord, that not only the saints themselves may sing of them, but even the heavens and the earth may take up the song. It takes something to make a mountain sing; and yet the prophet summons quite a choir of them. Lebanon, and Sirion, and the high hills of Bashan and Moab, He would set them all singing because of Jehovah’s grace to His own Zion. May we not also make mountains of difficulty, and trial, and mystery, and labor become occasions for praise unto our God? “Break forth into singing, O mountains!”
This word of promise, that our God will have mercy upon His afflicted, has a whole peal of bells connected with it. Hear their music — “Sing!” “Be joyful!” “Break forth into singing.” The Lord would have His people happy because of His unfailing love. He would not have us sad and doubtful; He claims horn us the worship of believing hearts. He cannot fail us: why should we sigh or sulk as if He would do so? Oh, for a well-tuned harp! Oh, for voices like those of the cherubim before the throne!

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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All Turned to Holiness (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
All Turned to Holiness
April 16
In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, holiness unto the Lord, (Zechariah 14:20)

Happy day when all things shall be consecrated, and the horses’ bells shall ring out holiness to the Lord! That day has come to me. Do I not make all things holy to God? These garments, when I put them on or take them off, shall they not remind me of the righteousness of Christ Jesus my Lord? Shall not my work be done as unto the Lord? Oh, that today my clothes may be vestments, my meals sacraments, my house a temple, my table an altar, my speech incense, and myself a priest! Lord, fulfill Thy promise, and let nothing be to me common or unclean.
Let me in faith expect this. Believing it to be so, I shall be helped to make it so. As I myself am the property of Jesus, my Lord may take an inventory of all I have, for it is altogether His own; and I resolve to prove it to be so by the use to which I put it this day. From morning till evening I would order all things by a happy and holy rule. My bells shall ring — why should they not? Even my horses shall have bells — who has such a right to music as the saints have? But all my bells, my music, my mirth, shall be turned to holiness and shall ring out the name of “the happy God.”

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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My latest book reviews for RadiantLit.com

My latest book reviews for RadiantLit.com

 

 

Because of new policies at Radiant Lit.com I can no longer post my reviews for them in part or whole here, but I can post the links to those reviews on their site.  So I’m taking that time now to give you links to mine and Jk’s latest reviews so you can check these wonderful books out.  I will be doing this every few months instead of each time one comes out because of some impending surgery that I will be going through withing the next few months.  Right now most of my time is being spent in preparing myself and my family for that surgery and the possible outcomes of it.  I know my readers will love many of these books, especially since they hold to clean, wholesome, Christian literary works.

Here are the links…

For my reviews…

The Anniversary Waltz…by: Darrel Nelson… http://radiantlit.com/2013/01/review-the-anniversary-waltz/#

Jesus Heals the Sick…by: Crystal Bowman… http://radiantlit.com/2012/12/ya-review-jesus-heals-the-sick-2/

Jesus Feeds the Hungry…by: Crystal Bowman… http://radiantlit.com/2012/12/ya-review-jesus-feeds-the-hungry-2/

Borders of the Heart…by:  Chris Fabry…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/11/review-borders-of-the-heart/

Sinner’s Creed…by Scott Stapp and David Ritz…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/10/review-sinners-creed-a-memoir/

After All…by:  Deborah Raney…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/10/review-after-all-3/

A Time to Heal…by:  Seye Oke… http://radiantlit.com/2012/08/review-a-time-to-heal/

Objects of My Affections… by:  Jill Smolinski…   http://radiantlit.com/2012/07/review-objects-of-my-affection-2/

Heroes of My Daughter…by: Brad Meltzer…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/06/review-heroes-for-my-daughter/

Poems From Heaven…  by”  Uzoaga Kelechukwu… http://radiantlit.com/2012/06/review-poems-from-heaven/

Lady Anne’s Quest… by: Susan Page Davis…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/06/review-lady-annes-quest/

The Prodigal Girl… by: Grace Livingston Hill…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/06/review-the-prodigal-girl/

After the Fire… by: Clare Revell…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/05/review-after-the-fire/

Thank You, God…From Kids Around the World… by: Allia Zobel Nolan…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/05/review-thank-you-godfrom-kids-around-the-world/

The Beloved Stranger… by: Grace Livingston Hill…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/05/review-the-beloved-stranger/

Beauty For Ashes… by:  Dorothy Love…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/04/review-beauty-for-ashes/

Sage and Sweetgrass… by:  Loree Perry…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/04/review-sage-and-sweetgrass/

Unlikely Praise… by: Carla Rossi… http://radiantlit.com/2012/03/review-unlikely-praise/

Matthew’s Story…The Jesus Chronicles… by: Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins… http://radiantlit.com/2012/03/review-matthews-storythe-jesus-chronicles/

 

 

For Jk’s reviews…

Jesus Heals the Sick…by: Crystal Bowman… http://radiantlit.com/2012/11/ya-review-jesus-heals-the-sick/

The Admiral…by: Gregg and Deborah Shaw Lewis…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/11/ya-review-the-admiral/

Jesus Feeds the Hungry… by: Crystal Bowman… http://radiantlit.com/2012/11/ya-review-jesus-feeds-the-hungry/

Confessions of a Wannabe Cheerleader…Revenge of the Titans…By: Zoe Evans… http://radiantlit.com/2012/10/ya-review-confessions-of-a-wannabe-cheerleader-revenge-of-the-titans/

Whatever…A 90 Day Devotional for Livin’ the True,Noble, and Totally Excellent Life!… by:  Allia Zobel Nolan… http://radiantlit.com/2012/10/review-whatever-a-90-day-devotional-for-livin-the-true-noble-and-totally-excellent-life/

The Friendly Beasts…Book with CD…By Rebecca St. James… http://radiantlit.com/2012/10/review-the-friendly-beasts-2/

Cheer, Confessions of a Wannabe Cheerleader…Bevan vs. Evan (And Other School
Rivalries)… by:  Zoe Evans…  http://radiantlit.com/2012/10/review-cheer-confessions-of-a-wannabe-cheerleader-bevan-vs-evan/

 

Radiant Lit.Com is a great site for Christian Book reviews.  They just launched a YA Fiction review section, that parents can use to choose books for their children, tweens and teens.  This is a section Jk and I both review for, and I have been blessed to read and review for adults too.  Above are all the reviews we have posted to date, with a few more already in and waiting for posting.  There are many reviewers working for this site, getting the best possible book selections available for those who love to read.  I hope you will check out some of the other reviews as well.  Here is a link to the main site where you will find all the review, interviews with authors and commentary on some of the trends out in the literary world… http://radiantlit.com/

 

 

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The Reason for Singing (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
The Reason for Singing
September 19
The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

What a word is this! Jehovah God in the center of His people in all the majesty of His power! This presence alone suffices to inspire us with peace and hope. Treasures of boundless might are stored in our Jehovah, and He dwells in His church; therefore may His people shout for joy.
We not only have His presence, but He is engaged upon His choice work of salvation. “He will save.” He is always saving: He takes His name of Jesus from it. Let us not fear any danger, for He is mighty to save.
Nor is this all. He abides evermore the same, He saves, He finds rest in loving, He will not cease to love. His love gives Him joy. He even finds a theme for song in His beloved. This is exceedingly wonderful. When God wrought creation He did not sing but simply said, “It is very good”; but when He came to redemption, then the sacred Trinity felt a joy to be expressed in song, Think of it, and be astonished! Jehovah Jesus sings a marriage song over His chosen bride. She is to Him His love, His joy, His rest, His song. O Lord Jesus, by Thine immeasurable love to us teach us to love Thee, to rejoice in Thee, and to sing unto Thee our life-psalm.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Christianity, Church, Devotionals

 

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Now For a Few Awards I Designed

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on compiling a list of awards that are here on WordPress.  Some of these awards many of us have received over and over, so I thought we needed some fresh ones to share.

The first one is The Full of Heart Blogging Award.  It is to be given to bloggers who write from their hearts, no matter what the emotion, but you must be able to feel their heart through their words.

Rules for this award are…

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Share the people or things you love most in an anagram using the word HEART.

     (Example:  H…Hearing laughter from my family

                        E…Every single day that I am alive.

                        A…All my family

                        R…Reading Books

                        T…The Bible

       3.  Nominate 7 other bloggers, and notify them of their nomination.

Since I designed this award I will thank God for the inspiration to design it.  My anagram is the example listed above, but I will nominate 7 bloggers to recieve this award.  They are as follows…

http://momentumofjoy.com/

http://thelmac.wordpress.com/

http://birdmartin.wordpress.com/

http://adifferenceforyourlovedones.wordpress.com/

http://93percenttrue.wordpress.com/

http://originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com/

http://kyllingsara.wordpress.com/

 

 

Award #2 is The Super Sweet Blogging Award.  This award goes to those bloggers who give the sweetest comments, or have the sweetest blog.

The rules are…

  1. Say something sweet about the blogger who nominated you, thank them and then link to their blog.
  2. Answer the following questions…

     a.  Cookies or Cake?    (My answer is both, because it depends on my mood and the type.)

     b.  Chocolate or Vanilla?  (My answer is Vanilla, unless it is a candy.)

     c.   What is your favorite sweet treat?  (Mine is Chex Turtle Mix)

     d.   When do you crave sweet things the most? (Not often but usually when I real low on energy.)

     e.   If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?  ( Mine would be Chocolate Covered Cherry)

  1. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (13) other bloggers for the award and notify them of their nomination.

    Since I designed this award I will thank God for inspiration and my husband for fixing my computer and keeping it running right.  My answers to the questions are in parentheses next to the questions, and here are my nominees for the award…

    http://kyllingsara.wordpress.com/

    http://waltbrite.wordpress.com/

    http://terry1954.wordpress.com/

    http://thehomeheart.wordpress.com/

    http://iftodaywehear.wordpress.com/

    http://mylifeuncutalmost.wordpress.com/

    http://childdrivenlearning.wordpress.com/

    http://twisteddomesticgoddess.wordpress.com/

    http://redwhiteandgrew.com/

    http://throughthehealinglens.com/

    http://lynnecobb.com/

    http://originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com/

    http://hometogo232.wordpress.com/

    That’s my Baker’s Dozen, and they are really sweet people who deserve to be noticed.

     

     

    #3 of my awards is The Crafty Blogger Award, and is an award that I believe should go to those bloggers who are crafty and are always posting things they have made or want to make, or share craft ideas with their readers, or who share their creativeness through art or photography.

    The rules are..

    This award should be given to those who show crafty projects they have made on their blog.

    1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, and place a link to their blog in your post.
    2. Tell about the greatest home made gift you gave or received.
    3. Nominate 5 other bloggers for this award and notify them of their nomination.

    Since I designed this one I will thank all those craft bloggers who have inspired me throughout the years, and God who gave me the gift of being creative.

    I’ve had the joy of making special gifts for many others and for being given great homemade gifts, so I will mention one I was given, in fact I’m given every year.  My sister-in-law started a tradition a few years ago of making clear glass ornaments with special things in them and a slip of paper attached with an encouraging thought.  She has encouraged us to have faith, to dream, to love, and more through these ornaments, and it is one of my favorite Christmas gifts each year.  I can’t wait to see what she has come up with each year for us to add to our Christmas tree.

    My 5 nominees for this award are all bloggers who inspire me through their crafty posts, their art, or their photography.  They are…

    http://e1aine.wordpress.com/

    http://blackcatoriginals.wordpress.com/

    http://futureflyingsaucers.wordpress.com/

    http://artbycamila.wordpress.com/

    http://jumpoutthebox.wordpress.com/

     

     

    #4 of the awards I designed is The Creative Writer Blog Award, and is meant to be given to those who share their creativity through writing stories, poems, and themselves through their writing.

    The rules are…

    This award should be given to those who have written a poem, a story, scripts, or some other creative form of writing for their blog.

    1. Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award, and link to their blog.
    2. Write a 8 line poem about yourself.
    3. Nominate 4 other bloggers for the award and notify them of their nomination.

      Since I designed this one I will again thank God for the creativity and inspiration he gives me to share this gift of writing.

      Here is my poem…

      Every morning when I rise,

      I wipe the sleep from my eyes.

      I wonder what the day will hold,

      And if my daughter will do what she’s told.

      I talk to God to start the day,

      And ask for help when I pray.

      I know that I will make it through,

      As the Lord helps me with all I do.

      My 4 nominees are…

      http://thelmac.wordpress.com/

      http://5gsandacupofjoe.net/

      http://allinthelifeofjk.wordpress.com/

      http://originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com/

       

       

       

      #5 of the awards I designed is The Dining Blogger Award.

      The rules are…

      This award goes to bloggers who share recipes, cooking stories, or cooking tips, canning tips, or food gardening tips on their blog.

      1. Thank the blogger who nominated and put a link to their blog in your post.
      2. Answer the following questions…

          a.  Is the cup half empty or half full?    (Always half full, but don’t mind if it’s overflowing.)

      b.  Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing?          (Salad dressing, preferably Miracle Whip)

      c.  Butter or Margarine?                            (Butter)

      d.  Favorite food?                                     (Seafood or Chinese)

      e.  If you could have a meal cooked by any famous chef who would you choose?  (Guy Fieri)

      f.  What was the last thing you cooked or baked?  (My homemade 3 cheese lasagna)

      g.  Party style, Buffet style, or Family style?  (Family style)

      h.  If you could have one last supper, what would you want?  (Boiled crab and lobster, shrimp cocktail, hushpuppies, fried clams, and boiled mussels, all with garlic and butter sauce.)

            3.  Nominate 6 others bloggers for this award, and notify them of their nomination.

      Since I again designed this one I will thank all those chefs on television who inspire me to cook, and who keep me hungry!   My 6 nominees are…

      http://rantingchef.com/

      http://letsgetbasted.wordpress.com/

      http://soulsbyfarm.wordpress.com/

      http://myhomebaked.com/

      http://justafrugalfoodie.com/

      http://modernchristianwoman.com/

      Two more awards to go!!!!!!

       

      #6 of the awards I designed is The Imaginative Youth Blogging Award.  This award was designed because of all the homeschooling parents out there sharing ideas for our children.  So it is meant for those who share things for our youth, whether lessons, crafts, words of wisdom, or such.  But it must be things that help young people, not hurt them.

      The Rules are…

      1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.

      2.  Share a story from your youth, or if you are still young (20 or younger) share a hope and dream you have for your future.

      3.   Nominate 5 other bloggers and notify them of their nomination.

      Here is a story from my youth…wow, I just went blank…lol.  Hmmm.. .okay here is one I haven’t written about.  When I was 7 and 8 years old we lived in Biloxi, Mississippi, because my dad was stationed there.  We lived in base housing that was surrounded by a swamp filled with snakes, including water moccassins.  Across the swamp from where we lived was the V.A. Hospital, where there was lots of land surrounding it, big enough for a few sports fields.  My brothers and I, along with a few other G.I. brats use to climb a large tree that had a branch that crossed over the swamp, and we would drop into the Hospital lawn.  We would play ball and other games until we got caught.  One day the military police were waiting for us as we started dropping out of the tree.  After taking us all home, they chopped down our favorite branch so we couldn’t do it again.  I won’t tell you what we started doing to get back at them, but let’s just say it involved other trees, netting and snakes as surprises as they patrolled the sides of the swamp.

      My 5 nominees for this award are…

      http://homeschoolyear.wordpress.com/

      http://creationscience4kids.com/

      http://canadianmommytime.wordpress.com/

      http://naturallyfundays.wordpress.com/

      http://childdrivenlearning.wordpress.com/

      I love sharing things from these blogs with my daughter, Jk, and so they are well deserving of this award.

       

      Finally, here is the last award I designed.  It is The Family of Bloggers Award, and was designed with the thought that there are many guys who also blog that might not want the Sisterhood of Bloggers award…lol.  Really, I’ve come to think of many bloggers as a part of my family and so this award was designed with them in mind.

      The rules are…

      1. Thank the person who nominated you and tell them what family member they would be if they were really related to you.
      2. Place a link to the blog of the person who nominated you in your post.
      3. Tell what attributes you bring to the family, using an anagram of the word FAMILY.

      (Example)…F…Fun

      A…Artistic side

      M…Maturity

      I…Intelligence

      L…Laughter

      Y…Youthfulness

      4.   Nominate at least 4 other people to be in your family of bloggers, and for this award, and notify them of their nomination.

      Since I designed this one I will thank all those bloggers who have been so warm and encouraging that I have felt like part of their family, like that crazy aunt…lol.  Here are my 4 nominees…

      http://originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com/

      http://birdmartin.wordpress.com/

      http://kyllingsara.wordpress.com/

      http://terry1954.wordpress.com/

      Well, that’s it folks!  I’m finally through blogging awards.  All that is left to do is add pics to this posts in editing, and notifying all the nominees for all the awards I blogged today!

      Yay!!!!!!

     

 

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Need A Favor from My Followers

I really need a favor from all my followers.  I’m trying to make a Word Document that lists all the WordPress Awards and the rules and requirements for each one.  I’ve found some, but they seem to vary on others, and there are still others that I haven’t found the requirements for.  I could use your help, and if I can get all the awards possible, the symbol for each, and all the rules/requirements, I would be willing to share the final product with anyone who would like a copy for their own use.  So if you know of any and would be willing to share all the info and pic of it in my comments on this post, and let me know you would like a copy by including an email to send it to, I would so appreciate it.  Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

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I did not want to hurt so much…Rosana Salgado Burright

I did not want to hurt so much sub english.mp4 – YouTube.  This is the link to her video.

If you are hurting in your heart, going through an illness, or a tough time, or if you have been through a struggle in the past, please watch this You Tube video. My dear friend and sister-in-Christ wrote this song, and it is she who is singing and playing the guitar. Although the song is in Portuguese as her native country is Brazil, the subtitles are in English. She really has a heart for Christ Jesus, and you can feel her prayers through her music. She gives a short Bible Verse at the end, but don’t worry she also gives it in English in the subtitles.

Rosana could use your prayers too.  As I said she is originally from Brazil, but lives here in America now with her husband.  They spent their last dime on the cost of her immigration papers and now her life here is in jeopardy, because they can’t afford the $1,500 for her Green Card.  If they don’t get this she will have to go back to Brazil and start the whole process over.  Please keep her in your prayers, for her financial needs and for her ministry to women in both countries through her music and encouragement to help them overcome hurt, abuse, and more.  Thank you!

 

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Picture It And Write It, Prompt #28

I’ve been dealing with being physically and mentally drained for a few days because of some meds for fibromyalgia and for bone spurs on my spine.  After a 6 hour nap yesterday I finally feel like I’m back on an even keel today, so I thought I would try to spark my creativity by taking Terry’s lead, from http://terry1954.wordpress.com/ , using a writing prompt to boost my imagination.  She gets the writing prompts from  Picture it & write or   Ermiliablog, and I thank all of these blogs for sharing this picture with me.  So here it goes…

It had been years since Charity had been back to her hometown, but it was time now to face her past and the sin that had held her captive.  She must go back to the beginning, and just a few moments in her mother’s home looking at old photo albums was enough to trigger many memories, both good and bad.  Now driving down to the lake, she hoped that some of those memories would explain to her where she went wrong.  Not much had changed except the lake seeming to take back some of the land that surrounded it, a result of the Spring storms that inundated the region, pouring down flood inducing rains for days.  Mom had said the flood had reached over the top of the old dock, crumbling it like a pile of matchsticks.  The city council had decided not to rebuild it, since there was a new pier available at the new Marina just a mile around the lake from the old pier.  Pulling into the Marina, Charity marveled at the beauty that had been put into its creation.  Beautiful oaks grew to each side of the entrance, giving shade to the long drive into the Marina.  A variety of flowers stood like a welcoming committee as they lined the street under the shade of the oaks.  As Charity entered the gate, she was greeted by a security guard, who welcomed her to the Marina, and made small talk about the weather today, and how he hoped she enjoyed her time at the new Marina.  After collecting her five dollar parking fee, the security guard gave her a receipt, a pamplet of services offered and planned activities of the day, and waved her on.  He reminded Charity of a programmed robot, showing no emotion, and repeating the same mantra over and over.

Back in her childhood days, Charity would not be going to a marina on a Sunday.  For years every Sunday she would go with her parents to the little church just a few miles south of the new Marina.  She remembered how much she loved Sundays back then, the singing, people praising God together, and a sermon from Pastor Smith that left each person meditating on their relationship with Jesus Christ.  The old church had been a place of solace, of love, and a beautiful place filled with peace.  Peace…that is what Charity needed now.  Life had taken its toll on her, and nothing in her life brought peace.  After she checked out the new Marina, Charity decided to drive around the lake to the old church and see if she could make the evening service at least.

Walking around the Marina, Charity marveled at the beautiful, white marble columns that adorned the entrances of the club house.  There was everything a community could want at this marina, from a large resteraunt, to a conciearge to fulfill your every need.  There was an 18 hole state-of-the-art golf course to the north of the main building, a series of boating docks and a pier lined with old fashioned street lights reaching out into the large lake.  One dock was lined with paddle boats and canoes for rent.  The other docks were lined with ski boats, family cruisers, speed boats, pontoons, and bass fishing boats, all just waiting for the owners to take them out on the lake.  It looked like there were many families, fishermen, and water skiers preparing to make excursions out on the lake for the day.  Charity wondered about why none appeared to have come from a church service, none were in church clothing, and all seemed to be more involved in family and friend activities, and the seeking of worldly enjoyment than on giving any acknowledgement to the Maker of this day and of the creation they were about to enjoy.  This was quite different from when Charity was a child, because it was stressed that this day was the Lord’s and a day of rest.  Church would have been a families first destination, and their last destination as well.  In between there might be a picnic at the lake or a family dinner at home, but to spend the whole day on the lake was not something that was even considered for a Sunday.  Although this way of spending a Sunday was common in the city, Charity began to wonder what caused this change here in the small town she loved.  Were there even churches in the community anymore, or had the churches changed their day or times of worship to allow this activity?  She began to wonder more about the little church around the lake where she had attended as a child.  Looking at her watch, Charity decided a quick lunch and tour of the clubhouse would allow her time to drive to the church, and make it just in time for the evening service.

An unfriendly hostess, led Charity across the diningroom to a table by the main row of windows.  She mentioned that this was the area the mayor liked to sit in the most, because he was able to see money rolling into the town’s bank account.  Charity was amazed at how materialistic that thought was, and a feeling of nausea filled her stomach.  One of the things that had made her leave the big city was the materialistic attitude that seemed to permeate the rude behavior of soceity there.  No one seemed to care about their neighbor, only how they could take advantage of them.  Consideration, compassion and respect were absent for the most part, and because they were missing the feeling of community and neighborhood were absent as well.  After perusing the menu, whistling at the high prices, Charity settled for a simple bowl of New England Clam Chowder, the House Roll, and a Chef Salad for lunch.  Bowing her head, Charity gave thanks, not only for the food but for being back in a community where God was still put first.  As she raised her head, Charity realized that many eyes were upon her, as if she was doing something unusual.  She looked around the diningroom and realized she was the only one who seemed to be bowing their head in prayer before their meal.  That nauseated pit in her stomach began to grow even more.  Finishing up her food, paying her check, Charity quickly walked around the Club House, took in the Gift Shop, the Golf Pro Shop, the Rental Desk, and perused the rack of pamplets of things to do at the Marina and in the area.  Taking a few, Charity walked to her car, stopping long enough to take in one more view of the whole Marina, before she got in and drove back through the oak and flowered lined entrance.   It seemed that this visit to the Marina had only left a larger feeling of loss and anxiety in her.  Where was the peace that she had come back to her hometown to find?  Charity was beginning to wonder what had happened to the hometown she remembered.

At least the gravel road leading to her old church had not changed, and the forest that lined part of the road were still in tack.  Charity remembered hunting mushrooms in this forest, and gathering raspberries and blackberries from the bushes that grew at the edge of trees.  She always came back with enough for Mom to make pies for Sunday dinner, along with pockets full to snack on herself.  Mom always laughed at the stains of red and purple on Charity’s face, that told the truth about how many berries had actually been eaten as she picked them from the bushes.  A sense of impending peace filled Charity’s soul, only to be shattered by reality a few moments later.  Coming into the clearing of the parking area near the bridge that led to the little chapel of her youth, Charity stared in disbelief.  Her childhood memories of the little church were battling with the reality that lay before her eyes at this very moment.

The lake had all but swallowed up the land the little church set upon, and the bridge that once lay over a small creek set over a river of water from the lake that now surrounded the church, leaving a little island of land, with the church perched on the edge of it.  Where the bridge had once gleamed of white washed boards lining it, was now nothing but old damaged wood with rusty nails, and missing boards.  The path that once had been lined in beautiful wild flowers, was now lined with mud and cracked dry dirt in places.  The once well-kept lawn of the church grew wild with grass, weeds, and brush.  Only a few scraggly trees still stood near the little chapel, that looked like it would fall apart should a slight wind blow against it.  Not a drop of white paint had graced the outside of the church in years, and it was obvious that the community had let it fall into disrepair for some time.  At least the steeple was still on top, and the little metal cross that had been made by the local blacksmith as a gift to the church, still stood, watching over the lake side of the church.  As Charity looked across the lake beside the church, the glow of the gleaming white structures of the Marina spoke of where the community’s focus had been.  It wasn’t on God anymore, not on his church, but on the materialistic enjoyment of the worldly things.  Charity’s heart sank even more.

Charity was thankful that she had decided to wear tennis shoes this morning, especially when she saw what she would have to traverse to get to the little church building.  There were sticker bushes lining the broken and missing boards of the path to the bridge.  Rusty nails stuck out of the walkway, and the rail across the bridge.  Near the water’s edge the mud was slimy and thick, but the ground around the little island still appeared dry and cracked, much like her soul had felt for the past few months since losing the one man she had loved to a car accident, and then suffering a miscarriage just days later.  These losses had left her feeling empty, dry of the ability to shed tears, and as if her heart was cracked beyond repair.  Somehow this old church and its surroundings spoke with empathy to her very being.  Charity gently opened the creaking door at the front of the church, and cleared the cobwebs that hung like spooky lace curtains inside the room.  She stopped a moment at the greeter’s stand that still stood by the center entrance to the church sanctuary.  Blowing dust off the visitor’s book, and flipping through the pages, Charity noticed that there were fewer and fewer entries in the book over the last decade and a half, until finally there were no more in the last 4 years.  A sadness filled her soul, as she realized this book marked the last heartbeats of the little chapel.  A tear dropped upon the now graying silk of the book’s cover, as Charity mournfully closed it.  Walking into the sanctuary, Charity noticed that the heart of the church, although dingy, filled with cobwebs and aging broken pews, still held a warmth to it.  It was obvious that someone had been in there in the last few years, as there were areas on the velvet covered altars that were free of dust.  The shapes of elbows and knees impressed upon the knee rest and along the top of the altar spoke of someone’s journey to the church to pray.  Charity dusted off a seat in a pew near the altar where the prints were and she sat.  Could these be the prints of someone hurting like her?  Were they the prints of a parent remembering a child who was loss,  or a wife mourning the loss of a husband?  In her heart she asked the Lord to give peace to the person who had traveled there to pray, and seek peace in their stormy life.

Leaning back, Charity’s memories took over.  She could hear the old piano playing, and a small choir of usually 7 singing…”Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling.  Calling for you and for me.  Here on the portals he’s waiting and watching, Watching for you and for me.”  Charity heard herself join in on the chorus of the old prayer hymn…”Come home, come home.  Ye who are weary come home.  Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling ‘O sinner, come home.”   Tears streamed down her eyes, as Charity felt drawn to the alter, to fill in the empty impressions with her own knees and elbows.  Prayer crept for her lips, as she asked for healing for her broken heart, and peace for her weary soul.  An arm filled with love and warmth reached around her shoulder, and a soft prayer was being raised beside her, for a daughter who had been lost to the world, but now had come home.  There was a thankfulness for many prayers finally answered for the child, and another prayer for healing and peace, then a simple amen to close it out.  Teardrops and another set of imprints of one handprint and two more knees joined the other imprints on the altar.  As Charity looked up, the tears flowed even more, as she realized it was her mother who had made those original imprints on the altar.  It was her mother who had come weekly on Sunday to pray for a loss child, and ask the Lord to bring her home.  It had been her mother who asked God to bring peace and comfort to a child who had suffered loss.  It was Charity’s mother, whom she had left alone in her hometown over 15 years ago, after her father had passed on, who had faithfully held onto her child in love, hope, and prayer.  Tears streamed faster down two faces now, as the welcoming of a Prodigal Child now happened.  This was not the superficial one that they had shared earlier, but the welcome that God always has for his child who has been lost, the welcome of a parent who had poured out prayer to a Heavenly Father for a child that they shared concern for.  This was the warm welcome and celebration that one who has found their way home longs for, and it was Charity’s to treasure forever.  As the two women, old and young, walked arm and arm out of the rugged, empty chapel, out into the evening, Charity and her mother turned for a moment to look at the church that brought them back together.  The glow of the sunset, gleamed like candles in the dusty windows, and at the top, the sun gleemed off of the metal cross, making it shine with golden warmth.  Charity felt the peace she had longed for bubble over inside her, and knew that although the church had been abandoned and broken down, God had not abandoned it, nor had he abandoned her.

 

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