Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
In I Samuel 18:5 we read about David, who was a very young man, but God chose him to do great things for the Kingdom. He was working in the palace of the King (Saul) and the Bible says "David behaved wisely wherever Saul sent him."
Further down in the chapter, verse 14, we read "David acted wisely in all his ways and succeeded and the Lord was with him."
Even further down in verse 30 it says, "David had more success in battle because he behaved himself more wisely than all Saul's servants."
Three times in one chapter we are told how David behaved wisely. What a message to young people! And...not only to young people, but to all of us. How much heart ache and misery could be avoided if all of us "behaved wisely."
Sad to say, later on, in II Samuel chapter 11 we see David NOT behaving wisely. He sent his men into battle without him. He should have been on the battlefield with them. Had he "behaved wisely" he would have been! He would not have been at home on his rooftop watching a woman bathe.
As I look back over my life, I realize more and more that all of the mistakes I made and all the sins I committed were because I wasn't behaving wisely. Perhaps I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead of being on the battlefield fighting for right and for justice, I was walking around on my rooftop enjoying the cool evening breeze.
God has a job for each of us. We have to behave wisely though, and we have to pay attention when He tells us it is time to go into battle. My prayer for all of us, His followers, is that as time for the end draws near, we will listen to Him, behave wisely and be ready to go into battle at a moments notice.
Image: Study of King David, by Julia Margaret Cameron. Depicts Sir Henry Taylor, 1866.
A Christmas to be remembered
It was Christmas Eve. Jason had to work at the tv studio so we packed all our Christmas food into laundry baskets, along with a festive table cloth, candles and a center piece and off we went to have Christmas eve dinner at the tv studio.
On the way home I had a text from our preacher, Paul. He asked if I could get in touch with Patsy, a widow who lives alone and has no family to care for her. He said he had tried to call and she wasn't answering the phone, I called and she answered. She said she was sick. When I called Paul back, he had already called an ambulance to go to her house. I called her back and told her to watch for it.
An hour and a half later, she called and said that the ambulance had never come! So Tommy and John boy went to get her and take her to the hospital. They left her and came home and got a shower because at this point we didn't know what was wrong.
At 11 o'clock p.m. she called that she thought they were going to keep her over night, so we went to bed. At 4 a.m. the hospital called for us to come and get her! WHAT??
So, the guys left to pick her up. On the way out of our parking lot they looked over at the church building and water was pouring out of the building, down the driveway and into the road. It was bitter cold here, so the water had frozen in the road and looked like an ice skating rink!
When they had gotten Patsy safely home they came back to the church. A pipe had broken in the ceiling and water was pouring into the church building, out the door and down the driveway. After turning the water off, and sweeping water out of the door, they finally got home around 8 a.m. got another shower, and headed out to get Patsy's prescription. (She has a kidney infection,)
This Christmas has taught me so much. The first thing it taught me is just how selfish I am. I had started to ask Patsy to come and spend Christmas day with us, and for purely selfish reasons, did not.
Second it taught me how the Lord always orchestrates things in our lives and how He always works things out for the good, if we but listen.
The most important thing it taught me though, is from now on I need to be aware of people around me who are alone and hurting, and invite them into the comfort and peace that our family has. I won't make the mistake again of wanting to keep Christmas just for our immediate family. There are "shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flocks by night" and they want to be invited in to see the Christ Child. What if they had stayed out in those cold, barren fields and never come to the manger?
He invites ALL to come and see Him. Why don't we?
We are doing a reading of the Polar Express in the Knox County Schools the three weeks before Christmas. We have decorated the inside of the Knoxville Dream Center book mobile to look like the inside of a train car. It's magical! We park out in front of the school and the kids come out and climb into the "train car" for a ride to the North pole.
They walk down a red carpet and sit in little red chairs. We read the story to them while they sip hot chocolate complete with marshmallows on top! After a few mishaps (we forget the coal every time so the kids have to sing a Christmas song in order to get enough Christmas Spirit to power the train!)...we are off to the North Pole!
We go to a new school every day and have 5 or 6 groups come to ride to the North Pole and we read the story to them. Every day as we leave, we ask what stories we each gathered from our time with the kids. Here are a few of my favorites.
Tommy said as he was passing out the hot chocolate, one little boy said "oh wow! I have never had hot chocolate before!" Every time I think of that my eyes fill up with tears. How much we take for granted!
Another little boy said on his way out..."this is the best day of my life!"
As the children leave they each get a silver bell (off Santa's sleigh, of course) and a candy cane. They step off the train into snow falling all around them. Today one of them looked at me and exclaimed in a voice full of wonder...."it really is snow!"
All of a sudden, it became that to me as well....REAL snow.
What could be better in life than hot chocolate and real snow? I'll tell you. The birth of Jesus.