Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
What a good word !
I have always been sort of a germophobe, but it seems that that word has taken on a whole new meaning during this coronavirus scare. You would think we had already "gotten it" because of studying how back in the day they discovered they lost fewer patients if the medical people washed their hands before going from patient to patient. Guess not. Now it seems everywhere you turn you are bombarded with the message "wash your hands."
On Saturday, we went over to the warehouse and cleaned the kitchen. Last week, work went on in there from early in the morning until late in the afternoon. It looked like a cyclone had gone through. We spent 3 hours cleaning, but since all of us were working and never stopped, that is the equivalent of 9 hours. John boy said even more because of some law that I never heard of and can't remember even now as I write this! We saw more to do but at least it is cleaner than it was.
When we came home we tackled our house. A place always looks worse when you come from cleaning somewhere else. Now our home is spotless as well.
I wish that I were as concerned about cleaning up my temple....the house I live in and never leave. We want our space clean and germ free...the space we call home... but I am afraid I am not as concerned with my inner temple where the Holy Spirit dwells. Sometimes I think I hear Him say, "Hey, don't you think you need to work a little bit in this room here....the attic, where all your hateful thoughts start? Don't you think you need to do a thorough cleaning there, making sure you hit the corners as well?"
Then I hear Him say, "Hey, this room where your heart is could use some deep cleaning as well. It has grown hard from sitting gathering dust and cobwebs. Don't you think it's time to dust that thing off?"
And one more thing He says..."I am tired of trying to get you to lift those arms to help someone, and urge those feet to go where I am trying to send you. Don't you think it is time to put some oil on those things to get them moving again"?
I hear this and sigh, and realize, once again, that yes, I should keep my earthly home clean and try as best I can to keep the environment around me clean. I need to keep my hands washed so I don't put germs into my body. But more important, I need to be sure my insides are clean. For what does it profit a man to clean the whole world and lose his soul? (paraphrase of Mark 8:36) Here is one more scripture for you: Matthew 23:25 "Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. The Message Bible says that the insides are "maggoty with your greed and gluttony."
Be sure you wash your hands today, but be even more sure that you are keeping your insides without "spot or blemish!" Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands love your wives JUST AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT, THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY AND CLEANSE IT WITH THE WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD, THAT HE MIGHT PRESENT IT TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SOPT OR WRINKLE OR ANY SUCH THING BUT THAT IT SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH."
I have been reading devotionals by Elisabeth Elliot. This morning she told about going to the ocean as a child and about her brother being afraid to go into the water. Her Daddy said he would hold him so that he wouldn't be swept out to sea, but the little boy would not budge. He watched Elisabeth go in, and watched his Daddy hold her tight, and saw how much fun she had, but still he would not go in.
Finally on the last day, he let his Daddy take him and he loved every minute of it! Then, all of a sudden, he burst into tears! He asked his Daddy, "why didn't you make me go in!"
So many times in my life and in the lives of those around me, I want to say, "Why don't you make me live the way I am supposed to live!" Even as far back as Adam and Eve, the Father did not make them obey Him. They were afraid that if they obeyed Him, they would miss out on happiness. Elisabeth goes on to say that the things we think we need for happiness may often lead to our ruin, and things we think will ruin us....if we surrender to His strong arms....will bring us not only joy, but deliverance.
She concludes by saying that her Daddy knew far better than his small, fearful, stubborn son what would give him joy.
So does our Heavenly Father. Whenever we resist Him, we cheat ourselves, just as Elisabeth's little brother did. Whenever we yield, we find joy.
"Dwell in My love. If you heed my commands, you will dwell in My love, as I have heeded My Father's commands and dwell in His love. I have spoken thus to you, so that My joy my be in you, and your joy complete." John 15:9-11
(Elisabeth and her husband Jim, were missionaries to the Auca Indians. The Indians killed him. She went back and ministered to the tribe members who killed him.)
That's how old my Mother would have been yesterday. I wonder what all she has experienced for the last 42 years. I didn't realize it until I just now wrote 42, that that is how old my sister Millie was when she went to be with the Lord in 1972! They have now been together in heaven as long as they were on earth! A coincidence? I don't think so. My Mother and my sister Millie were always close. All of us were close to Mother, but I think they had a special bond. It was almost like I had two Mothers since Millie was 10 years older than I.
My Mother took care of my sister to the very second when she went to be with Jesus. At the time, my Mother also had cancer and we didn't know it. She didn't last very long after Millie was gone. I don't think she wanted to. They were only apart for a year...maybe two. It has been so long that it is hard for me to remember.
My sister and her husband Harold, had just adopted two beautiful children. Tony and Anlyn. Tony was 4 when she died and Anlyn only 9 months. My Mother had been at the hospital with her, and came home to catch a quick nap. While sleeping she dreamed that Anlyn had on a blue dress and was in a swiftly flowing river. Mother was trying to grab her and she just kept getting further and further away.
My Mother put a lot of stock in dreams, as do I. When she woke up, she said that she knew then that Millie was not going to be here much longer...that she was drifting further and further away from her.
When she got to the hospital that morning, they had put a blue gown on Millie. That was the first time she had ever worn a blue gown while in the hospital. She died about 2 days later.
Her children never got to know what a wonderful person their Mother was. In fact, I don't think they ever even refer to her as Mother. I wish they did. My Mother was as perfect a Mother as there could ever be. Millie would have been right there running a close second. I know this, because she was a Mother to me all the years she was on this earth.
I miss them both, but I know that they will be waiting for me when I cross over. I have a feeling they will both be wearing blue.
We met for our monthly prayer day at camp. I thought we had a good number considering all the scare about the corona virus. Actually we had a very appropriate number....12! This day we met specifically to pray about the panic over the corona virus. We decided that it might be a good idea to try and defeat the enemy with prayer and worship! We talked about how Jehosaphat in the Bible inquired of the Lord, then he sent his singers out in front of the army. We decided if it worked for Jehosaphat, it would certainly work for us. (You can read the story in 2 Chronicles 20.)
So, we spent the day praying about the corona virus and singing praises. What the Lord does is up to Him, but we came away, trusting Him more than ever and with a deep peace and sense that everything is going to be ok. Tommy talked about how we all tend to focus on the problem and occasionally glance at Jesus. We should be focusing on Jesus and maybe every now and then glance at the problem..
As Tommy also said, he doesn't want to die a slow painful death, but he doesn't fear death itself. I trust God enough though that if He chooses to let me die that slow, painful death, He will give me the strength to bear it, and I trust in Him completely. "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that HE is able to keep what I have committed unto Him against that Day." 2 Timothy 1:12.
Where is your home?
Mine is wherever my family is.
Tommy and I were talking today about how many times we have moved. I would have to stop and count, but let me just say....it has been a lot! We were saying that wherever we go we try to make it ours. A place where we feel content and safe and happy. Even if we are staying in a hotel room, we don't trash it. In fact, many times it is cleaner when we leave than when we got there.
At Christmas, we rented an apartment in NYC. We had never met this young family, but we tried to treat it as if it were ours. Again, we left it spotless.
When we were living in a tent in the desert in Mexico, I got up every morning around 5 (when the rooster crowed....literally!) and made my "bed". When I climbed in at night, I wanted it to look inviting. I even found a little strap on the inside of the tent right above the bed, where I hung my glasses each night. Home.
It doesn't take much to walk outside, wherever you are, and find a flower or a pinecone or just some weeds and rocks, to decorate your table. Even on a picnic, I take flowers for the table. (ask Cindy Bates.)
As Tommy and I were talking we were at the trailer. We had just come back from being in Florida for 2 weeks...another "home." As I turned away from talking, I glanced at a poem I had hanging in the hallway right beside the door. This trailer is, sadly, on it's last legs. We bought it in 1984 so we know we are going to have to have it hauled away in the not too distant future. I took the poem off the wall and read it to Tommy. This poem says it all:
Take down the curtains, lock the door
And give the key to some one new;
I'll see the jonquil buds once more
And turn my back and go with you.
For little gardens everywhere
Quicken to a loving hand,
And little houses just as fair
Hug the highways of the land.
But there is only one of you
To satisfy my spirit's need,
And home is anywhere we two
Shall find a house and plant a seed.
- H.R. Roberts
I just opened my blog and saw today's posting. Jason had changed the picture in the header. He had told me he was going to do that every now and then, but it was still a surprise.
Tommy and I are dancing in Grand Central Station in NYC! We were reenacting a scene from the movie Fisher King. We were on the top level of Grand Central and there was no one up there, just like in the movie. (Of course in the movie it was on the main floor.)
To me, every time I am in New York City, I feel as if I am in a movie. It has never become commonplace to me! Whether I am walking in Central Park, sitting in Bryant Park, riding the train on my discount "senior" metro card, or just having a cup of coffee in a diner, I can see the cameras rolling.
The day that this picture was taken, we were there with our grandson Cal. I love looking back on that day because it would be one of the last times I spent with Cal before he moved to California. I haven't seen him in about 4 years, so when I see this picture, it makes me think of him.
Most of the movies of life are not captured on film. That is why we have to be very observant when we go through each day. What is not captured on film, should be captured in our minds. One picture in my mind from that day is Cal, looking through the lens of a camera. He is taking pictures of everything going on around him, and I am taking one of him, in my mind.
Sometimes you get the feeling that this is your last time to do something. You can't really explain it. It's just a feeling.
I told Tommy this morning that I have that feeling about coming to this house in Florida again. We call it "our" villa. We have been coming here for several years. The house belonged to our friends in England for awhile. They sold it to their friends in Scotland, and for many years we rented from them. We developed a friendship with them as well, albeit a long distance friendship, since we had never met them. The Scots friends gave us our own key to the place! They sold it to someone here in America, and they have been good people to rent from as well.
If you stay any length of time in Florida, the cheapest way to go is to rent a villa. We have loved staying here, but it may just be our last time.
I sat outside this morning reading and looking at the lagoon behind the house and thought, I have enjoyed staying here, but it's ok if it is the last time.
Many last times are sad. The last time you have your babies at home before they go off to school. The last time your children are at home before going off to college. The last time you see your Mother or Daddy or sister or brother alive in this world.
These were sad last times for me.
But some last times are joyful. The last time you have to take a test in college. The last time you have to find a ride with someone because you can now drive! The last time you walk out the door from somewhere you probably should not have moved to in the first place!
Life is full of last times. People are so concerned about the coronavirus. If I get the virus, and I pray I don't, (I pray you don't either) and it is the last time I will walk around on this earth, it will be a combination of happy/sad. Happy that I am going to be with Jesus, sad that I am no longer going to see you in this life.
The Bible tells us that none of us knows when we will die, just that we will. Today may be that day. Today may be that last time.
Some of you might like to read my friend Audrey's blog...especially the one titled, "Sweet Tea and Earrings". Click HERE to read.
Do you ever wonder why we humans feel like we deserve the best? While people all over the world are suffering, we whine if we get a little behind in our housework, or are inconvenienced in any way.
This was really brought home to me recently. I won't say where we were...just on the road doing what we do - the church put us up in a motel, which they often do,
I knew when we drove up it was going to be bad. Think....a motel in the 50's, but one that had been used and abused for a long time. Also, think orange (yes, I said orange) bedspreads and navy blue very worn indoor/outdoor carpet. Also, no wi fi. I don't mind the no wi fi bit, but...really?
I have to tell you, we walked in and none of us said a word. Finally one of us, not sure which, said "well, at least it isn't Haiti!"
We pulled out the Lysol (we never leave home without it) and sprayed the entire room, making sure we didn't miss a spot. We also left all our suitcases zipped.
With a final look around at our dismal surroundings, we left to do a show. The show must go on!
That night we went back to the hotel to sleep. As I drifted off I remembered nights in Mexico, sleeping in a tent in the desert. I also remembered bucket showers and outhouses in Mexico, and tried my best to be grateful and not be so spoiled!
We are in Florida. We came down for a gig and are staying a few extra days. The guys are working on projects and I am mainly reading. We have a few friends in the area down here, so have been having them in for meals, but other than that, we don't have a lot of plans for these few extra days.
Tommy DID celebrate his 73rd birthday here on Saturday, and he decided that all he wanted to do was go to IKEA and get his free meal. IKEA does this and we always take advantage. We didn't go on his actual birthday, but went the day after. I have never seen it so packed! (This is in the midst of the coronavirus!)
This has been a very unusual trip for us in many ways. For one thing, I feel like I am in a foreign land because of all the hype about the virus. When I am out, I look at people wondering...do they have it?
We always go to the store when we get here and I wasn't even thinking about the virus scare...just doing my shopping like always. We were in Walmart and I said "why are they stocking shelves in the middle of the day?" Every aisle was packed with boxes and clerks unpacking them. Then it hit me! The Coronavirus! When we got to the toilet paper aisle, it was completely bare and there were no new boxes to stock! I just started laughing. I asked myself why in the world is toilet paper the main thing disappearing? My friend "awesome" Audrey, made a comment in a recent e mail, that as far as she knew, the coronavirus doesn't involve excessive pooping!
I am not making light of the virus. But I have reflected through all of this what it is that makes people panic. I recently saw an interview with a man who predicted the date and time of the second coming of Christ. I think it was in the 70's. A lot of people were gathered in Times Square in NY, and the news was there interviewing him. People all around him were holding signs stating the exact date and time. The time was 6 p.m. As 6 p.m. approached the newsman asked the man who had predicted the end, what he would say if the Lord didn't come back. He said that that wouldn't happen.
Of course the Lord didn't come back. The Bible tells us that no one knows...not even the angels in heaven. That doesn't stop people from predicting. It happens over and over.
I was thinking about that yesterday. The Bible doesn't tell us the date or time, but it does tell us to be ready. We are to be watchful because we don't know.
It's the same thing with this virus. There will always be scares like this. I remember years ago, I just knew that the killer bees were going to attack at any time.
I believe that we have a choice no matter what the scare is....we can panic, or we can trust. I choose to trust. Psalm 46
I am sitting in a church building in a tiny little town in northern Indiana called Windfall. We drove through the snow to get here.
From Tennessee it's about a 9 hour trip. We haul all our props in our car, leaving only enough room for us to sit.
Most of our weekends include loading our car, driving to our destination, unloading the car, setting up our props on stage, performing, tearing down or "striking" as they call it in the theatre world, loading the car and driving home. We also usually preach and lead worship the same weekend.
Of course I left out a very important detail: Before all of the loading, driving unloading, setting up, performing and tearing down, the sermon, script and music were written and props were made.
As we were setting up today, I said, "Are we crazy?" Most people who do what we do have a driver and a road crew. John boy said "Yes, we are crazy." But, we are singing our song off "any old stage."
Amy Grant has a song she sings about being "happy sad."
We are "happy crazy."