I Will Not Drown…

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I have been receiving updates via e-mail regularly from a gal studying language in another country.  Her heart’s desire is to be a missionary in an area of the world not always ready to receive the Good News of Christ’s Gospel.  She is at the university six days a week studying, teaching English three days a week and doing cleaning and other jobs when she is not in a school-related mode.  She has had to adapt to another culture and jump many, many hurdles before she even came to this place where she says “If I have any ‘free time’ all I want is to sleep and to pray.”

I want to share from her last e-mail this paragraph:  “It’s very much like walking on water.  I know I’m doing more than I can do in my own power, like standing on the surface of deep water.  The Lord reminds me that this is a good place to be.  One of two things will happen:  either I will look into His eyes and walk on the water, or I will look at the water and start falling into it and He will reach out His hand and pull me up again.  Both of these are
good options.  I have done plenty of both in the last two weeks.  Sometimes I gaze at God and I can feel the impossible turning firm beneath the soles of my feet, and sometimes I look at all I have to do and start freaking out and I can feel the salt water starting to go up my nose.  But He never lets me go down.  These are the only two options.  Putting my feet down and standing is no longer an option.  I can’t.  I don’t have the option to go back to only doing what I’m capable of on my own.  And drowning is not an option.  He won’t let me.”

“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink.  “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.  Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and rescued him.”  (Matthew 14:29-31 The Living Bible)

Do you think if Peter had memorized this passage in Isaiah (43:2)  he may have been more confident?  “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown!  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.  FOR I AM THE LORD, YOUR GOD, THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, YOUR SAVIOR.

I think we could all use a little more time in God’s School of learning His safety rules!

Blessings,

Phyllis Dickinson

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May I Have a Cup of…

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Sugar?  Coffee?  Water?  All familiar requests.  Cups were in existence before history was recorded.  Peoples ‘cupped’ their hands together for drinking and then came various cups made from hollowed-out gourds, shells, animal horns, carved rocks and even skulls!  Cups are made from glass, paper, wood, plastic, china, stone, etc.  These vessels used for drinking and carrying liquids, we all know, are a simple and yet significant item.

Historically cup bearers were hired to sample drinks before monarchs, fearful for their thrones, took a drink.  If there was poison in the cup, the king wouldn’t be taken down, his cup bearer would.   A cup was involved in an old Hebrew Custom.  If a man offered a woman a drink and she drank, they were betrothed.  If not, no marriage would take place.  But more significant than either of these was the phrase “drinking of the cup” which eventually symbolized sharing the contents of the cup.  Whatever was appointed for the drinker, that one person would accept for good or bad, joyful or sorrowful whatever his ‘cup’ held.

I love this quote about Jesus:  “He consented to drink the cup of suffering in order to bequeath the cup of salvation to the world.  His struggle in the garden and temptation to avoid drinking the cup made His conquest all the more victorious.”

“When supper was ended, He (Jesus) took the cup also, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant (ratified and established) in My blood. Do this as often as you drink it and call me (affectionately) to remembrance.”  I Corinthians 11:25

Someone has also said this:  “He swallowed the bitterness of its contents, willing to drink the poison to sacrifice His life for others.”  When I think of this particular cup that Jesus drank on my behalf, I realize that it was not simple and yet of all cups, it has been the most significant one in all time and history.

It makes me ask the question and wonder at my own answer  “May I have a cup of…

… whatever you appointed me to drink, Jesus?”

Blessings,

Phyllis Dickinson

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i c d a t t c w s m

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“What does ‘icdattcwsm’ mean?” is a question that Mike and Stephanie Michaels get quite often.  They have matching leather bracelets with an engraved silver strip with the letters icdattchwsm on them.  When people see these lovely bracelets, they are curious.  And that is exactly the what the Michaels want to have happen.

The letters stand for “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13  They told me that they relied on the truth of this verse when they went through the deep waters of a medical crisis about a year ago.  Mike had a serious brain bleed, surgery, another bleed and, weeks of therapy to learn to walk and talk again.  This young couple agrees that they are grateful for the experience that taught them to lean on Christ Jesus for every ounce of their physical and spiritual strength.

Burgers and hot dogs, chips, cookies, games, huge blow-up obstacle course, Christian music playing, workers wearing t-shirts with a large cross and flame and the word “faith” on the front…Mike and Stephanie wanted to throw a free-to-anyone-pre-O’Fallon H.S. Football Game-Tailgate Party before the first game this fall.  Over three hundred people attended this event in our church’s parking lot across from the high school.  The reason?  The witness.  Michaels want to share the message with everyone “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

Anyone wanting a tie-dyed-looking rubber bracelet at this event with icdattcwsm on it got to take one home.  The really cool Christ-thing that Stephanie pointed out to me is that the two tt’s look like crosses.

Blessings,

Phyllis Dickinson

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Simplify


There are some primitive/antique décor shops that I enjoy browsing through.  They usually sell some ‘new’ items as well.  One new sign that I have seen frequently in the past several years says “Simplify”.  I think I am drawn to that concept with the passage of time and accumulation of ‘stuff’.  But the irony is that the shop is full of things that the merchant enticingly displays luring in the buyer to buy more ‘stuff’.  The cycle of collecting continues and the concept of ‘simplify’ goes unnoticed…unless, of course, one buys the sign with that word on it!

I was curious this past week and checked online for ‘rules’ to be a member in three different ‘churches’.  Rule-lists stretched from five to thirty-six rules.  And the rules were different in all these churches that are good churches that encourage people to be people of faith.  But the thing that bothers me is just that..that there are man-made rules and rules are good, but…if I read my Bible correctly Jesus had a problem with people making additional rules for people to follow.

People may have been confused back in Jesus’ day about commandments.  Some may have been overwhelmed by them.  Others were hypocritical about them.  “Then Jesus said to the crowds, and to his disciples:  “You would think these Jewish leaders and these Pharisees were Moses, the way they keep making up so many laws!  And of course you should obey their every whim!  It may be all right to do what they say, but above anything else, don’t follow their example.  For they don’t do what they tell you to do.  They load you with impossible demands that they themselves don’t even try to keep.”  (Matthew 23:1-4)

It seems to me Jesus came to simplify His Gospel when He told the crowds:   “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  The second most important is similar:  Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.  All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them.  Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”

Maybe it is time for church rulers to clean out the clutter of the rule lists and invite people into a love/obedience TWO RULE Life!  Simplify!

Blessings,

Phyllis Dickinson

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Oiled and Ready to Roll…

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Subtitle might be “God is a Tribologist”.  “Tribology is the science and engineering of interacting surfaces in relative motion.  It includes the study and application of friction, lubrication and wear.”  (Wikipedia)

I was listening to the engine of our little, red, fifteen-year-old truck and mentioned that the sound of grrrring parts could be heard.  My husband assures me that everything is okay which perplexes me when we have trouble starting the engine and also have to let it warm up a bit before driving.

That has got me thinking about things of friction and engines.  Friction = “the force that resists relative motion between two bodies in contact” and Lubrication:  “Substances that fight friction and allow moving parts to slide past one another more smoothly”.  This is significant as parts are either working together or in opposition.   Friction is noise-making and energy-draining.  Friction wears things out wasting energy.  Lubricants’ liquid flow, such as oil, help to cushion and smooth out bumps and blows.

All of this gets me to thinking about God and His ‘anointing oil’.

I was leading a retreat some years back and two of the guest musicians came up to me and said “we have a word from God for you”.  I thought, ‘oh boy’ now I am going to get some insight into my life and future!!!!

Do you know what they said?  “God is telling us to tell you to walk in your anointing.”  I was underwhelmed at the time.  But over time, I hear and feel the wisdom in those simple words.  “…You anoint my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings.”  Psalm 23

I have learned something about faith and friction.  Walk with the world, lots of friction and wearing-out of spirit.  Walk with the oil of God’s anointing on your life and “Surely Your Goodness, God, and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

I am oiled and ready to roll!

Blessings,

Phyllis Dickinson

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