Archives for May 2017

Our Miracle Jonathan

 

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Have you asked God for a miracle? Of, course you have and I have to. There have been times that I begged and pleaded with God for a miracle in my family. The Psalmist says, “I give thanks to you, because you have answered me. You are my savior.” Psalm 118:21 (GW) God had answered the Psalmist’s prayer. One of the many times that I pleaded with God for a miracle was when my first son, Jonathan was born.

As I lay resting in my hospital bed after a painful delivery, the Dr. came to see me. She informed me that Jonathan had been born with a Malrotation. If you don’t know what that is don’t feel bad, I didn’t either. A Malrotation is when the intestine fails to coil in the proper way in the abdomen. His Malrotation was also cutting off his blood flow and could be fatal. They had already requested a helicopter to fly him to Oklahoma City Children’s Hospital. I called Rodney to inform him of the sad news. We begin to ask God for a miracle. He quickly came back to the hospital and we tearfully saw Jonathan before he was put on the helicopter.

We began to call family and friends and ask for prayer. They began to call people and ask for prayer. More and more people were praying for Jonathan and asking for a miracle. You see, God was the only one that could provide the healing. I believe in Doctors but God was the one who could provide the healing through Doctors or without Doctors. He was in control of Jonathan’s life.

I stayed in the hospital and Rodney and a friend headed to Children’s Hospital. We continued to pray. Churches started to pray. God’s people were hearing about our little Jonathan that needed a miracle. When Rodney and Steve arrived at the hospital they had already done a series of tests. They saw the same Malrotation that the Ardmore Hospital had seen. Now two hospitals had seen this Malrotation on X-rays and other tests. They prepped Jonathan for surgery and sent Rodney and Steve to wait out a long surgery on this little newborn.

As Rodney and Steve were waiting and praying, the Doctors showed up early. They informed Rodney that when they cut Jonathan open and started looking in his abdomen, they couldn’t find the Malrotation. Jonathan’s intestines were perfect. They were in the perfect place. They looked and looked and couldn’t find anything wrong. You and I know what happened. God gave us a miracle. Between the tests and the cutting Jonathan’s abdomen, God touched Jonathan and gave us a miracle healing. The Doctors said they had never seen a Malrotation on an X-ray and not one when they did surgery. We testified then and still of God’s healing in Jonathan’s young body.

Jonathan’s miracle happened on May 30, 1981. It is as wonderful now as it was then. I give thanks to God who provided a miracle to us that day. God answered the prayers of many for this little baby boy. Jonathan name means “God’s gift.” God gave him to us. God took him from us. Praise God, God gave him back again. We have had other miracles since that day but that was the miracle that taught this young family how much of a miracle working God we have.

 

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“I give thanks to you, because you have answered me. You are my savior.” Psalm 118:21 (GW)”I give thanks to you, because you have answered me. You are my savior.” Psalm 118:21 (GW)

20 Ways I Loved My Mother-in-law by Lynn Autry

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20 Ways I Loved My Mother-in-Law

 

 

1. She’s my mother-in-law. She was a mother first and then a mother-in-law. She was the mother of the man I love. She was the mother who has loved,  sacrificed and lost for the man I married. She is to be loved and not despised. “. . . do not despise your mother when she is old.”(Prov. 23:22) “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”(Ex. 20:12) She was my mother-in-law who I loved.

2. We made each other laugh. We all do humorous things. We need to be able to laugh at each other at times without becoming upset. Laughter is good for your health. Laughter relaxes your body, boosts your immune system, relieves stress, strengthens relationships, reduces conflict and more. We have enough serious stuff to deal with in families so enjoy the laughter and the benefits. We sure did.

3. She was patient with me. We have not always been patient with each other. Patience is something we have both strived for even in the tense moments. If one was not patient then the other was, thereby, creating a calming environment. Patience is the ability to accept or at least tolerate another without getting upset or angry. “Love is Patient. . .”(I Cor. 13:4) We showed our love by being patient with each other.   

4. We enjoyed each others cooking. Our cooking was very different. She has cooked with little spices. I cook with spices. She made awesome layer cakes. I made good layer cakes. We do not have to cook alike and we were ok with that. Why can we do that? We had accepted differences. Christ has accepted us all the way down to our toes. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”(Rom. 15:7) When I have sat down and ate my mother-in-law’s food, I have brought praise to God. Praise God we have even learned from our differences.

5. She had a sacrificial attitude toward her parents. She loved her parents. Her father died before he needed extra care. Her mother moved a trailer beside their home. She sacrificed time, money and social events to care for her mother. When her mother needed extra care she was right there to help even when she would have to give something up. She left an example of sacrificial love for us to follow. In a world when nursing homes are full, Mattie made sure every need of her mother was met. She showed Christ love to her parents.

6. She was always glad to see me. She wanted to see her son but she also wanted to see me and our children. We always enjoy being around people who want to see us. I knew every time I saw her, she was glad I was there. Aren’t you glad we have a God who sees us. Not only does He see us but He enjoys seeing us. Hagar said the LORD  was the God who sees her.(Gen. 16:13) He had seen her in her need. He was her El Roi (God who sees). Mattie and I have a God that see us.

7. She was always truthful. I could always count on my mother-in-law telling me the truth. I may not have always liked how it was told but she was truthful. In many families, lies are a part of the family life. Mattie was an example for her family on the importance of truth. Her speech showed that God was truth. David said in Psalm 26:3, “.  . . I walk continually in your truth.” Mattie followed God’s example and walked in His truth.

8. She loved her husband. Paul and Mattie were married 53 years when she died. They loved doing things together. They served at church together, went on trips, and did day to day activities together. When Paul was in the hospital, she was right there to. She was there to love and help her husband. This wife stood by her man.

9. She loved her sons. It was obvious anytime you were around her how much she loved her sons. She took time to help her sons anyway she could. When her sons were in school, she would take time to help with school projects or school activities. All of her sons did not live close but her heart was with them wherever they lived. “Being a mother means that your heart is no longer yours; it wanders wherever your children do.” ~Author Unknown

10. She loved to go to church. Church was a big part of her life. She had over the years been a Sunday School teacher, VBS teacher and many other jobs. She could say as Mary had said, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Even in later years of her life, when she could not hold teaching positions, she would send cards to people in her church. Excuses  for not serving  did not come out of her mouth. I was told by many how her cards had ministered to them. From High School until she went into the hospital, she did what she could, to help out at her church. An example to you and me.

11. She enjoyed life. Her life was not filled with fancy cars, big houses or lots of money to spend.  Her life might be called a simple life. She enjoyed raising three boys, taking care of family members and serving in church. She laughed, smiled and enjoyed her life. She looked forward to simple things like good grades, church programs, and good gardens.  She enjoyed fellowship with friends where ever she was. Jesus said, “. . . a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Mattie’s life was so much more than her possessions.

12. She never raised her voice to me. I could always count on a soft tone from Mattie. There were times when she was upset with me but a soft tone always came from her lips. Proverbs 15:1 tells us “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” We shared a relationships that was filled with gentle answers and I loved it. Gentle answers helps a relationships to grow and blossom instead of die and decay.

13.  She enjoyed caring for plants. When plants would come to Mattie’s home, they would immediately grow. She would be very tender in caring for her plants. They would grow and flourish. She watched her mother care for plants from a child on up. She would even throw out used dish water on her plants and they would still grow. Her plants were beautiful. I never have enjoyed that same green thumb. She had a green thumb and more. Her plants were enjoyed by each person that visited her home.

14.  She took care of her health. She listened to her doctors and tried to follow the doctor’s orders. When her doctor put her on a special diet, she followed it even to the point of giving up all deserts. We have been brought with a price and we are to honor God with our body. (I Cor. 6:20) Mattie honored God with her body. She would refuse to eat a desert in the midst of areas of deserts. This was dedication to protecting her health.

15. She made the best cakes. She would make a Strawberry Cake and German Chocolate Cake that was to die for. She never could give me the recipe. She had made them so long that she just knew the recipe. When we were all together for special occasions, we looked forward to her cakes. The best Strawberry Cake and German Chocolate Cake I have ever eaten was made by her. I can just taste them now.

16. She loved her mother-in-law. She kept her mother-in-law in her life. Her in-laws were her husband’s parents but she also accepted them as part of her life. Ruth told Naomi in Ruth 1:16, “Your people will be my people.” Mattie could have said this. She helped her in-laws whenever they needed her. She was an example for me on accepting them.

17. She was kind to animals. She would have stray and wild cats to come around over the years. She didn’t have the heart to not feed them. She would start putting food out for them and sooner or later she would be able to start petting them. She help take care of animals that her sons had for fun or 4H. She did not have money to lavishly spend on pet supplies but she would take care of the need they had. Love is kind and Mattie was kind.

18. My mother-in-law cooked two suppers to meet the hunger pains of her family. Her sons were hungry when they came in from school. Her husband was hungry when he came home from work. She had a meal ready at two different times to please her boys and also please her husband. She sacrificed her time to make sure all the males in her house were fed when they were hungry.  Some of us would have said to her sons, “Just wait or have a snack and wait.” Mattie was there when the hungry mouths wanted food. Wow, what a mom.

19. She was willing to work outside the home when it was needed. Mattie was willing to worked in a mill and care for her family. During Paul and Mattie’s married life, times were hard and an extra income was needed. Mattie saw the need and worked outside the home and inside the home. When they could afford it, she quit work and cared for elderly parents. She was willing to do whatever was needed to care for her family.

20. Mattie suffered gracefully through illness. During the later years of her life, she had illnesses through an automobile accident, respiratory and stomach cancer. She was patience, kind and graceful to everyone around her. The Doctors and nurses enjoyed having this patient. She had much she could have complained about and even yelled about. I once watched several nurses try to take blood from her arms and hands. She was kind to them instead of kicking them as they took it from her foot. God had given her grace and she could give it to others during her pain.

 

 

 

 

Getting Brownie Points with God by Lynn Autry

 

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Getting Brownie Points with God

 

Naomi had a lot to happen in her life when she found herself walking into Bethlehem with Ruth. She was bitter and she had a right to be. Right? She had moved to a place that she grew up hating. Anybody wouldn’t like that. She had followed her man. She had stood by him and then started a new life. Wouldn’t that have earned some brownie points with God. Well, in her mind it hadn’t. Things were supposed to get better.

They had moved to Moab so they would have plenty of food to eat. They had left a land of famine to come to a land of plenty. She wasn’t just interested in food but also her family. Not only had she had to deal with settling in a strange land but she didn’t know anybody. She had no friends. Her sons had left their friends and she had left friends and family. She had felt so lonely. She remembered how she had struggled with telling her sons to try to make friends. As her sons complained, she had pushed them to work at having friends when inside she felt so lonely. She and her family had worked at setting in. Moab was not Bethlehem but they had tried. They had made an effort. Wouldn’t that have earned some brownie points with God? She thought sure it would.

Her husband Elimlech died in Moab. Should she have gone back to Bethlehem then? Her boys had settled in and made friends. They didn’t want to move again. Should she had forced them to leave friends and possible girlfriends to move back home? She chose to not fight that battle. This was not what she wanted again but she made the decision to stay for her family. Wouldn’t that have earned her brownie points with God? She thought not thinking of herself would certainly give her some.

There were good memories also she thought about as she walked into Bethlehem. The happiness she saw on her sons’ faces when they were married. Yes, she had to endure a Moab ceremony but her sons beamed with happiness. The Moab daughters-in-law that moved into her home turned out to be what she needed most in Moab. They became more than daughters-in-law. They became friends, female friends. She remembered the long talks and the laughter they had enjoyed. How she had loved and accepted her daughters-in-law over the years should have earned her some brownie points with God. Until her sons died she had worked at this mother-in-law role.

The good was so over shadowed by the bad. Naomi couldn’t get the death of her sons out of her mind. It was a haunting pain. She knew her daughters-in-law had hurt too but this was her only sons. It was as if God had just thrown her into a pit. Life had thrown her down in that dark hole. She thought she was earning brownie points and now she was in a pit of sorrow. She just wanted to go home and leave every reminder of Moab behind her. She couldn’t even imagine anything good anymore. She had buried her husband and sons. What was even left for her?

Naomi never knew this verse because it hadn’t been written yet. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (I Peter 5:10) Can anything good come out of suffering? Peter knew it could. Naomi couldn’t even imagine anything good except seeing her homeland. For Naomi, her hurt had gone on for an eternity. It was all she could think about. God was about to pull Naomi out of this pit and start letting her see more than her suffering. Her season of suffering was ending.

As Naomi walked into Bethlehem with Ruth, God had plans for her. Naomi thoughts had been of her but God was going to move her beyond herself to Him.  He was going to give her a kinsman redeemer to restore and redeem this woman who had lost so much. He was restoring her family. He was going to strengthen this woman that was emotionally drained. Naomi had used every emotion in her body to just endure. He was going to help her see Him again. God was going to make her walk with Him grow and mature. She was going to realize the goodness of God again. Yes, as Naomi walked into Bethlehem with Ruth by her side, she was coming out of that pit that her life had thrown her in. God was in control of Naomi’s life like He is in control of yours and mine. He had let her suffer through tragedy but blessings were right beyond that dusty road.  Yes, the brownie points that she thought at one point she had were in front of her. They were more than brownie points. They were blessings, redemption, strength, family, and she was going to rejoice again. Oh, the rejoicing that was coming at the end of her suffering.

 

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