Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Awesome discovery!!

I've been writing and recording since the early-mid '80s, and although I have the first recording I ever made (with a portable tape player, on my mom's organ), I have lost many recordings over the years. The majority of these were due to the switch to digital in the mid '90s...Every time I'd lose a hard drive, I'd lost 2-3 years worth of work. These days I use an external hard drive, upload to my website, SoundClick, here, etc and try to have 2-3 copies in different places "just in case", but there have been some huge losses in the past.

Feeling like a freaking musical archeologist digging up my own life today, I stumbled across a CD I made in 1994 (very early in my switch to digital) that chronicles 13 pieces (in 12 tracks, 1 track is a combo piece) that span nearly a decade of work. The earliest works are from when I was in High School, probably the summer of '88, and the latest pieces are likely from 1994 when the CD was made.

Now, I've always been shy about my work, and only in recent years have I started publicly sharing any of it, though I've in the midst of what I consider a "drought" where it concerns talent or quality. However, even with the limited technology, OLD recordings, some from tape, etc, I find that these are some of my best work, ever. I just may re-record the entire CD and make it a current project!

Anyways, I am in utter AWE of the amazing gift the Lord has granted me this night, and I can't wait to share some of it (keeping in mind, limited in technology, experience and bad recordings, lol!).

Be blessed!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Isaiah 65:24 (The hot water bottle).

Isaiah 65:24 (The hot water bottle).

It continues to be a reminder that God knows our needs before we do!! Isaiah 65:24

This beautiful incident was told by a doctor who worked in Central Africa .

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates).

'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk , so in Central Africa it might be considered no goo d crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills.. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.'

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen'? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the porch was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly... Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.

From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the... could it really be?

I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!

'Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class , whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon'.

'Before they call, I will answer.' Isaiah 65:24

When you receive this, say the prayer. That's all you have to do. No strings attached. Just send it on to whomever you want - but do send it on. Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let's continue praying for one another.

Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this. I ask You to minister to their spirit. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them. Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, guidance, and strength. Where there is fear, reveal Your love and release to them Your courage. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. Give each of them discernment to recognize the evil forces around them and reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it. I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Passing this along, as it was sent to me.



Monday, March 9, 2009

Winds of Change...

The weather last few days here in Central Illinois have been much like the economic and political atmosphere last several months throughout the world. Sunday in particular was one of the more interesting weather days here in several years. All night it had been raining with occasional thunderstorms, and Sunday morning was much the same. Even the visiting Pastor that spoke at our church used a close lightning strike and the imminent thunderous "boom" as an opportunity to make a point from the pulpit! When the service was over I was preparing to drive our car up so my wife and three children wouldn't have to run through the torrential downpour that awaited us outside. However, as I was caught up talking with someone for a moment before we left, something amazing happened. The sky simply opened and let the sun shine down, like any bright, sunny day in the middle of summer, just as if the terrible storms that had been beating down only moments before had never happened at all! It was simply amazing! And if that wasn't enough, as the day wore on, we got exactly the same demonstration once again; with great, tumultuous thunderstorms sweeping in out of nowhere, lingering for a few hours, then just as quickly as they had arrived, disappearing and allowing the sun to regain control of his sky.

I submit to you this, that what we were witness to here on Sunday was a harbinger of what we can expect of the world's economy and political powers in the coming months and possibly years. As the church, we will need to be ready to provide support and love for more than we have seen coming to receive it in the past, as there will be great need sending many people through our doors who would otherwise be unfamiliar with them. We will be allowed to show God's love, mercy and grace to people who would otherwise have never had opportunity to see it. But as hard as things seem like they could become; there will be an end to the storm, and suddenly the sky will open and overwhelming calm will prevail. This is an opportunity, and since we operate on God's economy and not the world's, let us not miss it worrying about petty things that God has control over anyway. Let's use the patience and reserve God has given us to provide a visible demonstration to the world that we believe God is yet on the throne and in control. While we provide food, clothing and shelter to the needy, let us also provide an example of how to live in tough times; in total trust and peace, because we are under the provision of the shadow of God's hand.



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just getting started

Hi there! If you've found this blog in its current (messy) state, rest assured, I am working on getting this up and running. I suppose this is one of those "excuse our dust" messages, lol!

I'm working on getting a different template, but I'm not good at this stuff, so it may be a couple days. Once that's fixed, I'll get the fist couple blog posts up and running and we'll be good to go.

Thanks for stopping by, and check back often!