Heaven’s Yellow Stoplight!

July 23, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Nightstand Pic “GRANDKIDS fill an emptiness in our hearts we didn’t even know we had.”


written by Debbie Allen

Most mornings when I wake-up, I am facing the same night-stand, lamp and picture frame I placed by my bedside over five years ago. Because these bedroom artifacts are such familiar scenery, I rarely take time to focus on them anymore.  One particular morning, however, as I opened my eyes; I was strangely drawn to the pictures in that picture frame.  Not only that, I could hear the sounds of one distinct word resonating inside my head over and over again.    “Honor…honor…honor…honor.”

Now, I’ve heard  God’s Whispers in my life enough to know I needed to pay attention.  When my own life’s seemingly  ordinary ho-hums combine with God’s own Holy-Hums… something is about to change.  Usually, it’s me!

This persistent echo inside my head was enough to interrupt my heart’s silent, morning prayer-time before rising.  Though I had no idea how the word, honor, related to the picture frame filled with snapshots of my Grandchildren, I realized something else.  I wasn’t just lying in bed anymore.  Without having moved an inch, I’d managed to enter into my own Heavenly Intersection!

Yielding to the sights and sounds of that intersection, I treated it like a yellow stoplight in a busy crossing.  Yellow stoplights caution those approaching, to slow down and consider stopping for a moment; instead of just speeding through and never looking back!  Applying what I understood about yellow stoplights, I knew I needed to be looking in all directions for anything that might be  coming at me; then proceed with caution.

Ever-so-slowly, I mentally proceeded through that heavenly intersection.  About the time I did so, something hit me out of the blue!  No, not a crash; more of a break-through!  My eyes locked on the picture frame once more.  The frame formed a geometric triangle.  Each of its three, 5 x 7,  rectangular sides contained a picture of my Grandchildren.  Two smaller triangles sealed off both ends.  Inscribed on its top were these words,

” GRANDKIDS fill an emptiness inside us we never knew we had!”   (No truer words have ever been spoken! )

As I studied it further, I noticed things I hadn’t seen before.  The pictures didn’t change…but, my perspective had. For the first time in a long time, I was seeing those pictures …not just looking at them.  Makayla, a three-year-old Building Engineer, was making a Lego tower as tall as a mountain.  Wrapped in climbing gear, three-and-a half-year-old, Ryan, was attempting to climb his first mountain.  Brendan, sixteen-years-old, just reached a mountaintop on his dirt bike, after a day’s-worth of hard riding. Building a Mountain…Climbing a Mountain…Reaching a Mountain.  All of these moments captured my heart enough to frame these precious, loves-of-my-life, give them a special place in my heart and on my nightstand; and then to honor their sweet memory daily!

Still hearing the Holy-Humming going on inside my head, it didn’t take me long to make the connection between my picture frame and the word, honor. As a Grammie who frequently loves and admires her Grandkids, I quickly realized just how little it takes for us, as Human Beings, to bestow honor on our own.  We do it every day; one picture, one moment, one accomplishment at a time.  Yet…there is One (Jesus), Who is so much more  deserving than anyone on earth when it comes to receiving honor.  Too often, however, we shortchange Him and even stiff His outstretched Hands.

After all, when it comes to Building a Mountain…Jesus is the Maker of all Mountains!  How about Climbing a Mountain?  Jesus climbed the tallest mountain anyone will ever climb!  He did it shouldering a wooden Cross; dragging it up a steep and foreboding path.  Reaching a Mountain?  When Jesus reached His mountaintop, the world honored Him with a Crown of Thorns and nailed Him to the Cross.  He died there for you and me.

How thankful I am  for Heaven’s Yellow Stoplights on earth! When you enter into these Intersections in life, you are never the same by the time you reach the other side (Unless you’re one who speeds through yellow stoplights and never looks back!).   This is what happens when Heaven’s Divine Perspective intersects with the puniness of our own earthly thinking.  Though I will continue to love and honor my Grandchildren for the unique and precious gifts they are to me from above,  I will never see the picture frame on my nightstand quite the same.  I see two frames now. One is real and tangible, and  filled with pictures of my Grandkids. The other one is  a virtual Picture Frame.  It is both geometric and triangular in shape;  but, this one is filled with Snapshots of Jesus on every side.  Pictures of Jesus Building His MountainClimbing His Mountain… and Reaching His Mountain.

Every morning I open my eyes and see these Frames, I am reminded that there is a vast difference in the way I am to bestow honor on those being celebrated in those picture frames.  Honoring our own, and Honoring Jesus looks eternally different.  It is the difference between placing our loved ones up on a pedestal…and hanging God’s Only Son up on a Cross.

“O Lord, You are worthy to receive the glory and the honor, and the power…” (Revelation 4:11)

mini heart fpHeart Trappings :

How many of Heaven’s Yellow Stoplights have you rushed through without ever looking back?  Ever wondered how much of God’s Wisdom for your life you’ve missed by doing so? Think of your own loved ones and how you choose to honor them for who they are and what they’ve accomplished in this life.  Do you see them from a Heavenly Perspective?   Ponder Jesus for a moment now. When is the last time you sacrificed time and effort to honor Him?  Worship Him? Adore Him?

Prayer :  Precious Father, please forgive me for being so short-sighted when it comes to Your Heavenly Perspective.  I know Your Word tells us to “love and honor each other” (Rom. 12:10).  Teach me how to honor my Children and my Grandchildren in a way that honors them from Your Perspective. Help me to remember to love them for the precious gifts they are to my heart, and for what You are accomplishing in and through their lives for the Glory and Honor  of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for Heaven’s Yellow Stoplights and for the Beauty yet to be discovered on the other side of those Heavenly Intersections in our life.  Amen

 

“Seas Life’s Moments”

July 7, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Beach Shell 3
“Memories made at the Beach Stay in our  Hearts Forever!”


written by Debbie Allen

While sifting through the comments on my blog awhile back, I came across one remark which had absolutely nothing to do with anything I’d written on my post.  Truthfully, I’m not even sure she read the story. For some strange reason, I held off pushing the delete permanently button, allowing this person’s words to wash over my heart again and again. I marveled that a total stranger’s  words, randomly shared on a blog she accidentally stumbled upon because she just “…had to share her story  with someone”, could connect so deeply in my heart.  I sensed God’s Fingerprints all over this!

A young, single mom, living on the California coast went on to explain how she’d taken her four-year-old daughter, Emmy, for a walk on the beach  that day earlier. As they strolled along, kicking up loose sand with bare toes; Mom picked up a shell lying on the beach nearby.  Reminded of her own childhood, she showed it to Emmy.  Mom explained to her how God had hidden the sounds of the ocean’s crashing waves down inside of the shell.  Delighted, Emmy reached for the shell and pressed it up against her ear.  Just as quickly, Emmy dropped the beautiful shell, screaming and holding her ear, crying out, “Ouchie!  Ouchie!”

Puzzled by her daughter’s reaction to what promised only to be a beautiful, Mother-Daughter moment on the beach, Mom picked up the shell again.  Cautiously, she examined it, soon discovering a disgruntled sand crab, the size of a quarter; hiding down inside of it!  Mom laughed until she cried while Emmy just continued to cry!  What had begun as only the  shell of a past experience for Mom, ended for little Emmy as a very crabby beginning to her day on the beach!

Every new day holds its own promises for each of us.  Sometimes, without warning, those bright promises can turn into questions and speculations  that number the grains of sand on the sea shore. Life is a lot like this mother and daughter’s walk on the California beach that day.  One moment you can be walking in the sands of time, content with the promise of the familiar and the beautiful up ahead of you; and the next you are crying out in pain, wincing from the unexpected…or the unwanted.

Though this Mom couldn’t foresee what little Emmy never expected…the same is not true of us  in our own life. You see, we walk with a God Who Sees our life before we encounter it; even those unexpected things hidden in the darkness.

“He [God] changes times and seasons, He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.” (Daniel 2)

We walk through the sands of Time with the God who promises His children this:

“I have created you and cared for you since you were born. I will be your God throughout all your lifetime…”  “I will carry you along and be your Savior.” (Isaiah 46)

What better promises than these are there for the  moments, days, weeks, and years up ahead of us?  After all, we know Who holds our hands…Who Directs our hearts and Who Lights our darkness. Now, let’s just choose to let Him do it… while we kick some sand, walking with Jesus along our own beaches, blanketed with the  Sands of  Time.

mini heart fp

Heart Trappings :

Have you ever seen  the Finger Prints of God in your own life?  Where, in your own life, have you encountered people, stories, or circumstances so unusually placed, perfectly timed, or profoundly simple, they captured your attention long enough to change your heart’s thinking forever?  What will be your response the next time you encounter the un-expected in the middle of your life’s beautiful?  Who’s Beach are you walking on?  Who’s Hand are you holding?  Who’s Light is lighting your way?

Prayer :  Heavenly Father, countless times I’ve walked the Sands of Time with You. Too often,  I confess that when my hopes have been dashed, plans abruptly changed, the un-expected tramples me,or death snatches a loved one away; I am prone to behave more like little Emmy on the beach with her Mom .  I turn loose of Your Hand and run away from You, crying and wincing in pain.  Help me realize I have turned loose of the only Hand that can Help me…the Only Eyes I can trust to Guide me…and the only Light I have in my darkness.  Thank You for seeing my life even before I encounter it.  Teach me to trust You more and to Seas the Moments I spend with You in the Sands of this Life!   Amen

 

 

 

 

 

“O Say,  Can You See?”

July 4, 2016 at 3:44 pm

silhouetted flag  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…”                  (Psalm 33:12)


written by Debbie Allen

During the War of 1812, The ‘Washington Post’ headlines were, no doubt, plastered with bold one-liners like these; following the unbelievable, deadly, British attack on American soils:

“The White House is Burning!”  “Casualties on Our Own Shores!”  “Washington on Fire!”

No one expected this unwarranted attack on our young Nation. Even so, America scrambled back to her feet on high alert!  By the time the smoke cleared and the shock subsided, our Nation, along with the help of it’s growing and determined militia, was again about to engage in yet another battle for her freedom.  This time she faced another attack by the Royal British Navy  on the shores of Baltimore, Maryland.  While most of us remember the historic battle that took place on land that night; few of us know to look  beyond these same shores where we discover another intricate piece of history in the making!

A man called Frank, propped a rain soaked boot up on the polished side-rail of the British ship, detaining him against his will now, for over 20 hours.  Somewhere, stowed below deck on that same ship, was Dr. Beanes, Frank’s friend and the man he’d been commissioned by the President of the United States, to intervene for in a hostage-recovery mission.  Though a well-respected attorney back in Washington D.C., here on the water-logged deck of this British ship, Frank, too, was just another hostage now. For no other reason but taunting, the enemy shoved a brass spyglass into Frank’s hands, and then forced him to watch the ruthless, attacks on Fort McHenry in Baltimore.  After peering through the rain-washed lens of that spyglass for the duration of a 25-hour British bombardment ; silence finally reigned. No more red glare from rockets streaming through the night sky…no more bombs bursting in mid-air. No more trying to decipher whose casualties were greater. Frank dropped down on one knee and prayed silently.

“God, p-l-e-a-s-e…it is only by Your Grace our nation is here today; and only by Your Grace will it remain.  Amen

With exhausted arms and trembling hands, he rose to his feet, lifting the dreaded spyglass up against his bloodshot eye one last time. Frank pointed it in the direction of a smoldering, Fort McHenry. Great billows of smoke and ash rolled out into the silent harbor. By now, the rain too, subsided; only deepening the silence now threatening to smother him. The rhythmic beating of his anxious heart became the drum roll for what the spyglass was about to reveal to him. There in the dimness of dawn’s early light, Frank could see an American Flag being hoisted up onto the only thing left standing in Fort McHenry…the flag pole!

“Our flag is still there!” he shouted hoarsely, to anyone who might be listening

Turning to see the reaction of the soldiers on-deck; Frank spotted a British Officer fast approaching him with his friend, Dr. Beanes, in tow.  Cutting the ropes laced around Beane’s wrists, the Officer nearly knocked Frank overboard, shoving the Doctor towards him.

“Take your hostage and go back to your precious America… England deems you both as worthless as the soils you walk upon !”

Unscathed by this British Officer’s angry words, Frank was relieved to see his friend in good spirits.  Handing the spyglass to Beanes, he pointed it toward Fort McHenry. Still basking in the miracle of answered prayer and the beauty of the stars and stripes, Frank  pulled a damp envelope from his jacket pocket and began to pen these words,

“O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

 

“Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must when our cause it is just.

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

by Francis Scott Key (Frank) ———- September 14, 1814

The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” on the flag being hoisted over the shores of Fort McHenry  inspired Frank to write these fitting words; which eventually became the song we recognize today to be our National Anthem.  Nothing embodies a vision of freedom quite like the American Flag. Frank experienced it while looking through the spyglass back in 1814. You and I  sense the same pull it has on our own hearts today when we stand before ‘Old Glory’ with our hands cupped over our hearts, singing the National Anthem.

As we celebrate our own Freedom on Independence Day this Fourth of July; may we be reminded of the fearless courage and integrity, self-sacrifice and devotion of Americans, past and present; who willingly laid their lives down in defense of the freedom we walk in today. Dedicate your lives to the principles for which it stands.  Read between the stripes and see what Frank really saw when he looked down the shaft of that spyglass  back in 1814…

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!”

mini heart fp

HEART TRAPPINGS :

O Say can you see…that Frank is perhaps reflecting a much bigger picture of His-Story (God’s Story) than you or I ever imagined?  O Say can you see…the spiritual implications concerning your own heart and the price of freedom, whether on an individual basis or a national level?  O Say can you see…and consider these words from the Old Testament, pointing us to a different set of “Stripes” from our past ?

“…the burden of our peace was upon Him [Jesus] and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

What will you do with these heavenly”Stripes”? Turn away from them…or consider the high cost of the Freedom they bought for you?

PRAYER : Father, Thank you for the freedom we both celebrate today on Independence Day, and experience so freely every day!   Bless this nation with both victory and peace. May we never forget that America is a Heaven-Rescued land!

Christ and Flag

 

“And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!” 

Amen