Monthly Archives: July 2015

When Plans Go Awry

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I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD.  They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. (God’s Word Translation)

Excitement penetrated the air of my classroom.  My Honors American History class of fourteen had won the Hawaii We the People contest on historical and current issues in reference to the Constitution.  We won an all expense free trip to Washington, D.C. to compete with the other forty-nine states for the national winner title. We represented Lahainaluna, Maui and Hawaii.   I urged my students to proudly exhibit good citizenship in all school areas.  As I, the only adult chaperone, warned that this trip would be forfeited by any who did not comply.

Sadly one student called to the office on a behavioral issue, got into further trouble there.  I informed him that he would not be accompanying us that resulted in parental threats.  The Principal agreed with me saying “If I can’t trust him here, I can’t trust him in the air!”  He did not go!

We flew to Oahu and it was there that our airlines used our flight as an incentive to demand action on a grievance.  We were grounded for a time and  lost all mainland flights once we arrived in Los Angeles.  Taken to a hotel for forty-five minutes in the middle of the night and returning to work with agents, we were booked with another airline, arriving very late at night in D.C.  It ended up being a wonderful opportunity both for competition and to see the Capitol with many points of interest included.

Hassles, aggravation, situations beyond our control, time constraints, deadlines–all  unnerving life experiences.  I respond with fear, anxiety and trepidation in circumstances that go awry, even with careful planning.  However, God is really in control of ALL circumstances in my life as it concerns me and interactions with others.  As His responsibility, I can rest assured that His plans for any given day is ‘for peace and not for disaster’ and therefore I can proceed with a future hope!

God, I realize I need to keep trusting that You have designed my life ahead of time when I was knit in my mother’s womb and promised “As my days, so shall my strength be.”  (KJV)  Would you please whisper that in my ear every day?

Graduation to Heaven

nice_3_1-Lahainaluna Graduation

 “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)

Lahainaluna High School-What a beautiful school nestled in the West Maui Mountains, founded originally as a seminary in 1831 and the only school in Hawaii where the Alma Mater is sung in Hawaiian.  It is considered the oldest school west of the Rockies and the oldest west of the Mississippi River. What an incredible joy it was to teach there with the beauty of the school also reflected in the precious teachers, staff and students!

Day students and boarders come from all the Hawaiian islands as well as other Pacific islands.   Boarders keep the landscape beautiful and serve in the cafeteria for free housing with meals and in return, must contribute three work hours a day.

It’s spectacular graduation is celebrated by its uniqueness in design. The official picture above from the website shares a unique, beautiful event that takes place each year.  Some of the underclassmen climb Mt. Ball located higher above with torches beforehand and in the ceremony a few have climbed it again to light the “L” at night.  All below and even all the town of Lahaina further down by the ocean can celebrate the new graduates’ accomplishments.

I, too, have a graduation date after taking all of life’s courses.  I’ve experienced difficult and pleasant experiences through this pathway where I learned invaluable lessons.  I thank the Lord that this journey has brought my heart to repent of my wrong doing and to acknowledge Christ as my Lord and Savior.  When I die or if He comes first, my graduation from life to eternity will commence.  I can only imagine the joy of seeing my loved ones, at last, sharing the beauties of Heaven with me where Christ will outshine us all as we behold Him close-up and personal.

God, I am looking forward to my graduation to Heaven.  Your brilliance in my life is nothing compared to what it will be like to see you in all Your splendor! 

 

Trade Winds of Hawaii

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The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.  John 3:8 (NIV)

After our family lived in Hawaii for awhile, we became accustomed to two opposing wind patterns.  Most common were the trade winds from the north and east that generate cooling breezes, acting like a natural air conditioner.  Occasionally Kona winds from the south occur that bring remnants of the Kilauea active volcano in a form of volcanic fog (Vog).  The air becomes hot and sticky  with a plume of smoke winding up the island chain that saps the body’s strength.

So, too, is our spiritual strength depleted when our problems seem overwhelming.   We may suffer the consequences of stress, racing thoughts with physical repercussions.  Irritability and worry cause a cloud over our days as we cave in on ourselves, robbing our minds and bodies of fresh perspective and lightheartedness.  Our relationships may be marred and our entire frame of reference becomes inward rather than outward in our relationships. A heavy fog that clouds our life descends, often causing sleepless nights and tiring days.

As the desired light and refreshing trade winds that blow across the islands bring joy to all those there,  so likewise does the Spirit flow from His heavenly source.  He brings life and beauty of God’s presence to hurting, restless hearts and minds suffering under the repressive forces of darkness.  The Holy Spirit calms our minds and bodies with His glorious  presence flooding over and in us.  The focus becomes what God can and wants to do.  We breathe with His fresh thoughts and perspective that lend new insights and often problem-solving techniques.  We live the abundant life that invites our family and friends to interact positively.  His presence blows the hot, sticky air away and replaces it with His very own fresh air so that I now breathe with His strength.

Holy Spirit, You are patiently wanting me to enjoy Your journey for me over mountains and valleys.  Let me remember it is in the valleys where I can feel the God-given breezes of mountain-top experiences past and present.  You be my Life Guide and I shall willingly follow you in this path You design for me!

God’s Family Provision

God Delights in Providing for Our Needs

So she did as she was told.  Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another.  Soon every container was full to the brim. 2 Kings 4:5,6 (NLT)

Her prophet husband had died and this widow woman was in a quandary.  Her creditor had come threatening to take her two sons as slaves. All she had left in her home was a small flask of olive oil. Elisha’s direction was strange–she was to send her two sons to borrow all her friends’ and neighbors’ empty vessels. She concurred and then witnessed a miracle that from her little flask of oil, she filled all the larger vessels gathered.  She sold  the oil and thus her bill was paid in full to all her creditors.  Amazingly, she and her sons had enough left to live debt free.

It was a bitter, freezing winter in Bradford, Pennsylvania, often temps the coldest in the  contiguous United States.  We had just moved into a new, small pastorate with two small boys.  Events began to take a nosedive.  Larry also held a full-time job with Case Cutlery but sadly, it was there one day that he cut off the tip of his finger.

Right at the end of November, I noticed that Jeff, our four-year old had a big lump under his ear that prompted a visit to the physician.  The diagnosis: mononucleosis with the worst case he had ever seen in a child. Jeff was put into a hospital  isolation room. Shortly, a  child with Chicken Pox was placed in another room and Jeff contracted this, too.  On Jeff’s release, his spleen was enlarged and could rupture so diligence was needed to restrict rough playing. We were now concerned for his brother, Chris, as well.

One day Larry called me from work and said that God had given him a promise in Revelations 3:7b (NLT) He (God) opens doors, and no one can shut them; he shuts doors, and no one can open them. We were to be encouraged by our Protector.

Money was now an issue and I had applied to the new school district with no success.  Right before Christmas, substitute jobs opened up with sometimes up to five calls.  The night before Christmas Larry went to a large store where with inventory looming, all toys were drastically reduced.  A blessed Christmas morning with toys arrayed and designed by God appeared for the boys.  (And yes, Jeff recuperated and Chris to this day has never had Chicken Pox!)

Arriving home on a snowy, blustery night, we gazed, amazed, that each step up to our second story apartment was arrayed with groceries from ministers in our section.  God had opened up the bounty of heaven to pour us out a blessing of a Christmas we’ve never forgotten by our Heavenly Father, wrapped in bows of love.

Lord when times get tough, Your care is exquisite.  You actually provided the oil of Your presence to the Biblical woman  and You will provide the oil of the Holy Spirit to be poured out for my concerns, as well. Our Heavenly Father provides for His own and I am incredibly grateful!