Aloha Friday Message – June 10, 2011 – Destruction or Salvation?

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Read it online here. Please follow the Hands and Feet Project here, and here.

Today I’m going to give you some Guest Author stories. These are items that are on the ‘net, and perhaps you have seen them, perhaps not. I received them from MBN member DG (Thanks!). First a short Bible passage:

Hosea 11:8-9 How could I give you up, O Ephraim, or deliver you up, O Israel? How could I treat you as Admah, or make you like Zeboiim? My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.

Admah and Zeboiim were cities that were destroyed when judgment fell on Sodom and Gomorrah. Here God is telling the regions named Israel and Ephraim that he will not give them over to such punishment, but will instead sustain and redeem them. When God struck down the wickedness in the Valley of Sidim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vale_Of_Siddim), all the valley and its sin-filled cities were destroyed, literally becoming unrecognizable and unfindable. This is what happens to nations that make themselves an affront to God. Ponder that for a while.

Now the Guest Authors. This is a poem I first saw on a very LARGE plaque in the dining room at Utah State University in Logan, UT when we went there to take Timothy to the Suzuki Intermountain Institute.

The Juniper

There lay the berry, shriveled, infirm,
Lodged between sky and limestone cliff;
Not the wraith of a chance, but the giant in the germ
Stared back unblinkingly at the monstrous if . . .

Sun Arrows overhead and Flint below,
Ice from the North and Thirst from the South;
There the seedling drew its milk from the snow,
Bread from Stone, sinew from Drouth.

Now the giant leans upon the summit of years
Weary from the battle in cloven lime,
Gnarled arms dropping the last brittle spears – –
And small berries taunting massive jaws of time.

Carlton Culmsee

And now a story about an old fisherman (with thanks to DG for sending it to us).

THE OLD FISHERMAN

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs & rented the upstairs rooms to out-patients at the Clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. “Why, he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.

But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red & raw. Yet, his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, & there’s no bus “till morning.”

He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success; no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face. I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments…”

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me, “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.” I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside & finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. “No thank you. I have plenty” And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn’t take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, & her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was prefaced with thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He was thankful for the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded, & the little man was out on the porch.

He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, “Could I please come back & stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.” He paused a moment & then added, “Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.” I told him he was welcome to come again.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish & a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice & fresh. I knew his bus left at 4 a.m., & I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish & oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these & knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. “Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!”

Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice but, oh if only they could have known him, perhaps their illness would have been easier to bear. I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint & the good with gratitude.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse. As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!”

My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, “and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.”

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. There’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. “He won’t mind starting in this small body.”

All this happened long ago — and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Friends are very special. They make you smile & encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear & they share a word of praise. Show your friends how much you care.

Pass this on, & brighten someone’s day. Nothing will happen if you do not decide to pass it along. The only thing that will happen if you do pass it on is that someone might smile because of you!

Never look down on anybody, unless you’re helping him or her up.

Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil – it has no point.

WISHING YOU LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PEACE IN YOUR SOUL, HOPE IN ALL THINGS, AND JOY IN YOUR LIFE … ALWAYS AND ALL WAYS.

GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE, AND PRAYER CHANGES PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

My niece, Nicole (Todd) Miller opened a new website. The moment I saw it I wanted to share it with you. The things she makes are just so cute! 🙂

Also, my jewelry-making mentor, Chanson Fujioka, has some great new designs! Pop over to FUJIOKA DESIGN and take a look. There are some truly amazing pieces. 😉

Beloved, many of us have friends in Arizona (in fact many of you LIVE in Arizona!). The incredible fires there are destroying some of the most beautiful forests in the country, and are destroying homes and other property as well. We heard recently another fire broke out just east of Flagstaff. Friend in Springerville have lost pretty much everything. Much prayerful support is needed for everyone, especially the brave men and women who are fighting the fire, and of course those who have lost homes or other buildings. One report said the size of the blaze was greater than the size of the city of Chicago. Please, MBN, pray for everyone suffering in so many “natural disasters” from Japan to Arizona to Missouri and Mississippi, and even throughout Europe. Check out the European Severe Weather Database.

red: tornado, yellow: severe wind gusts, green: large hail, blue: heavy rain,
white: funnel cloud, pink: gustnado, orange: dust devil

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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