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Loving Hands: “A Tribute to Moms”

150 150 Debi Moses
Hands of Love

Hand of Love

And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16

“Well, bless your heart,” is a Southern saying for sure, and one that has graced my ears throughout the years. After skinning my knee while chasing my brothers, I would run into the house with tears running down my cheeks, and mom would always say, “Well, bless your heart,” as she gave me a hug, followed by a trip to the medicine cabinet to get the Mercurochrome to clean my “devastating” injury before placating me with a Barbie Band-Aid. That red magic potion would burn like the devil, but she gingerly blew on my knee to help take the sting away. She would lovingly pat my little stubby hand, and I truly believe her touch did the healing. Mom’s youthful hands gradually became spotted with age and eventually disfigured with arthritis as the years went by, but the love she gave with her priceless touch never diminished.

It wasn’t until I slowed down long enough to examine my new blue nail polish that it came to me, “I’ve got my mother’s hands!” The vivid memories came flooding in, and I thought to myself, “This is one sign of maturity that I truly don’t mind.” I realize the appearance of my hands is not a flaw at all — it’s a gift!

When I look at my hands, not only do I see Mom’s hands, her smile travels across my mind. I hear her exuberant claps as she proudly applauds following my lack-luster recitals. I see her holding her trembling hands high up in the air, wearing her crooked cowboy hat, as she played banker and handed over all of the bank’s money to her grandsons, wearing their bandana masks, before they rode away on their stick horses. I see her sitting in her chair, lovingly stitching with her hands each square of material, as she made the many quilts we have cuddled in throughout the generations. Even today, I can still feel the warmth of her hands leaving her body as I held on to them tightly, selfishly not wanting to let her walk away into the arms of Jesus. I was truly blessed by her hands, her touch, and her love.

Now I get to share the blessings of mom’s hands with my grandchildren. Taking walks holding on to their soft little hands, folding my hands into “prayer hands” as a little one says the family prayer, and even taking a squirmy fish off of a hook is the best way I know to pass on the love. At the end of the day I get my reward when bath time comes, and I get splashed with bubbles from little ones as they play with trucks, sheep, cows, and whatever else may find its way into the tub. Being baptized and blessed by a grandchild’s love is the very best.

Jesus took the little children in His arms and touched them and blessed them. Little children, mature adults and even those pesky teenagers need a loving touch. The joy of a mother is taking our children into our arms, reaching out when they need a hand to hold, or clapping to encourage even the worst performance. That is our joy. If you’re not with your mother today, remember her touch, breathe in those treasured memories that will make your heart sing and feel the many blessings that Jesus gives each of us. If you are with your mother, walk over to her and just sit closely and hold her hand. Blessing her with your touch is the best gift of all as you celebrate her day.

Pray with Me:

Dear Father of Loving Hands,

You reach out to us and hold us so many times as we walk our days. Thank you for giving us the women in our lives who molded us by their touch.

Reaching out to You

Points to Ponder:

Mothers come in all shapes and sizes and come and go in our lives, and I was blessed to have three wonderful mothers whose hands touched my heart and soul. My mom, Lanore Austin, who gave me life, my precious mother-in-law, Mary Frances Moses, whose hands taught me how to needlepoint and make a great chocolate pie, and my other mother, Billie Johnson, who came into my life in the form of a friend, and created joy wherever she went.

  1. Who are the mothers in your life?
  2. If you can’t name one, is there someone in your life who needs a child?
  3. What’s your favorite memory of your mom? Share it with someone and continue her story.

For Such a Time

150 150 Debi Moses

… And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14Let us Pray

Once again our lives were transformed as we witnessed unbelievable horror last week.  The unforeseen bombing at the Boston Marathon and the unexplained fire and explosion in West, Texas Read More »riveted our world and moved into our very cores. Emotions erupted in the form of tears, horror, and panic.  Once again we questioned, “Why?”

For many, their lifelong dream of crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon was forever altered.  Several runners lost limbs, and their journey back to another race-day will be filled with anguish and trials. In West, Texas livelihoods and life as it was known was forever changed when a fertilizer plant lit up the night sky with unbelievable force.  Friends and family members were killed and injured in the blast, and life will never be the same in the small Texas town of 2800 people.  West, Texas, “just a place” where I stop and get my kolaches as I head back to Dallas from a trip south on Interstate 35, is now more than “just a place”.

Eyewitness accounts chronicle stories of heroes who ran heedlessly into the plant to put out the fire, alert those who were near the danger, and then ran back with determination to save their neighbors.  In Boston we saw people running into the bombed area to help others, not knowing if another debilitating explosion might flash before their eyes.  Those of us at home, safe on our couches, or at our favorite coffee shop with friends once again began to ask, “Why?”  Why did it happen?  Why did those brave ones run into danger?  Would I do that?  Why would someone want to kill or maim defenseless people, or in the case of West, how do we come to grips with the fact that it “just” happened?  A lot of questions for a little ole girl like me.  And, once again, those of you who look for someone to blame always seem to ask THE question, “If there is a God, how could He let something like this happen?”

My response to that question is, “My loving God doesn’t cause bad things to happen.”  He gives us the courage and endurance to forget ourselves and trust.  He was there with kind words, as the brave Bostonians applied tourniquets with their belts to the injured.  He was in the carnage, wreckage and bewilderment in West.  He let us get up the next morning, walk down the street and not worry about the next explosion. He showed us the immeasurable good in people.

Who doesn’t like a scapegoat?  Jesus was one when He hung on the cross.  He didn’t do anything to deserve the whip to His back or nails in His glorious hands.  Just like the first responders, the citizens of West, the runners or by standers at the Boston Marathon, Jesus walked the earth and lived among us.

And perhaps the hardest question of all…

Could you be His hands on earth if you were Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s nurse, doctor, or attorney? Could you give him a healing touch as you cared for or defended him?  This damaged child of God committed many wrongs, yet our Lord did not forsake Him when he lay in his refuge of the boat.  Tsarnaev might not have been aware, but our precious Savior was there just as He would be for you and me.  He does not turn anyone away.  So you might say, “A God of love would not let this happen; there can’t be a God.”  But I say, “We are loved and inspired to show God to those around us ‘FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS’ – times when the days are dark and the nights long.”  He is in our midst.  He was there, holding the Bostonians and people of West in the palm of His hand, as they stepped out trusting that the God of light would show them the way. We are all here “FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.”  You might not call Him “God”, but He is.  My God, your God, everyone’s God, whether you know it or not.  Esther saved a nation, because she listened.  Who has your ear?

Points to Ponder

1. Who is your God?

2. Have you ever felt you were created for “such a time as this?” What was the situation?

3. Is there someone you can’t forgive? Can you pray that God will open your heart?

Pray with me:

Dear God of forgiveness,

We find ourselves in situations that we could never imagine, trusting You will guide us on our way. Help us to remember You are always by our side waiting for us to reach out for Your guiding touch.

Loving You

 

 

 

Who’s Your Brother? Guest Post by Dr. John Austin

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“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy o the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, hearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:1-7

imageA Vietnam veteran came home… he was suffering from shellshock, battle fatigue, or the new name, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  He had a hard time adjusting to civilian life.  One night he walked down the aisle and gave his life to Christ.  He finally found a job.  The life of a merchant seaman suited him.  The sea, the camaraderie, and the solitude suited his psychological problem.  When asked about his faith, he said he still believed, but it was difficult for him.  One night after a month’s voyage at sea, he and his buddies went into a bar where he passed out.  His buddies dragged him into a back room, dumped him on the floor and left.  He was already turning blue, and he died from alcohol and drug abuse.  He was his country’s hero, someone’s son and our brother.

Recently we heard about Chief Petty Officer, SEAL, and sniper, Chris Kyle, who served four tours of duty in Iraq and was credited with 150 confirmed kills.  He resigned from the Navy to return to Texas and to be with his family, a wife and two children.  Chris was raising money to help soldiers with PTSD.  He and his buddy took Eddie Ray Routh, an Iraq veteran suffering from PTSD, to a rifle range in Midlothian, Texas.  There Routh shot and killed Chris and his friend.  When Eddie Routh got home, he was reported as saying that he had sold his soul for a pickup truck.  He later said he was afraid of the two men and killed them before they could kill him.

We know that the Vietnam soldier and Eddie Ray Routh suffered a terrible consequence from serving their country.  We also know that, like many of us, they did not have the strength of courage and character to live a life worthy of their calling.  But Paul in Ephesians 4:7 states, “But to each of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”  Many of us are impeded from living up to Christ’s calling.  It may come from a troubled childhood, a tough marriage, difficult children, or like these two brothers, we may have seen too much evil.

If you are living a life worthy of your calling, then how do you treat your weaker brother?  Pray for him, thank God with merciful tears that He has given you grace to live according to His calling.  John Bradford, an English cleric, was standing on a sixteenth century street in London, when he saw a cart go by carrying a fellow to his execution on the gallows.  Bradford said, “There, but for the grace of God, go I”.

How can we take pride in being stronger than a weaker brother, when we know that Christ died for us all?  Therefore, let us concentrate on living up to the calling we have received.  Part of this calling is to bear with our weaker brothers.  Let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and always realize that the courage and strength to do so come from God’s grace (the unmerited divine assistance), given to us all.

Let us pray…

O Lord, let us never forget that you are the wind beneath our wings… that all we are or will ever hope to be is due to your marvelous grace.  Help us to care for our weaker brothers and sisters and to give you all the glory.  AMEN

This is the Sunday School lesson taught by Dr. John Austin at McCary’s Chapel United Methodist Church. He  is a retired professor of Secondary Education at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas and my dad.   At the age of 85 he plays golf, teaches Sunday School, and takes care of his cows, including my bull Amos. I am so proud of him.

Misplaced

150 150 Debi Moses

“Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” Job 8:7New year 2013

It was Baby Jesus time, and with a houseful of company soon to arrive, once again I slipped through a crack in the stable and couldn’t seem to find my way back to Him.  Thankfully it was just a crack, not a big front door.  After two hours in the grocery store, and $485.96 of Christmas groceries on the kitchen counter, the fence repairman calling my name from the backyard, the chime of a UPS delivery, and the sound of a fax ringing in my ear, my phone decided to go missing in action.  I desperately needed it to cancel an appointment that I just couldn’t squish into my crazy day.  I had done it again.  I lost my cell phone.  It was right there a minute ago, and then it disappeared.  The last time I misplaced what should be referred to as my “fifth appendage”, my phone went for a swim in the potty while I was doing my weekly janitorial duties.  Don’t ask how…. But today, I had chicken boiling on the stove for my family’s favorite chicken spaghetti, a reception to attend, coats to hand out at Everybody’s Christmas at church, and presents to wrap before our precious Mister Miles arrived at dede and Doc’s.  Man, oh, man!  I had lost it.  Not just my phone, it was really Him that I began to think I had lost AGAIN, or had I?

“Somehow” I made it through, and there I was taking down the Christmas decorations, and the day that “I lost it” came to mind.  Once again I thought the same thing, “I’m going to really live Christmas next year.  Go to every concert, meditate, and experience Jesus’ coming.”  It’s interesting that I have to wait until I’m packing up the nativity set to become aware that I have slipped away from Jesus.  But then I have to ponder, have I really?  As I looked at the “beginnings” for the new year, the ways I honor my Lord seem to pale to those that are available to me.  My beginnings each year are humble, but as the year progresses, my Lord prospers me by opening my eyes in so many new ways to see His grace, His love, His hope, and His glory.  Did I lose Him?  Not really.  I just think I misplaced Him.  Misplaced the time I spend sitting with Him in the morning, misplaced my time for night prayers, and misplaced feeling His presence in preparation for His season.  As I go humbly before my Lord, I’m looking forward to having a year of prosperous living; one where I don’t misplace phones or my precious Savior.  In the meantime, I’m off to buy a Go-phone.  Anyone who can’t save her fancy phone by throwing it a life preserver when it goes swimming doesn’t deserve it.  Blessings for a great 2013!!!

Points to Ponder:

1. How were you “prospered” during the Christmas celebrations?

2. What do you misplace most often? What happens for you to realize it’s missing?

3. What is your most treasured possession?

Pray with Me

Holy One,

As I live and breathe this year ahead, I know you are with me and want only the best for me. May I realize that as long as I am attached to You I will prosper as I grow in faith, love and wisdom.

Clinging tight to You

Wandering Through Psalms 1:1

150 150 Debi Moses

The Psalms are my  source of solace, strength, joy and peace. They are where I go each morning to sit at the feet of God and feel His presence. My reflections are not the result of research by a Biblical scholar, just those of a Texas girl with a heart for the Lord.  If you choose to wander with me, I would be honored if you would like to  share with me  any our your observations. Are you ready to mosey along with me?

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…” Psalm 1:1

Who are my counselors? Who do I put my trust in? My friends love me and have my best interest at heart, but so does God.  He is the one with whom I should have coffee and complain.  He doesn’t mind.

As I give Him more of me, I can hear more from Him.

Stepping out,

debi