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Archive for January, 2009

When I Met Mike

When I met Mike, my world grew bigger.

Mike introduced me to Bear, Grady, Pedro, Mellissandra, Bubba, Elizabeth, Baby Gary, Stanley, Tony, Amy, Boyce, Dallas, Hadley, Guitar Dave, and Jesse.

They live on the streets in Austin, Texas. Most are alcoholics. They all have broken relationships with family, friends, and God. They are troubled people.

In a sermon, entitled “Jesus with the Troubled Man,” pastor Dr. Ed Young, described how much Jesus values troubled people. The demoniac of Gadara, or Mr. Legion, was over-the-top psychotic, due to the 3000-6000 demons that resided in him. Jesus sent the evil spirits into a herd of swine, and the man was healed.

As a child, I wondered what happened to the pigs’ owners whose livelihood raced over a cliff, and drowned in the sea. Two thousand pigs represented food on the table, clothes, medicine, children’s shoes, home repairs. It didn’t seem right that hard-working people lost their means of earning a living.

My world grew bigger when I took my eyes off of the monetary worth of pigs, and focused on God—the God who loves people so much that He became “a people.” The truth of the matter is that one soul, restored to sanity is worth more to God than 2000 pigs. One life made whole, whether it be from demon possession, emotional illness, addictions, or the stress of everyday life, is infinitely more valuable than the economic foundation of an entire region.

The Gadarines didn’t grasp the eternal significance of Jesus’ actions, and so they pressured Jesus to leave. As the healed man continued to live in the area, testifying to God’s goodness and the healing power of Jesus, I like to think that many ruptured relationships were restored.

The story of “Jesus with the Troubled Man,” recorded in Mark 5:1-20, is good news for me. It’s good news for Mike. It’s good news for the whole, troubled world.

Please pray for Mike.

Please pray for Mike

Troubles vanish,
hearts are mended,
in the presence
of the King.

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Dad has recently experienced hours of increased energy and less pain in the mornings or the afternoons. During these good times, he reads, takes short driveway walks, looks and listens for birds, or writes poetry. He is currently reading Angels by Billy Graham, and yesterday he pointed out two mourning doves in the pine tree. Evenings are saturated with fatigue and pain typically associated with radiation therapy.

The baked potato that he attempted to eat yesterday was only that—an attempt. Today’s lunch menu is not so ambitious: cream of broccoli soup, vanilla pudding, and a soft-cooked egg, all preceded by a dose of numbing medication.

Vanessa, Dad’s wonderful oncology nurse, listened to my telephone report this morning as I described Dad’s up-and-down days, and said reassuringly, “He’s doing great.” “Really?” I asked doubtfully. “Oh, yes. He’s making progress!” she reiterated brightly. “He’s on the mend!”

Dad was encouraged to hear that while he’s not speeding down the road of radiation recovery, at least he’s going the speed limit.

One poetry writing session this week yielded the following poem that Dad is eager to share.

The Brother

Once I had a friend
I thought him older than me
But in fact he wasn’t that old you see.
What I want to say, we seldom could agree.

When I would teach a Sunday School lesson
Many times he tried to correct my thoughts
I resisted him and fought back.
After more Bible study, I believe he was correct.

Anyway when the bad times arrived
And lung cancer promised my early demise
I found a true friend who would bring a hot meal.
He would haul me to the doctor. No big deal!

I’ve discovered this man loves everyone the same.
He has no favorites, he serves them all.
He taught me a great lesson that’s for sure.
By the way, this Christian man is Dick McClure.

Sam Young

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God Phoned Today

It was about time. I’ve been waiting for God to telephone me for as long as I can remember.

He talked about love and faithfulness. I was all ears as the call began with a reminder of the faithfulness of Noah (Hebrews 11:7). Then it was right on to Proverbs 3:3, with some personal instruction.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

As I hung up the phone, I pondered how God wants me to be faithful to Him, and to everyone He calls me to serve.

411God is a new service of “Back to the Bible.” Sign up, and have a minute of scripture read on the phone, emailed, or texted to you whatever time of the day you choose; it’s all free. Reading scripture in an email isn’t appealing to me, but pausing to listen to God’s Word on my cell while I’m washing supper dishes gives me a boost.

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Inauguration Day 2009

It was a happy day I’m glad to admit,
A day of seamless change of power,
A time in which this nation gladly submits,
A time many countries never see, not even for an hour.

But as the day starts to wane
As the parades and balls begin to bore
My mind drifts back in time to a foreign shore
Where a certain event occured fifty years ago and more.

On a bleak hillside in the blackness of night
A boy named Don Waddoups gave up his life.
He called the small city of Sandy, Utah, his home.
You might know he had different beliefs than I had known.

But still he teaches me about love and courage everyday.
I’ll never forget him and the passage of times says that’s true.
Don Waddoups was a real friend and brother;
He has given my life a touch of sadness, a burst of vivid color.

Sam Young

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Happiness Is . . .

Sam and Toby

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I cannot help but smile a happy smile when I see the picture of these Eastern bluebirds. Aunt Margaret photographed the pair at her house last March. They were waiting at the window to be fed when she arrived home from church, one rare snowy Sunday.

Aunt Margaret and Uncle Bob fed bluebirds at their farm for years. They were surprised, however, when the happy birds showed up and hung around their city residence. My theory is that the country bluebirds told their city cousins how to train these two humans to provide a mealworm feast each and every day. Aunt Margaret says that a container of 5000 mealworms from Grubco.com will feed bluebird vistors, several Carolina wrens, and a mockingbird or two for three to four months.

Dad observed that Hugo is “overrun with birds,” while my Katy neighborhood is bird deprived (with the exception of pine warblers). He is keeping an eye on my offerings of black oil sunflower seeds, and mealworms from his bedroom window, and reports that nary a bird has stopped by. That’s ok. I’ll just keep smiling at this bluebird picture until their suburban cousins discover my backyard.

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It’s Day 23 of Dad’s radiation recovery, and he’s still feeling a good deal of the “radiation blues.” Biscuit gravy and water are still the only things that he can swallow without his throat first being coated with the numbing medication. However, his throat has improved so that it tolerates cream soups, soft-cooked eggs, canned baby food fruits, yogurt, and, his favorite, Malt-O-Meal.

Eating continues to be a matter of the will. The “swish and swallow” medication negates the esophageal pain, and much of the pleasure of eating, since it also impairs taste buds. But there are signs that the “radiation blues” are diminishing. The overwhelming fatigue which has been a constant companion occasionally loosens its grip for a few hours at a time. And then, he did drink a cup of coffee this morning for the first time in weeks, and . . . this evening he remarked that he was craving a piece of fudge.

Time to make a batch of fudge! Hannah needs a fudge-making lesson anyway.:)

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