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Gulf Coast Ladies Retreat–Part 3

Fellowship in the Gym, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I am indebted to my friend Nita Hodges, whom some of you will recognize in this shot of the gym of First Apostolic Church. She is a premiere speaker, godly, fun-loving, beautiful…and she is responsible for my being introduced to the Jacksons and to this excellent church and its ladies retreat. She and Ann Jackson are best friends, and it is so sweet of Nita to include me in this exceptional circle of people.

A wonderful perk came with our ministry at Highlands. Many of Jerry’s relatives who live in Louisiana and Texas came to the services and we had the delightful opportunity to visit with them.

Among the relatives was Emily who, for the first time in her life, saw her great, great uncle Jerry. It was love at first sight for both of them, and innumerable times, I saw her hanging all over him.

“Emily, do you want to call me Pappy?” Jerry asked her.

“Yes, Pappy, I do,” she responded. “And I want to go home with you.”

Although our dear friends Dean and DeeDee Godair were not able to attend any of the church services, we met at Starbucks on Saturday evening, and we will always cherish the few hours we spent with them. Thirty-nine years ago, in Garden Grove, CA. Jerry married these precious people, who are extremely dear to us.

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The Times of Your Life–Part 2

DSC_0093, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Nita Hodges is the Ladies Ministries President of what is now the Southern California district, and without a doubt she is among the premiere of Apostolic speakers. The highlight of the services yesterday occurred in the morning session when she spoke. Perhaps the word is overused, but there is not a better one to describe those sacred hours than powerful.

The topic had been announced as: The Bible–God’s Word to His people, and her presentation was anointed and impeccable. The conclusion of the service involved women gathering in groups with their loved ones as they presented Bibles to them. Mothers gathered with daughters and grandmothers with granddaughters. It was a dynamic moving service.

Beautiful Sarah fell on the neck of her grandmother, Maxine Wilson, as together they spoke of their love for each other, of the work of God, and of His Word.

Not only was it older women making presentations to their granddaughters, but young women were giving precious copies of the Bible to their daughters.

 

I was positioned so that I watched Tiffany Groggan as she presented a Bible to her young daughter. I cried too as I watched them cry, and pray and read together.

 

 

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My devotional blog is here.

 

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Alexis Goggins Goes Home From Hospital

In the early part of last December she threw herself across her mother to shield her from the shooter, and in the process, Alexis Goggins was herself shot six times. She took a bullet in one of her eyes, was blinded, and during her hospital stay the eye was removed. Alexis caught the heart of the world, and in a few days a trust fund was established for her. Now, these months later, Alexis has been released from the hospital.

From Fox News

DETROIT — Alexis Goggins climbed aboard a special bicycle and maneuvered through hospital hallways, beginning the months of physical therapy she needs to recover from six gunshot wounds.

To many people, the soft-spoken 7-year-old is a hero after she threw herself across her mother just as a gunman was about to shoot the woman in an SUV.

“An angel is what I call her,” Seliethia Parker said of her daughter.

After more than two months in the hospital and six surgeries, Alexis was recently released. She returns twice a week for physical therapy.

Click here for photos.

The entire story is here.

This is one little heroic girl.

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My devotional blog is here.

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Of Laundry, Love and Jerry

Red Rose, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Yesterday I did laundry. Jerry carried the sorted loads to the car, from the shed took out the carrier where we keep the detergent, beach and softening strips, unloaded the clothes at the laundry room, then went to the office to buy a roll of quarters for I didn’t have enough and the coin machine was not working.

He said good-bye and left the room. He would run an errand while I finished the laundry, then would return and help me load it all into the car.

It took him forever, and as I was folding the last few pieces, I had decided to just leave the now clean clothes in DJs laundry and walk back to the motor home instead of carrying them up DJ’s street. Then after Jerry returned with the car, we could go back for the clothes. Just then, though, as I was mentally finishing my plans, Jerry walked through the door, telling me how he had been delayed..and so on.

We drove to the motor home, I carried a small load in my hand, and as I walked through the doorway, I smelled them. There were flowers in our motor home. There it was…a large, beautiful arrangement. Jerry grinned…and I understood the delay in the laundry room. My honey had bought flowers to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Taken in a place with no name (See more photos here)

Wish you could see them and catch their scent. They’re beautiful. Happy Valentine’s Day, Jerry. Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody.

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My devotional blog is here.

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Music for Valentine’s Day

A well-known classical piece of music is that called Moonlight Sonata. The actual name of the composition is Sonta in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2. I bring it to you today for three reasons:

1. It is a work of art of the highest degree.

2. This particular recording is accompanied by stunning images of the moon.

3. Composed by Beethoven, the music was dedicated to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, with whom he fell in love….perfect music for this day–Valentine’s Day

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My devotional blog is here.

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Bella Burned to Death to Save Her Family

Of all the ghastly things that can happen to a family, a house fire must be number 1 on the list, for it’s deadliness and painful consequences are fearful to consider. To picture a fire breaking out at night when the family is sleeping and tragically unaware is a horrifying thought. Last week such a nightmare became a reality in Winona, Minn….but Bella, a golden retriever-collie sensed the fire and jumped onto her master’s bed. Barking frantically, she rousted the family from their beds and saved their lives. Sadly, in the process, Bella was burned to death.

WINONA, Minn. – Bella, a 3-year-old golden retriever/collie mix who was once rescued as an abused puppy, returned the favor to her owners by alerting them to a house fire. With help from Maddie, a 6-month-old golden retriever, Bella helped get Sue Feuling and her 9-year-old daughter, Mckenzie, out of the house last week. The dogs didn’t make it.

“Those dogs were without a doubt the heroes,” said Winona Assistant Fire Chief Jim Multhaup.

Bella had jumped on Feuling’s bed early Friday morning and started barking, and Feuling then smelled smoke, grabbed her daughter and rushed out of the house.

But Feuling couldn’t coax the dogs out of the house, even when she tried to run back in to yell for them.

“Bella must have thought Mckenzie was still in the house,” Feuling said.

A firefighter who arrived at the scene tried to save the dogs, but it was too late. The Feulings were taken to an area hospital for smoke inhalation monitoring, but were OK, Multhaup said.

The fire, which was caused by an overloaded electrical outlet, gutted the home, Multhaup said.

While an assistance fund was set up, Sue Feuling said she was only thinking about her dogs. ”

From the Associated Press Monday, February 11

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My devotional blog is here.

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Belief–Principle 2

“Remember that what you believe will depend very much on what you are.” Noah Porter

Principle 2

We must study, listen, search, then carefully hone our core beliefs. Our beliefs will dictate our actions.

It was the middle of a church service and Debbie was playing the organ when the young woman entered the auditorium. Immediately Debbie was attracted to her. There was just something about her…her demeanor…her expression. The service continued, then God spoke to Debbie. You need to go tell that young woman you love her.

Whoa there! “Now, God,” Debbie rationalized, “that would be silly.” Probably not even God, anyway she thought. Probably just me.

You need to go tell that woman you love her. Again, Debbie felt impressed of God, and again she argued. “It would totally disrupt this service if I stopped playing the organ, walked off the platform, and went to that woman and told her I loved her. Anyway, she probably would think that was a bit weird. Never before saw her in my life.”

For the next several minutes, Debbie argued with herself and with God. Her husband was in the middle of giving the altar call, when suddenly before she even knew what she was doing, she had stopped playing the organ and was walking down the aisle, heading to the young lady. At the same time, the young lady left her pew and started for the exit.

“See,” Debbie said to herself. “This probably wasn’t God or she wouldn’t be leaving now.”

Nevertheless she continued and followed the girl to the parking lot. “Hi, my name’s Debbie…” and she went on with a few introductory words…then stammered around a bit and added, “God wanted me to come tell you that I love you.”

Unsmiling, the young woman spoke, “How can you love me? You don’t even know me.”

“Because we’re sisters in Christ. We both belong to Jesus. And besides me loving you, Jesus loves you.” The young lady didn’t seem very receptive, so Debbie concluded the conversation with, “If you ever need anything, I’m here for you. Glad you came to our service today.”

I won’t go into all the details that followed, but a while after this incident Debbie received a phone call from another pastor thanking her for being sensitive to God and for talking with the young woman. The young woman became a part of Debbie’s church and they became close friends.

On the Sunday in question, the young woman, having suffered severe abuse in her childhood, and desperately lonely, had concluded that nobody in the world loved her and that after the morning’s service she would kill herself. She had suffered unspeakable sexual abuse from her mother. Her mother had multilated her face–had broken her jaw and her teeth. Once when she was 17 years old, she came home from school to find a note saying, “We have moved. We don’t know where you will go, but you must be out of this house in two days.” It was to this person that Debbie’s attention was attracted that crucial Sunday morning. It was her belief principle that urged Debbie from her comfortable spot on the organ bench, down the aisle, into the parking lot, and to the ultimate saving of a human life…and an eternal soul.

Beliefs that we have developed by careful research and scrupulous refining will dictate our actions, for what we truly believe is what we are. I’m not referring to the speaking of a memorized creed or some esoteric flimflam. I’m discussing a person’s core and prevailing philosophy. An honest commitment to these thoughts may call for actions that challenge us, and that make us uncomfortable.

My core principles are founded on the Word of God. I have listened to godly men as they expounded those sacred truths, I have read and studied for myself, I have considered and observed, compared and dissected. I camp on Paul’s words to the Philippian Church:

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is god which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” 2:12-13

I cherish the day that I was pointed toward scripture to carve out my beliefs, my principles, my life philosophy. I do not cast about searching for truth, flailing helplessly at the air, nor reaching helter-skelter for some bit of hope or design. The Bible and its precepts are not strange to me, nor is living for God, nor is following the pattern of the early Church. There come moments when full commitment may cause uncomfortable moments as had Debbie on that Sunday morning, but the undergirding strength of such belief and assurance is priceless…and it extends beyond this world.

Neither do I arrogantly ascribe to myself any such monikers as knowing everything, of “having arrived,” of being the fount of truth. No, with much fear and trembling, I continue to work out my own salvation. For I understand that my beliefs will invariably determine my actions.

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My devotional blog is here.

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A Noble Love Sacrifice

“You have liver cancer,” the doctor said to the woman who was four months pregnant. “The only way we can treat you is to abort your baby.”

“No,” she courageously said.

She insisted on waiting long enough (before beginning treatment) to give her unborn son a chance to survive, telling her husband Martyn: “If I am going to die, my baby is going to live.”

She waited, treasuring every day she could give her son a chance at life. Then at 25 weeks she went into labor and he was born, tiny, but healthy.

Immediately, the chemotherapy was begun. But it was too late. On January 18th, two months after the birth of her son, Liam, this courageous mother died.

There are some beautiful, noble people in this world. The name of one of them is Lorraine Allard.
More pictures and details on Daily Mail site.
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My devotional blog is here.
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“It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times.”

Jerry Comforts Tina, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Jerry began his sermon with the words of Charles Dickens opening line of his book, A Tale of Two Cities. And indeed on Sunday morning, at Christ Alive, it was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

For on Saturday, Ernie Hudson had died. (follow the link and scroll to November 4th for more about Ernie). Despite their raw grief, Ernie’s wife Tina and her daughter had come to Christ Alive for the Sunday morning service. Already scheduled was the dedication of our great-grandson, Brody Wake. And so, honor was paid to Ernie, and condolences to his family and many friends. And to Lindsi and Ryan were given charges to be faithful parents of Brody and his big brother, Evin.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. For in that one service, the full cycle of life was seen; the fresh promise of life and the sure inevitability of death.

Brody had just slobbered all over Jerry.
Ryan is Mike and Melina’s son.
There was standing room only, so we must buy more chairs this week.
And so today, I offer this tribute to two fine families: first to Tina and to the memory of Ernie. Second to Ryan and Lindsie Wake.
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My devotional blog is here.
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Reunited After 60 Years–A Love Story for the Ages

This is one of the most remarkable and beautiful love stories I have ever read.

 

When Anna Kozlov caught sight of the elderly man clambering out of a car in her home village of Borovlyanka in Siberia, she stopped dead in her tracks, convinced her eyes were playing tricks.

There, in front of her, was Boris, the man she had fallen in love with and married 60 years earlier. The last time she had seen him was three days after their wedding, when she kissed him goodbye and sent him off to rejoin his Red Army unit.

Anna Kozlov and her husband Boris were reunited after 60 years apart

By Will Stewart in Moscow and Gethin Chamberlain

Sixty years ago, they were married, spent a few days together, then Boris was off with a Red Army unit. Shortly after he left, consigned by Stalin’s evil purges, she was sent to internal exile in Siberia. Boris returned from the war, and could not find his bride. He searched and quizzed to no avail.

Years passed. Their families insisted they marry and though neither Anna or Boris had a heart for it, they finally did so. They had long marriages, then each of their spouses died. Now, again, they were alone…until that fateful day, when Boris went to that village in Siberia to visit his parent’s grave, and there standing near the house where they spent three days together was Anna. Almost unbelievable is that instantly they recognized the other. There was a reunion…and then…a wedding.

Please read all the details of this beautiful story.

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My devotional blog is here.