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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Language of Love

I have heard about the Language of Love books and have wanted to read them. My dear husband hasn't read the books either. He is a quiet man, a man of few words.

As we ate lunch together Sunday, we talked about the message on praying boldly, my dear husband surprised me with the question, “Do you know what the Language of Love is?

After 60 years of marriage, he asks me about the Language of Love? It surprised me because he is a man of few words. I remembered how often he fixed things, took care of our children when I was exhausted, managed and took care of so many things without complaining. That was his Language of Love. Giving me so many minutes and hours of his time, planning and preparing to make my life easier.

School was not his thing, but he helped me make teaching school my thing. That is the Language of Love. In his way and in his time, he raised his children to love God. Even now, to hear from children and grandchildren, and now great grandchildren makes the twinkle in his dark brown eyes come alive. He is so proud of each one. And loves them with deep tenderness deep in his heart.

I decided long ago that he lives by the Pessimist's Outlook. Find something wrong with everything used to scare me. He often looked on the 'dark side.'When we drove off the lot in our brand new car, the least little rattle and he comments, “Oh, oh, the car is falling apart!”

We have planted many a garden. Each time, there isn't enough rain, the 'varmints' are getting the produce or the weeds are getting ahead of us. This year he is 86 years old. I gave up having a garden because Ed is getting weaker and I didn't have time to work on it. He insisted on buying a roto-tiller, and getting it out in this April. He proceeded to prepare a plot of ground, much smaller than usual. He put up a fence and planted the three tomato plants we bought. And we have a garden. The Language of Love.

Ed grew up with two older sisters and two older brothers. When he was small, his mother died in child birth. His step-mother loved Ed. He learned the Language of Love. He grew up loving the outdoors, fishing and doing chores. After he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force. He was a gunner on a B-29. When he came home, he herded cattle on his father's ranch in central Kansas. That is where we began married life – in the country.

And what were his words of wisdom about the Language of Love? “Don't do that, you might hurt yourself!”

Ed smiled and postscripted his words, with “I had two older sisters.”

Suddenly the words were clear to me... Don't do that, you might hurt yourself!

The Old Testament contains the Commandments that God gave his people. His “Do's and “Do Not's” are God's Language of Love. He doesn't want us to hurt ourselves and come under everlasting judgment. Why do we want to rebel against God who created us and gave us life? The One who loves so deeply and speaks the Ultimate Language of Love? He loves us so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son! (John 3:16) The One who created us, knows us where.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12.

How can we set ourselves against God when we read Psalm 139?

1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

When I watch a young mother cradle her babe in her arms, nurturing him and embracing him, the love pours out of her heart and fills that little babe. Just so God pours his love into our being until words cannot describe that bond that we feel for God and His Only Son, Jesus.

There is no peace other than the rich peace of God that so secures our hearts, our souls and our minds, as that which we receive in acknowledging His Lordship in this life and forever.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:17

Our God speaks the Language of Love to and in us each day. Is this life all there is? Or does it continue? Ed and I have enjoyed sixty years learning the God's Language of Love. Will our lives together end on earth? Suddenly all the 'Nows' that we share are more precious. Yet we are both sure that God's Language of Love reaches into eternity to a forever-live and new heights and depths of God's Language of Love.

Heart-Beat Away!

This moment, this breath, is a gift

No one knows the hour or the day.

Eternity is so very near.

Just a heart-beat away.

This NOW is all I have

Each moment I make a choice

Not choosing, brings death

Choosing God, and angels rejoice.

I believe, and I see

God is waiting for me

To choose eternity

And with God, I'll be.

Help me dear Lord to pray

Forgive me, dear Lord, when I stray

I give you my heart each day

He is just a heart-beat away

Now is the moment

Now is the day

Now is all I have

Jesus -- Only a heart-beat away.



Comments? eacombs@att.net

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Storms

The sky darkened, clouds formed heavy with the wind pushing them in different directions. Then suddenly a deluge of rain dropped from the clouds. A storm. So many memories crowd in of the many storms in my life time when the wind becomes fierce and rattles the windows. I envisioned possible destruction and felt unrest and remembered Storms Past.

The snow storm in Clinton, OK. When morning came, the snow had drifted the front door shut. I remember Dad shoveling his way through the snow from the back door to the barn to care for the chickens and the cow. No school and Mom read us the Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.

We were a young couple with two small boys, on a farm in Central Kansas. Storm clouds threatened. On the farm we had a steel re-inforced concrete barn. Ed drove our car into the barn and we huddled most of the night in the car with two little boys who slept through the gales of wind that blew and beat on our safe concrete haven. The light of day showed us the damage that was evident in the few trees we had, other wise life went on as usual. We were prepared for the storm.

The tornado in Watonga, OK. We had just moved to Illinois and received a visit from the police telling us of the tornado that hit Mom and Dad's house. When we visited the next summer, we saw an unbroken coke bottle that had been partially embedded in the tree in the south yard. The viciousness of the wind that my parents went through pierced my heart. In my mind, I could see them shivering in the Siemens Cellar next to the shelves of canned produce from the garden. I could see their clasped hands and hear their prayers and hymns they sang beneath the narrow kitchen table when the tornado circled back around. I could hear the growl of the wind finally die down and the splintering of wood.

In New Harmony, IN, our four preschool children watched the trees swaying in the wild wind through the windows. They were frightened because they had never experienced a wind storm. Ed and I thought the wind blowing was mild, for we were used to the 40 mph breezes of Dodge City, Kansas. Later our children took a 50 mph wind in stride when we moved there later.

One of our sons remembers watching for tornado in western Kansas. On the hillside of our 3 acre bit of land along Highway 54, just east of Fort Dodge. We watched the clouds, looking for a tornado tail that might drop down. We often had high winds and we learned to lean into the wind to keep our balance. Finally we decided to go to the basement. A good safe place. We took flashlights and and two bags of candy and were prepared to wait out the storm. Paul remembers the two sacks of hoarhound candy. It was an important 'preparation' for a 10 year old. Our two story house remained strong in the wind, and no tornado tails dipped down to scoop us up.

Perhaps the largest storm that Ed and I endured was the ice storm in Rogers AR, one winter in 2009. Then the power went off. We gathered candles, and layered clothes against the creeping cold. No heat or fire place warmed the air. We spent three days and two nights without power. I found a book that I had recently purchased, The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun. I shivered in the dark and read by candle light his true story of a different kind of storm, and even more chilling of how he desired to learn of Jesus in a land that denied God and denied the ownership of a Bible.

His true story touched my heart. His unconcern with physical comfort and safety in order to teach and preach Christ gave me strength to endure the cold.

Romans 8:5-6 - Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Recently swarms of tornadoes surged through Oklahoma and Kansas leaving destruction in its vicious path through more states. The next morning we awakened to a blue cloudless sun-drenched world. The emerald green of the trees sparkled and the whole earth rejoiced about us.

Psalm 19:1-5 - The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

Surely we will face other storms, but in the high wind and destruction our shelter of faith and trust grows...for God speaks in the storm. His voice thunders in the sky commanding our attention. But Jesus promises peace to the faithful.

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.


Comments? eacombs@att.net

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Truly True

Why is it that what a child says so delights us? A child has not learned to play the game of hiding who or what he really is. One day another teacher visited my sixth grade classroom. She began talking to my students in a 'sing-songy' way, She didn't connect with them at all, and later one student asked with disgust, “Does she always talk like that?”

Some of my favorite comments by children from one facebook friend are:

- "These 3 teeth are really hurting (bottom front). And it's my favorite place

to chew!!...(sigh)."

- Daughter: "I really like your 'talking on the phone' voice, Momma."
Mother: "What about my regular voice?"
Daughter: "Well, it's just kinda mean."

  • My very literal 7-year-old..."If Justin Bieber is singing 'never say never', then why does he keep saying 'never'??!!!"

  • In the middle of singing a song with Daughter, she says, "PAUSE, Mom! I thought of something!! I love 3 boys that all start with 'J'!! Joel (daddy), JC and Jesus!!! All J's, that's amazing!"

Our four children taught me a lesson in reality with just one question, “How come on Sunday you yell at us and when we get to church, you just smile?” Ouch.

......and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6

As a little girl, one of my friends asked, “Is that true? Cross your heart?” I replied dutifully, “ It is true, cross my heart and hope to die-true.” In my mind I wondered if it were not true, would I die right there?

Reality is related to truth. There are no hidden agendas, no subterfuge, or devious objective. Reality is the absence of the presence of the counterfeit. Reality is knowing, “What is – IS.” And not having to try to hide it.

These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Colossians 2:17

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

There is a fine line between diplomacy and reality. Diplomacy is when being real, one needs to don velvet gloves in order to get across a point with a minimum amount of pain.

Reality is not denying what is, or hiding from truth. This morning on my walk, I checked my rose bush. The first rose of the season lost its red petals in the rain, and I counted many more buds to come. Some of the leaves are marked with black spots. What is, IS! Along with the beautiful rose blooms, are the thorns that prick my fingers. I do not pretend the blemishes are not there, but look on the beauty.

Reality is knowing the truth and not needing to add layers to cover the truth with half-truths. Truth has its own beauty and strength.

Reality is being with my two weekly prayer partners and being able to be me. No need to cover or flavor my words but being honest and open without fear of rejection. Just the way we are with God. This is deep friendship at

'I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.’ Ezekiel 14:5 (NLT)

Reality is choosing God and not idols that turn us away from God. Idols are the things we worship instead of God, whether it be money, success, or possessions. Our hearts and minds are the target of today's marketing devices whether business or governments. The latest gadget ownership becomes a status symbol of earthly value. Possession of the latest communication device is to be a tool for God, not a tool that lessens God in our eyes.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. I Corinthians 13:6

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. I John 3:18

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. II John 1:3

Father in Heaven, my prayer is to be truly true and real in my mind and heart. For I know that being truly true is being a child of God. Praise and honor to His Holy Name.


Comments? eacombs@att.net

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A Dash of Life!

It was a cool fall day. Mother stood at the stove in her blue kitchen stirring the contents in the kettle. Her long hair, caught up in a bun, glistened around her temples in her effort, “Mmmm,” she said, “I think I will add a dash of salt.”

I smiled as I watched her. She seldom used the measuring cups hidden in the blue cupboard beside her. She believed in pinches and dashes of spices or sugar. Her written recipes were laced with handfuls, dashes, and pinches of ingredients.

Recently I again saw the phrase that emphasizes the dash as the brief moment of lifes between our birth and our death. A dash? How long is a dash? Job 7:7a describes life - Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath. Job lived to be 140 years old, and he is described as 'full of years'. We consider reaching the nineties as a long life now. So the 'dash' has been shortened.

When I consider how many minutes are in a dash...ever curious...I multiplied my years times 365 days times 24 hours in a day times 60 minutes and came to the massive figure of 43,099,200 minutes of my life a

nd counting. I am stretching my 'dash'! How many minutes did I watch the clock moving slowly to count down an hour as I 'practiced' piano? How many days did I simply play as a child, or do chores like washing dishes? Ho

w many minutes did I change diapers of my four children as they came into this world and began their 'dash' countdown? How many minutes did I clean, cook, do laundry? How many minutes did I read books? How many minutes did I teach children? How many minutes did I practice piano because I wanted to?


What has made my 'dash of life' meaningful?
Having lived that many minutes, what gives me the most joy today?

Our family and the relationship we have with them. From children and their spouses to grandchildren and their spouses, and then the great-grandchildren. I always wondered what it would have been like to have great-great-great-great grandchildren. It is difficult to keep track of anniversaries/birthdays of our 3 generation family, but I wonder.... What was it like for Adam or Methuselah?

Relationships are an important part of each 'dash of life'. The very first relationship is with parents and siblings – it isn't just blood, but the daily give and take that builds a 'forever' relationship. Relationships may enhance or degrade life depending on what they are built on. Everyone wants to belong to something or someone. A relationship can be built on sharing pets, car enthusiasts, travel enthusiasts, musicians, business, even the

brand choice of computers. The dearest friendships are with those I laugh, cry and pray with. The inner parts of my heart are fed to give me strength to grow, to learn and to give through these relationships.

I love beauty – flowers, trees, clouds, the song of birds, mountains, oceans...the wonders of a wonderful God. When I see a picture or a painting or find a scene that speaks to me, I am filled with a longing to paint that beauty. When I try, I realize that God, the Creator of all we survey, is the Master Painter. His brush strokes in nature and in the hearts of people create joy in the heart of man.

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. Psalm 65:8

What makes my bit of 'dash' worth living? It is a relationship above all - my relationship with God our Father. And in knowing Jesus, I know God.

My 'dash' is filled with praise each day and Thanksgiving in the sunset of life.I spend all day in expectation to see the gifts God gives me. No, they are not earth-shaking, life or death gifts. They are His constant goodness, if I but see them. Our daughter wrote a blog last night, “Am I Willing to Listen?” She writes:

I want to understand and learn to live freely and lightly. I want to rejoice in your greatness. I want to bask in your love as the plants do in the rain.”

The more we listen and recognize that God directs our lives, the more we trust God and the more meaningful our 'dash of life' becomes. It isn't about us, but Him.

My 'dash of life' prayer is, Father in Heaven, no matter what is around me and pulls at me in this world, help me to expectantly look to You fo

r messages to make my 'dash of life' meaningful. Not for me, but for You, Oh, Lord! You have written my first date and given me the 'dash of life'. When you declare it, my 'dash' will close as you place the last date of my life. May my 'dash of life' glorify you.

Psalm 19:14 - May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.


Comments? eacombs@att.net