ISAIAH 61:1-4

ISAIAH 61:1-4

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and has anointed me to
Preach the good news to the poor. .
Bind up the brokenhearted,
Proclaim freedom for the captives,
Proclaim release from darkness for the prisoners,
Comfort all who mourn
Provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them
The oil of gladness for mourning
And a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter

It was a lovely day. I hosted; Christy made that marvelous cake!! Rob made the best scalloped potatoes ever; Neal brought the turkey and ham; Laura made the deviled eggs and yams; I did the fresh asparagus, designed the tables; Bob brought the edible creations centerpiece and set up tables. My grandbabies were with the other Grandmother, but I saw them at church in their Easter dresses. We took pictures there!!
Thank God for a lovely day!
Pastor Phylis

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finding our way

A few years ago a friend came to talk about her anxieties. She was frustrated, couldn't get anything accomplished. She was spinning her wheels in activitiy, but couldn't find peace.

"What are you avoiding?" I asked. "What is there that you know you have to do, but don't want to do it?"

I had seen her frenetic activity and recognized it. Did I mention that I had been there too?

Immediately she knew what it was, took care of a task she'd been avoiding, and voila' her anxieties were relieved. Life leveled out again.

In II Kings 1, Ahaziah, son of Ahab and Jezebel was having a bad day. He succeeded Ahab, then Moab rebelled. Next Ahaziah had an accident. He fell through a lattice and became very ill. He wanted to know if he would be alright. So, true to his heritage, he sent messengers to inquire of Baalzebub for his prognosis.

Now, it wasn't that Ahaziah didn't know about God. Elijah was the prophet of God and Ahaziah well knew it. But he didn't want to hear from Elijah. He didn't want to hear truth. He wanted to hear good news. So he sent for the "Lord of the Flies" to give him a positive message. (II Kings 1:9)

Sometimes the answer -- or where to seek the answer is right in front of us. Frantic activity results when we are so determined to avoid what we perceive is bad news, a relationship we're afraid to fix, or a job we don't want to do.

True Jehovah style, God aroused Elijah and instructed him. Elijah arrived, prophesied death, and departed. True Ahaziah style, he sent captains to inquire of Elijah, trying to get him to change his mind. It took the death of two captains and their men before the third wised up and acknowledged God.

I wonder what would have happened had Ahaziah been man enough to inquire of Elijah in the first place? I

I think I need to spend some time contemplating just what it is that I'm avoiding.

Pastor Phylis

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just a Girl

You're Just a Girl

Growing up, I don't think there was any phrase I hated more than, "You're just a girl. My immediate reaction was always to show "them" that I could do anything that a boy could do. My Dad actually encouraged me. He was the epitome of the Southern outdoorsman (I'd say Hillybilly, but some family members read this. My Dad objects to the term Hillbilly although I frequently call myself a transplanted Hillybilly. You know, Jeff whats-his-face's "You might be a redneck jokes?" They ALL fit our part of the country!) 
My Dad taught me some of his country craft. I could out shoot my male city slicker cousins; I drove tractors; I could put together the transmission on a car; I could re-wire small appliances and pick cotton. I could also skin a squirrel; dress a chicken (That involves this icky, messy process of removing feathers and "innards"); scale a fish and milk a cow. He wouldn't let my sister or I drive until we could change a tire to his satisfaction. He had his limitations, though, on what his daughters could do. Things my Dad deemed inappropriate for girls included changing the oil in a car, using hammer and nails, bucking bails and chopping cotton for hire.
When my uncle received two pair of boxing gloves for christmas, I was anxious to try my hand at a new skill, one I knew was not intended for "girls."
"Aww, c'mon. I can box," I wheedled.
"You're jest a girl!" He challenged me. "And besides you're only eleven years old. I'm fourteen," he added.
The "just a girl" remark did it. My mind was made up. 
"Okay. We'll make it fair," I bargained.

After some consultation with the troup of younger cousins and an uncle there, a deal was struck. Dale would box with one hand behind his back. I could use both gloved hands.
The sparring began. I started with short jabs that he easily blocked. He tried some jabs that I blocked. The cheering section was bored. They egged us on. Finally he got a good cross to my nose. I retaliated by going in head down with hard body hits. He wasn't expecting this pummeling of his midsection and staggered backward more in astonishment than at my attack. Unfortunately, there was a window behind him.

The tinkling of falling shards of glass broke the sudden silence.

Then we sprang into futile action. Dale and I quickly jerked off the boxing gloves and stashed them under the couch. Someone brought a rag to stop my nose bleed. No one touched the glass as we all raced to sit properly on the sofa and chairs.

His mother entered to an idyllic scene of her lovely children and grandchildren seated primly on the furniture, hand in their laps, smiles on their silent faces. Did I mention there was broken glass everywhere?

After much inept hand-wringing and moaning about the broken window and my bleeding nose, she wandered back into the kitchen still muttering, "What will Roy do?". We looked at one another in amazement. Mostly her diatribe was aimed at Dale, which I thought unfair since I knew I was equally if not more guilty than he.

"That's it?" We were never sure who said what we were all thinking.

"I can't believe she's blaming me for it all," Dale pondered.

"Maybe it's because I'm a girl," I offered tentatively.

"Just wait 'til your dad gets here!" Dale reminded me.

"What will Roy do?" Ah yeah! Roy was my dad, noted for severe discipline, as I knew well. The girl thing didn't usually matter to him.

We spent the rest of the afternoon quietly, playing chess or checkers, staring at a book, or just sitting around wondering what our fate would be when "Roy" arrived. He was the one who'd have to fix the window, too.

To my immense surprise when my Dad arrived to pick up my sister and I, his anger focused on Dale. He reamed him out royally. When I recognized the lay of the land, I smiled angelically at Dale from behind my father's back, mouthing, "I'm just a girl."

It lessened the sting of that remark just a bit to know that, sometimes, it worked in my favor.

Pastor Phylis

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Know His Power

Worship Time this morning was especially moving. We were singing "Still" from Hillsong when God's power moved through the auditorium very sweetly. My attention was arrested by the second verse: "Find rest my soul in Christ alone; know His power in Quietness and Trust." I had one of those "Aha" moments.

My Christian upbringing emphasized His power. We celebrated -- enthusiastically, joyfully, watching God work in us and those around us. And I love to celebrate what God does and is doing in our lives. What we did not "get" as well, however, was the part about "knowing His power in quietness and trust."

It struck me again so forcefully that during these past two years of illness (first the liver donation, then the breast cancer) that God has been showing me His Power, in quietness and trust. Times of quietness are not as much fun as the joyous celebration of His Mighty Works, but those days, months, years are character forming. Those quiet days when all one can do is Trust, are times to get acquainted with God. Those times I was so ill I could only be quiet, only meditate. My body and mind could do no more. My body couldn't move, couldn't get busy. My mind couldn't think, couldn't go off on a tangent of it's own. Those days God ministered directly to my Soul. In quietness I learned to trust His power, trust His hand.

And today God, thank you for stopping me long enough to minister to me directly. Thank you for the reminder that it isn't ALL in the joyful moments, but also I can worship you in Quietness and Trust. Regardless.

Words and Music by Reuben Morgan

Hide me now
Under your wings
Cover me
within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know his power
In quietness and trust
- Hillsong United

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pity Party

It's not always Rainbows and Butterflies.
When it rains, it pours.
Pity Party
and other uplifting thoughts.

Why is it that conflict always comes crowding in? Never a solo appearance does it make. And why, oh why, does it always rear it's ugly head when I'm just not in the mood to deal with anything?

Not that I'm having major problems. Even in the midst of my pity party, I recognize that this is trivia. The perpetrator of a past conflict decides he wants to come and stay with us, at our house, totally ignoring the chaos he left in wake of his last visit. In spite of complicated and tangled relationships, I must find the word "no" in my vocabulary. (If anyone who really knows me reads this, you'll think that I'm out of my head. But really, I only "appear" to be so candid and forthright...I have trouble saying "no." That word is so FINAL! And I'm such a "let's fix-it" kind of person.)

And a few other situations that really need a .... what's that word again?

And at work, the lack of cooperation of a coworker is coming back to haunt me. Somehow it's now my fault that the report is lacking information she wouldn't give me.

And...sigh! My symptoms are better except that one in which I need to jump and run got it! Oh, Yeah, and that other one in which I just have no tolerance for stress...or is it fools? Didn't I procure a New Year's resolution about that?

So I'm thinking, God what are you trying to teach me? To carry an bigger umbrella?

And as though he actually was listening to me and my complaining (duh!), This was in my email today:

The University of Adversity
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4:12-13).
I've observed a principle: The pathway to leadership almost always takes us through the valley of adversity. We see this principle not only in the story of Joseph, who endured thirteen years of adversity, but also in the lives of many other leaders in both the Old and New Testament.
Moses was raised in the royal splendor of Pharaoh's household in Egypt, but he was forced to flee and spend 40 years in desert exile before God spoke from a burning bush and called him to lead the Hebrew people out of slavery. Joshua spent the years of his youth as a slave in Egypt and his middle-aged years wandering in the desert at Moses' side. He was well acquainted with adversity when God called him to lead Israel's armies in the conquest of Canaan. The prophet Daniel had to pass through a fiery furnace and a den of hungry lions before he could reach a place of power and influence in the Babylonian courts. And we see this same pattern played out in the lives of David, Isaiah, Amos, Hosea and other Old Testament leaders.
Turning to the New Testament, we see that even Jesus had to face adversity in the desert, suffering hunger, thirst, temptation and opposition from Satan. Only then could He begin His public ministry. The Lord's disciples had to endure the loss of their Master, the failure of their own faith and character, and the dark days of despair between the cross and the empty tomb before they could become the founding leaders of the Lord's church.
It's hard to find anyone in Christian history who became a great leader without earning an advanced degree at the "University of Adversity."

My problems just seems so petty to be considered "adversity." Shouldn't someone be throwing stones at me or something more major? (Gasp. Did I say that?) Or, am I just wanting to keep on "pityparty-ing?"