Thursday, September 29, 2005

New Beginnings

Hello, Gentle Readers…

How often does our God bring New Beginnings? All through our Scriptures, there is testimony after testimony of God bringing His children through difficulties to New Beginnings.

Monday and Wednesday, my partner and I traveled to Biloxi for appointments. The trip took twice as long because of hurricane reconstruction and closed roads. While driving through the coastal towns, we were overwhelmed at the sheer force of “mother nature” and the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

When we reached Biloxi, nothing could have prepared me for what we saw. Homes simply flattened: nothing remaining but a roof over a pile of rubble. Downed trees and power lines were everywhere. Rows upon rows of tent cities dotted the remaining landscape. Wal-Mart parking lots were turned into relief areas full of military personnel and more tents. Simply put, nothing of Biloxi remained from the beachfront to about a half mile from the Gulf. Houses on the inland waterfront were shells. Boats were perched in trees! Cars were piled one atop the other. Completely overwhelming!

But God….

You know there’s always a “but God.”

I began to notice that, even though it’s been four weeks since the hurricane and it still looks like a war zone, there were new leaves on the trees. They were that wonderful light green of spring. There were buds and new flowers blooming everywhere; beautiful, bright and encouraging. It was as if God was saying, “I am doing a new thing.”

The people, exhausted but so resilient, were in their yards cleaning up storm damage. Everyone was chatting with their neighbors. There was a new spirit of cooperation and friendliness. Neighbor helping neighbor; whether it was cleaning the storm damage or sharing a cup of coffee brewed on a pile of sticks and tree limbs.

The initial feeling of being overwhelmed with grief was replaced with joy! How could I possibly experience joy in this place? But, I was doing just that.

What the Spirit spoke to my heart that day was a simple phrase, “New Beginnings.” Out of the ashes comes new life. Out of the fury of the storm comes calm. And out of our tragedy comes a new found concern for others. Just like the trees and flowers, new life is coming to the Gulf Coast…all the way from Mobile to New Orleans.

Wait and watch with me and rejoice at the New Beginnings of the Lord.

May God richly bless you this day and cause you to see joy in the overwhelming difficulties of life.


Monday, September 19, 2005

An Attitude of Gratitude

Hello my dear friends...

I must share with you how God has met our every need during the aftermath of Katrina. We now have a wonderful little rental home! All of the "kids" are with us, which is such a blessing in itself. The kitties and doggy are beside themselves with joy to have us all in one place.

Here is the point I want to make: We MUST have an attitude of gratitude. It is that attitude, that spiritual character, which opens the windows of blessing on God's children. If you had told me that Patti and I would lose our home and most everything that was in it, I would have told you that you were nuts. But, here we are. The home is disgusting and filled with sewage and mold. Who knows how long until the insurance settles and repairs are done. Quite honestly, there's nothing to go back to. Most all jobs are lost. Most folks in our area are living under sagging carports or tarps and tents. The scene is depressing and devastating all at the same time.

But God....

And there is always...But God!

God has, through his people, provided for all of our needs. We have a home. We are well fed. We are blessed with transportation. God is slowly replacing the things we lost.

I would suggest that it is our attitude that opens the windows of God's blessing. I challenge you today to open your heart. Take a moment to write down your blessings and thank God for every single one of them. You might find that your attitude changes and you are overcome by the many, many blessings of our God!

May God richly bless you this day!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

We're okay and blessed

Just a note to let you know we are okay and blessed. We move into our new home today! I'll write more as I am able.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hurricane Katrina--Part 2

Hello all...

Short post to let you all know we are safe. Thanks to the generosity of our pastor and church, we are staying in the parsonage in Mobile. All is lost at the house. It is 1-2' full of raw sewage. We escaped with a few personal items, the "kids," and some clothes. But God is good. We are blessed to be alive. We continue to pray for you, our dear friends. And we continue to pray for the families of those who were lost or are still missing, as well as other victims of this horrible storm. We know that God is a good god and is able to meet all of our needs in Christ Jesus. Our faith is strong and we are rejoicing that we are alive and able to continue God's work.

Thank you for your prayers, words of encouragement, and the many gifts we have received. We will be back in touch as quickly as we are able.