For this edition of "My Thoughts", I'd like to share some cool things that the Lord has done in giving me confidence that He is indeed looking out for me.
Two weeks ago, I misplaced my Bible. Or so I thought. I was sitting at the computer in the library and my water bottle was on top of it. I remember leaving and going to the Student Life Building, going upstairs to see if a professor was in and when she wasn't, I went back down to the game room. After playing ping-pong for about 40 minutes (a game I'm pretty good out so you'd better watch out!), I took off for class. I opened my book bag about halfway through and discovered that I didn't have my Bible. "Hmm, must have left it in the game room," I thought.
After class, I went back to the game room and the Bible's not there. I look under the couch, underneath the cushions, nothing. "Well, I guess I left it in the libary, but I don't see how I could've done that." I head over to the library and look around, ask around, practically dance around trying to find this thing. Nothing. I even went back to the classroom and asked my friend, Daniel, whom I was playing ping-pong with, if he had seen it. Nope.
This was very discouraging. I have had this particular Bible since 1992 and it's like having a parchment of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The thing is worn, with the leather completely off the binding and you can fold the thing completely in half like a folder. It's got a slew of verses highlighted, like any Bible-reader will do and I really didn't feel like using another when I've had this one for so long. My friend David told me he won't get another Bible. I knew that because his is probably so marked up with notes and arrows and recipes for his mom's cookies that he'd be lost without it. I'm the same way except for all the notes.
It's the next Monday and I still haven't found the thing, even though I put an announcement about it in the Bryan Announcer Lost & Found. Shows how much people look at that considering where this thing ended up. I'm sitting at the computer again, about 15 minutes before I have to start the closing shift at the library. About three weeks prior, I had looked up on the computer card catalog for any books by Dr. William Lane Craig, the expert on the resurrection of Jesus. For some reason, I wanted to actually look up the books and go see where they are in the 200's section, as well as what others are written on the subject. (There are quite a bit).
After writing down about 15 dewey decimal numbers, I go upstairs to see what I can find. After looking at one book, I moved down a couple of aisles to where the resurrection books are. I'm moving my eyes left to right looking for the books when my eyes just stop. Right there, laying flat on the shelf, is my Bible. I just stood there, stunned, at the sight of it, probably not having moved a foot for an entire week. "Well, praise the Lord," was all I could say, and I smiled and laughed. It was like seeing your best friend again after he's been on vacation for a week. You're just glad he's back safe and sound. I had no reason to look up information on the resurrection because, frankly, I have too much stuff to do for any casual reading on it, although I eventually will. God led me right to my Bible, that's all there is to it.
The second blessing I received was unexpected, to say the least. I had just gotten my phone bill (ugh!) and it ran over $40.00. I got busted on the last one because I had thought I would go with MCI, but instead opted for AT&T. BellSouth went ahead and put me on MCI because I gave that as my first option, but I didn't go that way. MCI calls a couple of weeks later and I agree to switch because it would be on one phone bill. Where I got busted is that some time in-between, I was without the 7¢ a minute plan, so that was driven up about 23¢. It was either that, or I got snookered into using the so-called pre-paid phone cards they sent me because they love me so much. They weren't pre-paid. When something says it's pre-paid, it usually means I don't have to pay for anything because someone else has already paid it for me. I quickly cut those up and threw them in the trash where they belong.
Anyway, Saturday I get my bill along with a magazine, a letter from ESPN the Magazine asking me if I want to subcribe, which I already do, and some letter from Microsoft. I have no idea what this is. I open it up and it's a check made out to me for $19.57. I look it over and was attached to an invoice with a perforated lining. I was completely shocked. I tried to figure out how I could have possibly gotten this money. I didn't think it might be from alladvantage.com, which I had tried a couple of years ago because it says it's from Microsoft. I just sat in my green La-Z-Boy and started laughing, going from a giggle to a more generous laugh. I just spoke out loud, "Father, I don't deserve any of this!", referring to being able to go to Bryan, finding an apartment and getting some furniture.
While it may not seem like a lot of money, it shows how God is looking out for my needs and that sucker's gonna be deposited on Wednesday. I really needed these pick-me-ups because it was last Monday that my neighbor and friend, Cherie Sawyer, died of cancer she had had for the past four months. Below is the e-mail I sent for my pastor to read at her service, a service he said went very well when I spoke with him on the phone.
I have to admit that I was not expecting a call from Mrs. Margaret Lesh Tuesday evening. I was actually praying for some people when the phone rang and I was pleasantly surprised that she had called. The reason for her calling didn't even hit me until the tone of Mrs. Lesh's voice changed. It was then that I realized what had happened.
I've known the Sawyer family for as long as I've lived in Sebring, over 14 years. They were my near-by neighbors in one house and also in another house. No one memory of Cherie really sticks out in my mind because there could almost be a collective group of memories, acting as one.
I do know that while Frank enjoyed my chocolate chip cookies, Cherie enjoyed my chocolate cookie dough. She was a big Gator fan and it was fun to watch many a game with she and Frank, Cherie slapping her hands together when the Gators scored and saying, "C'mon boys," whenever they were in trouble. I appreciated her advice and kind words she had for me whenever I decided to go to Bryan College, as well as doing everything I could to make myself a better person. "That's wonderful, Kedric" or "That's great, Kedric" were normal encouragements. And it all sounded better in that great Southern drawl.
Cherie's death was, of course, not the news I wanted to hear, but I've heard so many things about her spirits being high, even when her body was going in the opposite direction. I was down for Fall Break back in October. When I left at 2:13 a.m. on Oct 12, I thought I was rushing down to settle up some personal items. It turns out, due to the Lord's sovereignty, I was able to visit Cherie one last time. You see, my original plan was to visit my friend David in Kentucky and I wouldn't have come back to Florida until Christmas break. I remember telling David that I wouldn't be able to visit him because something is telling me I have to get back to Florida. God doesn't always reveal to us immediately the reasons why things happen, but will instead use time as a way of strenghtening our faith. Cherie had strong faith in God's timing, I believe.
Just over 51 weeks ago, my grandmother died and I spoke with Scripture at her service. I'd like to do the same again.
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." -- John 11:25
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance. -- Daniel 12:2-3;13
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. -- Romans 6:5
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -- 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 41-44; 54-57
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. -- 1 Peter 1:3
To the Sawyer family: take comfort in these words and know that the God who rules the universe is with you and for you. Thank you for you hospitality to me and my family.
I'll miss her very much and I try to remember her husband, Frank and daughter, Frankie in prayer. Praying is something I don't do enough of.
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On another note, my friend and former youth pastor, Jeff Harshbarger, has finally got his web page all spruced up. Refuge Ministries (www.refugeministries.cc), a place where people can go who want out of the occult, was started by Jeff and his wife, Liz, several months ago in Bonita Springs, FL. Jeff was delivered from satanism at the age of 17 by the power of Jesus Christ and he is finally doing what he's wanted to do for some time: reach out to the lost and hurting through his own ministry. The web site has links to other Christian sites, two short, but very good articles written by Jeff, an iternary page for what he's been up to and a vision link that tells what the Lord wants for the future. Check it out. It's worth the time to go through it.