August 08, 2011

Fresh Grounded Thoughts

In March of 2010, I went to a conference where I was introduced to Jennifer Rothschild. I believe I have introduced her here before and I still owe you a book review of her book I read earlier this year but I can't tell you how much she has meant to me and how God has used her in my life to encourage and grow me. Each month she writes a blog called "Fresh Grounded Thoughts". I want to share this month's post with you and pray you are encouraged!

Your Rear Guard      

Life really is a journey, isn't it?
There are stretches when we march on fearlessly-times we feel indefatigable.  And there are slices of wilderness we wander through that simply wear us out and make us feel like we won't make it.  
We often can't see the final destination; we simply march on out of trust.  Because the journey is daily and long, there are many times we can become fatigued.  
When the Israelites journeyed through the wilderness for so many years, there were those who wore out.  There were people who couldn't always quite keep up.  It was because they were tired, weak, infirmed or maybe even lazy.  Because they lagged at the rear, they were exceptionally vulnerable to the enemy attack.   
For that reason, the tribe of Dan (Exodus 10:25) was tasked with pulling up the rear.  In other words, they were the "rear guard."   They were there to protect the tired stragglers from being such an easy target for the enemy.  
We're no different from those Israelites.  We journey.  We get tired.  We can find ourselves straggling and barely making it. Sometimes it's because we're just overwhelmed; sometimes it's fatigue or sickness that drags us down.  Sometimes, we even get there on our own-our inattentiveness or laziness can put us in prime position to become easy prey.
Just like the Israelites needed the tribe of Dan to protect the rear while they journeyed, we, too, need protection as we journey through the stretches and slices of our lives.  That is what God does for us.  He becomes our rear guard.  Isaiah 52:12 says," ...For the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard."
Just think of it--God Himself is your rear guard.  He protects you from a frontal attack because He shields you, and He covers your back because He is your rear guard.  What a beautiful picture!  

If you find yourself in one of those long stretches on your journey where you're struggling or straggling, look behind you.  You will see that you're not alone, but rather, protected and preserved by God Himself.  
And, God not only offers protection, but He also gives a promise..."Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8)  I love that!

August 03, 2011

Happy 38th Birthday Shane

Shaneman had a big birthday this year!  We both took a vacation day on the day and decided that from now on, we will definitely be taking vacation for our was GREAT!  He got to sleep in and then we packed the car and headed to Gadsden to eat at his favorite restaurant, Maters Pizza Emporium...

Shane's Mom, Grandmother, Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Sandy, Uncle Jim, Tyler, Cassie and Isaiah joined us to help us celebrate!  He loved it!  

After that we made our way to Little Rock for the weekend where we had more birthday sister and Dad both had birthdays last week as well.  Shane wanted Whole Hog BBQ and The Flying Fish for dinner.  We got to play games, watch movies and just laugh with the family.  It was such a great weekend.

We came back on Sunday and finished our fun at the Blues City Cafe in Memphis.  Apparently Tom Cruise eats there in the movie, The Firm.  It was good food and a different atmosphere.  

It was such a fun birthday celebration and I totally enjoyed the time with my husband.  I'm so thankful for him and the 38 years God has given him.  I pray for many, many more and that he would be used greatly by the Lord.  I love you Shaneman!!!  

Bob Riley

No, not that Bob Riley, but my grandfather, Robert E Riley.  He just happens to share a name with a former Alabama governor...small world huh?  My Pawpaw Riley is now in the presence of the Lord, rejoicing and complete.  He died on July 19th in Garner, NC.  Pawpaw was a brilliant man, my Dad described him as one of the smartest men he ever knew.  He was married to my sweet grandmother, Sybil until she lost her battle to cancer about 14 years ago.  I have numerous memories of visiting with them when I was little...I remember him always wanting to cook us big breakfasts on Saturday mornings.  I remember him being so proud of his garden and the produce it produced and even more proud of his compost pile.  :-)  I remember going to his company, APC, and the smells of coffee and cigarettes.  Although I don't really know all of his accomplishments I do know he had several patents in his name, he helped to engineer the Indiana Jones Show at Disneyland and he invented something about a computer chip.  He loved us and he loved the Lord.  He would take us to church with him when we came to visit.  They had a gold VW bug in his garage for many, many years.

My dad along with my aunt and uncle were able to be with him in his final hours.  Dad said that they sang some hymns before he breathed his last breath.  They had a memorial service on Friday in NC and then we all congregated in Clinton, MS to bury him beside my grandmother.  I'm thankful for this man in my life.  I am confident I am who I am because of this man and his influence in my life.  He will be missed but I will one day see him again.  Praise the Lord!