Quick change of course

“Fortunately Jesus didn’t leave [the disciples]-
or any of us-without hope or direction.
Where we fail, Jesus succeeded.
The only One who as able to recognize and follow His purpose from the beginning was Jesus.
He alone was able to obey consistently and please God completely.
And His divine mission was to make a way for each of us to do the same.”

Charles R.Swindoll

I don’t know why I am still amazed…still amazed at how quickly our lives can
take a turn as our little worlds can quickly change in the blink of an eye.

This came to mind last night while watching the breaking news from Florida
when it was reported that there was a jewelry store robbery in
Coral Gables, Fl.

The armed robbers shot an employee of the jewelry store in the head,
took off from the store, carjacked a UPS truck, held guns to the driver’s head
and lead police on a chase that ended in a hail of gunfire.

The UPS driver and an innocent bystander were both killed.
The robbers were apprehended and both already had a laundry list of
past serious committed crimes.
I do not know how the store employee has fared.

As the wife of a man who ran his own jewelry store for 50 years,
we always thought about these incidents.
In fact, a few years before I had met my husband, he was shot in his store when
three armed men came into his store in an attempt to rob the store.

His body still bears the scar.

He was lucky.

I see a lot of UPS trucks out and about this time of year.
They actually come to our house a lot this time of year as I tend to
shop a bit more easily the older I get.

It’s a matter of a click and poof…
in a couple of days, a UPS driver rolls down my driveway.

So the thought of a man who got up yesterday to go to work and didn’t come home
last night tugged at my heart.

Then I think of the two shootings we’ve had on two of our different military bases
in the past two days…
People got up to go to work and didn’t come home because
of the evil intent of others.

So when I got an early morning call that The Mayor was throwing up
uncontrollably and they were headed to the ER of the Children’s hospital,
I simply got dressed and got in the car and made my way to Atlanta.

It hadn’t been my plan to make a mad dash on a Friday morning to Atlanta nor was it
our daughter-n-law’s plan to call into school and request a sub at the last minute.
Nor was it in the thoughts of a 22-month-old little girl to become suddenly
violently ill out of the blue.

But life happens…for good or bad.

I don’t know about you, but I pretty much take each day for granted.
Getting up, going through the motions of the day as I plan on doing the same
the following day.
I think we all do.

But maybe we, me, you all need to be a bit more reflective,
a bit more thought-filled.
Maybe we need to consider our lives a bit more reverently.
Considering it as a fragile gift that is to be savored and cherished.
Reveling in those who are nearest and dearest rather than the cursory hi’s and byes
as we pass like ships in the night.
Relishing, rather, in those brief moments we can spend together at home.

Maybe it’s the time of year, maybe it’s my age, but the revelation that life is fleeting
is felt more keenly.
And so the divisiveness eating away at our country, I find to be such a terrible waste
of time and energy.

God.
He is good…
and yet…

We are living in a time that has the lowest number of people attending a
Church or Synagogue.
We have the lowest number of people who consider religion as an
integral part of life.
We have the highest number of people who doubt the existence of God.
And yet we have some of the highest numbers of depression, suicide, addictions,
and a large number of the population that has a deep dissatisfaction with life.

I recently read that the traditional religions of Christianity and Judaism are
both being replaced in younger generations with an odd mix of yoga, self-help,
and meditation.

I saw the same thing happen in the early ’70s just as we were coming out of
the tumultuous ’60s along with a war, as people were looking desperately for some sort
of numbing agent. Self-help books were flying off the shelves.

But what is the first place we turn in the face of disaster?
We look to God.

A perplexing quirk and fickleness of humankind.

In our world, a little girl got medicine and got better.
In the world of others, they are trying to put to pieces
back together without their loved ones.

May we take this season of all things holiday to reconsider the
importance of our lives and of those in our lives.

Cherish those closest to you.
Hold them a bit longer, hug them a bit tighter.
Linger in their presence.

For both time and life are fleeting…


The Mayor and Moppie or Biyah or Ba easing back to better health / Julie Cook / 2019)


(The Mayor managing to eat a Pedialyte popscilce / Julie Cook / 2019)

Be strong and courageous.
Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you.
He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

never saw it coming

“We cannot change our past.
We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way.
We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have,
and that is our attitude.”

Charles R. Swindol

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(the twins / Julie Cook / 2016

Traversing back and forth from Dad’s every other day takes me along a variety of roadways…
with the longest of stretches being two major interstates.
I merge onto one interstate that actually runs from South Carolina all the way to Texas.
My jumping-on point is considered more of a rural area in my lovely southern state,
just before the state line of Alabama.

It is an area that sees its fare share of “wild” animals crossing and being killed.
Coyotes,
possums,
armidillos
beavers
groundhogs
the poor errant dog or cat…

Many of the casualties are deer, whitetail deer which are native to Georgia.

Most animals who live near such roadways are pretty savvy when it comes to crossing and vehicles…
particularly vehicles that are zipping up and down the roadways at the speed of sound.
Yet sadly there are some poor animals that just aren’t so smart
as their naiveté sadly gets them, as well as any people involved, killed.

And of course there are those times that a deer is being chased by a predator…
Chased to a one way date with disaster…

In our area that predator is most likely a coyote.

Coyotes, when hungry enough, will run a deer to exhaustion before the final and deadly attack.

When being chased, as with the unfortunate deer living near the busy interstates,
there is not much choice but to take that precarious chance,
darting out into the line of speeding vehicles…

It’s a do or die situation….

With the results most always being sadly…death.

As the frantic deer, racing for its life, never saw it coming…
that being the car or truck that was to hit it…
just as that same car or truck never saw the deer darting our in front of them…
not until it was too late….

Just never a good thing…

We’re a lot like those deer you and I…

We’re being chased by a fierce and hungry predator…

We are being chased by a most cunning foe…
An ancient adversary who knows that we can be easily exhausted.

He works at wearing us down as his hot breath licks at our heels
All the while, we are none the wiser…
For we don’t even realize there is a chase taking place…
We’re simply running, busying ourselves with our own interests and desires.

And that’s the thing…

We never realize that our lives, nay, our very souls
hang in a precarious balance…
of life and death…
That is…not until it’s all too late…
as we never saw it coming….

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand
against the devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:11

stand fast

“Boldness in the course of a noble fight is worth the risk…If you stand on truth, you’ll only regret your timidity later, but you’ll never regret being bold.”
― Charles R. Swindoll

“You never know how much you really believe anything until
its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”

― C.S. Lewis

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(Great blue heron, Santa Rosa, Beach, Fl / Julie Cook / 2016)

When it appears that the ground on which you stand is sinking…
When the waves of assault are relentless…
As the waters rise against your will…
When the winds shift and you find yourself standing alone…

Never back down,
never give in,
never give up…

Stand fast…
and stand firm in your faith…
For God will never desert you and will always be faithful…

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Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power.
Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand
against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. For this reason,
take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day,
and having done everything, to stand.
Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist,
by putting on the breastplate of righteousness…

Ephesians 6:10-14