Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
LITTLE BROWN LIGHT
THE PERFECT DAY
By the time you read this article in the Hinds County Gazette on Thursday, you will have already missed something really special. According to some folks, this past Sunday was officially the perfect day. All day, your calendar displayed the tenth day of the tenth month of the “twenty-tenth” year of our Lord. In the morning and in the evening of that day you could have correctly replied, “Yes, dear, it really is 10:10:10 on 10/10/10!”
I’m sure that somewhere, someone one believed that it was the perfect day. Maybe their first child was born that morning. Maybe their loved one came home safely from the military sandbox that afternoon. I heard that LOTS of folks requested to be married on that day simply because they thought it might help them get started on the perfect marriage. Whatever works to preserve homes and marriages, please proceed with it! If you are wondering about me, I would answer that it was a great day because I was able to attend both worship services at my church and spend time with some really beloved friends. However, let me hasten to declare that ten ten ten was not the perfect day.
Two thousand and ten years ago (give or take a few years), Mister Perfection Himself died on a cross in Jerusalem. His name was Jesus. From that cross, He declared, “It is finished!” When Jesus bowed his Head and yielded His Spirit to His Father, the perfect salvation had been accomplished. We call that Good Friday. I think I would call it Perfect Friday if they let me name the day. After “Silent Sabbath Saturday” there was one more perfect morning. Jesus came out of that grave in perfect power and conquered death forever. The eternal purpose of God to assure salvation was now fully accomplished. But there’s another day coming…
Where were you on 09/09/09? I was in an airplane flying home from Singapore to bury my baby sister. She left this Earth a lot sooner than we expected, but we didn’t “lose” her. We know exactly where she is and are not concerned about her at all. She is sitting at the feet of the Jesus she loved and served in this life. Right beside her is a spot that I know she surely is reserving for me. One day, not too very long from now, I will rise to meet her there and we will celebrate the truly perfect day. Folks, no matter what the calendar and the clock declare while we are down here, there is no perfect day or perfect hour until we meet Jesus face to face. God invites you to set your calendars and clocks to Perfect Standard Time.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I used to tell folks that I have two birthdays to celebrate every year: the day of my actual (thank you, mama, for my first) birth and the day of my spiritual (thank you, Jesus, for my born again) rebirth into the family of God. I’m not sure why it has just dawned on me that believers get to celebrate three birthdays! Now, answer me this: who wouldn’t want to have THREE birthdays?
All that said, I am coming to appreciate with great assurance that the day of my departure from this world launches (births!) me into my first day in Heaven. Now that thought is surely comfort and fuel for this journey. Truthfully, on that day, we will enter a place where time matters not at all. We will be in the very presence of the One Who exists outside of time. Clocks and calendars and days and hours and moments won’t matter at all as we drop our Timex and cross the dateline of eternity.
Meanwhile…it’s labor day. You and I have work to do. In John chapter nine, Jesus was about to heal the eyes of a man born blind. In that context, He said, “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Shortly after speaking those words, Jesus turned the lights on by healing the eyes of this man who had never seen a sunrise. The amazing message in that quote “…as long as I am in the world…” hits me right between the eyes of my heart. Jesus came and lived and died and was raised and is now seated at the right hand of His Father in Heaven. I think that means that you and I are presently the lights He has left for the dark world. Jesus left a light on for lost people and we are the bulbs. We are the candles. We are offering second and third birthday candles to the one birthday people. We get to share with them that they can expect TWO more birthdays to celebrate. My sister would be grinning right now. Her candles burned out down here, but they are shining brightly up there. I feel that smile. On my third-birthing-day, I will see it.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
This is the weekend each year that we can remember all that Jesus accomplished for us on the cross and from the tomb…I hope you spent some time this past week walking through the final week of His life…the last supper, the washing of feet, the song as they left the room headed out of Jerusalem, through the Kidron Valley and up the Mt. of Olives and into the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter, James and John went into the garden a little deeper with Jesus and fell asleep. The Passover Moon was probably shining above, giving light to the dark deeds yet to be accomplished. The prayers and blood and sweat and tears of Jesus as He prayed to His Father. The betrayal, the kiss, the soldiers and religious leaders, the bonds…the all night long illegal trials…the mockings and beatings…the thorns that pierced His brow…the nails that pierced His hands and feet…the painless sword that pierced His side…the pain that pierced His heart…the center cross…the thief that said no and the thief that reached Paradise…the gamblers at the foot of the cross…when we say no to Jesus, we gamble and lose. The two friends who came and took Him down from the cross and buried Him. The silence of the Friday evening Sabbath. The silence of Saturday (SAD-OLD-DAY) and Saturday night. The sunrise on the first day of the week after Sabbath…THE SON ROSE!
I take great joy in this news. We serve a risen Savior! Here is my article for the week…I believe the reading of it will declare my hope and trust in the
LITTLE BROWN LIGHT
SHADOW ON THE STONE
There are three times when you visit the cemetery that you won’t need a map or a guide to the location of the grave. The FIRST time is the day of the funeral and burial. The grave is easy to find. Just watch for the crowd of people and the little tent with the chairs underneath. Depending on how close you were to the one being mourned, you might be driven there in a black car and led to a reserved chair under the tent. The SECOND time is the day you return to read the words on the stone. The location of the grave is still freshly etched in your memory. On the first visit, you are numb from the loss. On the second visit, you are reminded of the finality of the loss.
Yesterday, Dad and Elsie and I went by Centuries Memorial in Shreveport, Louisiana, to read those words on the stone. The words were spelled correctly: Wera Gayle Daniel Loving Wife Mother and Granny. The dates were written correctly: Jan 12 1960 Sep 7, 2009. A beautiful gold cross separated the two dates instead of the usual “tombstone dash.” That gold cross gives witness that her birth and homegoing dates were bookends guarding a life lived with Jesus in the center. I remember both of those days and every day in between. She was my baby sister. Our greatest comfort was that we know WHERE she is and WHO is holding her now. Wera believed in Jesus. She is living with Him in the presence of God the Father, outside of time, alive eternally. One day, because of our faith in Wera’s Jesus, we will join her there.
I think it was when I was taking a photo of the words on the stone that I found my greatest moment of comfort. The bright sun was directly behind me and I fought to keep my own shadow off the stone as I snapped the picture. The words of David’s Shepherd Psalm 23 rolled into my soul: “…yea, though I walk through valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…”. Death is just that for believers…the valley of the shadow. Death has lost its sting. The grave has lost its victory. Jesus is alive. We (YOU!) can be alive forever by placing our (YOUR!) faith in Him and His resurrection from the dead. Three weeks from now we will remember the last week in the life of Jesus…washing of feet at the Last Supper, the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, the arrest, the denial, the scourging, the crucifixion, the death and the burial. Praise the Lord, we can also celebrate the raising of Jesus from the dead. As He walked out of that tomb, Jesus cast HIS shadow ON death and declared LIFE!
Oh, yeah. I almost forgot that THIRD visit to the cemetery. For believers, no guide will be needed on that day, either. Believers will be the only ones not in attendance at their own funerals. The bones in the box are just the shell. Just like my sister, believers will have a reservation to attend another celebration:
Jesus invited them to live in Heaven with Him and they said yes.
They can be heard to say, “WHADAYAH MEAN LOSS?”
Founder and Keeper
Little Brown Light Ministries
Richland, Mississippi 39218
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Blessed are those who have followed
biblical instruction by taking
their burdens to Christ
and leaving them there.
They shall be called
First Peter 5:6-7
Blessed are all those repentant thieves
who shall be eternally remembered
for their cross words.
They shall be called
FORBIDDIN’ STINKIN’ THINKIN’
Blessed are those who strive
to think decent thoughts.
They shall always have
(and be called)
PRESENTS OF MIND.
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
…if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…
Blessed are those who have signed on
for a lifetime service of apprenticeship
alongside the carpenter’s Son from Nazareth.
They shall be called
CROSS TRAINING WOULD WORKERS.
Blessed are those who seek
to make a goodness impression.
They shall be called
Blessed are those star pupils of Abraham
who make it their purpose to live
an “ALTAR-native” lifestyle.
They shall also be called
WORSHIPPERS OF GOD.
Genesis 12:7 Worship at the altar at Shechem
Genesis 12:8 Worship at the altar at Bethel
(followed by an unauthorized side trip to Egypt)
Genesis 13:4 Return and recommitment at the altar at Bethel
Genesis 13:18 Worship at the altar at Hebron
Genesis 22:2 Worship at the altar on Mt. Moriah
Blessed are those who
have realized that
a prayerless life
no strengths attached.
They shall be called
Blessed are those who have embraced
the joy of the laughter of Isaac and Abraham.
Unbound and reunited,
in complete abandon
they shall dance away
from the altar of sacrifice
and race down the mountain,
with their rejoicing Heavenly Father.
They shall be called
THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD
Blessed are the Roman Imperial Census Takers,
the no-room-in-the-inn keepers,
the obviously oblivious Bethlehem citizens,
the heavenly angelic choir members,
the stinky old shepherds,
the wandering star gazers,
the confused barn animals,
Joseph and his line of the tribe of Judah
standing faithfully beside
Mary and her Little Lamb,
Who, with the eyes of God,
was tenderly watching over them all.
From His eternal perspective,
peeking through the swaddling clothes,
they shall forever be called…
Matthew One and Two
Luke One and Two
those who have learned the
benefits of gaining…
They shall be called
Monday, September 21, 2009
Dear friends and prayer partners: It has been quite some time since I have written to you. Summer camp articles were sent to the newspaper but I rarely had time to get out a newsletter or even forward the articles to you. Came home from camp and began to prepare for a two week trip to Singapore to be with my friends, Rick and Lori Funderburk. Managed to get a few things done during that time but no prayer letters. Thanks to all of you who have written to say, “Where’s the little brown light?” I felt your prayers in those comments. Just didn’t know how much we would be needing them during these days.
Long story short (who in the world invented that phrase anyhow?) I left for Singapore on Sunday September 6th at 6AM from Jackson, Mississippi. Made it to Memphis for the first layover about 7:30AM. Called Elsie at Snow Lake for her birthday. Talked to my sister Wera from there to check on her and see how she was feeling. She had been sick for a couple of weeks with fever and bronchitis. Tested for flu, but all swabs were negative for that. She also had called Elsie to wish her a happy birthday. We always sing that little silly song on our birthdays. I sang it Elvis style since I happened to be in Memphis. Elsie would tell me later that Wera said happy birthday but did not sing it. Wera told me her fever was down and that she was feeling better and probably would not even need the thermometer.
Relieved, I flew on from Memphis to Minneapolis and had a long layover there. My last phone call was to talk to my sister. She told me that her fever had come back up after lunch and that they were at a clinic near their home in Shreveport. She was going to go to the emergency room and be checked in for fluids and IV antibiotics. I told her that I was about to board the plane for the point-of-no-return leg to Japan (12 hours)and then on to Singapore(8 more hours) and that if I needed to come home, just tell me. She said, “Shut-up girl and get on that plane. I am going in for some meds and fluids and I will be home long before you land in Singapore.” So, I got on the plane.
When I landed in Singapore, my heart friends Rick and Lori met me. We shared hugs while my wobbly legs were doing their jetlag thang. It was now Tuesday morning at 1AM in Singapore. I had lost a whole day enroute. Moments later, I heard them saying that we needed to call home and that Wera had taken a “turn for the worse.” Seconds later, I was on the phone with Elsie as she and Dad were driving to Shreveport. She was saying things like Wera was not going to make it unless the Lord did a miracle. That she might not even make it until they got to the hospital. Ironically, they were in Jackson, MS, which is three hours from Shreveport. Eight hours after I talked to her in Minneapolis, Wera was fine. Her husband, John, went home to feed the cats and get some sleep. He said she was sitting up in bed sending text messages from her cell phone. About midnight they called John to come back to the hospital. Her right lung had collapsed. She was in ICU on the ventilator. She had two spells of cardiac arrest. Basically, she was almost looking at Jesus. By 3:30AM, John was calling my Dad and Elsie to tell them that she would not make it. She lingered until 4:30PM Labor Day September 7th. The choir from her church SANG HER HOME!
The first plane reservation I could secure to return home was Wednesday 09-09-09. I had wondered what I would be doing on nine-nine-oh-nine. Flying right back to the states to celebrate my sister’s homegoing with my family and loved ones was certainly not on anyone’s itinerary…except the agenda of Wera’s Lord. Rick managed somehow to get me a first class ticket on the two long legs of the flight home. I am so glad and grateful for that blessing. I would have literally been sleeping on the floor of the plane had it not been for those good seats. God was going before all of us, preparing the way. I gained a whole day on the trip home.
I was able to get to Shreveport about lunchtime on Thursday. Our time of visitation was that evening and the celebration of her life (such an awesome worship service!!!) was Friday morning, September the 11th, 2009. Nine Eleven will always have deeper meaning for us. Her husband John is a veteran. He was able to bury her in the veteran section of the cemetery. The American flag flies right over her grave. She would be really pleased with that. The article below will tell most of the rest of the story. We still need your prayers. Our tears are still flowing at the strangest times. Her life was a shining witness to the glory of the Lord. Elsie and I got to hear Dad preach yesterday morning at First Baptist Church Holly Springs. He was led to preach on the glory of Jesus. God was all over that man. We have not missed one moment of feeling the strength and comfort and very presence of the Lord. Here is the article…
LITTLE BROWN LIGHT
BRIEF ILLNESS…ETERNAL LIFE
On Nine Eleven O Nine, we buried my sister. I am still trying to get my head around it, but my heart will not cooperate at all. She and I were planning special birthday celebrations for our folks next year…dad’s 80th and mom’s 70th. She surely must have suspected that I was scheming and planning a big one for her 50th. I always introduced her as my “older” sister just so I could see her roll those eyes and say, “Yeah, right.” She was born when I was five so I can’t REALLY remember my life without her in it. She was my other half. We talked every day, either by text message, email, facebook or phone. Ten days later, I keep waiting for some gadget to beep or buzz or ring or say, “You’ve got mail.” Silence is brass. She would call when I was travelling and say, “If you get sleepy, call me and I’ll talk you home.”
On the night before her celebration service, we had a time of visitation at Grawood Baptist Church in Shreveport. We stood in our numbness and listened with comfort and joy as person after person related to us exactly how tenderly she had touched their lives. Immediate family members, childhood friends, high school buddies, college roommates and current sojourners came in droves. Fifth graders who sat in her Sunday School class looked up at me and said, “We loved Miss Wera. You look just like her.” One of those students sang “Revelation Song” at her funeral and at her bedside in ICU. Senior adults filed by and said she was their ride to church. Others said, “She sat with my loved one in the hospital so I could go to work.” One young lady told Dad, “Wera shared Jesus with me and now I am saved.” Louisiana Baptist Disaster relief team members told us how she went to Hurricane Katrina feeding sites and served many, many plates to hurting folks. She chaperoned youth trips and went on mission trips. The choir members say her chair will be WAY too empty to suit them. She would have taken a bullet for her pastor and his wife. In good times and in bad, she stayed right there
and sang and prayed and worshiped and served faithfully.
My sister loved Jesus and lived for His glory.
She leaves a husband, a son in the Air Force in the Middle East, a step-daughter and two grandsons. I have been in full time ministry since the year 2000. My Dad and Elsie have served the Lord full time for over one hundred years combined. Our sweetest blessing was to see the eternal weight and value of the life of my sister. She stayed right there at her church, in her community and served her Lord in as many ways as she could. We figure she touched more lives than anyone could count. God counted every one of them. A committed life is invaluable to God. Her Grawood choir stood in ICU and sang her right up to Heaven. She did not respond, but they said her vital signs improved in time to their music. The day before she died, I flew to Singapore. She said she would be in and out of that hospital with fluids and home before I landed. She was. For the rest of my days, I will be SinginPoor without her…
Wera Gayle Brown Daniel
January 12, 1960-September 7, 2009
I had the privilege of being HER sister.
Wera, saddle me a horse to ride and pick us out a trail into the sun…rise!
Jesus, I know it’s a big order, but try and make her behave till I get there.