Example of a True Saint of God

Sunday morning, Sister Elina Gonzales, from Cuba, walking with an aluminum crutch was escorted by her son, Carlos, to the pulpit. As she settled herself and prepared to speak, something in my heart responded to this fragile woman. My heart cried, Lord, this is my ‘mama’ (said with a Spanish accent). Never before had I wanted to be able to speak Spanish, I wanted to be able to sit at her feet and listen to her life’s stories.

Born in October, 1930, and saved to serve God at the age of 12 years, the preciousness of the fruit of the spirit like a fragrant garden wafted out to my soul. She has been a pastor since her 20’s and for many years the elected representative for the Churches of God in Cuba.  She worked with Sister Faith Stewart, missionary to Cuba and founder of the Children’s Home in Havana, Cuba.

To say she is an inspiration is an understatement. She is the perfect example of serenity and confidence in God’s power of grace. She could say as Paul,  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Philippians 4:12.  I feel very blessed to have been privileged to hear her speak.

 

Published in: on July 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm  Comments (2)  

as the Lord commanded

1Kings 17:9-16Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.  For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.  And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.

Did God tell this woman ” my prophet will come and ask for bread”?

Or did God ask this woman to be my servant and I will never leave thee?

I think that by her response to Elijah she didn’t know what would happen but she did know the God she served. As she did her morning prayers don’t you think her cry to God was  ” O God, you see my need, you know my situation, Lord I’m depending on you to supply, but if you don’t supply I’ll serve you regardless. ”  Just as the three Hebrew boys said our God will deliver us but if he doesn’t we will not bow.

Serving God doesn’t come with a detailed  plan and explanations of all that is going to happen in our lives.  So that we can be prepared and know everything will work out okay.  Serving God is a commitment each day to choose Him again and again.

Matthew 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is what God asks and there is no detailed explanation of what “all” entails.

Marriage doesn’t come with instructions either, it is just a commitment better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health, choosing each day to love again. We aren’t given any idea about how rich, how poor, how sick, how healthy, how much better, or how much worse.  This week (under the sickness and health column) I needed to help The Farmer with a procedure; I did not see it on  my list 43 years ago. But the love that started then, that has gone through many of life’s circumstances, that is renewed by choosing helped me. And it wasn’t so bad after all.

Published in: on May 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just a Little Oil, Please

Yes this is the presser foot that is attached to my Singer Featherweight sewing machine. You wouldn’t think that an item that small would be the object of frustration, well, it was. Ideally, you press on that shiny bar and the machine starts sewing. Not this one, it stalled, it caught, it hesitated, it started and then wouldn’t stop.  I could tell what was suppose to happen; on the bottom side there are little slots that the little prongs are to slide through to allow contact with something inside to make the machine sew. The little prongs were not sliding, but catching, or not going through at all. After three sessions trying to sew and becoming more frustrated (mechanical I am not)


I thought of asking Elmer to look at the presser foot, I was in the middle of a project with a nearing deadline. I hesitated because sometimes the cure is long and drawn out as only a perfectionist can make it, but the sewing was not going well at all  I took the foot to the workshop sea crate and showed Elmer the problem, saying he had about an half hour to fix it. I left, I heard a little grinding then silence. In about 10 minutes I had the foot back, “ I oiled it. I don’t think there is any extra oil to get on the floor.”

I finished making the meatloaf, put it in the oven and went back to my project.  That little foot stopped it grumbling and grouching, stopped its complaining and trying to rush ahead with out any direction. Just a little oil from one who knew what things  need to make them work smoothly.

I finished my project, I thanked my husband. I began to think sometimes I’m like that little presser foot without the blessing of the oil of the Spirit on my attitude. One my favorites from  “Streams in the Desert” February 1 devotion states:

“My child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild wit glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you have to tread. It is short, only five words, but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head,

This thing is from ME.

This day I place in your hand this pot of holy oil. Make use of it free, my child. Let every circumstance that arises, every word that pains you, every interruption that would make you impatient, every revelation of your weakness be anointed with it. The sting will go as you learn to see ME in all things.   Laura A Barter Snow”(1st and last paragraphs)

I know that every time I get out that little black sewing machine and put its presser foot on the floor two things will happen: one, I’ll again be thankful Elmer oiled the presser foot and  two, I’ll check, am I oiled with that holy oil of God’s strength and grace?

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2Corinthians  12:9

The Old Paths and An Old Sewing Machine

This afternoon I sat down for the first time with a 1930-35 Singer Featherweight Sewing machine, a Christmas present from my husband. It is a simple machine – beautiful to me for its simplicity. It sews forward and reverse with just a flip of a lever: down for forward and up for reverse. It came with assorted feet for different sewing techniques; I could identify a rufflier, a zipper foot , and narrow turn hemmer and some feet I’ve never seen before.
As I began to wind the bobbin and thread the machine; I thought of how many women, yea, men who have gone through these same motions, over this, through that , thread goes from right to left through the needle’s eye.
I wondered:
How many miles of thread have flowed through the needle’s eye
Of the hands guiding fabric under the presser foot
Of the items created wedding dresses, aprons, pillow cases, baby clothes, work shirts, school clothes, Sunday best and, of course, quilts
Of the piles and piles of mending
Of the seamstress….what were her thoughts joy, anticipation, grief, weariness?
Did she pray for the ones wearing the clothing?
Did she sing songs of joy?
Did she sew through her tears?

The phrase from the Bible “the old paths” came to mind and I found it in Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

The old paths        The good way

Many times I check Clarke’s Commentary with this verse I found this:
There is an excellent sermon on these words in the works of our first poet, Geoffrey Chaucer; it is among the Canterbury Tales, and is called Chaucer’s Tale. The text, I find, was read by him as it appears in my old MS. Bible: – Standith upon weies and seeth, and asketh of the olde pathes; What is the good weie? and goth in it, and gee schul fynden refreschimg to your soulis. The soul needs rest; it can only find this by walking in the good way. The good way is that which has been trodden by the saints from the beginning: it is the old way, the way of faith and holiness. Believe, Love, Obey; be holy, and be happy. This is the way; let us inquire for it, and walk in it. But these bad people said, We will not walk in it. Then they took another way, walked over the precipice, and fell into the bottomless pit; where, instead of rest, they find: – – a fiery deluge, fed With ever-burning sulfur, unconsumed.

I remembered family and friends who walked in the old paths, who walked in the good way and remembered being encouraged and blessed by their examples.

As I continued to sew my little project of binding Christmas placemats recycled from a table runner purchased from the thrift shop – I set myself to add to the miles of thread and cloth guided under the presser foot and to follow those gone before on the old paths.

Published in: on December 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm  Leave a Comment