Carol Wilson Update

Stage 4 Cancer brought many challenges--and also a host of loving and praying friends. Almost-daily postings to this site are to help my friends walk with me through this journey, and to express my gratitude to them and especially to God...On 7/8/08 Carol passed through that final curtain of death and is now healed. We thank God for her life and "arrival"! Chuck

Friday, June 26, 2015

Great Faithfulness

My trip has been going extremely well with a nice amount of visiting coupled with many miles of driving.

It was a joy to visit Justin and Laura in their lovely new home in Tennessee and be the center of attraction for Ella and Sophia.  Sunday we celebrated their 7th anniversary going out to eat in the evening.  They selected a nice restaurant with a charming outside eating area which was fun for all of us until a heavy rainstorm sent us scurrying for cover.  Being that the interior tables at the restaurant were then filled, we opted to take the balance of our dinner in boxes back to the house.  The girls thought that it was an exciting event.


I was also able to tour Justin's new dental offices and learn much about the specialized equipment in the lab.  Dental work has certainly changed from the days when I was young and dreaded that slow revolving drill with what appeared to be a mile of small belt winding around the numerous pulleys.

I enjoyed a delightful drive through some interesting mountain roads in Tennessee as I continued on to the lake house in Indiana where I have been able to enjoy several days with Karin and Keith.  The area has had an abundance of rain this spring and I noticed that many farmers’ fields had large ponds of water that has drowned out the crop in those areas, which I am sure will be painful at harvest time providing a reduced return on the farmer’s investment in time and materials.

Yesterday I had to be in Michigan to handle some business matters, and Karin was able to hand over or delay some of her cases for the day so that she was able to join me for the trip.  What a difference it makes having someone to talk with as the miles go by!

We were able to enjoy conversation with friends there and being that we were not far from the cemetery as we left town, where many of my family members are buried, we decided to swing over that way.  As I visited my grandparents graves, I recalled the day as a young boy about 75 years ago when I was with them as they selected burial sites in the newly opened area.  Today few burial spots are unused there and many additional areas have been opened.  We also visited Carol's burial site where we laid her to rest nearly seven years ago.  Is I read the bronze marker with both of our names, it was a somber reminder that in the not too distant future I will be joining her there.

Having just read Lamentations Chapter 3 in the morning, I was reminded of  many challenges that we experienced with Carol's cancer, the uncertainty about the effectiveness of the treatments, but always the amazing faithfulness of God right up to the moment that He gently escorted her through that final curtain, leaving behind the pain and suffering of this life and at the same time providing each of us standing at her bedside, a solid hope for our future.  The songwriter expressed it in a beautiful way using the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:23 as he reflected upon the Lord in spite of his grief and tears; "Great is Thy Faithfulness!"  

I trust that each of you have been recognizing God's great love, compassion and faithfulness that Jeremiah remindeds us of in the midst of his "storm."

Love to you all,

Chuck

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Final Task

I finished my study of the Proverbs this weekend and was reminded again in that 31st chapter what a tremendous blessing God’s choice of a wife is, and how thankful I am for the nearly 49 years that Carol and I were able to enjoy together.  At this time seven years ago, we were struggling with Carol’s final weeks of battle with cancer.  With the help of friends, family and Hospice we were able to participate in Justin and Laura’s wedding on the 21st of June!  It was no small challenge for Carol to travel from North Carolina to Michigan and return, but it was a tremendous answer to prayer to accomplish one last task in the small bundle of wishes that Carol wanted to accomplish before completing her time on earth.

Justin has completed his tour of duty, serving as a dentist in The Air Force and is joining a dental practice in Tennessee after evaluating numerous opportunities.  The movers unloaded their goods about a week ago, and they tell me that they are feeling somewhat at home now but are not fully settled.  I sure know how that feels!  I need to be in the north next week, so plan to spend the weekend with them, celebrate their anniversary, continue to the lake house and continue on later in the week.  It will be some long days of driving, but I am excited to see them again and feel healthy enough to travel.  We last were together in Orlando some weeks ago.  It will be fun to hear about all the new things that the girls have learned since then.

I trust that you are enjoying the summer.  It has been delightful here, but I was surprised to hear from a friend in North Carolina that their temperature hit 105 today.  That is mighty high for that part of the country.  We have been running only in the lower 90’s in this area of Florida.

Do keep friends Jerry and Stuart in your prayers as they battle cancer.  Jerry had some negative news about his cancer last week and is in the process of evaluating a change in treatment.  They and the medical people need much wisdom from God on how best to proceed!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Finding Wisdom

This past week in the mornings, I started reading the Proverbs and continue to find advice that fits into what I am experiencing or discussing with someone frequently.  At the outset in Chapter 1 we are reminded that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge/wisdom.”  We so often think of fear of something bad.  In this case as we consider the context, I see fear to be a reverence for God with a desire to submit to His will.  Chapter 2 refers to numerous moral benefits that are obtained from wisdom, and Chapter 3 promises a number of rewards as we trust God and walk in His wisdom.  They include longevity and prosperity (vs. 1-2); special favor with God and man (vs. 3-4); guidance as we get to know God personally (vs. 5-6); vigorous health and refreshment for our bodies (vs. 7-8); prosperity according to God’s will (vs. 9-10) and a positive experience of learning/growing from God’s discipline (vs. 11-12).  I have found it to be an exciting exercise for me, as I think about each days reading throughout the day, to see how many examples in my life confirm those truths.  I have found it amazing how many of those experiences started out with various degrees of fear in my heart, ending up to be a great learning experience and ultimately a blessing! 

Max Lucado made a statement about fear that I feel fits so well; “The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith.  Fear visits everyone.  Even Christ was afraid (Mark 14:33).  But make your fear a visitor and not a resident.  Hasn’t fear taken enough?  Enough smiles? Chuckles?  Restful nights, exuberant days?  Meet your fears with faith.  Don’t be afraid; just believe.  Believe that God can; believe that he cares.”  Well said!

I am grateful that it appears that I am starting to turn a corner with balancing breathing meds and also a bit of relief from the excruciating shingles pain.  Thank you Lord, and thank each of you for praying!

Love,


Chuck

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Great Shepherd

Not sleeping too well these past days due to the discomfort from shingles, I have had plenty of time to read during the night and early hours of the morning.  Reading through the Psalms, I have enjoyed the Psalmist’s expressing numerous human emotions.  As things were going well, they expressed praise to God but there were also many examples of fearful experiences dealing with their enemies.  But ultimately in each situation, they displayed a grateful confidence in God’s power and goodness.  I always enjoy reading the 23rd Psalm and be reminded of the Lord being our shepherd. 

Having spent many summers on the farm with my grandparents, I had first-hand experience with sheep.  Sheep were not the smartest animals on his farm.  They could be quite affectionate but not what I considered very brilliant.  They really needed guidance…a shepherd!  A good comparison to we humans!  As a shepherd, our Lord guides his people, providing all that we need while helping us to enjoy a special peace and tranquility as we follow Him.  As we follow Him, we are assured of His protection even when walking through dark valleys.  Also, our Lord is our constant companion just like the shepherd which stays close to his flock.  That is an area that I personally need to be more mindful of.  It is far too easy for me to feel alone in some situations, trying to understand or resolve the situation myself while ignoring the Companion that is standing close by ready to guide and protect me.

As I move through these so-called golden years, when the body develops more frailties and the mind tends to become slower, it is a great encouragement to know that we are not alone but under the love and care of the Great Shepherd who has reminded us that this is not our final home! 

I trust that each of you is staying healthy, having an enjoyable weekend, and experiencing His love and care!

Love to you all,

Chuck  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Blessed!

It is interesting how frequently I find that the Scripture I am studying speaks directly to my current situation.  That was true this past week as I started the book of Job.  A very human man, but at the same time living an exemplary life of service.  When encountering unexplained misery while losing his fortune, family, fame and health, he continues to worship God while trying to determine the reason.  Job is confronted by his three friends trying their best to determine the root of his problem using human logic as they understood it.  Meanwhile Job remarkably holds fast to his integrity trusting God saying; “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”  (23:10)

On Tuesday I visited my dear friend Stuart, hospitalized, in great pain, physically beaten down with chemo and fighting a major infection seemingly resulting from surgery a few days ago.  As I sat there talking with him and his family members, I realized that before me in that hospital bed lay a “Job-like” man, searching for answers while at the same time praising God for His goodness in his life.  Every nurse, doctor and even the housekeeper were visibly impacted by his presence!  How easy it is for us as humans to want to ask why.  Could it often be just an opportunity prepared by God for us to glorify Him?  Job certainly accomplished that in those around him along with multitudes over the centuries that read about his experiences.  What a challenge to me!  Am I taking advantage of every opportunity open to me to glorify God?  It is so easy to be looking for that specific opportunity and failing to use the situation at hand, that may not be of my choosing and possibly extremely painful as in Job’s case, but likely the most powerful opportunity to be a positive testimony for the one who loves us so much that he gave his life that we can be assured of eternal life free from the pain and suffering we experience and see all around us here.  As I read on, Job finally was humbled, but not yet repentant (40:3-5) so God continued his questioning.  Finally Job recognizes his pride and rebellion, repenting and finding contentment in God’s fellowship. (42:1-6) While Job was struggling for answers, God never lost confidence in him.  Four times He refers to Job as “my servant.” (42:7-8) What a testimony of God’s love and patience with His people!

Join me in praying for Stuart and also my good friend Jerry.  Both Job-like friends are experiencing all of the nasty effects of battling cancer while at the same time impacting unknown numbers of medical people, friends and family members for the Glory of God.  Might I do as well in using each opportunity, no matter how painful or difficult, to glorify God!

I was blessed with a wonderful trip and special time with friend Keith who joined me on my trip to visit Stuart.  Knowing the problem that I was having with breathing meds and nasty pain resulting from a bout with the shingles, he didn’t want me to drive the 2 ½ hours alone.  Friends like each of you are a tremendous blessing!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Friday, May 15, 2015

God continues to work

Having just completed the reading of the Book of Esther, it was a good reminder for me to see how through the numerous successes and setbacks that were experienced, God was always at work in the background.  That is something that I fear is so easy to forget.  It certainly is for me.  When major disappointments come along it is easy to get discouraged and at times even ready to give up, while I have found time and again, that if I am truly obedient to God’s word and allowing His Spirit to guide, ultimately He will be glorified and I will accomplish just what he desires.  Possibly it may be by a slightly different route or even looking quite different than I anticipated, but in the end being a joy to see take place.  I feel that far too often it is too easy to forget that we are possibly placed in a particular position “for such a time as this,” as was the case with Esther.  I suspect most around her at that time would have expected Esther to lose her life by not following protocol, but before she proceeded, her heart was prepared through prayer and godly counsel, resulting in thousands of her Jewish friends being saved from death.  God works through individuals and nothing is impossible for Him!

I am still working on the right balance of meds to allow for comfortable breathing without nasty side effects.  I have experimented with several possibilities and decided it was time to consult my pulmonologist to see what he would suggest.  After setting up the appointment, I started having some pain in my lower back.  Having just had some pre-cancer spots frozen in that area, I thought that was the problem, but the pain got worse and suddenly a rash appeared.  You guessed it…shingles!  So now I am balancing a new med pattern for breathing, and taking antivirals to arrest the shingles.  I am thankful for good doctors and access to effective meds!

Tomorrow I am scheduled to fly to Raleigh/Durham to visit friend Keith.  Fortunately I am not attempting a 12-hour drive with a back that does not like the pressure of a seat on it for long periods of time.  I am looking forward to a few days with him to catch up with each other and visit other friends in the area.

I trust that your week is going well!


Chuck

Monday, May 11, 2015

When I think...

I trust that you each had a blessed weekend and that all of you mothers were honored.  I had a very special email from friend Mark wishing me a happy Mother’s Day knowing my thoughts about Carol and the blessing that she was to both me and our children.  He like so many of you, has been a wonderful blessing to me!

I awoke that morning with the words of “To Be Used of God” ringing in my head. As I was reading that morning, the words of the song kept going through my head so I went to You Tube and listened to a wonderful musical group sing it:

“To be used of God, to sing, to speak, to pray;
To be used of God to show someone the way,
I long so much to feel the touch
Of his consuming fire;
To be used of God is my desire.”

The last verse really resonated with me; “When I think of the shortness of my earthly years, I remember all the wasted days, and wasted tears…”   It was a strong reminder of God’s grace, mercy and love even when I was not that obedient or loveable, but it also was a needed challenge to keep focused on making “the main thing the main thing” as I finish the course laid out for me.

It was a tremendous blessing to be at Gavin’s graduation from college and to see him off to Alaska for the summer where he will be working on a salmon fishing boat.  With no cell phone or internet access, we last heard from him when he landed in Kodiak.  It will be a challenging experience for him, but I believe that he is up to the challenge and will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience in preparation for starting medical school in the fall.

Have a blessed week!


Chuck

Friday, May 01, 2015

Mastering Life

I find it quite amazing how certain Scripture passages “pop” into my mind that may not seem to apply to my life at the moment, and then I have a huge ah-ha moment seeing how it does most definitely apply.  Recently we had author and speaker, Robert Morgan, at the village and were tremendously blessed by his messages.  A statement that he made that I have found to be so true was; “To master life we must know the Master Himself and gain mastery of His Word.”  A passage that has frequently come to mind regarding my responsibility, is from second Chronicles following the Solomon’s dedication of the temple:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin…” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

While this was actually directed to the nation at that time, I feel that it directly applies to individuals that are believers in Christ.  If MY PEOPLE…!  Granted, it does not apply to everyone but may even benefit non-believers.  The more I read and meditate upon God’s Word, it is clear that humility is a quality that God values highly.  Sharing every hurt and desire with God (prayer) is extremely important.  God is not only in control of things around us, but he also will adjust out thinking and beliefs to align with Him as we pray and seek his face.  Obviously sin is a huge stumbling block for each of us, even if we have difficulty seeing it or believing that we too are participating in wrong motives and/or actions which are in opposition to His will.  I have begun a study for myself reviewing each portion of that Scripture dealing with the four points…Humility/pride, prayer, study of His word and evaluating my life, asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate areas of unrecognized sin that I am harboring.

Presently I am back in Indiana where I will be attending Gavin’s graduation from Bethel College on Saturday.  On Sunday, he will be flying to Alaska with two college buddies to spend the summer working on a salmon fishing boat for the summer to earn some extra dollars to apply to his upcoming medical school expenses.  He is excited about the opportunity while being aware of the long hours and hard work.  He is also looking forward to the challenge of living without access to the internet and some of the “crutches” that are available to him currently.  I am thankful to be able to be here for his send-off.

Have a blessed weekend!


Chuck

Monday, April 20, 2015

Finishing Well

As I continued reading 2 Kings this morning, I was thankful for the positive examples of Hezekiah, one of the few kings that “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” according to 18:2.  Around 700 years earlier God sent venomous snakes while His people were in the wilderness, but had instructed Moses to fashion a bronze snake placing it upon a pole to protect His people from death if bitten.  They were protected from the venom by simply looking at the bronze replica (Numbers 21:8).  Over the years that life-saver became an idol that the Israelites were worshiping, rather than worshipping their God who provided the protection.  (2 Kings 18:4)  As Hezekiah proceeded to break up and tear down all worship centers other than those to the True God, he also smashed the snake, one of their idols.  As he proceeded to remove other idols, we read that “there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.  He held fast to the LORD and did not stop following him…And the LORD was with him; he was successful.”  As he was nearing death, he cried out to the Lord for additional years, and the Lord graciously gave him 15 more.  (20:6)   As we continue to read about his life, it appears that a measure of pride may have crept in as I read about the Babylon group that he took on “tour” to see all he had amassed in his storehouses.  (20:12-13)  When Isaiah reported that the Lord would eventually remove everything, (20:16) it appears that Hezekiah did not repent but thought with his limited years, he would not be dealing with it in his lifetime.  Not finishing as well as he could and should have!

I find Hezekiah’s life both a good reminder for me to watch what I may be making into an idol, and to keep my primary focus on the one who literally gave His life for me, Jesus Christ.  Evaluating the use of my remaining days, that they might be in obedience to his Word and the leading of His Holy Spirit.  That may sound easy, but it is a constant challenge for me to avoid the many pitfalls of not finishing well.

I am still working on balancing my medications to avoid nasty side effects, but definitely making good progress.  Thanks for your continued prayers and concern.

Love to all,


Chuck 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thankful!

Those of you who continually check these blogs, have likely noticed that they have become fewer and farther between.  It has not been due to excessive busyness but rather a problem with medication that has caused some rather major challenges for me.  I have been taking a new medication for around nine months which did greatly improved my breathing, but the side effects became rather serious.  If it had not been for my friend Mark, I likely would be still rapidly continuing to go downhill!  I never can thank him enough for his directness and honesty in confronting me when he identified unusual inconsistency in my communications with him.  I initially intended to slowly cut back on the medication for fear of causing major breathing problems, but was then advised to drop it totally due to past history with others taking the drugs.  I am still trying to balance out some other plan to keep breathing as easily as possible.  It has been well said; “When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters!”  Do pray that the appropriate medication plan can be found shortly.

Presently I am in Indiana helping daughter Karin and husband Keith prepare their house for sale.  Now that the children are all in college and no longer needing the local school, they plan to move to the lake where they have been spending most of their summers and then will no longer have two yards to maintain along with all of the other duplicate tasks.  The weather is not quite what it is in Florida but I have enjoyed seeing new life springing forth in the trees and flowers.  Something that is not as dramatic when living in the south.

I am reminded of these words from the Apostle Paul; “Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

Have a blessed week!


Chuck

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Delightful Easter Weekend

What a delightful Easter weekend with beautiful weather and challenging programs!  Good Friday morning I drove one of our residents to Orlando to catch a plane and took three other friends that wanted to ride along for the fun.  I was quite surprised that they wanted to go because I had to leave the village at 3:45 a.m.  It was great to have the company and we stopped for breakfast on the trip home.  In the evening I attended the communion service at our church and was blessed.  It seems most appropriate to celebrate communion on Good Friday!

Saturday morning we had an Easter breakfast in the village with an abundance of delicious food and a meaningful devotional focusing mainly on 1 Peter which someone has called “A Survival Manual for Suffering Saints.”  I filled in for one of our workers helping prepare and serve the noon meal at the lodge.  The worker was out of town to attend a funeral.  In the afternoon I removed some landscape plantings at the front of my house and replaced them with new plantings that I hope will turn out to be lower maintenance and attractive for many years. 

Easter Sunday started at 7:00 a.m. with a sunrise service put on by our church in the state park.  It was a delightful experience singing and listening to a devotional as we watched the sun rise from behind a large oak tree draped with Spanish moss.  From the park I went to church for breakfast which was followed by the Easter service and finally to my Bible class.  I had to hurry back to the village to once again give a hand with lunch at the lodge.  One thing for certain is that you can keep just a busy as you wish here.

I trust that you each had a blessed Easter weekend.

Love to all,


Chuck

Friday, March 27, 2015

Blessed

I have been blessed by two different visitors since returning late Tuesday.  Both came some distance to spend time with me.  Friend Mark came here from out of state to interview for a potential job and drove an extra 2+ hours out of his way to spend a special block of time with me yesterday.  We had a delightful time together and I so much appreciate his encouragement and challenge.  Close friends are so very important in our lives, even at this stage!  It was very special having Mark here to bounce many thoughts and Ideas around and have God use him to reevaluate some specific areas of my life…Iron sharpening iron in motion!

Yesterday I read about David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17) and once again was amazed at the power of a young man standing against the giant Goliath, who was around 9’ tall.  David must have had his hands full commuting back and forth between his brothers who were in Saul’s army and tending his father’s sheep.  That must have been quite amazing seeing David confront huge Goliath with only a sling and a bag of pebbles.  Only with God’s guidance did that pebble hit its mark and bring the giant down.  It was interesting to me how his brothers became angry with him for stepping forward rather than exercising love and concern for their younger brother.  I especially like the faith and testimony of David as he warned the Philistine; “…I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have denied.”  (17:45)  To me, that was another reminder that anything is possible with God when in accordance with His will. 

I trust that your week went well and that the upcoming weekend will be a tremendous blessing as we celebrate Palm Sunday and reflect upon all that was accomplished by Jesus on the cross for us!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Obedience and Trust

The book of Judges certainly is an interesting study of leaders and the pitfalls that they succumb to.  Of around a dozen judges mentioned in the book, Deborah and Gideon appear as two of the best.  Looking at their preparation and gifting, I believe that most would not have predicted that they would be at the top of the list.  Deborah was a prophetess and a songwriter.  Gideon, a timid man with unimpressive credentials started out cowering in a winepress to avoid being seen by the Midianites.  Ultimately Gideon and his army that was reduced to around 300 men won the battle with the Midianite army that was 135,000 strong.  An unbelievable task considering the odds, that was only accomplished by his obedience and faith in God.  An amazing account of God bringing victory out of what humanly speaking appeared to be certain defeat!  

On the other hand there is the history of Samson, a man with unbelievable physical strength, dedicated to God from his birth ending up on the trash heap so to speak, a failure and dishonored.  Turning what was great potential into a great moral collapse.  It is certainly a vivid reminder that it is not the gifting, ability or strength that brings about success.  That results from obedience and trust in the Lord.

Later in the week I will be driving up to our Charlotte office.  I will spend some time with grandson Justin in South Carolina, and with friends in the Concord area while there.  It will be a bit of a quick trip this time but good to be able to catch up with a few people along the way.  Your prayers are always a tremendous blessing!

Have a wonderful week!

Chuck

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fun Time






The trip to Hilton Head with the family was a special event, but unfortunately Keith had to make two trips for interviews to both Boston and Florida.  On his return from Boston, his flight ended in Charlotte due to fog on the coast and he had to rent a car to return that night.  We had a bit of rain and cold weather but plenty of games to keep us occupied when it was not ideal beach weather.  We all especially enjoyed biking on the beach and the two youngest, Ella and Sophia rode along in their trailer.  It brought back fond memories of my pulling grandson Gavin in a trailer and his continual reminder to me “stay on the road Bop” when one wheel would “accidently” slip off the edge of the pavement.

Today I was reading about Samson in Judges 14.  It is a tragic reminder of the danger in not obeying the Lord.  Samson had amazing potential to serve his Lord but spent most of his life fulfilling his own passions and desires.  It seems almost unbelievable that he would do such a thing after his upbringing and his experiences of having “The Spirit of the Lord come powerfully upon him” on several occasions.  What a tragic ending to finish his life blinded and bound.  Certainly a good reminder at all ages to finish well and to encourage those around us to do likewise. 

Let's be certain not to take God's blessings for granted!


Chuck

Friday, February 27, 2015

Everlasting Love


This is one of the photos that I took of a sunrise while in the Bahamas.  Every morning it was a great reminder of an exciting new day filled with God’s blessings because of his everlasting love (hesed) that is recited so many times throughout the Scriptures, as by faith we are obedient to Him.

As I am coming close to the end of the book of Deuteronomy I have enjoyed many wonderful insights from it.  Moses certainly was human and suffered consequences from his disobedience by not being able to enter the Promised Land.  However he did not brood or become angry, but accepted God’s action without argument, continuing to carry out God’s plan allowing Him to working through his life.  What an example!

Deuteronomy 30:11-20 is a good reminder of three things that God looks for in each of our lives today.  He gives us the option to obey or not, which in turn results in life and prosperity or death and destruction. (vs. 15)  Those three listed are to; “love the Lord your God,” “walk in obedience to him,” and “keep his commands, decrees and laws.” (vs. 16)  I am certainly glad to be living in New Testament times after Jesus came into the world to give his life for us then placing his Holy Spirit into our hearts to give us guidance and direction moment by moment, if we stay in tune with Him.

Tomorrow I will be joining part of my family at Hilton Head for a week.  They have invited the whole family but I know that job responsibilities will prevent some from joining us.  I am thankful for my loving family and the health and strength to continue to spend time with them despite the many miles between us.

Have a blessed week end,


Chuck

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Delightful Visit


Restaurant on the beach
Lisa and I had a delightful time with Paul and Ruth while visiting them on the Island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.  The weather was a bit windier than usual but was no problem for us.  In fact we got some beautiful views from their home at the top of a hill overlooking the ocean.  There are many outcroppings of coral rock along the beach a short distance away, and the breakers would spray far into the air as they thundered in, leaving vast amounts of foaming sea that looked like a huge quantity of soap suds.  On the Caribbean side, the sea is usually quite calm and a great place to enjoy the spacious sand beaches and gorgeous blue water.

Continuing to read through the Scriptures each morning, today I read Deuteronomy chapter 5 which includes the Ten Commandments.  After presenting the Commandments to the Israelites, Moses told the people that the Lord had heard them as they spoke to him and said; “I have heard what this people said to you.  Everything they said was good.  Oh that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all of my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”  (Deut. 5:28-29)  I like the reminder from Moses at the end of the chapter; “So be careful…Walk in obedience…so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days…”  (Vs. 32-33)  So let us not only speak the truth, but internalize it and allow it to change our hearts and lives.  A good reminder throughout each day!

Love to all,

Chuck

Monday, February 09, 2015

Coincindences

I am always amazed at the “coincidences” that God brings into my life!  Some years ago I read The Red Sea Rules written by Robert Morgan and was most blessed and helped at a time during some crucial decisions.  In December Erwin Lutzer (Moody) “happened” to send me a suggested Bible reading plan for 2015 covering each book of the Bible.  The readings are more by topic and do not include chapters not pertaining to the topic.  Following that plan the past couple of weeks, I have been reading Exodus 1-14 which just “happened” to be about the plagues and the Egyptians pursuing the Israelites into the Red Sea.  Last week we just “happened” to have author Robert Morgan in our village for a Bible Conference.  It was the first time I had seen him and I was challenged by his seven sessions and enjoyed a bit of one on one time with him.  I have attended conferences with authors before, and occasionally find it a disappointment.  NOT Rob Morgan!

As I read Exodus 14 this morning about the Red Sea adventure, I could see that many ways that I have been impacted by that little book and those 10 Red Sea Rules.  The main ones that strongly spoke to me were Rule #1 “Realize that God means for you to be where you are.”  Rule #4 “Pray.”  Rule #8 “Trust God…”  Rule #10 “Don’t forget to praise Him.”  If you want to know more, let me know or better yet, pick up a copy for yourself.

Wednesday I will be flying to the Bahamian Island of Eleuthera with Lisa to spend a few days with Carol’s sister Ruth, and her husband, Paul.  I am taking my copy of the book to read again on the plane and will have plenty of time there to reflect upon God’s blessings in my life, and praising Him.  Something that I too often forget when confronted with “the cares of the day.”

Have a Blessed week!


Chuck

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Never too late

We all know about best laid plans.  Well, I certainly experienced major upsets in my well planned schedule during my trip.  The first upset was a call the day before I was to leave from the daughter of the folks I was scheduled to stay with, reporting that the wife had been taken to the hospital ER and they were still unaware what the problem was.  The husband has some sort of dementia so cannot safely stay alone.  I quickly called to see if there was room available in the guesthouse and was pleased to find a vacancy.  The retirement party was great.  I had the opportunity to catch up with several that I would not have seen and enjoyed numerous lengthy conversations.  My days at the office stretched out much longer than planned so I was not able to head for Raleigh/Durham until late in the day.  Friend Keith experienced too much “on his plate” that day and his plans to prepare dinner did not work out, so he took me out to eat.  After talking late into the night, we were too tired Sunday to go to the planned earlier church service but made it to the last one.  I encountered some nasty cold, windy and rainy weather coming home with a chest congestion that is now improving with the help of antibiotics.  Even with the cold front that has come into Florida, I am glad to be back in my own bed, seeing sunshine.

During my morning reading I am getting well into the book of Exodus.  I always enjoy reading about Moses and how God ultimately used him.  At 40 years old, he looked like the man that had a chance to bring relief to his people.  He had position, training, natural ability and the desire, BUT one foolish act (killing a man) forfeited those advantages and he was dejected and just plain miserable.  Then he encountered God in a most unusual way when he was now around 80.  Seeing a bush on fire which did not become consumed by the fire, got his attention.  God speaks to him saying that He wants to use him but Moses gives excuses why someone else should be selected.  He knew what Pharaoh was like, was now an old man and even had a speech impediment.  God gave his rebuttal and assured him “I will be with you” sharing with him some of the means the He would use to convince Pharaoh.  The end of chapter 4 says; “Moses and Aaron brought together all of the elders of the Israelites, and told them everything the Lord had said to Moses.  He also performed the signs before the people, and THEY BELIEVED.” (4: 29-31)

The story of Moses is a great encouragement to me.  Whatever our background or past may have contained, regardless of age, God still has a plan for us to be serving for His glory.  I look forward to traveling with Moses through Exodus again and seeing God use another unlikely individual for His glory.  That challenges me not to get discouraged or give up regardless of difficulties, health issues, age or any circumstances as long as he gives me breath.

I trust that your week is going well and that each of us will live above the circumstances.

Love to all,


Chuck

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Abundant Blessings

I trust that each of you is enjoying this new week.  It has been a special time for me.  We currently are being blessed and challenged by our Prophecy Conference at church with speaker Jimmy DeYoung.  Living in Jerusalem for over twenty years has given him a lot of insight into the prophetic scriptures’.  Yesterday I enjoyed having dear long-time friends from Michigan arrive to spend a bit of time with me.  As seems to be a frequent happening these days, they were delayed in their flight, but arrived in time to share dinner together and enjoy some wonderful fellowship prior our rather late bed time.

On Wednesday, I will be leaving to spend a bit of time time at our SIM office, celebrating a retirement of friends, a birthday, and visiting others in Charlotte, Concord, Durham and Wake Forest.  Several are experiencing some rather difficult health issues which reminds me to thank the Lord for the strength and health that He provides daily.  There is no doubt that I cannot keep up quite the pace that I once did, but am thankful that after eight decades, I am still able to be up and about.

At the beginning of the year I started a reading program through the Bible and have been studying the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis recently.  What an amazing life and example of God using a rather obscure young man who by faith trusted Him as he experienced amazing challenges in his life moving from the depths of the royal prison to become second in command of an entire nation.  Several statements stuck in my mind as he focused on God’s will rather than his fleshly desires.  When confronted by Potiphar’s wife, he responded; “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”  He would not allow her to tempt him and he not only rebuffed her advances but “…refused to even be with her.” (39:9-10) As a result we read that; “…the Lord was with Joseph and gave his success in whatever he did.”  (39:23)  Thinking about the prior and the following events in his life, I wondered how many times I have missed the Lords best blessing and guidance because I did not, by faith, believe and follow him as His Holy Spirit prompted me.  At this age it is both a joy and a disappointment to review my “obedience” over a life-time and at the same time be so very grateful for the grace and mercy the He continually extends to me and his own people!

I trust that each of us will have sensitivity and exercise complete obedience to the Lord’s guidance as Joseph did, enjoying success in everything that we set our mind to.  Have a blessed week!

Love,


Chuck

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Faith, Hope and Love

This morning during a sound sleep at 3:00 am I heard my phone ringing.  I answered it and heard; “Hi Chuck, it’s so good to hear your voice.”  Then I awoke!  Immediately I recognized it to be the voice of a dear friend that is dealing with more challenges than I can imagine.  I was able to be together briefly with this young man who lives several states away, a few weeks ago.  He had five major issues before him!  When my brain finally was functioning at that early hour, I earnestly prayed for him recalling his email yesterday, but not knowing what was going on with him at the moment, then drifted back to sleep.  This morning I awoke to find two emails from him.  Never have I been so thrilled to hear from someone!

As I was drifting into reality later this morning the word faith sprung into my mind, and after I finished reading the two emails, I turned on the coffee and opened to Hebrews chapter 11.  I quickly read through chapters 11-13 then returned to more carefully attempt to hear what God wanted me say to me through them and to understand what He sees going on in my actions and emotions.  Yes, tears of regret as well as thankfulness fell freely as I realized the power of faith, hope and love expressed there.  Previously in 10:32 we read; “Think back on those early days…”  And I did, recalling many challenges similar to this young man that I faced, and how I handled them.  I recalled numerous ones that were poorly handled, when I “hit the bottom” but now see how God, through His Holy Spirit and some of his faithful encouragers, brought me through.  My greatest desire is to be obedient to Him and be available and usable by him in the lives of those around me!

The benediction in Hebrews 13:20-21 is my desire for you as well as myself today!  May God give you a blessed weekend.

Love to all,


Chuck

Friday, January 02, 2015

Fantastic Christmas

I trust that each of you had a wonderful Christmas.  Your prayers were answered as all went well on my trip.  The flights were full but comfortable and everyone stayed healthy so there was no sharing of any “bugs”.  Several asked about how we managed with 20 staying at the house.  It went remarkably well but we did bring the pop-up camper into the heated garage providing beds for five of the group.  The smaller children were thrilled to sleep in “beds” made up on the floor of their parent’s rooms, and Karin and Keith’s dog Haley was eager to be invited to snuggle up with some of the kids.  One night the bedroom doors all were left closed so she awoke me at 3:00 AM not pleased to be sleeping alone. 

We had a fun time with gifts for the kids.  I was “Boppi Clause” with a pillow stuffed in my shirt with my elf helper Joshua assisting in the distribution of the gifts.  The weather there has been unusual.  In October when the cold front came through, the lake had several inches of Ice on it.  Christmas day it was around 50 with no ice on the lake.  The morning of my departure the thermometer registered 14 and as I took off from the airport in the evening, snow was falling and a sharp wind was blowing.  I’ll admit that I was happy to land back in Florida to mild evening temperatures.  The two-hour drive back home was without heavy traffic and I was in bed shortly after 11 PM.  Thanks so much for praying.  I was a bit concerned if it was wise for me to travel into the cold that time of year.  It is so easy for me to get pneumonia when exposed to the cold.  Thank you Lord for a wonderful time with the family!

A blessed and Happy New Year to all of you!

Love,

Chuck

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Blessings

We had a different message Sunday as our pastor presented his acrostic for CHRISTMAS.  I thought it provided a good focus for the Sunday preceding Christmas.  He described God as; Creator (Col. 1:18-20), Hope (Rom. 15:13; Phil 1:6), Returning (1 Cor. 15), Infinite (Ps. 147:1,6), Savior (Lk. 2:8-11) and Trustworthy (Jn. 3:16, 3:5).  He pointed out Christ is the most important part of Christmas and for the MAS he reminded us that Material gifts Always Spoil.  A tremendous contrast to Christ!  Obviously expanded upon each point.

I will be flying to Indiana on Christmas day to celebrate with the entire family (20 of us) at the lake house.  I had not planned to make the trip due to my respiratory problem when exposed to cold weather, but have been encouraged by the family and my pulmonologist who is sending extra meds which he assures me will take me through the four days that I will be staying there.  With all of the gatherings here in the village and with parties with church friends, my schedule has been full since before Thanksgiving.  So full in fact, that I have not found time to get Christmas greetings out.  That task will have to wait until after I return.

It is most interesting living on the lake here.  The staff has installed colored lights around the lake which add to the beauty of the fountain with its changing colored lights.  The alligator and turtles have been sunning themselves quite often and today I saw a first!  We have a pair of what folks call Egyptian Geese that are beautiful.  Suddenly there was only one around and I was fearful that our alligator caught one.  Then we noticed the mother high up in an osprey nest.  Today she appeared with six little goslings in tow.  We are hoping that they do not fall prey to the alligator or the huge turtles that are in the lake.

Have a blessed Christmas remembering that “This is how God showed His love among us:  He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him,”

Love to all,


Chuck 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ecclesiastes 12 Days

These past weeks have been a whirlwind of activities for me with all of the opportunities for fellowship and holiday parties.  Friday evening I hosted 15 people at my house to welcome a friend moving into the village to a home across the street from me.  It was a bit crowded serving that many here, but it was doable and everyone seemed to have a good time from the hugs and generous responses I received as the party broke up over four hours later.  On Sunday I had a couple over for lunch after church to help use up some of the leftovers.  In the evening I attended a Christmas musical program and entertained several friends for dessert afterwards.

I completed the book of Ecclesiastes this past week and have enjoyed reflecting upon many of the thoughts that have stuck in my mind.  I can certainly relate to the final chapter (12) when he moves his focus from youth to when we “grow old.”  The verses that start “Remember when…” used to be a laughing matter but now have become more a reality.  I don’t think we can be reminded enough to; “remember our Creator now, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken”

Thinking of those difficult years, do join me in praying for Mary in Charlotte recovering from hip surgery and confronted with her transplant kidney from years back not functioning properly and possibly going into rejection mode.  For Ron here, who having had seven stints previously along with open-heart surgery is hospitalized with heart problems, and Stuart in Charlotte having additional “upsets” from the chemo program that he is on.  Also do pray for Rachel in Charlotte that is going through many tests to attempt to determine what the nasty physical problems are that she is experiencing.  So many friends are facing mighty difficult times, along with their families.  Some of us are experiencing those Ecclesiastes 12 days.  Thanks for praying!

I will be flying to Indiana to spend a few days at Christmas with my family.  All of my family members are planning to get together at the lake house, so my daughter say; “Dad you have to come!”  My doctor has armed me with extra medication which hopefully will keep me breathing in spite of the cold that is not kind to my lungs.  Hopefully the weather may break a bit then to make it easier.

Love to you all,


Chuck

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Everything from Him

I trust that each of you enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I had a delightful time with friends in North Carolina but I did indulge in too much good food.  Being an Italian family, they do not let you go hungry…and I just could not avoid sampling every item in every course.  Okay, I admit that I more that sampled some items.  My challenge now is to drop those extra pounds that accumulated.  By extending my planned stay a day at each end, I avoided much frustration with heavy traffic and accidents along the way that extend travel time.

I continue to enjoy working my way through the book of Ecclesiastes.  Thinking back over the chapters, I recall numerous pursuits that are noted as worthless or chasing the wind:  Pursuing wisdom, our work, possessions, status, companionship, fame, money, a long life, food, and just plain desires.  Quickly reading those chapters could be quite depressing if we miss the main point.  The author reminds us that; “…these pleasures are from the hand of God.  For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him?  God gives wisdom, knowledge and joy to those who please him.”  (3:24-26)  I found myself thinking back over my life and recognizing times when I tried it alone and the results turned out to be less than perfect, while on the other hand when following his lead produced success, often way beyond my fondest expectations.  I need to keep that front and center in my future pursuits!  Both by allowing him to lead and also giving him thanks for what he produces in and through me!

Have a blessed day and week!


Chuck

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Meaningless?

A few days ago I started reading Ecclesiastes and have been challenged by the messages that the Holy Spirit directed to be assembled.  It appears that many of the thoughts run parallel with Solomon’s in Proverbs, but I am aware that there is some debate about who really penned the book.  My feeling is; who cares!  I know that God generated it, and I am not that concerned about who actually drafted it.

I needed the reminder that everything can be meaningless.  How often I find as I reflect upon my day that it seems to have been meaningless.  I didn’t accomplish what I planned or things come up that have to be handled that were major challenges and possibly detracted me from what I had scheduled.  Later I look back and see them part of an over-all plan that I was not even aware of at the time.  As we are reminded, our plans may turn into a day of only “chasing the wind”.  (1:17) Reading on we are reminded; “For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him?”  (2:25)  Then we are clearly told; “God gives wisdom, knowledge and joy to those who please him”.  (2:26)  As I read the chapters, I am reminded that I not only need to be more intentional in what I say and do, but I also need to be praising the God that through his Holy Spirit within me is working out HIS plan for HIS glory as I yield every aspect of my life to him!  Now, if I can just remember that in every situation!

Yesterday I attended a delightful memorial service for a dear lady that was over 100 years old.  At her birthday celebration some time back, even though her body was pretty well “spent,” her mind was sharp and she was looking forward to her future with an infectious joy.  What a blessing it is to know so many dear ones that faithfully travel life’s journey, finishing well!  That is a continual prayer for myself.

Seeing that my family will not be together for Thanksgiving, I plan to drive to North Carolina to spend the holiday with a dear family whom I have not been able to see for some time.  I am looking forward to the delightful food that they always prepare and a special time of catching up with each other.  I trust that ‘you all’ (I have adapted to the south) will have a blessed Thanksgiving also.  Let’s not forget to be praying for each other as we are together with family and friends…and for journey mercies for those travelling.

Love to you all,


Chuck

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Delightful Trip

I had a wonderful weekend with Lisa in DC.  We were able to cover far more than I could have anticipated.  Lisa worked out a fantastic schedule so that we did not have to rush but managed to keep a full and extremely interesting schedule.  The Washington Monument has been closed for some time after being damaged by their earthquake so I was interested in again going to the top and seeing what repairs were done.  Tickets for the day were gone by 9:00 AM but we were able to schedule a tour early afternoon.  In the morning we visited the Smithsonian and were able to acquire tickets for the program “To Space and Back”.  We completed the afternoon at the Holocaust Museum which is most sobering.  Numerous videos have been added since I last toured the museum.  It brought back vivid memories of our touring concentration camps in Europe some years ago.  How can humans ever do such things to other humans?

Sunday we focused on Abraham Lincoln attending New York Presbyterian Church, where he worshiped, which is located a couple of blocks from the White House.  For lunch we ate at a small café that Lincoln frequented and we were told that was his preference over the fateful play, but Mrs. Lincoln preferred the theatre.  We toured the museum at Ford’s Theatre and went to the balcony to view the box where Lincoln was shot.  From there we went to the home across the street where he was taken and then died.  In the evening we went to The Kennedy Center to attend a fun Brazilian Jazz Concert with a friend following which we enjoyed a late evening tea time at the center.  It was a full day!

I left DC mid-morning after the traffic had improved a bit, spending the night with friend Keith as I had on the trip North.  I returned late last evening after an uneventful two-day drive to find the Longs had dinner awaiting me.  It was a very special time of reviewing much history and spending precious time with Lisa, Keith and other friends.  I am thankful to God for strength and health allowing me another blessed trip.

Love to you all,


Chuck

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Grateful!

It was fantastic having Keith ride home with me from Indiana and spend a few days here before flying back.  A dear friend had dinner waiting for us upon our return to the village and we had fun playing Sluff with a group of friends the following evening.  We enjoyed some tourist things and Keith also attended a monthly hospital meeting with me when I meet with medical people to learn more about the hospital and their approaches to pulmonology problems.  The time went so fast that it was hard to believe it was time for him to leave.  Since then I have been keeping a fairly rapid pace helping some of our residents with technical problems and assisting a bit at our village office.

Tomorrow I will be heading for Washington, DC to spend the weekend with daughter Lisa.  I will spend a night with friend Keith in Raleigh/Durham on the way, being that it is now a two day trip for me.  DC is always an exciting place to visit.  There are so many activities available along with a multitude of museums where much time can be spent.  It is always a thrill for me to spend time in the city with Lisa.  She always finds interesting places to visit and programs to attend.

I am sure that we are all relieved that election day has passed and with it the multitude of political advertisements, many of them quite offensive slamming the opponent while failing to honestly disclose the plans and qualifications of the advertiser.  I just “happened” to read Proverbs 28:2 yesterday which I thought was perfect:  “When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.  But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.”  With our newly elected leaders, let us be faithful to fervently pray for them.  Not only for their decisions but more importantly that their hearts will be open to God.

Your prayers are precious!


Chuck

Monday, October 27, 2014

Heading Home

It has been delightful being with the family here in Indiana for the past few days.  Gavin and Calli came from college for this weekend to be with us.  The trees are colorful but their leaves are rapidly falling, bringing that phase of fall rapidly to an end.  Farmers are busily harvesting their soybeans and corn in preparation for winter that is not too far around the corner.  The weather has been dry and mild making it an excellent time for us to get some of those fall chores out of the way at the lake.  Keith and I cleaned up a huge volume of leaves and dropped the boat off at the marina for annual service today so that it will be ready to hit the water again when summer comes around.  Looking at the trees, it appears that only one more leaf removal will be necessary this year.

Tomorrow I will be heading back home and Keith will travel with me, spending a few days in Florida before flying back home.  Unfortunately Karin is unable to get someone to take her cases, so will be unable to join us.  We plan to spend a bit of time in South Carolina with Justin and Laura on our way back.  I am thrilled that Keith is able to make the trip with me.  It will make the miles go much faster.

Thanks for keeping us in prayer.

Love to all,


Chuck

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Discipline

I found much to “chew on” in the 22nd chapter of Proverbs.  The chapter focuses upon many facets of a persons character which challenged me.  I found it an interesting activity to evaluate my own life against those 29 verses and have to admit that I did not feel that I came up to standard with a number of them.  One more project for me to be working on!

The importance of training our children was clear; “Direct your children onto the right path.  And when they are older, they will not leave it.”  (vs.6)  As I was thinking of the many possible definitions of “right path I suspect that this likely would include taking in to account their interests and abilities, which is not the first thing that I would usually think of.  It is often easy for us parents to have a plan for our children and try to fit them into that plan without considering all factors.  It was also obvious that discipline does not include just corrective discussion.  Verse 15 says; “A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.”  That reminded me of Proverbs 13:24; “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.  Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

As I pondered the verses I was reminded that as a child of God, I too am subject to the discipline of my loving Heavenly Father.  That is something that is difficult to accept at my age, but still true.  It is much more appealing to focus on the blessings and benefits of being a child of God without accepting the fact that as a child, I am still in line to be disciplined when my heart may also be filled with “foolishness.”  Yes, I was challenged!

Tomorrow I plan to leave early in the morning to spend a few days at our lake house.  I am eager to catch up with the family living in that area and also check out the new heating and air conditioning system that has been installed.  It was not functioning well during my last visit so that problem should now be corrected.

I trust that each of you is having a blessed week!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Lord Directs

I had a most interesting day yesterday visiting Solomon’s Castle.  A 12,000 sq. ft. building sided with recycled printer plates, housing the builder’s residence and thousands of interesting and unique items that he constructed over the past 42 years recycling tons of items/junk.  Following our tour of his multi-room castle and living quarters we enjoyed lunch at the Boat in the Moat which he also constructed.  A highlight of our lunch was having the opportunity to talk with the builder, Solomon, who turns 80 this year and also his wife.  His active mind is constantly designing more items and his hands are continually busy constructing the amazing and often humorous items.  It was a delight to enjoy a clear sunny day after our many days/weeks of rain.

With our clearing weather, the removal of many shovels of drying mud from my driveway, and with the help of a friend, my grass seed is now spread over the topsoil which hopefully will root and hold the soil in place before any future downpours.  I was reminded of my grandfather, a farmer, who was always careful to seek the Lord’s guidance in every aspect of his work and grateful for whatever he was able to harvest after a busy year of hard labor.  He humbly thanked the Lord for the harvest which always met his needs regardless of size, and I never heard him complain about a light harvest or the hard work.   
 This morning as I was reading Proverbs, I was reminded of my grandfather and challenged by the words; “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”  (Proverbs 20:24)  That reminded me of an earlier Proverb; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)  I was reminded that I have a wonderful promise but at the same time a crucial responsibility if I wish to enjoy it.

Have a blessed week,

Chuck