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Fear Not

As we enter into 2016 it seems there is one thing prominent in our world . . . FEAR. To name a few: • Fear of getting sick • Fear of finances/not having enough money • Fear of weather • Fear of political issues • Fear of crime/violence • Fear of aging • Fear of losing our freedom • Fear of the unknown • Fear of pain • Fear of disappointment • Fear of rejection • Fear of loneliness • Fear of death • Fear of failure A pretty grim list of very realistic fears. We’ve just had Christmas and heard the account of Jesus’ birth: the shepherds were in the fields, doing their job, keeping watch over their flock when an angel appeared and said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11 NKJV) Because God loved this world so much, and He knew there would be fears on every hand, He sent the message that we weren’t to be afraid because of the great gi of His Son. One who would wrap His loving arms around us during times of our greatest fears, one who would encourage us, one who would bring calm, one who would love us like an earthly father who holds his child tightly when fear has come. Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba Father.” (NKJV) I face fear. I believe we all do. I feel certain the message from Luke is still the same for 2016 . . . “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy. . . .” And in Romans, we find the instruction Paul gave to those in Rome, the beloved of God, “cry out, Abba, Father.” During this new year, whenever you face fear, cry out, Abba Father, and speak the words the Psalmist cried, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust You.” A favorite song from this year, “Fear not tomorrow, God is already there.” > E v’s E c h o

The Longer I Serve Him

I've (we've) had some experiences of late I will most definitely not put in the easy column of life. Lest I weary you with too many stories, I will go back to December when Pastor had surgery to remove the tumor from around his sciatic nerve. At the very same time, our dear Iler Walden was in intensive care, very ill. As I went to visit Pastor, I would also go see Iler. Seeing her sweet expressions of love and trust in the Lord was encouragement I can’t describe. It so happened, during the same stretch of time, our dear Laura Anderson was also in the hospital. I would go visit with her, and the smile on her face and the sweetness of her spirit made me so ashamed. My attitude during difficulty wasn’t always with a smile. I’ve watched Iler and Laura, both with terrible physical problems, and I knew without a doubt that during the years of their lives Jesus had become sweeter and sweeter. Both ladies (and those two are exactly that, ladies) very countenance told me the longer they served Him the sweeter He had grown. Let me come to more recent days. Our dear Ralph Branson . . . his mind may have declined, but start talking about Jesus and His face lit up. Jesus had become dearer to him with each day—he never stopped loving or trusting Jesus. Now I come to this week. I go to help at my in-law’s house. It’s time to bless the food at the meal. I  ask Beth,  my mother-in-law, if she would like to pray. The words that came from a sometimes confused mind had no confusion as to the sweetness of Jesus to her. Before leaving their house, we went to the living room to sit by the piano and sing precious songs of hope and encouragement. We had a beautiful trio going. Mom and dad Peak had not lost their song. Jesus had become sweeter. Each of these I’ve mentioned are not youngsters anymore but I can tell you I had not one doubt of how sweet Jesus was to them. They each told me so . . . not always in words but, oh, I heard them loud and clear saying,  “The Longer I Serve Him the Sweeter He Grows.” How is it in your life? Does Jesus become sweeter to you? Do you find yourself singing, “‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus" with more fervor? Take a moment to stop and think how sweet Jesus is to you. Is He growing sweeter the longer you serve him? 

Does Anybody Care


I think I could safely say that question has probably come from everyone’s mouth or mind at one time or other in their lifetime. Sad to say, the truth be known, the words “I care” may be spoken to us in stormy circumstances of our lives but are not truthfully lived out. Disappointing, but true. Peter wrote to the Jewish believers who were struggling in the midst of persecution. He encouraged them to conduct themselves in such a way that their character and conduct would be above reproach as they represented Christ. Peter left them with a message they could count on: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for HE CARES FOR YOU (I Peter 5:5b-7 NKJV, emphasis mine). Tuck that message deep in your heart! It will be with you everywhere you go.


Under His Wings

I know you would be disappointed if I didn’t use some reference to a song in my Echo, therefore, here ‘tis . . .

Under His wings, Under His wings, who from His love can sever,
Under His wings, my soul shall abide, safely abide forever.

I’ve been listening to this old hymn repeatedly this week. Each time my heart is stirred and it has made me ask myself some questions.

What does it look like “under His wings?” In my mind’s eye it would first look safe, and it would look inviting, snuggly, warm, comfortable, calming, a good place to go when I needed that environment.

Why would I want to go “under His wings?” Because there would be loving refuge, protection, help, comfort, someone to hold me close during troubled times, or perhaps for healing, and safety from the storms of life.

Have I been there? Oh yes, many times.

Under His wings I am safely abiding, Though the night deepens and tempests are wild, Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me, He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow! How the heart yearningly turns to His rest! Often when earth has no balm for my healing, There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.

nder His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment! There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er; Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me, Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.

Ps. 91:4 – He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and protector.

As Jesus spoke to Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37, He said, “How often I wanted to gather your children to- gether, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”  What a sad, sad verse.

There is a place of refuge to go . . . don’t be too proud, don’t refuse that place thinking you can take care of yourself. If you are at a place in life where this is what you need, then go the Jesus and tell Him you need Him to open His wings and let you in. When you do, you will be singing with great assurance, resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore. 

Many Thanks

                                      MANY THANKS

I would like to “echo” the words of Paul in Philippians 1:3 . . . “I thank my
God upon every remembrance of you.”
Pastor and I remember with much thanks the very special Birthday
Party you gave us. The ice creams were WONDERFUL, all
the cards were BEAUTIFUL, and the fellowship of nearly 60 folks
was SWEET (ice cream and cake…ha!). You made turning 66 not
so bad after all. We both give thanks to the Lord for the blessings
of those years.

I would like to add a thank you to EVERYONE who worked tirelessly
for a successful VBS. Many days before, a team of people
decorated the sanctuary and Bethany Hall for the theme of a spy
agency for our Agency D-3 Bible School. The D-3 stands for Discover,
Decide, Defend—the Bible verse was I Peter 3:15 :
Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: be ready always
to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason
of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
I will not even begin to name names but off the top of my head
we had 30+ workers. Pastor and I honor and appreciate each one
for everything that was done to make VBS a success.
I would be amiss to leave out giving thanks to the Lord. I Thessalonians
5:18 tells us, “In everything give thanks for this is the
will of God.” At the top of the list would be God sending His son
Jesus to save us from our sins; the list could go on from there—
too lengthy for me to even begin.

Therefore, sometime soon after reading this Echo, get a pen and
paper and list the many things that come to your mind for which
you can give thanks with a grateful heart . . . give thanks to the
Holy One.

What Fragrance Are You?
Spring has been so beautiful; the colors stunning as the red buds stood in all their glory along with the Bradford pears.  Then the grass started coming out of the winter season showing new shades of bright beautiful green, which, unfortunately required the mowing to begin.  Along with the change of the season came beautiful fragrances drifting through the air. 
I know freshly mowed grass and all the new blooms creates misery for those who deal with allergies, and, I’m sorry for that but I must admit I love the accompanying smells.  I’m not good with names of flowers for the season so I had to do some research.  Some with beautiful spring/summer fragrance are lilac, hyacinth, sweet alyssum, wisteria, sweet peas, lily-of-the valley, gardenia, roses, four o’clock’s, peonies, some tulips, magnolia, and  jonquils just to name a few.  I can almost smell some of them now.  Can you?
Did you know there is a fragrance, or an aroma that comes from our life?  It can be a pleasant aroma, or it can be one that stinks.  To stink sounds rather harsh but Isaiah 1:13-23 talks about ways of living that are a stench in the nostrils of God - lives once pure, once faithful, once just and righteous but no longer such bring no pleasure to God.  How sad, but, in this same portion of scripture the Lord says that no matter how deep the stain of your sins he can remove it and make it as clean as freshly fallen snow.
Let me go back to the beautiful fragrance – that which is pleasing to our Lord…II Corinthians 2:15 & 16:   For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.  To the one we are the aroma of death to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life. 
If we are God’s children, saved by grace, we are a sweet aroma to Him.  We no longer have the aroma of death, we have a fragrance that brings joy to the heart of God.  Jesus’ life was a fragrant aroma to the Father.  If we walk as Jesus, do our best to follow His ways then our life can have that fragrance.  It is our aroma of praise to God, and, as we go into our world we take with us the sweet aroma of God everywhere we go.
Ephesians 5:2 Jesus said, “And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

But Not Forsaken

Okay, I know, not a very bright, cheerful way to Echo a message to you but, stay with me.
I’ll ask you a question and even though we are not face-to-face I’m fairly certain the answer you would give. Have you ever been, or felt, forsaken?
If you haven’t had that experience, consider yourself highly blessed. I
would echo to you, oh yes, I’ve both been and felt forsaken. Actually
rather recently, and it’s a terrible feeling.
Forsaken—to leave or to abandon. . . .
As I was pondering (you may notice I use that word often—I ponder
a lot!), my mind went to a piece of a scripture, “Persecuted, but not forsaken.”
Ponder, ponder . . . but, my circumstance hasn’t changed. I quickly went to find my Bible, and began reading 2 Corinthians 7:7-9:
        “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence
        of the power may be of God and not of us. We are
        hard pressed on every side yet not crushed, we are perplexed
        but not in despair, persecuted but NOT FORSAKEN,
        struck down but not destroyed.”
When feeling forsaken, every emotion in these two verses is there;
hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down. NOT FORSAKEN?
Feels like forsaken to me. ONLY because of the life and death of Jesus,
on my/our behalf, can it be true—no other way.
Therefore, that chapter goes on:
        “Do not lose heart because what is ahead for us is a far more
        exceeding weight of glory; the things which are seen (being
        or feeling forsaken) are temporary, but the things which are
        not seen are eternal.”
As Paul encouraged the Corinthians, I encourage all of us . . . Do Not
Lose Heart. There is ONE and ONLY ONE who has promised He would
never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b).
        “Now may the Lord God of peace who brought up our Lord
        Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep,
        through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete
        in every good work to do His will, working in you what is
        well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be
        glory forever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13: 20 & 21).
His peace makes us complete, NOT FORSAKEN.

Keep Your Eyes On The Savior


This old world is filled with disappointments and troubles every day,
Many times I get discouraged and I almost lose my way;
Then I remember I’m just a pilgrim in this troubled world below,
That’s the reason I keep singing as I go.
We’re not home yet, children, so keep your eyes on the Savior,
Just a few more days to labor and we’ll sit down beside the river,
How we’ve longed to be with Jesus, and our loved ones gone before us,
Theres a better day a-comin’, we’re not home yet.

I have found myself living this song of late . . . yes, it’s another of my “oldies!”  While watching the mile markers as we were driving back from Maryland — after a wonderful time with our children—my mind would sigh thinking, “Aren’t we there yet?” The answer back to myself, “We’re not home yet!” (Ooo, that’s not good . . . talking to myself and answering back!!!)

If you find yourself road-worn on this life’s journey, take heart . . . we’re not home yet, just keep your eyes on the Savior.
. . . Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Remember, I love you.


How Can It Be So Hard

How Can It Be So Hard?

Recently, I  have found myself in different situations where I needed to do something, learn something, or make a decision that I just couldn’t seem to figure out.  Aſter a period of time I would stand back and say to myself, "How can it be so hard?”  Sort of like seeing that little white ball sitting on a little wooden piece and all I need to do with a small club in my hand is hit  the ball. Now, tell me, how hard can it be? Just for the record, on some days it can be very hard.

You have your own scenario—maybe several—going through your mind right now and you are saying to yourself, “Well, just how can it be so hard?” It maybe something as simple as deciding what you are going to wear on a given day, or it
maybe a dilemma that has your stomach in a knot. I  think of a scripture in God’s word that tells us to trust in the Lord with all our
heart and not lean on our own understanding of things but in everything acknowledge  Him and He will direct our path (Prov.3:5-6). From that I can realize the God of this universe knows my understanding is limited so He tells me to acknowledge Him, which
defined is to recognize His existence, validity, or authority.  Then it tells me if I  do that, He will direct me in the path I need to take, or what I need to do. Yet,  I spend minutes, hours, even days trying within my own understanding to figure it out when I finally give up and acknowledge Him. How can it be so hard for us to do that?

When I DO acknowledge Him, He DOES direct my path. I then look back and say to myself, “Why didn’t I do that sooner?!”How can it be so hard to liſt up our eyes unto the hills from where our help comes from? How can it be so hard to call out  to our Father who simply wants us to acknowledge Him?

Oh what peace we oſten forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear because we lean on ourselves rather than acknowledge Him.
I would ask you to join me in acknowledging Him first, not last. Now, tell me how hard can it be?

Remember, I love you.


How Can It Be?

How Can It Be?
Since my last “Echo” to you, I’ve experienced some monumental moments in my life; applying for Social Security, receiving a Medicare card with my name on it. . . how can it be? Next, a birthday . . . me? 65? . . . how can it be? Then, June 27th—my last day in the secular work world—R-E-T-I-R-E-D . . . how can it be? How can it be? . . . but for the grace of God, His love, His faithfulness, His goodness, His kindness, His trust in who I am, His promises and all that He is. . .that is “how it can be!”
What can I say about this moment in my life? To put it into words, well, guess what? You should know how I will put it into words. ☺
Yes, you’re right, a song!
There's a roof up above me, I've a good place to sleep. There’s food on my table and shoes on my feet. You gave me your love, Lord, and a fine family. Thank you, Lord ,for your blessings on me .
Now I know I'm not wealthy, and these clothes, they're not new. I don't have much money, but Lord I have you. And to me that’s all that matters, though the world can not see. Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me.
What I want to echo from my heart to you is that you can make it through your journey of life—all that it is and can be. How? Because He lives. And not just because He lives, but He lives in you! (I trust He does!) That’s “how it can be!”
Oooops, I almost forgot! (How can it be??? ☺)
Thank you for all the beautiful birthday cards, gifts, hugs, as well as good wishes for those days I don’t have to be at my office by 7:30 am!!!!! Yahoooo! 

Love from my heart,
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