"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
January 20, 2016
I am a big fan of husband and wife singing duo, Joey (wife) and Rory (husband). Joey has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and been under hospice care for several weeks. She and her husband and their toddler daughter, who has down syndrome, have moved to Alexandria, Indiana to be close to her family for the past three months. I have been following their story, praying for them, and reading the blog that Rory writes. A couple of weeks ago he wrote a blog entitled "Seeing the Light", and I would like to share parts of that writing with you.
First a little background: Many of you are probably familiar with the names, Bill and Gloria Gaither. They have written many well-known songs, including Because He Lives, He Touched Me, Jesus -- There is Something About That Name, The King Is Coming. For the past several years, Bill has been traveling with many well-known southern gospel singers and groups performing concerts; one of the main reasons being to keep alive many of the older hymns and songs, and minister hope and encouragement to the audiences.
In the 1960's, Bill and Gloria Gaither were both school teachers in Alexandria, Indiana, which is where Bill was born and raised and has remained his hometown. During their years of teaching, they taught Joey's parents in high school. Bill and Gloria, as well as Joey's parents, all live in Alexandria today.
The following is an excerpt from Rory's blog:
"Bill comes to see Joey just about every day, when he's not on the road. We'll get a knock on the door in the morning or early afternoon, and next thing you know Bill will be parked in a chair beside Joey's bed, telling her jokes and stories about days long-past and he'll have Joey and all of us laughing and smiling 'til our faces hurt. I think he just wants to brighten Joey's day and create as much joy for her as he can. We all do.
"A week or so ago, just before Christmas -- on the other side of the pond.... we noticed a big fire burning by the gazebo. From Joey's bedroom window, we could see beautiful flames dancing across the water. It was magical. As I sat beside my wife watching... my cell-phone rang. I picked it up.
"'Can she see it?', the deep voice said.
"'Yes Bill, it's beautiful'. I answered -- knowing that he had built the fire, hoping she could see if from her window.
"'Is she smiling?', Mr. Gaither asked.
"I looked over at Joey watching the flames, beaming from ear-to-ear... and found myself doing the same thing.
"'We all are, Bill.'"
"That's the thing about someone burning with passion -- the whole world can see their light. They have something that shines so bright inside them, others can't help but notice it in their eyes and on their faces and in their actions. They use their lives to provide some light in a dark world that can be overwhelming and scary at times. Bill has sure shined his light on us.
"The last couple of albums and DVD's we've made have been with Bill and the Gaither organization. Our new Hymns record coming out next month is with them, too. For each project, Bill has personally sat down and interviewed us on-camera and asked us questions about the music we've made and about our lives. But what he's actually doing in those moments is wrapping his arms around us, and doing all he can to shine a light on us for the world to see.
"He uses his light to start a flame for us.... with the hopes that someday we might use our light to shine on others." (end of Rory's blog)
Matthew 5:14-16 says, "You are the light of the world -- like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine [or as some translations say, "Let your light shine"] out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father."
What does it mean to let your light shine? Does it mean you carry your Bible around with you so that everyone can see it? Does it mean you go door to door, or stand on a street corner passing out christian tracts? Does it mean you go around spewing scripture and preaching to everyone you see? Does it mean standing in line at the grocery store singing worship songs? I don't think so.
I think the way we let our light shine is allowing the love of God to shine through us. It may be by doing as Mr. Gaither has done, when he stops by to encourage and bring a smile to someone who is facing a terminal situation; or standing out in the cold and building a bonfire so someone who is homebound and bedfast can see it reflecting upon the water. Just simple acts of kindness and thoughtfulness.
It may be offering a listening ear and friendship to a single parent raising little ones by themselves. It may be taking a meal to someone following a surgery. It may be going to visit someone in a nursing home. It may be helping an older person with household projects or repairs. It may be taking a minute to stop and check on someone going through a difficult time. I believe it's caring and loving and taking time out of our busy schedules to allow the love of Jesus to shine through us; to allow Jesus to use us to be His hands and feet, so to speak.
The scripture in Matthew says to let our light shine brightly so that all can see it, and praise our Heavenly Father. I think at times we are so worried that someone will think us prideful or not humble should we allow our light to brightly shine, so we end up hiding our light. We are to unashamedly and boldly let our light shine, not for our own glory or applause, but so that everyone around us can see that light and give praise to God.
In a world filled with sin, heartache, darkness, turmoil, uncertainties, and so much negativity, people need hope. They need to see the light of Christ. The smallest of lights can pierce even the darkest of corners. It's important that we all uncover our light and allow it to burn brightly. We may feel like we can't do much, but all of us can do something to allow God to shine through us and touch the lives of others.
In some way or another may we all strive to let our light brightly shine each and every day. May we use our light to start a flame for others, with the hopes that someday they will use their light to shine on others.
From time to time, I have had staff at stores, or other places, wish me a blessed day. I'm used to people telling me to have a good day. But just that subtle difference in wording means a lot. For one thing, they probably understand the difference between blessed and good. A good day may be one where I don't have any calls about broken machinery. But a blessed day is a gift from God. Try wishing someone a blessed day instead of a good day. It's interesting to see how they respond.
Tasty Beef Roast
1 package Au Jus gravy mix
1 stick butter
Place the beef roast in a crock pot. Sprinkle the package of dry Au Jus gravy mix over the top. (Can be found in the grocery store where the gravy and seasoning mixes are.) Put a stick of butter on top. That's it -- no water or liquid needed. Slow cook until roast is tender and done. The juices makes a good flavored gravy. Delicious!
When one of my nephews was a little boy his parents had enrolled him in gymnastics. One day his mom was dropping him off at class and he refused to get out of the car, holding onto the door and crying. He wouldn't tell her why he didn't want to go to class, but she could tell he was really upset. She told him fine, he didn't have to go. He really didn't care for gymnastics, and the sessions he had enrolled in were almost finished. After she told him he didn't have to attend the class and they left, he finally told her why he was so upset. They were going to work on doing the splits that day. Apparently, that looked horribly painful to him.... or else he wasn't sure what doing the splits entailed... or he thought they were going to "split" him. He told her, "Mama, doing the splits would be worse than Jesus being crucified, wouldn't it?!"
Faith is the ability to hope in the promise when you can't yet see the proof. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon