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Lea once said to our adult children, “We are going to simplify, simplify, simplify!” We led very busy adult lives. She had been vice president of a national mortgage company, and supervised a large staff. I had operated a number of businesses over the years, sometimes two at a time. We had been homeowners for several decades, accumulating all the “stuff” that goes with it, served our communities through service in organizations such as Lions International, and operated a Victorian-era bed and breakfast. And, we had no idea how prophetic her words would become.

           Former Asher Walton House B&B

Asher G. Walton built our twelve room home as a private residence circa 1868. Possessing many examples of fine European craftsmanship, the hardwoods used throughout the home, and the Bavarian marble fireplaces added warmth and charm to the breakfast, parlor and drawing rooms. Victorian baths featured claw foot tubs. We loved the house, and the business, but took a break to vacation with friends in Prospect Harbor, Maine in 2005.

While returning home from that vacation, a thousand miles away on the East coast, Lea was struck down with necrotizing pancreatitis and spent six months in Hartford Hospital. Three of those months she was in a drug induced coma, and on a ventilator to keep her breathing. She had 32 debriding surgeries to remove dying tissue from her various organs, while her body was being filled with intravenous fluids to weaken the acids that were attacking her body. When she was brought out of the coma she had a hip-to-hip ventral hernia that could not be closed up, was atrophied due to loss of muscle mass, and had to learn to walk again through intensive physical therapy.

Practicing using stepsFriends and family stepped in back home to move much of our household goods into storage so the B&B could be sold to help cover our expenses. Her Mustang convertible was sold, my life’s savings were depleted, and her group life insurance exceeded her lifetime limit and would cover no more expenses. We had to fly home on a commercial airline with her still draining pancreatic fluids through her abdomen, and too weak to take more than a few steps at a time.

Family and friends arranged housing for us in an assisted living facility in a town near our former B&B, the town where our household goods were stored. After a few weeks of recovery, my brother and sister-in-law purchased a home they could rent to us on very liberal terms. I worked part time delivering career consulting via webinars for Lee Hecht Harrison, while Lea’s long term disability income started, as she had reached retirement during her hospital stay.  We gave our family truckloads of furnishings from the B&B that had been stored, and had a couple of garage sales to clear out even more.

Recipes for morecooking.netAbout a year later, we moved into a three bedroom single-story home with a modest lawn. Lea had recovered enough that she tried a little flower pot gardening on the rear deck, and we got to do some babysitting with our infant grandson, which really helped her regain a lot of her mental acuity as her motherly instincts kicked in. During 2008, we decided that a good mental exercise for her would be to publish our recipes as a Christmas gift for our families. She had dozens of recipes that we had used over the years. and still others were developed while we had the B&B.

We started cooking, double-checking accuracy of the recipes, and photographing the results. At first she needed quite a bit of help remembering procedures and processes, but eventually, the Lord strengthened her and opened a door for us to cook for fellowship dinners for 50 or more attending bible study and/or choir practice on Wednesday nights. The church had a nice, though modest, commercial kitchen adjacent to the fellowship hall, designed so that we could prepare and then serve meals through a large pass-through window.

http://morecooking.net

We had already published our recipes at http://morecooking. net for that Christmas in 2008, and now we had the opportunity to scale them up for 50 and 100 portions for large groups and publish those at http://cooking4groups.wordpress.com.  But, b the fall months of 2015 she began to have severe pain in her lower back/hip area, and we had to discontinue cooking for the church. In March of the following year she had a hip replaced, and during physical therapy for that, she began having severe pain in her lower back that made her uncomfortable while simply riding in the car.

Downsizing 2016Meanwhile, the house we were renting had been sold, and the closing/move-in date was approaching. We had decided that we were going to have to move into an apartment which would require less labor, and had arranged to have an estate sale the month before the new owner’s move-in date. The week before the estate sale was scheduled to be held, the auctioneer notified us that he was going to have to cancel, leaving us with very few options with the amount of time we had left!  Discussing our options, we found that less stressful was to donate almost all of our household goods to our church family. We held an open house for them, and let them carry away everything that we hadn’t tagged for use in the apartment or to be stored.

Lea’s pain continued to increase, and she gave up driving. Eventually, she couldn’t even ride in the car without suffering. She had to hold herself steady by grasping tightly onto the handgrip above her seat. Just going to the doctor wore her out, and all unnecessary road trips were from then on avoided. During an exam for her annual physical, the doctor determined that her gall bladder was causing a lot of the pain in the general area of the hip that had been replaced, and sent her to a specialist to see about having it removed.

Danielle, Lea and Chris outside Hartford Hospital, November 14, 2005

The surgeon determined that she could not have abdominal surgery, and that her gall bladder could not be removed, because of the surgeries and subsequent healing that resulted from the necrotizing pancreatitis. He felt that potential peritonitis leading to sepsis and septic shock was just too great. Two additional surgeons we consulted agreed.  So, she was prescribed a gall bladder medication that is rarely used today because of the simplicity of removing the gall bladder endoscopically.  She was told that she would just have to tolerate the pain.

As the medication started to take effect, she noticed that her left hip was hurting in much the same way the right hip had before it was replaced, so we went back to consult with that surgeon. He discovered, through an xray, that it was not her hip that was hurting her, but her lower spine. An subsequent exam revealed that the discs in her back were, in some cases, only 20% of their original thickness, compressing the nerves. She was in constant, debilitating, pain. After a few diagnostic visits to a spine specialist, she was given an ablation treatment to temporarily kill the nerves between some of the lower vertebrae. The treatment reduced her pain by about 70%, and was the greatest relief she had experienced in the past three years.

We are told that the treatment works for up to a year for some patients, but, for others, the nerves grow back more quickly.  We hope for the former, but realize that it is all part of God’s plans, and that he is using us for His purposes. We probably won’t know what those are until we arrive in heaven and have that “ah hah!” moment when it all becomes clear. Meanwhile, we give thanks to God for his provision and guidance, and submit ourselves to be used according to His will.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten our hearts to know the hope to which He has called us, we become better equipped to encourage our loved ones faith and spiritual growth. The apostle Paul, who, while a prisoner, said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV). We submit ourselves to the Lord’s sovereign plan and tender mercies, trusting Him to be faithful. After all, He did it for us: “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”

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Integrity is keeping a commitment even after circumstances have changed. ~ David Jeremiah

This is the right time for me to give a little testimony that, hopefully, will have meaning for you. I recently loss my employment as a content writer due to downsizing, and immediately went into damage control mode. Double checking our debts, liquid and fixed assets, and how long we should be able to “make it” until the Lord opens the next employment door for us.

We had run into dry spells before, where we felt a financial crunch, and had to adjust our budget. I had always abstained from reducing our tithe, because I told myself, “That’s God’s money.” We have conciously been living beyond our means in order to provide Lea with the lifestyle that makes her comfortable. Occasionally we would draw down on our savings to make up for the shortfalls.

Now, with only one more paycheck coming in, I felt I had to take drastic action. One of the things I did to control our situation was to stop the drafts on my checking account for my tithe. We then headed out for a long-planned visit to our oldest son’s home. The night after our arrival, he had a mid-week church function, and asked if we would give a five minute testimony. The audience was made up of young married couples, many with children, who had just finished a series of studies entitled, “The Art of Marriage.”

I gave a very high level explanation of the trials Lea and I went though in Hartford, and one of the revelations God gave me during that test; that there is a difference between the body and the spirit. I had always thought I was in love with Lea as a beautiful woman, and thought of that woman as a beautiful body. But, when she was in a coma for several weeks, I discovered that while her body was there in that hospital bed, and tended to it everyday, Lea wasn’t there. She was gone, and wasn’t back in that body until weeks later. It took the Lord beating me over the head, but I finally got it; It is her spirit that I am in love with, and her body is how I can love on her spirit.

That weekend, while attending services at their church, the pastor spoke on “control,” and how we try to take control instead of trusting in God to care for us. I felt a little twinge of guilt, because I had just stopped my tithes. He then stung me again, because he talked about our tithes being “first fruits,” and that we should give to the church first, so God can do his work, and that he will provide for us. Ouch! He stung me again! He said that we need to be able to trust in the Lord, step back, continue in our faithfulness, and let the Lord have control.

This reminded me of one of my favorite verses in times like this; 1 Samuel 12:24 – “Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.” If you’ve read our journal pages here on the site, or listened to our testimony on our church’s website, you already know what great things he did for us in Hartford, and there have been many more blessings since then, as well. Praise God! Amen.

Our pastor, Dr. Ken Baldwin, says, “One of the ways for us to measure commitment is by what it takes to make us quit. There are some things we should never quit. Our commitment to Jesus…to His Church…to His work…to our family and our marriage…to telling others about Him; and, many more. Integrity is being the right person and doing the right things. Never quitting on both of those is true commitment. We each have weaknesses, but God is our strength. Is today the day that we start again to be and do the right things? God has never quit on us. We should keep our commitment to Him.”

The Lord put all these things in front of me just after I stopped the automatic tithe deposits. I got the message! I reinstated the payments, just as it should be, and now wait patiently for the Lord to open the next door.

Lord, you gave your all for me; can I do any less for you, and call myself a committed Christian? Thank you for showing me the error of my ways. Forgive me my shortcomings of commitment and faith. Use me according to your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

God is good, all the time. He has been particularly good to Lea and me in providing for us in our “recliner” years. Lea’s recovery has continued to progress quite well, with improvement of her sense of balance and agility. She has many more good days than bad, and has been able to resume driving herself when she feels she wants to get out of the house for a while.

She and I are blessed to be able to cook meals for our church fellowship when we gather for mid-week bible study. We both like to cook, so we enjoy watching the competitions on Food Network and Cooking Channel, and have a joke between us that we have to careful to do a good job of food preparation so we don’t get “Chopped,” a reference to getting cut from cooking competition. When we plan our menu, our standing joke is that we have “four hours and $200 to cook a five-course meal for fifty people,” from another competion we enjoy watching.

Cooking for the church has been a great undertaking for us on several levels. When we first started, Lea wasn’t mentally able to handle the stress of the kitchen, so I had to take the lead. But, as the months went on, she began to regain her interest in meal planning and execution, and today has improved to the point that she often takes the lead right from the meal planning process. It has been wonderful for me to see her slowly recapture her abilities, and put her sparkling personality into the meals we prepare.

This improvement was also accompanied by a rekindling of her creative abilities. She has always been stellar at creating flower arrangements. For the ten years we operated a bed and breakfast in our large Victorian home, she was always creating gorgeous flower arrangements for all the rooms in the house, including huge centerpieces for the parlours. She began assisting our church’s decorating committee several months ago, making beautiful handmade bows for Christmas decorations, and flower arrangements for various rooms, including the worship center. Today, she looks forward to each change of the season and “freshening” up the church with new centerpieces and decorative touches.

It has been a source of great joy to see her with our grandsons, ages 2 and 4, as she has cared for them. I believe that they have been the primary reason her thought processes have improved so much. She loves those boys dearly, and longs for their next visit with great anticipation. She just sparkles when they’re together, giving her every ounce of energy to caring for them, and revealing her soul to them with every interaction.

The Lord has showered us with blessings well beyond what one might hope for, and we daily rededicate ourselves to serving Him, and sharing the Good News that God Is Good, All The Time.

 

Lea and I are high school sweethearts, and have been married 45 years. We have been blessed with successful careers, fun and adventure, wonderful sons and daughters-in-law, and grandchildren in whom we delight. And, God has always been a part of our lives.

The account of a man’s relationship with God is the story of how God calls him out, takes him on a journey, and gives him his true purpose. Many of us have thought it was the story of our acceptance of Jesus, and then avoiding doing bad things until we appear for judgment. Not so.

God created us to be Christ-like, and to carry the word of salvation to all parts of the world. If we aren’t serving Him in that manner, we are not fulfilling our mission, and He will, like any good father, try to nudge us in the right direction. If that gentle nudge doesn’t work, He will try a new strategy . . . perhaps a little more forceful. If those attempts don’t work, He may have to take even more drastic action to bring us back into line.

I am one of those believers God had to severely discipline.

Lost and Saved
I don’t remember not being saved. My childhood was mostly about church activities, Royal Ambassadors, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. I was taught to be independent and self reliant. I was raised Southern Baptist with a generations-long line of bible thumping fire-and-brimstone preachers who pastored churches and taught in summertime revival tents. God was always present in my life, although He was hardly the main focus of my life. I was a Christian on cruise control.

Danville Baptist Temple
The bible teaches that even though Satan cannot possess the Christian, he can oppress him. 1 Peter 5:8 says: “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Satan is our enemy; an adversary who is out to throw us off track. He is out to drive a wedge between us and God! He was successful in my case.

When our sons were young boys, Lea and I transferred our membership to a startup Baptist church that was moving mightily in our community. The charismatic young pastor had a vision to create an entire Baptist campus which would include a retirement home and hospital for members of the church, and he was very aggressive in reaching out to young people in the community.

He had asked me several times to become involved full time in the ministry of the church. I had been successful in soliciting donations of cash and real estate for the campus building fund. Support from the community was outstanding, and the membership grew rapidly. It was a wonderful feeling to see God’s favor flowing on our church, and I was really under conviction to take the leap and join the ministry team. Lea and I talked and prayed about it extensively.

Then, overnight, the minister, his family, and the entire church staff, disappeared with all of the church funds! I was totally crushed. I just could not believe that such a thing could happen! I was so confused, and felt God had abandoned us.

I was too embarrassed to return to our previous church, and just could not bring myself to join any other. In fact, I shunned the church from that day. I reasoned that I could minister on my own. I felt that I could set a good example for my sons and for others around me, by professing my faith, and by keeping God in our home. After all, Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) This reasoning was how Satan drove that wedge that turned me from the church for many years.

Discipline
Scripture is clear that you cannot accept Christ and then just live any way you please. And, God, our heavenly Father, takes our obligation to serve Him seriously. He will often let us stray a bit to test the boundaries, as children will do. Eventually, though, He will bring us back into line by taking us to the woodshed for a good, corrective, spanking if necessary.

Hebrews 12:11 states, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” To rebel because of discipline is to turn your back on His will for you.

Even when we sense God’s disciplining hand upon us we should be encouraged by this, for it shows that God is at work in our lives. We should not lose heart when being disciplined. God will never go too far. He will never give us a burden larger than we can handle.

Lea’s Illness
I got one of His spankings, and the memories still hurt four years later. God led me through a six month living Hell while Lea was in Hartford Hospital with an illness that, medically, she wasn’t supposed to survive; Necrotizing Pancreatitis. Her pancreas had suddenly ruptured while we were on vacation back East, a thousand miles from home, and had started digesting all her internal organs. Her pain was horrible. The surgeons had placed her in a drug induced coma and said she had a 15% chance of surviving. They told me to call the family.

The Hell I’m talking about is not some storybook or Hollywood contrived representation of Hades. This was Hell; the real one. You can touch Hell. It can touch you. Hell is so palpable you can actually taste it. It is a much worse place than you have imagined. It was the most horrible thing I have ever experienced, and I certainly don’t want to ever have to go back there.

My Hell was a small, musty, dormitory room with carpet I hesitated to walk on barefoot. It had an outdated motel style bed & dresser, flimsy wooden desk with loose-jointed chair, coffee table, and a fold-out couch that made into a bed. And, yet, I was happy to be there, close to Lea.

The room was attached to the hospital by a series of dimly lit underground tunnels with water dripping from cracks in the ceiling. The tunnels led to another room, this one sterile, where the person I most love in the whole world was in a coma, her every bodily function tended to by people I didn’t know. I was only allowed in the room to be with her at various times, which was painful, but she was not able to respond to me in any way.

She may not, really, have known I was there at all. I realized even then, as I looked at her lying helplessly there, this was only her body, kept alive with drugs and machines. She may already be gone. She was in this state for 78 days, and certainly could have been taken away from me at any moment. Nothing I did to comfort or help her appeared to make a difference, because she was unable to respond or react.

Purpose of the Coma
She was in that coma for 78 days. She had 18 IVs going into her, plus hookups for dialysis, because her kidneys had failed, and plasma phoresis to remove fat from her blood. She had cuffs on her legs that would squeeze and release to circulate her blood, and a ventilator to breathe for her. During that coma she had over 30 abdominal surgeries. She died four times. The doctors weren’t even sure her brain was working after the first two weeks. This was truly Hell.

God got my attention. It felt drastic, but He had tried easier, more subtle ways. The previous year my two sons and Lea and I had done a family study of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. Praise God! Our youngest son was subsequently convicted and saved, which was an answer to years of prayer. This was clearly God at work, but, still, I continued my selfish, prideful, ways, rather than submitting to His will for my life. I used our lifestyle as an excuse for not getting back to church.

The Floating Vision
Before Lea’s illness, in May of 2005, God gave me a warning in the form of a vision. At the time, I was in the basement, building a number of wooden replacement storm windows for our Victorian bed & breakfast. I had kissed Lea goodnight as she headed upstairs to bed, and I went down to work on one of the storm windows.

Maybe half an hour later as I was brushing on some paint, I heard Lea call softly from the top of the basement stairs, “Larry.” I was a little surprised she wasn’t already asleep, and asked, “What?” She didn’t reply. Sometimes when she was looking for me she wouldn’t realize that I was in the basement, and would go on into the rest of the house looking for me.

But, tonight I had turned all the lights off when I went down to the basement, and had left the door open, which would spill light out into the dark kitchen. “Larry,” she called softly. “I’m in the basement, hon,” I replied a little louder than before. Again, no reply.

I wondered if I should go find her, but I was almost done, and didn’t want to leave the painting unfinished. “Larry,” she called softly again. I put my paint brush down, a little alarmed that she didn’t answer me. I hurried up the stairs and saw her in the doorway in a simple white, floor length, nightgown.

“What is it, honey?” I asked.
She said, “I died!” She sounded surprised.
“What!?” I said, thinking I must have misunderstood her.
“I died,” she repeated, and started to fade away. Just as she vanished, I noticed she was floating above the floor, her feet dangling.

I ran up to our bedroom, where I found her laying on her side toward the center of the bed. I reached out to place my hand on her arm, while praying silently that she was still warm. As I touched her, she turned slowly to me, nearly asleep, and asked, “What’s wrong?” All I could get out, was, “I just wanted to tell you that I love you.” She smiled faintly, turned back, and went to sleep.

I stood there for several minutes, unable to make myself leave her side. How confused I felt! The vision was constantly in my thoughts over the next several days, and I shared it with Lea and other family members.. Although puzzled by it, I didn’t dwell on it. It was just one of those inexplicable things that happen. Later that same week, however, I had another warning.

The Casket Vision
Lea had gone on to bed while I finished up some things downstairs. When I finished and went upstairs. I entered our bedroom and saw Lea asleep on her back, with her hands folded on her chest . . . and for an instant I saw her lying in an open casket.

The sight nearly brought me to my knees. I was really shaken. I didn’t wake Lea, but lay down beside her, and wept silently as I prayed for clarity. I know how final death is. There is no second chance to say the things you wish you had said. There is no “Do over.” If you haven’t said it, it’s just too late. And, you have to live with that regret.

I really understood, for the first time, how horribly I would miss her if I no longer had her at my side. I realized that I was being given a message to spend more quality time with Lea. To make sure that all those things that needed to be said between us were said. We had many warm, loving, friend-to-friend conversations over the next few weeks, and I felt closer to her than ever.

Revelation in Hartford
Six weeks later she was in that coma. I kept thinking about the visions, and how she had slowly faded away into thin air. And, now, I feared, the Lord was actually taking her away from me. I prayed constantly, as I often did . . . doing some task, and silently talking to God as though He was at my side. I prayed first that Lea would be spared, and that she could somehow beat the odds. But I was troubled.  I felt I wasn’t praying for the right thing.

As she lay there in that coma, God revealed many things to me. One of the most painful, was the realization that her body was there before me, seemingly asleep,  but her spirit was gone. The spirit, or personality, or soul, is what makes us who we are. Hers wasn’t present. I suspect it may have been with Him, but that’s another part of her testimony Lea will have to share.

It was in those first days I realized that all these years I had been in love with her soul, but what I had always seen was her body. Now, here, they were separated! Although I could touch her body, I couldn’t reach her.

I spent countless hours at her bedside reading to her and tending to her body, helping turn her every two hours to avoid bedsores, applying lotion to keep her skin soft, washing her hair, trimming and cutting her nails, so that, if her spirit returned, she would be comfortable in her body.

I talked to God constantly, and as I poured out my emotions to Him, and beseeched Him for healing, I began to listen to my prayers and realized that if I wanted Him to listen, I was going to have to change my heart. I had been praying selfishly. I was praying for Lea to survive because I didn’t want to lose her. I wanted her to recover because losing her would be painful and I didn’t know what I would do without her by my side.

Suddenly, I thought of the glorious heavenly rewards that must surely be hers. That mansion with the flower gardens she loves so much. Friends and family around her forever! What joy she is going to have! And, here I was asking the Lord to delay giving those rewards to her.

That revelation cut me to the quick! It examined the truth of my faith, because it made me answer the question, “Do you truly believe in heavenly rewards, and that she will be better off?”

I prayed earnestly for forgiveness of my self centeredness. I grasped her hand and told her that I wanted her to stay with me, so we could have more years together, but if she wanted to go on home, I would understand. I then began to pray for strength to accept His will, whatever that might be, and the wisdom to accept the challenges He put before me. I also promised God that if He chose to allow her to remain here, I would abandon my self-centered ways and make the next chapter of our lives about her, and our service to Him.

Book of James
As I prayed one night for strength and revelation, I opened my bible randomly to whatever page happened to appear. As I looked at the page, James 1 Verse 3 came into focus, “The testing of your faith develops perseverance.” Over the next several months there were countless emotional ups and downs as Lea would improve and then crash. Four times her body just gave up. Two of those times I was in her room and experienced her relinquishing her life. That is a deafening silence.

I knew that my faith was being tested, but I also knew that God’s will was going to be served, regardless, and that my test of faith could include Lea’s death.  But, once God helped me realize that if Lea died, she was going to be cared for much better than I could ever provide, and that He was going to lead my life from that day forward. And, with that, I was given an inner peace that enabled me to deal with the trials and challenges of each day, knowing that He was in control, and I was doing His work.

James 1:5-8 states,  5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Those who doubt should not think they will receive anything from the Lord; 8 they are double-minded and unstable in all they do.” I resolved to be single minded, stable, and keep my wpromise.

James 2:18; “Faith without works is dead.” I had not been working for the Lord for a long time, because I let the devil, through my pride, turn me away from the church. God was showing me that He wanted me back in fellowship, and He and I were talking constantly during those days as He strengthened my faith.

James 4:10 – “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Pride has always been one of my biggest challenges, and I realized that it was at the root of my separation from the church years ago. I began working hard to let it go and confessed to God that I needed His help in casting that demon out. I continue working on humbling myself every day to bring my pride under control.

I thank the Lord for bringing me back into the fold, and for restoring Lea to a healthful state. I know that each and every day is a very special gift from our Father, God. I try to care for Lea, and look after her needs, as though she is very special to God, because I believe she is.

Lea and I feel that sharing our story is the ministry set before us, and we are blessed through giving you our testimony. Thank you for this opportunity to share with you. God bless!

Hear this testimony as presented during a recent service: http://kacfaustin.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=103&Itemid=116

I am filled with joyous praise of our Heavenly Father today as Lea and I celebrate the miraculous healing He has provided her over the past four years, and the opportunities given us to witness to others of His workings in our lives. Yesterday, almost exactly four years after Lea was stricken with sudden and near fatal necrotizing pancreatitis, her doctor feels she has achieved sufficient medical and mental recovery to assume a more normal lifestyle. He has cleared her to begin driving a car again, and even to accept appointment to jury duty.

These are huge steps in her return from a crippling disease that claimed her life four times, handicapped her physically and mentally, and created major changes in our lives, including a complete uprooting from our comfortable lifestyle and superficial comforts, and a homecoming to the values that are truly important.

Many Chrisitans continue to misunderstand what our relationship to Father God should be. We often believe that it is simply our acceptance that Jesus, lived, died, and rose again, and then avoiding doing bad things until we appear in front of God’s throne to be judged and rewarded according to our deeds. Not so. The real account of a man’s relationship with God is the story of how God calls him out to service, takes him on a journey, and gives him true purpose.

God created us to be Christ-like, and to carry the word of salvation to all parts of the world. If we aren’t serving Him in that manner, He will, like any good father, try to nudge us in the right direction. If that gentle nudge doesn’t work, He will try a new strategy . . . perhaps a little more forceful. If those attempts don’t work, He may have to take even more drastic action to bring us back into line. I am one of those believers God had to severely discipline, and pray for His continual guidance as I try to serve Him to the best of my abilities.

Scripture is clear that you cannot accept Christ and then just live any way you please. And, God  takes our obligation to serve Him seriously. He will often let us stray a bit to test the boundaries, as children will do. Eventually, though, He will bring us back into line by taking us to the woodshed for a good, corrective, spanking if necessary.

I got one of His woodshed spankings that shook my faith to the core. God led me through six months of hell in the form of unrelenting horrors in 2005 while Lea was in the hospital. Her pancreas had suddenly, without warning, ruptured and began dissolving all her internal organs with stomach acid. The surgeons had quickly placed her in a drug induced coma to begin her treatment and said she had a 15% chance of surviving.

She was in that coma for 78 days. She had eighteen IVs delivering medications, plus hookups for Dialysis and Plasma Phoresis. She had cuffs on her legs that would squeeze and release to circulate her blood, and a respirator to breathe for her, because her internal functions has ceased to work normally. During her hospitalization she had over 30 surgeries. Her cardiac and pulmonary systems failed four times, requiring emergency procedures to restore them. The medical team wasn’t even sure her brain was working after the first two weeks, or that she could recover from the trauma caused by the pancreas. This was truly Hell.

I believe this illness was God’s way of getting my attention. I had always been independent,  prideful; self reliant.  I ignored His calls to service, although I recognized that’s what they were. He had tried easier, more subtle ways to being me back into the church I had disregarded so long, but those efforts didn’t work. Lea and I were busy at our careers, and running a bed and breakfast that we used as an excuse to be “too busy” to get back to church. That’s why God had to take more drastic measures.

The Floating Vision
Six weeks before we drove from Indiana to Maine for vacation with some dear friends, God gave me a forewarning in the form of a vision. At the time, I was building a number of wooden replacement storm windows in the basement of our Bed & Breakfast. We had no guests that night, and I had kissed Lea goodnight as she headed upstairs to bed, then went downstairs to work for an hour or two.

Perhaps half an hour later, as I started brushing paint on one of the window frames, I heard Lea call softly from the top of the basement stairs, “Larry.” I was a little surprised she wasn’t already asleep, and responded, “What?” She didn’t reply. Sometimes when she was looking for me she wouldn’t realize that I was in the basement, and would go on into the rest of the house looking for me.

But, that night, since we had no guests, I had turned all the lights off when I went down to the basement, and had even left the door open, which would spill light out into the dark kitchen.

“Larry,” she called softly. “I’m in the basement, hon,” I replied a little louder than before. Again, no reply.

I wondered if I should go find her, but I was almost done, and didn’t want to leave the painting unfinished. “Larry,” she called softly again. I put my paint brush down, a little alarmed, that she didn’t answer me. I hurried up the stairs and saw her standing in the doorway in a simple white nightgown.

“What is it, honey?” I asked.
She said, “I died!” almost as though surprised.
“What!?” I said, thinking I must have misunderstood her.
“I died,” she repeated, and started to fade away. Just as she vanished, I noticed she was floating above the floor, her feet dangling below the gown.

I ran up to our bedroom, where I found her laying on her side toward the center of the bed. I reached out to place my hand on her arm, while praying silently that she was still warm. As I touched her, she turned slowly to me, nearly asleep, and asked, “What’s wrong?” All I could get out, was, “I just wanted to tell you that I love you.” She smiled faintly, turned back, and went to sleep.

I stood there for several minutes, unable to make myself leave her side. How confused I felt! The horror I felt just ran up and down my limbs and my mind raced seeking some logical explanation for what I had seen. Over the next two days, the vision was constantly in my thoughts, and I shared it with Lea and other family members over the next couple of days. Although puzzled by it, I didn’t put enough importance on it. It was just one of those inexplicable things that sometimes happen. Later that same week, however, I had another incident.

The Casket Vision
Lea had again gone on to bed while I finished up some things downstairs. When I entered our bedroom, dimly lit by the nightlight across the room, I saw Lea lying on her back, the covers thrown back, with her hands folded on her chest. And, just for an instant, I thought I saw her lying in an open casket.

The vision nearly brought me to my knees. I was really shaken. I didn’t wake Lea, but lay down beside her, and wept silently as I prayed for clarity. I know how final death is. There is no second chance to say the things you wish you had told them. There is no “Do over.” If you haven’t said it, or shared it before they pass, it’s just too late, and, you have to live with that regret.

I really understood, for the first time, how horribly I would miss Lea if I no longer had her at my side. I knew that I was being given a message to spend more quality time with Lea. To make sure that all those things that needed to be said between us were said. We had many warm, loving, friend-to-friend conversations over the next few weeks, and I felt closer to her than ever.

Less than 2 months later she lay in that coma, practically dead. Certainly her body had given up, and her spirit, the soul that makes her who she is, was not present. The body was being kept alive by machines. I kept thinking about the visions, and now, I feared, the Lord was now taking her away from me. I prayed constantly, silently talking to God as though He were physically at my side.

Over the first few days in the hospital, it was revealed to me that if I wanted God to listen to my prayers for miraculous healing, I was going to have to get right with Him. I had been out of fellowship with the church for decades, and I was going to have to change my heart.  I prayed earnestly for forgiveness, and I promised God that if He allowed her to stay with me, I would make this chapter of our lives about her, and our lives about His service.

But, God knows my pride, and that I struggle with being submissive, so He had to keep working on me to break through my resistance. During one particularly tough day, Lea’s lungs stopped functioning for the second time. She was still in a coma, but the medical team had been trying to wean her off the ventilator. But, fluid buildup in the chest cavity created so much pressure the lungs simply collapsed, and breathing stopped. 

A doctor and a respiratory therapist quickly responded, and had me roll Lea up on her side and hold her while the doctor inserted a large needle through her back into her chest cavity to drain the fluid, and got her lungs started again. As I stood there holding the comatose body of the person I have so dearly loved in this life, I realized that what I loved about her wasn’t there in that bed. Her spirit . . . the essence of who she is . . . was somewhere else . . . maybe already in heaven.

The horrors just kept coming. I was emotionally exhausted, with no relief in sight.
I prostrated myself before Him that night in my bedroom, praying for strength. I knew that my faith was being tested, that I was being disciplined to get me back into the role set out for me. I also knew that God’s will was going to be served, regardless, and that my test of faith could include Lea’s death. Once I recognized and accepted those realities, I began praying a little differently, asking to be given strength to accept His will for my life and bring honor to Him regardless what challenges were placed before me.

As I lay there, He brought the book of James to mind.  James 1:3 – “The testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  I re-read the Book of James the next day while sitting with Lea in the ICU, and the Lord revealed several other things to me. One piece of scripture that really hit home was James 1:5-8  5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Those who doubt should not think they will receive anything from the Lord; 8 they are double-minded and unstable in all they do.” I resolved to be single minded and stable.

James 4:15 – “If it is the Lord’s will we will live and do this or that.” I gave myself up to our Father, submitted to His will, and told Him I knew that He had control. If He chose to take Lea home, I prayed that He would grant me the wisdom and depth of faith to deal with my loss in such a way that I could be a sound witness and demonstrate the peace He gives His children.

It’s difficult to think of trouble as being a blessing when you’re going through such a difficult trial, but we know that it is true. We grow much more in faith through dealing with difficulties, than we do just cruising through life. James 5:11 teaches, “As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.”

James 4:10 – “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Pride has always been one of my biggest challenges, and I realized that pride was at the root of my separation from the church years ago. I began working hard to let it go, and confessed to God that I needed His help in casting that demon out. I continue working on humbling myself every day to bring my pride under control.

James 2:18; “Faith without works is dead.” I had not been working for the Lord for a long time, because I let the devil, through my pride, turn me away from the church. God was showing me that He wanted me back in fellowship, and He and I were talking constantly during those days as He strengthened my faith.

James 5:16 – “Confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed.” I am confessing to you that I am a work in progress, flawed, but with hope eternal through salvation made possible by the blood and resurrection of Jesus.

I thank the Lord for bringing me back into the fold, and for restoring Lea to a healthful state. I know that each and every day is a very special gift from my loving Father. I try to care for Lea as though she is really special to God, because I believe she is. Lea and I feel that sharing our story is the ministry God our Father has set before us, and we are blessed through that testimony to be a blessing to others!

I suppose perhaps the main lesson to be taken from our experience is to recognize that you have a special role to play in God’s plan, and you must guard against Satan turning you from that role. Satan never takes a vacation.  He is always present, always looking for a way to turn us from God.  Be alert! “Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8)

Strengthen yourself in the Lord, putting on His full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11). That means, among other things, to remember and believe that as a Christian you have received the righteousness of Jesus. It’s a defense against the ongoing accusations that the enemy tries to speak into your life. Stand confident that the Father loves YOU and in the fact that He does have good plans for you!

Please continue to pray for Lea and me as we continue our walk with God; that we can stand firm against the devil’s wiles and schemes, and that our life’s story can be a blessing to others and bring them into the light of this world, our savior, Jesus Christ.

I spent my early days in the Radio/TV business, and have always resisted promoting any commercial entity without being paid for it. I even remove the car dealer’s stickers when I buy a new car! If they want to pay me to promote them, they are welcome to, otherwise their material comes off my property.

So, it isn’t lightly that I add today’s post promoting shopping at Sears. However, this company is exhibiting a level of patriotism I find lacking in most of our country today, and feel that Sears deserves a pat on the back.

I think you will be impressed with what Sears is doing for their employees who are called to active duty.  This isn’t internet gossip, I confirmed it at Snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/sears.asp).

Sears treats its employees who are called up for military duty in a most honorable way. By law, they are required to hold the jobs open and available for the servicemen and women,but nothing more. Usually, those employees have to take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called to active duty.

Sears, however, is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries between military pay and what the employee would have been earning back home, and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.

This makes Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen in my book, and they should be recognized for this policy. I suggest we all shop Sears for at least one item this Christmas season, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves.

The note below is from family friends of 30 years, and their son Kevin is currently on active duty with the US Army.

“We can also verify this (Sear’s policy) as Kevin was a part-time employee for Sears when his Reserve Unit was activated and then deployed to Iraq.  Sears continues to include him in the employee promotional programs and just the other day he received an employee award (mailed home) even though he is deployed.  He is expected home this month and Sears has taken the initiative to offer him his old job or a full-time job.

Nice to see that some firms stand behind their words!
Mike”

I needed this reminder since Sears isn’t always my first choice, although I have been a customer for decades.  They need to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to show them, as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military! I will make a special effort to purchase at least one of my Christmas gifts from them this year. I hope you will too.

Today is our grandson, Benjamin’s, first birthday. It will be a day of celebration and joy enjoyed by many of his loved ones, with sweets and treats, gifts and tokens of love carefully selected to be special to him and his parents. There will be no gift, however, more touching, powerful, or stirring than that I will receive as God grants me the privilege of seeing my wife with my grandson; a blessing I had never even dreamed was possible.

I awoke early yesterday morning with thanksgiving in my thoughts. As I often do, when I realized I was awake, I also realized that I was praying, thanking God for the blessings He has worked in our lives, and for another day to be together. I also found myself thinking back on where we were three years ago; a time that is, gratefully, slowly beginning to lose its piercing pain and fade from its constant presence, and was led to go back and look at the photos from Lea’s time in Hartford Hospital, to remind myself of where we were just three years ago.

Lea was still struggling with regaining strength and control of her muscular system after having been in a coma for so long. She couldn’t walk or even hold a drinking glass. She couldn’t gather enough strength to tear the paper off a drinking straw. She was on a ventilator; her lungs hadn’t recovered from the collaspes caused by her course of treatment. She was trying to regain her memory and full use of her mental functions, although the surgeons said she might not.

Her nurse, Chris Watkins, had bravely lowered her into a cardiac chair, bundled her up, hooked all of her equipment to transmitters, and wheeled her outside the hospital for her first breath of fresh air in three months. She had just taken an overall turn for the worse, and her air ambulance transfer to an Indianapolis hospital had been cancelled for fear that she wouldn’t survive the ordeal. Another nurse, Liz Blair, had taken extra time to help Lea work through another panic attack caused by her recent weaning from the paralyzing narcotics that had kept her physical and mental capacities immobilized.

Our son Lance had just left for a flight back home after spending several days with us. He had brought several small games for his mother to help her regain her abilities, and spent countless hours trying to help her recall the difference between a cat and a dog, or to be able to manipulate her fingers enough to grip and pull two small magnets apart. He had gently combed her hair and put it in a pony tail for her. He shaved her legs, painted her nails, and talked excitedly about the upcoming visit from two of her dearest friends, Shana and Sherri, who were supposed to arrive in a couple of days. Unfortunately, her health took another downturn during their visit, and it was quite disappointing for all of us. It took another two and a half months to be released from the hospital.

As I was led to review the photos from three years ago, I was moved to tears and blubbered mouthings of gratitude and praise for our caregivers, our friends and family who helped in every way they could, the daily doses of strength the Lord provided me, and the release from the horror I constantly felt for those terrible six months. I cried as I recalled the helplessness of those days and nights, and yet, there were two photos the Lord put on my heart and moved me to share these thoughts in praise of His unspeakable love, kindness, grace, and benevolence.

As Lea and I prepare to attend the first birthday party for our grandson, we will be keeping in mind that he is much more than a blessing from our God, he is a reward! We had no idea that there would ever be a grandson in our lives. We couldn’t even think beyond the end of each day during those times. But, the joy we feel today when we are with Benjamin, the glimpses of God’s love we see in his eyes, and the soul-warming promise of his embrace are incredible! The effect on Lea’s mental acuity has been wonderful as she cares for and plays with him. I have been blessed over and over by seeing her recover much of her “old self” in the past year. Praise God!

The photos are of Lance with his mother on October 23, 2005 in Hartford Hospital, and of Lea on October 26, 2005, napping with the stuffed animal Lance had purchased for her. God’s sense of humor, and His hidden promise, are evident in these snapshots, because He knew there was a greater gift in our future.

I give thanks for each and every day Lea and Ihave together, and pray for God’s guidance in helping us better witness for Him. To God be the glory. Amen.

Grandma’s Apron

I don’t think our kids know for sure what an important role grandma’s apron played in history. It was like a badge of honor to wear it. It showed how capable the girl or woman wearing it was to handle whatever challenges came along.

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath while she tended to keeping her home. It was a part of her everyday wear; a practice she had started when she was a child.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood-fired cook stove. Still, she smiled when she thought of how much better that was than the open fireplace her grandmother had to cook in!

That apron also served as a handy potholder for retrieving hot casseroles from the oven, or those heavy iron skillets from the stove top. It was essential for gripping those pesky caps screwed on the glass jars of food she canned and stored earlier.

It carried in all sorts of vegetables she pulled from the garden. After the corn was shucked, the peas shelled, or the beans snapped, it was handy for carrying out the waste.

On the return trip it carried in wood chips and kindling for the kitchen stove. Sometimes it carried in a piece or two of firewood just to keep the fire going until the men got back up to the house.

From the chicken coop, it carried in that morning’s eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven of the cook stove.

In the spring, the apron was used to bring in sweet berries, and in the fall, delicious fruit from the trees out in the yard. On cool mornings grandma wrapped it around her arms to still the chill while she got the wood fire going.

Toward evening, when dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron real high, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

When unexpected company drove up the dirt road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds! And, as the dust settled, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids as they snuggled in close.

But perhaps the most wonderful role it played was drying children’s tears, or draping over their shoulders for comfort, cleaning out dirty ears, or applying just a little spit to clean a dirt streaked cheek.

It was certainly a simpler time, when grandma’s “old-time apron” was arguably the most versatile and comforting device in memory. It once symbolized everything good about the safety zone of the American home; love, devotion and skill at everything from cooking to medicine and home management to child psychology.

No, our kids can’t know what a wonderful thing grandma’s apron was, but they’ll go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on it!

(I don’t think I ever heard of anyone catching anything bad from grandma’s apron . . . . )

PRAISE GOD! I give thanks today on so many levels for SO many blessings our family has received! God’s shower of blessings for Lea and myself during and following her illness have just been absolutely humbling. Even though Lea’s medical expenses left us financially devastated His provisioning for us has been constant and steady. Along the way we have found a much better relationship with Him, with each other, and with our service in a local church body.

I am greatly relieved that the Indiana house Dottie & Dave purchased to provide for our needs has indeed been sold. The house was certainly a perfect blessing for us, and its provision was one of the most generous acts I have ever heard of. I know the Lord has arranged for their compensation, and Lea and I feel an undying gratitude, and love them all the more. The house again became a solution when my mother suddenly needed help with housing.

Just as that occurred, the Lord opened a door for Lea and me to relocate to Texas for the next phase of her recovery. We were led to a fine doctor who accepted the special challenges of Lea’s medical needs, we were provisioned a lovely rental home in a delightful setting in close proximity to my younger son’s family, and I was able to continue the part time consulting work that helps with expenses. Lea has found a renewed sense of purpose in caring for our new grandson, and her mental progress has been amazing since we relocated

She now has accepted the fact that it is unlikely that she will ever have her abdominal ventral hernia surgically closed, and that she will have to wear an elastic binder that reaches from her hips to her shoulder blades 24 X 7. The joy of caring for the grandson, and seeing God’s wonders reflected in his development, has been the best medicine for her and has lifted her from the troublesome place her mind resided prior to our move. Again, the Lord provisioned for our needs according to His plan!

When Lea’s illness devastated our financial reserves, we sorrowfully abandoned the lifestyle we had enjoyed, and just got down to the basics of survival. Back then Lea still had an active fistula draining pancreatic fluid onto her new skin graft over her bowels, which had been left exposed by her many surgeries. Her medical needs were intense.

Her physical weakness caused her to be confined to a wheelchair or walker, her mental acuity was very poor due to the addictive narcotics she was taking to control her constant pain, and her emotional state was tremulous at best. Providing a continual flow of positive experiences, and protecting her from negative ones, was a constant requirement, since it could take her days to recover from mental anguish.

Over time, as she continued to heal, she was able to reduce the amount of narcotics she needed to offset the pain and was able to get back to meal preparation, which is one of her favorite activities. She improved physically, too, and eventually was able to progress from using a walker to a cane, which affords better mobility. Even though she subsequently had knee joint replacement surgery, the implant was not entirely successful, and she still has to use a cane to maintain her balance. Perhaps some day we will have that surgically corrected, but she isn’t ready to consider that yet.

We are becoming active in our local church as her health permits, and really enjoy going to adult bible study on Wednesday nights. It is a delightful gathering of like-minded Christians with a prepared meal and study of the scripture led by the pastor, who has a charming demeanor and comprehensive knowledge of the scriptures. We were led to his church by our new neighbors.

We have had the privilege of getting to know our grandson’s maternal grandparents better, and delight in being able to spend time with them. They have vastly different backgrounds than our own, but we share the love for our family and a love of the Lord that has made our move here much easier. We look forward to growing closer as we all help our grandson grow in the Lord.

Looking back over the past three years, I am so glad God intervened in our lives! I had mistakenly planned for security, but God planned for spiritual growth. I had tried to build security for Lea’s retirement, expecting that I would be the first to go to my heavenly reward. He took security away to remind us that our purpose here is to prepare for eternal life. Lea and I have much less now, but have gained so much more. We no longer have financial security, and I continue to struggle with that emotionally, but we have the peace and comfort of knowing that He is moving mightily in our lives, and that His purpose for us will play out in His way in His own time.

One of my favorite hymns, Amazing Grace was made even more special for me a few years ago when I heard my daughter-in-law perform it, a cappella, during a very touching ceremony to recognize fallen Civil War era soldiers. I will never forget how beautiful her voice sounded as it echoed off the tall buildings downtown as a horse-drawn wagon passed carrying a flag draped casket.

I received a link to a video of a performance of Amazing Grace by Wintley Phipps, in one of the most profound performances I have heard. It made chills run up my back, and brought tears to my eyes, as I felt the Spirit and visualized the setting this hymn came from. I think you will enjoy it, too.

Wintley Phipps is an ordained Seventh Day Aventist minister, world-renowned vocal artist, and president of the US Dream Academy. He also founded Songs of Freedom Publishing Company and Coral Records Recording Company. Mr. Phipps has been the featured speaker and performer at many notable occasions around the world. Additional videos can be found just by searching on his name. He currently serves as Pastor of a church in Palm Bay, Florida.

If you aren’t familiar with the slave-ship-captain-turned-evangelist John Henry Newton, there is a lot of interesting information on him on Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia. He was the author of many hymns, including Amazing Grace. He was born in London, the son of a shipmaster in the Mediterranean service. At the age of 11 he went to sea with his father and sailed with him on a total of six voyages.

In 1743, he was pressed into naval service, and became a midshipman. After attempting to desert, Newton was put in irons, court martialed, and received a flogging of eight dozen lashes. He went on to become enslaved himself before being freed by a friend of his father’s.

Sailing back to England in 1748 aboard the slave-ship Greyhound on the Atlantic, the ship encountered a severe storm and almost sank. Newton awoke in the middle of the night and prayed to God as the ship filled with water. It was this experience which he later marked as the beginnings of his conversion to evangelical Christianity. He later said that his true conversion did not happen until some time later: “I cannot consider myself to have been a believer in the full sense of the word, until a considerable time afterwards.”

Still, he didn’t renounce the slave trade until later in his life when he wrote a tract decrying it in aid of abolitionist sympathies. He only gave up seafaring and his slave-trading activities in 1754, after a serious illness.

Much later he published his thoughts about the African slave trade, which is quoted here:

“With our ships, the great object is, to be full. When the ship is there, it is thought desirable she should take as many as possible. The cargo of a vessel of a hundred tons, or little more, is calculated to purchase from two hundred and twenty to two hundred and fifty slaves. Their lodging-rooms below the deck, which are three (for the men, the boys, and the women), besides a place for the sick, are sometimes more than five feet high, and sometimes less; and this height is divided towards the middle, for the slaves lie in two rows, one above the other, on each side of the ship, close to each other, like books upon a shelf. I have known them so close that the shelf would not, easily, contain one more. And I have known a white man sent down, among the men, to lay them in these rows to the greatest advantage, so that as little space as possible might be lost.

“Let it be observed, that the poor creatures, thus cramped for want of room, are likewise in irons, for the most part both hands and feet, and two together, which makes it difficult for them to turn or move, to attempt either to rise or to lie down, without hurting themselves, or each other. Nor is the motion of the ship, especially her heeling, or stoop on one side, when under sail, to be omitted; for this, as they lie athwart, or cross the ship, adds to the uncomfortableness of their lodging, especially to those who lie on the leeward or leaning side of the vessel.”

John Newton went on to study theology, and went on to pastor churches and was also a prolific hymnist. So popular was his preaching that the church he pastored in Olney for 16 years had a gallery added to accommodate the large numbers who flocked to hear him. In 1767 William Cowper, the poet, moved to Olney, worshipped at Newton’s church, and collaborated with Newton on producing a volume of hymns, called Olney Hymns. This work had a great influence on English hymnology. The volume included Newton’s well -known hymns “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken”, “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds!”, “Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare”, “Approach, My Soul, the Mercy-seat”, and “Amazing Grace”.

What a blessing it is, to listen to this performance, and experience anew the thrill of God’s love!

ABOUT HARTFORD LETTERS

Experience the Miraculous Healing and Recovery of Lea Vaughn, and the incredible spiritual journey of her husband during 180 days in Hartford Hospital. Read his original daily emails in "Hartford Letters" above. ____________________________

In “Prayer,” above:

For Dave
Praise: Lea
For Bill and Jane
For Megan
For Charlotte
For Marnita
Praise: Gary
Praise: fellowship
For Herb
Praise: Joe
For Lea
For Unnamed

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