Tag Archives: Amazement

Oblivious

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10, WEB) 

I can be oblivious at times. As Beth will attest, it’s usually when I’ve got my thoughts deeply imbedded in a particularly difficult conundrum trying to unravel the pieces of a complex problem to create an elegant and simple solution. At other times I’m just tired from resolving the aforementioned puzzle and my brain goes into the oft ridiculed “nothing” box which every male keeps handy for escape and relaxation. But, there are many areas of life where I endeavor to be very observant. Sometimes for safety reasons and other times to insure I’m behaving appropriately for the sake of those around me.

When I was growing up my parents instilled in me certain cultural expectations and behaviors for the sake of politeness and common sense. One of those areas was driving habits. Always look out for the other driver. Don’t do anything which can distract you from the road. Always pay attention to your surroundings just in case you need an unexpected detour to escape an accident or obstruction.

Driving back from the beach one day Beth and I were enjoying some music as we cruised down the highway. Traffic was minimal but there were a few other autos peppered along he highway. We slowly passed some and others passed us. Then a big car went flying past us in the left lane. Being passed was not unusual for us. However, when I looked over at the driver he was reading. He wasn’t glancing at highway signs but held a book in his hand, in front of the steering wheel, and was reading and turning pages as he evidently exceeded the speed limit in a casual fashion.

Aghast at the apparent lack of concern for other vehicles or his personal safety it reminded me of other “modern” annoyances. I’ll admit I’ve done some stupid things and been oblivious to others around me. Still, I try to be courteous and not endanger my fellow human beings. I’m not old fashioned when it comes to technology and courtesy.

How many times have you stood in line when someone answered their cell phone? There’s normally nothing wrong with that. We carry cell phones to be available everywhere (another topic I’ll leave for another post). However, if you have to shout into the phone so loud that others stare at you then something is amiss. If your phone is that poor get a new phone. I’m convinced the person you’re talking to can hear your booming voice without the aid of the telecommunications network. Really people. Show some consideration and concern for those around you.

Back on the driving kick and cell phones, driving, and traffic lights. Is your life so hectic and important that you must text or call someone every time your car comes to a stop. And, what makes you think that suddenly driving below the speed limit on a busy road makes it safe to text or call someone? Where did common sense go?

It just seems to me people have become so self absorbed that there’s a perpetual lack of attention to anyone and anything around them. You’re so important that holding hands and spanning an entire walkway in a busy mall is OK even if other shoppers are piling up behind your show of family unity. Who cares if the waiter can’t hear your order because the person a couple tables away is shouting in their phone?

People are taking a back seat to what “I” want or the prevalent persistent attention seeking electronic devices so ubiquitously beeping and clanging not to be ignored. We’ve become too worried that we might miss something happening and thus be a social outcast because we failed to read, laugh at, and comment on some bane, self indulgent post on social media. We cannot travel 60 seconds without a conversation which is best left to our full attention.

I’m reminded of the Psalmist’s admonition to pay attention. Be still, and know that I am God the Lord proclaims. We can’t be in tune with our savior and creator if we are always focusing on the creation and the things we’ve created. When flushed with a need to tweet, text, post or otherwise interact via an impersonal piece of electronics; perhaps it’s time to pause, quiet our thoughts, still our heart, and realize God is the one in control. When we lift our eyes to focus on the God of the universe it keep us from becoming oblivious to those around us, the very ones He created just as he created us. He’ll keep our vision focused and not oblivious.

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Musicals

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. (Psalms 28:7 ESV)

As early as I can remember I listened to music, sang music, and enjoyed music. I married a beautiful lady who also loves music and singing. It’s no wonder a love for music also developed in our children.

Ellice, our firstborn bundle of joy, started singing when she exited the womb and hasn’t stopped since. She sang in the crib, sang in the tub, sang when we traveled, sang in church, sang in the shower, and still sings whenever the chance or a momentary silence provides an opportunity.

In High SchoolEllice was involved with a theater group on Guam. This collection of students from schools across the island presented a number of excellent musicals including Camelot, A Christmas Carol and others. The best students from each school worked on their musical abilities and prepared for the big opening day.

Ellice with the Frost kids

Ellice with the Frost kids

Ellice said she had a singing part in A Christmas Carol. She was part of the chorus. She said it was not a big lead but she was a part in many scenes throughout the musical. Beth and I purchased tickets and headed to opening night.

You can imagine the surprise on our faces and the flutter in our hearts when a young lady began a long solo. It took about two notes to recognize the voice and know Ellice had hoodwinked her parents.

She was part of the chorus to be sure but also had a major piece as part of the plot. Singing about bed clothes and parsing out the dead Scrooge’s things she delighted us and the audience with her talent. Humility is a great Christian virtue. That evening we were humbled at God’s gift in our daughter. At the same time we were proud of her abilities and rolled these feelings into one set of emotions.

Over the years our family listened to many musicals and sang along with one another and the tape, CD or record (yes we had all those things are one time or another). We would spend an entire day interspersing songs from different musicals into the events of theday.

We would start the morning singing Oh, What a Beautiful Morning to wake one another. A news program might bring out the chorus to Everything’s up to date in Kansas City. Talking about boyfriends and girlfriends might spark a rousing rendition of Matchmaker. Singing as a family has always been a delight.

I don’t have the chance to hear her much these days. She is grown, teaching school, raising children and singing for a church in another country. When we do get together you can be guaranteed there will be at least one songfest as a family.

It’s amazing how many people remember the songs in musicals. When you start singing part of Sunrise Sunset someone is bound to join in the refrain. Our hearts and souls respond in a miraculous way to the musical melodies of the world.

Starting with Moses and Israel singing “The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea,” we have been singing praises to God ever since. We may argue over “acceptable” music but cannot deny the ability of music to teach, admonish and encourage us as believers.

Ellice astonished us with her solo. I still remember the stage, the song, and all the events of that night. God astonishes me regularly with a melody, a psalm, a musical song that grabs my heart and brings me closer to Him. I remember these moments.

When was the last time God amazed you with a touch of music? What musical score do you remember best? Is Oklahoma easier to remember than your favorite hymn or chorus? Maybe it’s time to rekindle the work of music in your soul and give God thanks through music.

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Arms and Awards

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 WEB)

On our first furlough Beth, Joel and Ellice spent most of their time in our furlough mission home and with the small Bible Church in O’Fallon, Missouri while I was out visiting churches, pastors and supporters. Since Beth was pregnant this worked well. She could establish a permanent obstetrician and get things in order about the house. Ellice was in school. She attended J.L. Mudd Elementary School.

J.L. Mudd Elementary School was a short bus trip from our home. Each morning we watched Ellice walk down the street to the corner and wait for the familiar yellow colored Blue Bird school bus. Why they called them Blue Bird buses when they were yellow is a mystery. There were other young children in the neighborhood so Ellice had the chance to make friends at home and at school. Unlike Guam she was just one of the crowd, not a pale faced foreigner.

Along with school Ellice and Joel were busy with the Awana programs at the church. The church, although small, was filled with gracious loving hearts ready and willing to share the Gospel and ministry with as many as possible. Each week Ellice and Joel would sing, play games, learn verses and get to know the other children in the church and neighborhood. Beth was also part of the teaching and fun each week.

Ellice and Joel had a blast and earned a number of awards during the year. One highlight was to attend the awards night. In the spring there was a big night planned and Ellice was to receive a special award. She was excited all day and could hardly wait.

Just after dinner she went outside to play on the swing set. There was still an hour before the ceremony. I glanced out the window watched as she started walking slowly back toward the house. The look on her face made it obvious something was wrong. Her joyous smile was gone and she looked serious.

Ellice came in and told us she fell from the swing. At first she didn’t want to say anything because she wanted to go to the ceremony. Her arm hurt. We looked at the arm, considered waiting until after the ceremony but it was obvious a visit to the Emergency Room was necessary.

I drove her to the hospital in St. Joseph’s and explained the incident to the staff. Beth took Joel and attended the Awana awards to receive Ellice’s award. This may sound routine but I’m not a lover of hospitals, needles, doctors or anything associated with hospitals, needles or doctors. After I worked in a hospital for four years I avoided walking through the doors like there is a plague inside. It was a miracle I was able to attend the birth of all my children!

That evening Ellice and I were killing time waiting for an available doctor in the Emergency Room. A doctor finally came to us and smiled as we repeated the details of the accident. A few minutes of examination, one X-ray and it was a definite break. Not only was it a break but it would require a “closed reduction” to complete the break and set the arm correctly. It was too late in the evening for the surgery so a temporary cast was applied, the operation scheduled for the next morning and we returned home with the news.

Ellice was a sad little puppy that evening. Not only had she missed receiving her special award, “Sparky of the Year,” but now she had to go back to the hospital for surgery. Surgery was uncertain territory for Ellice. This was not the first broken bone but the first requiring surgery. I don’t believe she slept well that night.

The next morning Beth and I took Joel to stay with friends and headed to the hospital. Ellice was a trouper. It was apparent she was concerned but did well as they dressed her, gave her medication to sleep and started an IV.

The procedure was quick and short. Basically they completed the break then set and cast the arm. Fortunately this does not require opening of the arm. It sounds rather brutal but was necessary to insure a clean and straight healing process. A few hours later Ellice awoke and was groggy for a while then had some pain but recovered rather quickly.

As a second grader Ellice was not going to slow down just for some broken arm. She pressed on, had a great time as school let out for the summer and ignored that stiff arm as she played, jumped, ran and did all the things a little girl does to have fun.

I wonder why things happen when they do. They don’t always make sense and sometimes seem brutal. Ellice missed her award but gained strength in her ability to deal with accidents, and even hospitals. I’m not sure why God allowed this to happen but I do know it was for a reason. Sometimes we need to just wait and listen to discover the good from a bad situation.

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Roach Invasion

He said, “Throw it on the ground.” He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses ran away from it. (Exodus 4:3 WEB)

Nobody that I know likes roaches. They are disgusting little creatures you work a lifetime to eliminate from your home. As I was growing up the thought of finding a roach in our home was scandalous. Like everyone else, when they appeared we would quickly eradicate them by a heavy implementation of chemical weapons from the Raid company.

Guam was the perfect breeding ground for these critters. But Guam spawned no ordinary roaches. They ranged in size from miniscule to several inches. They could fly and would bite if handled. They loved cardboard boxes, especially stored in the outdoor cupboard, dark places and moisture. With the high humidity of the island there were always places for the enemy to expand their family tree. Their appearance was timed for when guests arrived or some other special event.

12820_16I remember scratching at something in my sleep one night. Suddenly I realized that the “something” was moving across my leg! God’s design of the human mind is amazing. Within microseconds my mind went from la-la land to perfect alertness. I sprang from the bed with a shout, tossed off the covers and watched the immense night stalker dive for cover under the edge of the waterbed.

Beth, needless to say, was a bit startled at my sudden night time desire to remake the bedding. Six words, “there’s a roach in the bed,” and she too sprang to life, leapt from the comfort of the bed grabbed a can of raid and joined the hunt. Ten minutes later, the bed a mess, and our nerves on edge, we crushed the invader into another life, prayerfully down below. All hopes of a good night’s rest were banished as we cautiously returned to bed. For hours we thought any movement might indicate another invader. The next day we were very tired indeed!

Another night I was at a church board meeting until late in the evening. When I arrived home I was greeted with a trophy board of roaches. It seems Beth and Ellice disturbed a piece of furniture, long sitting dormant, and unleashed an invasion. They achieved the upper hand and created the trophy to demonstrate their hunting prowess.

Like roaches the schemes of Satan can be found anywhere and everywhere in this world. It only takes the projection of Jesus’ perfect light to find the enemy running for cover. As believers we must be vigilant to notice that touch, however light and unexpected, which signals something isn’t right. It’s then we need to jump, bring our thoughts to focus on God and call for the Holy exterminator.

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First Site of the Antennas

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;” that is, the word of faith, which we preach: (Romans 10:8 WEB)

On the day of our arrival, we were driven to the southern end of the island to the village of Malesso (Merizo). As we approached from the west we could see the impressive towers and antennas God used to reach into the Far East to over a third of the world’s population. Our hearts leapt with joy and tears welled up in our eyes to see these steel and aluminum behemoths rising from the ridge of Mount Schroeder.

KTWR Antennas

Shortwave antennas beaming the Gospel of Grace and Salvation to the Far East.

We rounded the southern tip of the island, drove up the mountain, down a dirt road and arrived at the transmitter building. Here I would be working with other engineers and technicians to bring the saving message of the Gospel to millions of people at the press of a button. This was a new world. I worked in commercial radio for many years prior to God’s calling to TWR but not on the scale of these large antennas and not in the short wave world.

George took us on a tour of the building and the antenna farm. It would not be until later, when I was working that we’d hear the actual programs being aired. People from all over the USA and the world were gathered, no, brought together by God to use the wonder of modern electronics to make us fishers of men with a very long fishing pole.

As an engineer I have a special fascination and love for electronics and radio in particular. When we’re driving through cities I spot radio towers and antennas and then try to determine the type and purpose for each installation. This isn’t something on my Beth’s list of things to do when traveling. However, in this case the scientific purpose of the antennas was of no interest as my heart jumped for joy realizing their eternal purpose was more than the flow of electrons and wave forms. In these wires flowed the message of everlasting life and eternity to the hearts of the listeners.

The difference between my previous experience in radio and what lie ahead took shape. This wasn’t a job, this wasn’t an occupation to keep the family fed and clothes on our backs. This was a calling from God to do whatever the Lord called us to do in order for others to hear, understand, and respond to the marvelous message of salvation and love from God through his son Jesus the Christ.

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