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Aside
By Still Waters I

Fighting

A dear friend of mine is fighting. She has been fighting all her life. She is not a stranger to war. Weapons are daily raised up by her against formidable foes. Her strategies are often the pulling down of that which is offensive and dangerous to her. Some of her battles are so intense, they are hand-to-hand combat. Someone always gets hurt. Her battles are not reported on in the media. No one posts them on Facebook, inviting heated and often hurtful debates. There are no tweets provoking angry responses and self-righteous reactions. No one would label her battles current events. Special interest groups don’t eye them as potential political vehicles. In fact, most of her fighting is done in secret. Even her closest loved ones and friends only see the fringes of her battles.

My friend is fighting the good fight of faith. Her enemies? They are three-fold: Her sinful self, the devil, and worldly temptations. Her weapon? “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17) How intense have been her battles? Only she really knows. But does several miscarriages, a daughter’s battle with cancer, a grandchild lost to cancer, a daughter-in-law lost to cancer, and a fast-approaching death – her own – by cancer, sound like someone who is intimately familiar with battlefield warfare? And these trials, in and of themselves, have not been the objects of her fierce retaliation. Rather, she has aimed her Weapon at her sinful nature that demands a rebellious allegiance and approach to her trials. Where are her battles fought? My friend’s battles are fought within her. Who then gets hurt? Her old nature. Her old nature that, from her youngest years, and in all her trials, both small and great, has lied to her just as Satan lied to Eve in the garden. The lies sound like this: “God doesn’t love you. God cannot be trusted. You know better than God.” Her old nature constantly demands worship and ownership of these lies. Oh, this battle is fierce. It makes world wars look tame, and the clamoring, violent crowds of current events seem foolish. And no one sees this fierce conflict.

This same battle has been experienced by thousands and tens of thousands for over 6,000 years now. And by God’s great grace, each battle has ended ultimately in victory. Heaven is full of victorious soldiers – all of whom are casting down their crowns and giving glory to the One Who gave them the victory by His Own Triumph over sin and death.

Oh, the world is filled with battles and conflicts, riots and rebellion. People want this and people want that, and they make it clearly known by their angry fists, signs, policies, words and armies. Don’t be fooled. The real battles are being raged quietly all around you, in the hearts of those who are seeking to put to death the sin of their old nature, that they may be conformed more and more to image of God’s Son.

When my friend is finished with her last battle, and can lay down her sword, she will be able to say, by God’s grace, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim 4:7). And her quiet battle will be over.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 1 Corinthians 10:3-5

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Tim 6:12

Fighting

Aside
By Still Waters I

New Morning Sonnet

Today the sun came up with sharp hellos.
My eyes, surprised, oh my, they looked away.
And then, with awe and sweet shy aglow
Within the room, behind the glass, I gazed.
Horizon dim, so far away, bespoke
Of fleeing night and coming day.
Across the field, all sleeping things awoke
As darkness lifted and flung itself away.
And now the life is at the sill for me
And enters in the cold and early room.
The sleep is gone but leaves no vacancy,
The birth of day so like the empty tomb.
I pondered newness that repeats itself,
Like Spring that shouts for praise unto Thyself.

New Morning Sonnet

Aside
Mrs. Agnew's Corner

A Run Away Story or A Day In The Life of A Busy Mom

While driving my youngest daughter to her soccer practice, I received a phone call. My daughter looked at the phone and said it was our vet. I told her to just let it ring because I figured I knew what they were calling about and that I wasn’t too happy with this vet anyway and that I was going to look around for a new one. The phone stopped ringing, and in a few minutes, we heard the message ding sound. The phone rang again, and it was the vet again. I sighed and told my daughter to give me the phone. I answered the phone, and the woman on the other end said that this was the vet’s office and that our dog, Holliday, had run away and was at a house near the next town. I said “What?” She said that a man called her and told her that Holliday was at his house and that the vet’s number was on his tag and that is how the vet’s office was able to contact us. I did not even realize that Holliday was gone! He rarely leaves the property, but we don’t always see him because he roams around our 35 acres or hangs out under one of our broken- down cars on the property. I did not see him when we left for soccer practice, but neither was I looking for him. I was so shocked. For Holliday to leave and go that far seemed incredible to me. I told the vet I was driving and could she please text me the contact information. She did, and I called up the gentlemen. He said, yes, the dog was there and had nipped at his mother when she came home. I asked him how Holliday had treated him, as Holliday does not like men, and he said that Holliday had also tried to be surly toward him when he came home, but that he made friends with Holliday and that everything was ok. I told him that Holliday had probably been trying to protect his own property from him. I asked him where Holliday was now, and he said that Holliday was on his front porch hanging out with his dogs. The gentlemen offered to drive Holliday home as he was going out anyway. We went over directions, and I discovered that he did not live near the next town really, but that his address had the name of the next town. Around here, the post office might give your address the city name of the closest city even though you are a several miles away from it. When we first moved here, the post office asked us which city we wanted for our address – the city to the south or the one to the north. I had chosen the one to the south as I figured that the post office to the south would be the one we would be most likely to drive past on our way home from errands and etc. Anyway, this gentleman’s address was for the city to the north, but he actually lives straight west of us behind the bluffs. So, Holliday did not travel as far as I thought. As it turns out, the gentleman is the nephew of another neighbor who also lives just over the bluff and with whom we have had other dog dealings. This uncle’s daughter owned a renegade black lab named Roscoe who, for a season, made his way over the bluffs quite frequently to visit Holliday. At first, we were enamored by Roscoe. But we soon discovered he was a pushy dog, literally, and a dog who would not go away. I took pity on him one cold night and let him stay in our garage, giving him supper that night and breakfast in the morning. That was his in, and thereafter, when Roscoe came trotting over the bluffs to visit, he would stay around for a while, and then he and Holliday would start off west toward the bluffs through our pasture to do who knows what and go who knows where. Then we would holler for Holliday to come back. He always did. We learned to put Holliday in the garage when we saw the black form of Roscoe trotting down from the bluffs toward our house. Occasionally, Roscoe brought a friend, then it was double trouble. We learned to keep Holliday in from these bad friends. After a while, Roscoe and company would get the hint that we were not letting Holliday out to play, and they would head back west again to do their mischief somewhere else. We had not seen Roscoe for many, many months, but when I heard that the gentleman who had Holliday was Roscoe’s owner’s nephew, the mystery of why Holliday would be across the bluffs made sense to me. But the gentleman said that he believed that Roscoe had passed some time ago. Well, perhaps it was his own dogs who were enticing Holliday? Who knew. The gentlemen said that Holliday had been there since morning. I was suspicious that perhaps he had been there all night, because, sometimes at night, I hear a dog barking in the distance and wondered if perhaps Holliday had wandered off toward that fellow dog sound in the dark. I apologized to the gentleman for any trouble caused by Holliday and thanked him for his trouble in getting Holliday back to us. I told him that I was not at home, but that my two sons would be there. We hung up, and I proceeded to call my eldest son, Tim, to tell him that a man was going to be coming to our property to drop off Holliday. Since none of us knew that Holliday was even gone, I felt that I should explain to Tim what would seem to be a very strange thing – here was a man whom Tim did not know, dropping off Holliday, whom Tim did not know was missing. I was also worried that the man would walk up to our house and ring the doorbell, because when Holliday hears the doorbell, no matter if he is in the house or outside, he goes crazy and has been known to bite the person ringing the doorbell even if the person who is ringing the doorbell is standing right next to him. Now, about a week ago, my eldest daughter had put her cell phone in the bottom of a bag she was using for church, and in that bag her water bottle was lying down sideways and leaked water all over everything, including her cell phone. We had tried all kinds of remedies to dry out the phone, including putting it in a container of rice, but to no avail. Since she needed a phone for her travels back and forth to work, she began to borrow her little sister’s phone. On the day we received the call regarding Holliday, I was, like I said, driving my daughter, who is this younger sister, to her soccer practice. Since during her soccer practice I needed to go the bank, I wanted her to have a phone, so she had borrowed her brother’s phone and left her ipod with him. Now her ipod can make and receive calls, but only via internet, which we have at the house, so that is why we took her brother’s phone and left her ipod with him. She had instructed him on how to use the phone before we left. So, when I tried to call him to let him know that a strange man was coming to drop off Holliday, I was frustrated that I couldn’t reach him. I tried and tried and tried, but to no avail. We were almost at soccer practice, and I was getting frantic because I knew that the gentlemen did not live that far away and would be at our house soon. My phone rang, and hoping it was my son, I was disappointed to see that it was not he, but a good friend of mine. Out of habit and stress, I picked up the call knowing that I really didn’t have time to talk to her. I hurriedly explained to her what was going on with Holliday. She knows Holliday and is a dog girl, so she completely understood. After I finished with my frantic story, I asked how she was doing, feeling bad, because I was wondering if she was calling me because of some trouble. She said that she was fine but that she was in the hospital with a friend who broke her wrist. I tried to focus on that situation enough to show that I cared, which I really did, but I had to get back to the Holliday problem. Jan was gracious and let me go. I phoned the gentlemen who was returning Holliday and was relieved that I had caught him just as he had gotten to our driveway. I told him to just let Holliday out and not to ring the doorbell because Holliday might bite him if he did. Whew. I think I covered all the bases. I dropped my daughter off at soccer and drove to the bank. On the way to the bank, my husband called me, and I told him I was on my way to the bank. He said he was calling me to see if I had remembered to go to the bank. Ha. I gave him a brief (unlike this account) rundown on Holliday. I was still pretty flustered when I arrived at the bank drive-through, and I know I said some things to the teller that made no sense at all, and when I thought about it later, I could almost see myself trying to explain to him about our crazy dog. Maybe he would have understood. After soccer, my daughter and I went grocery shopping. When we returned home, I discovered that Holliday had not stayed around after our neighbor had dropped him off, but had run away again, and that my son, indeed, never knew that Holliday had been gone in the first place, that Holliday had been brought back, and that he had run away again.

A Run Away Story or A Day In The Life of a Busy Mom

Aside
By Still Waters I

We Will Not Be Silent

Make a path, Oh, LORD.
Baptize us on our way through.
The dead rock
Split, to release life.
The torrent of blood
Stop, that healing
May be.
The young hand lift up, that
The maiden may arise.
The fish and bread
Multiply, that there may be
Leftovers.
Skin put back on skin
That the ear may again
Hear.
Work, LORD, work, as in the
First six days.
We are standing at the
Barrier
Of the sea.
We will stand still and
We will see
The power of the LORD.
We will not be
Silent, but clamor
To be heard,
As the woman
Who lost her husband.
We will grab onto
Your hem.
We will raise holy hands.
We will climb a tree.
We will wrestle with You.
We will come down through
The roof.
We will seek You out
To turn our water into Your wine.
We will not
Be silent skeptics.
The blessings…
They belong to us.

We Will Not Be Silent

Aside
By Still Waters I

Breath on me,
Oh, Creator God,
You Who created
Heaven’s host
By this whisper.
Give me relief,
Oh, able breath.
But the heavens are still.

“With food and raiment
Shalt thou be content.” Food and raiment.
Is that enough?

I am the Bread of Life.
I am Living Water.
I am your Portion in this life.

Give me this day
My daily Bread.
Draw out for me
This Living Water.
Clothe me with
This Robe of Christ.
With Food and Raiment
I shall be content.

Breath of Life

Aside
By Still Waters I

“And God remembered Noah.” Genesis 8:1.

“And God remembered Noah.” I wonder what Noah was thinking while he and his small family, in their large boat, experienced day after day after day, the never-before-imagined, violent, and wrathfully wild torrents from above, the fierce and vehement waters bursting from below, the angry waves that lifted and dropped, the black skies that were sliced through with knives of furious lightning, and the thunder that was deafening to the ear. And then there was the care of his family during this raging storm – not to mention the care of all the animals. Did Noah expect this tempestuous chaos as the result of his faithfully obeying God’s command to build this huge boat? Was he tempted to question God and tell Him that this was not how it was all supposed to turn out? Did Noah and his family feel forgotten by God while their floating home was unceasingly buffeted by strong, angry waves and judgment-bent winds?

“And God remembered Noah.” Does God ever forget His children? Does He forget you when you are experiencing waves of trials for days on end: fatigue, sickness, unrelenting schedules, financial difficulties, temptations, difficult family relationships, difficult church situations, death of loved ones?

“And God remembered Noah.” Believer, are your days tumultuous? Have you sought to obey the Lord’s commands only to find that you are caught up in a life-storm that seems to be out of control? Don’t forget, God remembered Noah. God knew when to stop the storms, when to make the waters recede, and when to make the ark rest on solid ground.

“And God remembered Noah.” Noah went into the ark – and through the chaos – under God’s command, direction, and protection; and Noah left the ark under God’s command, direction and protection. Noah was brought to a place of rest and new beginnings. In thankfulness for his deliverance, Noah offered a sweet-smelling sacrifice to His God. Let us also, who have been delivered – and who will be delivered – offer ourselves as living sacrifices – holy and acceptable unto God – to the One Who remembers and saves.

And God Remembered Noah

Aside