This month my husband has a birthday. It is a big one! Last week his cousin sent a story she found written by Gene’s mother in 1964 about an incident from 1945. My Mother-in-law loved to write and share stories of how God worked in the lives of her family. We have many of them, but this one is special. She wrote it in the voice of her husband because it is his true story. It is long, but worth the read. With little editing, I want to share it with you. (The image is a google image and not the actual place of the story.)
The river was aimlessly winding its way down stream at the rock quarry. It was a perfect day along this riverbank where I loved to come to meditate. I felt closer to God there among His handiwork of nature. The water was crystal clear flowing over the rock bottom. Often big fish would come down stream and one could almost catch them with their hands.
Other times, when the gates of the dam were open upstream, the water came rushing along in torrents, seemingly in such a hurry to join other rivers far beyond. But the sound of the water was so fascinating as it rushed on its way.
I went to the rock quarry with my pick shovel to dig out layer upon layer of the most beautiful colored sandstone. Perhaps it had lain in this place thousands of years for it was the Master’s hand that formed all those different shapes, colors, and formations.
Builders had contracted me to furnish sandstone for those beautiful stone houses they were building. This place was like a sanctuary to me. This was where I could sing at the top of my voice, laugh, cry, and worship my God for there was no one near for miles. Often, I would look up to the sky and visualize one day soon my Lord would come and stand, over there, beyond that knoll. I was constantly looking for Him because His presence was so real.
One day I brought my small four-year-old son, Gene, with me. He would play along the bottom of the quarry throwing rocks into the river. To him this was like a picnic as we would bring our lunch. When he got tired, he would lay down in the seat of the truck or on a blanket on the grass and go to sleep. On this day I was digging out stone under a big overhanging cliff. Some days I would place a stick of dynamite far back under the rock to get the dirt and scrap out, but this day the stone was coming out in such beautiful layers of rock, all I had to do was put in a wedge and pry it up.
Suddenly, my small son, Gene, came running to where I was working and said, “Daddy, let’s pray!”
“Well sure son in just a minute we will.” I thought it was nice that my son wanted to pray, but this stone was coming out so easy that I hated to stop. Little Gene went on and played a little while longer. Finally, he came running over where I was under the cliff. Emphatically he repeated, “Daddy lets pray!” This time I listened thinking, “This is wonderful. If my child wants to pray that badly, then I better stop and pray with him because I always taught him prayer was important.
Gathering my tools, I went over by the riverbank and knelt down. While we were praying, without any sound or warning, the entire side of the overhanging cliff came crashing down into the bottom of the quarry. Tons and tons of rock and dirt fell covering the exact place where I had been working.
Needless to say, I really did pray then! This had been no childish whim but had been the divine hand of God using a child for both our protection. So overwhelmed with thankfulness to God, I really did laugh, cry, and praise Him.
While we were still kneeling, my nephew arrived at the quarry. As he came down the hillside and saw us kneeling, he looked at all the tons of rock in the quarry and stopped short. He asked, “Why did you put all that dirt and rock down there?” With a choked-up voice, I answered him, “I didn’t…God did!” We were so happy that God protected us, we cried tears of joy.
We had many experiences that summer. This place had truly become God’s sanctuary to me. I know God saved both my son, Gene, and I for a purpose.
Now many years have passed since that day. As I reminisce over the goodness of God and His protecting hand, I feel that my son and I both owe a debt of gratitude to God. God saved our life that day. Now the least we can do is dedicate our lives back to God.
Written by Priscilla Davis Grounds for Murl Grounds
In later years, Murl Grounds became a minister of the Gospel and Gene Grounds became ordained into the ministry as a Crisis Chaplain.
“…Being confident of this,
that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion
until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
Tammy spent years trying to make the “right” choices. She went to the “right” college, married the “right” kind of man, got a job in the “right” field. But for all her choices, Tammy often felt disconnected from God.
She felt more like she was going through the motions than she was living a productive life. Tammy was terrified that she would make a mistake and that fear was smothering her. She did not even realize it until her three-year-old got sick and hospitalized.
Tammy’s mother caught a plane and joined her as they waited for news at the local hospital. “I cannot do it anymore, Mom,” Tammy confessed. “I’m overwhelmed and frazzled, and my soul feels like it can’t breathe.”
For hours, Tammy’s mom listened as she poured out her pain. Then Tammy’s mother made a simple suggestion. “Stop trying so hard. God has begun a good work in you, and He will see it through. He is not counting on your strength or will. You don’t have to do anything but cling to the Lord.”
God, help me when I feel like it all depends on me. Remind me that my life is yours, and You are completing a good work in me. I surrender everything I have into Your hands. Help me to focus on just clinging to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
When Your Mind Will Not Rest, there is a solution
The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah is one of the best-known songs sung by choirs during the Christmas season each year. Many audiences do not know that the words come from the book of Revelation, or that the 260 pages of Messiah were written in only 24 days in 1741.
This beautiful composition is a call to praise the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who reigns forever. In the book of Psalms, the last five chapters are songs of praise called hallelujah Psalms, beginning with Chapter 146. This Psalm, as others do, begins, and ends with three words, “Praise the LORD!” It becomes personal when the Psalmist vows to praise the LORD all the days of his life.
Today if we as believers made the same vow to God, to praise him all the days of our lives, I believe all our days would be different. If we woke in the morning with praise on our lips, it would set the tone for a productive and peaceful day. Our hearts would be light as we get out of bed with renewed strength and purpose.
The Psalmist goes on to warn against trusting in Princes (human wisdom), but to place our hope in God and be blessed. In God we can be confident of His provision, freedom, restoration, and sovereignty. (Verses 5-10).
For weeks, I was having dreams every night that left me exhausted when I woke up in the morning. It seemed like my mind was busy all night and not getting rest. As I read these Psalms, I began to praise God before going to sleep. From the very first night, there were no more dreams, and my mind was at rest as I slept. Since then, my mornings have been energetic and productive.
The children of Israel sang songs of praise as they traveled to their traditional festivals. But we do not need to wait until our traditional Christmas celebration, or when we are on our way to church to sing praises to the LORD. Our songs of praise can occur anytime day or night.
“I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”
Psalm 146:2 (ESV)
It seemed God was silent—that our cries were not being heard. We prayed for a year for healing of our loved one, but God did not answer in the way we wanted. Have you ever felt that way? Have you in desperation cried out to Jesus on behalf of a son, daughter or loved one only to feel you had no response from Him at all or an undesired response? In those moments, it would be so easy to give up and doubt God. But even in those moments of perceived silence that cause pain, God is there. He is listening.
Perhaps He is waiting for something that has not yet occurred. That is why it is so important to press on, to be persistent in speaking to Jesus in prayer and believing by faith that He will supply the answers to prayers for others.
As Jesus went from place-to-place teaching, the Scribes and Pharisees constantly confronted him as they tried to discredit Him. He was not only teaching but performing miracles of healing. Power exuded from Him as His word healed. All Jesus had to do was speak a word, and it was so. He did not need to be in the presence of what His word commanded for it to be so.
Such was the case when a mother approached Him desperately seeking help for her daughter. She was a Gentile woman whose daughter was possessed. She knelt before Jesus asking Him to help her, believing that He could heal her daughter. But Jesus was silent. (Matthew 15:23) Yet, in the pain from His silence, the woman persisted. Jesus then saw faith in her persistence and said, “Oh woman, great is your faith. Be it done for you as you desire”. (Matthew 15:28) The daughter was not present in this scene. But Jesus spoke from a distance, and it was so. In that moment, healing took place.
Perhaps you have been praying for someone with a desperate need for Jesus. This story in Matthew 15 encourages us to press on, to never give up, to be persistent and believe by faith that Jesus will address the situation when the time is right. In fact, He intercedes by His Spirit for the saints. He will answer as God’s word tells us — “according to God’s will”. (Romans 8:27) How awesome is that! Jesus prays for us. We can trust Him to do what is best for the ones being prayed for, even when it is not what we expect.
“…and her daughter was healed from that very hour.” (Matthew 15:28b, NKJV)
(This is an excerpt from the upcoming Bible study, Embracing Faith. Watch for it soon.)
One morning, I was reading Psalm 100:5 in the ESV Bible translation. The verse includes the phrase: “His steadfast love endures forever.” His love is steadfast. That means it is firmly fixed in place and not subject to change. God will love you forever, no matter what. Nothing can change that.
The word endures was the word that grabbed my attention. Perhaps because we have all been enduring so much this year. I looked at other verses using the word. It excited me to discover it used sixty-six times in the ESV translation along with the word forever. I looked up some of those verses and saw that, not only does God’s love endure forever, but whatever God does endures forever. (Ecclesiastes 3:14)
Out of your own curiosity, look up some of these verses yourself.
- Psalm 100:5
- Psalm 111:3
- Psalm 111:10
- Psalm 117:2
- Psalm 119:160
- Psalm 135:13
- Ecclesiastes 3:14
- Lamentations 5:19
- Daniel 4:3
All of these things endure forever as it relates to God in the Old Testament. Then, in the New Testament, the focus shifts to Jesus and what endures forever for humanity. Matthew 10:22 tells how endurance applies to you. “The one who endures to the end will be saved.”
The word saved in this verse means, in part, delivered, healed, and preserved. We are delivered from evil, healed from sin and preserved for eternity. The one who endures to the end will be preserved forever in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Can I get an Amen!
Endurance is about eternal life. It is running the race of life without giving up, no matter how difficult the circumstances. It is the ability to walk through every hardship, rather than trying to side-step the difficulty. Our labor for God is simple. Believe in Jesus. Trust Him through every situation.
Hebrews 12:3 tells us to think about what Jesus endured so we do not become weary of the struggles we go through. The endurance of Jesus is our example for withstanding hardship and adversity. If we fix our eyes on Him, we can endure. The way we endure any hardship should be done with an attitude toward God’s eternal purpose. It is part of being an ambassador for Christ.
One day we will live in His presence, having endured to the end. We cannot give up. We must not give in. Keep on trusting that God has an eternal purpose in mind for you. Everything He does endures forever.
NEW BIBLE STUDY – LIVING YOUR GLORY STORY.
The Bible tells us to be witnesses for Christ in this world. I believe that now, more than ever, is the time for sharing your story of faith that others would know Jesus.
This Bible Study will guide you through scripture for preparing your hearts to share.
This book is available now at Amazon.com. To order, use this LINK.