~ DASH ~

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Jennifer K. Lewis

“I Am Alive With Christ.”  Ephesians 2:5

 A few years ago, I chose to mature my faith by joining a very active and growing ministry.  Our group focused heavily in the power(s) of the Holy Spirit which Jesus left us to enjoy.

That particular ministry became like a family in that as each member became a familiar person in the ‘fold’.  Our personal bonds deepened as we chose to focus on our common denominator, serving others and worshiping Christ.

We celebrated Christmas by going up and down streets stopping in welcoming homes to sing Christmas carols.  We were thrilled to provide scrumptious nut-breads, colorful candies and holiday cookies for local homeless shelters and our community Salvation Army.

As temperatures climbed and the Spring months matured, we embraced the warming rays of sunlight as the cold temps of Iowa gradually melted and liquefied longstanding snow(s.)

One of the ladies, Mary Beth, had pioneered the genesis of the group.  The ‘normal’ dynamics of our group quickly changed.  She experienced the sudden loss of her Father.

Mary Beth invited our ministry to be at the funeral.  She was greatly admired, and respected in our group.  We united as a sacred assembly desiring to give our Respects to her Air Force Dad.

It has been my experience(s) in the funerals I have attended, most of them are rather sad and ‘down’ in spirits.  Everybody is crying.  People embrace like there is no tomorrow. Strangers hug one-another, even though they don’t know their neighbor!

But, this funeral was different from the get-go.  (we’ll call him James Doe ~ John Doe’s brother).  There was a HUGE sign near the coffer at the front of the auditorium.  It read:  James Doe “it’s about the DASH.”  (Born June, 1926 –Heaven Bound March, 2014.)

James’ children and several grandchildren sang touching hymns, and shared happy stories and memories of their beloved Dad and Grandfather.  Apparently, James liked to entertain the kids by making whimsical animal balloons.  (one of his Grandchildren shared a poignant yet, funny, story of how her Grandpa had made numerous balloon animals for different occasions.)  (by the way, James’ casket was lined with artsy, animal shaped balloons.)Image result for balloon animals images

As the service progressed, I learned the meaning of the ‘DASH’.  It’s simple!  The year you were born ,- DASH -, then the date you passed-away.  The ‘DASH’ is representative of the years in between your birth and death.  DASH will define itself in the manner of life you chose.

Being a military funeral, he was in full dress uniform.  James was revered by a color-guard of valiant Air Force men who formed a noble arched walkway with their swords at the entry/exit of the building.

After the oddly, happy funeral, I noticed many family members still smiling!  (of course, there were tears, but folks remained jovial.)  A few minutes later, fellow Air Force members proudly escorted James’ wife and family to awaiting cars for the honorable procession.

It’s About the -DASH-.  What about yours?  What do YOU want it to say?

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One life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,” Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last ”                                   http://paulhockley.com/2016/05/24/quote-only-one-life-twill-soon-be-past-poem                -by-c-t-studd/

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 “I Am Raised-up With Christ and Seated in Heavenly Places.”  Colossians 2:12

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer K. Lewis

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“Thank You So Much!

May Our Savior Richly Bless Your Life!

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FREEDOM’S PRAYER

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Jennifer K. Lewis

 Psalm 35 ~ The Lord the Avenger of His People

                                                  1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;                                                     Fight against those who Fight against me.
Take hold of Shield and Buckler,   And stand up for my help.

On uncharted soil, we stood together, we fought, we battled against the well-armed British, and we won.  Our fierce determination gained our religious independence and the right to claim and pioneer an uncontrolled territory.

“Let their way be Slippery and Dark, And let the Angel of the Lord pursue them.  Psalm 35:6

Upon establishing our freedom and thus gaining liberty to create our new homeland, our founding father’s gathered in a small building named Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, PA.

Some founding fathers present were U.S. Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison along with about, 90 other delegates.  Not only were many of the most prominent founders not conservative; they were also deeply divided among themselves.

The First Continental Congress, met briefly to sign our proclamation listing our rights and responsibilities in a document that was originally known as The Articles of Confederation; eventual ratified amendments superseded the Confederation and our law(s) of the land became known as The Constitution of The United States. 

Courageous defiance ultimately led our Continental Congress to convene in Philadelphia. And our first President, George Washington, offered 3-hours of prayer giving “Thanks” and asking for God’s continued direction and blessings in this newly established country and nation.

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Did you know that George Washington chose to base his supreme words on Biblical principles found in Psalm 35?   (Psalm 35 is known as being one of the more popular Psalms because of its expressed faith and trust in our Lord.)

                       “I humbled myself with fasting; and my Prayer would return to my own Heart.”  Psalm 35:13

IF our unassuming President felt it necessary to get on bended-knee and give “Thanks” to our creator, for his Psalm 35 ‘hand of protection’ during this American Revolutionary War, do you think we also need to continue in this faith?  Don’t we still need God’s divine guiding wisdom over our nation?

During this volatile election season, coupled with the onslaught of terror throughout our nations, as well as national, state, and local social unrest, we have a plenitude of valid reasons to follow George Washington’s unpretentious, symbolic act of reverence!

27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
28 M
y tongue shall speak of Your righteousness And praise all the day long.

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Growing In Christ,

Jennifer

 

PORTRAIT OF A FARMER

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.       Galatians 6:9

Proudly, I was raised on a hustle and bustle working farm sprawling a couple-hundred acres.  We had ten ponds on our farm and a wandering creek divided our land almost in half.  We were passed the life my parents had so well-known as they both had grown-up living similar traditions.  My parents and their parents embraced values of planting and harvesting crops and cultivating huge varieties of garden foods.  As four little Lewis kids, we were fortunate to learn valuable lessons from Mom and Dad and both sets of Grandparents.

As many of you who read this will also testify, the farm-life manages to keep you busy from before the sunrises until well-after sunset!  Our farm would easily be akin to those descriptive images.   Oh sure ~ there are plenty of fun-filled times to treasure as we compiled memories of yesteryear days.  If there weren’t any planned activities, when you put four inquisitive, inventive growing brains together in children, creative adventures are bound to be discovered.

Two little girls and two younger boys seemed to have no boundaries.  Our parents kept us heaped in what seemed endless ‘fix-it’ projects, and repair tasks.  But, as our ages dictated, they also spoiled us rotten with colorful bikes, all-terrain motorcycles and well-trained quarter horses, so we could easily traverse and crisscross our many acres.

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Children are a gift from the Lordthey are a reward from him.  Psalm 127:3

“Thank goodness for binoculars.”  Mom and Dad could stand on our Victorian front-porch and scout the land to, hopefully, spot their kids.    Think of turning loose four rambunctious young kids over two-hundred acres of investigative beckoning, land, it’s hard-telling where your youngsters may have landed.  Furthermore, it’s common knowledge that when things get ‘quiet’ you better find-out where your kids are and what they may be up to.

Often, our Mom would go to town to buy groceries and other staples we needed.  Typically, Mom would forego her own needs, and selflessly purchase for her children.  She liked to surprise us with a spiffy new outfit or the newest in shoes.  One of her inquisitive little kids would often ask of Mom “where did you get this?’  Mom’s witty and funny answer would always be, “at the ‘gettin place.”

And, as the warming sun rays and the spring rains permitted, Daddy would plant the corn and beans and walk through lengthy fields as he sowed oats.    Our father toiled long, hard days well into evening clearing the land of rocks that seemed to just keep multiplying and growing and out of thin-air.  Arduously, Dad methodically planted and as the unpredictable weather dictated, maybe Dad had to replant crops.  ALL FOR HIS WIFE AND FOUR CHILDREN!!

All summer, our superman, and hero Dad would walk down the rows cutting-down weeds and clearing paths for his combine to straddle the rows for harvest in fall.   (his only request was a Pepsi now and then.)  Then, we all Prayed to be blessed with bountiful harvest

The coziness of winter would creep-in with a kind of ragged sigh of relief.   We girls liked to create to artfully designed snow-angels and the boys would build the most elaborate snow-forts in the fresh white blankets.  On days we were stuck inside, we frequently played monopoly or put 1000-piece puzzles together, after shoveling snow from our long driveway.  (those Big complex puzzles were our Dad’s brilliant idea to keep us busy!  He picked the hardest ones for us to assemble.  Thanks a lot ~ Dad!)

In search of the ‘perfect’ Christmas tree, our vast woods would surely offer just the right sacrifice.   Then, before we knew it, here came spring again.  With God at the helm, we got to start all over again.  Ours was a unique and treasured life.  Indeed, the life, fun, and work of a Farmer is never-ending, but it is also a rich inheritance.  I cherish those days and the tender memories we all made together growing and investing in our beautiful farm!

Oh; but if I could turn back time …               

 … then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.                                                                                                                                                          Leviticus 26:4

Growing In Christ,

Jen

 

LEGACY

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by Jennifer Kay Lewis

LEGACY

“He cuts-off every branch in me that bears no fruit, While he prunes every Branch That Does Bear Fruit So That Will Become even more Fruitful.”          John  15:2

What Legacy do you want to leave?  Once in a while in the course of our ‘normal’ busy lives, we need to STOP to consider what we stand for and what we are giving back to society.   Today, I am taking time to reflect on the meaning of my life and I am asking you to Please do the same.

Several years ago, I found myself surrounded by confused, apprehensive, yet smiling little faces.  I had chosen to pursue the ever-changing world of Foster parenting.    At first, I thought this venture would be like a sort of hand-up and a help to the many children I came to adore.  However, the blessings I first thought would be theirs to cherish became mine to hold and keep forever!

Jesus reminds us in John 12-13: “Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no One than this, that he lay down his life for his Friends.”

Usually, when a person reflects on these words, one might conjure-up some image of a warrior gallantly fighting in some horrific battle-zone, or hearing about some average, run-of-the-mill Joe rushing-in to save another person’s life just in the nick-of-time.  Those were the stereotypical thoughts that first came to my mind, until I had the pleasure of hosting my thirty-one Foster children.

As my aging father, has recently reminded me, “Jen, in the end, it’s what you give away that truly matters.”

Deep in reflective thought, I analyzed Daddy’s meaningful words.  I also allowed my memory antennae to wander back to those exhilarating, happy days we shared in Foster care.  In doing so, I quickly surmised that it is no wonder why the memories of those eventful years provided so much warmth and even tears of joy to this day!  It is also an important part of Jesus’s command to “love each other as I have loved you” ~ I had done just that in giving unconditional love and supportive nurturing to those precious, children.

If your ‘passion’ is working with our youth, you may be well-gratified working within your church.  Do you enjoy assisting another person?   You might think about a rewarding unpaid assistant position with your local hospital.   Maybe you would rather offer your specific skills to a growing business.

Again, it’s all about Giving!  (it’s kind of like a boom-a-rang ~ good things just seem to keep coming back your way when you forego self and think of another.)    When we find our niche ~ we find ourselves and live for others.

      “Let me be Satisfied with your Favor and filled with your Blessing.”                                                                                          Deuteronomy 33:23

       “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”                                                                                                                     Romans 12:10

What are your values?  What are you teaching your Children? How you live each day will determine what you really want remembered about your days on this earth. Is your Legacy worth dying for?

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer