Archive for April, 2009

Keepin’ it real!

Posted: April 25, 2009 in Service with a Smile

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Chapter Five

 

This has been a particularly interesting week.  On Monday, two rough looking men came in the restaurant to eat breakfast.  I have served them before and had even intended on writing a chapter on their lives.  They are former drug addicts and have recently been saved and do odd jobs for a living.  We have had good conversations in the past, but this one turned very strange,,,,,, 

 

I am sure that I have lived far more than my actual years of 48!  Many things have happened in my life that have caused me to become very fearful.  Fear of sickness, death, violence, poverty, etc. etc.  However, over time, I have prided myself in the fact that I have learned to virtually overcome the fear of anything.  I have learned to harden myself to any type of fear-from physical to emotional.  Therefore, when the conversation that day with “Jim and Joe” got weird, I was surprised at my reaction-that of fear. We had been having a conversation about the Lord coming again and then I left the table to attend to some other guests.  When I returned to the table, Jim turned to me with a glazed look in his eye and told me that he was indeed Jesus and had come back to earth.  I laughed nervously in hopes that he was joking but he was not.  He became louder and louder until two of my guests walked out without eating.  He left the restaurant and came back in walking straight toward me.  He reached out, stroked my ear, and said “my sheep hear my voice” I pushed him away and went straight to the back of the restaurant.  My heart was racing for several minutes after that and I was shaking.  The next day he came in again..then the next and then today.  He just kept staring and wouldn’t stop-I was nearly paralyzed with fear.  I went to the back and prayed “Lord, I don;t understand what’s happening here, I have prided myself on overcoming my fears and now I’m terrified of a mentally ill man”. His response was so real that it was nearly audible “Proud? You’re proud of what YOU have accomplished? You can doing nothing without me my child for you are afraid of being afraid!” Even as I am typing this out I cannot stop the tears from flowing.  I truly have been afraid of being afraid.  I have tried to overcome fear through my own sheer will and have failed miserably.

 

I gathered myself together and went straight out to his table and smiled.  “are you going to behave today Jim?”  He smiled a sheepish smile and said “that’s not what I meant the other day Miss Karen”.  I just smiled and went back to work.  That was all there was to it.  He said that he had been coming in the last two days to apologize but I would’nt come to the table.  Oh my, shame on me.  I am so thankful that the Lord used this to show me the truth about myself.  This is all very fresh so I hope to let all of you know what I learn in the weeks to come about the perfect love, Jesus, who casts out all fear.

 

1 John 4:18 (New American Standard Bible)

 18There is no fear in love; but (A)perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not (B)perfected in love.

 

Karen Dunn

 

 

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After years of hearing my wife encourage me to use my voice again (I used to be a disk jockey), I finally produced a video with nature scenes and some of my favorite verses containing praises and promises.  I hope you like it.

Beaitiful Promises click
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Time and change take their toll on us.  Growing old, ailing health, death, and stuff that happens rob us of our favorite pleasures and relationships one by one.  Here today, gone tomorrow as the saying goes.  No one I know has experienced this more than my mother, who has seen her husband and all eight of her brothers and sisters leave her behind on this side of heaven.

I’m not reminding us of this to depress us but to wake us up.  So we will enjoy and appreciate what we have before it’s too late.  We stay so busy in the rat race of life that we rarely slow down long enough to smell the flowers.  We swallow our food faster than we can taste it.  We work so hard trying to give our families a good life that we don’t have any time left over to live with them.  Many of us value an immaculate home and manicured yard more than hanging out with our kids.  That’s a real shame, since our children’s early years pass us by so quickly and we cannot go back and do them over again.  They will eventually quit asking us to “play with me, Daddy!”  Oh, how I would love to sing lullabies to my little ones again as they fall asleep on my chest!

I danced with my daughter at her wedding while James Taylor sang, “I just want to stop, and thank you, Baby.  How sweet it is to be loved by you.”  There’s a lot of wisdom in that song when you think about it.  We need to stop and tell our loved ones how we feel about them.

If your wife is still good looking (like mine), gaze at her beauty until her features are etched in your mind so you can recall them if you need to 30 years from now!  Even if time has not been good to your spouse’s outward appearance, I’m sure you would run out of fingers counting all the ways you admire, appreciate, and have grown to love your wife or husband.

Tarry awhile longer with your little angels as you watch them sleep.  It will help you deal with them when they’re not so sweet during the day!

Reconcile and restore your broken relationships.  Don’t let your pride deprive you of good friendships.

Sharon and I are growing old with Candy, our 13 year old golden retriever.  When she crawled up on our bed last night I spent much longer than usual petting her, running my fingers through her thick, soft fur.  The sound of her labored panting brought home the reality that she may not be with us this time next year.

It’s easy to stay focused on what’s wrong with the world these days or to want what others have.  We need to reverse that trend and not take for granted anything good that God has blessed us with.  A very wise person said that “contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.”  Don’t wait until your well runs dry.  Enjoy your job (if you still have one!) and your stuff and your pets but most of all enjoy your people because life is fragile and heaven may be a long way off.

 As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.  When the wind has passed over it, it is no more…But the lovingkindness of the Lord is everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:15-17)

 

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Chapter Four

Posted: April 7, 2009 in Service with a Smile

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Mr. West was a kind, unassuming man who owned and operated a gas and grocery in the middle of an “economically challenged” neighbohood for many years.  I had the pleasure of getting to know him through a local restaurant that I worked at and he frequented.  He always ordered the buffet, sweet tea and a cup of coffee at the end of his meal.  Most days he had a friend with him but on that day he was dining alone……

 

Saturdays in the summertime can be very taxing as a restaurant server.  When I see a bus pull up I have mixed emotions—glad to see the business but know that I will spend an hour in the tub just to get the feeling back in my feet!  This day was no different.  Three buses of National Guard recruits had just unloaded and I was already running crazy!  Every table was full except for one.  In the midst of the chaos I spotted Mr. West coming in the door.  I smiled and waved as I breezed by him, quickly pouring drinks and clearing plates for bus loads of hungry men.  I noticed that he was alone and looked even more alone in the huge crowd of people that surrounded him.  I hurried past him many times until I actually caught his eye.  He smiled a timid smile and I smiled back and hurried past.  I poured a cup of coffee and rushed to the table to drop it off for him when something inside of me (that still small voice!) prompted me to fix his coffee up just like I had seen him fix it then plopped myself down right there across from him at the table. We made small talk about his store, the weather, gas prices and how funny it is when people fall asleep in church!  I patted his hand when I got up and told him that I would be praying for him.  As he was leaving he left a generous tip and thanked me for “taking time out for an old man.”  Several days later I found out that he had gone home to see the Lord that very afternoon.

 

I am so thankful that I took those five precious minutes to sit down with him.  I may have been the last person that he ever spoke to.  How awesome is that? To think that your voice will be the last one that someone hears before they face God is sobering.  Thankfully I knew that he was a christian.  What if he wasn’t?  What if I had simply kept busy with the task at hand and like Martha, missed an opportunity to serve my Lord? What if I was entertaining an angel and didn’t realize it? How many opportunities have I missed because I was just too busy? It was a day that is always in the back of my mind as I serve hungry people-hungry for love, attention and hope.

 

Hebrews 13:2

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 

Karen Dunn

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Going Home

Posted: April 5, 2009 in Candle Lights

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Ever since she died there has been a sadness about him.  At times he seems lost and at other times he is very afraid.  He is trying to fit in with the others, but he never quite seems comfortable.  When someone touches him, he recoils.  He misses his familiar friend, and now everyone is unfamiliar.  He loved for her to touch him, and the sound of her voice would put a spring in his steps.

He is now eating and sleeping at the house next door.  It is not “home”, but he is making the adjustment.  Folks are kind to him, and he appears to be content though sad.  But, the sadness seems to lift when he knows that he is going “home.”  He walks with a bounce in his steps and his whole countenance changes to one of joy and hopeful expectation.  When the door opens, he runs in and falls on the carpet in the living room.  I can almost hear Max, my mother-in-law’s cat, sighing “At last!” when he goes back into his home.

When I go over to Thelma’s house to work, Max always goes with me.  The task of taking care of Thelma’s earthly things makes me sad, but when I watch Max “go home” I cannot help but think that is the way that it should be for me.  It does not matter how great the sorrow or the problem, I am a stranger and a pilgrim on this earth (Hebrews 11:13), and I can walk Home with a bounce in my step and a heart full of joy and hope.  Not because of my circumstances, but because of where I am going.  Jesus has prepared a place for me.  I am on my way home!

“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”  Hebrews 13:14

Diane Padgett
11/16/2007

 

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