Swing Low, Sweet Chariot!

I am currently enjoying Lisa Harper’s latest Bible study, Malachi: A Love that Never Lets Go.  Each week she includes out-of-the-box exercises to help us implement what we are learning.  This week’s assignment was to learn the origin of the old spiritual Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and then to rewrite it in our own “dialect” and from our own heart.  What a great exercise this was!

First, the origin: The spiritual was written by a man commonly known as Uncle Wallace, Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman.  He wrote it around 1840 and was inspired to do so by his home close to Oklahoma City and by the Red River, which reminded him of the Jordan River.  The prophet Elijah is closely associated with the Jordan River, the location where a chariot and horses of fire appeared between him and his successor Elisha, and Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind.  (Numerous non-scholarly sources believe the song contained hidden lyrics that pertain to the Underground Railroad that served as an escape route to freedom for slaves.)

Tradition has it that a Choctaw boarding school minister, Alexander Reid, overheard Willis singing the song and had him transcribe the words and music.  He then sent the song to the Fisk Jubilee Singers in Nashville, who popularized the song as they toured throughout the U.S. and Europe in the early 1900’s.  The rest, as they say, is history.  The Recording Industry Association of America added Swing Low, Sweet Chariot to its list of “Songs of the [20th]Century.”

Second, my rewrite:  It’s hard to rewrite the words to a song that is so beloved and so historic.  But it’s words bring a picture to my mind’s eye of a man struggling in this oft difficult world, longing for his Savior to bring down a chariot and whisk him away to the paradise of heaven.  I, too, sometimes get weary with the daily struggles of this life and even get a little impatient at times while waiting on the Lord’s return.

But, my friend, He is coming!  And He, Jesus Christ, is the only ticket for that sweet chariot ride to heaven!  No one else or no-thing else in this world will get you there.  Jesus came the first time to bring salvation; He’ll come the next time to bring judgment.  But before His judgment falls, He’ll take His children for the ride of their lives!

Do you have your Ticket?  If not, let’s talk.



Praise You Sweet Jesus Lord


STUDENT (small)

So, the first 6 months of 2013 have been a blur.  And these are only a tasting of my life these days!  But you know what I’ve learned?

God remembers!  Yes, my father may be forgetting a lot of his earthly existence, but (PTL) he’s not forgotten God.  More importantly, God has not forgotten him!  What a memory our great God has!  He remembers we are dust (Psalm 103:14) — imperfect and helpless.  But He is patient with us, sweeping us up again and again in His hand, but never throwing us in the garbage can! He remembers all of us; He remembers each of us.  How can He not?  For the name of each believer is engraved on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16).

Jesus is Life!  Yes, my mother-in-law lost the battle with cancer, but won the battle of  life!  Jesus is her life and she lives — truly lives! — forevermore with Him.  Actually, she never died (John 11:25).  She simply shed the robe of flesh she wore for this thing called “time.”  In Jesus is life (John 1:4) and “everyone who believes in him [has] eternal life…[and] shall not perish” (John 3:15-16).

We are God’s children!  Though husband and I have not been perfect parents and our children have not been perfect children, God is the perfect Father and Jesus the perfect Son!  Regardless of mistakes I’ve made in the past, regardless of mistakes my children have made, I must follow God’s example.  God loves purely, sacrificially — and He disciplines perfectly, lovingly.  The Father loves us without measure and allowed His Son to pay the price for our adoption.  “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God…” (John 1:12-13).  We are His children and He will bless and discipline because He is the perfect Parent.  “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

My job is to let God do His job!  I must submit to whatever that means for both my personal and professional life.  Actually, there should be no separation;  my entire life is sacred because it is set apart for the glory of God.  I must let go of fears and let God have His way.  (I still must submit and wait for the husband to come on board, but I can surely be ready for when he does!)


He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever…
The LORD remembers us and will bless us…
he will bless those who fear the LORD —
small and great alike.

(Psalm 111:5 and 115:12-13)



Finally, my professional job as a talent development consultant. The Lord continues to impress upon me that it’s time to move on, to pursue His call and write/teach on a more full-time basis, to trust Him alone for our needs. Even though I want to do just that, several fears have kept me from it.

“Lord, we have this small bit of debt over here.  Let me work long enough to pay that off and then I’ll be able to quit.”  Well, my mother-in-law left us a little money; it’s paid off.

“Lord, I’m committed to facilitate these four Leadership Projects in 2013.  Let me get through these and then I’ll be able to quit.”  After the second, the other two were cancelled.

“Lord,  You know how summer is.  Let me get through this hectic season and then I’ll be able to quit.”  I opened my calendar and you could almost hear the crickets singing.

“Lord, give me one more confirmation that this is really what You want and not just what I want. Ten confirmations just aren’t enough.”  The sermon topic the following Sunday?  Having the courage to do what God is calling you to do!  (The preacher even made the comment, “Maybe God is calling you to leave a job…”!)

So, now I’m hiding behind the old submission card.  You know, I can’t move forward until my husband gives the the go-ahead.  He’s not there yet!

So I wait…

So God waits…

(I pray He outlasts me!)


My son’s court date went well and we continue to see our grandson often.  How it makes my heart burst with joy to see my almost-2-year-old prince come through the door and run into my arms!  And my son has recently become engaged to a sweet young lady who loves both him and his son.

Though my eldest is still not where he should be spiritually, I rest in the Psalmist’s promise that children will return to the truth they’ve been taught. So I await with an expectant heart for that day — and I pray my little bundle of joy will come to know the Lord at an early age.

What a glorious day that will be!



Unlike my father, my mother-in-law has gone  home to be with the Lord.

“Maws,” as my kids and I called her, was a strong-willed, strong-personality woman, loved and revered by many.  We butted heads on a few occasions, mostly about my children and our church.  But I will miss her dearly (but for only a short time, PTL!).  How wonderful to witness that strong will and personality fight so valiantly against cancer and what a privilege to help her in any way I could.  Her faith was actually stronger in death than it was in life!

She was a proud woman and often talked about how she did not want a lot of people standing around gawking at her either as she was dying or after she was gone.  She made me swear that, after the immediate family said their goodbyes, the casket would be closed tight — no last opinions on how she looked were to be tolerated from anyone!  And God showed her such grace: She died at home a little after 6:00 a.m. with only her husband of 57 years on one side (who still believed her to be most beautiful woman he ever knew) and her Savior of 70 years on the other (who made her beautiful).

What a sweet departure!

2013 Update

Since it’s been over 6 months since I started the year with a question on how “happy” a new year it would be, I thought I’d give you an update — a little each day as I can find the time to breathe!


My father is still here (PTL!) but his mind is a little weaker and his pain a lot greater.  His faith, however, remains unchanged.  It’s as vibrant and as sure as it’s always been.  His love for his family is steadfast and he takes joy whenever any of his 7 children, 21 grandchildren, or 21 great-grandchildren darken the door!  But occasionally, he’ll sigh and say he’s really ready to go home — even seem a little impatient as he says it.

It’s increasingly hard to pray for him.  I long for him to stay and teach me more but I know that means pain for him.  I long for him to go and be healed once and for all, but that means pain for me.  And so I try to spend as much time with him as possible and trust in God’s grace, mercy, and perfect timing.  He has graced me with a loving, godly father; I know He’ll show mercy to Dad and take him home a the perfect time — and not a moment before.

My precious Dad — what a wonderful gift from my holy Father!

Happy Independence Day!

The following appeared in today’s eTHOUGHTS online devotionals and was so good I wanted to share.  It was written by Dr. Andy Johnson, Senior Adult Pastor, Emeritus at First Baptist Church, Ruston, Louisiana, and a retired fighter pilot for the U. S. Marine Corps and chaplain for the U. S. Navy.  Enjoy his thoughts and remember them throughout the remainder of this day and this year.



“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  Galatians 5:1   

 To some Americans, freedom means, “I get to do whatever I want.”  Experience shows us that this is merely a path to bad habits and addictions that lead to broken relationships and unhappy lives.  True freedom, or liberty, is the right to do what is right.  This path leads to strong, trusting relationships and satisfying lives.  Although not everyone chooses to live in true liberty . . . and in this present culture, their numbers appear extremely large . . . it is still our privilege as individuals, to stand fast in this liberty and to do and say what is right.

Leading up to our NATIONAL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, 237 years ago, it had become apparent that King George of England was an autocratic tyrant, and Lord North, who led the British Parliament, looked on the American Colonies as a cash cow to be milked repeatedly through unjust taxes, tariffs, and restrictions on trade with anyone except England.   . . . This led to speeches such as that of Patrick Henry to the Virginia House of Burgesses, in which he said in closing, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”  His speech stirred the whole nation.

We are blessed to live in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”  We are a God built nation, which explains why we so quickly became the leading nation in the world.  We acknowledge, every time we say the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, that we are one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.  Why then do some of our leaders try to declare their independence from God and consider their thoughts superior to His?
Human ego appears to be an acronym for “edging God out.”  This is why we, as American citizens, must stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.  This nation did not begin as a polytheistic, multicultural, or “anything goes kind of nation.”  It was a Christian nation, intended to be governed by people who were guided by the precepts of the Holy Bible.  The evidence for this is clear, no matter how hard many are trying to hide it.

In summary, we should strongly maintain independence from human tyranny, but just as strongly maintain dependence on Almighty God who alone is able to preserve us as a great nation.

“Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land . . ..  Psalms 37:3 (which the Lord thy God giveth thee – Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16, 25:15)

(eTHOUGHTS is an online daily devotional newsletter written by a team of godly people. If you would like to receive the daily e-THOUGHTS, subscribe at www.eTHOUGHTSteam.com.)