"By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." (Heb 11:3 ESV)
Today, as in all periods of human history, human beings have great interest in the sensational and the supernatural. There is a penchant in human nature for the bizarre and unusual. The latest “viral video” will no doubt bear this out.
This desire for all things amazing is a God given one. God has wired humanity with a thirst for awe. His purpose is that we would be in awe of Him, and all of His works.
What many fail to realize is that it is not just the uncommon which is awesome. While they pursue the sensational in those things that are uncommon, they run past many things that are awesome, but whose awesomeness is hidden by their commonness. These common things are bursting with the awesome glory of God, but that glory can only be seen through the eyes of faith.
What could be more common than the sky? It is always above us. We never even wonder if it will be there when we walk outside. Yet the writers of Scripture saw the awesome glory of God in that ever present common thing. They wrote things like: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." (Psa 19:1 ESV), and "The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory." (Psa 97:6 ESV) and "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?" (Psa 8:3–4 ESV)
These words of Scripture expressing worship and awe, while looking toward the sky, were penned before the invention of today’s powerful telescopes. Modern scientists can see things that the Psalmists could never see. They know, for example, that there are multiplied billions of stars just like our sun. But while their telescopes can show them the stars, many of these scientists lack eyes of faith to see the awesomeness of the God who created those stars. They fail to realize that He has a different name for every star, and because His power never fails, every star is accounted for! (Isaiah 40:26)
Every facet of the common creation of which we are only a part, is bursting with awe, as it manifests God’s glory! Whether it is a spring gushing millions of gallons of water daily, or one squirrel chasing another one around and around a tree, it is all awesome, and yet all common.
These common things make men accountable to their creator. Paul writes, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Rom 1:20 ESV) One day every human being will give an account for what he or she did, with the revelation of God’s awesome glory, through what we would call just common every day things.
“Father, help us to see your awesome glory in the common things of our lives, and worship you with fervency, affection and pleasure.”
Holly Turner: the printer is not on their computers yetAaron: Where are you?Holly Turner: where am I???? don't you know where I am?Aaron: Something has happenedHolly Turner: what???Aaron: I don't know where you are please tell meHolly Turner: Aaron are you teasing?Aaron: no I have lost somethingHolly Turner: do I need to call you?Aaron: yes
So began my experience with TGA- Transient Global Amnesia.
Of this day I have no recollection, except what Holly and others tell me and occasional "flashes" of memory. She was working at the house of one of our friends, and I was to go over there later to do some work on their computers. After this exchange of text messages, she did call me, and our conversation caused her to come home right away.
A Very Strange Experience
I can honestly say this is the strangest thing I have ever experienced. In all of my years of ministry, and walking with people through their medical problems, I had never heard of this. During the episode, I remembered my own identity, and the identity of others, but did not remember other pieces of information. For example, I recently purchased a new guitar--a Taylor 814 CE. I had previously owned a Taylor 314 CE, but had sold it on E bay. When Holly came home, she asked me if I could play my guitar, and I did, but I was confused as to why I had an 814 instead of a 314, and did not know what happened to the 314. When I got to the hospital, Joel met us there, and I knew him, but didn't remember where he worked. I remembered that he and his family have been sick recently. When asked who the president was, I could remember that it was Barack Obama. But when asked for my address, I gave my post office box from years ago when we lived in Steinhatchee, instead of our current one. I continually asked the same questions again, and again.
Tests Tests and More Tests
When Holly came home and realized that something was wrong, she tried her best to get me to get dressed and get ready to go to the hospital. I was not defiant, but was not compliant either. I was confused and bewildered. She had been at the home of Matthew and Jennifer Ellison. Matthew called their pastor, Brother Leon Holden to pray for me. He was away, and called his son Chris to come and check on me. Chris came, and then Matthew Ellison, Mitch and Carolyn Mitchell. The EMTs were called, but I finally ended up just riding to the hospital with Holly. Upon arrival in the ER, I was immediately taken back and the testing began. It was decided that I should be admitted, and I ended up spending a total of 3 days in the hospital. They were not able to find the cause of my episode, but did find some other minor things wrong with me.
What I Learned (again)
I am dependent As a matter of fact all of us are. We are only alive, functioning and in our right minds because of the grace and mercy of God. At any moment, if the Lord so chooses, we could lose our ability to function. (Lam 3:22 KJV) “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” It is humbling to realize that at any moment, this kind of thing can happen, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Anyone who thinks that they are in control of their own destiny is very foolish. We are all at the mercy of God. And not only that, but we are dependent on others. There are times in all of our lives when we cannot take care of our selves, and must depend on others to take care of us.
God communicates His love through others. Throughout this ordeal, many people have communicated their love and concern to Holly and I. Some came to the hospital. Some called. Some sent texts. Some posted on Facebook. Two of my dear pastor friends came and prayed with me. It meant so much to Holly and I. This experience makes me more than ever, want to reach out to people who are going through hard times. If I started listing all of the people that have meant so much to me through this time, I would surely leave someone out, and feel badly because of it. (As you know I am having memory problems these days). Under this point, I must say that I am very thankful for Facebook. Facebook allowed me to stay in touch with many people during this time, and many people to communicate with me at a time, when I needed to hear from them. God truly communicates His love for us through others!
Humor is therapeutic. I am aware that not everyone "gets' my sense of humor. I have been told that it is "strange" But being able to see humor in things and laugh was a great blessing during this time, at least to me. There are many things to laugh about in a hospital if you just know what to look for! I am convinced that they make you wear those split back gowns, so that you won't be tempted to run away when you see the food! Who in their right minds would want to be seen in one of those things on the street!
God providentially arranges appointments. One of the tests that I had was a chemically induced stress test. This test is conducted in three different stages and there is some waiting that is required between stages. I found my self in a row of wheel chairs next to a black man by the name of Leroy Watson. So here we were side by side in our wheel chair, and I looked at him, smiled, and asked him if he wanted to race! (see my last heading). He laughed and so began our conversation. I was going to bring the gospel into the conversation, but before I could he did! He began to talk about how good God had been to him. He shared about his marriage and family. He has been married for 46 years, and all of his kids have gotten scholarships to different universities. We talked about how the gospel was the answer to racial issues. All the while people were listening to our conversation and hearing about the greatness and glory of our God and His gospel! I was able to share the gospel with two of the techs that worked on me. I believe that if we will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we can exploit the appointments that the Lord sets up for us to fellowship with other Christians, and share the gospel with the lost!
Thankful I am very thankful to be home, and at least for now I am in my right mind (some could debate this point I know). I can honestly say that my love for others, and compassion for those who are suffering has grown through this. I hope to be a better, husband, father, friend, and pastor because of losing my mind!
Gracious Works: Starbucks and the Providence of God
As I write this, I am in Vero Beach, Florida. Holly and I drove down yesterday afternoon, and are going back to Steinhatchee this morning. The purpose of our quick trip, was to witness the baptism of our seven year old grandson, John William Andersen IV. God saved Johnny a few months ago, and he followed the LORD in baptism last night, along with three other young men.
I woke up this morning at 4:45 AM, and didn't want to wake the rest of the house trying to make coffee in an unfamiliar place, so I decided to grab a shower and head to Starbucks, where I could drink some coffee and have my morning devotions.
Upon my arrival at Starbucks at about 5:40 AM, I noticed only one other car in the parking lot, and a young man sitting at the table outside reading by the lights of the parking lot. I got out of my car walked up to the door, only to find it locked. They weren't open yet! I peered through the window and saw that there were workers in there, so I knew it wouldn't be long. I looked at the book the young man was reading and noticed that it was the Bible. I am affectionately referred to by my family as "the greeter" (at least I think it is affectionately), because of my tendency to speak to strangers. I asked the young man what he was reading, and looking up at me with a quizzical look, simply replied, "The Bible." I said, "It's good isn't it!" Looking up again, this time with an even a more quizzical look, simply said, "Yeah it is." I said, "Where are you reading in it?" He replied, "Samuel." I said,"Yeah, Samuel had a great mother but lousy sons."
By this time, they were turning on the lights and unlocking the door. Come to find out, they were running about 15 minutes late, just long enough for me to have this conversation with this young man.
After we got inside, I introduced myself, and found out his name was Jason. Jason, a young man in his mid to late 20s, was saved about 10 months ago, and gave testimony of all that God was doing in his life. He shared how that God had totally changed him, given him a job at Publix, and a Christian girl friend who had become his fiance. They are to be married in January.
As we continued our conversation, he shared with me that of late he had been experiencing a lot of opposition from the enemy, and was very discouraged. I was thankful that I could share with him, many things that God has used to in my life to bring me encouragement over the years. He had many questions, particularly about his upcoming marriage. I shared with him that Holly and I are celebrating 31 years of marriage on Monday, and some truth from Ephesians 5, that I have found helpful through the years.
Jason said that he normally would not be in Starbucks that early on a Saturday morning, but that he had been awake since 3:00 AM and decided to come to Starbucks at about 5:00 AM, and read his Bible and drink some coffee. I normally would not be at that Starbucks at all. But God in His providence had arranged for our meeting, and I was encouraged by it, and I believe he was as well.
When we got ready to leave, I asked if I could pray with him to which he heartily replied, "YES!" We prayed, exchanged cell phone numbers, and promised to keep in touch.
As I write this, I am back at Jeremy's and still haven't read my Bible yet, but I believe I have met with the LORD through fellowship with one of my brothers in Christ. Now to get in the WORD!
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I have been working most of the day getting ready for the services that we will have at the church that I serve
. I have been thinking all day about the mothers in my life. Tonight I want to write a tribute to them.
My mother Wanda Turner, was a godly, practical woman, who had much common sense. She was one of the hardest working people I have ever known. She was responsible, and she loved us kids unconditionally. She went home to be with the Lord two years ago, and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about her. I am thankful for her and wish I could talk to her tonight. I always remembered her on mothers day, but I wish I would have done more for her.
My oldest daughter Rachel Andersen. I fully realize that she is my daughter and not my mother! My mind doesn't work as good as it used to but I am not that bad off yet! However she is the mother of two of my grandchildren. And I must say that I have profound respect for her as a mother. She loves her children and her family, and takes wonderful care of them. She loves the LORD, and is one of the best writers I have ever read. I am so proud of her! I love you Rach!
is my daughter in law, and the mother of two of my grandsons. I am thankful for how you love and take care of Preston, and Zac. as well as how you love Jeremy. You are a wonderful mother, and wife. We are blessed to have you in our family! I thank God for you!Waynette Turner
is my daughter in law and the mother of one of my granddaughters, one of my grandsons, and soon to be the mother of my youngest grandchild. Thank you for how you love and take care of your Alena, and Luke, and how you love Joel. We love you and are glad that you are in our family!
My youngest daughter Bethany Goddard
. She is the mother of one of my grandson, and one of my granddaughters. I have seen you walk through very deep water in the last several months and come through stronger and more godly than even before. I am so thankful for how God is working in your life, and how you are a godly mother to your children, and as well as a godly wife to your husband. I pray for you daily, and love you more than I can say!
I have saved the best for last. Holly the mother of all my children. There is no way that I can put into words what you mean to me. I have the deepest and most profound respect for you. Your influence on our entire family cannot even be measured. You are the wife of my youth, and I am enjoying growing old with you. You make me very happy. You are the greatest mother I have ever known. Thank you for filling our lives with your smile, and your love! Your family deeply loves you!
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