Monthly Archives: November 2016

Polished Silver

We have seen and heard much about the White House in recent months. As you remember, the first White House was burned by the British in the War of 1812. The government was sent into hiding. Dolley Madison insisted on staying behind to hide treasures. She cut George Washington’s picture out of the frame and hid it or sent it by messenger into safe keeping. She had one more task before bidding farewell and leaving to join her husband:

Mrs. Madison set the table for 40.

“Dolley Madison always knew that anything was better with a good meal and she was always looking for a reason to throw a party.”

Festival of Thanks. Will you have four or forty at your Thanksgiving Table? Or one? We wish you warmth in your heart(s) and a reason to sing thanks.

With our affection

Benton—Dean & Carole

Benton Books, Blogs & Blurbs   Dean@DeanBenton.org

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I’ll Go

There is a closet in my office jammed with stuff that used to be of value. There is inventory of booklets I wrote, outlines of my seminars, family pictures—stuff like that. And files of letters from people who were touched or needed to tell me something–positive or negative.

I don’t know the date. Fifteen years or longer? I sent the letter below to our email tribe. I  think it occurred in eastern Nebraska.

WHAT I HEARD THIS WEEKEND

It is a cheap motel. We’ve stayed there a couple of times. Never felt threatened. Spartan, but clean. I was alone. To offset the six hours of driving, I was exercising in the motel. Suddenly a dozen squad cars were outside. A drug bust three doors down. I finished exercising and opened the door for fresh air. The busted guy was unsteady on his feet with his hands in cuffs behind his back. He was definitely high. From the distance to him from my doorway, I saw pain on his face that the drugs did not disguise. The look left no room for hiding. It is the look of lostness. What I saw was not just the agony of getting caught, but the recognition of lostness. Into my spirit came the words of Jesus: “You who are weary, come to me….” I don’t want to forget that look.

At 4:50 a.m. I was wide awake. I had left the light on all night. I didn’t feel threatened or unsafe. I just knew something was going on. A person gets used to motel/hotel sounds and feelings. I know when they are benign and when I should recheck the door brace. I didn’t need to check the bar. I knew a protective bar would not keep out what was going on in someone’s life—the person/people a room or two away.

At 4:55, a car engine started Then I heard the tires on the blacktop. Then I heard the voice of either a little girl or a young woman saying, “Oh Mommy! Oh Mommy.” Perhaps, “Oh Lonnie/Ronnie….” Then, “Don’t leave. Don’t do this. Please come back. Come back. Don’t….” The driver didn’t listen.

Like a barge horn in the fog, that voice cut through every other sound during the night and the next day. It was what I heard at 11:47 a.m. Sunday when I sang, “Come home, come home, if you are…come home.”

I don’t want to forget that sound. It was for those tears that Jesus cried. It was for our lostness that Jesus said, “Father, I’ll go.”

……………..

I wonder where they are and how life is for them after these 15-20 years. I know Jesus’ words have not changed and He is singing on pitch—“Come home.”

©2016 D. Dean Benton      Benton Books, Blogs, Blurbs–   DEAN@DEANBENTON.ORG

Hidden in the Stacks

Carole has been after me to “tidy” up my office. My rule is “don’t touch or move anything” while I’m writing. I’m concerned the muse will get upset and leave or won’t be able to find his “spot.” I’ve been having back and neck problems which demanded I shift my writing desk and (Carole’s idea) make room for a bed in case an out-of-town relative stops in for the night. Well, we had moved a bed out years ago to make room for another desk. The third desk turned out to be just another flat surface to stack things.

I caved. I took 150 books to Goodwill and put two desks together and got rid of stuff so I would have a surface to work on. I uncovered stuff belonging to my Grandmother that was an archeological dig reaching into the 1890s. I found books I didn’t know I had that spoke to my moments—that was scary and while organizing my book cases, I found real treasures. And my grandmother’s doll got involved. Another story. I talk about that in my book It Is Today! (Will be published next month.)

I stood in front of the dusty books to re-read John Eldredge’s Waking the Dead. Then I found his audio CDs called The Four Streams. He writes about the Four Streams in Waking the Dead. A spiritual journey was on for me. The Four Streams are the way God restores us: Discipleship, Warfare, Counseling and Healing.

“Why are so many people struggling with depression and discouragement? They’ve lost heart. Why can’t we seem able to break free of our addictions? Because somewhere along the way in a moment of carelessness or desperation, we gave our hearts away, and now we can’t get them back.” (Waking the Dead, Thomas Nelson, 2003).

How do we get our hearts back?

“Intimacy with God is the purpose of our lives. It is why God created us. Not simply to believe in him, though that is a good beginning. Not only to obey him though that is a higher life still. God created us for intimate fellowship with himself….” (Walking With God, Page 12—Eldredge)

One of my favorite Bible passages is about Hagar. She was Sarah’s handmaiden and the mother of Ishmael. (Genesis 16) In what she thought was the end of life, God looks for her and finds her hiding. After that encounter:

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said,’ I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Genesis 16:13).

Hear God ask you—“What’s going on in your heart? Why are you crying? You look troubled. I’ve got time—let’s talk.”

©2016 D. Dean Benton       Writer, Wonderer, Soul Tender