Tuesday, March 16, 2010

To bring a Saint home....

What goes in on heaven in the final hour of a person's life on earth? Do the angels run about fluffing the pillows in the mansion in glory? Does Jesus check the book of Life for that person's name? Is there a welcoming committee formed? Do those who have gone before gather to rejoice over the loved ones arrival there? Have they been holding vigil in heaven these last weeks along side those that loved him here as he grew weaker?

I don't know. I won't know until it is my turn to arrive. But in my imagination I want it to have been an ARRIVAL! Trumpets and silken robes. But then I do not think that was his style. Perhaps... Peter met him a ways outside the gates holding old Chief, his great bay horse old no more, saddled and bridled. Perhaps his son, Ricky, was waiting further on with Resheba ready to ride through the gates with him. I can see Sadie-Dog bouncing about joyfully greeting her master. I can hear his laughter and snorting as he greets her. I see him looking around and shouting "GOOD MORNING GLORY!" His frame, weakened by age here on Earth, made strong as he places his boot in Chief's stirrup. Peter opens the Gates of Heaven, and this man who spent his life showing others the way to God for so many years looks upon the face of his beloved Saviour sitting astride His charger. I imagine Jesus held out His hand and said "Well done my son! Let's go for a ride!"

"Who?" you ask. "Who is this man of whom you speak?"

I answer you with a story of faith.

Once there was a girl. She was a good girl, mostly. Life was simple and good. Her parents had a friend, an older man, a preacher, who would often stop by. So often did he stop they kept a twin bed set up in the basement in case he needed a place to rest on his travelings. The man sometimes came and went with just a note and some missing brownies as the only evidence of his visit. He was an evangelist/ preacher/cowboy all rolled together. He loved life. He loved his Lord. He showed the girl what living for God meant. He took her tears and anger when she came to him fuming against injustice or hurts. The preacher man even calmed her and helped her to find answers when she questioned her faith. He helped open the well of hunger for the Lord.

Reverend Richard M. Burns, went to be with Jesus, today, March 16th, 2010.

Jesus Lover. Husband. Father. Teacher. Evangelist. Scout. Horseman. United Methodist Pastor. Sausage maker. Mentor. Hunter. Prophet. Woodsman.

A man whose passion was sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone he met. Papa Dick became my extra "dad". I had a perfectly good Dad. But God knew I needed Dick and I felt like another one of his kids. Maybe I was one of those people who God looked down and said "ooh! That one she needs two Dads... one will never be enough."

Anyway Papa Dick was there for me. He made a special trip to Indiana to officiate my wedding and then got so excited preaching he forgot part of the service. When he would do camp meetings for a church he would get so wrapped up in his message that he would stomp and shout and carry on. He had the joy of Lord right down to his bones. Singing because his Lord was so precious to him, he couldn't not sing. Although his pitch was sometimes questionable, his joy never was. I know Papa Dick was human and had human failings, we all do. He was stubborn and could be a know it all. But I loved him. I am the Christian I am today because of his influence and obedience to witness his faith.

I know this was long. But as I grieve my loss and celebrate his gain I wanted to share my Papa Dick with you. And I wonder how heaven prepared to bring a saint home...


*** The picture above is Papa Dick with Love Bug at her dedication in 2003.  The one to the right is him with Bright One in 2005 at her dedication.***

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The abundance of stupid....

Isn’t amazing how much stupid there is in the world? I was thinking of all the things that made me laugh over the course of an afternoon. 9 out of 10 were truly stupid things. Do you remember the comedian Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall and the song “Here’s your sign.”? Comedians find their materials from the stupid in the world. We can choose daily to get mad or laugh over the stupid… Today the Lord convicted me. I was getting frustrated and irritable over a truly stupid driver I was following. The Lord nudged me …
“Caite, why are you so frustrated? He isn’t hurting you. He’s just being stupid.”
“Lord, I don’t have time for this idiot”
“He isn’t an idiot, but if you let him stress you, you are.”
“ well isn’t this really funny?”
“well, *snicker* ummmm *snerk* Yes it is funny he is driving like he is a little old lady!!”

So Laugh Friends. Look for the laughter in the stupid.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life Lessons......

Life Lessons…

You know the sayings….

Things your mother or grandparents said over and over and over ad nauseum? “your face will freeze that way” “if you do not use your head, you’ll have to use your feet” “those clothes will not put themselves away” “what? Where you born in a barn? Shut the door!” Etc.

Sayings and phrases you swore you would never say to your own kids… and yet you do. I am amazed whenever I open my mouth and one of these sayings pop out. I think “Oh goodness I am my mother!” (which, by the way, isn’t a bad thing – my mom rocks!) I really want to be my own person, why am I spouting my grandmother’s words? Why do I fall back on my mom’s tidings? Why does this happen? It happens because there is wisdom in those sayings. There is truth there. An age old wisdom contains truth that applies to our lives. They are based IN truth. These life lessons are the reality that “there is truly nothing new under the sun.” “Your face will freeze that way…” Think about this. We all know the people who seem to frown all the time and have done so so long that it seems difficult and strained when they do try to smile. They have ‘frozen’ frowny having trained their face to frown.

These sayings of life range from silly to profound. Most of the time we pass them off as trite and general. But every now and then these truths pierce to our very souls. The wound of this piercing is still very fresh and sore so I will wait to share until after I have processed a bit more. But I wanted to write and remind you to pay attention to the life lessons in the word of your heritage. We should not blow off the ‘wives’ tales’ and ‘mom sayings’. There is truth in them and God can pierce your soul if you will listen.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


The Admiral and I have been cherishing Wednesday night bible study at our church. This time of teaching has been focused on the life of Christ as he moved through His ministry from the Jewish rejection of His mission forward to his ministry to the Gentiles. This past week one of the incidents that we discussed was from Matthew 15:21-28 & Mark 7:24-30. It is the story of the Phoenician woman who comes to Christ begging Him to heal her daughter who is possessed of a demon. This woman was not a Jew. Yet comes to this man begging for her daughter's life.

Christ at first ignores her. She calls to him over and over. The disciples say to Christ " send her away she is being obnoxious." Then he tells her "I was sent to the lost sheep of Israel" She asked again. Christ replies " it is not right to take the children's food and feed it to the dogs." The woman tries again saying " and yet even the dogs the eat the crumbs that fall from the children's table." He responds "Woman, how great is your faith! It will be done as you want" And her child was healed and made well.

I looked at this and was appalled at first. Isn't my Jesus unfailingly nice, completely kind, unceasingly loving?  Why would he ignore her? Why would he insult her? I listened as the pastor explained that Jesus was teaching lessons to the phoenician woman AND to the disciples. You see the disciples had  this attitude that non Jews weren't really important to Christ. They weren't cruel.... this was the culture of the day. They had grown up for generations as the chosen people. To shift paradigms suddenly and accept all people into the kingdom was a huge mental stretch.  It would be like die hard Colts fans being happy the Saints won the Superbowl.  Turning centuries of attitude around was a tall order Jesus undertook. Yet with this simple statement by a persistent, humble woman "even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table" ( Mt 15: 27) Jesus illustrates profoundly the care the Father has for the gentiles.  The lesson to the woman, as I see it is two-fold. The first part is the lesson of persistence. She must ask three times, humbly beseeching, three times for her daughter's healing. She knows she is unworthy. She knows He will likely deny her. She also KNOWS within her that Jesus can heal her daughter if He chooses to do so. So in verses 22, 25, and 27 of chapter 15 she asks. And asks. And asks again, knowing He can heal. He rewards her persistence. The second part of her lesson is the humility lesson. Christ does not set aside her difference, her outsiderness. Facing His rebuke, She doesn't argue her unworthiness. She simply says "may I have the crumbs?"

These lessons apply to us too. So often what we have believed forever proves to be wrong  or a misconception. We have to twist our brains around something new, a new way of thinking. We don't like change as a race and therefore changing the way we think is a struggle. But Jesus is there gently nudging saying quietly " see I love them too". The lesson is to be open to His leading and teaching. Be open to the paradigm shift. 
      Second is Be Persistent. Do not back down in prayer. Do not shy away from asking. Whole heartedly go after the Father's desires for your life. The woman was persistent to the point of annoying. The disciples wanted her to be quiet and go away. Yet she persisted and received great blessing in the healing of her child.
    Lastly is the lesson of humbleness. None of us not one deserves his grace.We each have fallen short of the mark. Romans 3:23. Be Humble. Be willing to seek with humbleness and willingness to work whatever task He sets before  you. Be willing to to set aside self pride for the joy that comes from giving whole heartedly.

Father God, I pray for your mercy on this child who does not deserve mercy. Lord.God come. Teach me to be Open, Persistent, and Humble.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Every now and then The Lord zings me with a lesson out of the cosmos. I had no idea it was coming and no warning I was about to be "zinged". This can be slightly shocking like standing next to a fence chatting with a friend and casually leaning on the fence only to be rudely reminded that the fence is indeed electrified - "ZZZAAAAPPPP!"  This is at best startling and at worst slightly painful. I know. The fence thing is an incident from my childhood.

This past week and weekend I spent a myriad of hours working on a rummage sale for the girl's school. Sorting, pricing, standing around, straightening, cleaning packing and all the things that go with rummage sales. I signed up for this so do not feel sorry for me... I brought the work on myself. I am proud and thrilled that my team of VERY dedicated parents raised over $1000 on the rummage sale. I am also a little frustrated that in the face of the need a thousand dollars is a drop in a huge bucket. However it is a drop we didn't have before. In the midst of all the sorting and straightening I discovered something that has rocked me to the core. This has caused me no small amount of distress. I mentioned in my previous post that I was angry about it. I am. Also sad and feeling helpless. Today as I was weeping and feeling sorry for myself I decided to have chocolate. Because that always brings comfort, right? So I unwrapped the chocolate bar with roasted almonds, which happens to be my absolute favorite, and broke off a piece. It was lovely, but soon gone. So I got another piece and another... and on my way to the fourth ... ZAP!
 God said " Why don't you come to me for comfort? Why do you  binge on that which will make you feel worse in the long run?"

Well crud.

Why indeed. The Scripture is so clear. Many, many, times I have experienced His comfort. His Holy Spirit is the comforter. God wants to carry us through our trials. I need to turn to Him in my distress, allow Him to be comfort AND strength. So today has been a lesson in binging on the Comforter. A lesson on choosing to be comforted because HE is walking through this valley by my side.

Daddy, I am sad. I am hurting. I am confused and uncertain. You are big enough. You are enough for me. You, Lord God, can overcome this. Please give to me the courage to turn aside and grieve while you comfort me. The desire for you as comfort instead of food. Teach me to reach out Lord to you.  Caite