October 31, 2010

It's Fall Ya'll

And for all my lovingly unkind remarks about the state I live in, I have to give it to her when she turns the other cheek and delivers days like this.

70 degrees; crisp, non-humid air; heaps of funky brown leaves-- mhmm!!
I remember being mildly appalled my first October in Arkansas, when after a spell of dark, gloomy days the clouds broke and the thermometer shot up to 70+ degrees. What??! Weather wasn't supposed to act like that! Sunny fall days in Washington are crisp and cold. You know, cold. Like tingle-my-fingers cold where the frost holds onto the ground until 10 or 11 am, and you can feel the crisp air biting the back of your throat. You're supposed to be able to listen to the grass crackle under your feet and crush the frozen weeds like phylo dough. Right? Well, apparently not. Mrs. Clark chuckled at me that first fall and told me not to be surprised if Christmas day turned out to be just as sunny and warm. And she proved to be correct.
I didn't like those warm days at first, but I've long since been converted heart and soul and I revel in every balmy, sunshiney moment. I love the yellows, and the reds, and the browns in the trees. I love the itty-bitty acorns that crunch and squeak when you step on them. I love the delicate little layer of morning frost that I can scrape off my windshield with my hand. I even love the classic southern candor of the window display at Judy's Affiliated Grocery down at the circle.

Yeah, "it's fall ya'll" and ya'll better make the most of it cause the leaves are comin' down in a hurry and it'll be winter before any of us knows it.
Today isn't just another fall day though. This is Reformation day! Just 493 years ago a simple, humble monk made his way through a crowd of superstitious persons blindly seeking an indulgence to appease an angry God, and nailed to the door a message of freedom through faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to clear the guilty.
Yet, today instead of celebrating the freedom of Jesus' pardon, the whole town is celebrating the Hallowed Eve' of All-saints day.
Last night, a mother and two adorable little monsters showed up at my door asking for treats. I'm still not sure if Halloween got extended over the whole weekend, or whether she just misread her calender. I found the goodies we had gotten for the occasion, but as I slipped them into the pink plastic pumpkin buckets I couldn't help but notice the misery and pain cloaked behind the toothy monster-grins. The tell-tale overly bright eyes, too-thin skin, and shaky movements of the mother told the story of drug abuse. It's so common here, but I don't think any of us fully realizes the depth of the heartache that it causes. My heart went out to her. Clearly she had done her best to provide a couple happy hours for the little ones that she loves. I invited them into the warmth of the house while I searched for packaged raisins to give them but they wouldn't come. Instead they shivered in the chilly blackness like skittish kittens. I told them they were the cutest little monsters I'd ever seen, but I really longed to draw them in and tell them about the One who held little children on his lap and smiled at them. The One who listens to every burden and loves to hear every giggle of laughter.
And they left me standing at my door wondering what can I do for these people? It can't be enough to simply feel emotionally burdened for them. Lots of people can feel emotional pain when they see images of starving children with distended bellies in Africa, but how many do something about it? How can I tell that mother about the powerful Jesus who longs to give her victory from every bondage? That He can save her from the hopeless cycle of try and fail.
I'm feeling keenly the responsibility of the watchman in Ezekiel 33. I’m called, like the watchman to sound the alarm of danger–to warn the wicked of his way. If the alarm is sounded then the responsibility falls to the people whether or not they will respond to the warning. But if the watchman fails to sound the alarm, the blood of the people is on his own head. “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezekiel 33:7-9 Time is short, the last battle is almost on us, and God’s watchmen are running out of time to sound the alarm. How can I face my precious Lord in the end and tell him that I really enjoyed His love, and the freedom of victory that He gave me, and the blessing of truth, but I kept it to myself? How can I tell Him that I saw His precious children in the middle of a road, straight in front of a speeding car, and I didn’t lift a finger to help them or even yell to them to get out of the road?
On a brighter note, I’ve recently been involved in an initiative to keep our little Arkansas county dry. Clark county is one of the few remaining counties here that still prohibits the sale of alcohol. The local university is working hard to change that, and now, for the second time in a row, the wet/dry issue is on the ballot for vote. (Last time, it was taken off before the election because it was found that the wet side didn’t actually have the required number of signatures to be on the ballot in the first place.) This time the race is close. And although for the most part I try to stay out of politics, this is something I feel strongly about. And apparently God does too, “The advocates of temperance fail to do their whole duty unless they exert their influence by precept and example--by voice and pen and vote--in favor of prohibition and total abstinence.”--RH, Nov. 8, 1881
Today was a day of fasting and prayer for all the local churches. I was blessed to participate, and I have rarely heard a season of more fervent prayer than I heard today as our church knelt together and prayed for God to raise up a standard against the enemy. Tuesday is the election, and we earnestly covet your prayers! Thank you for adding your voice to the voice of the watchmen.


  1. That was very inspiring. Let me know how the wet/dry vote came out.

  2. Unfortunately, we lost by about 1000 votes, so Clark County is now a wet county. :-( I'm thankful God is still in charge of this world and everything will be ending soon!