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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The BIG Apple

We recently returned from New York City. Jill and Daron, our daughter and son-in-law, bought airline tickets for us to come back and see their new 'digs' in lower Manhattan, celebrate birthdays....a big one for my husband, and enjoy this beautiful city with them. They'll be living here for the next year; Daron has a new work assignment. Our daughter will be working from her NY office instead of downtown Los Angeles. In fact, she'll be walking to work, a mere 6 tenths of a mile! Daron will ride his bike or take the subway. A real change of life-style for these California natives. We pray the Lord will have His hand on them through this entire adventure.

I wanted to sit on the couch in their apartment with a fantastic view of the Hudson River filled with constant activity and write a blog 'Greetings from the Big Apple'. I didn't find the time. We watched everything from huge cruise ships, water taxis, barges, tug boats and sailboats parade past. Way to the left we could see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Across the river was the skyline of Jersey City with a million twinkling lights at night. We'll miss our kids, but they've left us with their dog Daisy to keep us company. She's a 68 lb Pit Bull mix who wasn't welcome at the apartment complex, much to their disappointment. We soon discovered that dogs and little children are plentiful in NYC. Daisy and Tiny Tim, our 8 lb Miniature Pincher will get along just fine.

This move came up very suddenly, and we were reminded that life can change quickly. We can't see around the corner, but our loving, gracious Lord has a plan and we can simply step back and watch what He is doing. We're content to know that we are 'the apple of His eye', Psalm 17:8.

We did the sights, many of which we'd seen before, and Lord willing, will see again. My heart skips a beat when I see the Statue of Liberty. I'm reminded of so many who came here to be free and pray that they come to understand that freedom comes from God alone. John 8:32 says that when you 'know the truth, the truth will set you free'. We see a new building rising up to meet the clear, bright blue sky on ground zero, an easy walk from the apartment. Crews seem to be working day and night in hopes of having one building and the memorial finished for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. As I stood at the construction site, I thought about a Bible study I taught in our community. We were studying the Book of Acts and had been rejoicing in the fact that God is sovereign and totally trustworthy. Then this! The class was waiting for me as I walked through the door the day after the tragedy. Silence enveloped the room; they looked grim. One precious lady spoke up and said "The Lord is still on the throne". During a crisis, we walk by faith and trust in the Lord with all our heart and "lean not on your own understanding.." When we try to humanly figure everything out, we get lost in the maize! We certainly don't understand all that happens around us, but we can feel safe. I have a note written beside a verse in Proverbs 16:4, dated 9/11/01, the day the towers came down "The Lord works out everything for his own ends - even the wicked for a day of disaster". Yes, even when to our human eye we can't see or understand, we can know the Lord is still on the throne!

We meandered through Central Park and watched preparations for the NY Marathon Race to be held the following day, had some great clam chowder at the Boat House, passed by the lovely bronze of Alice in Wonderland, enjoyed dogs frolicking, children playing and wound up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th Ave, went to the 2nd floor, had a glass of wine and let 'being here' soak in! Skaters are already enjoying the rink at Rockefeller Plaza, across the street from St. Patrick's Church. Flags dance in the breeze, and happy faces abound. Our kids treated us to the superb Circle Line Tour, excellent narrative - you learn a lot about the city. We also took the famous Staten Island Ferry near Battery Park for another view of the city, the statue, Ellis Island, etc. It's totally free. Daron accompanied us to Federal Hall near Wall St. where our first president, George Washington, took the oath of office. I loved seeing the very block of cement where he stood as he became leader of this great new nation. This is also the sight of the signing of the Bill of Rights. We walked to the Fulton Fish Market area, now Pier 17 with shops and restaurants, no more Sloppy Louie's which was a bit of an icon near Wall St. We remember a lunch we ate there in 1975.

Our daughter had Veteran's Day off work, so we went to the Museum of Natural History. Wonderful displays of wild animals in natural settings, dinosaurs galore and an interesting exhibit of the solar system. Saw a movie narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. I couldn't help but wonder if she knew a lot of these 'scientific findings' parallel Biblical truth. I'm now studying in Isaiah 13 and read in vs. 10 "The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light". God created the world and brought the light. He will be the one who will turn off the lights and as Whoopi pointed out, there will be a new heaven and new earth. Best of all, evil and sin will be gone forever! We won't need light from the sun or the stars, Jesus is the Light, and we will have plenty of Sonshine! While reading in the room describing evolution, a man standing next to me chuckled. He said, "There's a word missing here - THEORY" Yes, I agreed.

Our daughter needed some warm tights to wear with her boots and knew just where to get them, Saks Fifth Avenue. Dad took a seat and enjoyed people watching while we ran up to the hosiery department. We made a quick stop to look at coats. Christmas decorations already sparkled. I didn't feel dressed for Saks and was the only one in the store wearing tennis shoes. We cabbed it through Times Square and saw Radio City Music Hall with it's huge tree all aglow.

Jill, knowing I write a bit and enjoy peotry, pointed out the 'Poets House' located directly across the street from their building. A beautiful place on the Hudson. I've never seen such a complete collection of poetry books in one place. I'm a fan of Frank McCourt who wrote (and won a Pulitzer Prize for) Angela's Ashes several years ago. I recently read his last book (he died this year) Teacher Man. It's the story of the years he taught at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. We found the old school (now there is a new school near the apartment) and a security guard took us to room 205 where he taught for so many years. What a thrill to be in that room, stand at the chalk board and remember him. We're so happy God blessed him and allowed his story to be heard. That evening we were too hungry and too tired to travel across town back to the apartment and stumbled upon a little Italian restaurant called 'Johns' on 12th St. It had been there for over 100 years! I guess practice makes perfect because the food was wonderful. We also had great meals at Walker's, Palms, The Harrison, and liked a casual diner called Gee Whiz. We ate too much, but needed the fuel for all the walking and climbing steps. NYC is not for the physically challenged or wimps!

Wednesday morning I did what I always do on Wednesday mornings.....attend a Bible Study Fellowship class. I'd arranged to attend one on Madison Ave held in a large, beautiful Presbyterian Church. I'd prepared for a lesson on Isaiah 11 and 12. This speaks to a future time when God will restore His Kingdom, a time when the "wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat...." we animal lovers relish this passage. What fun to be with a group of women, so like me, who live so differently and yet we have a solid common bond....knowing Jesus is Lord. Chapter 12 is all about songs of praise to the Lord. We were asked what song came to our mind. Many choose favorite hymns and praise songs, the first melody that sprang to my mind was "You are My Sunshine". I changed it a bit, the ladies loved it.

You are my Sonshine,
my only Sonshine.
You make me happy
when skies are gray.
You'll never know Lord,
how much I love you,
please don't take your
Sonshine away!

Thank you Lord for the time with family, enjoying your creation, watching my husband open a ton of birthday cards from dear family and friends, rejoicing and feeling pride in Jill and Daron. I ask you to hold them tightly so they'll sense your presence and be free of stress.