A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

The First Points of Light Award

posted by Linda G. Howard

Points of lightWhen President George H. W. Bush gave the first Points of Lights Award, it went to a NASA employee named Frank S. Howard who was a volunteer for The Special Gathering of Indian River.

fshoward

Frank S. Howard

The fact that Frank S. Howard was my husband and I am the area director for The Special Gathering of Indian River, I’m felt a close connection to the organization.  As President Obama and the Bush family celebrate this fine organization, I cannot help but remember the surprise and joy we shared when the award was given.

Frank Howard was an Technological Scientist at NASA.  He had five inventions to his credit and many award, including Kennedy Space Center Employee of the Year.  Frank Howard was a Bible teacher for the Special Gathering.  He loved and supported this the population and felt it was an honor to teach the members of his class.

The Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  Our mission is the evangelization and discipleship of mentally challenged (intellectually disabled)  individuals.  There are seven programs dotting the East Coast from Florida to South Carolina.

Eating fish

posted by Linda G. Howard

We all know that when you eat fish you will usually come across a bone or two no matter how carefully the fish has been filleted.  We also know that the bones aren’t digestible and should be spit out.  Fish bones, in fact, can be dangerous; but that fact never kept me from eating and appreciating fish.

I often approach authors in the same way.  I almost never agree with everything that I read.  At times, I’ve found that I’m wrong and that what I rejected was a truth that I didn’t want to accept.  That is usually became of some pride or greed in my life.  However, in reading, I simply spit out the parts with which I don’t agree.

In watching the new TV series, The Bible, I’ve done a lot of bone spitting.  In this way, I’ve thoroughly savored it.  The entire Bible is being speed-enacted in 10 hours.  When you condense 6,000 years of history into five segments of TV, there must be some distortions and misgivings.

I confess that portions of the enactments have made me laugh.  When one of Lot’s angelic visitors turned out to be a Ninja warrior, I roared with laughter as he whirled and spun with the ease and graceful moves of a Hollywood stunt man.  In contrast, the Negro Samson wasn’t nearly as unrealistic as the nearly blond Jesus.  I’d always picture Samson as a slight man who gained his strength when the Spirit of God came on him.  But that could because all my life I’ve been surrounded by extremely strong men who were short in statue.

Yet, all in all, the series has been mind-bending to watch. A good friend said, “I’ve read the Old Testament many times but seeing it has made me think about things a bit differently.  So many good men and women have been lured into sin by illicit sexual relationships.”  Another friend laments that men and women of God are still making the same mistakes and justifying them with the same lame excuses.

As the viewership has soared, I’m thankful for the non-Christians who are watching the series.  However, I’ve seen the most impact on people who know the Bible and love the Lord.  Nevertheless, there is a bit of fish-eating that must be practiced in the process.

A history lesson

posted by Linda G. Howard

Over the past months, I’ve discovered the classics from Sir Walter Scott, James Fenimore Cooper, St. Augustine to Andrew Murray.  Of course, most of these volumes were written in the early 1800’s.  Unlocking the labyrinth of historical fact wrapped around the old English prose of that earlier century presents a challenge.  Yet years of reading the King James Version of the Bible and Jane Austin relieves the struggle.

All of these books are in the public domain.  Therefore, they can be found as free downloads through my iPad and iPhone.  I listen to them through Audio-Books and when I find a volume confusing, I open it on the Free eBooks app and I read along with the audio.  In addition, when I’m not driving or working, I listen and read to get a fuller sense of what the author is saying.

Yes, I must reread (or re-listen) to most of the volumes several times to truly follow the convoluted  plots and fantastic adventures; but it’s an activity well worth the effort.  Years ago, I discovered George MacDonald, the Scottish author, whom C. S. Lewis called his mentor.  Even though, MacDonald died before Lewis because a Christian through MacDonald’s writings, Lewis credited MacDonald with understanding of the Kingdom of God; and he was inspired by MacDonald’s books and writings.

Sometime in the 1980’s a few of MacDonald’s books were rewritten in an attempt to make them easier to follow.  It was these volumes that first introduced me to him.  At time I learned  that J. R. R. Tolkien as well as C. S. Lewis had patterned their fantasies after MacDonald’s wistful tramps through the lands that lived in his imagination.

The thing which has struck me is how much the Gospel is interwoven into the “secular” writing and novels.  Of course, there are the Christian distractors, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne.  However, the volumes I’ve chosen to read such as an obscure book called Work by Louisa Mae Alcott are dripping with the virtues of living for Christ and dying with the joy and peace that only comes from knowing and embracing the Living Christ.

In addition, there is a fresh sense of what life was like in a time when men and women were either dirt-floor poor or overwhelmed with wealth.  It appears that no matter where people fell within the socio-economic struggles, their lives were much like ours.  Love of the Lord was a thing to be cherished; and love of our fellow human beings could only be fully obtained through loving and obeying Christ.

End of an era

posted by Linda G. Howard

end of a roadCarla is not adjusting well to this time.  It is an end of an era for her.  Carla  is a high functioning person with intellectual disabilities.   Both parents have died.  She became too ill to live in her own apartment any longer.  For health and safety reasons, Carla has been moved into a group home where she can receive medical attention and help with her personal care needs.

Joseph is experiencing the opposite.  It is also an end of an era for him.  His mother’s health has forced his family to make a hard decision.  He, too, moved into a group home.  While living with his family, Joseph was never allowed to dress, shave or clean himself.  He was told where to go and what to do.  At the group home, he is required to clean, dress and shave himself.  He must take part in the chores and activities of the household.  He is required to do his own laundry and clean his own room.

Carla’s personality is softly pleasant.  Her manners are tender and appealing.  Joseph’s manner is gruff and abrasive.  He never walks.  He struts, giving the impression that he thinks more highly of himself than he ought.

unhappy catWhile Carla finds group home living restrictive and oppressive, Joseph has never felt more freedom.  Carla has fewer chores and responsibilities now that she no longer lives in her own apartment. Someone cooks her meals, helps her with her household chores when necessary.   Without even informing her, the staff completes the paperwork required by the government which she often hid rather than traverse through the unintelligible maze of questions.  They worry about her medications and take care of her doctor’s appointments.  Carla resents the assistance she receives.

The demands on Joseph have multiplied but his finds increasing freedom in this new arrangement even though it is wrapped tightly with chores and requirements.  Of course, Joseph has never been one to complain.  He takes life as it come; and he trusts the Lord to work things out for his benefit.  Joseph often prays out loud, seriously or happily asking God to help him.

Carla admits that she almost never prays.  The requirements of “religion” are much too difficult and confining.  Carla cannot grasp the concept of God being a friend–her friend.

Joseph’s cognitive level is far below Carla’s; but his faith quotient soars far above most other people.  He prays and expects an answer “because God loves me.”  He believes that “all things work” for his good.  “God said it in the Bible.  Therefore, it’s true.”

In short, Carla is miserable and has been for years.  Joseph is joyous. Each day is a welcomed adventure.

sitting on a porchEach of us come to times in our lives when things radically change.  We graduate from college.  We get married.  Our first baby is born.  The first child enters kindergarten.  Then poof.   In a few short days, she is entering college.  The children leave home.  The children come back home.  A spouse dies.

Our IQ does not determine the position of our misery barometer.  Through prayer and fellowship with our Heavenly Father and Savior-Redeemer-Friend Jesus our barometers are adjusted, determining the joy and love into which we motivate through life.  I am praying that my life follows the example set by Joseph.  Even though, he is a young man with a lousy personality and low IQ,  Joseph has trapped the life-giving force of the Lord Jesus and released it into his surroundings and lifestyle.  His example gives me hope and joy.

Previous Posts

The Choice that Changed Everything--a sermon for the mentally challenged community
The choice that changed everything Nehemiah 9:17 Central Theme: Man choices to sin and God chooses to be gracious. A ream of paper has 500 sheets--not more and not less. A foot is 12 inches--not more and not less. There are many absolutes in our lives. There is a couple of absolutes that totally

posted 10:48:30pm Aug. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Friendship Evangelism
For many years, I taught a seminar called "Friendship Evangelism."  The basis of this teaching was that people are much more susceptible to hear the promises of the Gospel, if they know and respect you.  We all have a knowledge of the friendship of David and Jonathan from the Bible.  Even if we o

posted 9:12:04am Aug. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Overcoming Fatigue
After four days of Camp Agape, my children laugh that I'm in my Camp Coma for about a week.  While it's humorous there is a lot of truth in their designation of my abilities.  There are some things that I've learned from others and from my own experiences regarding physical fatigue. First, this

posted 6:37:05am May. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Explaining grace
In the past weeks, I've been going over some of the key words in our covenant relationship with God.  Perhaps one of the most important words we use is grace. Most of us have learned and maybe we even remember God's Riches At Christ's Expense This is great explanation of grace and

posted 9:48:06pm May. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Familiar customs and limited means
When the Biblical young woman, Ruth, married into a Jewish family she understood little about their ways, God or religion.  This is my supposition; but I base the conjecture on facts.  Moabites were shunned by the Israelis.  Decades before, Moab wronged the wandering tribes who desired to trav

posted 7:47:06am May. 20, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.