Thoughts that come to me that I would like to share. Great to have place to express them. Sometimes they are crumbs. Sometimes they are larger bites - even slices.

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Location: Edmond, Oklahoma, United States

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Arnold Heritage

I was thinking recently of my Arnold heritage. You know, the examples my ancestors and family members left for me to follow.

I was thinking about my Granddad in particular. In his younger years my grandfather was a hard working, hard drinking East Oklahoma cowboy. I have heard my Dad tell stories of watching Granddad catch a fresh horse, saddling him, and riding the bucking horse until blood was running from his ears, and on until the horse settled down and they could go back to working cattle.

Grandma found Christ first, in a Pentecostal meeting. She and a friend used to play tricks on their drunken husbands, as well as pray for them. Grandma’s prayers were effective, too.

A time came when Granddad and some of his friends were at the bedside of a dying friend. The man began to struggle and thrash violently around on the bed. Granddad and the other men had to hold him down. With his last breaths, he was crying out for them to pull his feet out of the fire.  

That was quite an incentive for Granddad. It didn’t take long for him to find the Lord, and commit his life to him. He turned to Christ, and turned his efforts from working cattle and farming to preaching the gospel. Most of the old timers around the town are gone now, but in the old days if you asked for Preacher Arnold, you would have no trouble finding him.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

He That Findeth a Wife ...

I want to introduce you to a lady you may think you already know, but you don’t know her like I do. She is a singer, a musician, a friend, a champion seamstress, a leader, a wife, a mother, and a “nana”.

She began singing for church services as a young child. You could describe her music style as country gospel. She continued singing church solos for many years.

As a musician, she began to play for church services while still in elementary school. She continued off and on for many years. Upon moving to Oklahoma City after marriage, she met mentors who taught her to apply her keyboard abilities to the organ. Thereafter, you might find her playing either piano or organ at services. (I would be in disfavor if I mentioned her experience with the accordion.) One evangelist made much ado over her playing the organ with her eyes shut during worship services and altar calls.

There was one mode of playing that about did her in, however. At the time, there was a piano and organ played for service. It was never certain whether the organist would be present for service. The pastor would ask Rita to play the organ if the other organist didn’t show up, and the piano if she did. Rita didn’t mind playing either, but the not knowing which was too much for her.

She is a friend to about anyone who will give her the opportunity. That has led her on more than one occasion to be a “listening ear” to women undergoing marital or other problems. She also delights in meeting visitors to our church services and greeting them.

Her endeavors as a seamstress began in high school with a very good home economics teacher. Her school dressmaking project received a grade of 99, because, or so her teacher said, “no one is perfect”. Her sewing continued on after our marriage, with her making most of her own clothes for many years. Soon, that turned to making maternity clothes, and our daughter was born a few months later, and our son a few years after that. When we had been married a couple of years her efforts were directed to drapery making. We bought our first home that fall.

When we moved to a rural housing addition west of Enid, OK she was introduced to Home Demonstration clubs. One of the big events each year for the club was the Garfield County Fair. Soon, she was bringing home blue ribbons for her dresses and other entries. Then, the ribbons became purple. Those are given for grand champions. One year, she for some reason wasn’t planning to enter a dress in the fair. However, one of the club members came by, desperate, because the club didn’t have enough entries. Rita pulled a dress that she had made that year out of the closet , and sent it for entry. That one received reserve grand champion status. The member who had asked her to find an entry, in mock anguish, bemoaned the fact that she had worked for days on a fair entry, and Rita had pulled something out of her closet and won reserve grand champion. Her winning ways led to her becoming a judge at other fairs in surrounding counties.

One more sewing story. A club member who was well known for her sewing was to teach a class on making coats. Rita took the class. Of course, the coats became entries at the next county fair. The class instructor won third place. Another lady in the class won second. Rita’s coat won first place.

She is a leader. While president of the Women’s Auxiliary at the Pentecostal Holiness Church we attended, her auxiliary was named outstanding group in the conference at least twice. She has also led bible studies at Lakeside Assembly of God in Oklahoma City. While at the PH church, she became known as the “noodle lady” by local funeral directors, for her specialty of serving chicken and noodles for funeral dinners.

She is a wife, who puts up with me strangely enough. A mother of our son and daughter. And a nana, dearly loved by two wild young boys who thinks she is the greatest, and who are the recipients of her love as well..

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22

My wife, Rita Arnold

Saturday, April 21, 2007

God is in the Details

I have always looked for the ironic in life, in happenings, in jokes, etc. Happenings or words that are different or opposite of what you might expect. That is why I think it is ironic I have no knowledge of one of the biggest happenings in my life. All I know about it is what I have been told.

On the evening of Friday, September 30, 2005, I went to bed as usual. The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital on the next Thursday morning, October 6. I have no memory of anything that occurred in the intervening days.

When I read the literature given to me by the hospital, I learned that I had experienced something called Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). Their use of the word "death" was kind of shocking to me, but that is their word. Some descriptions I have read since use softer language. SCD is a condition in which the heart beats so fast that it can't refill with blood between beats. This means that no blood is going out to your body, including your brain. It results in your collapse.

As I have thought of all the happenings of those six days, as they have been related to me, I have come to the realization that God is in the details. I am also very grateful to Him for bringing me through this, and restoring life to me with little noticeable effect.

Granted, physicians worked long and hard on my behalf. Some techniques they used are considered new and cutting edge. Of course, I am grateful to them. However, I am most grateful to God, who arranged all the circumstances that gave the physicians the opportunity to do their work. I intend to relate to you as many of those circumstances and details as I have become aware, to show how He worked mightily on my behalf.

What Happened

On that day in October, 2005, I was about 5 to 6 weeks past quadruple by-pass heart surgery. I had returned to work, and was feeling well. I am told that I didn't feel too well that particular day.

I had been doing some chores around the house, and had tried to install a new garbage disposal, without success. The strain of that may have contributed to later events.

About 4:00 I collapsed, and fell out of the chair in my tiny home office. My daughter, Carol, heard the chair slide across the room, and came to investigate (read: miracles. See details later.) She found me lying on the floor, unconscious.

Carol called 911 and began CPR. She kept it up for six minutes, wanting to stop and call my son, Chris, to come help her. The 911 operator wouldn't let her stop, even when she said she couldn't handle me by herself. Finally, the firemen and ambulance arrived, and took over the effort. When they arrived I was in full cardiac arrest—They shocked me twice and did all the necessary procedures to save me.

Carol finally had the opportunity to call Chris, who lives about two miles away. He had been preparing to come over, anyway, because he and I were supposed to go to the OU vs K-State football game that night. (Which reminds me, those firemen and EMT's must have been Oklahoma State fans, because they cut my OU shirt off me, and I haven't seen it since.)

My wife, Rita, had spent the afternoon at the Weight Watchers center where she works, taking inventory. She got her first notification of what was happening when Chris called and told her I had collapsed, and she needed to get home.

The firemen and EMT's had used a defibrillator on me, and were preparing to transport me to the local hospital. Chris and Rita began driving there. On the way, they received a phone call from Carol telling them that I was on my way to the Oklahoma Heart Hospital, instead. (From later experiences, I believe it is the practice of the EMT's to send in the patient's readings. Based on that, they are directed where to go).

Rita and family were met at the hospital by our pastor, Rev. Darren Pilcher, his friend Rev. Curtis Ivy, and many concerned members of our local church. We are forever grateful for their presence, their support, and their prayers. Especially grateful that their prayers were so effectively answered. Word was spread to other friends and acquaintances around the state, and I was in their prayers as well.

Here is Rita's account of what happened:

"Things were very grim. The ER doctor said they’d done all they could do and it was in God’s hands.

(Believe me –that’s always the best place to be.) They moved him up to the critical intensive care unit

where they did a procedure they called “THE BIG CHILL”. They lowered his body temperature slowly and

kept it in that state for 24 hours. This was to keep his body organs and heart from working so hard and

so his brain wouldn’t swell. In Oklahoma City "The Big Chill" was done only in this heart hospital.

During this time he was kept in a drug induced coma. When he awoke, if he awoke, they would be able to know if there

was damage. After 24 hours they slowly warmed him up and in the next 24 hours we’d know. He began to be

conscious early on Monday, gradually responding to the Doctor (like wiggling his toes). Those things were good, but he didn’t really seem to know who we were. It was Tuesday morning before I felt sure he knew who I was".

According to the March, 2007 issue of Readers Digest, approximately 25% of U.S. doctors use the "big chill" technique. Fortunately, my doctors are in this minority group.

I have said that I remember nothing that happened from Saturday, October 1 until the next Thursday morning. That is true. However, I am told that I was awake during part of that time, and received visitors and talked with them. No offense, any one, but I don't remember any of this. What happened on Thursday that was different? I don't know. I do know that church services were held Wednesday night. I have no doubt that prayers were said for me at Lakeside Assembly, my home church, as well as other churches around the state.

Rita has mentioned my experience to her physician. The doctor's first thought was that Rita was going to tell her that I had died. Upon finding that that wasn't the case, her next thought was that I had brain damage. I am glad to state that that is not the case either.

I know that sometimes computer data is copied off, and the computer disk is reformatted, cleaning up old problems. The copied data is then rewritten to the renewed disk. I feel at times that my person, my being, whatever it is that makes up "me" has been rewritten to the physical presence of my being. Any brain damage that may have occurred has been restored. All of the prayers that were made for me contributed to that restoration.

I have said "God is in the details" of my experience. What am talking about?

My daughter Carol was home. She works every other Saturday, and could easily have been working, or shopping.

Carol knows CPR. I didn't know she did, but she tells me she was instructed in her high school driver's ed class, and was number one in her class.

Carol had been practicing a song for Sunday church service. She had just turned off the music. Otherwise, she would never have heard me collapse. She also came to check on me. At other times she might have ignored a small noise.

The ambulance crew that had stated that they were taking me to a local general hospital instead took me to a heart specialty hospital. A hospital that uses techniques used by only a quarter of doctors at this time.

An article appeared in the Sunday Oklahoman on Easter Sunday, 2007, relating the story of a woman who had had the same experience I did. According to that article, only 7% of people who experience SCD survive. I am grateful to be one of those who have done so.

Prior to my by-pass surgery, tests showed that my heart was pumping out only 28% of the blood it contained. Normal is 50-55%.Tests made in September 2006 indicate that my heart is pumping out 50+% of the blood it contains. That is considered normal. Also, when I first began consulting the cardiologist, I was told that the lower tip of my heart was dead, that there was nothing that could be done about this. That was repeated to me on later visits. When the September, 2006 tests were performed, I was told that the tip of my heart was full of small blood vessels. I didn't think to ask the obvious question then, but I did later. "Does that mean that the tip of my heart isn't dead any longer?" The doctor's reply was a big "Yes"!

One other small detail. I mentioned that I was in my small home office when I collapsed. There was a laser printer sitting in the floor close to my chair. Carol has asked me more than once how I missed hitting that printer when I fell. God is in the details.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

How to Please God...(You must have a need!)

Ever wonder what makes God happy?
The book of Hebrews, chapter 11 verse 1 says

"11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".

Things that we hope for are things that we do not have. If we have them, why would still hope for them? They are needs.

Being sure? Sure of what? Sure that we will receive what we need.

Hebrews 11:6 says:

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Faith is being sure that we will receive what we need, that we will receive the supply of our
need from God. You could say that you have to have a need to have faith, and you have to have faith to please God. Therefore, you have to have a need to please God.

I think it is better said, however, to carry the thought a little further- It pleases God to meet our needs, to supply what we need, to bless us!

Enjoy life, trust God, enjoy His blessings!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Refreshing, Cleansing, Powerful Water

"On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39).

Water is an amazing thing. It is life sustaining. We can't live without it. It refreshes us when we are tired and thirsty. But it can also be one of the most powerful forces in nature. Have you ever surveyed the scene after a powerful flood? A flood swept through the town where I used to live, many years ago. The devestation was enormous. Metal street light poles were bent over. Fence posts were pulled from the ground, the concrete in which they had been set exposed to the air. Pavement was washed from the streets.

Think of a less powerful example of what water can do. When a stream flows down a stream bed, it washes away the trash and the broken tree limbs and whatever else is lying in its path. It is a cleansing force. Not only is it a cleansing force, but it soaks up the land along the stream bank. Many times, travelers in a dry land can find water by digging in the dry stream bed, digging down to where the water remains.

Jesus said His Spirit would flow through our lives like streams of living water. A flowing stream that cleanses away the trash and flotsam from our lives. Living water that saturates our lives with His presence. Living water that enables His life to be lived in us.

Think about it. Appropriate it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

It's Rightous, Brother!

Words are wonderful things. With them we pass our thoughts, ideas, desires on to others. Words are used to structure principles and concepts.

Sometimes, words of great import are used so frequently that their meaning fades. They become common and lose their import. Such a word is Righteous, and its offshoot, Righteousness. Modern usage has even lowered the usage to anything good or enjoyable: "That's righteous!" Righteousness, on the other hand, is either ignored, or just not given its proper importance.

One basic definition of righteousness is "the state of he who is such as he ought to be". In other words, he is right.

Another definition is "guiltlessness before God". Does anyone want to raise their hand?

Righteousness is obviously a condition related to our relationship with God. Jesus said: " For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mathew 5:20). I guess you could even say that it is a pre-condition to our entrance to heaven.

Here is a disturbing thought: Romans 3:10 says "As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;"

So, we have a dilemma. Righteousness is a condition to our right relationship with God. But His word says no one meets that standard. It goes on to say " Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." Romans 3:20.

So what shall we do? We don't meet God's standard of righteousness. We can't become righteous by doing all the good things and avoiding all the bad things listed in the law. Are we lost? NO!

Because here is the essence of the gospel: Rom 3:21-22a "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."

God has made provision to give His righteousness to us, "through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe!"
We can have no righteousness of our own, but we can have God's righteousness given to us. That is why Jesus came to earth. To bring God's gift to us, and to take our sins upon Himself!

We obtain that gift when we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of our life, and believe that God has raised Him from the dead:
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Rom. 10:9-10).

Have you believed? Have you proclaimed? How about now?