Los Alamos Church of Christ

Let the Word Dwell

#22 Philippians 4:13

Grandma Flowers

 

This morning our verse in the 50 Verse Memory Challenge is…

 

#22 Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

I had originally planned on preaching Ephesians 3:20 this morning but my plans changed.  Life happens.  Or rather death happens.

 

--Grandma Flowers died last Sunday.  I was in Oklahoma this week doing her funeral. 

--Ephesians 3:20 is a big verse.  I didn’t have all the time I needed to do Ephesians 3:20 well. So we will do it next week… Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise. 

--Because I have been thinking about Grandma Flowers all week it struck me that her life could be a source of encouragement to all of us.  So I am going to share with you what I shared about her at the funeral. 

--I believe Grandma Flowers did Philippians 4:13.

--So, we are going to do Philippians 4:13 in the context of Grandma Flowers’ life. 

 

Here is what I said at Grandma Flowers’ funeral.  I think there is a message for us, from her life. 

 

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I have always known Ada Dunkin Flowers as Grandma Flowers.  She has been Grandma Flowers for about 60 years.  Interestingly, Ada was Grandma Flowers longer than she wasn’t.  Tanya is her oldest grandchild.  When Tanya, was born she was 40.  And she lived to almost 101.  She was Grandma Flowers for a long time to a lot of people.  I cannot think of a better name than…  Grandma Flowers…an amazing name for an amazing woman. 

 

You know, I think of myself not only as a preacher, but a theologian.  I think a great deal about God.  I teach and preach about God.   I take theology seriously.  I want to make sure the words I preach are truth.  I am concerned with speaking theology correctly.  Every week I stand up here and attempt not to just bring you the same old thing… but truth wherever it might lead us.  I am a speaker of truth. 

 

But Grandma Flowers approached theology very differently.  She wasn’t so much concerned with preaching theology, as she was concerned with living theology.  Grandma Flowers taught theology by living it.  She spoke a powerful message about God in the way she lived.  She spoke a lot of words in her life, but what I take away from her is a powerful message about who God intends us to be!

 

As I reflect on Grandma Flowers’ life, I want to share how she taught truth in her life.  I want to share with you some theological truths which Grandma Flowers taught me.  Her life-truths are insights into God and how we should live. 

 

The first truth that is compelling to me is…

 

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She Loved Life…

 

Up until the last couple weeks, she loved her life.   She loved life enough to live beyond 100 years.  That is remarkable.  100 years, 10 months, 29 days is amazing.   Many of us thought when Grandpa Flowers died she would soon follow him.  But she didn’t.  She loved life.  She lived another 5 years.  She loved her life. 

 

Perhaps she loved her life because she also loved her spot.  In 1939 Jack bought 40 acres in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. The Ada and Jack built a house.  Then in 1970 they build another house on the same property.  As all of you know, that house burned down a little over 3 weeks ago.  She did not live past losing her spot.  She loved her precious spot in Wynnewood, Oklahoma for 76 years.  It was hard for her to lose her spot. 

 

I guess she loved that spot so much because she had done so many of the things she loved there.  76 years of gardening.  76 years of canning.  76 years of quilt-making.  Years and years of raising kids and grandkids.  She loved her simple life in her spot in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. It is nice to have a spot. 

 

Here is the theological truth that I take away from Grandma Flowers’ love of life.  We were created in the image of God to live with Him forever. 

 

Genesis 2:7-8,15 Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.  15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

 

We were made to live forever in the garden, a special spot.  We were created to walk with God in the cool of the evening.  We were originally designed to live forever.  We were originally commissioned to garden a spot.  Grandma Flower’s love of life and her love of a special spot teaches us a great theological truth…

 

We are designed to be with God forever.  Her love of life is a foreshadowing of the eternal life we will one day live!  Her love of life; her love of her spot in Wynnewood, Oklahoma… teaches us of who we will one day be.  In the glorified earth when we are revealed as the Sons of God, we will be able to do what Grandma Flowers attempted to do.  Live in our spot forever! 

 

This is compelling for me.  People love this life because that is how we are wired.  This is amazing evidence of who we really are!  We are life-loving creatures! 

 

Here is another great theological truth she taught me…

 

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She was Faithful… Persistent

 

When I say faithful I am not talking, so much, about trusting in God or loyalty to her husband, although she was those things.  What I am talking about is persistent.  Grandma Flowers was amazingly persistent.  She was faithful!

 

Think of all the changes she had to cope with in her 100 years…

 

--She was born just before WW1.  As a child she endured the hardships of world war.  And then another war and another war and another war.

--She was born to dirt poor farmers.  Her mother died when she was 11.  As the oldest, she quit school in the 3rd grade to take care of siblings. 

--As a young woman she endured the Great Depression.  This accounts for her never throwing anything away.  “We might need that someday.”  She learned the hard way to be frugal.  Her cabinets full of Sonic cups; her yard full of old appliances; cars were never traded in, but parked, because they might be needed someday.  She persevered through those dark years.

--Tanya enjoys telling about Spam sandwiches.   Every week day for years Grandma Flowers would get up and after making a big breakfast, would lovingly fry Spam.  Waking the kids with the smell of frying spam.  Placing cheese on it, if they had it. And wrapping it in wax paper for Jack’s lunch.  She was persistent.  She made do. 

--She lived through all the changes of our culture.  Radio was popular, then TV, then telephones, then cell phones not to speak of Facebook.

--She outlived the hippies.  She lived through 17 presidents, only 4 outlived her.  She saw a president shot down. She saw a man land on the moon.  She saw the towers fall.   She persisted through a lot of history.  100, 10 months and 29 days of persistence through all kinds of changes, that is amazing.

 

Some might call her persistence… stubbornness or bull headed.  I couldn’t say that at her funeral.  So I said persistent.  Often times her and her husband would… have persistent discussions over all most anything.  There disagreements to me were always a source of joy that they loved each other so much they could bicker. 

 

Here is the theological truth…

 

James 1:23-25 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevers, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, (s)he will be blessed in (her) doing.

 

God has promised to bless those who persevere… those who are persistent! 

 

One more, let me share one more truth she taught me…

 

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She Passed on a Heritage…

 

Here is a precious picture taken at her 100 birthday party.  This picture has 5 generations of females. As I looked at this picture, it struck me how important heritage is. 

 

One persistent woman, who loved life, passes her strength to her daughter, where that strength gets amplified and passed on to her daughter.  That strong woman, who I happen to be married to, passes this persistence to her daughter who are amazingly strong.  And this momentum of heritage is passed generation of girls, who may accomplish the amazing!  We now have a generation of little girls who have the force of 4 generations propelling them forward.  Their potential is amazing.  The strength moving forward to them becoming women is astronomical.  To some degree, because of a strong, life-loving woman who began passing a heritage that is continued from daughter to daughter to daughter.

 

This is a powerful theological truth.

 

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

 

 

 

The psalmist continues this thought…

 

 

Psalm 71:17-18 O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.  So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation.

 

 

Grandma Flowers passed on a heritage to all of her children; her sons and her daughters and all her descendants. That is a powerful lesson to me of the responsibility each generation has to keep the momentum going.

 

Here is the connection from Grandma Flowers’ life to Philippians 4:13.

 

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#22 Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Paul is not claiming to be Superman.  Paul is not claiming that he can do anything.  Paul is claiming to be able to handle anything through the power of Jesus Christ!  Listen to the context…

 

ESV Philippians 4:9-14 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.

 

Paul was able to endure… to preserve… to handle the good times and the bad times.  Paul was able to be content in plenty and hunger.  I can do all things through the strength of Jesus Christ.  To me, Grandma Flowers loved life and handled all the things for 100 years, 10 months and 29 days.  

 

For me her life-loving, persistent heritage is a sermon for all of us.  It teaches us that…

 

#22 Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

 

Tim Stidham

June 14, 2015

Los Alamos Church of Christ