There is a Place By Me

Recently, I visited with my family in Mississippi before we caravan'd to Petit Jean Mountain near Little Rock, Arkansas. I was sound asleep one morning when I was pleasantly awakened by the angelic voice of my sister, Weesie. She was singing this song ...

I hear thy welcome voice
That calls me, Lord, to thee
For cleansing in thy precious blood
That flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord
Coming now to thee;
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
That flowed on Calvary.

That song lingers with me, still.

My sister asked me to take the devotion time
at our family reunion on Saturday night before
we all left to go our separate ways on Sunday morning.
I used that song as a basis. It was quite appropriate,
because in ages past—and we were all familiar with
this exercise as performed by our Mama Smith and
our Mother, Clytie, on separate agendas, of course—
when we would visit, my grandmother used to wake
us up in the middle of the night strumming fiercely on the
old guitar (which she could not play, not one little bit)...
she sang to the top of her lungs ...
"Take That Night Train to Memphis."
We—the cousins—would sit straight up in our beds,
scared out of our wits until we knew what was going on.
It was 3:00 a.m., and she was announcing it was time
to go fox-hunting with Papa.

In later years, we would be
awakened to yet another
memorable moment.
Mother would quietly make her
way to the kitchen at 5 a.m.
and put the coffee on,
and simply because she
could not wait for us to get up
and join her in the kitchen,
she would begin to go for
the pots and pans that were
bottom-most in the cabinet.
Such racket you've never heard.
She gave new meaning to Elvis' song...
"Get Out in that Kitchen and Rattle
Those Pots and Pans."

All us Bennetts remember that about Mother
and wish we could hear those nauseating
sounds just one more time.

Long story getting longer, eh... Anyway, that's how I
began my devotion with my family that night. We were
all so tired from a day of hiking and playing and grilling
and eating. I thought it would be hard to get anyone's
attention. Pleasantly... they were all in for yet more
and we stayed until we just had to leave.

How we wake up is a generational phenomenon.
I went from Mama Smith, to Mother, to Weesie.
Then I asked Jenny how she wakes Steve up
every morning. She hops up and sings (and if
you know Jenny... that woman can sing) something like
"Take These Chains and Set Me Free"! We were
hysterical. Next came Steve. He awakens Jenny
by singing... "Stand By Your Man." And would you
believe Tony Wilkerson could not come up with a
single song for Lynn, so she jumps up and sings to Tony...
"How Great Thou Art." We all knew better!

By then, it was hard to get back on track with a serious
devotion. But you get the point. How we wake up each
morning is important. Back in, let's see ... 1963, when my
husband was hopping out of bed each morning around
5:00, he taught me something I will never forget. So, he got
it from Dr. Lee Roberson at Tennessee Temple University.
It goes something like this... "When you wake up, get up.
And when you get up... WAKE UP!" Well, it's easy to
get up now. We're both retired and he still hops up early
of a morning and makes the coffee and lays out my
favorite breakfast. We sit at the kitchen bar and read
our Scriptures, sip our coffee and eat our proper breakfast
of powder sugar donuts.

Remember in Exodus 33, how God was talking to Moses
and how Moses wanted to see Him—face to face?
Well, Moses knew God, but what was more important,
God knew Moses. Knew him by name. "You can't look
on my face and live... but listen, Moses, there is a place by me."

Oh, I found that to be so comforting. What on this earth could be better than to be in that "place by Him"?
He said, "Stand here in the cleft of the rock.
I'll just cover it with me hand and pass by."
He did. 
And Moses saw His Glory.

Have you found that "place by Him"?
Your cleft in the Rock?
I have.
And I find his compassions are new
every morning. They never fail.
Lamentations 3.
God told Moses the Children of Israel
would have shoes of iron and brass, new manna would lie in heaps of a morning.

Someone said, "yesterday's victories will not win today's battles."
We need to take an empty basket out each morning
and receive the fresh manna—
God's new mercies and compassions that never fail.
His kindness,
His generosity,
His consideration,
His thoughtfulness.
Shoes of iron and brass
and manna for each new day.
It won't get any better than this until we,
like Moses, see Him face to face.
In the meantime, be quick to find that special place.
That "place by Him."

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