Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Blessing of Work

Every human on earth has experienced work in some capacity one way or another in their lifetime. I would hazard to say that most of those people have also grumbled and complained about their work many times during their lifetime. After all, work is labor. It is toilsome and occupies most of our waking hours. It becomes mundane, oftentimes, boring, and probably is the cause of most of the stress in our lives.

Work starts early in our lives with having to do chores as children. How often do you hear a hearty, "Yes, Mom, I'd love to take out the trash." or "Yes, Dad, there's nothing I'd rather do than mow the lawn for you." Don't parents usually hear a groan instead, or deal with procrastination by having to repeat their request over and over again?

How about adults? Are we any different? Do we walk into our place of employment kicking up our heels eager and happy to get on with whatever we are expected to do? Do we anticipate a great day whistling while we work? I would say that most people drag their feet to work dreading to face the day and all the problems that come along with the work they do. Work becomes dull, mundane, oftentimes stressful, and something that HAS to be done to provide for their families. Why else would we anticipate vacation time so expectantly----ahhhh, a few days away from this toil and labor!!!

In the beginning, God Himself worked six days in creating the heavens and the earth and everything in them. Did He groan, moan, complain after His work was completed? No. He looked at his work with satisfaction and said it "was very good." When God placed man in the Garden of Eden, God put him there to "work it and take care of it." (Gen. 2:15). There was not the sin issue then to deal with in the Garden. Adam toiled with complete and utter enjoyment in his work. He did not have weeds, thorns, disease, insects, etc. to battle to keep the Garden perfect. Adam walked with God in the garden in perfect unity and fellowship as they enjoyed their creative work of their hands together.

Then Eve ate the apple and everything changed. The ground was cursed, and work became painful, hard and toilsome. Thorns and thistles had to be dealt with. Work brought sweat to the brow (stress). No longer was work a joy for Adam or the generations that followed.

Yet, in Ecclesiastes, Soloman discovered work as a blessing---a gift from God. "A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too I see as from the hand of God." (Eccles. 2:24) "That every man may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil---this is the gift of God." (Ecc. 3:13).

Work can bring satisfaction and contentment if we do what we do "as unto the Lord." It is our way of saying thank you to God for the skills and abilities He has given us in order to make the world a better, safer place to live for everyone. If we see work as a means of only satisfying our own greed, then we have missed the whole point of God's gift of work to us. He has given each of us different talents, skills and abilities to benefit mankind as a whole so that we can enjoy life more fully.

We can work grimly or gladly. We can do our work "heartily" or "hardly". We can give our all-out effort with a good attitude, or we can grumble and complain and accomplish little. Thank God for the job you have. You are there for a purpose. Fulfill that purpose to the best of your God-given abilities and trust that He will bless you for your toil and labor.

Enjoy your day and do whatever you do "as unto the Lord."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our Living Hope

"Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o'er his foes...."


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who..has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (I Peter 1:3)

"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:20-22)

We have hope today because we serve a RISEN Savior!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

May this Easter be most blessed for you and your family as you harbor that blessed hope in your heart of eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I Told You So!

During Jesus' three years of ministry on earth, Jesus taught the disciples so many things about Himself and tried to prepare them for what would take place in His future and in the future of all generations. In his last week before His crucifixion, He so wanted them to grasp the message He was trying to get over to them: that His time on earth was drawing nigh, that He would die, and that He would be resurrected on the third day, and then ascend into heaven, and that He would come again and receive them to Himself. They just didn't get the full picture! They knew Him as Lord and Savior, but they expected Him to set up His kingdom and proclaim Himself as Messiah without having to pay the penalty for mankind's sin by His own shed blood.

So when they experienced the terrible day of Christ's death and burial, they were disillusioned, devastated, sorrowful, and defeated. They gathered together in a room to mourn and wondered what would become of them now that all their hopes were dashed and ruined. Their Master was dead!

How could they have forgotten the words that Christ had so very carefully explained to them over and over again that yes, He would die, but that He would rise again on the third day and ascend into heaven to go to prepare a place for them.

As they were gathered in the room together having their own pity party, can you imagine what took place when Jesus appeared to them and began to rebuke them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him afer he had risen? It was as if the Lord was saying, "See, fellas, I told you so!"

Luke 24:44 says "He said to them, this is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms." Now do you believe Me (my addition).

"Then he opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures." ( vs. 45)

From that moment on, the disciples changed completely. They became bold, courageous, fearless witnesses to all that Jesus had taught them and shared the good news of a risen Savior that awaits to save them according to their faith. The news spread through the land and is still being shared faithfully down through the centuries today. We serve a risen Savior!

Don't be one with a stubborn heart and a closed mind. He wants you to know the truth, and the truth will set you free. He is in heaven preparing a place for those who will accept Him and receive Him as Lord here and now. Don't wait too long to experience the joy of having your mind opened to understand. He is coming again as He promised.

Have a wonderful Easter celebrating the new life in you, the hope of glory!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Sun Stopped

When I was small living in Nebraska, I remember a day when we woke up to a pretty sunny day, but as the morning passed, the skies began to get an eerie darkness, and by noon it was as black as if it were midnight outside. My mom called my dad at work and asked him to come home as we were frightened wondering what was happening. Only a short time later, the blackness dissipated and the normal light of day returned. Dad suspected that a tornado had passed close by and we took a drive to investigate. Sure enough, the path of destruction proved that a tornado had passed through a nearby town.

There was another day in history where the sun stopped at the noon hour and lasted three hours. Blackness came over the whole land. It was at the very moment in time when Jesus, having been crucified and hung on a cross, gave up his spirit and died. His death was a voluntary act on his part, an obedience to His Father's will, in order to accomplish redemption for you and me. In response to the death of the very One who had created them, the sun stopped shining, the earth shook, and the dead rose from the tombs and walked about in the holy city. Also, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom, the curtain that once separated the people from the Holy of Holies. Now free access was made possible to all.

Was this man who died on the cross truly God? How could anyone even utter a doubt when even the very sun obeyed him and quit shining, the earth obeyed his command and shook, and the dead rose up and walked again!!! He truly was the Son of God who gave His life for the ransom of your sins and mine. Even His creation recognized and obeyed their Master.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cup of Blessing or Cup of Sorrow

I look forward to my first good cup of coffee in the mornings. It gets my eyes open, my day started, and sets my attitudes on the right track to start a brand new day.

In the Bible cups are often mentioned as cups of blessing or cups of sorrow. In the Old Testament time, kings used to appoint cupbearers to test any drinks offered to the king first so that no one could slip anything harmful into the drink to harm the king. If the cupbearer died, the king knew he could not drink out of that cup. Definitely that would be a cup of death.

Remember Joseph placing a silver cup into the bag of his youngest brother to deceive his brothers into thinking it was stolen from the palace? It was a deceptive act on Joseph's part to assure that the brothers would return to Egypt with his father. Eventually, Joseph was able to save his entire family from the famine. So you could trace back to that silver cup as being a cup of blessing for Jacob and his family.

Remember the widow's cup of oil that lasted through the famine and did not run out? A cup of blessing.

Psalm 23 promises an overflowing cup to look forward to in eternity. A cup of blessing.

Jesus promised a reward to those that gave a cup of cold water given in His name. A cup of blessing.

As we approach the Easter season and read of the events prior to Christ's death and resurrection, there is no greater event that moves our hearts more than Christ praying in Gethsemane prior to his arrest and crucifixion. "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but thine be done." A little while later, Peter became very angry with the crowd that came to arrest Jesus in the garden and he struck a high priest's servant and cut off his ear with his sword. Christ rebuked Peter and said "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me." Christ knew that he alone could drink the cup of suffering that he was facing--there was no one else that could drink of it. Christ knew that it was His Father's will that, He, the Father's Only Son, would be the only One that could redeem the lost human race. It was He that must drink that cup of sorrow and suffering. And he did so willingly. Because of Christ's willingness to fulfill His Father's will, and drink that bitter cup of suffering, we now have the awesome privilege of drinking the sweet cup of blessing.

When you lift your cup in the morning to drink your first cup of coffee, let that be a reminder to praise God for His bitter cup of suffering that He drank for you and me!

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day was always a special day around our house growing up as a child. My little sister, Sheila, was born on St. Patrick's Day on my Aunt Eva's birthday, so we always celebrated two birthdays of two special people in the family on the same day. Mom always baked a white cake with a great big green shamrock on it to help celebrate the event. Sheila always got little "shamrock" gifts to let her know she was born on a special day. Happy Birthday, Sheila! Hope you have a wonderful day. Aunt Eva is in heaven celebrating her life with God for eternity.

We've all heard the wonderful Irish blessing that warms our hearts on St. Patrick's Day:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Yesterday I received from an e-mail friend this beautiful thought that I would like to leave with you today, and hopefully it may help you to turn your focus away from whatever problems you may be facing to see the hand of God at work in and through them.

"Once there was a man who asked God for a flower and a butterfly.
But instead God gave him a cactus and a caterpillar.
The man was sad, he didn't understand why his request was mistaken.
Then he thought: Oh, well,, God has too many people to care for...and decided not to question.
After some time, the man went to check up on his request that he had left forgotten.
To his surprise, from the thorny and ugly cactus a beautiful flower had grown.
And the unsightly caterpillar had been transformed into the most beautiful butterfly.
God always does things right! His way is always the best way even if to us it seems all wrong.
If you asked God for one thing and received another, TRUST.
You can be sure that He will always give you what you need at the appropriate time.
What you want is not always what you need!
God never fails to grant our petitions so keep on going without doubting or murmuring.
Today's thorn is tomorrow's flower.
God gives the very best to those who leave the choices up to HIM!

May God truly bless you on this day and every day and meet your every need in His way and in His timing!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hosanna in the Highest

On Palm Sunday long ago, our Lord Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem humbly riding on a donkey so that He might fulfill prophecy. The people joyfully sang "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest" as He entered the city. They recognized Him then as the Messiah, as "hosanna" means "Save, I pray." Only one short week later, the same crowd of people cried, "Crucify Him!"

How do you view Jesus Christ today? Do you know Him as Lord and Savior, as the Messiah, the one who saves? Or in your heart, are you denying the truth and with the world of unbelievers saying "Crucify Him!"

Almost 40 years ago, I recognized Christ as my Lord and Savior and accepted Him into my heart. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. This morning in my devotional time, I read Psalm 30, 31 and 32. In those psalms I recognized anew what Christ accomplished for me on that day when I was still a young woman-----and I praise Him for the changes that have taken place in my heart since then. Many verses in the psalms I read today say how I felt on that life-changing day in my life. Maybe you can identify with the verses also, and praise our Savior today along with me:

"O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever."

"Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth."

"I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place."

"But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God'; my times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant, save me in your unfailing love."

"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord."

"Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord' and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found;... You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."

Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Palm Sunday

Tomorrow we remember Palm Sunday, the day Jesus entered Jerusalem with the crowds shouting "Hosanna" as He rode the back of a donkey stepping on palm leaves that were placed on the path into the city. I found a poem that I appreciated and would like to share with you:

The shouts of Hosanna came loud and clear
As our Saviour on a donkey drew ever near,
It was as if the whole earth proclaimed His name,
Many voices claiming Him for glory and fame.

Robes strewn before the humble donkey’s feet,
Palm branches waved their noble King to greet.
Oh, how the rafters of the heavens did sweetly ring
And with what resounding voices did children sing.

They knew He was the Master who had healed the lame,
Cleansed the lepers, raised the dead, now he would claim
His rightful place, cast away enemies, restore His throne,
Would they have shouted Hosanna, had they known?

What were they expecting on that mighty day He came
Into Jerusalem, their songs of joy so loudly proclaim?
Not that one week later they would scream, CRUCIFY!
And watch while He hung on a cross for them to die.

I know I would have shouted Hosanna to His holy name,
But not crucify, I would have bowed my head in shame,
Trembled at the sight before my unbelieving sad eyes
And think in my aching heart, ‘The son of God dies.’

I would have ran so fast to the tomb on that morn,
Just as excited as on the wondrous day He was born,
Wept for pure joy when I saw my beloved Lord there
And remember that sacrifice with never ending prayer.

by M Ann Margetson March 23, 2002

The crowds were expecting Christ to claim his rightful place as King of the Jews, but He had to take a much different path than what they expected. We can truly sing Hosanna to the King today as we realize what the road to the cross that Christ would trod only a few days later would mean for our eternal future!

Hosanna to the King!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Public Speaking

Today I volunteered to be a judge at a local Christian school for their annual speech meet. Since public speaking was always such a hard thing for me when I was in elementary school, I could feel the nerves and the tension of the children as they anticipated their turn to get up in front of the microphone and deliver their speech. I wanted to somehow convey to them that their nerves were unfounded as I was not a mean, old, nasty person that was going to condemn their every flaw. However, instead of being able to put my arms around them and comfort them, I had to sit and allow them to deal with their own nerves in their own way. My motherly instinct wanted to protect them from their awful inner turmoil, and yet I knew that allowing them to get through it, whether good or bad, would further their ability to accomplish greater things in the long run. Two to four students did an excellent job, as if they were natural-born orators. Most were good to very good, stumbling here or there, and mastered their speech with grace and relief. My heart ached for one little girl who got through half of her speech very well, but she came to a spot where her mind went totally blank and could not continue. Bursting in tears, she had to take her seat. One little boy could not even get on stage and literally got physically sick and had to leave the room. The teachers were such comforters to the last two-mentioned students understanding that public speaking was not their forte. I know by next year their self-confidence and courage will be bolstered and encouraged by their teachers.

How are we similar to these little children when God asks us to perform a task that we feel totally unable to accomplish? The fears build up inside and we inwardly balk against God's will for us and want to tell God, "I can't, Lord." But God says, we can. "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might." God never gives us tasks that He does not give us the means to accomplish those tasks. If we need courage, He'll give us courage. If we need our hearts calmed, He'll give us His peace. If we need means, He'll provide for us. All He wants from us is to say, "Yes, Lord, with Your help, I will." Obedience to His commands is greater to Him than our weaknesses. If we are weak, He is strong. We just need to put aside our fears, and allow God to prove Himself faithful!

Our confidence lies in the ability of our Almighty God to work through us!

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Have you ever noted that when God wants to bring home a point to you that every time you pick up anything to read, it is usually on the subject that God wants you to hear for your particular need? It has been that way for me this week about God's peace. One verse in particular kept coming to me all week:

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace."

I have been studying the book of Colossians with a friend and find it most interesting that God has led us to study the subject of His peace at a time when probably I need it the most. Isn't God amazing when He brings to you just what you need just when you need it the most????

My first encounter with the subject of peace this week was a small article called "Peace is a Person". Ephesians 2:14 starts out "For he himself is our peace." The ancient Jewish prophets called Him "the Prince of Peace." When Jesus was preparing His disciples for His imminent resurrection, He told them, "Peace I leave with you, MY peace I give unto you, not as the world gives you, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27) He is the Only Person that can guarantee us true peace, because He is Peace. Peace is a Person.

When we went to church this morning, lo and behold, our message was entitled "The Path to Personal Peace." The gist of the message was that we need to 1) acccept what cannot be changed; 2) Trust in God's loving care; and 3) Surrender to God's loving control. For the things that enter our lives that we have no control over, we need to accept what God wants to teach us through it. Acceptance is a choice on our part, but peace is only possible by Christ's supernatural power working in and through us. The pastor quoted the Serenity Prayer that we see on plaques all the time, but did you know there's more to the prayer than the first line? It goes like this:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day a time. Enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that you, God, will make all things right if I surrender to Your will. So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen.

There are several aspects of obtaining the peace that only Christ can give and I thought Colossians 3:12-17 said it better than anything I heard or read this week.

We need to make a conscious choice to let the peace of God rule in our hearts, to love one another, bear one another's burdens, forgive each other, be thankful in all things, and allow the word of God dwell in us richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs together as one body, and to do all that we do in the name of Jesus, always giving thanks to God through Christ. (Synoposis of Col. 3:12-17) As verse 14 states so clearly, we are called to peace. The only way we can have that supernatural peace is through a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Peace.

If something is overwhelming you right now, and you can't seem to claim victory over it, I suggest you pray and ask Christ for that supernatural peace that only He can give you. This world will bring troubles, sorrows, and pain, but Christ offers something so much greater that the world could never give us---His peace as we trust Him to be the Sovereign Ruler of our heart. He will never disappoint you!

Jehovah Shalom (I am the God of Peace)!
Grace and peace be to you!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Feet Washing

My niece is going to beauty school and I volunteer to be her model as she studies different stages of her lessons. Yesterday I was blessed with a manicure and a pedicure. I had never had a pedicure before in my life, so I felt very pampered. A pedicure is quite a process. I had my heels filed with a coarse file, my legs and feet massaged and rubbed with a smooth lotion, and my toes went through about 4 or 5 stages of cleaning, clipping and polishing.

During the whole process, so many verses from the Bible concerning feet came to my mind:

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7)

"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; and set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."
(Psalm 40:2)

"He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights." (Psalm 18:33)

In the New Testament, Christ asked his disciples to look at his hands and feet to verify that He truly was risen from the dead:

"He said to them, Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me, and see..." (Luke 24:38-39)

No verses in the Bible about feet, however, are more powerful than the picture Christ gave us as He washed the disciples feet in the Upper Room as they celebrated the Passover together prior to His imminent arrest and crucifixion. As my niece worked on my feet yesterday, I noticed how she was always bent down, stooped low to work on my feet as I sat in my chair comfortable, at ease and rested. She put herself in a humble position before me in order to accomplish her goal of making my feet beautiful. As Christ washed the feet of each one of His disciples, He placed Himself as a humble servant giving them an example of servitude toward others. "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." (John 13:15)
Christ's cleansing of the disciples' feet was a humble act of service that He wanted to pass on to His disciples after He left them. He wanted them to know the joy of cleansed feet (and hearts) of those that they would become witnesses to about the Christ after He was gone! "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet." (John 13:14)

Our humble service to others, without thought of gain or praise or glory for ourselves, will accomplish more for the kingdom of God than you will ever know. Some day we will cast our crowns of reward at the feet of Jesus in eternity in worship, adoration, and praise and will sing for eternity: "Worthy is the Lamb!"

"How beautiful are the feet of those...who proclaim salvation!"

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Seriousness of Sin

At the beginning of the year, I pledged to read the Bible through during 2008. I chose a reading chart to follow in which I read 3 chapters of the Old Testament and a bit of Proverbs every day, and two or three chapters of Psalms on Sunday. I am now in the book of Numbers. This is the book where most people get bogged down and groan as they plod through endless names, tribes and geneologies and lots of numbers. I am no exception.

However, in reading today's chapter in Numbers 25, I was impressed with two people that God gave as an example of the seriousness of open sin in His eyes--Zimri and Cozbi. God had warned the Israelites to remain true to Him alone and not to follow after other gods of neighboring cities and countries. They did not heed his warning and began to "indulge in sexual immorality" with neighboring Moabite women. This stirred up God's anger and God ordered Moses to kill the leaders of all the tribes who openly disregarded his orders. 24,000 men were killed in one day. Zimri was named specifically as an Israelite who brought Cozbi, a Moabite woman, openly into the Israelite camp. Phinehas, as a priest, took immediate action and drove a spear through them killing them instantly, and thus atonement for the sins of all the Israelites was paid and the killing spree ended. God made a covenant of peace with Phinehas that day and verse 23 says, "He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites."

Is God any less a jealous God against the sins that are so openly displayed in our society today? I don't think so. He is just as serious today about open and blatant sin as He was with His chosen people, the Israelites. In the New Testament in Hebrews 10:26-31, God's word says: "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sin is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay', and again, 'The Lord will judge his people.' It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

It appears that people today take a very lax view of "sin". Our societal problems prove that. However, God's grace and mercy is still so available to claim if we confess our sins and turn back to Him for forgiveness. "If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14) If you are struggling with an area of your life that is pulling you under, then admit it as sin, turn to God, and God's mercy will flood your soul and bring such cleansing and release. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)

God's mercy is boundless!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Going Down Memory Lane

Yesterday I was cleaning out drawers and a closet for my niece who will be arriving in Maui to stay with us for a while. In the bottom drawer of the dresser I kept my "Keepsakes" box, which held those things that had meant something very dear to me through the years that I had tucked away as treasures. I set the box down on the floor and started going through it looking at one memory after another. It took a couple of hours and a lot of shed tears before I finished.

Inside were countless homemade cards that my son had made me for Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, etc. Some were when he was very young and others were sent to me after he was married, but all held such precious words that touched my heart so much. There were little handmade notes and drawn pictures from my niece, Arley, who was such a big part of my life in her early years of growing up. There were special cards given to me by my dear husband and mother for various occasions that held such endearing words.

There were several articles that had been written about my special high school friend who died in her early thirties of cancer but had been such a dynamic Christian witness to her whole community and touched so many lives by her courage and faith in God. There were obituary notices of so many dear family members that had passed on but had touched my life so dearly through the years. There were handwritten letters to me of dear aunts that I had saved that spoke of their love for the Lord.

There were postcards sent to me from friends who had taken trips overseas. There was a signed card of all the members of a Singles Group that we had led for years. There was a copy of an article in our church bulletin giving the testimony of Dick and me. There was a worn copy of a Lord's Supper performance given by the church in which Dick played Thomas. There was a copy of piano recitals that I had given while taking piano lessons from a dear friend.

There was a tiny pair of pants that I had saved that my son wore when he was just a toddler and a bathing suit that my niece wore when she was two years old. There was a small bottle of perfume inside a little heart---the very first gift given to me by my husband on our first Valentine's Day.

So many other things were inside that box that had tugged at my heart's strings over the years, remembrances of kindnesses and love shown to me by others. In Philippians 1:3, Paul said "I thank God for every remembrance of you." Paul knew the importance of remembering how God had blessed him through others. There is nothing so wonderful as the reminder of the fragrant love of Christ that flows to you daily through your own family and through the hearts and lives of Christian brothers and sisters. God truly blesses us with each other. Let's not take any of that for granted!

I love you because you have loved me through the precious bond of Christ!