Forgotten

Go Cart Track by Cered is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

I sat patiently at the table…positioned so I could see our driveway and the gravel road that led to it.

Being 11 years old, I had never been go-carting before and was more than a little nervous. My money was tucked carefully into my pocket. I felt it just to make sure.

They should be here any minute.

And so I waited, patiently waited…and waited.

They must be running late. I just needed to be patient.

My eyes, which were glued to the driveway, occasionally strayed to the clock on the wall.

5…10…15 minutes late.

Maybe I misunderstood?

30 minutes later I went up to my room and put my crumpled money away. I had been forgotten.

The next day at church there were stories of how much fun they had. I said nothing.

I determined then that I would never forget someone who was counting on me.

Now I wait…patiently…5…10…15 years. Waiting for Christ to come back again and take us home. My goal is to use my time well. To warn others of His soon return.  I don’t know when, but I am sure He is coming as He promised. There is no worry that He has forgotten me.

“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there you may be also.” John 14:3 (See also Acts 1:9-11)

He has already come once. To seek and to save that which was lost….me…you. (Luke 19:10) He calls us to Himself. He is delaying so more will respond to His tender call. He is waiting so you will respond. He is patiently waiting, but He will not wait forever. Time is running out. Won’t you respond in faith today?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Be Ready

It was a morning ritual for her. Our daughter, Anna, would run to the window, pull back the curtains and announce. “I don’t see Jesus coming today!”

It made me smile, but now at the memory it makes me hopeful. In Luke 12 Jesus tells the disciples to be ready, watchful… Do I live my life as if He might come back today? How is my life different because of it?

Do I look for opportunities to tell others of the hope that lies within me? Do I live my life absorbed in His word? Do I live my life furthering the gospel or my own bank account? Is my life lived for the here and now or am I looking to a better country?

Jesus has some startling words for the inattentive servant who is taken by surprise. (Luke 12:45-47) Those who expect an inheritance and yet do nothing to serve their King will have a rude awakening. A true servant wouldn’t be sitting down on the job. A true servant wouldn’t be filling his own pockets without any regard for the needs around him. A true servant would be sitting at the feet of their Lord daily…like Mary in Luke 10:38-42.

So today I recommit my life to that end. To be a faithful servant, watchful and ready for Christ’s soon return. Jesus might come today.  Are you ready?

For further study:

Luke 12:35-48

Romans 10:9-11 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed,”

Learning to be a Disciple

(April 7, 2014)

I broke my ankle two months ago. To say I’ve learned somethings is an understatement. I’ve watched as my five year old graddaughter, Arianna, mimics my movements. She holds one foot up and hops because I hold my foot up. She puts her foot on a pillow because I put my foot on a pillow. When I started doing exercises to strengthen my muscles she got down on the floor and did them with me. Saturday when my husband took us to town she insisted on wearing one boot and one shoe so she could be just like me.

I’ve started doing some walking without the crutches and I have a peculiar gait. Later in the day I noticed Arianna was walking just the same. The more we are together the more she acts like I act. She has become a disciple of how someone who has a broken ankle behaves. This behavior is not an outgrowth of duty, but of love.

That’s what a disciple does. They study the person who they want to emulate. They become like them, not so much from will power, but from simply being exposed to their manner of life and ways.

How else is Arianna acting like me?

  • It is my habit to study and read my Bible before I get out of bed in the morning. Arianna will often join me there with her own books in tow. (This is a good thing.)
  • I love chocolate. I have to limit how much is in the house or I would eat too much, too often. Arianna has that same love of chocolate. (Not such a good thing.)
  • It is my habit to thank the Lord before I eat. One day when I took a bite before praying Arianna in a disturbed voice scolded. “YOU NEED TO THANK THE LORD!” (Good thing)
  • I’m not always patient. When I hear Arianna say, “Oh, for stupid!” I know where she learned it. (Not a good thing)

I could go on, but don’t wish to incriminate myself any further.

Who am I acting like? What is coming out in my actions because of who or what I have been studying? Arianna’s watchful imitation reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” It also reminds me of what Paul said in Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

If I am a disciple of Jesus my life should be wrapped up in His. I should day by day look to His interests, not my own. Realizing that true life begins and ends with Christ. Knowing that there is no real life without Him and so there is no real sacrifice in living my life for Him. As I fix my gaze on Him He is transforming me into His image.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, jast as from the Lord, the Spirit.” II Corinthians 3:18

Jesus and Santa

(First published 12-19-2015)

“I can’t wait for Christmas!!!” My six-year-old granddaughter blurted out to the clerk restocking the shelves at the grocery store. The clerk responded with, “Have you been good this year so Santa will come?”

Arianna looked a little confused and then answered, “Santa’s not real, God’s real.” Now it was the clerk’s turn to be confused. Not knowing just what to say, I smiled, and we moved on down the aisle.

I thought about the conversation all the way home. I don’t think of Santa as evil, but Jesus is so much better.

Santa keeps a list of who is naughty or nice. The theory is he only visits those who have been good. We use it to motivate kids to cooperate with us those last weeks before Christmas, or those gifts aren’t going to show up.

Jesus, on the other hand, came knowing we weren’t nice. We needed a Savior who could save us from our sin. (Matthew 1:21) His coming depended on God’s goodness, not our goodness.

Santa supposedly leaves a lump of coal to those who don’t measure up. Jesus offers complete forgiveness and has taken the punishment we deserve by dying in our place.

Santa lives forever to keep track. Jesus now lives forever to intercede for us before God. (Romans 8:34)

Santa shows up one day a year. Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5b-6)

But the most important difference between Santa and Jesus is the one Arianna pointed out so simply. “Santa isn’t real …God is real!” It is fun to pretend, but my belief in God isn’t a fantasy. It is something I have staked my life on. So as you celebrate Christmas this year remember it is about a Savior, not a Santa.

“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

Now that’s something to be excited about!

A Father Who Waits

I can still see him sitting in the corner of our living room, pen in hand, next to a small handmade bookshelf, where he kept his Bible and other reading material. He sat there either early morning before his day started or late at night while he waited for one of his three daughters to come home. Once we were home he quietly locked the door and went to bed. His job was done for the night.

I didn’t notice how carefully he kept track of us until one night while working the late shift at a local nursing home. The commercial washing machines that were entrusted to my care decided to leak all over the floor. When I came back to the laundry room, after putting  linens away, I was met with a small lake.

 My shift should have ended at 11:00, but it took me until after midnight to mop up the mess.  Assuming my parents would be in bed I didn’t call to tell them I would be late. When I finally made it home the lights were on and my mother met me at the door.

Why was I late? What had happened?

Her voice was a mixture of rebuke and relief. Before I could answer she told me Daddy had gone looking for me, tracing the path I would have taken from home to the nursing home.

I apologized and we waited together for Dad to get home. I’m not sure what time it was when he finally drove into the driveway. He didn’t say much, just that he was glad I was ok, and please call next time. He quietly locked the door and we all went to bed.

It made me wonder how many other times he had sat and worried about us. Praying we would make it home safely.

But as much as my earthly father took care of me how much more does my Heavenly Father. He waits for me to remember that he is waiting for me… day after day, week after week, year after year.

How long has it been since you have sat at His feet?… read His word?… met with other Christians?

But God wasn’t content to wait. He came looking for us, even going so far as to send His son to walk among us, and eventually die for this race of rebellious, thoughtless people.

In this season of celebrating Jesus birth wouldn’t now be a good time for you to come to Him? Come for the first time or return to Him from a long absence. He is not only waiting, He is pursuing.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hear my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”, Ecclesiastes 12:1

“I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, The love of your betrothals, Your following after Me in the wilderness, Through a land not sown.” Jeremiah 2:2

(See also John 3:16; Romans 10:9&10)

Lessons from my Granddaughter

(Written November, 2011)

In early November I got out the Thanksgiving decorations box. I carefully unwrapped a ceramic pilgrim man and put him on the buffet. Our three year-old granddaughter, Arianna, gasped with wonder and said,… “Jesus!”

I had to tell her, “No, it’s a pilgrim.”

I unwrapped the matching pilgrim lady and again Arianna whispered, …”Jesus.”

“No,” I responded, “Another pilgrim.”

We hadn’t been talking about Jesus. We don’t have statues of him standing around our house and yet when something new and wonderful was taken out to be displayed she just assumed it had to be Jesus.

When the first snow came in November she squealed and said, “God sent the snow.”

“Yes, Arianna, God sent the snow.”

I smile at her simple happiness and wish I could rewind my life to a simpler time. My grown-up heart is cynical. I have lived in this broken world too long to be optimistic. The reality is, life is hard. It isn’t how God intended. We have each royally messed up.

…And so we have Christmas. Not to distract us from what is bad in our lives. Not to have a month of gift giving and parties. We have Christmas because God promised he would send a redeemer all those years ago when our first parents sinned.

Just as Adam and Eve chose sin over God, we have chosen our own selfish ways. Instead of turning our face to God we turn our faces inward. We turn them anywhere but toward God. And yet…

“God so loved the world… (God so loved me, you) that He gave…” He gave his son, not only to be born, but eventually to die for my lost condition. What a marvelous hope!

So I stay close to Arianna. As she delights in Christmas and wants to learn all about the baby and what God did, I feel my own heart melting. It is becoming a little more childlike. As I tell her about the great God who loves her, I am reminded of just how great He is.

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79

God Loves Me Dearly / Gott ist Die Liebe

Photo by Fotograf Jylland on Pexels.com

In my quest for discovering old hymns, I’ve been collecting old hymn books. My sister, Nancy, who was supporting my endeavor, recently brought me an old Lutheran Hymnal that she had picked up at a garage sale. She had put a bookmark with a note on one of the pages.

It was a song our Dad used to sing to us in German when we were children. I imagine his mother sang it to him as well. Sometimes he would play the tune on his violin. Since I had never heard the English version I didn’t know how sweet the words were that he was singing to us. Below you will find the song with German and English words.

Sometimes simple is best. This is one of those times. I hope you enjoy it.

(In the first line there should be an Umlaut over the word Lasst and erlosen. I simply can’t figure out how to type it. Also, please forgive my very rusty German pronunciation.)

God Loves Me Dearly

Gott ist Die Liebe – by August Rische (1819-1906)

Gott ist die Liebe, lasst mich erlosen, Gott ist die Liebe, Er liebt auch mich.

Drum sag ich noch einmal: Gott ist die Liebe! Gott ist die Liebe, Er liebt auch mich.

God loves me dearly, Grants me salvation, God loves me dearly, loves even me.

*Therefore I’ll say again: God loves me dearly, God loves me dearly, Loves even me.

I was in slav’ry, Sin, death, and darkness; God’s love was working to make me free. *

He sent forth Jesus, My dear Redeemer, He sent forth Jesus and set me free. *

Jesus, my Savior, Himself did offer; Jesus, my Savior, Paid all I owed. *

Now I will praise You, O Love Eternal; Now I will praise You all my life long.*

P.S. This is dedicated to my six grandchildren. Ashlee, Arianna, Aidan, Emerson, Will and finally Jase who was born 7-6-2021.

Jesus My All to Heaven is Gone

John Cennick (1717-1755) / George Coles

Jesus my all to heaven is gone, He whom I fixed my hopes upon;

His track I see, and I’ll pursue the narrow way till Him I view.

The way the holy prophets went, the road that leads from banishment,

The King’s highway of holiness I’ll go for all Thy paths are peace.

This is the way I long have sought, and mourned because I found it not;

My grief a burden long has been, because I was not saved from sin.

The more I strove against its power, I felt its weight and guilt the more;

Till late I heard my Savior say, “Come hither, soul, I am the way.”

Lo! Glad I come; and Thou blest Lamb, Shalt take me to Thee, as I am;

Nothing but sin have I to give; Nothing but love shall I receive.

Then will I tell to sinners ’round, What a dear Savior I have found;

I’ll point to Thy redeeming blood, And say, “Behold the way to God.”