OUR GOD WILL NEVER FORGET US

May 9, 2016

Can a woman forget her nursing child
and not have compassion on the son of her womb?

Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”
Isaiah 49:15,16

In the past, each time I read this passage, I thought: “That’s a good example, but there’s NO WAY a mother can ever forget one of her children!” Being the mom of three, I considered “surely they may forget” an impossibility.

Then Mom’s Alzheimer’s worsened. Each time I visited her, she would ask who I was, and my introduction was always the same: “I’m Kath, your baby.” Questions always followed: “Are you married?…Who to?…Do you have children?” Then she’d repeat, “Who are you again?” and she would proceed to ask the same questions over and over.

As I saw Mom’s memory fade, this verse that Isaiah wrote centuries ago became very comforting to me. Realizing that she really did forget me, this passage became very real to me. I embraced the truth of it. “Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you in the palms of my hands.” Those nail scars that He has on the palms of His hands give me the assurance that He loves me with everlasting life, and He will never forget me.

It is comforting to know that our heavenly Father will never forget any one of His children, and I praise Him that we can rest in that truth.

(Join me every Monday on my quest to know God better)

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“HE COULD COME AT ANY TIME NOW”

April 20, 2015

It was by far the most beautiful Saturday morning in NE Ohio since last summer, which seemed light-years away due to our exceptionally harsh winter. We were enjoying a cloudless sky and temperatures in the los 70s when our son Adriel dropped the kids off to spend a few hours with us. Eight-year-old Jehiel and Milos, 6, were busy with Lolo George: fishing, painting dart boards and helping straighten up the garage. They were having so much fun that they almost forgot about playing games on the tablet, their favorite inside activity. Two-year old Kayra was “helping” me make hamburger buns in the kitchen. A little clump of dough – and way too much flour – kept her occupied at the counter while I got my work done. Then we headed out for a bike ride around the lake. She giggled and squealed with delight while watching the geese.

As we were finishing lunch, Jehiel presented his plan: “Now I can go fishing, help Lolo George some more, then play with the tablet…” We reminded him that time was short and Daddy would be coming to pick them up real soon. Convinced that he still had plenty of time, I again reminded him, “But you don’t know when Daddy’s coming. He could be here any time now.”

That reminded me of what I read just hours earlier. Jesus told his followers: “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42). He will come in the context of normal, everyday, heavily scheduled, busy days.

Aren’t we all a bit like Jehiel? Don’t we get so involved in our plans and wrapped up in our activities that we forget the reality that Jesus might come at any time?  Jesus summed up the teaching about His return like this: “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44)

As we go about our busy days, let’s be ready and remember this: He could come at any time now!


I ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER

June 7, 2014

We’re never too old to learn from others; even children have qualities we can imitate. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned lately have been from our grandkids.

Not long ago, “Lolo George” (their nickname for Grandpa Jorge) promised the boys that he would get them fishing poles. Now that we have a pond in our backyard, they were excited about going fishing with Lolo George.

When I picked the kids up after work on Thursday to bring them to our place, the first thing they asked was, “Did Lolo George get our fishing rods?” Not wanting to spoil the surprise, I said “Hmmmm….you’ll have to ask him.” Jehiel, 7, immediately responded “I already know the answer. It’s YES, because he said he would!”

They got their fishing gear, Lolo George taught them how to cast and they had a great time fishing. Their big eyes sparkled with excitement as they told me about the “fishes” they caught.

God is faithful, and He keeps His word. As I read His promises and pray, I want to get to the same level of confidence that Jehiel had, and be quick to say “I already know the answer. It’s YES, because He said He would!”


THE ELUSIVE BUCKET FULL OF DOLLAR BILLS

April 21, 2014

On the way to AWANA with our grandsons, I emptied out the coin bin in the car and handed both of them what seemed to be an equal amount of coins for the offering. “Wow! That’s really a lot!” Seven-year-old Jehiel exclaimed as he put his newly acquired coin counting skills into practice. “One dollar and 35 cents!” Then Jehiel spontaneously offered a child’s interpretation of the word “rich”: “Rich is when you have a whole bucket full of dollar bills!”

Unexpressed thoughts swirled through my head: It depends on how tightly the bills are packed, how big the bucket is, how much debt you have, current monthly expenses, where you are in life, or in the world…sure, a bucket full of dollar bills might mean you’re “rich”…

Then I remembered one of my Dad’s favorite Bible passages, especially in his later years: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1st Timothy 6:6-8)

Maybe as a 7 year-old, Dad had the same concept of “rich” as Jehiel has. By the time he was that age, World War I had ended and he lost his mom to the 1918 flu pandemic. With his 3 siblings, Dad had to dig the best potatoes from their crop to pay the undertaker for his mom’s burial because Grandpa didn’t have that bucket of dollar bills. Throughout his life the bucket was elusive: World War II, the Great Depression, being laid off at 43 with six children at home, starting a new business at that age…but no bucket full of dollar bills.

When Dad went to be with the Lord at age 94, he still didn’t have that bucket. What he did have – and it was obvious to those who knew him – was “godliness with contentment”, learned at an early age, and cultivated over many decades.

As the years creep up on me, the truth that the Apostle Paul expressed in 1st Timothy 6:6-8 becomes more real. I haven’t secured that elusive bucket full of dollar bills, either, and I’ll probably never have it. With contentment, I have something far more valuable: the assurance of God’s presence. In Hebrews 13:5 we are encouraged to “Be content with such things as you have. For He himself (GOD!) has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’

And that assurance makes me much richer than the elusive bucket full of dollar bills!


THE BEST GIFT

February 27, 2014

“My son, give me your heart.” Proverbs 23:26

Our oldest grandson will be seven in a few days. Last week was his mommy’s birthday, so they came to our house to celebrate the occasion. When his mommy was well out of earshot, Jehiel called me over to the sofa, where he was sitting, noticeably distressed. I sat down beside him.

“What’s up, buddy?”

“Lola, do you have a surprise for my mommy? I don’t have any money, so I couldn’t buy her a birthday present. I don’t have anything to give her.” His voice was tinged with sadness.

At that point, I was nearly in tears beside him, wondering how to address his concern.  “Well, tell me something. Did you make a birthday card for mommy?” (What kid that age doesn’t ?!?!?) He assured me that he did. “You know what?” I continued, “I’ll tell you a secret. That is by far the very best thing you could ever give mommy. All mommies love the cards their kids make. When your daddy was a boy, he always made me birthday cards. And so did Aunt Denise and Uncle Dino. It didn’t matter that they didn’t give me any gifts. Those cards were the best gifts I ever got. In fact, I still have some of them.”

With that explanation, Jehiel perked up and seemed to be convinced that his card was, really, a valuable gift for mommy.

That incident reminded me of what God wants of us. If he doesn’t have our hearts, God doesn’t care about our gifts. He would rather we love Him – and express that love to Him – than any other gift we could give Him. After all, He owns everything anyway. So what can we give Him, besides our heart?

As I mused these things, I prayed that one day little Jehiel – and all of our grandkids – would understand what we adults often need to be reminded of: all God wants, really, is our heart!


CHRISTMAS ACRONYM – I

December 9, 2013

Considering the names of Jesus for our Christmas acronym (See December 1 post), at first I found it hard to decide on the “I” name of Jesus. Should we focus on “I AM”? Or should it be “IMMANUEL”? Then I discovered that if we dig deeper, they are very much related! So we’ll look at both of them.

I AM” goes back to God’s conversation with Moses at the burning bush in Exodus chapter 3. After God reassured Moses of His presence, He told Moses that “I AM WHO I AM” was His name, describing Himself as “The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…this is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” I AM is the one personal name of God in the Old Testament, (YAHWEH) and describing Himself in that manner, He revealed Himself as the One who is always present with His people throughout generations and millenniums.

IMMANUEL” means “God with us”, and the prophet Isaiah said that Jesus would be called Immanuel hundreds of years before His birth. (Isaiah 7:14) Are you getting the connection?

Fast forward several centuries. We find Jesus declaring Himself to be “I AM” (John 8:58), and as He left this earth, the last promise recorded in Matthew 28:20 is “I AM with you always, even to the end of the earth.” Here the relationship between I AM and IMMANUEL is obvious.

Just when we think it can’t get any better, it does! In Revelation 21, the description of the new heaven and the new earth includes the assurance that God “will dwell with them (us!) and they (we!) shall be His people. God Himself will be with them (us!) and be their (our!) God.” (verse 3)

I AM and IMMANUEL… what a reason to celebrate Jesus! He is God with us…FOREVER!


COUNT YOUR “P” BLESSINGS

November 18, 2013

On our “Count Your Many Blessings” list, we come to our “P” blessings. They are all around us, and abound. On my “P” blessing list, I have my oldest sister Peg. She is, and has always been, a role model for me in many areas. Everyone should be blessed with an older sister like her!

Also, I’m thankful for prayer, progress, people, privileges, pizza, pens, plums, patience, praising God, promises, plants, pencils, pardon, pie (any kind but mincemeat), perfume, popcorn, presents, pictures, pansies, plates, peace, pleasure, pasta, pastries, parties, paint, painters (especially the ones I’m related to), pastors, pilots, policemen, playtime and parks.

After playtime at the park with my grandsons, which included a very intense game of tag, they asked me on the way home what I want to be when I grow up. That took me completely by surprise! I love the “P” blessing of playtime! I hope you playtime is on your list, too!


COUNT YOUR “G” BLESSINGS

November 9, 2013

Among the list of my “G” blessings are some that are very dear to my heart. Let’s start with grandparents. I often thank God for my grandparents and the godly legacy they handed down to future generations. I’m thankful that our children were blessed to have known all four of their grandparents, who also loved Jesus and that by His grace (another “G” blessing) we can pass that legacy on to our grandchildren (another important “G” blessing)

Along with grandparents, grace and grandchildren, I’m thankful for grapes, gyms, grapefruit, guests, gardens, gardenias, grins, girls, gingersnaps, garages, Gatlinburg and gentleness.

What’s on your “G” blessing list?


WELL, YOU LOOK LIKE YOU COULD BE A GRANDMA!

August 13, 2013

A conversation with a four-year old a few years ago reminded me that people aren’t always what they seem to be. Little Vanesa’s enormous, questioning brown eyes looked me over and she inquired, “Whose Grandma are you?” I was in my mid-40’s then, and taken aback by her spontaneous, innocent question. I replied “I’m not a Grandma.” And the conversation continued. “Why aren’t you a Grandma?” I was sure that  “Because I’m not old enough” would satisfy her curiosity, but it didn’t. Vanesa had the last word, frankly expressing her observation, “Well, you look like you could be a Grandma.”

People aren’t always what they seem to be. The ruddy, bright-eyed, youngest son of Jesse didn’t look like he would be the one to sit on Israel’s throne one day; at least his dad didn’t think so. A keeper of Jesse’s sheep, David was chosen by God not only to lead His people, but to be the direct ancestral line through whom the Savior of the world would be born! (Matthew 1:6) God saw in David what neither his own dad nor the prophet Samuel could see. God knew David’s heart, and told Samuel that “the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Like Jesse and Samuel, we can easily fall into the trap of thinking that people really are as we see them. It’s easy to hold someone in low esteem, or to be judgmental and even feel a little “holier than thou” when others don’t line up with our personal set of standards. It just takes a wacky neighbor, an obnoxious co-worker, a grumpy cashier at the store, or someone who outwardly expresses their inner creativity…and the trap is set. We tend to immediately assess them. Instead of thinking that’s who the person is, let’s ask God to see what HE wants us to see in them. A cry for help? A longing to be accepted? A compassionate bent? A future friend? Loneliness?

People aren’t always what they seem to be. Let’s look beyond “Well, you look like you could be a ….” (you can fill in the blank) and discover the “real” person. Let’s allow them to enrich us in their unique way, and see how we can bless them with the love of God that has been poured out in our hearts!


“JUST MY HEAD IS THIRSTY”

May 13, 2013
Milos with his bike

Milos with his bike

Exhausted from our bike ride around the neighborhood, our grandsons and I were pushing our bikes up the last few yards of our driveway. The dialogue with four-year old Milos, who has a unique perspective on things, went like this:

Grandma: “Wow! I’m really tired! How about you?”

Milos: “No, just my head is thirsty.” (Actually he said “firsty”)

With that declaration, Milos disappeared into the kitchen and guzzled a glass of cold water.

That episode reminded me of a promise that God made to His people thousands of years ago, recorded by the prophet Isaiah. Even though God promised it for a special people-group at a special time, I claim it for myself and our family, also.

God said: “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.” (Isaiah 44:3) With that, God promises to generously quench our thirst; not just our thirsty heads, but much more importantly, our thirsty souls. Then He goes one step further to assure us of His provision for the spiritual needs of our families.

Like all God-fearing parents and grandparents, we often pray for our families. Just as Milos was in a hurry to get a drink when his “head” was thirsty, we pray that we and all of our children and grandchildren would be quick to run to Christ when our hearts are thirsty. When we do that, God will do exactly what He promised to do: He WILL pour His Spirit on our descendants, and His blessing on our offspring, with satisfying rivers of living water!

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said,
out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
John 7:37,38


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