“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!

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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!


“I HAVE GOLD! REAL GOLD!”

April 7, 2014

Five-year-old Milos’s huge, round eyes sparkled as he enthusiastically declared “I have gold! Real gold!” He invited me into his little world to see the precious stash he had hidden, expecting me to “Oooh!” and “Aaaahhh!” over it with him. Curious, I followed him to his bedroom, feeling privileged to share his excitement. I did what any Grandma would do: I “Oooohhhed” and “Aaahhhed” over his shiny little plastic beads.

Milos had his “gold” (plastic) treasure very well hidden. From his nightstand, Milos pulled out one of daddy’s stocking caps that was stuffed with one of Mommy’s Tupperware bowls (I wondered if she was looking for it). Inside the bowl was a cut-off sock, jammed full of what he called “fluff” (cotton batting material) and in the toe of the sock…his precious “gold”. He went to great lengths to hide his treasure under a big picture book as he put it back, and whispered: “I hidded it here.” The secrecy factor added to its value, and to Milos’s excitement.

In Psalm 119:162, the Psalmist wrote: “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasures.” For him, God’s Word was the treasure that he was really excited about; throughout Psalm 119, the value of God’s Word is described; we discover how precious God’s Word is.

God’s Word revives us. (verse 25)
God’s Word gives us strength. (v. 28)
God’s Word gives salvation. (v.41)
God’s Word can be trusted. (v.42)
God’s Word gives us life. (v.50)
God’s Word comforts us. (v.76)
God’s Word is eternal. (v.89)
God’s Word makes us wise. (v.98)
God’s Word gives us understanding. (v.130)
God’s Word gives light to our path. (v.105)
God’s Word holds us up. (v.116)
God’s Word protects us from habitual (dominating) sin. (v.133)
God’s Word is very pure. (v.140)
God’s Word is truth. (v.160)
God’s Word is “Better than thousands of coins of gold and silver”. (v.72)

It’s hard to compare God’s Word to the little pile of plastic “gold” that Milos had secretly stashed away. Each time we open it, let’s remember the incomparable value it has. Let’s read it expecting to extract words that will make us richer, hiding it in our hearts and allowing it to work in our lives. Appreciating God’s Word as the great treasure that it is, we just might get the level of enthusiasm that Milos had with his “real gold”!


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!


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 “J” BLESSINGS

November 12, 2013

Today’s “J” blessing list is short and concise. I could share an array of “J” blessings, but I’ll narrow it down to the 3 most important to me.

Jesus. “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know” is not just a song. It’s the truth I live by. Jesus loved me in the past when I was unlovable, enough to die to take the punishment for my sins. Jesus loves me in the present. He is with me and promised never to leave me. Jesus will always love me. In fact, He’s coming back to get me one day, because He wants to be with me forever.

Jorge. He is the love of my life who has shared the last 39+ years with me. Jorge is kind, loving, generous, fun, witty, gentle, wise, considerate, humble, smart, patient, forgiving and best of all, he loves Jesus! (and me)

Jehiel. He is our awesome oldest grandchild. He’s almost 7, and has brought joy to our lives since he was born. We are very thankful to be part of his life.

I thank God for my very special “J” blessings!


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?


“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


THEY DON’T FORGET THE PROMISES!

January 7, 2013

As our bundled-up grandsons, ages 4 and 5, were about to go home with Daddy after their weekly visit on a cold December evening, little Milos exclaimed, “Lola! What about our treat?” Knowing it is part of our farewell ritual, he was just making sure that I didn’t forget to give them the Twizzlers I promised them that day. Our son was quick to remark, “They don’t forget the promises!”

Maybe that’s another reason why Jesus said we should become as little children…maybe we are too prone to forget His promises. How often do we remember that He promised “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”? (Hebrews 13:5) Or we forget that “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”? (1 John 1:9) Or that “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed”? (John 8:36) How about “if you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”? (John 15:7)

While there are countless promises, and each one is, as Peter stated, “exceedingly great and precious” (2 Peter 1:4), God gave us one that validates them all and that we definitely should never forget: “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.” (Psalm 89:34)

It’s true. Children’ don’t forget promises. Our faithful God doesn’t either. So let’s be diligent to remember them, so it can be said of us that “they don’t forget the promises!”


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