Friday, August 25, 2017

Grace and Truth, John 4:1-42

How often my mind is filled with worrying details—how will we afford this? How will we get this done in time? How did this happen?

But God has other things he wants me to focus on.

While Jesus met with the woman at the well, his disciples went off to get food. When they returned and urged him to eat, Jesus said he had other things more important on his mind. More important than the things we worry about is to finish the work of God.

Verse 34: “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

The disciples’ minds were filled with worries. They wondered why he was talking with a woman. Had someone else fed him before they got back?

Jesus’s heart was filled with sharing the promises of God with the woman he’d met, encouraging her to tell others.

Verses 13-14: Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Jesus was concerned about teaching people of God’s love for them, drawing them into his family. He offered to share that work with us, as well as its benefits.

Jesus wanted his disciples to focus on this much more important work of teaching people about him. Each of us who follow Jesus has a part in that work, and we can share the joy of seeing others come to understand God’s love.

Verse 36: “Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sweet Memories, I smiled So Much

In the middle of all this, we moved from Montgomery, Alabama to Wichita, Kansas. Everything in this section tickled me so much, I had a hard time leaving anything out. Please allow me to share my joy.

April 27, 1994: (From Murray) “Today was Caleb and Rebecca's first visit to the dentist. Rebecca told the Dentist, of course, that Caleb could go first. Caleb told the doctor, ‘I don't want you to hurt me.’ Both seemed to tolerate the $25procedure well, especially the suction, which the Dentist called ‘Mr. Thirsty.’ The Dentist said there were no cavities in Rebecca's teeth, again and again, because Rebecca kept asking, ‘No WHAT?’”

“Yesterday, Sarah was scratching her head, and Murray looked at her head. He told her he wanted to see what was in her hair. She said, ‘There's a bunny in my hair.’"

May 9, 1994: “Yesterday Sarah was looking out of the kids' room window and said she was looking at things. I asked what she saw, and she said, ‘Some doggies, and some trapezoids.’ I asked, ‘Some trapezoids?’ and she said, ‘Um hum, and some circles, and some squares....’"

May 10, 1994: “Yesterday Murray and the kids went to the office at our apartments. The lady asked Sarah how old she was, and Sarah said, ‘Six.’”

(She was two at that time, so I’m not sure if she was lying or just confused.)

“The last night we were in Montgomery, the kids were away while we loaded all our stuff in the truck. When they came home, Rebecca came in and said, ‘There's nothing inhere.’ Caleb started crying when he saw that his bed was so short now, just the mattress. Sarah kept walking around saying, ‘Where's the chairs, and the table, and the big old chair?’ We explained that everything was on the truck, to go with us to Wichita Kansas. Caleb asked if the carpet was going with us. The kids asked if the walls were going to stay or go, and the closets. Sarah asked, ‘Are you going with us to Wichita Kansas?’"

May 12, 1994: “Yesterday Rebecca and I were talking about babies growing in mommies' tummies. She asked how they got out. I said I went to the hospital and the doctor helped the baby come out. She asked, ‘But how did the baby get out?’ I said, ‘ummm, the baby pushed out a hole in Mommy.’ She said, ‘I don't like that deal.’ Then she asked, ‘After the doctor helped you do that, did they give you anything, like a sticker?’”

May 16, 1994: “The other night Murray brought a plate of toast to the table, with eight pieces of toast piled one on top of another. Sarah said excitedly, ‘Daddy made a tall tall tower.’"

June 6, 1994: “The other day we were in the car and passed a man using a hose to wash an overhanging roof outside a gas station. Rebecca saw him pointing the hose up in the air and asked, ‘Is that man cleaning the sky?’"

June 7, 1994: “Kathy was at home with Sarah in her arms when Murray called. While talking to Murray, Kathy told Sarah, ‘Say hello Daddy.’ Sarah exclaimed, ‘I'm not daddy!’"

June 8, 1994: “Today at lunch, Rebecca said something. Caleb asked her what she said, and she said, ‘None of your business.’ I started to say that wasn't nice, and before I was finished speaking, Rebecca said to Caleb, ‘I mean, I love you.’"

June 9, 1994: “The last couple weeks Sarah has been coming to the kitchen gate and saying, ‘Mommy, turn off your tape player, I want to tell you something.’ When I do that, she says, (for example) ‘Last time, Caleb put his finger in the cage and Otis bite him.’ (Talking about when Paul's bird bit Caleb.)”

(What in the world was I doing anyway, listening to a book when I had such cute kids to talk to?)

June 16, 1994: “Last night we had chicken nuggets for dinner and biscuits for a bedtime snack. After the biscuits Rebecca said, ‘My tummy is open. Does anybody want some food from my tummy?’ I said no, thank you, but Sarah said, ‘I want one.’ Rebecca said, ‘Do you want a biscuit or a chicken?’"

June 17, 1994: Yesterday Rebecca was eating her peanut butter sandwich and her tongue clicked because the peanut butter was so sticky. She said, ‘Hear that? Hear my tongue honk?’"

Friday, August 11, 2017

THE WHITE FLOWER by Grace Livingston Hill

I have always loved old books, meaning books written in the 60s and 70s.

My daughter Sarah loves books written in the 1800s, but I’ve always found books from then or even the first half of the 1900s hard to plod through.

I recently decided to read THE WHITE FLOWER by Grace Livingston Hill, and I was surprised to find how gripping it was for me.

Grace Livingston Hill lived from 1865 to 1947 and wrote over one hundred novels, as well as short stories and articles. She has been called the pioneer of Christian romance.

THE WHITE FLOWER was first published in 1927. The speech was different than books written today, somewhat flowery, even sometimes formal.

Writing styles have also changed, and there were techniques which writers are recommended to stay away from now. Many exclamation marks and “ly” adverbs. Switching from one person’s point of view to another in the same scene.

And yet I found the story delightful.

Rachel is alone in the world after the death of her father. She is tricked by a stranger to accept a job far away from anyone she knows. Cruel plans and dangers are prepared for her.

Chan (Chauncey) finds out about Rachel’s problem. He is a one-time student of Rachel’s father, and he has much love and gratitude toward him. Chan is determined to rescue Rachel and bring her to complete safety.

The romance was sweet but not plastic, full of unexpected joys.

The action was quick and breath-taking. Danger, risks, more surprises. I wanted to hurry to find out the end.

There was much about how Rachel struggled with her faith, and how Chan came to believe in Jesus. Again, this part of the story was fresh and interesting.

I’m glad I allowed myself to find enjoyment in books where I wouldn’t have expected it, and I definitely recommend this book. It was a fun and exciting read.