6-9 people will sleep in this house each night. The Motorcycle will transport up to 4 people at one time. My world is different from this.
I fell asleep praying and pondering deeply on Psalm 23:3 last night. I awoke praying and pondering the depths of God’s work of restoration when I let him. I think somehow I prayed and pondered in my sleep…is that possible? I’m quite sure His remake is quite different and beyond what I have in mind. Like the picture above we might be asking for a bigger bike when our house needs a rebuild.
On this day of thanksgiving (our american set aside holiday to mostly over-eat), May we say “The Lord is my Shepherd” and allow his remake process to be happening in our lives.
Our team built a new house for a family. Great as it was for them, it’s only a house. Oh the undiscoverable depths God wants to build restoring our soul.
Now that’s something to be thankful for. My personal challenge: Give someone else a reason to be thankful today.
It’s a story that needs telling. Maybe some stories are sacred enough to leave for the telling in eternity. Maybe some can be told as a teaser for story time a hundred years from now. I will leave most things out but you will get the gist.
A while after moving to a strange place, with hardly an acquaintance, my wife casually mentioned to me she had an aunt (I had never met) living in the same small town where we lived. Odd situation I guess. Auntie didn’t like any of us or care to meet but she had cancer and was not long for this world. My wife had never felt moved to get to know auntie until now. “I’m going to visit her starting tomorrow” she announced “and she probably will not want to see me”.
My wife found her address, knocked on her door and when the door opened a crack with a “What do you want” greeting, she was quick to stick a foot in the door and let auntie know who’s daughter she was, that she wanted to visit and she brought a few cookies. Auntie took the cookies and shut the door.
This went on for awhile until my wife made it inside the door to talk a little longer and visit with one cold old bitter women. Seems Auntie didn’t need sympathy, prying relatives and even rejected her own children half the time. Auntie had no time for prayer or anything to do with God.
Auntie believed that when one dies, that’s it. No after life, no purpose to life, no God, nothing. Burn the body and get rid of the ashes.
In all this, my wife seemed more and more confident that God was pushing her from a weekly visit over time to daily visits by the time Auntie went into the hospital. “She needs someone” my wife kept saying. The nurses drew straws (they actually did) to see who had Auntie duty. Auntie was not a nice lady and even refused to let her grandchildren visit her. She did not want to even know their names or see their faces. When my wife or her grown children would visit, Auntie would pretend to be asleep. If they tried to hug her she would say “You may shake my hand”. My wife would not ask. She would hug her anyway. Gradually her stiffening at hugs became less like hugging a wooden board.
My wife would sing hymns and read Auntie bible passages about knowing Jesus when Auntie would pretend to be sleeping. Some days Auntie would actually talk to her. She would not let any clergy see her or anyone pray with or for her.
A few days before Auntie died, My wife felt moved to ask her if she could pray for her. Auntie said “I suppose it would be OK”. My wife thanked Jesus for dying for all the things that separated us from God. She prayed the whole plan of salvation as she had been reading to Auntie in the bible. She prayed for Auntie to just believe in Jesus. If she would just believe. When she was done Auntie said something no one had heard from her lips in a very long time, “Thank you”. Then she went to sleep and My wife went home.
The next day some of Aunties kids said to my wife “What did you do to her?” Alarmed my wife said “I prayed with her, why?”
Auntie spent the last few days of her life smiling, thanking nurses and asking to meet her grandchildren. Hugs happened and Auntie was a different person. Auntie never acknowledged praying with my wife or believing in Jesus but there isn’t any other evidence to explain the complete change from an angry and bitter old dying women to a sweet little old cancerous women in pain. She was not getting more morphine. She actually seemed to be living beyond the pain drugs. She died much happier than she had lived most of her life.
“All I did was do what I felt God was telling me to do” says my wife.
My wife and I thought God had relocated us from family, friends and great fishing lakes for a job and better income. Now we are thinking God had far bigger things in mind. It’s very possible that God moved my wife here and gave me a job while He was at it.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord “As the heavens are higher than the earth,so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
To all you readers and fellow bloggers, Merry Christmas from the frozen lakes areas of northern United States. The sun is a bit inconspicuous through the cab and the trees as it sets over the small lake I was fishing. A safe 7″ of ice with the fold up shelter allowed me to see 9 fish and catch 3.
When I read your blogs from South Africa, UK, South America and so many warmer countries, I often wonder what I am missing that excites you. I only know what you are missing if you have never driven or walked on a frozen lake or peered down a hole in the ice as a monster fish suddenly appears to bite your hook (Or decide not to).
I dropped a camera down the hole to show you just what it looks like down there. I was catching some blue gill that day. Check out this utube video
Have a Merry Christmas fellow readers and bloggers. may you keep connected. May you also become more connected to the God who created all that we know and love.
For me, Christmas is a time where I reflect on how our creator exchanged His eternal Glory for a different kind of glory never seen before. A glory He wants to pass on to us through God in a finite human body as a baby. Inconspicuously inserting himself into his own creation to make a way to restore our relationship to Him. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. ” Luke 2:14. take some time to mull over what the angels proclaimed to some obscure shepherds who would worship God in the form of a baby born in a barn. Glory to God both in heaven and now on earth
May you make room for Jesus in your everyday life this next year.
Merry christmas All from the Frozen state of Wisconsin, USA. It’s -8 F actual temperature and diving. Wind chill close to -30 F.
My neighbor shot a framing nail through his hand (between the knuckles) on his DIY project a couple of days ago. He obviously cannot do much for awhile. What would you do?
I have more than some experience in building projects. What would you say I should do?
Answers I have weeded out so far: 1) I’ll pray for you. 2) “What a bummer man” (yes we are products of the 70’s era). 3) Were you drinking again? 4) Well. I’ll put you on the church prayer chain (I might without his knowledge).
This is real life. I have an ongoing daily walk with God but my neighbor admits he personally does not like “religious people” for a long list of (sad and real) reasons. He likes us as neighbors and hopes our house does not sell so we stay put. So, how far does one go for his neighbor?
One of my favorite quotes; “The Bible is clear here: I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the manner needed, in a practical way, in the midst of the fallen world, at my particular point of history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in this poor world in which we live — this lost world — means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.”
― Francis A. Schaeffer
Consider this; I do not even consider “religious reasons” to be a factor in how I treat people. Let’s face it, we are who we are and the core of our being is tested by those around us every day. Who are we and who are we becoming? Does what we say, do and post on facebook draw people into becoming more like Jesus? most everyone except for the religious flock liked Jesus.
If Christ lives in us, His unstoppable unimaginably infinite love will go to great lengths to shove our plans aside to help our neighbor in need.
So, guess what I am doing besides helping? Ya, I have asked a couple of guys (who are on their church prayer chain) to lend a hand. I am scouring the neighborhood for some more equipment (a monster fork lift as my back won’t take carrying the shingles up this long of a ladder). And…We are having some great conversations. I would like to think this is in part who Christ wants me to be.
(Matthew 5:40-42) 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Now, The story behind the story
One of my last morning times in the word was from John 21:15-17 Jesus points to the pile of fish on the shore and said to Peter “Do you love me more than these? Hey, I love fishing and move my schedule and priorities around to be fishing, so this is how God set me up. This is an example of how he communicates through His word. In my devotions and prayer time last week I had already said yes to my neighbor. My neighbor didn’t ask, God did before it happened. This is the real deal and I will get some more wood slivers, find muscles I didn’t know were there and catch less fish. What an adventure following Jesus. I told my neighbor three hands were better than one after asking how his gimpy one was doing.
I can’t wait to hear all your real life stories in the re-telling around the campfire in eternity. Not that we have done anything great but what God has done in and through us. I want you and my neighbor to be there! I am really praying for him, hammer in hand and fishing rod in the garage.