Simplicity of Legacy

This is me and my chubby partial feeling fingers. If you can wiggle your fingers you can make music….eventually

Mom was a beginners piano teacher. She influenced the world. I will use myself as an example as all 7 of us siblings took lessons and I qualify as the least talented in my eyes. While you read, please put on this youtube video of me playing my rendition of moms favorite old hymn. This is a bit of an unconventional way to blog so let me know if it was worth the effort to play and read at the same time.

Now this is important! Please Open another window on your computer, go here https://youtu.be/Ehr5dukFjzw Click and start Video, then come back to read the blog while playing…trust me it will make sense later

VS 1 “Tis so Sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take him at his word” (Musically hesitant)

Well mom thought so all her life. She told me that God had a plan and could be trusted completely. I was 11 years  lying in the hospital, both arms in casts after a saw blade came off a machine and cut both my arms to the bone on the inside near the elbow crease where arteries and nerves are housed . My median nerves were completely severed (a specialist tied them together). I couldn’t feel below the elbows on both hands.

“Just to Rest upon His promise, Just to Know thus saith the lord” (Musically slow but getting there)

Mom did not waver in her faith and trust in Jesus even though the hard times were sometimes very hard. She loved us and sometimes would cry when trying to discipline us (for our good, but didn’t seem so at the time). She had God, her huge garden, a piano, a community full of kids needing lessons and seven kids who ate very well off her cooking.

Chorus: “Jesus Jesus how I trust him” (Musically a little more sure and quite simple)

Even when we seemed to be wandering down the road away from God (she was not silent here). My siblings each have their own decision making and Mom stories. We would need many a week of campfires to sit around and tell those tales.

“how I’ve proved him o’er and o’er”  (musically a few extra notes added)

I was mad at God. I blamed God for allowing my hands and arms to be useless, have no feeling or cramping phantom feelings. My muscles acted as if there was no one in charge. it would take 3 years to do a push-up and pull-up in gym class. I hated the doctor for telling my mom (which gave her way too much leverage) I would have clothes pins for fingers if I did not learn to play the piano or learn how to type.

 

“Jesus Jesus precious Jesus, Oh for grace to trust him more” (Musically ending a thoughtful phrase)

Mom was gentel, kind and cruel all at the same time. I sat at the piano for hours it seemed. “God has a plan” she would say. I was good at saying “ya” a hundred different ways. I didn’t see any plans coming down the pike anytime soon. I couldn’t feel the keys. My fingers didn’t really work. It took me 10 hours to play a little tune when others could do it in 20 minutes.

VS 2: “I’m so glad I learned to trust him, precious Jesus, Saviour, Friend” (Musically changes keys and begins an uplifting era of life)

I began to test the waters of life and one day made my choice. As a teenager I Chose to Follow Jesus. I knelt on the floor of our barn and told him I was all in. Like Mom and Dad and a few other people I knew, I was all in.

“and I know that thou art with me, wilt be with me to the end” (Musically sure, ready to run off a cliff with the music)

It was a learning struggle more complicated than cliff diving (which I would later try); it was more like making a run off the cliff in order to clear several boulders below and reach the deep safe water 50 feet below (tried this also). God proved himself in countless ways. Like Mom I was learning how to fly with trust even in the crashes.

Chorus: Jesus Jesus how I trust him, How I’ve proved him o’re and o’re (Musically marching through life) 

We all got older. Mom began losing her memory. Quietly memories were stolen as the world marched on. I began to renovate this old hymn to play for mom, hoping she would be proud of her son.

“Jesus Jesus precious Jesus, Oh for grace to trust him more.” (Musically challenging and dynamics added for the massive ups and downs of life)

Mom got a fast acting cancer. Her prayers had been that she would not forget her kids and grandkids before she died. She didn’t. I played this song for her as she was in her wheelchair by the piano. She was all there and more. It was not just a “favorite” hymn. It was a lifes song, unwavering in a dimming body.

Chorus again:  Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!          (Musically recapping moms life. I end with the final resolve chord then a little run up the piano as she leaves us to be with her Jesus, savior, Friend.)

I am not an accomplished piano player. My fingers can play some music and I have partial feeling in my hands and arms. This blog is not just about mom or about me playing the piano. I would like it to be a challenge to you the reader and listener in this way: that you would consider living your life all in. the only way I know how is to walk, listen and talk with Jesus, Savior, Friend daily. The proof is in the consistent upgrades that God’s Spirit brings about in our thoughts, speech and character of our being from within. This is The Simplicity of Legacy. 

I hope this in a small way can be a part of Gods Legacy in you. get to the deep and safe waters my friend! Eternity awaits us all, choose and follow Jesus. No hesitation, no excuses. No wallowing the “this happened to me stuff”. Tis so Sweet to trust in Jesus (till you close your eyes the last time sweet).

Gary

Disclaimer: I do not have video capabilities with WordPress which made this a little harder for you the reader, sorry. It was an experiment, let me know if it kind-a sort-a worked. I tried it on myself but I know the song too well. 

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Inside Outside

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Inside and outside are the same.  Kind of…

Have you ever tried to take a picture inside with the outside showing? Normally there is glare, too much light and a flash is needed unless it’s dark outside. I actually set up the camera in the living room on a tripod and waited until the light density was similar inside to the outside. A 70 degree difference from inside to outside as it was a snowstorm just ending outside.

It’s February and very nice out… temperature wise.  

In september the temperature made it’s way down into the 30’s and it was cold. October made it a little colder. November temperature went down into the teens. December made it down to zero and into a few degrees below zero. this January we found 20 below zero a few times and the beginning of February in the minus 30 below zero range (some saw minus 40’s but you get the picture).  What was cold in September is now t-shirt weather. January weather seems warm from February’s view. 

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Our Spruce tree seems cold as the sun sets. We love our views from the inside

We live and adjust to relativities in so many areas of our lives, not just the weather.

We live and adjust daily without even thinking about it. I have 6 pairs of outdoor boots and combinations of 12 layers of different types of outer and layered coats and jackets (I can stay warm in minus 30 with a wind chill of -60 degrees). A few days ago I was outside unloading my ice fishing equipment and I thought “It’s warm out here”; I looked at the outdoor thermometer and it read -32 degrees. The wind had died down and it felt warm outside. I called dad mid January to let him know it was minus 20 degrees. He said “wow it’s warm there, it’s -42 here”. I just gave my oldest kentucky daughter a text telling her “it is 40 degrees colder here…must be nice”. She texted back “and I thought 21 degrees was really cold”

Even though it feels warm, it would still be a disaster to stick one’s tongue on the car door handle. There are some things that are not relative. You will still lose part of your tongue if stuck on freezing metal (I have a winter camping story with tin cups for another time). A bad diet seems ok until later in life. Smoking seemed ok for our health a long time ago. We can come up with an endless list of how we live life as relative. Maybe it actually kind of works; until it doesn’t.

A relationship with God is not relative. Sin is not relative. God’s love is not relative. Don’t stay outside in relativities on this one. Come inside. What God says and has revealed to man and carefully recorded and preserved in scripture trumps our relative spiritual ideologies.

I would encourage you to read the Bible. Unlike any other book ever written, the Holy Bible is compiled of writings that cover a span of about 1400 years and include some 40 writers. Within its pages are 66 books, yet it is considered one book, The Book, The Holy Scriptures, The Word of God. The time period recorded during those 1400 years covers nearly 4000 years of human history and God’s revelation of Himself to and through man. The history of the Holy Bible is the history of God’s involvement with mankind.

I’m getting ready for tomorrow. Another snowstorm coming. Warm weather as it will stay above -10 tonight. Maybe. Tomorrow morning I will also continue getting ready for another tomorrow (someday my tomorrow will be in eternity) as I read a passage from God’s word, pray (my personal talk time with God), reflect and allow God’s Spirit to set my tone for the day. I have a personal relationship with my creator God. It’s real and I am changed. I trust the changes in me are not like the weather outside. temporary. Relative. To be more like Jesus is reality. Truth. Inside.

Gary

Moonset Morning at Ten Below Zero

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I  stepped outside and took a 10 second time exposure. Long enough to get cold in my sleepwear. 

I watched the moon set before the sun would light the morning.  I pondered and identified with the Psalmist.

“You, God are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you in a dry and parched land where there is no water. ” Psalm 63: 1

I thought of the all the sailors who have been adrift in life boats after losing their vessel in storm or war; often muttering “water water everywhere but not a drop to drink.”

I think often of the happiest people I have ever seen in a third world country and they have nothing.

I think of the change of one’s whole being when they finally understand how much Jesus loves them; enough to die for them. It’s like coming home from vacation and all your plants look dead and they spring to life with water. Only we get “Living Water.”

I ponder how this passion for God in our dry and thirsty land affects my speech, word choices and topics of conversation today and through the week. Will I use alternate swear words? slang? Will I confront or come alongside when differences arise? will I wash the dishes when my wife looks tired even though I have had an 11 hour work day? Will I say a kind word to a harried cashier? Will I live intentionally? Generously?

It’s now daylight. Will I live as a child of light? A delightful sunday morning. I read on. “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you Psalm 63: 4-5 (even if I don’t know the song?)

Gary

He Restores My Soul

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.

new house
A brand new house in Guatemala

 

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.

Gary

 

 

A Time to Tell

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.

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  Ominous sunset with a storm coming. I wonder what clashing spiritual forces look like? 

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

Gary

Please comment below, thanks

Merry Christmas everyone!

Ice fishing cp eml
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.

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We have a christmas tree wall for some of our Christmas Cards

 

Merry christmas All from the Frozen state of Wisconsin, USA. It’s -8 F actual temperature and diving. Wind chill close to -30 F.

Gary

The Real Deal

Jims project
I had to take a picture of this intimidating project

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.

Gary

 

Love Potion 3:16

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Different: What if you were the only one?

He stained our planet with His blood.

He Killed Death.

His Love permeated all time and space.

If the force of love could be measured  it would have shattered the Richter Scale at the cross

Jesus Christ

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation (new species…italics.. my words) has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

If you claim to be “in Christ” that means He lives “in you”. It’s fair for the whole world to say “well then, where’s the Love?”.

 Oh that we are becoming more like Christ daily.

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