Last night, we attended a reunion of old friends. We met at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord near Lancaster. Let’s just say the variety of food is mind-boggling.
Some of those who were there were not people we knew, but it wasn’t hard to establish common ground. We were there to help a friend celebrate his 50th anniversary graduating from college, so not everyone knew everyone else. Didn’t matter.
Those we did know included friends from as far back as 1974, when we were all full of energy and bright ideas. There was a lot of hugging and crying (happy tears!) and good fellowship.
We sang Great is Thy Faithfulness before we headed for the food.
Someone said, “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold.”
Every once in a while I get an earworm; a song that I love that plays over and over, and I can’t make it stop. So I decided to share it with you this morning, and maybe sharing it will move it over and make room for something else.
It’s a wonderful old gospel song that I can’t remember when I didn’t know it:) It takes me back to when I first began to sing harmony; when I first paid attention to the pianist who made that piano talk; when I first really began to understand and enjoy a church congregation singing together, voices lifted in praise and joy because we all believed there IS coming a day when we will all see Jesus!
So now, maybe you’ll have an earworm for a while and give mine a rest 🙂
It’s been a strange week. I saw my doctor on Monday about this terrible vertigo, and I have a couple of appointments for an ultrasound and to begin physical therapy. Strange thing is, I’ve had only one bad spell since I saw her. Strange.
I’m in the process of retiring from my work as a therapist in a Christian counseling office. I’ll be 72 soon. My back hurts. I’m tired. I never thought I’d look forward to not working, but I really am. I’m taking no new clients, and my caseload is already diminished. Several of the people I was seeing were really ready to leave the nest. This week, I worked only on Wednesday, seeing four people. It’s like being on a weird vacation. Strange.
One project I’ve been working on has been to organize my closet. Changing from winter clothes to summer, throwing out things I can no longer use or that I’m just tired of. I tend to wear things until they fall apart, and I’ve already filled up two large garbage bags with things that are either too big, or that I finally just got tired of. Strange, how one’s tastes can change.
Most important, I started blogging through the book of Ecclesiastes two weeks ago. I’m taking it a verse or two, sometimes three, and I can hardly leave it alone. The discipline of getting up and doing that work every weekday morning has become a habit after nearly eight years. But what is really interesting to me is the way this book, in just the first chapter, has me thinking about it almost constantly. That’s strange, after my three-year journey through the fabulous book of Isaiah. I loved it, but it wasn’t on my mind day and night like this is. It’s kind of strange.
Maybe it’s because Solomon, the Preacher, asks all the questions that I’ve heard so often in my office. What’s the point of life? Why does it have to be so hard? Why doesn’t God protect us from all the evil around us? Why does everything just seem so empty? I party, I laugh, I get drunk, I recover, and then I do it all over again. There’s just no joy in it. Life is empty. There’s no purpose. No purpose under the sun.
And all the while that I’m dissecting each verse, I’m thinking, “You poor man. You’ve lost sight of what life is really about, because you’ve lost sight of God. THAT is why life seems empty to you.”
Solomon does reach that conclusion 11 chapters later, but it takes him awhile to realize that it’s not complicated at all. Strange, isn’t it?
And–I think I’m going to make it to church, which is also somewhat strange these days 🙂
Since I was about 19 years old, I’ve read the chapter of Proverbs that coincides with the day’s date. The amazing thing is that even after all these years, I still find a verse or a passage that strikes me in a whole new way. Today, it was this:
25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.
What it a proud heart? Here’s another translation:
Darby Bible Translation
He that is puffed up in soul exciteth contention; but he that relieth upon Jehovah shall be made fat.
A proud heart is one that thinks more highly of himself than of anything or anyone else. He assumes authority he does not have, and he stirs up enmity among others. He is often a charismatic person, promising those who follow him position, money, and fame. It was his proud heart that got Satan kicked out of heaven. And still, in his pride, he is doing everything he can to persuade people to follow him. His goal is to destroy what God loves, and God loves humankind.
The sad thing is that Satan uses people who also have proud hearts to stir up enmity, contention, hatred, among other people. Such behavior leads to nothing good.
On the other hand, those who trust in the Lord shall be “made fat”–that is, they shall prosper. Maybe not in this life; maybe not according to the standards of this world. But those who trust God will have peace in their hearts, rather than pride. They will have their reward, sometimes in this life but always in heaven.
We need to ask God for wisdom to recognize those who are proud of heart. They are in our government, our schools, our entertainment industry, and yes–even in our churches. Sometimes, they have a huge following among believers. We buy their books, donate to their ministries, only to learn that they are teaching a different gospel and actually dividing believers.
May God protect us from allowing proudness in our own hearts, and wisdom to recognize it in others.
May your hearts be filled with the truth of the risen Savior!
The resurrection is what sets true Christianity apart from all the religions devised by man. Christianity is the ONLY faith that offers a risen Savior! A Man Who accepted leaving heaven to appear in the form of a normal man; Who lived His life in the service of the Father and all the people with whom he cam in contact; Who willingly went to the cross and suffered for our sin; Who rose on the third day, just as He said He would; Who lives now in heaven with the Father, preparing a place for us for all eternity IF we accept Him as our personal Savior.
And let’s not forget to pray for the survivors of Islamic attacks in parts of the world where Easter Sunday is nearly over. and where nearly 150 have died for their faith.
14 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
I spent some time with an old friend today. Hadn’t seen her since January, when she went to spend three months in Florida. This is the first time she’s been there alone. Her husband, our dear friend, went to heaven about a year ago. As those of you who have walked this path will understand, this has been a year of firsts. for her.
Today we were together to help celebrate the birthday of one of my granddaughters. We didn’t spend a lot of time catching up, but we did have some time alone to just chat, as old friends do. And we talked about how the years have sped by so incredibly fast, from one perspective, but that when you start recounting memories you know you lived every single day of those years.
She had three sons; I had three sons and a daughter. She suffered a miscarriage not too long after my daughter was born, and that was so hard.
We have shared other life experiences, and it has been a good, solid friendship for 45 years. We learned how to quilt together. We share a love of knitting and crocheting. Even when we haven’t seen each other for a long time, it is easy to fall back into conversation. If you have friends like this, you know exactly what I mean.
She has a large extended family, and they all were there for her when her husband died. We were there as well, and I was so impressed with how she has handled this new phase of her life. Her husband was one of Terry’s very closest friends. We will always miss him.
But when we talked of the incredibly fast passage of time, we also remarked on how we treasure each memory as life passes and the minutes tick away into hours, days, months and years.
When you get to be our age, you realize how short life really is, and you understand the importance of holding each moment in your heart because those minutes do not give you a do-over.
On my other blog, I’ve begun to write the story of the beginning of my life with Terry. I’m calling it “Our Story: 50 Years.” I’ve done four short installments, and I need to hurry up and do another before my readers forget about me and lose interest 🙂 The writing has brought up so many memories that I hadn’t though about in years, and it has helped me realize again how incredibly blessed my life has been.
And something else I’m understanding better all the time is the importance of sharing those memories. If you don’t tell your grandkids your stories, they will not know you as you would want them to know you.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
“My son, keep My words, and lay up My commandments with thee.
2 Keep My commandments, and live; and My law as the apple of thine eye.
3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.”
Over and over, God tells us in His Word that it is to be treasured and held in our hearts. We are to obey it, and it is to be the “apple of our eye.”
I always wondered about that when I was a kid. Some time ago, in preparation for teaching a Bible study class, I researched the term. I won’t give you the entirety of what I learned, but the essence is this: The word “apple” in this usage means the pupil of the eye, or the exact center.
If you look someone right in the eye, and the light is right, you can actually see yourself reflected there.
The pupil is vitally important, and God designed it with plenty of protection. Moisture in the form of tears, to keep it from drying out: bony structure all around to protect it from injury: eyelashes to help keep dust and grit out of our eyes; and the eyelids, to close out light that is too bright, or flying debris.
Look closely at the picture above. Do you see the scroll in the middle of the eye? That’s exactly what God wants us to do–to keep His Word in the center of our vision, to protect and and care for it as something to be treasured.
Don’t you love the depth of meaning in such simple verses? That’s another reason God’s Word is such a treasure. You can study it for a lifetime and never plumb the depths of it. In fact, I believe we will be studying God’s Word for all eternity, and never be finished. It is deep, rich, and wonderful.