How to Make a Man Cry—Memorize

BibleI’ve always taught my children to memorize the Bible. I think it is good for their spirits, good for their souls, and even good for their bodies, if they heed it.

People seldom made me memorize anything until I was fourteen, but I remember much of it, today. I want my grown children to have lots and lots of the Word hiding in their hearts, and they do. It was worth all the work, just for that benefit.

Several times, though, we realized a different benefit.

I always had my children recite their memory work during our homeschool closing programs. It always was a large Scripture portion, such as The Book of James or The Letters to the Seven Churches. One night, when they recited Hebrews 11, “The Faith Chapter”, one preacher in attendance asked if we could recite it again, at his church, during the normal worship time.

After that presentation, a man remarked to me that it was such a great essay and wondered if I had written it, or where he could get a copy of it. Hmm.

I assured him I am not that great a writer, that it had been a selection from Scripture. He was astonished, said he’d never read anything that good in the Bible before. I gave him the reference. He marveled and promised he would go home and read it again, with the children’s voices still sounding in his ears, and seek for more meaning. Hmm.

But another time tops this. One night my children recited “The Sermon on the Mount”. Our youngest bravely wanted to help recite and assured me he could, although he was only seven at the time. I wondered at the wisdom of it, but knew the audience would forgive a flawed recitation from one so young. I knew this, especially since he desired to recite solo the entire parable of “The Wise and Foolish Builders”.

As the presentation progressed, I felt good about it. My children were totally prepared for this and giving, truly, one of their best recitals. However, as they neared the end, and my young son’s solo, he began to waver. After several bobbles, though, he collected himself and made it through to the end.

Bravo, Darling.

Later, I asked him what was wrong, what made him fearful. He replied, “When I saw that man in the audience crying, I thought I was doing a bad job.”

Further checking revealed this man in a rumpled suit, slumped down in his pew and openly mopping tears from a crumpled face, was the back-slidden relative of one of our group.

Oh, the power in the voice of a young child reciting Scripture! A grown man weeping to hear it, a churched man desiring to read it, what more could a mother want for reward?

Only this: that they would remember it, walk in it, and turn and teach it to their own.

Another story in this series here!

Overheard: The Manger Is Empty…

He'll return in the clouds

…But so is the grave.

Jesus just is not here, visibly, these days. We cannot go up to Him and walk a mile or two with Him, these days. We cannot hear Him speaking with our physical ears, cannot touch the scars in His hands, cannot set our children on His lap.

But the day is coming.

When Jesus departed from this world, angels appeared to His friends to tell them:

This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:11

And, although the Bible shows us in many places that He will come back in a cloud, just as He left, it is careful to point out one difference in His manner of reappearing. When He left, He was quietly teaching His faithful few. However, when He returns:

…the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God… 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Then, in the first chapter of 2 Thessalonians, we read that Jesus will be revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.

The adorable baby in the manger scene is history, only one part of the Good News. The rest of the Gospel will be more terrifying, more like what the Shepherds saw when the angels appeared to them and had to tell them not to be afraid, because it was SUCH a sight.

Will there be other differences?

Yes.

The first time Jesus came, it was quietly and humbly, through the act of human birth, in a shelter meant for animals, and few recognized Him for who He was–one of Mary’s cousins, some shepherds, a handful of prophets from afar, a couple of elderly people at temple–then after His miracles, there were more, hundreds or maybe thousands, but not like when He returns.

  • The next time He comes, there will be no doubt, everyone on earth will see Him in all His grandeur, and recognize Him as the Lord.

The first time, He came in poverty, the son of a workingman, dressed simply.

  • The next time, He will come in glory, the Son of the Living God, dressed in a robe dipped in blood.

The first time, Jesus came as an ordinary person with eyes of compassion, who had no crown except of thorns.

  • When He comes again, He will be wearing many crowns and His eyes will blaze with fire.

The first time Jesus came to Jerusalem riding a lowly donkey and those who knew Him bowed before Him.

  • Next time? A magnificent white horse will be His mount, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess He is Lord.
    And all will realize He is the Pierced One.
    And they will mourn.
    And there will be no doubt who He is, for He will display His title boldly, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”.

Yes, He is coming back.

However, how many of those who gaze upon the innocent little Babe out in the cold and say, “Awwww…,” will gape at the King returning in a blaze of fire and begin trembling?

The first time, He was a gentle servant. The next time He will be as a conquering general of a powerful army that no physical or spiritual means can defeat, or even begin to touch.

The first time, He came as a man of peace, to lay down His life to save others. The next time He is coming to use His sword against His enemies: those who deliberately refused to believe Him and aligned themselves with His demonic enemy.

The first time He came, He gave us all a second chance to become sons of the Living God. The next time, no one will have a single chance. Those who think God doesn’t care about sin anymore will be in for a rude awakening.

The first time He came, He cried out, “Father, forgive them…” The next time, the time for forgiveness will be over.

Boycotting, suing, fining, jailing, firing, and removing children from Christians, solely because of their faith, will come to an abrupt stop, even in this country.

And His mission will be different:

First time: He frustrated all who knew Him, because they knew about His power and thought He should just take over dictatorial Rome and establish a never-ending kingdom. But that was not in His mission statement, then.
Next time: Taking over is exactly the plan, according to all prophecy.

First time: His mission was to die, in order to defeat death and hell for us.
Next time: His mission will be as follows, “I am the Living One: I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever!” and He will have the keys to death and hell IN HIS HAND.

First time: His mission was to walk this earth with His followers.
Next time: His mission is to ride the skies with His followers behind Him in a vast army.

Oh, and there is only one way to participate in His second mission:

Enlist for the first mission.

Mary and Martha and Me

Mary and Martha and humble pie

When I Was a Turkey

Several years ago our family tried a Thanksgiving experiment.

Instead of buying our Thanksgiving dinner, we only priced it and sent the amount to a mission.

We then asked God to give us a meal from His own hand that we could see was especially from Him. In our minds, it had to be cost-free, although this wasn’t a demand—we simply decided to see what He would do about our commitment. We were willing to take whatever He gave….

I know, I know, God gives us the strength, intellect, and grace to be able to earn the money, drive to the store, and so forth.

But we learned something from letting go of it like this: He can also sovereignly give us the actual food itself, just because we are waiting upon Him. This caused us to be thankful toward God as Jehovah Jireh (our provider), rather than wondering what in the world He has to do with our celebration.

The experiment became a kind of tradition for a few years. Each year was different; it was not always turkey and stuffing. We had chicken, duck, venison, and my favorite, the smoked turkey that appeared one day while we were gone.

Meat was always the test for me because I did not consider the free things from our garden as “too hard” for God.

See what I mean?

I needed this.

Everything about cooking Thanksgiving dinner this way was a big adventure. We had to improvise, learning as we went. We felt, indeed we were, exactly like pioneers.

We pretended Good-Old-Days, but they were, in reality, very good days.

We certainly were excited about all sorts of food and I think we ate better. The meat often was not processed. We had honey instead of sugar. And we were so thankful. We couldn’t help it—it just flowed from all that was happening.

Another unexpected result came of the experiment.

We questioned the entire “Thanksgiving Tradition”.

  • Sweet potatoes did not have to be candied, did they?
  • Whipped topping didn’t have to be fatty.
  • Crab applesauce was as good as cranberry.
  • The chestnuts off of our tree were excellent in stuffing.
  • Squash pie tasted just like pumpkin.

We learned to take our local blessings, instead of exotic imported foods, and spread them out into a feast that gave glory to the God Who provides for His own.

And more blessings! 

In our excitement, we also forgot to be harried. I, at least, emerged on the other side of the wall that separates us from gently rejoicing in God. He seemed so near. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Most of the United States was celebrating a day that, when it was established, in purpose and practice, was truly Christian. Thanksgiving has no questionable past. It has traditionally had no worldly festivities attached to it. It is simply a day set aside for our Christian nation, by its Christian leaders, to give thanks to God for all His blessings.

go-your-way-eat-the-fat-and-drink-the-sweet-and-send-portions-unto-them-for-whom-nothing-is-prepared-for-this-day-is-holy-unto-our-lord-nehemiah-8-10-1Into that quiet beauty, I had often inserted the bustle of a worldly attitude.

Suddenly, His delightful indulgence was leading me away from my prideful ideas about meal preparation. How humbling it was to be learning at His feet, and yet, how glorious.

It doesn’t matter if you use the recipes you will find, on this site, for “your dinner”, or even if you go to someone else’s house for it. It doesn’t matter if you buy or raise the ingredients. But do learn to spend time before God. And truly thank Him. Every day.

______________________________

Katharine is a retired home educating mom who writes about all things “woman”, from a Godly viewpoint, here on this site, and at The Conquering Mom.  Her writing appeared in several magazines for 15 years, and she is currently working on several books. She loves to write, speak, teach, cook, garden, spoil her hennies, and watch old movies with popcorn.

Wrapped in Nothing But a Bedsheet?

Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery, o/t, ...The powers-that-be have just dragged her from the bed of a man to whom she is not married.

Perhaps all she is wearing is a bedsheet.

Perhaps he is one of the powers-that-be.

Nevertheless, there she stands, exposed, before her authorities. They do not care about her. They do not care about right or wrong. The have stalked her, captured her, and reduced her to the status of rubbish for one purpose: to trick a popular counselor of that day.

“The law demands this woman be stoned to death,” they announce. Then they wait. They are so sure. They have Him this time. The Man of Mercies will have to admit that mercy does not always win.

Or so they think.

He is unperturbed.

He stoops and writes in the dust. A list of their sins? Perhaps.

Do they look around themselves, worriedly, confused? Perhaps.

Meanwhile, the life of a woman hangs over eternity. Perhaps, thrown down to the ground, does she cower? Perhaps.

In a culture that forbids her uncovered state, in a land filled with huge stones, she waits, uncovered, for her stoning.

Finally the Man stands to speak. “And whoever is without sin should throw the first stone.” Then he resumes writing.

Beginning with the eldest–perhaps wisest–each man drops his gleeful attitude, drops his stone, drops his case.

Point taken.

The kind Counselor turns to ask the woman, “Where are they? Who is accusing you?”

The answer, from inside a bedsheet: “No one.”

“Neither do I condemn you.”

Notice He does not say she did not sin, but only that He does not condemn her.

She stands obviously guilty and shamed, but for her, there is now no condemnation.

Stoning is not prevalent in our society, but prostitution is. I want to ask you: How many of us have been there–a blackened past forgiven by the mercies of God?

How many of us throw away that forgiveness?

How many of us hug our sad past close and get it out to look at it and mourn over it, to relive it to its fullest?

How many of us labor with all our might to get out from under sin that no longer is over us?

How many of us, on stormy days, add to the bad past by letting it create for us bad choices, bad attitudes, bad excuses?

A bad present? Even a bad future?

Jesus asked only one thing from that woman, that day, and asks it of us, too: “Go, and sin no more.”

________________

Image via Wikipedia

Resolved:

I’ve been thinking about New Year resolutions a lot, lately.

Thinking what a sobering thing it would be to ask God what He would like to see me change this year!

I found something that may relate, something to think about:

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:21 KJV).

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:5-6 KJV).

Enoch lived long, long ago, among some of the first people, ever. And he lived one year for each of the three hundred sixty-five days in a year. Does this make me curious?

Yes.

Then there’s another thing: It seems like he simply subsisted before Methuselah’s birth, but walked with God after.

I can relate to that.

Scripture does not mention anyone else “walking with God” in Genesis 5. They all just lived, and bore descendants, is all we are told.

None of the others were taken, either; they all died. Enoch, however, “was not, for God took him.”

We must believe God exists and that He will reward us. I know He does that! But could He want to give me an Enoch-like experience this year? Could I muddle through, listening, for 65 days, and then have direction for walking with Him?

Like Enoch, only smaller?

I want to try this. I want to wait on Him during the first 65 days, to show me the way, His direction, what He wants for the last 300 days of 2015. I want to be still before Him and listen to His ideas about what comes next.

I want to hear Him say, “Come,” and I want to step out of the boat. By the 65th day of the year, I want to say, “By God’s grace, I will do this thing.” I want to walk with God the remaining 300 days of the year, in this matter He sets before me. Maybe by the 65th day of the year (Friday, March 6) I will know what I should change, what I should make my year’s goal.

What will He show me? What will He require of me? I don’t know.

I want a dedication on Day 65, and I want to call it Enoch Day and I want a big celebration this time next year. I’m thinking of keeping a journal, just for this tradition.

Maybe I’ll be brave and post it. Or maybe not.

Although all is still in the formative stages, one thing has become clear to me: In my life, a new Enoch celebration would be far better than all the New Year Resolutions in the world. (I cannot, in my own strength, change all I need to change. I have learned: God-pleasing changes do not come from my own strength.)

By God’s strength, I can walk in His will much more easily than I can walk in guilt over bondage to an overwhelming New Year’s list.

Maybe you could, too.

What if we began the New Year diligently seeking Him about what He would like changed? What if we took His Word to us and began implementing it on March 6? What if He visited us with His strength to do it?

It’s scary, but I can hardly wait.

Fireworks
Fireworks

Look Up.

Large, violent tornadoes can cause catastrophi...
Large, violent tornadoes can cause catastrophic damage when striking populated areas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With all the tornados floating around lately, come many more words about tornados. It’s a real storm out there and I’d like to add to the din.

I wrote a couple of years ago about my close call with a really big, destructive tornado. People like to read about these events. Not just y’all; I read these stories too.

As I was re-reading some of these writings today, I noticed something. I think the events that shape our lives prepare us for living a successful life in the end. I think we can look back on our childhoods and see how God was preparing us to face our future.

If we pay attention . . .

One thing in particular that stood out for me, as I read these old stories today was this: It was no time for hurt feelings.

Not then; not now.

I wrote about my six-year-old self:

I knew it was a tornado up there, whatever a tornado was. I looked up, too, and stumbled.

Mom scolded me sharply. “Don’t look up! Don’t look up! Don’t look up!” She seldom scolded sharply. It hurt my feelings but I knew it was no time for hurt feelings. Her words were like a mantra, a warbled charm against bad omens . . . don’t look up, don’t look up . . .

As I notice the world today, I realize how  much I knew back then, and how much my mom knew, and what good I could make of it if I only paid attention and applied it to my current life.

  1. When we look at the troubles, we stumble. It IS  huge storm all around us, but the storm should not be our focus, at all.
  2. If someone is trying to save our lives, we should not get hurt feelings. Those who know the way to safety are life-savers. Some of us probably should be slipping into that role, but we enjoy ignoring the storm, more.
  3. We are in a huge storm, like it or not, and it is NO TIME FOR HURT FEELINGS! Regardless of what happens, hurt feelings are a distraction and not deserving of our time or attention.
  4. DON’T LOOK AT THE STORM! DON’T LOOK AT THE STORM! DON’T LOOK AT THE STORM!

One caveat:

We should look up.

Jesus told us it would get worse, and when it does, to look up. To stand up. To lift up our heads.

Why? Because our salvation will be very near.

 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke21:28 KJV