You'll Never Guess...

Thursday, May 14, 2020

What I Saw In the Bible!

Every month at our church we have what we call a “Discipleship Verse.” It’s like a memory verse. We recite it three times in each worship service during that month to help commit that verse to memory. I was looking for a verse for the month of May that would speak to our current “Stay at Home” situation here in Minnesota. Proverbs 3:5-6 came to mind (maybe because it has always been one of my favorite verses). If you’re not familiar with it here’s what God tells us in it:  

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

And after I read that proverb I glanced down at the next one. (A proverb is a “short saying that expresses a practical truth.” i.e. “Wise words for life.”)  Here’s what I saw: 

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.

I put those last two lines in all caps, because "healing" has been front and center in our prayers and on our minds since early March. And here’s a passage that not only tells us what to do that will bring us health, but the instruction comes from no less than God!!!

God has been called “The Great Physician - of both body and soul.” Here’s His prescription:

Don’t be arrogant or proud. Don’t pat your self on the back for being so smart. Instead, be humble and have a healthy respect for the Lord and His power. Then stay far, far away from anything that’s contrary to what God wants (“evil”).  

Or maybe put even simpler:   “Remember that you aren’t god, but that I Am!”

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

What I Saw in the Garden!

What I saw - actually, Violet saw them first - were the daffodils in the picture below. Violet had planted them last year and forgotten about them. This year they popped up as a beautiful surprise! 

In addition to being a cheery sign that spring is here, daffodils also have a special place in our marriage. 

Way back when we were first married, I was a penny-pincher. (Ok, might as well come clean: I was a certified, card-carrying “Cheapskate!” There, I said it!) I wouldn’t buy flowers if my life depended on it. I might - might - buy a plant, because I could convince myself that a plant had a chance to be a “gift that keeps on giving.” Flowers? They’ll be dead in three days. Made no sense to me to spend money on something that I knew was only going to last three days. (Don’t ask me how many boxes of Little Debbie Snack Cakes I’d buy every week - snack cakes that had little chance of lasting even 5 minutes after I’d get them home!)

Anyway, we lived in The Cities, when we were first married, and there was a grocery chain there at the time named Rainbow Foods. Rainbow’s weekly ad always featured some item they would give away for free. Well, one week the freebie was daffodils. Free is a very good price for flowers, so I stopped on my way home and picked up a bunch of FREE daffodils and proudly presented them to my bride. Violet was thrilled ... until she saw the Rainbow Foods ad in the paper! It’s a testament to Violet’s character that she didn’t pack her bags and walk out on me that very minute.

Those daffodils that popped up in our garden last week reminded me of a lot more than “Spring is here!” They are a bright and sunny reminder of my beautiful wife and just how forgiving she is! Thank God for Violet, daffodils, and the ability to look back and laugh at things that weren’t terribly funny at the time! 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

What I Saw in the Attic!

This “Stay at Home” thing has resulted in people doing strange things to pass the time. Like going through boxes in our attic! What I saw in one of those boxes was a photo of an old (but really nice) ‘69 Camaro .... that I used to have! The unfortunate key phrase in that last sentence is “used to!” Quite awhile back when my kids found out that I had gotten rid of a ‘69 Camaro, one asked, “What were you thinking?!” To which the other replied, “Obviously, he wasn’t!”  Ouch! The truth hurts! Oh, the regrets!

Every life has regrets, many of which are a whole lot more serious than not having the foresight to keep a vehicle that would become a classic! I’ll bet you’d have no trouble coming up with some regrets right now. “I wish I would have....” or “I wish I wouldn’t have...”

Regrets  have a way of haunting us, don’t they. But they don’t need to!

You see, you can’t go back and change what you did or didn’t do in the past. But - here comes the important part - you don’t have to allow past actions (or inactions) to poison your future! Forgiveness is the key to locking up those regrets permanently!

Maybe the forgiveness is the kind that needs to be given. If so, do it! Not giving it will make you bitter. Guaranteed! Giving it will make you better! (Also guaranteed!)

Maybe the forgiveness is the kind that needs to be asked for. If so, do it! And if the person’s no longer around to ask forgiveness of, you have a God who specializes in forgiving - and forgetting! Listen to this from Hebrews 8:12 “I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more!” What an amazing thing! You ask God to forgive you, He not only forgives, but He forgets! What that means is this: When Satan torments you with regret and you go back to God for more forgiveness, His reply will be, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” He’s literally forgotten it! And, if God’s forgotten it, who are you to keep hanging onto it?!

[ Please note: I go a bit more in-depth on the subject of getting rid of regrets with forgiveness in the message during worship at our church. I invite you to watch it here: ]

Monday, April 20, 2020

What I Saw At Runnings!

Actually, if you are familiar with Runnings (our local "farm" store), you may be able to guess what I saw there. And if you have been to Runnings this time of year, you don't have to wait until you see them. The "cheep, cheep, cheep" hits your ears about five feet into the store. 

Of course I'm talking about chicks. Violet is a farm girl, and there's nothing like a Box 'O Chicks to put a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eyes. Who needs Peeps when you can have the real thing?!

We brought home our first Box O' Chicks six or seven years ago. A "ten pack." Of course we named them: Henri and Etta; Bobbi and Esther; Indigo and Jeanette, Silver Butt and Firebird; Flossie and Lydia. Silver Butt and Flossie made it until last year!

This year's crew: Olive and Jimmi, Henri and Etta II, and Sassafras (don't ask!).

If you've never had chickens, I'd encourage you to try some. They are fun, easy to care for and do a great job "tilling" the garden in the springtime! They'll keep your lawn bug-free throughout the rest of the year too. And, once you have "real" eggs for breakfast you'll never buy the "fake" ones the grocery store sells for cheap!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

What I saw on Easter morning!

If you live in Minnesota you might guess one of the things I saw on Easter morning: Snow! I'm sure it has snowed on other Easter mornings here, but I don't remember any! I thought the snow, while not what we were expecting, was actually very appropriate for Easter. You see, what we celebrate on Easter is Jesus rising from His grave, and that resurrection proves that Jesus' Good Friday sacrifice on the cross did indeed make our sins "as white as snow." (see Isaiah 1:18)

But the really unusual thing that I saw - a scene that you would not likely guess - was twenty vehicles in our church parking lot. Now that would not be unusual at all on a normal Easter Sunday morning. But keep in mind, this is a year unlike any other! We are smack dab in the middle of the COVID-19 shutdown! As a result, we haven't been able to worship inside our church building for the last four weeks and won't be able to for at least another three Sundays. But forty people "congregated," (amidst swirling snow and howling winds) in their cars to watch on their smartphones a YouTube video of our Resurrection worship! In the message, I talked about how God has used this COVID situation as a "teachable" moment for us. One of the things He has taught us is, "You don't know what you got 'til its gone," (to quote an old song from the sixties). Not being able to gather to worship is something we have long taken for granted. Not any more!

But there's one other thing I saw that I won't soon forget. The elders and I (decked out in full COVID-19 combat gear - face masks and blue rubber gloves) distributed communion to those brave souls in their vehicles. I saw a gratitude that welled up from deep within their hearts. I witnessed, through my steamed up eyeglasses, a thankfulness expressed in smiles and tears as well as in comments.

Making this online worship (and communion in the snow!) happen was - like so many rewarding things in life - not easy, but it was good! Unforgettably good!