Wednesday, September 26, 2018

“Hide and Seek” the Word — Part 1

My precocious firstborn learned his first Bible verse at about 15 months. At least he could repeat after me “God is love.” (1 Jn 4:8)  I loved his baby inflection with the word “love” going up in tone and having an exclamation point after it. Shortly after that we taught him every Christian parent’s favorite verse: “Children obey your parents.” (Eph. 6:1). Thirty years later, I love watching him and his wife teach their children scripture verses from memory.

Recently I re-memorized Romans 10:17, “So the faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” As I thought about this familiar verse again, I realized that memorizing the Word of God is one of the things I can do in order have faith in God. And when I have His Word fresh in my mind I can help others hear the Word of God, because it is likely to be on the tip of my tongue. 

Friends of ours are missionaries in a closed country where proselytizing nationals is against the law. Together with their team, they were studying through the book of Mark and came to chapter 4, verses 26-27, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know.” Knowing that in another parable the seed represents the Word of God, they decided to set alarms on their phones for 4:26 pm, to pray that they would be able to “scatter” the Word of God among the people of their host country and that God would give the increase. They asked those of us who pray for them to set our phone alarms as well. When I pray for them, I often ask God that they would have His Word hidden in their hearts and it would be foremost in their minds so that they “cast” the Word naturally and freely.

Having grown up in a Christian home I heard the gospel from birth, maybe even before that! My parents encouraged me to memorize verses even when I couldn’t read them. I went to Sunday School, Monday School, and Tuesday School! (The latter two were kids clubs held in homes.) We had memory verses assigned at each of these. My mom took the verse papers and pinned them to a bulletin board. She tells me that she would point to a paper and I could say the verse, even though I didn’t understand the words. I was also part of the Bible Memory Association, which had booklets of verses for every age to memorize for 12 weeks a year. As a first grader I had two verses a week, with little prizes every other week. By the time I reached high school, I was memorizing fifteen verses a week! We also had Sunday school contests, contests at camp, and discipleship ministries that all encouraged scripture memorization.

These verses had a great affect in my life. They were, as Romans 10:17, what brought me to faith in Christ, gave me my life ambition, took me through secondary infertility, and showed me a new ministry when I was floundering wondering what I was supposed to do, among other turning points in my life. 

Over the next couple of weeks I will tell you of some of those times the verses I had hidden in my heart affected my life as I sought to live for God.

Are you memorizing verses from the Bible?  Are you encouraging your children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews to memorize? In the next couple of posts I want to encourage you to do just that. Come back and read my story.

But here’s a way you can start moving toward this tonight: Ask this conversation starter tonight at dinner:

What is the first Bible verse you remember memorizing?

*  *  *  *  *

To never miss an Around the Table blog post, simply sign up in the space near the top right side of the blog, below the picture of the book: 
Each week you will receive one email that looks like this:

It's as easy as that. No searching for the blog, waiting for your browser, or missing a post. Sign up today!

*  *  *  *  *

Linking with these great blogs. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Table's Stories

Last spring my older daughter and I were walking around an old village near where she lives in Germany. The amazing thing to me about the some of the buildings was their age--almost 1000 years old. I wished the walls could talk! I wonder what stories they would tell, what events they had witnessed, what changes had occurred during their time. Some of my ancestors came from Germany; I wondered if any had seen these same walls?

Last month my husband and I celebrated our anniversary in a tavern where some of George Washington's men stayed. What plans had been discussed? What fears did those men feel? What did those walls observe?

Last week my son and his wife were house hunting. A couple of the houses were a hundred years old. Who had built the house? What dreams did they have? Who had been born or died between those walls? What family events did those houses view?

Recently we completed ten years in our house. That's the second longest I've lived in one house. The table we gather around here is the one we've had for the longest time in our marriage. If our table could talk what would it tell you? It could talk about tense family discussions, arguments, and complaints, like any family. But it could also tell you about the time I started laughing so hard my oldest son asked, "Who are you and what did you do with my mother?"

It could tell the exciting Thanksgiving when we each wrote what we were thankful for on a paper feather to add to our paper turkey on the wall and our daughter-in-law's said, "My baby"--our first grandchild was on the way!

It could tell of four generations singing hymns after a meal with voices not meant for public, but hearts full of rejoicing.

It could tell of spilled milk, children crying, mother's having to eat cold food because of caring for babies, and broken glasses. It could show you scratches and nicks from carelessness and children enjoying using it as a drum.

It could tell of story devotions, video devotions, and fervent prayer times for those we are concerned about.

It could tell of being decorated for birthdays, baby showers, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and national holidays from many countries.

It could tell of the people from around the world who have sat there and the languages spoken there.

It could tell of meals that were a great success...and those that were total flops.

It could tell of discussions of cars, computers, cameras, houses, potty training, politics, faith, philosophy, and hopes and dreams.

Our table could tell the story of our family for the last ten years. 

In one sense our table is just pieces of wood nailed together, but for our family it is our gathering place, where we have gotten to know and love each other, we've learned, listened, fought, loved, complained, grown, laughed, cried, included others, and been family.

What stories would your table tell?

*  *  *  *  *

To never miss an Around the Table blog post, simply sign up in the space near the top right side of the blog, below the picture of the book: 
Each week you will receive one email that looks like this:

It's as easy as that. No searching for the blog, waiting for your browser, or missing a post. Sign up today!

*  *  *  *  *

Linking with these great blogs. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Caught in a Downpour

As I listened with half an ear to the park ranger at the Ben Franklin Court tell the story of that famous man, the rest of me was occupied with following my active two year old granddaughter on that hot and humid August day. (Active two year old is redundant, don't you think?) About half way through the very interesting lecture the skies opened and the rain poured down. We all ran for the printshop.


A little later, in the courtyard in front of Betsy Ross' house, I asked my daughter what I looked like after being rained on. "Like you got caught in a downpour, Mom," she said with a smile. Then my husband leaned over and, with a kiss, said, "Even more beautiful than this day thirty-six years ago when I married you!" Yes, we were sweltering and soaking in Philadelphia with our daughter, German son-in-law, and granddaughter on our thirty-sixth anniversary. But family is part of the reason we got married, and definitely, the result of it!

But we did get a private, romantic celebration about one week later back in Pennsylvania after spending time in New Jersey and New York City and saying good bye to the family traveling back to Germany. By then we were headed home so we were in western Pennsylvania where we found a nice hotel and a tavern built in 1762 for a fun and delicious dinner.

We believe it is important to celebrate our marriage, not only on the anniversary, but all year long, because a marriage that works is a marvelous thing. And, by God's grace, ours works.

Here are some more reasons to celebrate your marriage:(Disclaimer: I don't know who most of these people who said these things are, so I don't know if I like their whole philosophy of life, but I like these quotes. Let me know which is your favorite!)

  • A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.   -- Paul Sweeney
  • A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. -- Mignon McLaughlin
  • Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.  -- Simone Signoret
  • A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.   -- Dave Meurer
  • There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage. -- Martin Luther
  • Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,...that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless....This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. -- the Apostle Paul.

As much as I promote family meals, I  believe it is important to make sure that husbands and wives spend time alone together on a regular basis--not just their anniversary--so they can have a good relationship beyond discussing the children. Husbands and wives need to be more than co-parents. 

My husband and I are partners, lovers, and as cliche as it sounds, best friends. When our children were small, our "date night" was collapsing in front of a recording of some 80s TV show with a delivered pizza on Sunday night after a full day of ministry and children. When they were all in school my husband's office was in our house so lunch was "our" time whether we ate out or in. After we moved back to the states ten years ago, with three teens in and out of the house, we got coffee at a bookstore/coffee shop on Tuesday nights. 


And anniversaries weren't always dinner out or a night in a hotel. On our twelfth anniversary we had just bought our first house and had our fourth baby, so there was no money to go out to eat. We put the kids to bed and I made beef stroganoff. I dressed up and did my make-up and hair. My husband put on some soft music and we lit the candles. You know what, we can't remember what we have done on a lot of anniversaries, but we remember that one because we made it special.

Today, there is no one we would rather spend time with, talk to, or do things with as a result of making time for "us" for thirty-six years. 

As the Apostle Paul said, marriage is an illustration for the world to see of Christ's relationship to the church, an intimate relationship where the husband loves his wife in a sacrificial way and the wife respects her husband for who he is. And that illustration is a goal worth working towards, rain or shine.

*  *  *  *  *

To never miss an Around the Table blog post, simply sign up in the space near the top right side of the blog, below the picture of the book: 
Each week you will receive one email that looks like this:

It's as easy as that. No searching for the blog, waiting for your browser, or missing a post. Sign up today!

*  *  *  *  *

Linking with these great blogs. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...