Thursday, February 21, 2013


I can be so forgetful.  Sometimes my head is so lost in all that is spinning around me that I think I'm losing my mind!  But I feel I can safely blame that on overload.  I simply have too much on my mind (and schedule) sometimes!

The memory is a fascinating thing.  It's fun to remember things like this...

And like this...

Memory can be such a wonderful thing.  God gave us a memory for the same reason He gave us other abilities:  to bring glory and honor to Him.

A fine example of that can be found in the books of Deuteronomy when Moses is addressing the Israelites with a review of their history and purpose.  The disobedient and rebellious generation had died out, and Moses, just before he died, reminded this new generation of things that had happened when they were only children.

He says things like, "Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at...."(Deut. 4:3)

"Remember the day..."(Deut. 4:10)

"Take care, lest you forget..."(Deut. 4:23)

"Remember well what the Lord your God did..."(Deut. 7:18)

"Remember how the Lord your God led you..."(Deut. 8:2)

"Remember the Lord your God...."(Deut. 8:18)

All of these were in addition to the special feasts of remembrance set up by the Lord!

Why does Moses remind them of all of these things?

Well, REMEMBER how quickly the previous generation of Israelites forgot God's provision for them?

I can be like that too.  So many times, God has provided just what I needed, sometimes materially and sometimes spiritually or otherwise, and yet when I am in need again, I don't remember.  I forget to praise Him for His past provision.  I forget that His resources are endless.  I forget the promises of His Word.  I forget that if I never get anything else in this life it's okay, because through Christ, He has saved me from the eternal punishment which I deserved.

I forget, and I am self-centered.

This is one reason I journal.  Even if you don't consider yourself a writer, keep a record of God's provision in your life, from salvation to the very least blessing (if ever there was such a thing).  Perhaps you have an extraordinary memory; I would still suggest that you write it down somewhere, for it may be a blessing for your children to read after you are gone.  It is our duty as parents to teach these things to our children, just as the Israelites were to teach their children (Deut. 6:4-9).  Encourage them to record God's blessings as well!  This will surely help instill a grateful heart.

One more thought...

Our ability to remember can serve us well or do us harm.  It enables us to rejoice in Christ, but if used for our own gain, it can enable us to hold grudges and serve ourselves.  Like every other gift that God has given us, it is intended to glorify Him.  Walking in the Spirit means that we use the wonderful gift of remembering to know more about His goodness and His provision.  It is how we can, through His Spirit, be "anxious for nothing" and not worry about tomorrow may bring.

Of course, there are some things that I want to forget.  But God, by His grace, can use even those things to renew my mind and help me turn away from sin.

So today, when you face doubt, discouragement, frustration or fear, Remember.  Remember when He has delivered you from such things.  Think specifically.  And if you just can't bring it to mind, remember the cross.  Remember Christ.  Remember that He who was sinless suffered the shame in your place.

For truly, that is all we need.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Still Learning to Love

It would seem that a post on love would have been inspired by the fact that Valentine's Day is two days away.  But here is a post on love, and Valentine's Day has nothing to with it.  Rather, the inspiration for these thoughts comes from a conviction which has been placed upon my heart by the Holy Spirit.  He is teaching me about love.  What it is.  What it means.  How to do it.

You might think I would already know those things.  

But see, I had the children memorize 1 Corinthians 13!  I didn't want them to only hide it in their brains, but to learn to hide it in their hearts--to put it into practice!  What that meant for me was that I began to examine it a little more closely.  Guess what I realized?  I realized how often I fail when it comes to showing true love.

Ah, but Grace.  Praise God for His unfailing Love!

Back in October of 2009, little Evan was born.

This is one of my favorite pictures of him as a newborn.  During those first days with him, I wrote the following on my blog.  I felt it was appropriate enough to re-post today.  

~C. S. Lewis

I could have decided that my heart was too valuable. That it wasn't worth the risk. But because I didn't make that choice, my heart is wide open. Wide open for pain. Wide open to yearn. Wide open to be broken.

But more than that....

it's wide open for joy. Wide open for happiness. Wide open to love and be loved.

It's sometimes a scary thing to look at my children, or to watch my newborn, so helpless and dependent, and realize the depth of love that I have in my heart. It's scary because I know that it makes me vulnerable to the worst kind of pain. To love, is indeed, to give your heart away. But the joy in the journey far outweighs the pain of a loveless life.

To be in a place of feeling and vulnerablility is far better than the callous, cold "safety" of a guarded heart that refuses to love.

I still believe all of that.  Love can be a frightful thing!  I don't always do it well, but I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who created love and knows it perfectly.  Because His Spirit dwells within me, I, through His strength, am enabled to love others according to His way.  

No, it isn't always easy.  And it really hurts sometimes.  But He is our Constant; we can always 




Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Favorite Book: Trial and Triumph

Occasionally I like to use this space to share some my favorite books.  Today is one of those days.

Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula is one of the best books that we have ever purchased.  This book is excellent for introducing children to the some of the greatest heroes of Christ's church, from Polycarp to Martin Luther to Charles Spurgeon to Richard Wurmbrand.                                                                                                            

I bought this book initially because it was recommended in our Tapestry of Grace curriculum.  I am thankful that it was part of our curriculum because I don't know how long it would have taken me to hear about it otherwise!  It is a great resource for any family.

There are forty-six biographical sketches in this book; some of them disturbing, all of them inspiring.  Reading this book with my children has reminded me that as a follower of Christ, persecution is common, and should actually be expected.  Reading story after story of people throughout the history of Christ's church who have stood firm for their faith is, to me, continuous confirmation of the fact that He is worthy of our lives--of our suffering.

We do this book as a read aloud, because there are times when I need to stop and explain, or offer assurance that although some of these people suffered greatly, they had counted the cost, and they endured their trials knowing full well that their suffering was not in vain.  Their faith was in Christ.

Not all the stories end in martyrdom, but a few do.  What I like about this book (for my kids' sake) is that it is not altogether graphic, yet it provides enough information to get the point across.  Persecution of the church is real, and I would be doing a great disservice to my children if I "guarded" them by pretending that walking with Christ will always be what the world defines as "happiness".  After all, Jesus said in John 15:20, "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you."

Will my children face persecution?  Of course they will.  Maybe severe, maybe not.  Maybe to the death, maybe not.  But they need to count the cost of following Christ.  And they need to understand that following Christ is entirely worth the cost!

If you are looking only for in-depth biographies, this is not the book for you.  But if you are looking for a starting point or are interested in teaching your kids the basic stories behind some of the greatest heroes of church history, you need to buy this book.  I really think you'll like it, and I have no doubt that you will be encouraged in the Faith.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Tale of the Deviled Eggs

As you may have read in my last post, my Grandpa turned 90 this past Friday.  Yesterday, his beloved wife, my Grandma, would have been 85.  In honor of her birthday, I decided to re-post a blog I wrote a few years ago.  I give you...The Tale of the Deviled Eggs.

I detest deviled eggs. I've never liked deviled eggs, and I don't think I will ever like deviled eggs. To me, they are a repulsive fare that I don't ever care to even try (no offense to all of you who make deviled eggs...I'm sure they are delicious to the many people who seem to love them).  However, in spite of my aversion, it was because of some deviled eggs that I learned a valuable lesson.

One day when I was small, I was going to ride to church with my Grandma Lillian and Grandpa Dallas Jacobs. I guess we were having some sort of pot luck at church that night, because Grandma had made guessed it...deviled eggs, and had set them in the floorboard of the back seat of her car. Before I got into the car, she kindly reminded me to be careful not to smash the eggs in the floorboard. However, I, being very young (yeah, we'll blame it on that), stepped on the eggs anyway. They must have been covered with plastic wrap or something, because the eggs were pretty much ruined.

You can imagine the frustration that Grandma must have felt with me. But do you know what she did? She didn't yell. She didn't fuss. She didn't show any anger. She got out of the car, took the container of eggs and threw the whole thing up in the air while letting out a gleeful, "Wheeeeeeee!"

True story.

That's what I call making the best out of a "bad" situation. I need to remember that on days when twice I open the refrigerator and an open glass of unfinished milk falls out onto the floor.  I need to remember that when I walk into the bathroom and there is water all over the place because Evan has been "fishing" in the sink.  I need to remember that when my young resident cowboys decide to have a "gunfight" on top of my "I just folded those!" pile of clothes.  I need to remember that when I am simply inconvenienced, or when I have been lightly offended by a friend's harsh words.  I need to remember that when I am simply at my wit's end!

Certainly some things are deserving of our anger, but there are other instances (perhaps like the ones mentioned above) which may seem deserving of our anger, but in reality would be better off being overlooked and handled in a gentle manner.  

In short, I learned from that story, that yes, some things are worth getting angry over, but other things can be just as easily tossed aside...or up in the air!

Proverbs 19:11
A man's discretion makes him slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

He Doesn't Wear Glasses Either...

Yesterday was a special day in our family; one of our favorite people, my Grandpa, turned the big
In honor of him, I would like to post just of few of the reasons why I have so much love and respect for this man.

1.  He loved my Grandma
Not only was he a faithful husband throughout their lives, but he was her sole caregiver in the last years of her life as she suffered from Alzheimer's.  She passed away ten months ago, and the life they lived together in the few years before that was a picture of devotion that will forever be impressed upon my heart.  

I watched him sit next to her on the couch.  

I watched him hold her hand.  

I watched him faithfully dispense her medicine to her at the specified times every day.  

I watched as he slowly walked her to their car when they were able to get out, and then carefully help her into the passenger side.  

I watched him love her.

Then, last year, I watched as he said his emotional final goodbye to her. 

I watched him hold her hand as he witnessed her very last breath.  

I watched him at the funeral as we remembered her life on earth and celebrated her being with Christ.

I will never forget it.  Those images are etched into my memory for the rest of my life.  As I watched these things, a lifetime of love and devotion flashed before my eyes, and words could not express my gratitude for his commitment to his wife, which was a direct result of his commitment and love for God.

Since then, I have watched him live on.  His days are not without struggles, but he lives and he enjoys.  He goes to town.  He goes to church.  He takes walks with his black lab Babe, and he goes fishing, catches a bunch and then filets them and fries them so we can eat them!  

Although he wasn't able to do any of these during the years when Grandma was so ill, I never saw him express bitterness.  But now, although he still grieves her passing, he is thriving and doing well, and for that we praise the Lord.

2.  He served our country.

Grandpa was a side gunner on the B-17 bomber in WWII.  What a brave generation of soldiers and men!  He has shared so many stories with us when we've asked him to, and he always gives credit to the Lord for bringing him out alive.  

This past summer, he traveled with us to the Air Force Museum.  What a treat that was!  We located "his" plane in the WWII section of the museum, and he showed us exactly where he sat and what he did.  People would overhear him talking about it and then approach him and thank him for his service.  We felt like we were with a celebrity!  :)

Grandpa with some of his great-grandchildren in front of the B-17.
3.  He loves and enjoys my children.

We go to visit Grandpa quite a bit, and sometimes (like when we celebrated his birthday yesterday) it can get a bit...let's say hectic.  See, his house has a really cool hallway in it that is open on both ends, so it is the perfect place for people like my little people to run around and around and around and around and around and....well, you get the picture.  I'm always amazed at Grandpa's patience!  He simply remarks that he wishes he had a nickel for every time my dad ran around that hallway when he was a boy, and then gives a little chuckle.

Last fall, he helped my kids pick up walnuts around the farm, and then rode with us to the walnut selling place.  It was his pleasure!  He has a tobacco stick with a tin can attached, which is the perfect walnut picker-upper!  It was a great day!

4.  He is a poet.

He has written many, many poems about all sorts of things.  The poem I've posted below is hanging up in our schoolroom.  We read it aloud every now and then just to keep us on our toes!

5.  He is a man of God.

This, of course is the most important one.  Grandpa has always been one of the most generous, patient, caring and strong men I know.  He doesn't do any of it for his own glory, and obviously he isn't perfect.  But as long as I have known him he has been a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, and is not ashamed to say that it is the Lord who has sustained him throughout his life.

I love him!
Happy 90th Birthday Grandpa!