Category Archives: Lessons from…

Lessons from Hannah

Lessons from Hannah

Hannah is my 6-year-old granddaughter, and I absolutely adore her. We enjoy laughing, playing, and learning together. Due to her fascination with everything related to the ocean, I know so much more today about sea creatures than I did four years ago. Each time she comes to visit, we make a trek to the aquarium. My daughter (her mother) has been affected the same way. When she traveled to Malaysia and Singapore recently, she visited four different aquariums in order to take pictures for Hannah to see.
My greatest joy is that Hannah loves the Lord. Since she was tiny, Hannah has wanted us to read the Bible to her daily. When I tell her that she’s my best little buddy, she says, “No, Jesus is your best buddy. Then me.” She’s right. It’s an awesome thing to have your faith strengthened and refined by a child.
Several nights ago, I tucked her into bed and listened as she said her prayers. Her heart was so full that she spent several minutes listing off things for which she was thankful. The one that perhaps touched me most was when she thanked God for her bike bell. You see, although I had told her that we would get one, I hadn’t bought the bell for her yet. Oh, how precious is the heart of a child!
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” –Luke 18:17
Do we thank God daily for His many blessings? And do we have enough faith to thank Him for things that we have yet to see? His promises are sure, and He is blessed when we rest so securely in Him that our thanks come prior to the seeing. Glory be to God our Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

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Lessons from Genio

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Every family has its mysteries.  One of ours is the question of what happened to Genio.  My great-grandfather’s brother William had a son named Genio.  Being an only child, he was dearly loved by his father and mother Rachel. When he finished high school, Genio decided to take a trip to Mexico before starting college or finding a job.  He wrote to his parents faithfully and lovingly, letting them know about his journey.  However, there came a time when the letters ceased.  William and Rachel received his last letter from Mexico City in 1916.

Needless to say, his parents were heartbroken.  They hired a private investigator to find him, to no avail.  The last decades of their lives were spent in sorrow.

One of the most touching aspects of the story is that Rachel kept a bank account for Genio, periodically placing money in it for him when he returned.  But, of course, he never did.  She continued making small deposits into his account until the year before her death in 1952.  We have no idea if he was killed, became ill and died, or, though out of character, decided to cut ties, but I find it reassuring that God knows what became of him. 

Their story reminds me of the parable that Jesus told of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.  I think of the depth of love that Rachel and William had for their son, searching and planning for his return.  The father in the parable also was constantly searching for his own son’s return, just as God watches for us.  What a comforting image, knowing that God longs for us to come to Him. 

God is our home.  He is life and fulfillment and joy.  Our Father has provided the way to come: Jesus Christ.  “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (John 14: 6)  What will you do with the map that He has provided?  We have only to follow the Way.

Lessons from Chester

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Chester is the furry love of my life.  The moment I first looked into his eyes, I fell in love and knew that we belonged together.  He had the face of an angel and a gentleness of spirit.  I’m still smitten 12 years later.

Although Chester had been comfortable in the store where I found him, he would hide under chairs at our home and refuse to come out.  For the first couple months he only emerged at night when we were sleeping.  In the morning, his dish would be empty and the litter box used.  It was discouraging as we wondered if Chester would ever adjust.

But adjust he did.  As he investigated the house at night, Chester became familiar with his surroundings and began coming out during the day as well.  He gradually accepted our love and responded in kind. 

Several years went by before we found out why he had such trouble adjusting to life in a new setting.  His veterinarian discovered that our sweet Chester is virtually blind and was born that way.  That knowledge endears him all the more to me and gives me a much greater empathy for his shyness and fearfulness.

Chester and I are tight.  He’s a mama’s boy, and I love it that way.  When I lay my head next to him, he immediately starts purring.  Even if I am removing a mat from his fur –which he does NOT like —the purring continues. He trusts me completely, trusts my love, trusts our relationship.  I have become his sight.

As each of us grows in faith, we learn that we can trust our Lord.  Looking back on our lives, we can see His hand providing for us and leading us.  When we couldn’t see, He could.  When we were afraid, He was beside us. 

Our Lord loved us enough to send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die in our place, for our sins, in order to bring us into a restored relationship with Him.  That’s a lot of love!  We can trust Him with everything, knowing that His love for us is immeasurable. 

Let Him be your sight and Him your heart. Place your faith in Him today.

“Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.”

Lessons from Button

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Button is the youngest and smallest member of our household.  He is a Roborovski hamster, a type of dwarf hamster. He looks like a little angel with his dark brown button eyes, pink nose, and pudgy body. His coloring is similar to what you find in Beatrix Potter’s story, “Two Bad Mice”. 

Button is also extremely fast, faster than any other hamster I’ve owned.  His legs may be thin, but they are powerful, moving him at lightening speed. Changing his cage each week is challenging. As I try to gently scoop him up in my hand, he flies around the cage at full speed and eludes my efforts. Sometimes he bites and flips from my hand. I worry that he will hurt himself.  After I finally capture him, I place him in a little holding container with bedding until I can clean his cage and return him to his home.

Yesterday I tried a different type of bedding. Instead of the usual wood shavings, I spread a white material that reminded me of very thick toilet paper.  I thought this might be softer and more pleasant for Button, yet when I returned him to his cage, he hid, dazed, behind his wheel.  The change in bedding rocked his world, regardless of it being more comfortable. Change is hard, but he has now adjusted. 

Button doesn’t offer much to me, other than cuteness, but I love him very much.  He is a precious little life, and my heart is warmed by caring for him.

Aren’t we a lot like Button?  Our God loves us with an everlasting love.  He provides for us and wants to carry us gently, and yet we run like fools from Him.  We bite him and try to avoid Him.  We don’t want changes in our small worlds, even when what He offers is far superior.  How much better when we rest in Him!  He is our God, our Creator.  I imagine he looks down at us, as I look at Button, and shakes His head as He thinks how much better our lives would be if we cooperated with Him instead of fighting Him. 

We may be unworthy of His love and often behave like tiny hamsters, yet He remains and cares and provides for us.  He alone is worthy of our praise.  “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”  (Revelation 4:11)  Let go of the fight.  Give Him your love, and rest in Him.

Lessons from Jeff

Most everyone struggles with certain roles in their lives.  “How should I handle this?”  “Am I doing it correctly?”  Being unaware or insecure, we sometimes question if we measure up. 

My husband Jeff has been known to wonder if he is fulfilling his God-given role in our marriage.  Ephesians 6:13 says that the husband is “head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”  It’s a tall order for a husband to lead his wife in the same way that Christ leads the church.  Jeff does not take that responsibility lightly.

2 Corinthians 6:14 instructs Christians to “not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” Echoed by a probable unbeliever, French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote that “love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward[ly] together in the same direction.” What a difference it makes when a husband and wife share the same faith!  Jeff loves the Lord.

When we were dating, I discovered that Jeff wouldn’t sweep problems under the rug in an attempt to pacify me.  He wisely knew that even if I were in tears, we should work through any problems until they were resolved. He has held to that model throughout our marriage.  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10 ESV) Jeff has wisdom and insight.

One of the many wonderful character traits of God is that He is merciful.  Hebrews 4:15-16 (NASB) says, speaking of Jesus, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” I do not mean to imply that Jeff is without sin.  Not at all.  He has to go before the Father in repentance, just as I do.  But Jeff is available to me, as is my heavenly Father, when I am struggling with insecurity, sin, or temptation, ready to pray for and with me.  I can go to him at any time. He does not play the role of my judge.  Instead, Jeff is replete with mercy, having received mercy from God through Jesus Christ our Savior. 

So, how is Jeff measuring up?  I’d say he’s doing all right! He models the love of Christ to me daily.

Despite Jeff being a wonderful partner on whom I can rely, he is not my Savior.  The one and only Savior is Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, fully God and fully man.  He alone was perfectly obedient to the Father. In Him is ALL wisdom and abundant mercy. 

As Easter week draws near, come to the Father and His perfect Son, who died and was resurrected for you.  You can place all your trust in Him without having that trust betrayed.  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”  (Matthew 7:7-8 NASB)

 

 

 

Lessons from Toby Tyler

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One of my cats is named Toby Tyler.  About a week after he was born, Toby’s mother was hit by a car, and the kittens became orphans.  His eyes weren’t even open when we first saw him at the animal shelter.   After waiting the requisite time, we were able to bring Toby home to join our family.

Toby is loaded with personality and completely egocentric.  When he jumps onto the bed, Toby strictly walks on, rather than around, you.  As he crosses the room, he sideswipes his older brother’s face, making sure Chester is clear about who’s boss.  When chased, Toby will leap into the dining room chair; he has invoked a rule that the chair is no-man’s-land, to which Chester has inexplicably agreed.  Chester walks dejectedly away, as if to say, “Foiled again.”

Every day when my husband gets home from work, Toby shifts into “crazy mode.”  He zooms around the house at full speed, stopping periodically to howl.  I’m convinced that he’s showing off for his “daddy.”  God gave Toby Tyler a double dose of personality.  He’s a little powerhouse.

Now there’s another side to Toby that is not so tough.  He has never—in 11 years—given up the need to nurse.  The loss of his mama at such a young age has had a permanent effect on him.  Everyday, when I sit down with my laptop, Toby crawls into my lap and starts sucking on my fingers. I type (and correct, retype, and bring up unwanted pages) with that precious boy often kneading the keyboard.  It’s a challenge.

My husband says that I should break him of the habit, but the word “No” is not in Toby’s vocabulary, and he has a hard little head.  When put down, he hops right back up.  I don’t mind; I find it endearing that such a tough little boy is so vulnerable. 

 

If Toby Tyler were human, my reaction would be quite different.  It would not be adorable for an 11-year-old child to continue behaving as an infant.  There comes a time when we all need to grow up.

The same truth is also applicable to Christians.  Hebrews 5:12-14 (NASB) says, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

Hearing the gospel message never gets old, but let’s dig deeper into the Scripture to learn how to live out our salvation.  Milk is vital, but let’s add in solid food.

Oh, how I love my Toby Tyler.  But let’s not emulate him.