“Vespers with Virginia”
December 7, 2018
As Christmas is just a few weeks away, I feel this poem is a good representation of what we should be shopping for.
Shop in Heaven’s Grocery Store*
I was walking down life’s highway a long time ago. One day I saw a sign that read Heaven’s Grocery Store. As I got a little closer, the door came open wide, and when I came to myself, I was standing inside. I saw a host of angels; they were standing everywhere. One angel said, “My child, shop with care.” Everything a Christian needed was in that grocery store, and all you couldn’t carry you could come back the next day for more.
First, I got some patience; love was in the same row. Further down was understanding; you need that everywhere you go. I got a box or two of wisdom, a bag or two of faith. I just couldn’t miss the Holy Ghost for He was all over the place. I stopped to get some strength and courage to help me run the race. By then my basket was getting full, but I remembered I needed some grace. I didn’t forget salvation, for salvation, that was free. So, I tried to get enough of that to save you and me. Then I started to the counter to pay my grocery bill, for I thought I had everything to do my Master’s will. As I went up the aisle, I saw prayer and just had to put that in, for I knew when I stepped outside, I would run right into sin. Peace and joy were plentiful; they were on the last shelf. Song and praises were hanging near so I just helped myself. Then, I said, “Now how much do I owe?” He just smiled and said, “Just take them everywhere you go.” “How much do I really owe?” He smiled and said, “My child, Jesus paid your bill a long time ago.”
*Old Paths Tract Society, Inc. Shoals, IN 47581
September 1, 2018
I asked Virginia what was something or someone who stands out in her mind over all the years serving the Lord, and she told me the story of, “A Guy Named Guy.”
He was one of the nicest person I ever met. He would do anything for anyone, he just had a servant’s heart. He always wore clothing with lots of pockets because he always had something stuck in a pocket! It was Christmas and was the day after when we saw him. We always bought him something for Christmas every year. He never had much money so one year we bought him a nice suit coat. He put it on and it fit him nicely and he looked really good. Well, the next time I saw him in that jacket, he had made pockets in it! It was so funny that he had to have more pockets! He carried around a little pair of hair scissors and he would make cut-outs of paper.
Guy was the janitor at the church so we just struck up a friendship. He didn’t have a car and never married but what money had, he used it wisely and when it was time for him to retire his brother thought he was going to have to take care of Guy. But, Guy said, “I’ve taken care of myself all this time and I’m going to do it now.”
Another time at a ball game during half time the players and cheerleaders had went off the floor but it was time for them to come back and no one came. We waited and the referees had no idea where these kids were. Here, Guy had been entertaining them outside the door of the gymnasium and they didn’t know they were late! It was funny.
He was such a kind-hearted man and you’d never think to look at him what a great person he was. Even the little kids loved him. He died October 1993 and it was like we had a family member missing when we went to church and he wasn’t there.
June 1, 2018
As I was rummaging through some old papers, I ran across this article below published in the “Somerton Circuit Rider” in December 1948. The Somerton Methodist Church is located in Belmont County Ohio where my husband Ralph pastored for 9 years in the 1960’s. Seventy years later and this message still holds true.
“Life Is Like A Ladder”
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Perhaps you have never thought of it quite this way, but life is like a ladder. Each careful step takes us higher and higher. And every serious mistake means a fall.
We help our children up those first few rungs. We steady the ladder. We help them to gain a firm footing. We show them how to climb higher.
But, then, the day comes when our youngsters are on their own. Mother and Dad can only watch and hope. They cannot guide each step, nor can they prevent a fall.
Wise parents equip their children with a religious faith that can go with them up life’s ladder. Then, when Mother and Dad can no longer guide their footsteps, they will know the way alone. And, should they falter – as most of us do – they will have within the power to take a firm hold, and go on, higher and higher.
March 1, 2018
So you also must be ready. The Son of Man will come at an hour when you don’t expect him. Matthew 24:44
It seems that in so many places we travel we see these signs all around us: WARNING: ROAD CONSTRUCTION ahead, SLOW DOWN. Many drivers pay little to no attention of the warnings. The stoves in our homes have a warning with a red light: HOT SURFACE, how many times do we ignore the warning and in doing so we burn ourselves or melt a favorite cooking utensil.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments there are numerous “warnings” given. These warnings are not meant for our destruction but to let us know of impending danger if we continue the path we are on. Just like the road construction signs warning us to “slow down”, if we would all heed the warnings think of the lives that would be saved. Even in our sin and rebellion, God gives us warning. The scriptures are full of signs and indicators of destruction of what will happen if we continue in our sinful ways and not repent. Are you tired and worn down by all the burdens weighing heavily on you? This is a warning sign listen Christ is calling you to “rest” -“do not wait” – “repent” (turn away) – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
After re-reading this poem given to me many years ago by Christine Grimes, I knew this needed to be shared with others. Its message is powerful – just sit, meditate, breathe in what the words are saying and ask yourself the questions within.
It’s Up to You!
Sometimes in the middle of a hurried busy life,
God draws us apart as we struggle with pain and strife.
He wants us to take time to listen to His word
and be willing to go and do what we’ve heard.
It’s hard to leave the safety of what is already ours
and trust our life to God’s almighty powers.
So He gently and lovingly sets us aside,
till we learn what a joy it is to simply abide.
After we’re broken and ready to mold,
He begins His mighty will to unfold.
There’s an army of sin that man has built,
with Satan the captain, driving his soldiers with guilt.
Entering homes, destroying the love that is there,
leaving the spoils, hoping there’s no one to care.
But God has built a fort where there’s safety inside.
He’s given each person the Holy Spirit as guide.
The wall around us is tall, wide, and strong
and He places us as soldiers to fight off the wrong.
He’s given the task to bring others in,
so that they can know He forgives all our sins.
He asks us to pray and never cease
and promises that He’ll give the increase.
He wants us to care for each other, each need to meet,
never to scold, argue, fight or retreat.
There’s a place in the fort for each of us, friend
and He promises He’ll be with us even to the end.
Are you filling your place God has for you?
Or are you just living your will to do?
There may be someone whose life will be lost
if you fail to take your post no matter the cost.
God is not mocked, His word is true.
What God does with your life is up to you!
Peace in the Garden
“The Lord God planted garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:8-9 (NKJV)
God created everything in all the heavens and earth and said “it was good” but when God created man He said “it was very good”. In the 2nd Chapter of Genesis God planted the perfect peaceful garden for man to enjoy – the Garden of Eden. In God’s love He gave man a sinless sanctuary, a refuge, and a home where there was no time, no death, no tears; but God also sowed the seed of choice. Adam and Eve made the choice to disobey God’s command “to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” and that perfect peaceful garden vanished.
But not all is lost, in God’s infinite wisdom He knew His final masterpiece would give us the peace needed and it came in the form of a Baby wrapped in cloth, lying in a manger – Jesus Christ. Jesus spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane praying before the chaos began the evening of His arrest and crucifixion. Think about it, in the beginning man began working in the Garden of Eden where peace abound; and God’s only begotten Son ended His time on Earth praying in the Garden of Gethsemane “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Jesus found peace in the garden by doing God’s will and being in His presence.
So in the chaos and busyness of life remember, “Peace isn’t the absence of chaos. It’s the presence of Jesus.”
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night,”
What is vespers? Does anyone know? According to Merriam Webster dictionary vespers is – a service of evening worship. In the first years of my husband Ralph’s ministry, vesper services were held on Sunday evening. It was a time of walking in the cool of the evening, visiting neighbors, and making new friends, but more importantly it was also a time of worship.
Today we are busy being knee-deep in things of this world. Why do we not gather outside or meet in the church building with a time of unhurried, unscripted Spirit-led fellowship on the one day-a-week the Lord claimed for rest and worship; thanking Him and declare His lovingkindness and faithfulness.