Psalms 27:13-14: I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
My mom was 86 years old when she finally decided she’d like to join the rest of her family in believer’s baptism. The timing was perfect: a reunion to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday meant her pastor grandson would be flying in for a visit. I was delighted to learn she’d asked my son Jon to baptize her and he’d agreed.
Jon wanted to be certain she understood the meaning of the step she was about to take, so before the baptism he took her through the relevant Scriptures, carefully and patiently explaining each one. Sitting down on the couch next to her grandson, Mom looked happy as could be and tried her best to follow along with her magnifying glass and large-print Bible. I was flooded with joy as I witnessed this conversation—what a marvelous culmination of years of prayer as both a daughter and a mother!
Mom leaned forward, listening intently and nodding, but when Jon began to read from Acts Chapter 8 about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, she got a puzzled look on her face. She stopped him right there and asked for clarification.
Spring was in glorious full bloom, and I thanked God for a few hours of solitude during a recent women’s retreat. As I hiked through the green hills and blossoming fields of the conference grounds, relishing the scent of pine and eucalyptus, I came through a clearing and found the archery range open for instruction. I welcomed this opportunity to try a new sport, and in so doing discovered that the Lord had a spiritual lesson targeted just for me that day.
Our genial, red-bearded instructor looked like a modern-day version of the ruddy, good-looking King David and immediately put me at ease. He gave me terminology and tips, followed by a masterful demonstration of his own prowess as a bowman. I watched him fit the notch of his arrow to the bowstring and take up his stance with precision. When he drew back and let it fly, he never missed the center of the target. Clearly he had plenty to teach me.
I had so many good reasons not to get into the water that day. First off, there was the newspaper headline that greeted us on arrival at the Maui airport —
“Snorkeler Attacked by Shark in South Kihei. Beaches Closed.”
And where were we headed with a suitcase full of snorkeling equipment? To our time-share in South Kihei, of course. The weather was cooling off back home, and we’d been so looking forward to the extension of summer that our October Hawaiian vacation would provide.
Sticky floors and soaking scrambled egg pans had to wait until 11 am each day for me to turn my attention from my rambunctious toddler back to their silent clamor. Each day I thanked the Lord that he had clearly ordained nap time as an intermission for frazzled moms. My daily habit at that blessed hour was to turn on my favorite radio preacher while I grabbed a broom and got busy.
One dreary winter morning as I mopped the floor, I heard Chuck Swindoll advise,
“The next time someone presents an idea to you, don’t respond immediately. Take time to pray about it.”
I didn’t give the concept more than a passing thought until my husband came home that very evening and dropped the bomb.
Jesus calls us the “salt of the earth.” Whose spiritual thirst are you meant to arouse? Is there someone in your circle of loved ones who stands outside the circle of faith? Who can you enlist to form a prayer circle to around this beloved unbeliever to pray regularly and systematically for their salvation ?
At the Last Supper, Jesus raised his cup and said,
“Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” I Corinthians 11:25.
What if those you call together to stand in prayer for your loved one were to use the simple act of drinking a beverage as a guide and reminder?
“…to declare the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light” ( 1 Peter 2:9)
I spent a good portion of my twenties working in the dark. Singing in nightclubs for a living, I played four sets a night, the first one not even starting until 9 pm. At 2 am when the lights went on, anyone still at the bar was in for a rude awakening. Those cozy booths were actually stained and crusted with a variety of revolting substances. The bottles of Chivas Regal and Jose Cuervo glittering against the illuminated mirror were coated in a layer of grease and dust. The harsh glare revealed that the cocktail glasses, hastily sloshed out in the sink between customers, probably hadn’t ever been washed in hot soapy water.
But it was the people who were typically still there at last call that looked even worse than the shabby, stained carpets. Dim light hides a lot. A lot of ugly. Like the telltale indentation on the third finger, left hand of a ring that had been temporarily removed. Like the bloodshot eyes and shaking hands of the aging
This is what life looks like when I am writing a new Bible study. The process is, by turns, exhilarating, frustrating, grueling, and exciting. What I love most is having a reason to pull together ideas from all my favorite books, to go back and read notes I wrote in margins 30 years ago.