Thursday, October 26, 2017

Growing Deeper. Reaching Wider.

I can’t remember when I first opened my Bible, can you?

I know that a Bible was opened and verses were read aloud at my baptism, my confirmation and my wedding. Surely a Bible was used all those years I was in Sunday School and then in preparation for confirmation. In high school and in college I occasionally opened my Bible for reassurance of God’s love for me written in what have become my favorite books- the Letters to Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians.

But it wasn’t until my husband and I joined a small fellowship group that I really opened my Bible for spiritual growth. Our first study guide focused on friendship and the first section of “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 KJV) became the coined verse frequently quoted by each one of us with a smile. “Iron sharpeneth iron!”

Our next study forced us to jump into the book of John. Opening our Bibles and reading the words gave us a glimpse of the real Jesus, the one who loves, forgives and gives us infinite second chances to come close to God. When we come close to God and God comes close to us, we are touched with God’s love, assured of our purpose in life and inspired to reach out and help others with what we’ve been given.

God gave us the words in the Bible so that we could know God better. The more I read my Bible, the better I come to know God. What a wonderful blessing!

It doesn’t matter when you first opened your Bible, but it does matter that you open it today.


Holy God, I want to know you personally: to have a special relationship with you. Help me open my Bible daily so I can come close to you. Amen.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Growing Deeper. Reaching Wider.

Many years ago, when we were new to Abiding Love, we signed up as offering tellers. This time we were dutifully counting the offerings from end of year worship services. As we counted, all offering amounts were forgotten except one generous gift designated for Lutheran World Relief.

The contributors of this generous gift were friends who had talked a little about making faithful giving a priority, but this gift was above and beyond any amount I had ever dreamed of giving to my church or any charity in one chunk. As time passed, my family and others were recipients of this couple’s acts of generosity and love. Generosity for them started out as intentional, but became matter of fact, heartfelt and a way of life.

Observing this act of generosity greatly influenced our little family’s response to God’s love. We worked harder to be good stewards and intentionally gave back to God off the top of our earnings a percentage we were comfortable with. Later, we even gave gifts to Abiding Love that required sacrifice.

Thinking about how our intentions became habits reminds me of something my husband’s grandmother once told me about giving offerings to God. She said, “I’ve never once regretted it. And I’ve always been blessed.” I couldn’t have said it any better.

Gracious God, help us to develop habits of generosity that glorify you, bless all your people and bring us closer to you in the process. Amen.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Growing Deeper. Reaching Wider.

In October 2017, I wrote three devotions for the “Growing Deeper. Reaching Wider.” stewardship appeal at Abiding Love Lutheran Church. We posted daily devotions Monday through Friday for four weeks. Most of the devotions were written by our early morning Tuesday Bible study group, Women Alive! I was very grateful for their participation.

Generosity is represented in many Bible passages using not only time, talents and money as gifts, but also abundant love and forgiveness mirroring God’s generous grace.

The story of the widow’s two mites is most impressive to me because she gave away her life’s savings, her next meals, her everything to God.

“…but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:4 NIV)

The widow held nothing back for herself. She was not worried about tomorrow. All that mattered was today. Her only thought was what she could give to her Lord today. She trusted God with her tomorrows.

What would it take for my gift to match the widow’s gift? For me to trust God with all my tomorrows?

Can I imagine wiping out my entire savings account to give to God? My checking account, too?

Giving away all those IRAs put away for future years?

Emptying the cash in my pocketbook? Or the stash under the mattress, waiting for a dream to come true?

Can I please keep the twenty-dollar bills in the decorative tin - in case of an emergency? And the quarters for parking meters in my car’s glove box? 

The widow didn’t have all these resources, but out of her great love for God, I’m pretty sure she would have given most of them away to help others.

I may not be able to let go of everything like the widow did, but I can trust God to show me where the need is greatest. Whether my heart hurts for hurricane victims, cancer patients, hungry children or homeless people, whatever I give will be a blessing to someone.

What time or talents, or money, or love, or forgiveness can I give today that will give glory to God and help others?

Lord God, you are so generous. Look at all you have given us. Help us to look beyond ourselves, dip into our bank accounts, be generous with our time, and find opportunities to share what we have with others. We pray in the name of the Jesus, the one who gave his life for us, our Jesus, who gave all he had. Amen.




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mathilde Turns 90!

On February 14, 2015, we celebrated my mother's ninetieth birthday. She was born February 4, 1925. It was fitting that the celebration took place at Trinity Lutheran Fellowship Hall because that's where she and my father attended church for many years, and Mom still does. It was also Valentine's Day, a perfect day to share love with family and friends. The day turned out to be blessed with beautiful weather - a great day for other 80 and 90 year olds to get out and celebrate with Mathilde.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Apparently I wrote this post on my phone, forgot about it and never posted it until I just now discovered it in my drafts.






Thursday, February 27, 2014

65 Years Ago

Remembering my mama and daddy's wedding anniversary...

February 26, 1949
Ernst Lindig and Mathilde Clara Rode were married at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Doss, Texas.
The reception was held at the home of Seth and Selma Rode, Mathilde's parents.
  
The happy couple!
My mother still has her wedding dress. We used it as part of the d├ęcor at Mom and Dad's 45th wedding anniversary party. For the record, I tried it on before my wedding, but it was a little too tattered to wear, a little heavy for a July 24th wedding date, and a little too long for a shortie like me. Thus, I made my own dress out of white eyelet and lace. I copied a dress that I saw in Bride's magazine. It was perfect for my style and for the 101 degree temp on my wedding day.

These pictures were taken in front of the church.

Wedding party, left to right:
Ruth Rode Uesner, Emilie Lindig Hansen, Ida Honig Rode,
Mathilde and Ernst
Werner Lindig, Rupert Rode, Herbert Immel
Mathilde just turned 89 on February 4th. Ernst was a humble man who lived a long and good life until he went to his heavenly home on October 29, 2004. Ernst and Mathilde's faith and trust in God carried their family through many difficult and joyful times. Every evening, Ernst faithfully read scriptures from the Holy Bible to his family and we prayed the Lord's Prayer together. It was a way of life that laid the foundation for a relationship with God and respect for people. Mathilde is a great cook. She has always been interested in tasty recipes and wonderful desserts. She also loves people,  genealogy and her family. If you want to know what's going on in the world, just ask Mathilde. I am thankful for my parents, the life they gave me, and the values they taught me.



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Flowering Qince Invincible!

A couple of years ago I was ready to cut out the flowering quince bushes growing on the southeast corner of our house. We had planted them shortly after we moved into the house in 1982. I had never seen them bloom more that a handful of blossoms and decided that we should plant something there with a little more beauty. After all, in 2010 we had surrounded the area with a garden fence in hopes of having fresh veggies to eat and flowers to make our yard a little prettier. In early February of 2012, I went out to the garden to check on something and found that our flowering quince had outdone itself. It was absolutely gorgeous, so I blogged about it at http://joansjoys.blogspot.com/2012/02/flowering-quince-redeemed.html

Then, last year I was even more impressed because the blossoms were profusely prolific, as noted at http://joansjoys.blogspot.com/2013/02/prolific-flowering-quince.html

This year we've had numerous nights and days of below freezing weather, so the multitudes of blossoms are a little later than the two previous years, but there are lots of blossoms in spite of the crazy weather. The color seems to be deep pink rather than coral, and some of the petal edges have the look of frost bite. So, once again, I had to document the amazing, prolific and persistent flowering quince! You know they were attractive because bees were buzzing everywhere..

 




I think these were early blossoms bitten by frost:

Monday, November 25, 2013

R + P -- Wedding Decor

Well, the wedding has come and gone, and our house is still full of wedding aftermath - in a good way. A lot of time and energy was spent figuring out how to embellish and use what we had. And now it's time to figure out how to use what we have embellished.

But for now, I want to recap how it all turned out at the big event!