Easter and jellybeans seem to go hand in hand. While I no longer have baskets to fill, still, I buy jellybeans. Why? I like them. Most jellybeans are a mere ten calories each and eaten in moderation give just that little sweetness for which I yearn. This year I bought two bags of the fascinating treats and since they were a brand I usually like, I did not notice one thing: the bags included black jellybeans. I don’t care for the licorice taste. The red ones are my favorite flavor. Just pop in a red jelly bean and let the coating slowly melt on the tongue, then lastly, devour the jelly part last.
I eat my jellybeans one color at a time. Never do I reach into the candy dish and just grab whatever comes into my hand. You guessed it, usually the last ones in the dish are the licorice flavored beans. This year, however, I left myself four red jellybeans for the last morsels to consume. That was yesterday.
Predictably, the consumption of my seasonal candy is much like my Bible reading. I choose and plan how to read my Bible through every few months. Never have I read it Genesis to Revelation straight through. On the other hand, neither do I read it randomly a little here and a little there.
The tried and true motto is “Plan your work; work your plan.” That goes for just about everything. If I did not ride my bike in a planned way, it would gather dust. If I did not plan to make my bed, I would be sleeping in a tangled mess of sheets and blankets and wonder why I am restless. So, I eat my jellybeans according to a plan leaving the choicest morsels until the last. Eat a few of the licorice beans now and then to get them out of the way. Read Numbers, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon sandwiched between the delectable readings of Psalms, John, and I Samuel.
As you might guess, I also have a handy chart on which to put a slash mark through each chapter read so I can see my progress, and at the same time, not leave something out unintentionally.
Do you have a favorite flavor of jellybean? Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Talk to me.
“To trust God in the light is nothing.
To trust God in the dark, that is faith.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Please pray for a little girl, 10 years old, who was diagnosed with lung cancer this week. Her name is Elana.
The Negro Spiritual song, “Were you There” evokes our senses to the death, burial, and rising again of Jesus, our Lord. The tune is a mournful sound and the meter is slow moving. The stirring words: sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble almost causes one to want to shun the whole experience as just too depressing. Ah, but without the remembrance we tend to skip through life as if Calvary cost Jesus little. If only at the Easter season we deliberately return to Golgotha, the Garden tomb, and the mount of Ascension it should stir the heart of Believers. It should cause the unbeliever’s heart to tremble in repentance. It should cause the believing heart to tremble with responsibility.
If you journal, use all of your senses as you witness the scene on Golgotha. Matthew 27:27-50
What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? Do you taste anything? Is touch affected?
The Garden Tomb Matthew 28:1-6. John 20:1-18
What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? Do you taste anything? Is touch affected?
Then move to the place where the disciples met the same evening of the Resurrection. John 20:19-28
Search the face of those in the room, think of how they feel emotionally and spiritually. What decisions are being made in that room?
With all those senses you have just used, now relate to Galatians 2:20
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who love d me and gave Himself for me.”
Yes, it will take time to complete this exercise. Time well worth the spending. Spending time in the presence of the Good Shepherd is always tme well spent.
Take a stroll with me. We will meander on a street called Memory Lane.
That first car of mine, a 1951 Studebaker, was not a beauty by any stretch of the imagination. It cost me ninety dollars back in 1961 when I was working at the local A & W root beer stand as a car hop. My dad took care of the oil changes and tires and I simply put gas in the tank and drove it back and forth to work and church. Other assorted vehicles have transported me places through the 56 years of car ownership. None of them has been so dear to me as the car I said good bye to today. I signed the title over to someone who will probably drive it another 40.000 miles or so before investing in a sporty thing he will be exceptionally proud of just as I was proud of the little Volkswagen bug I once owned. Although my husband hated the little thing, he married me. It was marry me, marry my car!
Today as I saw my once nearly new Mercury Mystique pull away, it all tumbled down in my mind that with each car, and each mile I’ve driven in these past 56 years has been a journey that attests to the song, “Jesus Led Me All the Way.” I’ll end this piece with the words to that song or give you the place to hear it.
In my many years of driving, I had three accidents. One was my fault on ice covered roads and did not involve another car, fortunately. No injuries occurred in any of the accidents. I did accumulate two traffic tickets for which I paid a fine. One for going through a newly erected stop sign and the other a seat belt violation. In all those years, I experienced only two flat tires! One was on the road, and the other in the church parking lot. I had the bad habit of thinking I could go just a little farther before getting gas and ran out of gas innumerable times.
The car I just sold has been my favorite and there was no mistake that God led me to this car. I drove it for 16 years! I would have repaired this last failure on its part, but the eye doctor really wanted me to stop driving altogether. Now, those words to the song:
*Verse 1: Someday life’s journey will be o’er, and I will reach that distant shore, I’ll sing while entering Heaven’s door: Jesus led me all the way.
Refrain: Jesus led me all the way, led me step by step each day, I will tell the saints and angels as I lay my burden down, Jesus led me all the way.
Verse 2: If God should let me there review, the winding paths of life I knew, it would be proven clear and true, Jesus led me all the way.
Verse 3: And hitherto my Lord has led, Today He guides each step I tread, and soon in Heaven it will be said that Jesus led me all the way.
Repeat refrain. Here’s the link to You Tube song by the 1960’s group, the Sixteen Singing Men, recorded on vinyl!
I am walking (and riding transportation public and private) in the Shepherd’s Presence. Where He leads, I will follow. Jesus will provide a way.
Thank you, reader, for joining me on this trip down Memory Lane.
*Words to the song from Singspiration Music, Favorites 4, Copyright 1954 Words and melody by John W. Peterson.
A fine gentleman in my church is a piano tuner. I am not exactly sure how piano tuning works although I do play the piano for my own amazement. If the piano were only dreadfully out of tune would I know it. Chris also plays the piano and on occasion blesses us with music during the offering time.
About two weeks ago now I heard an odd sound between services and thought perhaps a child had stopped by the piano unnoticed until he plunked out a few notes one at a time. When I glanced over to the piano to see whose child had strayed, to my surprise, it was the piano tuner. He was doing a little adjusting to put the piano in perfect tune. Most people did not even notice him.
Later, to my amusement, he also was the one playing during the offering. He was doing the church a favor as well as making the piano sound the best it could. It reminded me of the verse in Colossians 3 that tells us to do everything we do with the goal of honoring the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3:17)
I was blessed even between services that Sunday. The fact is, I could not tell you what the Sunday School lesson was about but I sure do remember that small interval of time when Chis stepped forward nearly unnoticed to fine tune our musical instrument for the next service. Can we do that? Unobtrusively encourage people to be better? It is a skill few people possess. Just the same as a piano tuner possesses a skill few people have. Do it. Look for the little places to fine tune. You will find them. Then sweetly go about your job of making things better.
Almost everything I know about document processing has been learned by trial and error. Back in 1997, my son-in-law introduced me to my first computer. He built it out of odds and ends of computers that had been dumped on his dad, and gave me a starter kit, so to speak. It was Windows 3.1 when the icons were actually on little window panes on the monitor. I paid a whole $150 for the starter and I do think I bought a new printer for my “new” operation. All I had to learn on was what Gary taught me verbally and a big yellow book called, Windows 3.1 for Dummies. I studied that book during my lunch breaks and carried it with me to read whenever I could slip in a few minutes. It was my computer knowledge lifeline.
My main goal was to learn document processing and the big yellow book was my guide. Now, twenty years later I am operating via Window 10 and there is a self-built guide on our operating system. I still rely heavily on Gary when something goes whacky though. This morning, I was merrily writing a letter to one of my grandchildren who lives far away and a flash and a clap of thunder swallowed my document. The house went dark momentarily. When I rebooted the system in a few minutes and opened my document file, there it was, asking if I wanted to recover. Ah, yes. It was nice to not have to do it all over.
The Windows 3.1 for Dummies is a simile for the first little Bible we give our children. Then as we mature in our Christian walk, we move up to a Bible with notes and a nice big concordance. Along the way, I added some Greek study to my repertoire and my computer has a version of e-sword. If you are a Bible scholar, consider loading e-sword onto your system. I find it very valuable.
The main thing is that when a bolt of lightning from the world, flesh, or devil strikes, we can recover. We do not need to remain in darkness and despair. We are temporarily stopped, but able to reboot. My good Shepherd will never leave me lying lifeless in the grass. Darkness need not cover me for my good Shepherd is also the Light of the world.
The weather was a pleasant and sunny day. For that reason, I decided to take a few things out to my storage shed. I also strayed from my intended job to pick up some fallen branches and sticks in the yard. To my delight, I also inspected some plants growing in the flower beds already. Upon entering the back door, well, I didn’t. The door locked behind me when I left, or so it seemed, and of course, the front door was deliberately locked.
My cell phone is inside, of course. I have such nice neighbors! I went next door to borrow the phone to call my daughter. She has an extra key to my front door and lives less than a mile away. Fortunately, my grandson came with a key. I then discovered that the back door was stuck, not locked. A little WD-40 corrected the problem. My friends tell me that I should hide a key outside so that doesn’t happen again.
A day is coming when I will joyfully enter Heaven’s gate. It will not be locked and there I will be reunited with family and friends who have entered ahead of me. No, I will not be locked out. Jesus said, “I am the Door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Jesus paid it all for your entrance. There are not enough good things you can do to purchase entry. Put your faith and trust in Jesus; He is the door.
That is one key I will not hide from you. Jesus is the only way. In the same chapter 10 of John, Jesus also said of Himself, “I am the Good Shepherd. . .” and I daily walk in His presence.
Over the years, I have developed a method for remembering tasks that are standing in need of action. Now that I no longer work daily, things get away from me. My tickle file piles up because I do not look at it regularly enough. This is not a new idea. Abraham Lincoln used a similar system by jotting ideas down and sticking them into his hatband. Mine just land in a haphazard pile.
Here is an example of my actual pile that I gathered together this morning: a list of grandchildren’s birth years, a list of basic temperaments, (tossed now) various telephone numbers, various prayer requests (now put into a proper place), names of classmates I had in 1954 (now put with a scrapbooking pile), a joke I used two weeks ago, various scripture references, (now used and can be discarded) an e-mail address, a web site address, (keep this one) a quote by Dr. Ben Carson, (keep) Bible study notes on Noah(used, can toss), a vocabulary word to master (not yet done), a recipe for natural ingredients for weed killer, a book title to read, blog ideas, a sentence I diagramed (toss), and finally, notes on how to yodel.
Some of these, as I indicated, are now in file 13, and some are put into their own category of piles, and some are set aside to organize further today into a document file that already exists, and some will stay, as in learning how to yodel.
The point of all this is that there is a motto that states, “Plan your work and work your plan.” It is a good motto. It also works hand in hand with Ephesians 5:16 which states, “Redeeming the time for the days are evil.” It is very difficult to stay idle with a tickle file as well as a do-do list, and the always shopping list. Give organization and priority to life.
Someday, I will learn how to yodel successfully. Then I can sing along with Roy Rogers on my Pandora station.
Editors Ralph E. Weber and Ralph A. Weber produced a volume of letter taken from the files at the Reagan Presidential Library, The book is published by Doubleday Press, New York, New York in 2003. The volume I read was a large-print edition published by Thorndike Press, 2004. Because it is large print, the book is 656 pages.
The letters were originally handwritten in response to letters written to President Reagan by private citizens and divided into the years of his presidency, 1981-1989. The last letter was written on January 17, 1989 just three days before the inauguration of incoming president, George H.W. Bush.
One of the most interesting narratives in the book is the accumulation of letters to a young boy in Washington D.C named Ruddy. Reagan wrote to Ruddy in a rather “Uncle” like fashion sometimes gently rebuking him for not studying or following his mother’s wishes, and other times giving Ruddy a pat on the back for achievements. It was refreshing to see the interaction between the two of them. Reagan refers to Ruddy as his pen pal. Ruddy is featured in a picture in the center of the book when President and Mrs. Reagan visited Ruddy at his home and brought him a jar of jelly beans.
Some letters are answers to letters regarding political choices the President had made. Ever so carefully Reagan responded with reasons and never degraded any of his questioners. He did from time to time rebuke the press for uncomely and sometimes vicious lies about him and let the writer’s know that they had been given a false narrative.
Included at random throughout the book are thank you letters to personal friends and family. One thank you goes out to some lady neighbors of his in California who sent him leather works and he talks about his ranch. Others are replies to children who ask him about his horse. Still others are to a whole class of third-grade students who sent him jelly beams. He expressed to a cousin, Bess, that he found it best to mention her birthday as the “47th anniversary of her 39th birthday.”
Several letters mention newspaper clippings that the sender mailed along with the letter. He expresses genuine gratitude. Most of the letters sign off with “Sincerely” but some end with a friendly, “Best Regards,” and most use the signature, Ronald Reagan, but to friends and family, Ron. To college friends, he signs off as “Dutch” or “Ronnie.”
I found this book in my public library on the 973 shelves. I predict this book will be on shelves for a good long time. The selection of letters by the editors show both a serious and a warm-hearted President whom I will always know in my mind as the Great Communicator.
Since I gave up driving of my own accord before I hurt someone due to my poor vision, I use either the Senior Services transportation or our local public transportation. There are two things I have observed: conversation is sometimes initiated by me rather than by the drivers or other passengers. The other thing is that in an effort to be an interesting conversationalist, I keep up with current events around the community and, of course, the nation and world. The conversation can start with, “Did you hear. . .” and then usually takes a course of its own.
In the news recently we heard about Iran’s testing of ICBMs and I wanted to know more. Testing my new-found topic of interest, I brought it up in conversation. I opened a wonderful conversation in that I happened to have a driver who had served in the U.S. Navy during the 1980’s, He was very well versed in the subject. Out of interest to his response I asked him where he was stationed. He became awkwardly quiet. He gave me the name of someplace in Alaska then said, I can’t say much more on that. I really don’t want to go to Leavenworth. After all these years, he is still carrying classified information. Wow!
Still thinking back to that conversation, I am ever so glad that the Word of God is not classified information. Yet, there are cities that pass ordinances that restrict the flow of conversations around the Word of God. Schools can’t use public prayer in many locations and teachers snatch Bibles away from their students as if it were a dangerous book. From time to time I hear about suspensions given to students or teachers who stand for the Word of God.
The Bible is not a dangerous book. It is a book of life and the source of instruction for holy living. At least right now, no one is going to haul me away for sharing the Way, the Truth, and the Life found in Christ. May I, and you too, be fearless about sharing God’s Powerful Word.