Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Growing Faith

How quickly I can forget.  This morning I was reading some of the miracles of Jesus and noticed how He focused on faith. "According to your faith will it be done to you," He said to the men who were blind, and their sight was restored.  I thought that over as I prayed afterwards and asked God to build my faith. I quickly I can forget.

I expected a truck delivery this afternoon with pallets of hats, visors, water bottles and sunglasses for our 2020 shoeboxes. Instead, I was surprised with a call at 7:20 telling me the delivery would arrive at 8:30. By God's grace my husband was still home and offered to delay his work day to go with me to unload.

I wasn't prepared for the amount of cartons we unloaded from those seven pallets, and I wasn't prepared to see how much space they consumed in our storage container.  I forgot my prayer about building faith and started to sink into discouragement.

To make it all worse I realized I can't lift those cartons of baseball hats the way I could even a couple years ago. I've neglected any workouts over the past year (other than walking and slow running) which certainly doesn't help the issue, but I think some of it is just the loss of muscle mass that comes from hitting 67.  Doubt started to sweep in like winter waves as I asked myself, "Can I keep doing this? Can our team of basically old and/or disabled people keep doing this?"

Before long the sides of the container were filled leaving only a narrow path down the middle. The baseball hats need to be taken out of their cartons and re-boxed/consolidated to make more room so they had to stay along the side rather than be stored in the back.

And...what to do with the water bottles?  The cartons they were shipped in are falling apart. That's the problem when you look for the cheapest prices--you get dirty, dilapidated cartons. They also shipped the caps separately so they will need to be put on. Are we going to put something in the water bottles? We could stuff them with beanie babies but we don't have enough of them yet to fill all 3400. Meanwhile, they take up every last inch of storage space in that container. Did I mention we won't be packing them for almost another year?

Then I remembered--I asked God to build my faith. Well, I guess He has plans for that.

We finished getting the cartons shoved into the container and I headed off to meet with Kit, our new Central Drop-Off Team Leader.  Did I mention I am woefully untutored in the needs of the logistics network and lost my Logistics Coordinator this year?  I mean--I have more questions for poor Kit than I have answers.

As we talked I got teary. I felt bad for spilling my emotions on her when she really needs support. But as I prayed through my tears I told God I AM trusting Him--trusting Him to figure out what to do with these water bottles; trusting Him to figure out what else we should buy and when; trusting Him to find the strong arms we need to move these cartons and load these trucks; trusting Him to grow the faith I need to even keep trusting.

"So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ."--Romans 10:17 ESV  Let me hear the word of Christ. Let me listen. Because...I really need to grow faith.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Through It All

As I write this I am listening to Phil Wickham performing on the Dove Awards sing "Jesus Christ our living hope..."  And today I was reminded of that living hope in a poignant and beautiful way as I attended the celebration of life service for Val, the godly husband of one of my high school friends.

I wish I'd had the opportunity to know Val better in person but I got to know him through his wife Ginny's posts when we reconnected a few years ago on Facebook.  And when Val was diagnosed with multiple myeloma Ginny started a Facebook group called "Through It All" to keep their deep prayer network up-to-date on not only Val's condition but on the progress of what they came to call their 'disease ministry' to other patients.

I have to say I hate visiting at funeral homes. I do it, of course, but I hate it. On the other hand, the older I get the more I enjoy attending homegoing services for brothers and sisters in the Lord who have gone to be with Jesus.  These precious times are reminders of the glorification that awaits each of us who has that "living hope."

This service was especially beautiful. Each person who spoke had one main goal--not to glorify Val's life but to glorify God and to give a clear gospel presentation and invitation to anyone there who needed to make that decision to trust Jesus to forgive their sins and give them assurance of a place in heaven for eternity.

The celebration was held in the same pavilion at Camp Judson where the couple were married 43 years ago.  It's been cold the past few days in Erie but this afternoon was clear, warm, and brushed with a palette of fall colors--a gift from God for sure.  So much like the October day nearly 5 years ago when we celebrated my mother's life.

"Two Hands" by Love Song and "The Wedding Song" by Paul Stookey were performed today with guitar accompaniment--just as they had been at the couple's wedding. Amazingly, the lyrics were perfect for this occasion also.

And the goal remained true through every part of this celebration--always pointing us to Jesus. There were Bibles and "Steps To Peace With God" booklets prominently displayed and we were encouraged to take them for ourselves or to share with someone who needs to know Jesus and His love.

Val and Ginny's four children are all living for Jesus and their testimony of their father's impact on their lives was both challenging and inspiring.  I continue to pray God will give me opportunities to make an impact like that.

It's impossible for me to sit through a service like this and not wonder what kind of legacy God is challenging me to leave when He calls me home.  What can I do now to share God's love and truth with people around me who need to know it?  How can I prepare now to make sure my own funeral will be a celebration that points people to Jesus in every way?

The faithfulness of God was celebrated in a huge way today. There is no doubt that through it all--the mountains and the valleys of life--God is sovereign and good.

So let me ask you the question: if you died today do you know you would be in heaven? There is no more important question and no time like now to be sure of your answer. If you're not sure, please go to to learn more...

Because nothing in life is more important than knowing that through it all you have a living hope of living in heaven for eternity.