Friday, May 30, 2014

11 Years Ago Today

Eleven years ago today Dad was under the knife ... unexpected open heart surgery ... triple bypass the result. We read all of that this evening in Mum's Daily Light, where Mum used to note the events of each day in the margin and which Dad reads every day. It's a history of our family, along with the ever-present backdrop of God's faithfulness

This evening, Dad stood up to preach in the little Baptist church housed in the tiny old Orthodox building in Kindersley.

This evening is also notable because it is the first series of sermons he has been able to preach since we thought we were losing him in January.

Truly God has His hand on Dad!

 His text for the evening was from Isaiah chapter 44, verses 21 and 22:

Isaiah 44:21-22

King James Version (KJV)
21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.
22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

He spoke of the five things this passage tells us to remember -
  • You are My servant
  • I have formed you
  • I will never forget you
  • I have blotted out all your sin, all your failings
  • I have redeemed you; indeed I paid the ultimate price for you.
And in exchange, there is one thing He asks us to do -
  • Return unto Me
It seems so little to ask in return, really. And, like the prophet Malachi, in chapter 3 and verse 7, states: " Return to Me and I will return to you." He is more than willing to meet us more than half-way.

This evening as we rested in our motel room - loving provided for us by the church - Dad read from the Psalms, as is his wont:

Psalm 116

King James Version (KJV)
116 I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
10 I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:
11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.
12 What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?
13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
16 Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.
19 In the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord.

Dad is God's servant; God still is using Dad, whether it be praying for people, speaking one on one with someone, conducting his Bible studies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, singing, writing.

Or whether it be preaching.

As the last verse says, Praise the Lord ...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

And His Mother's Name Was ...

Today's reading from the 2014 edition of the Choice Gleanings calendar, a daybook our family has read each morning for years, reminded me anew how much influence our mothers have on us:

In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem, and his mother’s name was Zibiah. And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days, in which Jehoiada, the priest, instructed him. 
2 Kings 12:1-2

The little phrase “and his mother’s name was,” appears 23 times in the Old Testament. The significance seems to be the influence each mother had on her son. With the help of the priest of the Lord, Zibiah's son was properly instructed and he was enabled to carry out his responsibilities with God’s approval. A godly mother is a treasure and one for whom Mother’s Day should be celebrated!     —David McCulloch

I live in a world where men feature prominently these days, and I see firsthand the impact their mothers have had on their lives.

Just a couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting my friend Derek's mom, Diana. This lovely lady, who until her recent retirement held positions of responsibility in the corporate world, nonetheless has ensured that her priority is her home and her son. I watched the easy interaction between the two of them, the way she could anticipate his words and actions, the way he would step in to help her in little ways around the kitchen table where we sat.

I've also seen the impact that the loss of a mother can mean. I remember a man close to me remarking that exactly one week after his mother passed away he "could feel the loss of her prayers."

I've never been privileged to have a child of my own; but I have had the privilege of working closely with numbers of young people over the years, particularly in the Tea House. This reading gave me pause. We women, do we consciously take the time to realise the importance our sway is in the lives of the impressionable children God has given us? Some of the 23 mothers listed in the Old Testament were not wise in their dealings with their children, causing detriment to the child as well as domino-like calamity to people and situations around that child.

Here, off the top of my head, is a list of 23 names of mothers who influence sons who have an impact in my life in some way. I'll start with Derek's:

  • And his mother's name was Diana Cleland
  • And his mother's name was Ruth Ironside
  • And his mother's name was Brenda Spilsbury
  • And his mother's name was Zeba Husain
  • And his mother's name was BA Ironside
  • And their mother's name was Angela Ironside
  • And their mother's name was Bronwyn Spilsbury
  • And his mother's name was Irene Walsh
  • And his mother's name was Katherine Creasser
  • And his mother's name was Darlene Johnson
  • And his mother's name was Alice Tateson
  • And his mother's name was Debbie Tateson
  • And his mother's name was Muriel Kirk
  • And his mother's name was Marion Warnock
  • And his mother's name was Jeanne Carlzon
  • And his mother's name was Eileen King
  • And his mother's name was Margaret Kremer
  • And his mother's name was Thankamma Cherian
  • And their mother's name was Salome Cherian
  • And his mother's name was Evelyn Ironside
  • And their mother's name was Merah Chelli
  • And their mother's name was Jacqueline Benavides
  • And his mother's name was Patricia O'Halloran Ironside 

You are your mothers' sons. And I am so thankful for each of them.