Saturday, May 20, 2017

Family Dedication

Last Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, we worshiped with the people of First Baptist Church of Gatesville, Texas.  As part of the service, there was a time of Family Dedication for our youngest granddaughter, Della James Bertrand, and her parents, Chad and Lori.  Larry led the time of commitment and prayer for Della’s parents and then Chad continued the dedication service with the parents of four other children.

During the time of dedication, Chad and Lori made the commitment:
…to raise Della in a Christian home
…to have the love of God pour through their lives
…to teach Della about Jesus and the salvation He brings
…to follow Jesus Christ and demonstrate what that looks like through words and actions to Della

The members of the church committed
…to be a community where God is glorified, taught, and followed
…to teach Della about Jesus
…to disciple her into a mature follower of Jesus

As grandparents, we also want to join in that commitment desiring that our words, actions, and deeds reflect Jesus in all we say and do.  Although the time of dedication lasted a few minutes on Sunday morning, it will take years to fulfill the commitments that were made during those moments.    Our prayer is that one day Della, as well as David, Mary, Ryen, Daniel, and Sawyer will each choose to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior, too.

Start children off on the way they should go,
     And even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

To do what is right and just
     is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Proverbs 21:3

Apply your heart to instruction
     And your ears to words of knowledge.
Proverbs 23:12

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day, 2017

Dear Mom,

This year will be your 66th celebration of Mother’s Day.  Because of your two acute strokes and a blood clot within the past few months, this has been a nostalgic week of remembering and thanking God for the ways He has blessed me and continues to bless me through you.  Even with all the health issues, you continue to have such a sweet, kind, and loving spirit.

You and Dad raised five children.  With that many kids, there was always someone to play with, help with chores, or irritate at times.  You still amaze me that you were calm and didn’t let things or your kids overwhelm you.  We were expected to speak and act respectfully.  One of the things that I cherish to this day is that Dad modeled, taught, and enforced us always speaking and treating you with love and respect.

From early in your marriage, you were intentional in raising us to be a close and loving family.  Family traditions began early and continue to be followed to this day.  You love having family around, no matter how loud or hectic it gets.  Holidays and Beach Week with family continue to be some of our favorite times of the year. 

From my earliest days I remember going to church.  We were there Sunday mornings and Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, for Vacation Bible School, choir, Sunbeams, GA’s, RA’s, and mission activities.  You taught and modeled that faith is to be a lifestyle.  When we went to the nursing homes with the GA’s, you drove and went with us.  I see now how important that was because you delight when people come to sing or do special things at Colonial Oaks.  If we went to the prom or graduation activities, we were still expected to be at church on Sunday morning.  You and Dad started teaching in the 2nd grade Sunday School Department at South Main Baptist Church, Pasadena the year before I was in 2nd grade.  Even after Dad died you continued teaching and retired after teaching more than 50 years.

You are creative and talented.  When we were growing up you made most of our clothes, helped guide us on our projects, and could make just about anything needed.  One time someone mentioned something Martha Stewart was making.  Adam (my nephew) said, “What’s the big deal.  Grandmother can do all that.”  And you could!  The grandkids learned quickly that Grandmother had the supplies for creative projects and was willing to help.  Through the years you made rag bags and bow bags for brides, baby blankets and bibs for babies, Bible and Sunday School book bags for the second graders at church, and in later years crocheted scrubbies.  You are never one to just sit and be idle.

Thoughtful is a word that describes you well.  Your words are used to build people up and not tear them down with gossip.  When we were still at home, you showed us the importance of sending cards and making cakes and food to take to people who were sick or had lost a loved one.  You also taught us to be grateful and express it with a thank you note and words.  To this day, you still ask about the grandkids and want to know how each one of them is doing.  I remind them often that you look at their senior pictures on your wall and pray for all ten grandkids every night.

One of the reasons I think I wanted to be a mom so much when I was growing up is because of your unconditional love for all five of us kids.  Thank you for loving Jesus, loving Daddy, loving us and our families, and showing us your faith in words and deeds.

I thank God for sweetly blessing me with you as my mother.  You are celebrated this Mother’s Day.  I hope and pray that every day you know how much you are loved and treasured.
With much love and gratitude,

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
     she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
     and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
     and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
     her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
     but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
     but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:25-30

Teach us to number our days,
     That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Best Effort

Whether it’s church, worship, Bible study, work, school, sports, or other activities, one benefits most when investing in the process and doing their best.  I admire people who are willing to train, exert energy, pay attention to details, and give their best effort to their chosen activity.  With the school year coming to a close, it is an opportunity for students to spend extra time and give their best effort preparing for and studying for finals in order to finish strong for the semester.  What a timely reminder for me to be willing to do the same.

Each Sunday morning, following the early service at Tallowood Baptist Church, I look forward to visiting with Audrey.  She meets me in the aisle and we visit before going to Bible Study.  Her words are thought provoking, insightful, and encouraging.  Audrey amazes me with the ways she is still learning.  Due to health issues, Audrey is not able to attend the worship service in person for now.  Fortunately, because of live streaming she can watch the Tallowood services on line.  Just being a spectator is not good enough for her though.  Audrey also wants to participate in the singing, responsive readings, and other parts of worship.  This week, at her request, Larry took a hymnal to her home so she can be a part of worship on Sundays.  I have a feeling that Audrey will be using that hymnal at other times as well.  What a wonderful example of a person who desires to wholeheartedly worship whether she is at church or at home.

This week may we all strive to be the kind of worshipers and workers that God seeks.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
John 4:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
I Corinthians 15:58