Brought to you by the SID LWML Board of Directors
2020 March Mission Musings
Patterns! When I went through Mom’s things after she went home to her Savior, I found a good-sized box of patterns, that were old and yellowing with age, but oh what memories came rushing back to me. Now there may be some of you who are reading this that do not understand the importance of a box of patterns, so let me explain. Growing up, Mom made a lot of my clothes—and in order to do that, she needed patterns. Patterns made of almost transparent paper that she would lay on the pieces of material to show her how to cut the various pieces needed to sew a new dress, blouse, skirt, etc. On the front of each pattern envelope was beautiful pictures of outfits made from that particular pattern. Usually, when you bought a pattern, you had several options of adapting it to suit what you wanted to make.
As I went through the box of patterns, I remembered the kind of material that each pattern had been used for. I could “see” the outfits that she had made for me. Now Mom grew up in a time when you did not waste anything you had, so after the new outfit had been cut out and sown together, the “scraps” of material were not thrown away, but rather made into clothes for my dolls (I still have some of those treasurers) or made into blocks for quilts.
One morning, not that long ago, as I went out to feed the cats and get our mail, I enjoyed the light snow we had received overnight. I could not help but enjoy the “patterns” that God had created with the snow—on the bark of the trees, the snow covered gum balls on the ground, the delicate pattern on the dirt, the tiny snow crystals on the leaves that had fallen onto the lawn, etc. When you think about it, God creates “patterns” for us every day if we just take the time to see them. Patterns of the flock of birds flying in the sky, the every changing clouds that float above us, in the spring and summer, the colorful patterns in the flowers that bloom, the rows of crops growing in the fields, the vibrant colors of the leaves in autumn. Patterns in His creation—patterns in our lives!
Just like Mom cut out all the pieces for the outfit she was working on, sewed them carefully together as the instructions directed, so our Savior has already “cut” out the pieces of our “outfit” of life for us. Each piece will be lovingly sown together for us, and when it is finished, we will proudly wear, our “robe of white” promised us in God’s Word. Sometimes Mom ran into a few problems getting the outfit “just right” and as we all know, sometimes we run into problems in our lives also. Don’t worry though, our eternal “outfit” will turn out “just right” when we too stand before our Savior in the eternal garments He has made just for us!
As we begin another Lenten season, we will once again travel with our Savior along the road to our victory celebration through His death and Resurrection. God’s pattern for His Son’s life is about to be completed, and by our faith in Jesus, so is ours. As the old, familiar hymn says: “…wash your robes and make them white—ye shall walk with God in light.”
MISSION MUSING - FEBRUARY 2020
Most of you know by now, that we are farmers, and have been all our married life (50 years in July). Most of you also know that farmers need lots of kinds of repairs, parts, etc. to keep our equipment running. One of the places that we get some of our repairs is a “one of a kind” place that I would like to share with you. This equipment dealership isn’t a large ultramodern one, but none the less it is popular with many area farmers. The owner is a very knowledgeable person who has been working there his whole life, having grown up helping his father who was the original owner. He puts in long hours helping others. When you first walk into the dealership, you may not feel real assured that you will get what you need, because it is so full of stuff, it is hard to see individual parts. The owner, for the most part, greets everyone by name. Usually, you have to wait a bit to get to order or pick up the needed part, but that is ok because there are others you can visit with while waiting. The owner usually knows what you need right away, and jots done a number on his hand and goes off to get the part. If you get there later in the day, his hand is usually full of numbers, but never the less, he still finds the one for you, and can go find your part rather quickly, considering the amount of items he has to look through to find it.
By now, I’m sure many of you are wondering what the connection is to LWML or anyone other than those of you who are also involved in farming. Well, here is how I see it. Every one of us, throughout our lives, need something fixed all the time. We all have broken lives --- broken pieces---broken relationships, you name it. Where is our “repair” dealer? Of course, it is our Savior, Jesus! When we look around today in the world, we see hurt, suffering, anger, danger, you name it. We see souls “broken” all around us, and it is hard to see that it can all be “fixed”. Enter our “Repair” owner---who in the middle of all the brokenness of the world, not only has the “number of the part needed to fix all our problems written on His hands, (the scars of the nails that held Him to the cross) but He has OUR name written in the palm of His hand!” Isaiah writes: See, I have written your name on my hand. (Is. 49:16a)
Our Savior, the SUPER REPAIRMAN, is all we need to fix our broken lives—not only ours, but everyone who is now living, who has lived, and who will live—all our names are written in the palm of His hand! He never forgets any of us— He calls each of us by OUR name—He will never lose us—He will never run out of love to make us whole again. He’s got this!
JANUARY 2020 - MISSION MUSINGS
“I said good-bye to a friend today.” How many times in our lives, have we all made that statement? There are a lot of reasons for this—sometimes we or a friend move away because of a new job, a new home, a new adventure that is happening. Sometimes the good- bye comes at the end of a special meeting or convention to a friend we know we won’t see for awhile. Sometimes, it is a more long-term good-bye, when death causes us to say good-bye.
In this case, it was death that caused the good-bye to my friend. Our friendship may have been a “long-distance” one, but that did not make it any less a friendship. No, we were not able to do a lot together, only seeing each other on very special occasions, but we still stayed connected by letters and cards—yes, the “old” way of writing a letter or card. My friend and I shared a number of interests that became building blocks for our friendship. We both loved to share Jesus’ love with others whenever we had the chance. We both enjoyed coloring, and we would share pictures with each other that we had colored. Hers were always more intricate and detailed than mine were, but we still enjoyed sharing our “creations”. We both had a very special place in our hearts for Bethesda -- she as a resident of one of Bethesda’s Group Homes, and there has always been a special place in my heart and life for Bethesda, even before I was blessed to be a member of their Board of Directors for 9 years. It was there that we first met.
We are all beginning a “New Year” with God’s grace and blessing. What will it hold for us? Where will it take us? What will He give us to do this year? How will we serve Him? Who of our friends will we say “good-bye” to? None of us have the answers to these questions, or the many other ones that we all have, but we do know Who has the answers—Who knows all the plans—Who will carry us through all that the New Year brings!
While we begin our New Year with celebration here, I can’t imagine the celebration my friend is enjoying as she begins her forever New Year with her Savior. She always loved hymns, and this is a favorite—and a perfect way to begin our New Year—go ahead, and sing along with me: “Our God our Help in ages past Our Hope for years to come Our Shelter from the stormy blast And our Eternal Home!”
Mission Musings (December, 2019)
From Generation to Generation
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:1–4)
My maternal grandmother, Minnie Luenser, was a faithful Christian woman. As a widow and single mother in the 1930’s and 1940’s (her husband died in an accident when my mother was just a year old), she raised four children to know and trust in Jesus. She shared the love of Jesus with seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. In her quiet and gentle but confident way, by the power of the Holy Spirit, she shared the truth and joy of Jesus with three generations.
Grandma Luenser never had many material things. But what she did have, she used to the glory of God. The Christmas gifts she gave were always homemade. I proudly wore the hats, scarves, and mittens she expertly knitted to keep me warm in the cold Chicago winters. (I even cried when I once lost one of her mittens at school.) One year for Christmas she made me a scrapbook. This scrapbook is filled with images from Christ-centered Christmas cards and Sunday worship bulletin covers. As you turn the pages, you can’t help but see the true meaning of Christmas. Various colorful images of Jesus in the manger and the words of Luke 2 that tell the facts of Jesus’ birth are prominent. On the pages of lovingly pasted cards and Scripture in this inexpensive book, my grandmother shared with me the most valuable gift of all: Jesus, our Savior and King!
As Lutheran women in mission, we have the privilege of sharing with generations the precious gift of Jesus. As mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, mentors, or friends, every day God gives us opportunities to proclaim the salvation that is found through faith in Jesus alone. We do this when we share God’s Word. We do this when we selflessly serve others. We do this through words of encouragement, guidance, and forgiveness, just as daily Jesus encourages, guides, and forgives us. In a world that often places no importance on the saving faith found in Christ alone, the Holy Spirit empowers us to proclaim Jesus so that the next generation may know that He came to earth, died, and rose to rescue us from sin and to give us eternal life. That’s the mission God gave Minnie Luenser. That’s the mission God gives you and me.
How might God lead you to proclaim His greatness to the generations around you this Advent and Christmas season? Blessings as you praise and serve Jesus, today and every day!
Mission Musing - October 2019
“Is it done yet?” “Are we there yet?” “Can I go yet?” “Are you ready yet?” How many of you have said these words, or better yet, answered them for those who needed an answer NOW for these simple questions? If you have young children, you might think that these are never ending parts of your everyday conversations. We know though, that you don’t have to be young to be curious enough to ask these simple questions, and expect answers promptly.
Isn’t it funny how we live our lives waiting for “yet”? Think of all the times you have asked that simple question in your life time? In addition to the opening questions, we have the ones like, “Is school over yet?” “Can I get my driver’s license yet?” “Does vacation start yet?” and on and on. We are always anxious to know the future, and when something is going to happen. We “need” to know what is going to happen and when. We “think” we have to have all the answers now! It doesn’t really matter what the “yet” question is, we think we need to turn that “yet” to “yes” and quickly! Remember what the author of Ecclesiastes says in chapter 3: There is a time for everything and everything on earth has its special season.
WOW! That kinda puts all those “yets” in our lives into perspective, doesn’t it? There is a time for everything---we don’t have to worry or wonder, we don’t have to try and figure out the “yets” we may deal with every day—because we know that they will all be “yes” in God’s time—not necessarily in our time, but in His. Jesus had to wonder as He was hanging on that awful wooden cross, “Is it over yet?” In God’s time, we know that when Jesus said, “It is finished!” that all the “yets” for all eternity became “yes” to all who believe.
We will all still have days while we are here on earth, when we will say, “Is it over yet?”, but we also have the hope of knowing that when our earthly lives are over, we will never have to ask again—“Is it over yet?”—because we will have eternity to spend with our Savior, who turned the final “yet” into eternal “yes”!
Mission Musing - September 2019
GUILTY!!! When you hear that word, what comes to your mind? Do you wonder what someone did wrong? Do you wonder who “got caught”? Do you want more details to go along with the word—guilty? Does a picture come to mind of a jury’s verdict? For most of us, any or all of the questions could pertain to the word GUILTY.
GUILTY—if we use the dictionary definition of the word, we find this meaning: “Capable of or responsible for a specific wrong doing.” Now that sounds like a “catchy” way of saying you got caught doing something wrong. There are times, however, when we are guilty for not doing something.
Maybe we are guilty of not helping out a neighbor who is going through a rough time, or not asking someone going through an illness if there is something we can do to help them. Maybe we are guilty of “looking the other way” when we someone struggling with a heavy load. Maybe we are guilty of not calling an elderly family member or friend because they might want to talk “too long” for our busy schedule. Maybe we are guilty of not volunteering to help with a project at church. Oh I know we are all very busy these days---too busy in some cases to even say “hello” to those we pass on the street. But wait—who is it that gives us our life each day? Who gives us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month, 12 months a year? You know the answer as well as I do. If our Heavenly Father had time to send His only Son to die for us, should we not be willing to share the time He has given us with others? If we don’t, we are GUILTY of not sharing our blessings with others every chance we get.
We here in Southern Illinois, have recently heard on the news of the death of yet another State Trooper in the line of duty. Many words have been spoken about Trooper Nick Hopkins since his death, but this quote from his wife, Whitney, has made me stop and think, and led me to this Mission Musing on GUILTY. Here is her quote: “You can never do kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it can be too late.”
WOW—that says a lot, doesn’t it? It makes me rethink a lot of things—things I have put off until a better time to do. Things that I felt had some “time” before they needed done. But what about God’s timing? We know the verse in Ecclesiastes 3:1 which reads: “ There is a time for everything…” maybe that time is now! May the words of Whitney Hopkins lead us all to share kindness anyway and any where we can, every time we can, so we are not GUILTY of being too late to share kindness to someone God has put in our lives.
Mission Musings (August, 2019)
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:3–6)
For 17 days in 2018, people around the world anxiously watched, waited and prayed that 12 young soccer players and their coach would be rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand. For days, rescuers frantically tried to find another entrance to the cave to release the trapped athletes. It was finally determined that the only way that the boys and their coach could be saved was to have trained divers lead the victims one-by-one out of the cave. To reach safety, each person would need to be pulled through frigid waters along a 2 ½ mile path. To further complicate matters, none of the boys knew how to swim. Facing rising flood waters and plunging oxygen levels in the cave, it took divers three days to safely rescue all 12 boys and their coach.
People in the world today who don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior face a terrifying trap of a different and more deadly kind. It is impossible for anyone to pull themselves out of the deadly trap in which our sins entangle us. Rescue is possible only through one way. That way is Jesus, who is the way, and the truth, and the life. Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the third day to rescue us from sin, death, and the devil. Through faith in Him, and Him alone, we are rescued from our sins and from the eternal death our sins cause. Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the only way to salvation and eternal life. Through faith in Him, we receive forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and a home in heaven.
When they were safely above ground once more, the soccer players and their coach eagerly shared the story of their rescue. As Lutheran Women in Mission, do we eagerly share the best rescue story of all? As faithful Christians who are called to shine as Jesus’ lights in a sin-darkened world, the Holy Spirit helps us to point the way to salvation as we tell others the wonderful truth of how Jesus died and rose to rescue the world. Filled with the joy and peace that comes from knowing God’s grace and forgiveness, the Holy Spirit enables us to share this joy and peace with those who don’t yet know that Jesus is the way to eternal life. God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). The truth is Jesus.
Diane Grebing, LWML SID President
I will never leave you
Just as the Lord commanded Joshua before he took charge of the Israelites going into the Promised Land, the Lord still commands us today from Joshua1:5b, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Those words bring such comfort to us. No matter what our journey in life is, the Lord is with us. Whether we are experiencing a mountaintop “high” like being at the LWML convention in Mobile, or a valley “low” such as chronic illness or death, God is there. He cares for us and he loves us. He knows what we need and will provide.
Jesus himself experienced all these highs and lows while he walked the earth during his 33 years of life. He faced temptations in the wilderness, he celebrated at the wedding in Cana, he wept at the death of Lazarus, he thirsted on the cross and died there on that cross for all of us. He came to save us. That was God’s plan … to never leave us!
The Bible has God’s plan for us. As God told Joshua to ‘meditate on it day and night’ (Joshua 1:8) so should we. Open your Bible and read what God has planned for you. Talk to your Heavenly Father in prayer. Thank him daily! Ask for forgiveness daily! Pray for the concerns of your neighbor daily! The Lord will be with you and never leave you! What other promises does God give us? Open your Bible and see.
May the Lord God bless you this Independence Day. As you remember your freedom won in this country and thank the Lord for it, also thank him for the freedom from sin won for you by Christ Jesus in his suffering, death and resurrection.
Your sister in Christ,
Debra Albers, LWML-SID VP of Christian Life
June Mission Musing 2019
Come, Holy Spirit, Come…
We celebrate Pentecost 50 days following Easter Sunday. This year that falls on June 9th. We remember the gift of the Helper sent to the first followers of Jesus Christ just 10 days following Christ’s Ascension into heaven. In Acts 1:4-5 we read what Jesus spoke to his disciples, On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” His disciples were instructed to remain in Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 continues with why; “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The Holy Spirit was going to help the disciples spread the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. This is what we continue to celebrate each Pentecost, the Holy Spirit helping us believe and spread the Gospel of Jesus to all!
I recently witnessed a group of 8th graders confirming their faith in the Triune God. As they stood before the congregation which included their family and friends, they confessed their belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They told us that the work which began in them at their baptism was continuing in their lives. One statement they proclaimed with boldness and confidence, was to the following question: “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” they replied “I do so intend with the help of God.” My first thought was “Do they really understand what they just said?” To suffer even death, rather than fall away from it, does an 8th grader grasp that concept? Probably not like someone who has some years of experience at life. Even now, do I truly grasp that concept? I have thought many times, what would I do if asked to deny Christ and live, that I thought, would be a bold” No, I cannot deny my Lord!” However, what if my children or grandchildren were threatened, what would I say then? That answer may not come as quickly, because of my sinful desire, to think that I can keep them safe. That is one of those circumstances when the statement of “Yes with the help of God,” is being talked about.
The Holy Spirit keeps us in the true faith of Jesus Christ. He prays for us when we ourselves don’t know what we need. He is our helper to share the Good News that Jesus Christ suffered, died and rose again for the forgiveness of our sins. We can only come to this belief through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit just like the disciples did all those years ago. When you celebrate Pentecost, this year remember what the Spirit does for you and with you.
Our Prayer: Come Holy Spirit Come, guide me to believe and spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
In God’s Peace,
Debra Albers VP of Christian Life LWML-SID
It’s that time of year again! For those of us involved in production agriculture (farming), it’s the busy time of getting our spring crops planted, with “all hands on deck”. Since our Creator has control of our weather, we work on His schedule, which can, at times, get pretty hectic. If you have a few minutes, I’d like to share one of those hectic times with you.
It happened about 40 years ago, I was moving a side dump seed wagon from one field to another for my husband with the pickup. Since this was in the days before child seats, my father-in-law was riding with me and holding our youngest son, while our 5 and 3 year old sons stood in the seat between us so they could see-one holding on to my shoulder and one to his grandpa’s shoulder. We were on a country road, and almost to the field, when my very perceptive 5 year old “farmer” said: “Mommy didn’t Daddy want the whole wagon?” I answered of course he did. My son’s next reply was, “Then why is it sitting back there in the road?” Needless to say, a quick check in the rear view mirror confirmed, that the wagon indeed was sitting back in the middle of the road, and all I had behind the pickup was the tongue with the front axle and two front wheels! When I stopped the truck, my father in law got out, and said he would direct traffic around the wagon while I went to get help—this was of course, before cell phones. You can imagine my husband’s surprise when I pulled into the field, with only part of the wagon. My 5 year old could not wait to tell Daddy, that Mommy left the rest of the wagon back in the middle of the road and Grandpa was watching it.
You knew it was coming, right-- the tie to our lives today. Well, here it is, as I see it. Our Heavenly Father wants “the whole wagon” of our lives. He doesn’t want just part of our lives, he wants all of it! Going to church on Sunday, with our body, but having our minds so full of other things that we really don’t pay attention to the service, for example, is giving God only part of our life. Not sharing the talents He has given each of us to help others and extend His kingdom, is giving Him, part of our life. Being too busy with our own material things to help a neighbor, or a stranger (who well may be a friend we have not met) is giving Him part of our life. These are just a few examples of how we are giving our Father, part of the “wagon”.
After much work, we got the whole wagon off the road and back to the farm. It takes work too for us to give all of our life to our Father, but oh is it worth it! Someday, after all our earthly work, we too will get to our forever home in heaven. NOTHING can ever be better than that!
The next time you see a wagon—of any kind—ask yourself—“Am I giving my Father the whole wagon of my life?” No one can answer that but you, so I’ll close this month with the question, “Are you?”
Helen Mayer, Past President of SID
Once again, the words, “Out of the mouths of babe’s” has proven to be so true. Let me explain—I was leading chapel at St. Mark’s on February 13, and we were talking about the history of St. Valentine’s Day, how it began during the Roman Empire to honor two men put to death by their government even though they had committed no wrong. This led us to yet another man put to death by the government, even though innocent of all charges—ok, by now, most of you know who this man was. We talked about how Valentine’s Day had developed into a day to show love to all those whom we love. We kept returning to that one man who had died so long ago—He did it out of love-the greatest love of all.
To help visualize our chapel theme, I had made a dark, (dirty) brown cross to share with the children. It was on that dark, dirty cross that our Savior gave His life so we could really become His children for eternity. As we listened to the favorite hymn-“The Old Rugged Cross”, the children all came up and each of them put a small red or white heart on the cross. To get them all on the cross, the hearts had to touch, or even over lap a little. I asked them why the little hearts were red and white, and they were excited to tell me that the red ones reminded us of Jesus blood, and the white ones were for the way our hearts (lives) were made pure, clean of all our sins. One of the children even shared that the hearts that were touching on the cross was because all of our lives were touching each other and Jesus was touching us all! What insight!
To wrap up our chapel, I asked the students how our cross looked now—I reminded them about the dirty dark cross we started out with, and now we saw a cross filled with red and white hearts. Once again, “out of the mouths of babes”, a little girl raised her hand and said: “It’s now a cross of love and life.” A cross of love and life---how wonderful—how true! As we celebrate Easter this month, may we too, look from the dirty, dark cross of death that our Savior died on to the Easter cross of life and love! The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!
Mission Musings (March, 2019)
Serve the LORD with gladness! (Psalm 100:2)
For many years, Christians around the world have given up a favorite treat or activity during the Lenten season. These small sacrifices help individuals to focus on the biggest sacrifice ever—when Jesus gave His life on the cross to save us from our sins and from the eternal death our sins cause. On the cross, Jesus fully paid the price we owed God for our disobedience. When He rose from the dead, Jesus conquered sin’s fatal hold on us so that we might receive God’s forgiveness, eternal life, and all the riches our Heavenly Father desires to give us as His children through faith in Jesus. Knowing that Jesus has done it all for us, we are free to serve Him with gladness!
As women in mission during this Lenten season, instead of giving up something, let’s make some “sacrificial additions” to our lives. A “sacrificial addition” is an additional way to serve God using the time, talents, and treasures with which He blesses us. These “sacrificial additions” show our love and gratitude to Jesus for all that He has done for us on the cross and for all He continues to do for us as our risen Savior. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Add an additional five or ten minutes to your personal Bible study and devotional time each day.
- Add a Bible passage to memory each week. Some suggested passages to learn are Ephesians 2:8–9, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 8:9, Philippians 2:5–8, and John 11:25–26. An added benefit of Scripture memorization is that you are better prepared to defend your faith whenever you have opportunities to witness to others.
- Add an additional prayer need to your daily prayers. You may wish to pray each day for one of our district or national mission projects which share the saving Word of God with those in need.
- Add some additional dollars to your Mite Box each week to help serve the Lord through our district and national LWML mission projects.
- Invite an additional woman to your LWML Bible study this month. When you invite her, offer to drive her to and from the meeting. After the meeting, spend some additional time with her in prayer as together you thank God for the joys in her life and as you ask Him for help with challenges.
Diane Grebing, SID LWML President
Mission Musings February 2019
My mother was a keeper! This is true in more ways than one, but today, it is in the way of keeping things that are full of memories, things that most people would not keep. Oh the memories I relived as I went through her house after she went to her heavenly home! Oh the tears that filled my eyes, but not just tears of loss, but laughter too, as the memories raced through my mind when I “found” the long forgotten “treasurers”.
Since this is the month of Valentines, I hope you have a little time to spare so I can share one of the forgotten “treasurers” I found in Mom’s attic. Among the boxes, I found an old shoe box that had been my Valentine box in 2nd grade. Now this was long before Pinterest or any other collection of ideas for decorating Valentine boxes. Instead it was decorated with pictures of flowers cut from seed catalogs, kinda “crude” crayon hearts, and “not so neat” 2nd grade printing. Do you get the picture? I’m sure that most of you at sometime in your life have made such a Valentine box for yourself, or supervised your child or grandchild making Valentine boxes. A work of art it wasn’t, but, when I found it, there were tears in my eyes as I remembered the time Mom and I had worked on it together.
Taking the lid off, I found that it still had those 60+ year old Valentines in it, just as they were when I brought the box home from school. It did not take long before I had carefully opened each of them and reread them with new eyes! Some were “home-made” while others were bought from the local “Dime” store. Some were funny, a couple serious, some small in size, and a couple were so big they could not get through the hole on the top of my box. As I reread them, I thought about my 2nd grade classmates. Some of my classmates I still see today, some I have lost track of, and a number of them are now home with their Savior. Oh the memories!
We are all a little like that Valentine box—we are first of all, all “keepers” filled with memories and uniquely made by God Himself! God in His love and wisdom keeps adding His “love” Valentines to us every day—all day long, 24-7, 365 days a year. Sometimes He does it with the smile of a friend, the unexpected note/card in the mail, the beauty of His creation, the love of our family and friends. Not all the Valentines from our Savior are beautiful because we have the serious ones, of sickness and hurt, of sorry and loneliness, but we know that everyone is sent with love from our Savior.
May your Valentine box (your heart) be filled with our Savior’s love and peace, not only during February, but every day of your life, until we receive the final and best Valentine of all, our Savior’s gift of eternal life with Him and all our fellow believers!
Mission Musings (January, 2019)
You Are a New You, It’s True!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I am an avid magazine subscriber. I think that this habit was passed down to me from my grandfather. Despite having only an 8th grade education, he loved to read and regularly subscribed to at least 20 different magazines, many of which centered on fishing and hunting. He got me started on loving magazines back in 1963 with a gift subscription to the children’s magazine, Jack and Jill. Today, I especially love the thick holiday women’s magazine issues. Each page bursts with colorful decorations, interesting gift ideas, and of course, enticing recipes.
It’s always a bit of a let-down for me when the January magazine issues arrive. Instead of food, gifts, and fun on every page, instead there are diet plans, exercise regimens, and advice on how to make myself new as the New Year begins. I always feel a bit discouraged when reading these issues as they point out my imperfect body and diet, my lack of regular physical activity, and my somewhat mundane lifestyle.
Fortunately, God’s Word gives us an entirely different message than most of the magazines to which I subscribe. As those who trust in Jesus, our Lord and Savior, 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us, we’re new creations! Having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God and having been washed in Holy Baptism with water and the Word, our loving God has made us new. Our sins have been forgiven. We’ve each received a new, eternal life. We’ve been welcomed as members of God’s family. There is no better newness than this.
Not only are we new creations through faith in Christ Jesus, God daily renews us through His Word and Sacraments. In His Word, God promises that His steadfast love … never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22–23a). Because of God’s grace and mercy for us in Jesus, every day is a “New Year’s Day” for us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are daily washed and renewed and given the strength to live for our Lord.
As His new creations, every day God gives us new opportunities to share with others the Gospel message which proclaims that new, eternal life is found through faith in Christ alone. As 2019 begins, with what new person might you share the saving love of Jesus so that by the work of the Holy Spirit they, too, might have newness of life? What new way can you in your local LWML groups and zones get the women in your life into God’s Word? May I suggest meeting together and using the Bible studies found in our official LWML magazine (and one of my favorite subscriptions), the Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly (LWQ)? Not only does this magazine offer three new Bible studies per issue, it’s full of Christ-centered devotions and articles that show how God daily works in the lives of women across the globe.
In this New Year, may God richly bless all that you do in His name and to His glory as His new creations!