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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!