Monday: Valentine

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

Psalm 36:7

My Great-grandfather’s name was Valentine. He was born in Germany in 1860. He married Appolonia, my mother’s middle name which she preferred not to use, but I found no record of the year they married.

I have a tattered black and white photo of him with my great grandmother. It was taken when they were older. I’m not sure what he did for a living or why he came to America. I am left wondering who he was.

They had five children and lived in Milwaukee. Their daily stories are long forgotten except for births, deaths and the children born to them. Two of the children had unusual names (Rosalia and Ignatius). Rosalia was my grandmother, my mom’s mother whose name was Beatrice.

Great Grandfather Valentine died in 1940, the year Winston Churchill became the British Prime Minister. It was that year Germany invaded Denmark, Norway, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands during World War II. 

I wonder how Great Grandfather took the news. Did it break his heart? Was it why he gave up on life? Or did he long for his wife who died nine years earlier? I will never know. No one ever left a story.

That’s it for the family tree of Valentine.

As February 14 draws near, I muse over the type of man he may have been. My sister, Diane, believes he was a dapper type from his photo. He was well dressed, wore a thick groomed mustache and appeared robust in the photo. His wife was petite and stood by his side after years of marriage. They lived during a difficult time in history, as yet another war heated up in the world. Their story is only told by a worn black and white photo and a few dates.

The Bible has stories of people lives. We have some information about those who have gone before us. Men and women who followed God. It is so important these stories are told. Or eventually, just like my Great Grandfather Valentine, the stories of God’s great love and desire for all to be saved will disappear.

Read the Bible and share the stories God left for you.

Worship

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Psalm 19:1

Silhouette of day,
Making way for brighter skies;
praising God most high!

P. Wolf

Below Zero

You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

Psalm 32:7

The stillness in the woods, as the moonlight stretches long shadows across glistening snow, brings wintry calmness which slowly settles.

The peacefulness of the nighttime stars frozen in endless time across the heavens, declare the endless glory of the Holy One named God.

The boldness of mounting pines towering and swaying as winter winds grow; chases all to shelter as it slowly builds then fiercely blows.

The emptiness of a darken heart which longs for the Promised One; yet unable to be warmed by the love which awaits empty soul.

The timeliness of deepen chill, to the bone,knowing when to seek a warmer haven, even woodland creatures know it’s time to hide.

P. Wolf

Monday: Just Walk

One man there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and realized that he had spent a long time in this condition, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

John 5:6-6

It’s difficult to wake up on Monday morning to serve the family, go back to the job, go to school or to participate in some community event (church ministry, volunteer work, etc). This becomes more of a struggle in January if you live in the northern hemisphere. Cold, cold and more cold! And it’s almost impossible to rouse if one is struggling with health issues. Monday mornings can be a challenge.

I think of the lame man Jesus healed. How horrid and hopeless everyday must have been for him. Joints stiff and muscles in atrophy mixed with unbearable pain. No way of providing for himself. Most likely, he had worn out any relationship he had. Until finally, he became a burden to society.

I love the way Jesus simply gave the lame man directions which would change his life. “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.”

God doesn’t care how long or how bad a day can be because He has the answer. What is God telling you to do this day? Is is time to get up? What would He have you pick up? Change a job, mend a relationship, repent from an offense; there are many things God would desire us to learn. Are you walking in the faith which is available to you? The only way you will find your answer is by simply following Him. It’s a life-long journey.

P.Wolf

Wintry Lane

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

It is often I scamper
to a winter wood
to wash my thoughts
of the day. Beneath
the forest crown;
within watchful limbs.

I plunge sure footed
down wood in the lane.
Breathe in the melody
of birds among the trees.
I feel the ease of earth
about my snowy feet. 

Inhale the woodsy
scent of frigid air.
All is enhanced;
‘Tis a taste of
what lies beyond
each winding bend.

Passed the bitter,
beyond the cold heart
lies a lighter path.
One not walked alone,
but with Him who knows,
sees and loves us.

P. Wolf

Monday: Changing Times

Photo credit Dan Eichenberger

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26

Back in the late 70’s I learned how to downhill ski. It was exhilarating. I think what I enjoyed the most was the fresh air and views. Devils Head ski hill, in Wisconsin, has the most gorgeous overview. Yet, Vail ski resort in Colorado displayed several breathtaking runs. I was no Olympian at the sport, but I was strong and enthusiastic.

It was shortly after those years I was introduced to Jesus, my Savior. I had never read the Bible. I new of the basic biblical stories, but thought they were something which happened years ago. In ways, I was still trying to earn my way to heaven.

In the 90’s, as I was raising a family, my husband and I took up cross-country skiing. It was affordable, plenty of local areas to ski and a lot less equipment to carry. Maybe motherhood overwhelmed my thoughts for downhill skiing. Or a back injury took the stream out of the excitement of surfing the slopes. They were wonderful years of shushing through local woodlands. Plus, an occasional hill to glide down.

During those years, I taught children the Word of God. Along the way I was learning so many things myself. There’s no better way to get familiar with the Bible than to teach someone else.

Somewhere after the turn of the century, I’m starting to sound old now, I hung up the cross-country skies for snow snows. The slower pace suited me. Crunching through a quiet wood and inhaling the serenity before me brought peace.

Around this same time something else happened, I fell in love with the Word of God. It was more than just knowing of Him, but truly seeing Him. If that sounds familiar, they are the words of Job. I spent over a year in study of the book of Job. It was a wonderful experience.

The purpose of this post is to show how the physical body has its limits. As decades unfold the physical body declines. Yet, the spiritual part of us can grow with strength. Do I miss those downhill skiing days? Yes, especially this last week as my son, Dan, has sent me photos of his time in Vail. Yet, I have the quiet of a snow covered woods and a cozy corner in my house where I can get lost in the Word of God.

The body grows weak, while the spirit thirsts for more. May you see God more and more.

P.Wolf; skier & snowshoer

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

He is worthy of your trust, and your trust is all he asks of you. He is able and willing, because he died for you. He only ask you to believe that he is able to save you and wants you to trust yourself to him.

C. H. Spurgeon (Life in Christ)

Kettles Calling

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made

John1:1-3

Dug deep down in time,
against a perfect wintry sky; 
layers of life are forever laced
among my cattail reeds.

It’s there that strong beams
of sun pool despite stagnant
times, truths and tales;
as stretched years unfold.

Chick-a-dees crowd in winter,
spring peepers chime with thaw,
Sandhill crane saunters in summer,
brittle leaves gather in autumn.

Above in towering pines I
catch a glimpse of tail feather;
a sudden movement swoops,
opens wings and dives for dinner.

But as winter settles snowy tuffs,
the muskrat beckons from his
kettled home; among the broken reeds
rooted deep in folds of time.

P. Wolf

Monday: Sunset

They who dwell at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the sunrise and the sunset shout for joy.

Psalm 65:8

There are few things to appreciate during the month of chilly January in Wisconsin. When wind chills are below zero and with snow piling up it’s hard to remain positive. Yet, I have found pleasure in January’s gorgeous sunsets. A snow white canvas compliments the early evening splash of color. Despite dreary January’s frosty days, the warm sky brings pleasure if only for a few minutes.

Trials in life resemble fidget January; bleak and harsh as time trickles by. It’s easy for feelings of hopelessness to over-take joy. Loneliness can creep in one’s life leaving a feeling of great defeat. Is there nothing promising during the trials of life?

Psalm 65 was written by David. It may have been a song of praise written during a drought. Also, there is information that claims it was sung later by the people coming out of captivity. I’m sure it has a rich history of praise to God through time

Near the beginning of the Psalm it says, “You who listen to prayer, all people will come to You.” Nothing has changed through the years. If heartache has found a corner of your life, remember God is available. He listens to the cry of those who love Him and have a desire to obey His laws. 

It is said after the storm comes a rainbow. Consider before the darkness a sunset strikes the sky and night breaks way to morning’s sunrise.

P. Wolf

A mouth open in unceasing prayer will result in open eyes that see faith clearly, so pray in the darkness, even if there seems to be no hope of light. When God, who is light, moves a poor sinner to plead and cry out with the commitment to continue until the blessing comes, he doesn’t even consider disregarding that poor crying heart. Perseverance in prayer is a sure sign that the day of opening the eyes of the blind is near.

Spurgeon quote from “Life in Christ”

The Sky

He is not here: for He is risen…

Matthew 28:6a

LOOK there in the sky;
soaring so very high…
hawk is slowly circling
watch him soar open sky.

SEE below… the cross!
People gathered like moss;
hawk is slowly circling
around the wooden cross.

WHY did He need to die?
It make so many cry…
hawk is slowly circling;
a part of us too will die.

DID I put Him there?
My sins He did bare;
hawk is slowly circling.
Children gaze up there!

NOW, they take Him down;
tears falling to the ground.
Hawk is slowly circling,
as the rain tumbles down.

TODAY He is risen;
broke sin’s eternal prison.
Hawk is no longer circling;
to heaven Jesus has risen!

It’s hard not to be reminded of Jesus victory on Easter at this time of the year when we celebrate His birth. P. Wolf