Monday: Childlike Faith

Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.

Like 18:17

Having taught children about who Jesus is for almost 4 decades I have come to admire their childlike faith.

From a five year old who utters in prayer, “I love You God. Amen.” To a nine year old who adds a bit more, “Dear Almighty God I know you are with me.” I stand amazed at the simplicity of a child’s love towards God.

As children grow into teenhood something begins to change. Worldly life has so much to offer, it appears, often time with God diminishes. And then as adults the prayer too often becomes a plea, “God are you REALLY there?”

I wonder why such a change occurs from the moments of a trusting child to the doubts of an adult. Perhaps, people become syndical as the disappointments of life creep in. Maybe one has forgotten we live in a sin cursed world in which only God is the answer to life’s problems. Often, there has been no spiritual growth in a person’s life, reading of the Bible or church attendance to help build one’s faith.

May we each nurture a childlike faith until it’s our time to leave this earth.

Monday: Can be Hard

Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,

Romans 12:12

It’s hard to take another week of windchills in minus figures. Who even wants to get out of bed? Where is the motivation?

I can handle the shrinking snow. Maybe even welcomed the fluffy few inches which settles in the trees until the sun heats things up and the dripping start. Ask the maple tees; it’s almost syrup time.

As one ponders the last of remaining days of winter, in theory twenty days left, I can’t help but think of the Ukraine. I read there are at least 3,000 churches laboring in sharing Christ in a nation under siege.

A month ago life was normal in the Ukraine; not much different than life here in the states. Children attended local schools and adults commuted to work. Families went grocery shopping and churches fed people spiritual food. There were get togethers, children sporting events, birthday parties and weekends to relax. Life was normal.

As of a week ago, that all changed for the people of Ukraine. Many are fleeing and leaving most of the belongings behind. They are saying goodbye to family and friends whom they may never see again. I know the world has seen this too many times in my lifetime.

We housed a student whose family was part of a genocide. His family started a new life in France. His father was wealthy. Far too many others were not as fortunate. The world can be a difficult place to live.

As we go about complaining about trivial things this week (like winter) remember those who are truly suffering; pray for them and the churches ministering as servants of Jesus Christ.

P. Wolf

God’s Timing

“Wow to the land of whirring wings,
along the rivers of Cush,
which sends couriers by sea,
in papyrus vessels on the waters.”
Isaiah 18:1-2

Wow to the skies of whirring winds.
above the darken heavens,
which sets the stars in space,
a parchment of villages below.

Wow to the home of whirring whispers,
around the untamed busy tongue,
which sin is stirred with speech,
a passport to empty eternity.

Wow to the land of whirring whims
along life’s flowing rivers
which sends couriers by sea,
of pamphlets floating on the waters.

“The Lord said, ‘I will take My rest
I will quietly look on from My dwelling,
like shimmering heat in sunshine, like a
cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’”
Isaiah 18:4

Yet, I will not grow weary with rest,
hushed I will huddle in my home
like flickering faith in light of day,
like abundant skies of endless hope.

While time stretches length of days,
muzzled mouth with words of doubt;
like a glistening ember holding spark,
like bountiful beasts under control.

I say, I will hold my peace,
I will pause and look to God
like the twinkling of great hope,
like ample dew on parched earth.

“For before the harvest,
when the blossom is gone
and the flower becomes
a ripening grape, He will cut
off the shoots with a pruning
knife and remove and
discard the branches.”
Isaiah 18:5

May I not be one of those branches.

P. Wolf

Monday: Again

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

2 Peter 3:8

Some Mondays we find ourselves in the same endless routine. There is the same weary job, familiar responsibilities and even boring weather dangling around our necks bringing us down. If only something could be a bit different.

Our emotions are on a roller coaster of the mundane ins and outs of life. We plot along hoping this is the week we are able to walk with integrity. We know there should be a desire to display the Fruits of the Spirit and too often we fail to practice them.

Somethings in life may need to be finished; like my manuscript. Other thing started for the first time this year. I am hoping to begin sewing dresses for Operation Christmas Child. These garments go to girls who have little. Before I can move ahead with the old or start the new, I am reminded of the importance of listening to what God’s plans are for my efforts and time this week.

Fridays are exciting filled with change from routine; Monday is different. Let Monday be a fresh start of newness in seeing God’s plan for your job and responsibilities. As for the weather, it will change soon enough.

It’s too easy to just dive into another Monday and leave God behind.

Sanctuary

And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

Isaiah 4:6

Deep in a nook, near a knoll;
lies a bit of Heaven as winter
winds blow minus weather.

In that hollow, thick with snow,
chatters tweeters as they tuck
‘neath fluffy feathered togs.

Snowshoes crunch, bulky
shadow strains seeking sun;
pooled in the eastern bowl.

Far into future, after snow,
the spring peepers will chirp
here in this nestled grove.

P. Wolf, a little longing for spring

Monday: Love

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

John 15:12

I can think of no greater way to express love than by spending time together. I do understand there are different love languages: giving gifts, serving projects, physical touch or words used to encourage, but all of them need available time.

Saturday I took two of my grandkids to our small town’s ice craving event. It was freezing, but the sun was out and their smiles were warming. We judged our favorite sculptures as we briskly walked downtown Hartford. Later, we grocery shopped, baked, had a snack and simply talked together. The biggest cost? It was my time.

I think one of the greatest gifts on Valentines Day is to show our loved ones how much we want to spend time with them. That doesn’t need to be in person. It could be a call, text or letter. Just taking time to acknowledge another person is priceless.

While you are at it, don’t forget to spend time with God! Your next breath comes from Him.

P. Wolf

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