Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Crude Lifesaving Station


This article alerts us to the fact that we as the church may lose sight of our primary mission: to evangelize. Jesus' purpose must always be our purpose: to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10)

A Crude Lifesaving Station by Theodore Wedel

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and their money and their effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little lifesaving station grew. 
Now some of the members of the lifesaving station became unhappy, in time, however, because the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable, suitable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. And so they replaced the emergency cots with beds, and they put better furniture in the now enlarged building, so that now the lifesaving station actually became a popular gathering place for its members. They took great care in decorating it beautifully and furnishing it exquisitely, for they found new uses for it in the context of a sort of club. But fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, and so they hired lifesaving crews to do this work on their behalf, and in their stead. Now, don’t misunderstand, the lifesaving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration and symbols - there was a liturgical lifeboat (symbolic rather than fully functional) in the room where the club initiations were held, for example - so the changes did not necessarily mean that the original purposes were totally lost. 
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold and wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty people and they were sick people, some of them with black skin, some with yellow skin. The beautiful new club, as you might imagine, was thrown into chaos, so that the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where these recent victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside the main clubhouse. 
At the very next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities for being so unpleasant, as well as for being a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose, pointing out that, indeed, they were still called a lifesaving station. But these few were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. And so, they did just that. 
Now as the years passed, the new station down the coast came to experience the very same changes that had occurred in the older, initial station. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station had to be founded to restore the original purpose. 
Well, history continued to repeat itself, so that if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a great number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown!”
Cory Collins



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Stand by the Door



I Stand by the Door
By Sam Shoemaker (from the Oxford Group)

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out.
The door is the most important door in the world -
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door - the door to God.
The most important thing that any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands
And put it on the latch - the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man's own touch.

Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it - live because they have not found it.

Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him.
So I stand by the door.

Go in great saints; go all the way in -
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in.
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening.
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
And want to get out. 'Let me out!' they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled.
For the old life, they have seen too much:
One taste of God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving - preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.

Where? Outside the door -
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But - more important for me -
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.

“I had rather be a door-keeper …”
So I stand by the door.

Cory Collins


Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Mother’s Gifts


2 Tim 1:3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Brothers and sisters in the Keller church of Christ responded to the question, “What has your mother given you?” Their remarks are listed below in alphabetical order. After each set of comments, I have added Scriptures that I think relate to the qualities that each person named.
Vickie Bonham: Has taught me to be happy no matter what else is going on around me because God watches over us. She has taught me that life is sweet when you are with the right person. She showed me that love is unconditional.
Heb 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Agnes Burnett: My Grandmother raised me and I learned many things from this strong Christian lady.  My grandfather died young and left her with 7 girls to raise alone. She sewed, baked pies, cleaned houses, and still had time for a huge garden and canning for winter. I am so thankful that I never gave up on her becoming a Christian.
1. If you don’t have time to do something right the first time, how will you ever find time to do it over. Works for me and gives me more time for important things.
2. “People were given a name when they were born. Call them by that name.” And I do.
3. “Alcohol and tobacco have never touched my lips.” “I want you to be able to say that to your children and grandchildren.”  And I have.
Eph 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
John 1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Prov 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
Prov 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Mary Carl: My mother has given me so many gifts, but, the three I cherish most are:
1. Sacrificial Love...
She selflessly cared for her ill parents and my chronically and terminally ill father for twenty years. She worked full time in order to keep our health insurance and during the rest of her time, she cared for my brother and me, her parents, and my Dad. Since my Dad was the "Bread-Winner" and couldn't work, my brother, myself, and Mom were always working to pay the bills... She sacrificed her own health at this time and her body shows the abuse it took for so long... Her days were not filled with comfort and pleasantries but with sacrificial love. I can tell you that in this time, I learned to put others above myself and to rely totally on God... There was always enough food and money, even when it didn't come until the very minute we needed it. We always had love and God's providence and, through it all, she was determined that her children wouldn't miss the good stuff of life because of our circumstances.
1 John 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
2. Put people and relationships above all else...
She taught me to have mercy on people and overlook the emotion of the moment... She taught me compassion and hard work and to love all people and to tame the tongue, even when people are obviously wrong.
Prov 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
3. She has taught me to consult the Bible for problems and life lessons.
Opinions were always there but the Bible is the ultimate and true authority.
Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Debbie Ethridge: My Mom gives me a legacy of faith.  I am in a family that goes back far in history of being a member of the Church of Christ.  She has always been proud of that I have too!! My Mom taught me to not disappoint her because that was the worst thing her child could do and that kept us as her children to stay in check when walking in the light.....not that we didn’t go into the darkness ever now and then.  LOL My Mom taught me when in doubt wear a dress, if it feels wrong don’t do it, and always take care of your girlfriend relationships.  No boy is worth losing a girlfriend over. My Mom taught me how to dress like a lady, how to think like a lady and how to talk like a lady.  My Mom taught me how to be a Christian wife, Mother and friend.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 Tim 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Shelia Franklin: I was so blessed with a wonderful Christian mother. Mother was a woman of small stature but the biggest servant’s heart I know of, with the possible exception of her own father.  My dad was not a believer. That hindered some activities but it did not stop Mother. She taught hundreds of mostly pre-school children to love Jesus. That is a legacy that is now possibly into its fourth generation. In the days before seat belts, we filled our car with neighborhood children to go to VBS. The most frequent picture of Mother that comes to mind is of her sitting at the end of the kitchen table with her Bible in her lap studying or of her working in her kitchen singing “church” songs. Even when her memory seemed to be gone, she would respond to the sound of “Jesus Loves Me” or other favorites and attempt to sing along. The words were not clear but they were in her heart.  She was a wonderful example to all who knew her.
Matt 19:13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Becky Goodnight: Humbleness and gratefulness. One thing that has always stuck with me throughout the years is that my mother devoted her time and resources to helping others not just because she is a nurse but because she believes it is her gift from God.  For years, I traveled with her twice a month on Saturday mornings to visit our local homeless shelter where she volunteered as a nurse. I grew up getting to know the same faces from the shelter, watching them come back to visit my mother, yet again. It amazed me that even in their poverty they showed her their gratefulness in ways I have never seen. I am so very thankful to have experienced the humbleness my mother had towards those people because it taught me to get outside of myself and love people no matter where they are in life just as Jesus did.
Matt 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.
Linda Gore: The most important thing my mother has given me is an outstanding example of a Christian woman.  She has always been a faithful member of the church wherever she lives.  At 89, she is still making cakes or soups and taking them to her neighbors, especially when they are ill.  It is sad that her stroke has curtailed her energy some, but she continues to do as much as she can.  I thank God for every day she is with us.
Acts 9:36 Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.
Nannie Gene Hays: My mom was a very hard working lady who worked hard all her married life. She worked outside the home until her mother died & then she stayed home with the three kids. She raised all 5 of us and gave us the love for the church. My father was not a member of the church & was very difficult to live with. My mother stayed with him for us kids. She sewed for other people in order to buy fabric to clothe us. She worked 3 gardens & canned & froze vegetables & fruit for the year. My mother had a great work ethic in everything she did & she instilled that in us. Daddy was demanding about a lot of things & usually ruled on everything, but my mother set her foot down about where we went to church. It is because of her that I was raised in the church. Daddy would have probably sent us to the Baptist church. He didn’t go anywhere so Momma won on that argument. We were sent to church every Sunday to get us out of the house. We walked a mile from the time I was six many times with my younger sisters in tow. I am so thankful for being raised to go to the church of Christ! My Mom was the best woman I know. She was good hearted, hardworking, faithful and steadfast. It breaks my heart to look back and think of all that I knew was going on, but powerless to help her. The demons of alcohol were always present.
Prov 31:15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
Gail Jaynes:  I had a very special mom and a very special family.  I was adopted and thank God often for putting me into a wonderful family.  A loving family that loved God and each other.   I have never had any desire to find my biological family and never felt anything but loved.  My mom had a saying  “You will never know it 100 years from now” don’t worry about it”.   I think of that often now.   She also said “Did you intentionally set out to do harm or hurt someone?”  So forgive yourself.  God has. 
Her advice on child rearing was to give lots of hugs and never let them beg, or whine and Never ever allow a child to tell you NO.  You are the adult act like it.  Also, mean what you say and say what you mean. 
I miss my mom every day and still hear her laugh.  Sometimes after almost 15 years I still think “Oh I’ll just go call Mom”  then realize she is not there. 
I also had a wonderful grandma who was positive, funny, loved children and loved to sing songs.  She was born in 1898 and had very little formal education but loved learning and took advantage of every opportunity she could to educate herself.  She was my inspiration to go to college.  She became a Christian after her son (my dad) married my mom.   When I became a grandmother I thought I had very big shoes to fill to be as wonderful a grandmother as the one I had. 
This probably sounds a little random, but it is hard to describe your mother or grandmother in a few words.   It brings back floods of memories good and not so good.  But as you said the older I get the more they are good.   I could have had such a different life if things had not gone just so that enabled me to find this family.  I will share the story with you some time truly God had his hand in it.  I feel thankful daily.  I hope my children have as good of memories of me. 
2 Tim 1:3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Pam Joslen: My Mama
Practically everyone at Keller has heard me tell some story about my mom.  They all know how much I loved her and how much I miss her. She was a wonderful example of a Christian wife, mother, Elder’s wife and the most fun grandmother the kids could ever have.  And I honestly don’t think I would have found my way to Keller church of Christ without her.
I had been in Keller several months and gone to several “churches”.  Nothing was like I was taught or read about in the Bible.  I was really frustrated and about to give up looking.  One day I was coming home from Kroger and my eyes caught the sign “This area cleaned by the Keller Church of Christ.  (I believe my mom swiveled my head to see the sign!)  I pulled over and googled the church on my iPhone and found I was only two blocks away.  I drove over and Diane let me in.  We talked about the church and within minutes I knew I had found my home.  That’s one of the last things my mom said to me before she passed – she wanted me to find a good church.  I have been blessed ever since the first meeting with Diane.
When I was six years old I came down with strep throat that turned into Rheumatic Fever.  My heart was damaged and I was put on complete bed rest for the next six months. I wasn’t allowed TV or walking or any kind of excitement that might make my heart beat too fast.  At the time I complained mightily but never dreamed the hard work this brought on my mother.  She made every day seem special with surprise books, grab bags, colored pencils or paper – she never seemed tired or overwhelmed.  It wasn’t until years later that I began to wonder how she did it.  She said she prayed a lot.  Finally the heart doctor told my parents I could get out of bed and start walking again.  I was so excited – I tried to walk to the car but for some reason my legs wouldn’t hold me up.  At home I discovered I didn’t have the muscle strength or coordination to walk.  My dad built a chair with rollers and I would push it all over the house with mom right behind me ready to catch me when I fell.  It took a while but by seven I was back in school and only used my “disability” on gym days so I wouldn’t have to do tumbling or climbing ropes.
Mom was 92 and had slowed down a little.  But she still would sneak away with the four wheeler and do things like hang bluebird houses in the trees  or climb the pear tree in the orchard and when the branch broke she went tumbling to the ground.  She wasn’t going to tell me, but I asked where the bruises came from.  We had this system: when she would do something dangerous I would have her hold her arms up, raise her eyebrows and stick out her tongue - checking for brain damage.  Pretty soon she started telling me tales of walking down the road, or driving her wheel all the way to the back fence and then she’d stick her tongue out at me just to be naughty!
One day we were sitting on the front porch and she said, “I think you’d better call the kids.  I’m only going to be here another week.”  I was dumbfounded.  She hadn’t deteriorated or seemed sick. When I asked why, she said, “My mama has been coming to me every night in my dreams and telling me “Johnnie, it’s time for you to come home to me”.  I did as she said and called my brother and told him not to hurry.  But within five days I had to have hospice install a hospital bed.  She waited for her grandson to come and then my sister-in-law.  She talked coherently and told us all how much she loved each of us.  (She also told a story about a mink coat and hidden money that really didn’t exist!).  And on the last day of her “week” we were all around her bed; she told us again she loved us and closed her eyes and quit breathing within the next five minutes.  My mom was 93 when she closed her eyes for that last time.
Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Amanda Killough: My mother has given me a multitude of things, as I’m sure all mothers do; unsolicited advice, disapproving glares, and of course the occasional blind date set up when it seemed all hope was lost because I was the only one on the planet not married yet :-) But the one I remember most is the gift of perseverance.  In high school it helped me decide to change my course from sports to choir my senior year, despite my love of basketball; in college I managed to push through coming down with chicken pox at the end of one term just to have to turn around and take my finals and start new classes at the same time; and finally, to me most importantly, it helped me see through the pain of struggling to have children for so many years, knowing that I was just meant to be a mom no matter how that happened.  I know God was behind it all but it was surely nice to have it all gift wrapped in the form of my mother.
1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Darrell Lusignan: First my mother gave me life, and what a gift that is.  Secondly she taught me how to love and be loved, and she has always been available for support when she is needed.
1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
Susan Lusignan: My mom is my hero.  Not only did she give me life but she has stepped up when I had nobody else and took care of me after I had a really disabling stroke in 1992.  She moved me into her home, gave me the master bedroom so I could be closer to a bathroom, she took care of me physically because I was totally paralyzed on my right side and took me to physical therapy, dropped me off once I was able, at a bus stop on her way to work, so I could retrain to do a different job so I could go back to work which took a whole year.  She took care of all my financial needs until my disability came through and anything they wouldn’t cover.  She exercised my leg each night for months, hauled me around in a wheelchair, we had numerous trips to the ER, etc.   I was totally dependent on her.  She did all this while working a full time job.  She was single so she had no other support aside from her salary.  She didn’t make me feel guilty or bad or like I was imposing.  Because of her I was able to see my children on the weekends (they had to go live with their father).  Through the years she has supported me and helped make it possible for me to work for 15 more years.  I would not have been able to recover as well as I did had it not been for her.  Once I was able to have the children back (when they were in high school) she allowed us to live with her because I was not strong enough to work and raise children alone. Now that I am able to be independent and have remarried, she has taken in my grown daughter who had some problems and let her live with her so she really had no time or not much time as an adult when she was not caring for or helping me or my children.  I think her efforts are extraordinary and show that a mother’s love is never ending.  I love her very much. She has been an excellent example to me of what a mother’s love is.
Phil 1:I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
Clarice Langat: Three characteristics that come to mind when I think about my mom:  Hospitable, Passionate for the Word, and Zealous for God!  Three traits I hope to pass on to my own children...
Heb 13:1 Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
Julie Lyons: My mom Mary L. Smith brought me up to love the Lord and to be a servant to others.  She used to tell me that when you serve others that is the greatest joy anyone can have and to always do it with enjoyment and love.  She taught me how to be a good wife to my husband, how to cook and take care of a home.  She was and is a daily bible reader and just seeing this was a wonderful example to me.  She taught me how to be a good mother and to always stand firm in the faith no matter what.  I could go on and on about what all she has done for me and continues to do.  Special gifts she has given me are ALL the gifts she has given me, but most of all her love, example as a Christian woman and her selflessness.   She truly puts others first and herself last.
Mark 10:43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Sue Martin: My Mother gave me encouragement to strive for the good things in life like:  genuine and true Love for God, my family, and friends. She gave me a lot of things, some I am not too proud of, but she always wanted me to be happy. She gave me the encouragement to be happy. I could go on but I won’t.
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
Bob Musgrove: My mother, father, sisters and me were in the car traveling to Birmingham. We were going around 40 MPH and my sister Jenny opened her door and fell out of the car onto the pavement.  Immediately my mother jumped out of the front door onto the pavement at 40 MPH to save my sister.  Mom’s wounds were 2 knees badly injured and lots of cuts and bruises all over her body.  God answered my mother’s love and concern as my sister, Jenny must have been like a rubber ball as she bounced off the pavement and immediately started chasing the car.
A mother’s love, “You bet!”
Quality Mom taught me - “Love your children” and children love your parents. Children obey your parents in The Lord for this is right. That it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.  Eph 6:1ff
Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Prov 1:8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
Prov 6:20 My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
Armentia Newcomb: A strong faith! Hospitality. Laughter
Prov 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Carolyn Noles: When my mother died, her sister, my aunt raised me from the age of three.  Her love of the Lord guided our family.  She always told me, “Carolyn Joyce, it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice...”  She also said, “You’ve been taught right from wrong.    We expect you to do what’s right.  However, if you make poor choices it will never change my love for you.”   She truly loved me unconditionally! I faced adversities in my childhood, but my aunt was my redeeming factor.  She was the great “equalizer” that tilted my life toward the positive!  She was the most important person in my life and deserves most of the credit for the woman I’ve become...
Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
1 Cor 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Irma Nuncio: My mother taught me never to give up on the ones you love. That love never fails! 
Jimmy Pledger: My Mom has taught me how to be courageous in the face of health problems and having to start over, to learn how to drive again, to count money, to cook and write.  She worked her way back from 2 benign brain rumors, only to live with Alzheimer’s in her mid 70s to present day.  She is my hero!
1 Cor 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
Eric Richardson: Discipline, I recall especially in the summer each day we had a list of chores to complete before we could get on our bikes and disappear for the day.
Prov 6:6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?
Gayland Roberts: My mother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis from her 40s until her death when she was 78.  I remember many times  in the early years of her disease that I would massage her wrists and arms as she cried from the pain.  The disease eventually left her with hands and feet that were in the most deformed state that I have ever seen.   There was very little that she could do with her hands.   For example, in partaking of the emblems during communion someone had to assist her and help hold the cup and bread.    During all of those years I never heard her say “Why me?” or that life was unfair.   I never heard her question why the Lord was allowing her to suffer.  She certainly showed me, my sister, and others how to handle the difficulties of life.  I hope I learned what I should have from her example and will only know when and if I face such difficulties.
Phil 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Kimberly Smith: My mother has given me many things throughout my lifetime but one thing that I see more and more as I grow older is the love of the Church and how important it is in the life of a Christian. Growing up I was never to miss worship for any reason unless I was sick. Now that I am older I can see it was more than just putting a star on an attendance chart. It is about fellowship, encouragement, accountability, and family. I feel sad and lost whenever I can’t meet with the body of Christ. Thank you, Mom, for giving me the love of the Church.
Heb 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Kali, Erin, Michael, and Anna Taft: Our mom has given us a great life, a dog, good food, love, care, a dad, an iPad, advice, awesomeness, wisdom, shortness, knowledge, integrity, and hope. This is to our mom Paula Taft from Kali, Erin, Michael, and Anna Taft!
Prov 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
Prov 28:6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
Kathleen Whitson: I deeply appreciate that my Mom kept me in the Word. We didn’t have a car and so My Mom, my Grandmother and I walked to church.  It was about 20 blocks from our house, so we couldn’t go at night.  We had a Bible study on Sunday afternoons and I was required to keep a notebook.  I didn’t value it then, but its importance revealed itself as I grew older.
My Mom taught me to budget money.  I don’t remember the exact age that she began to give me an allowance, about 6 I think, but it was 5 cents,  but first I had to show her how I would budget it beginning with what amount I would give at church.  I recognized the value of that from the very beginning.  Our church had a “slogan contest” as part of our contribution pledge month.  I won one week with the slogan “Put in a penny so we’ll have plenty.”  Each year on my birthday, she would give me a raise, but first I had to create a budget for her approval and at the top was always the contribution for church. 
Now, however, it is breaking my heart to watch my Mother slowly slip away into very tiny world with little understanding beyond taking her medication and trying to eat.  She is now on palliative care with hospice.  She is teaching me the many roles and challenges of being a good care giver.
I just wanted to share reflections on the care giver role to clarify what it is my Mother is teaching me now.  I learned much about being a care giver in physical, emotional and spiritual support with all of John’s illnesses.  But there is a distinct difference in caregiving through a medical journey with the end point a celebration of wellness and the more challenging role of providing all of that support for a chronic illness or for one that leads only to the end of this earthly life.  I’ve experienced that with friends and a couple of my aunts, but none where I was the sole caregiver. 
I don’t know why, I just felt compelled to send these additional thoughts. Probably because it is such a large part of my life right now and my full retirement is just weeks away.  There are many chapters of my life closing so close together, but I am filled with anticipation of what God has purposed for me next.
2 Cor 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Col 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Elke Yates: Cory, what stands out in my mind about my mother is that she had a strong faith even before she became a Christian.  She found herself in many dangerous situations under communism in East Germany but she always said God was with her every step of the way, therefore she did not fear. She was very industrious and very generous. Someone actually said, that  her heart was as big as Texas. Another employee of hers said that they learned from her to be organized and not to be wasteful. I agree with all of it and try to live up to it. Another thing, she came to this country in her forties, had to learn English and never ever was a burden to society, she always paid her way.
Is 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Prov 11:25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
Patricia Zehner: My mom. Wow how do I start. And you only want three things.
Her faith
Loving
Kindness
Compassion
Tenderness
Helping others
Never critical of others
Soft spoken
And always making me believe in myself
I lost her 33 years ago but she is still on my heart and her traits she exhibited.
Phm 1:4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
If you would like to add comments about your mother, please do!