whether or not Your lips move

You speak to me

Grandma’s Bible August 19, 2010

Last night my mom gave me a gem of a keepsake: my grandmother’s Bible.

You can just barely read her name down there in the righthand corner: Ruth Kees.

Immediately I noticed my grandmother and I had something in common when it comes to our Bibles–we like to write in them. Pages were falling out in several places from wear, with theological notes like “Christophany here” and personal notes like “always trust.” The first several pages have what seem to be signatures from people with verse references; we think maybe these were friends or professors from Bible school.

"The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you."

On these pages, in addition to the signatures, she wrote several meaningful statements and a poem.

She wrote, “The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you,” and “Adversity tests the value of a friend.”

I can’t find the original writer of the poem she has here, but it reads:

Were all the earth a parchment made
And every man a scribe by trade,
Could we with ink the ocean fill
Were every blade of grass a quill,
To write the love of God
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.

"The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed"

These must have been from her days in Bible college. (Grandma had an invitation to be an opera singer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York but decided to go to Moody Bible College instead; this is where she met Grandpa.) One inscription on this page gives the date of Grandma’s commitment to follow Jesus: July 1932. She would have been 10.

"To get the far away vision is the only cure for the creeping blindness."

On this page Grandma wrote,

A task without a vision makes a drudge.
A vision without a task makes a visionary.
A task and a vision makes a missionary.

This must have been around the time she realized she was going to be a missionary. She and Grandpa served in Costa Rica shortly after they were enrolled at Moody. A statement similar to this is found in a few different layman’s missionary guides and partially attributed to a “President Mullins” at the National Congress of Missions in Chicago in 1910.

I can’t find a source for the other statement, “To get the far away vision is the only cure for the creeping blindness.” Grandma was a poet, lyricist, and songwriter, so she may have written this herself. Will probably have to write a blog post on this soon.

Another inscription tells us how and when she got the Bible– her mother gave it to her on her 16th birthday in 1938.

I can’t wait to go through it more to see the notes she wrote in the margins and which verses she underlined. These may give me even more clues and glimpses into her spiritual life.

I have a very similar Bible that I can’t wait to have passed on to my kids and grandkids. I hope it will tell them a little about me and my walk with God.

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Memory markers October 29, 2009

This week I was reminded of the importance of remembering.

One of my favorite hymns is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” My favorite line is “Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I’m come; And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home: Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.”

I’ve heard that some churches have rewritten this line because the word “Ebenezer” just makes everyone think of Scrooge. Well, this week in community group, I led us in investigating this word, its meaning, and the implications for us.

Ebenezer means “stone of help.” In 1 Samuel 7, after the Israelites had defeated the Philistines, Samuel set up a rock and named it Ebenezer.

Now, to us this would probably be a bit of a strange sight. But not for them; setting up a bunch of rocks was extremely meaningful. Later when their children or others would ask, “Hey…why is there this big pile of rocks here?” or “Why does this rock have a name?” it would be a perfect opportunity to tell them a story of God’s intervention and deliverance. Over and over in Scripture, God tells His people to REMEMBER. Throughout the Bible there are certain stories that are repeated (particularly the exodus) so that future generations would REMEMBER.

Last night we talked about this story and shared our own stories of God’s intervention. Every person has at least one. And the more you view the world as full of miracles, the more you tend to notice them.

One of my favorite things to do in the world is to listen to others tell stories of how God has “interrupted their day” as our pastor, Gary, would say. I remember my grandfather telling us the story of how he felt an angel holding his arm back from whacking off all his fingers with a butcher knife while he was trying to cut off a piece of chocolate from a huge brick of it. Last night we shared stories of how details worked out to bring us all to living in Nashville. I can recall countless miracles that have happened to those I know, from “big” stuff like being freed from addiction or walking away from a deadly wreck, down to “small” stuff like a narrow miss or being at the right place at the right time.

I think it’s important to make “memory markers” of some sort that can help us remember these events. Because there are going to be times when even though we are being obedient and loving God with all we’ve got, we will be so low and discouraged that we wonder if God forgot us or if we heard Him right in the first place. There are going to be times when we just don’t understand why a certain situation is going the way it is, or why a certain loved one is being the way they are. We’re going to feel lost and alone and like maybe God is mad at us.

These are the times we’ve got to remember. These are the times we need to recall the TRUE nature of God—that He loves us deeply and will never let us go through anything that can’t be worked out for our own good in the end. That He has rescued us before and He will do it again. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need that hope!

What do you use as these “reminders?” A ring or bracelet? A tattoo? A poster on the wall? A big rock in your front yard? Whatever would serve as a good reminder to you of how God has intervened in your life in the past, I recommend having one on hand at all times. He’s brought you this far and won’t ever leave you. Don’t give yourself a chance to forget His love and power that is at work within you.