What is Certain?

Recently I’ve been thinking about the saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” I’ve been thinking about how untrue that statement is. There are so many more things that are certain, just as certain as death and even more certain than taxes.

So, today, on the eve of the memorial service for a precious saint, I am pondering what I am sure of. I pray it will bless your soul, as it has blessed mine.

I am certain of God’s eternal existence. (Romans 1:19-20)

I am certain of the truth of God’s Word. (Luke 1:1-4)

I am certain that God formed me in my mother’s womb, and numbered my days before even one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

I am certain that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. (John 20:31)

I am certain that God will never forget me. (Isaiah 49:15-16)

I am certain of God’s unending love. (Romans 5:8)

I am certain of God’s boundless mercy and grace. (Hebrews 4:16)

I am certain of God’s abundant forgiveness. (1 John 1:9)

I am certain of God’s Almighty power. (Revelation 1:8)

I am certain of God’s great and daily faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

I am certain of the coming hope of heaven. (John 14:1-4)

I’d love to hear what you are certain of. Please leave me a comment. Let us encourage one another with the Word of Truth, Hope and Certainty. Let us choose to doubt our doubts, and doggedly believe our beliefs.

Enjoy this beautiful song by Ellie Holcomb “As Sure as the Sun.”

“As Sure As The Sun”

There is good news
There is good truth
That you could never change
No matter what you do

You are loved
More than you know
More than you could hope for
After everything you’ve done

As sure as the sun will rise
And chase away the night
His mercy will not end
His mercy will not end

There is good news
There’s a promise
That no matter where you go
You will never be alone

In the dark
In the doubting
When you can’t feel anything
O His love remains the same

As sure as the sun will rise
And chase away the night
His mercy will not end

Even through the night
Ohh…
Silver stars will shine
Hope of glory’s light
That will wake us once again

As sure as; the sun will rise
And chase away the night
As sure as the sun; will rise
His mercy will not end
His mercy will not end

The God of the Weak

God chose to send His angel personally to the shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night. “The angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”” (Luke 2:10)

God chose to send His own Son, Jesus, to be born of a young virgin girl named Mary. Her betrothed, Joseph, was no more than a carpenter. Jesus was wrapped in simple swaddling cloths and laid to rest in an animal trough, for there was no room for them in the inn.

Jesus chose poor fishermen to be His first disciples. The crowds were amazed at “the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men… And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 ESV)

Do you ever feel like God can’t use you, that you’re not smart enough, not famous enough, not good enough?

“Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:20-31 ESV)

Whither Thou Goest

I burst through the front door, “Hi, Grandma! I’m here.A pint-sized girl with a head full of curls, I looked forward to spending a week with my grandma on our family’s Iowa homestead.

“Hi, sweetie,” my grandma called back from the kitchen. “Make yourself at home. Don’t forget about the big can of V8 in the ‘fridge. I got it just for you.”

Even though I never liked V8 — Campbell’s Tomato Juice was my thing she bought a can for me every summer, looking forward to my visit. And every evening, I’d force myself to drink a glass, just to see the smile on her face.

The next morning, Grandma and I headed out for breakfast at Perkins in her rusted green pickup truck. Widowed at fifty-seven, my grandma hated to be alone. She and my grandpa had been married for just short of 40 years when he passed away from pancreatic cancer. Now my Grandma Norma ate out twice a day, whether by herself or with one of her lady friends. As we pulled out of the driveway and onto the gravel road that led into town, Grandma stealthily applied bright red lipstick to her thin lips. Suddenly, she burst into the first verse of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” in her strong, soprano voice. I joined in, off-key and happy. Grandma always told me that singing kept her awake, which I’m sure it did, but I knew she liked it, too.

Entering the comfortable restaurant, the cashier greeted us.Good morning, Norma. Is this the granddaughter you’re always telling me about?

Yes, Beth. This is Kim. She’s my companion this week, helping me out at the antique shop. This girl is fearless. She walks up to all the customers. And smart as a whip! She shows them around, rings up their bills and even makes their change! I don’t know how I manage the store without her.”

After downing a heaping platter of chocolate chip pancakes and a large glass of tomato juice, I headed out to the truck with Grandma for a quick trip to the bank. Wherever we went, Grandma greeted everyone with a charming smile, a pleasant word of encouragement and two listening ears. It seemed like she knew everyone, and I was proud that this was my grandma.

On our drive back to the farm, she reminisced about all the good times she and my grandpa had enjoyed together, working the farm, raising children, singing duets at church. She shared with me about a gentleman friend who’d recently courted her, going so far as asking her to marry him, but that she just could never love anyone like she’d loved my grandpa.

Opening the backdoor of her antique shop, we were greeted by the smell of paint thinner and the jingle of bells hanging from the doorknob. Grandma, never one to sit still, set right to work caning an old chair she had bought at one of many auctions. I, too, kept myself busy admiring the countless knickknacks covering every surface of the two-story converted barn, hoping for a customer to come in and make a purchase.

After our dinner trip to Perkins, Grandma and I made our way to the couch in her simple ranch-style home. We sat quietly side-by-side, my grandmother working on her latest cross-stitching project and me gazing at the walls covered with framed black-and-white photos of days gone by. My personal favorites were the 8 x 10 photos of my grandparents as two young lovebirds. I could’ve stood there for hours. Their eyes simply oozed with love for one another. I thought, “Someday, I want to love somebody like that.”

And one day, a dozen years later, I got to put into practice those lessons in friendliness my grandma had taught me. Needing directions to a nearby event, I walked right up to a handsome young man and introduced myself. Eight months later, when I married that special man who my eyes oozed with love for, my grandma pulled me aside and placed a framed cross-stitch in my arms. The words “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” were carefully handstitched next to a silhouetted bride and groom. Today, with our 25th wedding anniversary on the horizon, I’m thankful for a grandmother who taught me to be friendly to strangers and faithful to the one you love.

Dedicated to my grandma, Norma Myers.  This story has been submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul with hopes for publication.  You’re free to share it, but please link back here.  You can read my last two stories about my Grandma Norma here and here.

A Tale of Three Women

Let me tell you the story of three women: one named Doubter, one named Doer, and one named Faith. All three women had their fair share of sin, and all three women had their fair share of good deeds.

Doubter had no interest in God. She lived her life for herself, with little regard for morality or eternity. She made no effort to earn a place in the kingdom of God. Doubter thought faith in God was a crutch invented by the needy and foolish. She didn’t think she was so bad – she’d never killed anybody or anything. She figured if there was a god, he’d welcome her into eternity, because she was at heart a good person.

Doer, on the other hand, lived day in and day out in fear of God. Her life was filled with church activities. She attended a ladies Bible study and served at the homeless mission. Every week she read her Bible, prayed, and taught Sunday school. Doer worked hard to earn a place in the eternal kingdom of God. Yet, she could never trust God enough to accept the gift of salvation that Jesus was offering to her, finding it easier to trust in her own works to earn her own way.

And what about Faith? Faith, too, participated in plenty of church activities. Faith, also, read the Bible, prayed, and served the poor. But, Faith had a completely different heart than both Doubter and Doer.

Faith was not motivated by trying to earn God’s favor. She trusted that God was her good Father who loved her no matter what. She wanted to have a close relationship with her Father, so she followed Him wherever He led.
Faith lived in reverential fear of God, seeing His holiness and her depravity. She refused to be deceived into thinking she was a good person who deserved a spot in Heaven. Rather, Faith recognized her own brokenness and lived a life full of thanksgiving to God who rescued her. Faith trusted God to deliver her daily in the here and now, and in eternity.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV)

Which of these three women are you?

Do you see yourself in Doubter or Doer or Faith?

Which one do you want to be?

God is inviting you to receive a new name. How does Faith sound?

“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” (Revelation 3:12 ESV)