Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Family, Friends, and John Mary Cookies

Dear Readers,

The theme song of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is almost constantly in my head these last few days. It goes like this.

“Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of year…”

I’ll bet you couldn’t keep from singing it, could you? Dee, my wife, calls it an “ear worm”, a song that you constantly keep singing in your head.

If you’re like me you have songs, traditions, and memories that pop up at Christmas time and throughout the year.

Marlene, my sister, made me some John Mary Cookies for Christmas. She made them because she knew how much I like them. But there is much more than just the taste that draws me to them. There are memories attached. Memories of Mom rolling them out on a metal pan, baking them, cutting them into squares, and then placing them in a big container separated in layers by wax paper.

Usually all of us like fresh, warm baked cookies. But John Mary Cookies, on the other hand, get better with age. I’m not sure why, but biting into the gooey molasses and raisin laden cookies is more of a treat several weeks after baking than hot off the pan.

I’m thankful for “memory worms” if you can call them that. Mom and Dad are no longer with us, but with songs, traditions, and memories Mom, Dad, and many other family members and friends seem a little closer to us.

See you next time,


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reunion Time is Coming!

Dear Readers,

I think one of the most touching scenes in the thirteen book Left Behind series came in “Kingdom Come”, the final book. It came after the scene of judgment of those who had rejected Jesus, which was very sobering and sad. The ground literally opened up and swallowed them. Then Jesus recognized and rewarded the Old Testament saints with wonderful rejoicing. The martyrs during the tribulation were next with Jesus placing crowns on their heads for their perseverance and suffering. They literally surrounded Him for a time of worship and praise.

But for me the most touching time was at the end where Jesus brought together the saints and their loved ones in a great reunion. It’s hard to explain the emotion I felt. I am somewhat a softie when I watch movies with happy endings, although I try to hide my tears. But this happy ending went much deeper.

Many of my family members and friends have died. They’re a part of my story, but they are no longer a part of my life, except in memories. Do they just stop existing? Or do they go somewhere? Are they in a state of limbo, or are they in a state of anticipation of a happy ending, just like me?

I’ll come right out and say it. I don’t need to hide it any longer. I bawled like a baby! Lord willing I have a long time on this earth to make an impact for Christ and to be a part of many others coming to know Him. But I know reunion time is coming!

See you next time,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thoughts About the "Left Behind" Book Series

Dear Readers,

I just finished the entire “Left Behind” book series. Some might argue that the series acts to confuse people, and that there is too much about Revelation and the Old Testament prophecy scriptures that we don’t even come close to understanding.

Without trying to debate the merits or demerits of the series, what I want to do is to tell the story of how I “felt” about the series before, and after.


  • I have always been drawn to dramatized stories, whether they are true or fiction. This includes stories about prophecy, both in books, or in movies. I always think there is something to be gained from imagining what might have occurred in the past, or what might occur in the future.
  • I don’t think that fictionalized, or even biographical sketches, can fully portray a story. They only give glimpses of what might have happened in the past, or what might happen in the future. I think using one’s imagination is almost always a good thing, and would be supported by Jesus’ using stories with word pictures to get points across to his listeners.
  • I think I’m more aware of the spiritual, supernatural side of life. Jesus often talked about the spiritual part of living, He said in Mark 13:26-27, "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” A person in his finite thinking can hardly imagine such an occurrence.
  • I have a greater sense of urgency to reach others with the great news of Jesus Christ, before it's too late!

I think the authors of the Left Behind series took creative license to say how things might occur. Things like bombs passing through airplanes without hurting the “remnant”…or men, women, and children running over seventy miles per hour to reach Jesus in Jerusalem might...or might not, be a little farfetched. But it’s fun to think about.

See you next time,


Monday, December 2, 2013

Compton, Funk & Wagnalls...and the Bible

Dear Readers,

I love encyclopedias. As a youth my parents bought a set of Compton's. They had only black and white pictures, but I remember the wonderful feeling of pulling them out of the bottom shelf of our bookcase, turning the crisp glossy pages, and going to faraway lands in my mind I would likely never go in person.

I remember how excited I was when in the 1970’s our local IGA store offered Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia. Each week after purchasing some groceries I paid a small additional amount and got one book of the set. I was so proud when I had my own complete encyclopedia set for just a fraction of the cost of the Encyclopaedia Britannica or the World Book Encyclopedia.

Funk & Wagnalls was the poor stepchild to the other two big brothers on the block. A set of the big two weighed well over 100 pounds, and my little Funk & Wagnalls set weighed about 70 pounds at the most. But to me the feel of a set of new hard bound edition books, no matter the version, with the crisp glossy pages, and the enormous amount of information in them was a feeling I will always relish.

In Psalm 119 I identify some of those same feelings I had when looking at an encyclopedia. The psalmist repeats over and over again the wonder and magnitude one has of looking at a book with its words, ideas, and the ventures into past, present, and future lands…the Bible.

See you next time,