“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.”

Mandy Hale

 

“I tell you the truth, anything you do for the least of my people here, you also do for me.”

Matthew 25:40

 

I have taken hundreds of photos of flowers over the years, perhaps thousands. But, there’s a photo I took last summer, on a hike in Montana, of tiny pink bell-shaped flowers cascading down from somewhere high overhead, that still comes to mind every now and then.  

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6963-Edited_20170418-033908_1.JPG

 

I think the reason they cross my mind so often is their humble appearance.

 

Even if no one else stopped to notice them that day, those Twinflowers willingly bent low to bless anyone on the lookout for little love gifts such as these. They certainly blessed me.

 

But, for all their sweetness, few people would have noticed them, because looming large nearby, tall stalks of bright fuchsia-colored Fireweed and fiery red Indian Paintbrush eclipsed them. Tiny pale flowers clinging to rock’s edge are easily overlooked.  

As is often the case, it’s the bright showy blossoms that catch folk’s eyes.

 

That seems true of people too. We are often enamored by the bright, the beautiful, and the talented.

 

Perhaps that’s why the upstaged Twinflowers touched me so. And touch me still. Their humble presence reminds me so much of my Grandpa Simey…and of the Savior.

 

My gramps walked gently upon this earth of ours. He was unassuming. A man of few words. Whose love of God was lived out in humility. Caring. Generosity.  

 

His father died when he was six. At the age of ten he was sent to live in a boarding house where he worked for his keep. Skilled, but, not schooled, he became a machinist by trade. With carpentry skills to boot, he also built a few houses in his day. But, it wasn't these abilities that made him memorable.

 

It was what my grandpa did behind the scenes that is his true legacy. Growing up in poverty, he never forgot what it felt like to have nothing. Once, after reading a story about a family living in their car in his small-town newspaper, he went in search of them. When he discovered their whereabouts, he brought groceries, clothing and money to help tide them over.

 

When my grandpa died, over 700 people came to pay their respects. Story-after-story was shared by those who attended, telling of his generosity and gentle, unpretentious life of self-giving. Each one touched by God in some way by my Twinflower grandpa who, too, bent low to bless.

Continue reading

Growing up, I remember my dad hiding Easter eggs in the best of spots.

 

Inside the cabinet of our piano, on top of the ceiling fan blades, nestled in the strings of our basketball hoop, and scattered across our backyard in the mesh of leaves, dirt, and lawn furniture. And my brother, sister, and I would play like sleuths, elbowing each other for the biggest eggs, and each secretly hoping for another quarter to add to our piggy bank.

 

Now since my own toddler has come of age to participate in an Easter egg hunt, you can bet your bottom dollar it is on. My husband jokingly (but not so jokingly) left a stack of eggs on our kitchen table with these instructions: “So Oscar can practice. Try to get him to find the gold ones first—they have the biggest prizes.” Welcome to the inside of #andersonpartyof4.

 

Sometimes there are moments (like that) when it’s very easy to forget that Easter is more than just Cadbury eggs, bunnies, and brunch. As much as those marshmallow Peeps and straw bonnet hats have become holiday staples, those things have absolutely nothing to do with the origination of the first Easter 2000+ years ago.

 

But how can anyone keep the focus when all we’re hearing is the megaphone of the Parks Director before the big hunt or the blaring sales of Target’s Sunday ad to ring in the holiday? How do we expect to celebrate any differently if we eat our ham in silence and shove some toddler aside so our kid can be victor of all eggs? (Because, if we’re being real, those bloodbaths that are local egg hunts just are trouble.)

 

If we keep attending family gatherings without saying a word of prayer, pumping up egg hunts like it’s more important than the cross, and really, making it out to be anything other than Jesus, we are missing the mark. Missing the point.

Continue reading

b2ap3_thumbnail_study-at-night.jpg

 

I was determined to learn a new language, even if I was well past the age of a typical college student. But I found that I struggled retaining many pieces of information—from simple vocabulary to complex verb conjugations. My professor noticed my difficulty and gave me a simple suggestion, “Study right before bed,” he said. “Your brain functions well while you’re sleeping.”

 

After years of pulling all-nighters as a graduate student, I found this concept difficult to believe. But a recent sleep study published by Notre Dame found that studying before sleep had some significant memory benefits. The study tested college students who were divided into two groups—those who were given information to memorize at 9 am, followed by 10 hours of wakefulness; and those who were given information to memorize at 9 pm, followed by 10 hours of sleep. Those who studied the information and went right to sleep could recall that information 10 hours later and were even able to process complex information and processes while they slept. Those who studied that information during the daytime were less able to recall even simple formulas and vocabulary.

 

Could it be true? Could it be possible…that I just needed to study and then sleep? I could hear mothers across the country rejoicing…college students celebrating.  I thought I owed it to my professor to try it.

 

I started going through my language materials for about 30 minutes before bedtime. The plan was working! I began waking with the vocabulary still intact. I even conjugated a couple of verbs over breakfast.

 

If this could work for my vocabulary, what would happen if I applied this same technique to memorizing and understanding Scripture? If I filled my heart and mind with the truth of God’s Word—even just a snippet—could my mind process that information overnight so that I woke with a clearer understanding of who I was in Christ?

 

Continue reading

b2ap3_thumbnail_muslimphoto.jpg

 

According to a recent Pew Research estimate, there are about 3.3 million Muslims living in the United States. This provides a great opportunity for the body of Christ to reach out to our Muslim neighbors, friends and co-workers. 

 

This week on Connecting Faith, Jo Bender talks with Samya Johnson of Call of Love Ministries, who says we can’t forget to point people towards the heart of the gospel message and savior of the world.

 

Listen to a podcast of Jo's program by visiting http://myfaithradio.com/2017/ministering-muslims/ or by clicking here. 

 

Connecting Faith is aired every Friday afternoon at Noon on Faith Radio Network/KTIS Radio. You can listen at AM 900 / 90.7 FM here in the Twin Cities or online at MyFaithRadio.com

 

We will be posting Jo's weekly podcast here on Heart Matters Publishing. Enjoy the show!

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_9308.JPG

 

This very idea that we have individual homes in heaven is really neat... Mansions are the personal expression of this person in house form... Mansions are big and different and have friends like striped cats and furry dogs that you knew as a kid. 
—Josiah Cullen

 

It was bound to happen.

 

March is crazy busy for airline staff. Families are flying away from the cold, after-school activities, and homework to make memories in the sun. College students are putting even more distance between them and their parents with their newfound independence, while giving their brains a break from the workout the profs demand. And then there are all the charter flights for the March madness basketball teams.

 

Combine a busy flight schedule with a gal that goes full-speed ahead, sometimes ignoring the details, and it was bound to happen.

 

The plane had just landed from a flight from Minneapolis. My daughter, a flight attendant, joyfully welcomed the travel-weary passengers to their new destination. “Welcome to Florida everyone!”

 

…Only, she was met with stares, surprise and confusion instead of the smiles she was expecting.

 

Another stewardess hissed to her under her breath.

 

“Oh,” she corrected. “I mean, welcome to California!”

 

She looked back at the other flight attendants sheepishly. “Well that explains the mountains… When I heard we were going to Palm Springs, I just assumed Florida!”

 

Have you ever had that happen? 

 

You were planning on going here, but you end up there.

Continue reading
Tagged in: Eternal life