COMMUNICATION AND HOW OLD IS GRANDMA?

I received an email from a friend that told the story of a grandson talking to his grandmother about current events. The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general. In reply, the grandmother thought about what was different when she was a girl of about the same age as her grandson.

The list was extensive, but here are some of the things she listed for him …

I was born before:

  • television
  • polio shots
  • Xerox
  • contact lenses
  • Frisbees
  • credit cards
  • laser beams
  • ball-point pens
  • dishwashers
  • clothes dryers
  • space walk or space station
  • computer dating
  • day-care centers
  • group therapy
  • FM radios or tape decks
  • Videos, CDs or DVDs
  • electric typewriters
  • Pizza Hut
  • McDonald’s

The email story went on with many more examples of the differences and then she asked her grandson – “How old do you think I am?”

From my perspective, she was not very old!   She was born in 1952 … I would have been 4 years old when she was born!

House in Shrivenham, England
House in Shrivenham, England

The email was humorous when reading it but profound in its message … changes have come to us so rapidly that we have not been able to really adjust to one set of conditions before new situations are presented to us.   Take the iPhone for example; phones are hardly used for phoning someone anymore; they are computers, cameras, calculators, internet browsers, maps, and games and new generations of them are issued before we know how to use the one we have!  

Or consider the family.  Rarely do you find entire families in the same city or state. There are many families with children and grandchildren hundreds or even thousands of miles away from grandparents, a situation that was rare 60 years ago.  Each of the pictures in this post reflect just some of the locations where our children and family members have lived.

Coastline at Myrtle Beach, South Carollina
Coastline at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

As I was thinking about this email and the changes that have developed in such a short time, I looked through a box that my husband brought to the house after he cleaned out a storage room. When I opened it, there were a number of things that had been retained for no specific (or good) reason. But then I saw a large envelope and, when I peered inside, I saw numerous letters and cards that had been to me sent as an encouragement during a spiritual retreat 20 years ago.

I opened and read several but had to stop when tears made it too hard to read the handwriting. Reading words of encouragement written so long ago by loved ones and dear friends, many of whom are now with our Lord, blessed my heart and soul more than I had anticipated, and surely more than they could ever have expected. A loving gesture of writing and sending a note, that was discovered anew 20 years later, still had the power to evoke strong emotion and thankfulness to our Lord for the blessing of the friendship and thankfulness to them for taking the time to send the note in the first place.

Welcome sign at the Texas state line
Welcome sign at the Texas state line

Then I thought about how I communicate with others, today. The family is spread out over hundreds of miles. We send an e-card for birthdays, anniversaries, and general greetings. It is a reminder that we are thinking about them on their special day, and we may even type in a personal note, but that’s it. What about notes to family members, encouraging them and letting them know that, even from a distance, we love them and are thinking of and praying for them. That too is most likely an email.

Communication is easier today than it has ever been. But it is temporal and evaporates at the end of the day.

In Bible days, there was no email or e-card to alert people that David had instructions for the troops.  No, he sent a letter.  See 2 Samuel 11.   The King of Syria sent a letter to the King of Israel along with gold, silver and clothing when he wanted the man of God to heal his servant Naaman.  See 2 Kings 5.  When Nehemiah was rebuilding Jerusalem, he received numerous letters from his adversary, Sanballat.  Nehemiah 6.  Handwritten letters allowed communicating with those who were not with you physically.

Jefferson Monument in Washington, D.C.
Jefferson Monument in Washington, D.C.

This was true, also, in the New Testament. In Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas were sent to Antioch with a letter from the church leaders admonishing the people to listen to those being sent to them.

Paul often wrote a letter to one church and then directed that it be read by the other churches in the area also. The letter to the Colossians is an example of this:

And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

Colossians 4:16.

Letters were read and cherished by the people in the church and then sent on to the next church so that all were instructed, admonished, encouraged and strengthened by the Apostle’s words.

Moses commanded the people, when they left Egypt and the feast of unleavened bread was instituted:

You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.”

Exodus 13:8.

Coming into Albuquerque, New Mexico
Coming into Albuquerque, New Mexico

We are commanded, numerous times in Scripture, to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord and to tell them of how the Lord has guided and strengthened us during our lives.

Given this migration away from family togetherness, how do we communicate our faith to the children and grandchildren?

One way that we, in the 21st century, can communicate our faith with our children is by letters. It is easy to send texts and emails, and we can even Skype and see them, but perhaps, at times, we should return to the communication of Scripture and send some letters. Letters can be read, and reread, years or decades from now, after we are no longer able to communicate with anyone.  Perhaps we should send

  • Letters that tell of the Lord’s wondrous love for us.
  • Letters that describe the Lord’s guidance and strength during a hard time.
  • Letters of instruction and encouragement in the Lord, that say “It is because of what the LORD did for me when ….”.
  • Letters that witness to our love for Him and of our love for the recipient of the note.

May my life be an open letter of love for my Savior, and may I communicate that love to those within my sphere of influence in a way that is beautiful and pleasing to my Savior and in a way that will last, perhaps even beyond my own self!

Lord, give me wisdom as I try to communicate my love for You and my love for my children, parents, grandchildren, friends … help me to create a witness that will last and encourage those reading it to renew their focus on You, as You alone are to be glorified.

HAPPY 239TH BIRTHDAY, AMERICA – WE ARE PRAYING FOR YOU.

Yes, I know that today is July 5th and I am one day late for posting about our national celebration of independence – I should have posted this on July 4th.   But I couldn’t do it for a variety of reasons, the most significant of which was that I could not come up with a way to express my thoughts this Independence Day.

Patriotic Trifle
Patriotic Trifle

As a family, we have a proud heritage as Americans. My paternal ancestors came from Germany, and my maternal ancestors originated in England. I am a Daughter of the American Revolution, meaning that one of my ancestors fought in the war for our freedom from the English King. My mother’s sister enlisted in The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II and both of our fathers fought in that war, surviving by the grace of God so that we, their progeny, would have life and freedom from tyranny. Our son is currently serving in the USMC as well.

When I was a child, there was no need to discuss whether we could talk about God in school or in public arenas – America was identified as a Christian country; thus it was understandable that we would communicate with God, in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ. Today, if you hear the name of Jesus on the television, in music on the iPod, on YouTube, or out in public areas, it is likely being used as a curse and not as the name of our Lord and Savior.

The opening lines of the Declaration of Independence declares that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights,” and we were taught that this foundational document recognized that God was the underpinning of our nation. Today, the “all men are created equal” is much talked about by advocates for change and in the media, but the role of the Creator in our country’s founding is ignored.

I fear that this 239th birthday finds our country’s Christian foundation in serious trouble. Indeed, it seems as though we are trying to eradicate all vestiges of Christianity from its conscience so that America will be turned completely away from Christianity. The argument, in very simple terms, seems to be that, since the Constitution guarantees separation of church and state, the church and especially the Christian’s God must not enter into the equation for resolution of any issue, consideration of any question, or discussion of any policy for the nation, or even for the individual or family. Thus, there can be no prayer to God in schools or at the athletic competition; there are no Ten Commandments in public buildings. The Bible is not taught as a book containing the Word of God … it may be moralistic but so is Aesop’s Fables.

The argument continues that the Christian’s God is not necessary because we are Americans … we can go to the moon or create babies in test tubes. We are independent, fully sufficient for anything … God is simply irrelevant and a waste of time. He is not necessarily dead (a philosophy popular several decades ago) but we certainly don’t need Him around and we really don’t need to worship a deity that is irrelevant.

The building for the Supreme Court of the United States
The building for the Supreme Court of the United States

The catastrophic shift in the accepted point of view was illustrated by the Supreme Court’s recent decision about gay marriage. The decision was hailed as a progressive move by some and was received with saddened hearts by many others.

Symbols of Justice at The Supreme Court Building
Symbols of Justice at The Supreme Court Building

I am an attorney, and I know that a single fact can change the result of a case or the fashioning of the appellate argument can focus the bench in various ways, depending on the argument. Thus, I am not going to analyze or comment on the decision itself.

My difficulty in fashioning my thoughts about Independence Day is based purely on what appears to be the systematic removal of God from our nation’s life.

In an article published on July 4, 2015 in the Washington Post and various other media, including The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tennessee, Newt Gingrich countered “Five myths about the Founding Fathers.” The first myth noted is that our Founding Fathers wanted to have a secular nation. Gingrich cites several of our Founding Fathers who firmly believed that God was the foundation upon which this country rested.

The Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC
The Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC
  • Jefferson who asked: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”
The Washington Monument, Washington, DC
The Washington Monument, Washington, DC
  • George Washington who thought that religion was essential to supply a higher authority for the rule of law. In Washington’s Farewell Address he stated that “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
  • Alexander Hamilton wrote, “The politician who loves liberty … knows that morality overthrown (and morality must fall with religion), the terrors of despotism can alone curb the impetuous passions of man.” [My own translation of Hamilton’s quote is “when morality and religion are gone, so is freedom because we will have traded freedom for rule by a despot.]

I hate “gloom and doom” thoughts – I know my Lord is Sovereign. Even when I am confused and at a loss for words (which does not happen often, as you can see by the length of this post), He is in control and He has me in His hands, so I don’t have to worry!   But, watching my country turn its back on God is distressing.

In Jeremiah 11:14, when the people were being disciplined for trading God for the idols of the heathen societies around them, God instructed the prophet: “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.”

It appears that this is what America is in the process of doing/has done. So, what as Christians can we do?

PRAY!

This is not a cop-out or platitude – it is a call to action. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God says:

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

In James 5:16, we read:

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Prayers by the Christian sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, through His Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ, will accomplish much for our country.

The Presidential Prayer Team Seal
The Presidential Prayer Team Seal

For your prayer effort on behalf of our country, I would highly commend to you the Internet organization entitled Presidential Prayer Team. It is not a church and membership in their website is free. Here is a quote from their web page about PPT:

We are a national ministry dedicated to a focused mission of encouraging, inspiring and practicing PRAYER on behalf of our President, nation’s leaders and our troops. We also seek to be a catalyst in the development of a robust prayer lifestyle. We do this by finding and PROVIDING tools to encourage prayer – through email, web, mobile phones and other communication tools. Ultimately, we believe that prayer will TRANSFORM our nation, one heart at a time.

The website address is http://www.presidentialprayerteam.com/index.php. Please take some time and look at this website – it offers many historical insights about our country and God, and it identifies specific people and issues to be in prayer about for each day. If you feel led to pray for our country, you can sign up on this site and you will receive information to remind you to pray for America.

The Presidential Prayer Team notes that the Founding Fathers were not all Christians, but they “were firmly committed to biblical morality, to public prayer and praise, and to the conviction that God is the Creator of liberty.”

I challenge you to be a 2 Chronicles 7:14 praying Christian.

Blessings to you and our country.  May God bless America!