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I took the road less traveled,
and that has make all the difference.

My wife, two daughters and I recently spent a weekend in the mountains of Oaxaca.  We had a great time and took lots of pictures. I was looking at the pictures the other day and one particularly stood out for me. The one above. A lonely, rarely used road that we came upon on one of our hikes. It reminded me of the Robert Frost poem –

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I remember reading that poem in high school. After reading the poem I thought that in my life, I would like to take the road less traveled.

I grew up in a Christian family. We went to church three times a week.  I decided to follow Jesus at an early age. That was my first step on the road less traveled. Jesus said in Matthew 7 that wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Few choose that path. In a sense, the Christian road is a road less traveled.

But as I went to church week after week and year after year, I began to notice that everyone around me had more or less the same life; were on the same road. They all had more or less “American middle class” jobs, lived in “American middle class” houses and drove “American middle class” cars. It seemed to me that everyone was on the “American middle class” road. Hardly a road less traveled. It seemed more like a 12 lane highway and  the whole world seemed to be beating a path to join the crowd on the “American” road.

Fortunately we went to a church that stressed missions and regularly had missionaries come visit and share about what the missionary life was like. They regaled us with stories of making long treks to reach indigenous tribes in dark jungles and preach the Good News of what Jesus had done for them and that by believing in Him, they could live happy, abundant, lives.

Those stories made a deep impression on me. The missionaries were definitely  on the road less traveled. They had a faith in God that I rarely saw, and a trust in Jesus that enabled them go where few had gone, and do important things that few people were doing.

So I decided to go to Bible College and study missions, so that I too could be a missionary and travel that road.

Studying that life I became sorely disappointed. I learned that missionaries have to get bucket-loads of cash before they could even leave America, and then every four years come back to America to get more cash. I wanted to go to a foreign country, live there permanently, and trust God to provide for my needs. I came to the conclusion that I must not be cut out for that particular less traveled road.

I lived many years in the good ole USA , travelling the “American” road and was never satisfied that this was the road for me, but not knowing what to do about it. Thank God I discovered Foundation for His Ministry and a missionary road that suits me just fine. FFHM operates homes for needy children in different parts of Mexico. I visited the first one they established in the Baja peninsula of Mexico. It was incredible. They not only took in poor, abused, abandoned children and fed them, schooled them, loved them and shared with them about the love of God, but they also fed and clothed the hungry and oppressed in nearby agricultural work camps. They also did a lot of evangelistic outreach to children and adults in those camps. They also had a medical clinic that treated sick people for free.

I learned that each volunteer or staff worker received a monthly stipend, along with a place to stay and meals. “What more could a dedicated Christian who wants to do God’s work need?” I thought.

 I made many trips in the following years to help out as best I could, always thinking that one day I would not have to leave, but would be a permanent part of this marvelous organization. One day I would be on the road less traveled that I had always dreamed of and never get off.

FFHM started a new work in the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca, and I was at a place in my life where I could say, “Adios” to the ” American ” broad highway, and be fully engaged on the road less traveled. I sold or gave away everything that would not fit in my Toyota Corolla and headed south.

That was fifteen years ago, and I have never been happier. My decision to take the road less traveled has indeed made “all the difference.”

Writing this, I have no intention to denigrate or put down all those Christians in America who are following their own road less traveled and are doing incredible, innovative things to make a huge difference in millions of hurting lives. I am simply giving an account of my own Road Less Traveled, and hope to encourage others who might be stuck in a rut on the Main Street of life to consider what joys God may have in store for them if they strike out on their own Road Less Traveled. Thanks to all the supporters of FFHM who travel their own little road and faithfully make donations and sponsor the children, the poorest of the poor, in Mexico, so that one day, these kids can also follow God’s road less traveled. Without faithful donors, this endeavor would not be possible.

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One picture of sin we get from the New Testament is an archer shooting an arrow at at target and trying to hit the bullseye, but missing every time.  Sin is missing what we are aiming at; missing the goal; being short of the mark.  An important question comes to mind, what is the bullseye. What is the mark we are trying to hit?  Some theologians say say “Holiness”.  The Bible says that we are to be Holy as God is Holy.”  Like that is ever going to happen! We definitely come up short there.

Others quote the scriptures that say we are to “love God with all our being and love our neighbors as ourselves” .  Once again, not gonna happen. Our default mode is to hate God and despise our neighbor!

As I have been pondering the question, I have come to the conclusion that Happiness is the bullseye that every human is trying to hit. I believe that God loves us and wants us to be happy! He has hardwired our brain to desire happiness above all. That’s what humanity is aiming for, striving to achive, wanting to experience. But most people miss the mark, at least in the long run.  In essence, they sin. Why? Well that’s the ironic thing. It’s because they want to be happy.

Let me explain. Just like most things in life, there is a right way and a wrong way. There is a right way to be happy and and a wrong way.  There is immediate gratification happiness, which is many times the wrong way, and there is Bible Happiness which is the right way and leads to eternal happiness.

I like to think of happiness as a computer game. Back in the day, a long time ago in a land far away, I used to make computer games. All my games naturally came with instructions. If a player read the instructions and paid close attention to them, then he or she was more likely to slay the evil enemy, gather heaps of treasure, and be happy.  The opposite was true if the player didn’t read the instructions. He or she would be frustrated, defeated and die poor and needless to say, be unhappy.

I’ve begun to look at the human being, the human brain as a Happiness Game, that God created. Like I say, He loves us and wants us to be happy! We are a Happiness Game and God gave us instructions to win the Happiness Game. It’s called the Bible. Here are some principles from the Bible to win Happiness.

I think a key verse is Romans 3:22-24.  “Righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and everyone is justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (  My loose paraphrase)

Righteousness is living in right relationship with God. True and abiding happiness is impossible without this. Everyone has attempted to be happy without righteousness and has failed and has fallen short of the glory of God. God is glorified when people are happy, living in right relationship with him. We are able to live in right relationship with God through justification, grace and redemption through Jesus Christ.

Here are a few other basic principles to “winning the Happiness Game –

1. We face three fearsome enemies in this game – The World, The Flesh, and The Devil. I mentioned earlier that many times we are not happy because we want to be happy. What I mean by that is that the three fearsome enemies sneak up on us and offer us a fake, short term happiness that in the long run makes us sad, miserable, suffering creatures. So, rule number one, avoid The World, The Flesh and The Devil.

2. Realize you are a Loser! (Many of the principles to winning the Happiness Game are antithetical to normal computer games) To be happy we must realize that we can never be truly happy on our own, using our own abilities, trusting our own smarts.  The Bible instructions say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways look to God for guidance” and you will be happy .

3. Love your human enemies. We should hate and fight against the World, the Flesh and the Devil, which are spiritual enemies, but love all humans, even those we consider enemies. As I mentioned above, this is one of those principles that goes against common thought. In most computer games you hate your enemies and try to spill their blood. In this game you must forgive your enemies; help your enemies; pray for your enemies, if you want to be deeply happy.

4. Be a Transformer. Romans 12 tells us not to be conformed to this World, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We renew our minds by meditating on the instructions, the Bible. Doing this we learn the significance of concepts like Grace, Justification, Redemption, World, Flesh and Loving our enemies. The more we understand these Biblical Truths, the happier we will be.

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Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:11

The Jews who lived at the time when Jesus was born were waiting for a savior. They had been oppressed and subject to foreign rule for over 400 years. The prophets who lived back in the day, back in the glory years, told of a time when the rebellious nation of Israel and the kingdom of Judah would fall to other rulers as punishment for their disobedience to God’s law. But they also told of a Savior who would come and rescue them one day.

So they waited and waited and endured the pagans who ruled over them, mistreated them, and taxed them heavily. But no true Savior appeared to deliver them. To save them. A few wannabe saviors rose up and led the people for short periods of time, but it always came to nothing. And while some of the Jews surely gave up on the idea of a Savior, others kept holding on to the dream; hoping and waiting.

One day an angel appears to Joseph in a dream. We all know the story. Joseph felt himself in need of a savior, because he was in a real pickle. His fiance, Mary, was pregnant, and the child inside her wasn’t from him.

“What to do? What to do?” Joseph must have been thinking and I imagine it took awhile until he fell into a fitful sleep that night.

The angle told him to take Mary as his wife because what was conceived in her was from the Holy Spirit. He was told to give the baby boy the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means The Lord Saves.

Well, this isn’t exactly the kind of saving that Joseph was hoping for. As a matter of fact, this wasn’t the kind of saving that the Jews were looking for either. According to the angel, this “savior” would not liberate Israel from foreign oppression and restore it to its former glory, but would “save his people from their sins.”

What kind of savior is that? They already had forgiveness of sins through sacrifices of animals in the temple. Isn’t that enough?

Not really. While they had forgiveness of sins, they weren’t saved from their sins. A greater power was oppressing them than Caesar Augustus. An unrelenting tyrant called Sin had enslaved them; not since the days of the Babylonian Exile from Israel, but since the Exile from Eden.

Because of the Savior growing in Mary’s womb- the Savior that would be laid in a manger in Bethlehem- the Savior who would die on a cross- and the Savior that would rise from the dead and walk out of a tomb, all of God’s people would be saved from a fate worse than physical death – that would be spiritual death.

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:

As for you, you were dead in in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (verses 1 and 2)

Sounds pretty grave and hopeless, but then the Savior came!

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in sins – it is by grace you have been saved. (verse 4)

This Christmas let us rejoice in the Savior who has saved us from Sin and raises up with Christ in the heavenly realms!

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I recently read the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians. I’ve read it many times. It is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Every time I read it, something new stands out. This time I was struck by Paul’s use of the word Christ. He uses that title for Jesus over and over. 38 Times in this short, four chapter book. He uses the word Christ more than he uses the name Jesus.  When we study the Bible, one of the first questions we should ask ourselves is “What did these words mean to the person that wrote them?” So, what did Paul have in mind when he wrote the word Christ? What is his concept of Christ?

We have to remember that Paul was thoroughly Jewish. His concept of almost everything was informed and shaped by what we call the Old Testament or, more accurately, the First Testament. The word we read as Christ, comes from the Greek word Khristos, which comes from the Hebrew word khriein, which means to anoint, translating the Hebrew masiah or Messiah. Paul was totally steeped in the Hebrew language, and every time he wrote the word Christ, he was probably thinking of the Hebrew word khriein or masiah.

The picture of someone being anointed in the O.T. is someone having olive oil poured on their head. This was a sacred rite reserved for three types of people: prophets, priests and kings.

The prophet Elisha was anointed by Elijah (1Kings 19:16).

The first priest, Aaron, was anointed by Moses (Exodus 29:7).

King David was anointed by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:1,13)

Most of the O.T. Prophets spoke and wrote about an anointed One that was to come. One that would restore peace, prosperity and wholeness to his people, his Chosen Ones. This person was commonly referred as the Messiah.  This Messiah was sometimes referred to as a great prophet, or a priest, or king, like King David.

Most of the post exilic Jews longingly looked for, prayed for, and hoped for this Messiah. Paul was no exception. He fervently and zealously awaited the Messiah and did everything in his power to bring about the soon return of this exalted Prophet, Priest and King.

There was always the questions among the Jews, “When would the Messiah come? ” “What was taking him so long?” What was the cause of his delay? “

 The more zealous of the Jews, like Paul, thought they had the answer.  It was the Jews own fault. The Jews that didn’t take the law of God, or the Torah, seriously enough. They failed in so many areas of keeping the Law.  They were lax in their commitment to and obedience of the Law.  If only these slackers could be convinced or coerced to do better, that would surely hasten the Messiahs  appearance and rule and liberate the people from the despised Roman oppression.

And then there was The Way.  The Way was a group of Jews who proclaimed that the Messiah had come in the person of a man named Jesus. Not only was he the Messiah, but they claimed he was the Son of God.  Blasphemy! Obvious blasphemy!  This Jesus was shown to be a fraud and a heretic and hung up on a cross to die.  The Law said, “Cursed is any man hung on a tree!” This man Jesus was not the blessed Messiah, but a man cursed by God to die a humiliating death. Perhaps if there was one main reason the true Messiah would not come soon, it was due to the rabble called the Way, and Paul set out to do something about it!

He set out toward Damascus to persecute, jail, and maybe kill some of The Way, as those zealous for the Torah did to Stephen, one of the Way’s leader’s.  On the road to Damascus, a strong light and a voice from heaven caused Paul to fall to the ground. The voice called out to Paul, “Why are you persecuting me!”

 Paul said, “Who are you?”

 The voice from heaven basically said, “I am Jesus, the Messiah.”

 After that, Paul’s world was never the same.  It was turned upside down and inside out. Indeed, the Messiah had come. Paul had to admit it. And he was glad. The long foretold  and divinely sent Prophet, Priest and King had truly come.  That fact totally transformed and revolutionized Paul’s outlook and worldview.

Paul’s new mission in life would be to proclaim the Good News that the Messiah, the Christ, had really come to earth to set up a new kind of kingdom, one that gave sight to the blind and set the captives free! Paul could now see the truth and live in true freedom! He was now living in right relationship with God and was filled with joy and peace.  And it was all due to the Messiah, Christ Jesus!

We are in the Advent season. Advent is a time of hopeful expectation. Paul spent the first part of his life in hopeful expectation, waiting for the Messiah to come. He spent the rest of his life rejoicing that the Messiah had come. In this period of Advent, we too can rejoice with Paul and be glad that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, has come, and because of that we are a new creation, living in His love and loving others.

Advent is also a time to remember that we are living in the Already, but Not Yet. We already are experiencing the blessings of being Kingdom dwellers, but the Kingdom is still growing and not yet complete. We already have that peace that surpasses all understanding, but we do not yet have world peace. We already have a new life within, but we are not yet free from pain and suffering; we have not yet had every tear wiped away by the gentle hand of Jesus.

We are still waiting for the Messiah. We are waiting for his return. When he comes he will not come as a baby in a manger, but as King of kings and Lord of lords, coming with the blast of a trumpet on clouds of glory. This time he will not be humiliated and crucified, but will rule with justice and righteousness and every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

Maranatha – Come quickly!

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The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9

I recently listened to a podcast sermon by Timothy Keller on the Lord’s prayer, specifically the first two words, “Our Father”.  He was preaching about the incredible blessings we have because God is our Father. He talked about the inheritance we have because God is our Father. Normally the father must die before one receives the inheritance, but with God, we receive the inheritance when we die. And that inheritance is mind blowing. It is really difficult to understand how great it is.  Keller used two examples to try and explain it, as it relates to our earthly life and how it should shape and inform our view of heaven and our inheritance.

In one of his illustrations he asked his listeners to imagine that they had a trillion dollars in a Swiss bank account. Then he said to imagine that you are pick pocketed and lose 5 dollars. What would your response be? Would you fret and moan and feel despondent because you lost 5 dollars?  No. You probably wouldn’t give it a second thought because of your huge Swiss account.

Keller reads the Romans 8 verses and says that’s what we should think about anytime something bad happens to us. Even when tragedy strikes in some way.  We shouldn’t be too concerned about it, because of our eternal inheritance. It is not even worthy to be compared to the glorious bliss and eternal happiness and joy that awaits all Believers when they get to heaven.

In another example he mentioned the word molecule. I do not exactly remember what he said about “molecule” .  But it got me to thinking about how small a molecule is. Perhaps what Keller was getting at is that no matter how big our problems seem to be, in reality they are as small as a molecule compared to the glorious riches and peace and hilarious joy we will experience in heaven when we are in the direct presence of God.

I thought of another example on my own. While it’s not as good as Keller’s, it helped me sharpen my perspective on this matter. I thought of the sun. The sun is huge. The sun is incredibly hot. Sometimes the painful experiences we have to endure seem as big and as hot as the sun. We wonder how we can ever survive the terrible situation we are going through. We cry out to God, “Why?” We scream, ” Help me! ”  We trust he is with us, walking beside us in some cases, carrying us in others, as we go through burning turmoil.

Perhaps God is also asking us to have some perspective. Our sun is a star, one of trillions in the universe. Our sun seems huge to us, but it  is only average size compared to the multitude of stars that fill the sky. Likewise, the horrific situations that we may be enduring, are nothing that overwhelm our omnipotent Lord. They are a shock to us, but didn’t catch God by surprise. And he assures us with his Word, that they are not worthy to be compared with what we will experience in our eternal glory that awaits.

So far we have been contemplating how to think correctly about all the negative life experiences we go through, but I would like to look at the other side of the coin. I believe C.S. Lewis somewhere wrote to his readers that they should imagine a happy time. A supremely joyous experience that they could enjoy in their lifetime. He doesn’t say think about a time when you were really happy, but imagine the happiest event that you can possibly dream of.  Lewis says that that imagination, that that blissful dream, cannot compare to the reality of the joy, peace and wholeness that we will have We we receive our glorious inheritance in Christ Jesus.

Meditating on these scriptures has helped me look at my own life experiences and expectations. It helps me to soberly consider the highs and lows that I either rejoice in or endure, and realize that no matter what, none of it can come close to comparing to the happiness I will enjoy when I am in the eternal presence of my good, good Father.

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Who doesn’t want to be be peacefully happy? All the time. In every type of circumstance and situation. I think we all know at least one person who is always serene and smiling, no matter what they are going through. And we want to know, “What’s their secret?”

The Apostle Paul was that kind of guy. Always full of joy. Always rejoicing. He wrote the book of Philippians. In this book he tells his readers to rejoice always. He tells them this because he knows it’s possible. He is living proof. He writes this letter that is so full of joy and hope, from a prison, while in chains (1:14), and he is rejoicing. (1:18)

So Paul, what is your secret? What is the secret to living a life of peaceful happiness.

Paul writes in chapter four, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”

The definition of “content” is “the state of peaceful happiness”. And there is a secret to attaining that state of mind – that state of being. It is not something that just happens to a person one day. It is something we need to learn. Something Paul needed to learn.

Paul wasn’t always peacefully happy. At one time in his life he was a religious zealot, full of anger and condemnation at all those around him who were not living up to the high standards of the Torah, the law. It was bad enough all those Jews who were lax in their obedience to God’s Holy Word, but then come the Followers of the Way, who were proclaiming the Messiah had come, and his name is Jesus.

Paul set out to destroy them and their belief in this false Messiah. Paul writes to the Philippian Christians that he had learned to be content; he had learned to be peacefully happy, and that education began on the road to Damascus, where he had a life changing encounter with Jesus, the Messiah.

The first key to unlocking the secret of a life of peaceful happiness is having a life changing encounter with Jesus. It’s usually not as dramatic as a bright, shining light and an audible voice from heaven, as Paul experienced, but it is a deep and meaningful revelation of the truth that God loves you and wants you to be happy. It’s an understanding that Jesus, the Son of God, humbled himself by coming to earth as a human baby, served humanity, died on a cross to forgive our sins, and rose to life so that we could live in right relationship with God and with our fellow human beings.

The second key to living in a state of peaceful happiness is found in Philippians chapter 2. Paul says that we should be like Jesus in his humility, in his servant attitude. He says we should do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but, in humility, should value others above ourselves. (2:3-8)

That can be mighty difficult in the competitive world that we live in. We are taught from a young age to win, to be the best, to get ahead. Our pride tells us to look down on others, climb over others, bury others. Indulging in all that” getting ahead” stuff usually leads to sad, angry lives, rather than happy, peaceful lives. Jesus says that we should “love one another as we love ourselves.” That includes valuing others above ourselves. Doing that is freeing, invigorating and enlightening.

The third key that opens the door to a lifestyle of peaceful happiness is thinking. Think, think, think. Paul admonishes the Philippians, and all believers, in chapter four to Think about whatever is true. Think about whatever is noble. Think about whatever is right. Think about whatever is pure. Think about what is lovely. Think about whatever is admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. When we think about these things, the God of peace and the peace of God will be with us (4:7-9)

This is an important key. If we primarily think good, happy, peaceful thoughts, we will live good, happy peaceful lives.

This is also a difficult key, because in our world we are conciously and unconciously thinking negative thoughts, or unproductive thoughts. We think alot about family, our job, our financial situation. Sometimes we think about politics and the news. With social media we think more and more about what other people think about us. We are bombarded by advertisements that try to get us to think that we will really be happy if we buy what they are selling.

Paul tells us that thinking good thoughts is the secret to peaceful happiness. That can be hard work, and not necessarily fun or exciting. It’s a learning process. Paul says twice that he had to learn it.

If someone wants to be a doctor, they have to spend a lot of time learning medicine. If someone wants to be a lawyer, they need years of studying law. To be a great chef, you go to a culinary academy and recieve instruction in cooking and baking. It takes a lot of time to be good at anything. Same with living a life of peaceful happiness. We need time, alone time in silence, normally, to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

So, as I read Paul and his letter to the Philippians, I see three main keys to enjoying a lasting state of peaceful happiness:

  1. Encountering Jesus and establishing an intimate relationship with him and our heavenly Father.
  2. Having a humble attitude like Christ had when he came to earth and lived and died among us. In humility, valuing others above ourselves. As C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.” Think about God and others more.
  3. Take time to think about the good things of God, His Word, His creation and His love. Those things that are right, true, pure, noble and excellent.

When we consider the situations, circumstances, and difficulties of our lives, we can ask ourselves, “Am I truly peacefully happy, deep down inside?” If the answer is no, then perhaps we should look at the three keys above and make some changes in our lives, knowing that God will help us because he loves us and wants us to be happy.

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My Mom died Thursday, October 17, 2019. Just a couple weeks ago. My family and I flew out to Colorado from Mexico for the funeral service. Below is a tribute I wrote in memory of Mom for the service.

Mom, Wonderful Mom

My Mom was a lot of wonderful things.

She was a rescuer.

One of the earliest memories I have is when I was about four or five years old and I was climbing a tree in our backyard, back when we lived in Denver. I fell out of the tree, but didn’t fall all the way to the ground because my foot got in a crook of the tree and I ended up hanging helplessly upside down. I yelled, “Mom, help me!” She came right away and rescued me from my unfortunate predicament.

Another time, when I was about the same age, I went downstairs to our freezer for something. It was full of frost, which to a five year old kid looked a lot like a giant Popsicle, so I licked it. Much to my surprise, my tongue stuck to it. It’s kinda hard to yell, “Mom, help me!” when your tongue is frozen to a hunk of frost. Whatever noise I managed to make, mom heard it and came to my rescue. That’s the thing about wonderful moms – they have a habit of coming to the rescue of their kids.

Mom was also a gardener. She always loved growing flowers and vegetables. We came out to visit in July of 2016, and I remember Mom out every morning watering and weeding her little flower garden in front of the house, or tending to her vegetable garden off to the side. Sometimes the jack rabbits would come into her garden and eat her plants, which drove her crazy. She kept telling Dad to get his gun and kill them, and she declared that if he didn’t, she would. I have to chuckle a little, thinking of Mom out with the .22 taking pot shots at rabbits. In one of the last emails I received from Mom, she attached some photos of the flowers she enjoyed so much. I love gardening at least as much as Mom did, and I am growing some zinnias and sunflowers at the Home for Needy Children in Mexico where I serve. I took a few pictures of my flowers and meant to send them to Mom, but got too busy and never sent them. A word of advice – never get so busy that you don’t send flower pictures to your Mom.

Mom was a Bronco fan. Every Sunday after church and after eating a delicious meal, we would gather around the TV to root, root, root for the Broncos. More often than not the Broncos would disappoint us with a losing effort. They weren’t so good back in those days. Nevertheless, we would tune in the following Sunday hoping for a big win. The last email I received from Mom, she told me that she was able to go to sleep happy, because the Bronco’s FINALLY won a game. I can’t help but think that it was one of God’s small graces that Mom died Thursday morning and didn’t have to endure that terribly poor performance by the Bronco’s that night.

Most importantly, Mom was a woman of God. I don’t know what day I was born on, but I bet if I was born on a Saturday, she would have had me at church the next day. She had that kind of commitment to the things of God. Growing up we were in church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. Every morning when Mel and I were growing up, Mom would read a devotional to us while we ate our Cheerios and Captain Crunch. Every night when we were young she would read us a Bible story from a childrens Bible Story book she bought. Sometimes she would let us choose a story. I always chose the Samson story. I loved that story.

We all came to faith in Jesus Christ because of Mom. Because of her diligence, perseverance, and faithful prayers for us, Dad, Mel and me are serving the Lord. There’s nothing more powerful than the prayers of a devoted mother for her family. My past – growing up in the Faith, and my present – serving God at a Home For Needy Children in Mexico, and my future – one day being in the immediate presence of God in glory, and being reunited with Mom, are all because of my wonderful Mom.

Some people take their Mother’s kindness, goodness and love for granted. That’s not good. Many of the children at the Home for Needy Children are there because their mother’s have abandoned, neglected or abused them. I thank God everyday for my Mom, I think of Jesus who loved us and gave himself for us. It reminds me of my Mom who loved me and gave herself for me, and for her family and many others along the way.

One of my favorite Christian songs has a line that says, “I am blessed beyond all measure.” Thanks to Mom, I can look back on my life and I can say with confidence that I, too, am blessed beyond all measure.

Thanks Mom.

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