New Year’s Resolutions

Well, as you’re reading this, you must realize that this is the last day of 2017.  What a year it’s been!

I heard two good sermons today, one focused on Philippians Chapter 1, verse 6.  You’re all familiar with it and you probably have some memories attached to it, but it’s especially apropos on this the last day of the year.  “And I am sure that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Then the other sermon, by Tony at the Japanese church was about “God’s New Years Resolution”. Yeah, that’s what I thought, but he pointed out that God is not trying to forget the past failures and do better this time, but rather continue His constant ‘resolve’ to bring you to Himself.

Next week we hope to be down in the ‘outback’ visiting with our Daughter-in-Love’s family.  They live 30 miles beyond a town that the address includes “Via another even larger town’s name”. I doubt that you’ll get a blog post from me next week! ha

But wait! as we start this new year, I’d like to invite/inform you that Tony is doing a January DAILY post about our favorite pastor from Japan, Naoki Noguchi, and the insights he has to offer. While this series is for our local church, he’s had a lot of fun writing it and has included your name (if you’re on the email list) to receive a post every day.  If you don’t want to read it, don’t, and if you don’t even want to see it in your inbox, write us and tell us to take your name off the list.  If you’re reading this online, you can write us at tony@mywoods.net and ask to be included for the month of January.

As you’re reading this, we’ll be at some church member’s place ringing in the new year.  They have a very posh 2 story condo looking over about everything, so we should see some good fireworks. It’s steamy hot today so their multiple decks will be nice. I like the laid-back lifestyle of the Gold Coast; they have fireworks at 9PM!! (and again at midnight for the traditionalists).

God Bless! and Happy New Year!  Marsha

Merry Christmas!

OK all you people, I said I wouldn’t write this week, but here’s a little ditty I came across that spoke to me this busy season!

1 Corinthians 13

A Christmas Version

By Sharon Jaynes

With permission of Moody Publishers

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas and lots of love to you and yours!

What Are We Lookin At?

Dear Friends,

Well, if you’re as busy as we are, you’re probably not reading this!  I’ll keep it short.

The other day my grand boys arrived in a whirl, as they often do.  They were unexpected, which sent me into a dive, trying to hide unwrapped presents before they found them.  After they raided the cookie jar, I could see them casting around for mischief.

Not wanting to brag, but after 7 years, I have to admit that I may be getting to be more of a pro at this, as I was able to think on my feet for a change, and said, “Boys!  Would you please set up our nativity for us!”  We had purposely left one of the older, wooden ones out in harms way for them to be able to play with.

The first question, from the 6 yr old, was ‘Where’s the husband?’  I was busy and brushed the question aside as he pivoted on his heels and spun off to sort it out.  The older one long ago had lost interest when he found a ball.

The afternoon progressed, everyone had a nice but short visit and soon they scurried away (but not before a dip in the pool, as it’s been quite hot here).  As I was straightening up I glanced over at the nativity and laughed out loud.

ALL of the figures were huddled inside the tiny stable, shoulder to shoulder, and they were ALL obviously struggling to get a glimpse of the baby. The ‘view’ we got from the outside was just the polished backsides of a lot of wooden carvings.  No carefully staged lineup, just everyone from shepherd to king and even the ‘husband’with his own  priorities in the right place.

In Australia, we count time to something exciting by the number of ‘sleeps’.  As you read this, you will realize that you have only ‘8 sleeps’ till Christmas morning.  Have a wonderful time and keep your eyes glued to what’s really important!

And if you think of it, help the person next to you get a look.

We plan to have a quiet Christmas with family and a possible drive down to Kylie’s parents in the country for a nice ‘bush Christmas’.  Unless something really strikes me, I’ll probably give you a break for a couple of weeks.  You all have a REALLY BLESSED season, ya’hear?

Marsha

Saying Goodbye

This week, I realized a few things. Can you believe it was almost 20 years ago when we had to decide if we wanted to leave Japan, where we felt we had “grown up”, and move to continue working with Japanese in far, far away Australia. It was such a difficult decision that often I would get in the car, crank up the CD player and bawl my eyes out, listening to the then popular melody by Hillsong Australia, “The Power of Your Love”

One of the lines always jumped out at me, causing me to join in and yell out my grief with the lyrics,  “Hold me Close, Let your Love surround me!”  (I realize as I type this that it sorta sounds like a country western song), but this one is directed toward the Lord of our universe, of whom we occasionally need to be reminded of His love for us.  Here’s a link if you’re not familiar with the song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga6Qtxzd6vk

Last week our inarguably best friend here in Australia died.  He was a young 70 but unfortunately, thru gross misdiagnosis, he only knew he was sick for a couple of months and didn’t really feel the cancer that was taking him out until the last few days. Thankfully, his suffering was minimized, and we’ve got Alan’s wife, Beth, to credit for a lot of that. As a qualified nurse, she was right there at his side, making sure he was comfortable, staying in close touch with his doctors and staff, and knowing when it was time to call the family (in which she included us).

The last time we chatted with him, he was sitting up in his hospital bed and we discussed the differences between a ‘shovel’ and a ‘spade’, never imagining he would be gone in 24 hours.

That was Alan.  Quiet, non-obtrusive and humble to a fault, but all the while absolutely engaged with what was going on, especially when it came to the needs of people around him. As a certified electrician as well as a “handyman’s handyman” and accomplished administrator, he was always in demand: at our house, the church, anywhere we needed understanding or fixing.  Never waiting to be asked to do something, he just seemed to ‘sense’ when things were awry and before you knew it, he had them working again, whether it be mechanical, emotional or spiritual.

We had his ‘Celebration’ service this week, and it was standing room only. One couple even made their way back in from a camping trip two days into the Outback. Driving at 4:00 in the morning (a risky proposition in that part of the world), they hit a kangaroo and barely made it into town in one piece, but agreed that they wouldn’t have missed it.

Just as everyone was gathered in the church, the sanctuary lights began flickering and practically everyone murmured in one voice, “Oh, where’s Alan? We need him!”

The music began, and I immediately became totally unraveled. You guessed it, “The Power of your Love”…….Who would have thought that God would have let that song be picked, selfishly, I believe, just for me?  As I stood there, fighting back tears, and just wanting to cry out, “WHY?”….. I realized that the last time I remember singing this song, 20 years ago, I was feeling many of the same emotions. God really did wrap His arms around us back then, and it was no less evident now. Today I am SO SO thankful for two adult children with wonderful spouses and beautiful children of their own and most importantly, a love for the Lord that continues to sustain us all when we need Him most.

It has come back to me especially this week that none of us know really how much time we have in this life. When we retired and settled here, God provided good friends and we imagined “growing old” with them.
Tony always preaches that as long as you have a pulse, God has a purpose for you here on earth.  I guess Alan had accomplished what he was meant to do, but it’s going to be tough living without his pulse around here. It’s only in knowing he’s joined so many others who have gone before and is now at peace with our Savior that we’re able to carry on.
And so it’s with sad hearts that we enter this Christmas season… a time that should be the happiest time of all. But it’s less sad, knowing that because of Christ’s birth, we really do have a reason to rejoice after all.
On that happy note, we did have to smile as we watched our grandboys perform in their school Christmas programs.  Little Micah, only just two, stole the show with his dancing…….he takes after his daddy.   All three boys are officially on their summer break of seemingly innumerable weeks, so we’re looking forward to not having time for too much sadness.
In the words of Tiny Tim, “God Bless Us All”

Snakes and Jello

We had a dog once named Hershey.  She was a mini dashound.  We got her so that our little boys could experience ‘responsibility’. Hershey lived 14 years and during that time taught us a lot more than we ever wanted to know. But the lesson that was the greatest was lived out in the life she chose for herself.

In her defense, I need to tell you that after we got her as a puppy, we began to realize that something was all going wrong. Tony had had many dogs and me a few, and they were all trainable, reasonable, etc. Hershey, on the other hand was nice enough when you were around, but as the years played out, we realized that she was the worst dog we’d ever had, especially when we were gone.

And so we began to ‘check’ into her past. Very soon we found out that (this was in Japan,) her breed had only been in the country for a few years, so that necessitated inbreeding her ancestors in order to meet the demand for such a cute little dog.  We discovered this when looking at her pedigree and realizing that both her paternal and maternal grandmothers were the same dog!  To add to that, she had been ‘puppy milled’ and taken from her mother way too soon, giving her no life skills, such as coping and being secure when she was alone, which was often.

As a result, when we walked out of the door, she went from a lovely dog to what we casually called “Kujo!”  One time she pulled up the good part of a linoleum floor, ripped off a screen door, peed in more places than I can remember, and the list goes on.

And so, pursuant to her lifestyle, Hershey began to lose privileges right and left……….not because we didn’t like her, but because she couldn’t understand or obey the basic rules of the house.  I would like to say it had a happy ending but she unfortunately lived out the last several years of her life confined to the arc of a very short leash if we planned to be away for longer than a few minutes.

Actually a sad story, but….it became a great teaching tool as the kids reached the teenage years and all the exciting newfound freedoms.

Our byword to the kids as they started out the door was,  “Remember Hershey; she could have had it all if she’d just followed the rules”

And so we get to the much anticipated story of the “Thanksgiving murder” by Tony Woods.  I tell you this with some trepidation because after the event it was pointed out that we don’t do such things here in wonderful Australia……but Tony’s from Texas, so here goes:

I was carefully releasing a jello mold of particular anticipation, as it’s one of my annual ‘signature dishes’ for the Thanksgiving table.  We were eagerly hoping to see our 13 family members (4 or whom are actually our Woods family and staunch Americans”), when my phone rang.

I glanced at the caller ID and noticed that it was Tony……….the one I live with and whom I’d seen walking thru the house 5 minutes before.

With an exasperated huff, cradling the phone to my ear with my shoulder while being careful not to drop the mold, I answered, perhaps a bit crankily, “WHAT?”

“Uhh,” my macho man quivered. “Can you bring a shovel out to the garden, I’m holding down a Red Belly Black Snake by the tail and I’m afraid he’s not too happy about it!”

“Ok, but I’ve got to do this Jello thing first!” I countered…… to no answer.

I dropped the phone to the kitchen counter and said to myself, “I can’t believe he CALLED me.”

But then I thought, as I looked at the jello, “Well, a Red Belly Black Snake is, indeed, deadly poisonous, so maybe just this once I should make haste!”  I dropped the mold and headed out….taking time to slip on some flip flops. (It’s summer here, you’ll remember).

As I rounded the corner, there they were, scared Tony and mad snake in the bottom of the garden.  Tony instructed ME to hold the board that was holding the snake down while he positioned himself over the head.  I’ll have to admit, standing there, toes bursting out, just inches from fangs and fury was a bit daunting, maybe even worth a phone call.  All I could think of was the statistic that most snake bites occur in Australia when people are trying to catch or kill them.

As Tony did battle with a most unwilling to die snake, I finally began yelling, “Oh! Oh!  Stop!! That’s so mean!!”  Tony reminded me that a trip to the hospital would be worse than a failed jello mold.

Finally, after the tide of battle seemed to be moving away from the snake, I abandoned the board while Tony continued to make sure he wouldn’t be coming back for revenge. Returning to my jello mold I kept saying, “Poor snake, poor snake”…….

A few hours later we had a lovely dinner, but occasionally I’d think of the snake and say under my breath, “Poor snake”, until the next  morning when Tony reminded me of Hershey.

“It’s the same thing, really,” he mused.   “Hershey could have had it all if she’d have followed a few simple rules.  Same with the snake, I was happy to leave him alone, but he was making his way with blistering speed to the house, and that’s off limits!”

All of our Aussie neighbors agree, “It’s nice to relocate our lovely native animals, but if they’re headed for the house, they just have to be ‘relocated’ to the trash can.

I wonder what a great life we’d have if we just followed the rules that God has put in place.  Rules of contact, of boundaries, and of behavior! He said it Himself in Jeremiah 7:23, “Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.”

Marsha

The Gospel of Noodles

Soo…… after my several week rage at the state of world affairs, today I’d like to tell you a sweet little tale about God and his work in Japan

I heard this on our visit to Japan this last July.  One of the men, who is a marvelous Christian and a pastor, heard it from his pastor.

It seems that in the 1950’s street evangelists were the modus operandi for getting out the word of God.  You’ll remember (at least some of you) that it was right after the war and Japan was in a pretty depressed state, both physically and mentally.  If you had electricity, you’d be lucky to have a radio and certainly not a TV.  There was little money to waste on frivolous things like movies (picture shows) and the like, so people standing in the street proclaiming something were sure to bring a crowd.

But not just that, the Japanese were starving for the truth.  They had ‘believed’ that their Emperor was a god, only to hear in his surrender to the Allies that he, by his own admission, was not god at all.  Incidentally, that was the very first time anyone had ever heard his voice, and it came this time over the radio.  He, as Emperor, was and is, even today, almost never seen, except perhaps on New Years Day when he and the Empress wave to the masses from the balcony of their palace.

And so my friend’s pastor was a new Christian and was happy to tell people about it.  He would stand on the street for hours shouting out the Good news of salvation to the lost Japanese.  Sometimes the response was dismal, especially if the grownups were busy with the business of recovering their homes, lives, and the like.

Sometimes he only had some scruffy boys and girls who had nothing else to do as his audience.  A little band of three or four neighbor boys, probably about 9 or 10 used to be particularly disruptive and rude to the man.

As he shouted out the Gospel, they would taunt him and mimic his words.  For example, when he prayed fervently to finish the sermon, after his last “Amen” they would scurry off, jeering back at him “Ramen!” and “Somen!” (two versions of Japanese noodles which were at the time about all anybody had to eat”).

But this pastor never gave up his passion for getting out the word. This one street corner was the spot that he’d given his life to and he’d been there faithfully for over 10 years. Years passed and one day he noticed a well dressed young man standing very reverently and respectfully in the crowd, nodding in solemn agreement with everything the Pastor said

After his message, the young man stepped up to him and he said, “Do you remember me?”

Actually the pastor had no idea until the man hung his head and quietly said “Ramen…..Somen”

After a wonderful realization and reunion, the young man explained, that even though he’d taunted the preacher all those years,  he had watched and learned, and as a youth in college, far far away, he had sought out Christians because of their love and persistence……and now he himself had become a pastor.

“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24) Make your own sermon.

Next week I’ll tell you about a murder Tony committed in our back yard as we were preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

Love ya, Marsha

Rats

Today, I’d like to draw your attention to an amusing story written by Chuck Colson in his book “How Now Shall We Live?”  We’re going through it in our Thursday night Bible study, and we all got a kick out of is. Here’s a quote from Chapter 21:

Life has a demonstrable, natural order, which Behe and  others argue is designed with a purpose.  Sometimes in our            utopian dreams we forget this.  When we do, it can bring the roof down on our heads literally, as the World Health            Organization discovered.

In the early 1950s, a malaria outbreak occurred among Borneo’s Dayak people.  The World Health Organization            responded by spraying the people’s thatch-roofed huts with the pesticide DDT, which killed the mosquitoes, but also            killed a parasitic wasp that kept thatch-eating caterpillars under control.  At night the buzz of the malarial,  bloodsucking   mosquitoes was stilled, but sharp cracks and  then wild screaming followed—as people’s roofs caved in.

This was hardly the end of the problem.  The geckos stuffed  themselves on the toxic mosquitoes, which definitely took the           spring out of their step: these lizards can usually race over water for yards at a time.  They reeled like drunks on a DDT            Saturday night.  The neighborhood cats, after they had batted  the disoriented geckos around to their satisfaction, gorged on               them.

Then the cats died.

Thus the Year of the Rat (sic) was inaugurated into the life of the Dayak people.

Rats were everywhere, streaming over and through the Dayak’s roofless dwellings.  The rodents were a greater  threat than a   mere skin crawling, toe-biting nuisance.  The  rats threatened the people with Bubonic Plague, a condition  far more serious   than malaria, as bad as that is.

What was the World Health Organization to do?  What  unexpected additional disasters might occur if they poisoned  the rats?

Events were spinning out of control and the brains at the WHO were performing pirouettes of rationalization.  They had only   been trying to help, after all.

Someone finally had the bright idea that what was needed  was to reintroduce part of the natural order that had            collapsed.  Specifically, CATS.

They needed cats, New cats, they needed a lot of new cats to eat the rats (‘who ate the Geckos, who ate the mosquitoes,            who ate the spider she swallowed inside her”).

But how could the WHO transport thousands of cats into a  remote section of Borneo?

One morning as the Dayak people awoke and came out of their dwellings, they heard the droning of slow- flying            aircrafts.  Soon the sky was littered with parachuting pussycats.  Operation Cat Drop rained 14,000 felines down  on Borneo.   As soon as the cats hit the ground—  undoubtedly, on all fours— their ears went up and they raced  to unknown locations (for   reasons known only to cats—or the  aliens who control them)  Before too long the cats got around to the business of   mousing, or in this case, ratting, and the Dayaks were saved from mosquitoes, rats and the World Health Organization.

The chapter goes on to elaborate on our God planted, innate need to follow the moral order that God in his wisdom ordained for us…

This last week has been especially harrowing for us because a few months ago Australia was given a referendum to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to allowing Gay marriage.  Whilst usually we, as Australians, have mandatory voting, this was just more or less ‘asking for our opinion’ so it was not mandatory.  Over a third of the people couldn’t even be bothered to vote, whereas only 7 million (about a third of the population)  said a definite “no”.  The rest either voted yes or did nothing, so the referendum carried.

I feel especially sad because I feel that we all just want status quo and are afraid to stand up for what is right.  Who of us would be an Ezekiel and actually speak out for God, all the while garnering the disgust and ridicule of the great majority who just want to follow ‘the way of the world’.

Sin is insidious and we’re right in the middle of it, sailing along, enjoying life………that is, until the basics are gone and the roof falls in

I promise to get off my high horse and think of something positive to talk about next week, please stay tuned……..and promise me you’ll stay close to God and do what you can?

Thanks always, Marsha

Ruins

Today as you’re reading this blog, you are probably sharing the same profound sadness I’m feeling after the terrible church massacre in Texas. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, even in what we might call a “safe” environment such as America’s Bible Belt. Satan is hard at work, driving wedges wherever he can, trying to instill fear, hatred and doubt… even, and maybe especially among the Body of Christ. Please join me in praying for His peace in the coming days, and for a clear understanding of how we as a Church need to respond.

As if to taunt us further, we came up this week against a situation where Christian schools in Australia are being forced to compromise biblical principles or face severe legal action that could jeopardize the very existence of the schools themselves. I can’t go into detail now, but will let you know how Christians respond to the conundrum. Please pray for wisdom and courage.

And then, as I sat here and thought about these things this past week, I was drawn to the Book of Ezekiel. You may remember that one of my grandsons in an Ezekiel, so I’m rather partial to the prophet!  His 6th birthday came up this week, and I was reminded to pray especially that this child will grow to become the man of God his namesake was. His Mom (my daughter-in-law) reflected on that and added, “The world is going to need strong Godly leaders soon”.

Wise words for crazy times.

All thru our recent travels, it seems that every day was a visit to a ruin. Ruins in Ireland, ruins in Malta, ruins in Jordan….. In the case of our visit to Hong Kong, not ruins exactly, but more like remnants of a time gone by, marked by the end of a hundred years of British rule, now replaced by Communist law.

Observing all these examples of the rise and fall of kingdoms everywhere, I was brought back to Ezekiel and his prophesies assuring the people that God still loves them, in spite of what they did. I had to chuckle to myself as I read Ezekiel chapter 11, verses 2 and 3 in the Good News version: “… these men make evil plans and give bad advice in this city. They say, ‘We will soon be building houses again. The city is like a cooking pot, and we are like the meat in it, but at least it protects us from the fire.’”

It just seems so familiar as I look around today. People are cruising along, relaxing in their reasoning that they won’t be burnt (even if they’re cooking ourselves in the process). The Aussies say it so well: “She’ll be right, Mate!”

But look back at the ruins with me: one civilization after another growing and flourishing until they find themselves wiped out and built over by the next power that comes along.

As an American and as an Australian, I have to cry at what I’m seeing all around me. We NEED God, today more than ever. I know you’re praying already, but please don’t give up!  Remember those other words by dear Ezekiel, quoting God even as he prayed, And I sought for anyone among them who would repair the wall and stand in the breach before me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it…. May that be our prayer for our homelands today… and may we not be included in God’s final assessment at the end of that verse:  “but I found no one” (Eze. 22:30).

God bless us all and teach us what to do.

Marsha

Down and Dirty

So in my struggle to get back to normal last week I completely forgot another thought I had been mulling over lately.

I remembered what I wanted to say as we were shopping for some new shoes to replace our two pairs of shoes that we were forced to throw away after we finished the Jordan-Middle East portion of our trip.

True, we had both traveled many a mile in those beloved shoes, but the roughest were in the Holy Land.

Do you remember in Matthew 8:36 and again in Luke where Jesus speaks to his Pharisee host who is silently turning his nose up at the “the sinful woman”?  Pay particular attention to Jesus’ reprimand in verse 44,

“Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to eat with        him. So he went to the Pharisee’s home and took his        place at the table. There was a woman who was a        notorious sinner in that city. When she learned that        Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s home, she took an        alabaster jar of perfume and knelt at his feet behind        him. She was crying and began to wash his feet with        her tears and dry them with her hair. Then she kissed        his feet over and over again, anointing them constantly        with the perfume.

Now the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this and        told himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would        have known who is touching him and what kind of        woman she is. She’s a sinner!”

Jesus told him, “Simon, I have something to ask you.”

“Teacher,” he replied, “ask it.”

“Two men were in debt to a moneylender. One owed        him 500 denarii, and the other 50. When they couldn’t        pay it back, he generously canceled the debts for both        of them. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the        larger debt canceled.”

Jesus told him, “You have answered correctly.”

Then, turning to the woman, he told Simon, “Do you        see this woman? I came into your house. You didn’t        give me any water for my feet, but this woman has        washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her        hair. You didn’t give me a kiss,  but this woman, from        the moment I came in, has not stopped kissing my        feet. You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but this        woman has anointed my feet with perfume. So I’m        telling you that her sins, as many as they are, have        been forgiven, and that’s why she has shown such        great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven loves        little.”

Then Jesus told her, “Your sins are forgiven!”

I cannot tell you how wonderful our trip thru Jordan and then to Petra and the Dead Sea was.  BUT it was dirty.

For thousands of years many things have remained the same, and most certainly the DIRT.  Because it’s semi arid, that means DUSTY DIRTY GRITTY dirt on every surface. Oh sure, the cities are paved and clean for the most part, but as soon as you step off the sidewalk and into the ruined castle or the citadel or the ………anywhere, you’re kicking up dirt.

Every night we were in the bathroom washing, no, actually scrubbing our feet, usually only minutes after we walked in the room from outside. I can’t exactly explain the need we felt to get clean, but it was real.

That is why our trusty shoes had to stay there… they just wouldn’t come clean, and the rough hot dry ground had  broken them up as well.

I just can’t imagine traveling, as Jesus did, from city to city, on foot, ‘homeless’, as I mentioned last week. And then add to that the fact that He was in raw leather sandals probably much more primitive than the ones we had; and yet ours really couldn’t cope, even just for a few days.

Again.  Life was hard in Jesus’ day, and we just have to stop once more and appreciate what He has done for us. You’ve all heard the phrase, “getting your hands dirty”, referencing the person who digs into a job heart and soul. After the last couple of weeks, I’m reminded that Jesus “got his feet dirty”… for me and for you. We can be inspired by the beautiful Renaissance paintings of Jesus doing what He came to do in spotless robes and on pristine streets. But for me it’s even more inspiring to realize that He came into a world that was wicked and dirty by any standard, even in the day to day stuff of living.

What a Savior, Who endured all the world had to throw at Him… right down to the daily grime.

Happy Trails, Marsha

PS…  I mentioned last time about having some tests done. They turned out good….nothing wrong, just (probably) I need to stop traveling and try to find some normalcy.  Our friend starts down the dusty dirty road of Chemotherapy tomorrow so please pray for traveling mercies. We as well as our church NEED him to be well.

Good to be Home

So……this last Monday we arrived home.  It’s true, we’re flying cheaper than most because of my daughter’s status with the airline (flight attendant) but, grateful that we are, the seats are the same size as always, and after eating with carefree abandon for three months, they’re even smaller!

We had a good trip though and came home to a new grand-dog and a lovely home looked after by good friends.  We washed clothes for a solid day (how can anyone get that many dirty clothes in carry on bags?), paid bills, pulled weeds and are just about back to normal as I write this.  Tony just finished preaching at Japanese church today so he feels like he’s ‘in his realm’ again.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about “Home” lately.

I’ve been a bit of a vagabond since I was 19 and married into the Woods family.  Before that I had lived in 3 houses, only one of which I remembered.  We took holidays only to see my cousins or even more occasionally to see my Daddy’s family in Texas.  That was it.

But all the traveling over the years fueled by the cause of missions and possibly exacerbated by a spirit of adventure, has made me what I’d like to call ‘flexible’.  We’ve slept on more floors than I can remember, including under and even ON dining room tables.  Like my son Nathan, I can pretty much sleep anywhere.

But as I settled into our very own bed after this ridiculously long trip, I thought first of how much I like it, more than the so so many others……

And immediately I was reminded of the verse where Jesus says, in Luke 9:58

Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (New Living Translation)

Jesus left HEAVEN to spend an extended time ‘out of pocket’………no home, no favorite bed or pillow…nothing to call his or to comfort him…….and he left HEAVEN, not just my humble (but comfortable) house.

What an incredible sacrifice He paid for us, to do this so that we might be saved.  Thank you Lord.

This next week holds a few dramas for us; a very good friend will hear about treatment from an Oncologist that he didn’t know he was needing when we left.  I also will have a few tests to see if we can chase down some nagging stomach issues.  Anyway, we’d appreciate your prayers, always thanking you for your readership and loyalty taking these things to the Throne of God.

CYA next week!

Marsha

Did I mention it’s good to be home??