May 10. 2015     Jane’s Heart to Heart   … Pastor’s Help Mate

May 10. 2015     Jane’s Heart to Heart   … Pastor’s Help Mate

Memories of My Mother
When I was in the third grade my parents were divorced. My mother,  my elder brother and sister and I were living in the apartment of a dear Christian lady, Mrs. Rice, in Dowagiac, MI.  My parents, having been divorced just under a year,  we later learned that because of the prayers of this Godly woman and my grandmother Shipley, my sister and me, my parents got back together and remarried and  we  moved to Sister Lakes a few miles out of town.

Two years later when Mrs. Rice became ill, my mother would sit with her off and on for several weeks whenever she could.  My sister and I attended the Calvary Bible Church and our pastor, Allen Robbins  had Mrs. Rice’s funeral.  There my  mother heard the gospel  and gave her life to the Lord.  My dad was saved as a boy but was not living for the Lord. When my mother got saved everything changed.  They both stopped drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes and they stopped swearing. When  family and friends came to see us  at the lake my folks asked them not to bring their alcohol and began to witness to them and informed them that we would all be in church on Sunday from then on.

Mrs. Rice’s family later gave my mother one of her little books –  “Whatsoever Ye Shall Ask” –Walters. In it were several little notes torn from a journal with prayers for my mother. Does God answer prayer?

Ruth and Bob Hoff were dear friends of my folks and Bob had suffered a stroke and was disabled and had a difficult time communicating. Then Ruth developed liver cancer and when she had to have surgery my folks helped out with some of Bob’s care while she had to be hospitalized.

I have one of my mother’s journals and I want to read some of the things she wrote  there.

“Taken From Ruth (Iles) Hoff’s kitchen”  – “I have been here all week with Bob — Ruth had major surgeryMonday, 30th of Jan– ’95.”  (I am assuming that these were plagues on Ruth’s kitchen wall.)

“To look around is to be distressed.   To look within is to be depressed.   To look up is to be blessed

“Many people treat their religion as a spare tire, they never use it except in an emergency”

” To know God’s will is life’s greatest treasure, to do God’s will is life’s greatest pleasure.

My mother also had this song in her journal that I had written and sang for Mother’s Day to the tune of “I Wonder, Have I Done My Best for Jesus?”  I recall her calling and asking me to give her the words.   Here they are.

I Wonder, Have I Been the Best of Mothers?

1. I wonder have I been the best of mothers. And taught my children how to pray

To read His word and trust in Christ the Saviour,

And follow Him along the narrow way.

2. I wonder have I cared for my dear children or have I let them fend alone?

I might have lead my children to the Saviour.

The precious seed of life I might have   sown.

Chorus: How many times I failed to read the Bible.

How many times was I too rushed to pray.

I wonder have I been the best example

And pointed them to Christ the WAY.

3. Do I go with my child to Sunday School or does he have to go alone?

Do I depend on teachers for his training

When I should show him daily in his home?

4. How many times I’ve flaunted God’s commandments,

Then prayed my child His will to do.

Lord, give me grace to make the rightful judgments

And see at last my child stand for Thee true.

Last Chorus: Dear Saviour, may you always be exalted…

Through my beloved children every day.

That of me at the last ‘twould be recorded

She pointed them to Christ, The Way.

Mother loved the Lord and loved people and often visited shut-ins in the nursing homes and loved to do for others.  She also enjoyed working  with flowers and plants. her home was full of plants of every kind and she often shared them with other people. She was a very giving person.

What a wonderful change in her life came when Jesus came into her heart….  Thank you Lord for such memories of my mother.


January 4, 2014     Jane’s Heart to Heart  …Pastor’s Help-Mate

January 4, 2014 Jane’s Heart to Heart …Pastor’s Help-Mate

God’s Expectations of Us vs Our Expectations of God?

As a Christian teacher I have often taught young people and adults various skills, such as voice, handbells, piano and the academics.  Often certain students were weak in Math but very gifted in  Art. Likewise some  did not seem to have any creative skills and were very successful academically.

I had a high standard for conduct and appearance during performances because family and parents would be in attendance and I desired a positive experience for both student and parent. The appreciation was as great for each performance of lesser or greater difficulty levels.

There was a time when I would wonder if some would ever be able to accomplish the task. The more experienced I became the more I realized that each person is created to be what God wants him to be.  Some students have to work very hard to maintain an average grade at best and others seem to be able to succeed in every area with ease.  Does that mean that we should not challenge either to higher expectations.

Having raised a budding  concert pianist we have attended countless recitals where as  he was the first pianist on the program rated as to his ability level and in later years sitting through the whole program  to hear him as the  last person on the program. Some of the times as his parent, even though he did well, we knew it was not his best. Just a few weeks ago we were brought to tears over his obvious dedication to the task.

Does God want us to be satisfied with status quo in our lives?  Of course not… Colossians 3:23 [in the Amplified Bible] says: “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily, for the Lord,, and not for men. Knowing that from the Lord you will receive an inheritance as a reward, Christ is the Lord for whom you work as a slave.”

Often we do the same thing in our thinking about God with respect to our public worship….it is natural and right of course that it should be of highest quality and that we should give Him our very best.  Yet, we do not want to come to the conclusion that God is not honored by our humble efforts as compared  to a highly professional performance. The real issue is God wants our best. We are His servants.

Our God has the capacity to hold both Big and Small in His mind.  We need to do our part to honor Him is everything that we do for HIS Glory, not for our own glory. He knows if it is our best.

One day a young man proudly strutted up to the platform to speak and did an inferior job and came down with his head held low..

An elderly lady said to him later….  “Sonny, if you had gone up like you came down, you could have come down like you went up!”