Monday, December 27, 2010

If Jesus Came To Your House

Recently at a meeting with other women we were discussing the topic of hospitality and being hospitable. We talked about our homes and how often we don’t live with the conscious realization that our Maker sees all that is in our homes and all that transpires in them as well. This conversation made me think of the following anonymously written poem which convicts me each and every time I have read it. And so I ask you to take a moment especially at the close of this year and let the words of this poem speak to you as they have done so often to me.

If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two
If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you'd do.
Oh, I know you'd give your nicest room to such an honored Guest,
And all the food you'd serve to Him would be the very best,
And you’d keep assuring Him you're glad to have Him there
That serving Him in your own home is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly Visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in?
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they'd been?
Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn't heard?
And wish you hadn't uttered that last, loud, hasty word?

Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder if the Savior spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing the things you always do?
Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?

Would your family conversation keep up its usual pace?
And would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace?
Would you sing the songs you always sing, and read the books you read,
And let Him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you'd planned to go?
Or would you, maybe, change your plans for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest friends?
Or would you hope they'd stay away until His visit ends?
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do
If Jesus Christ in person came to spend some time with you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Each one of us is longing to live a life that feels fulfilled. A child loves to see the smile on their parent’s face when they clean up their toys…its gives them a sense of fulfillment or satisfaction. On the contrary if a child does not obey their parents then there is a frown and deep down in their heart the child is unhappy, unfulfilled. As a child I often helped my teacher after school and I can vividly remember the sense of happiness I felt when all was cleaned up and swept in the classroom and my teacher happily thanked me. After several times of cleaning she would give me a book and I would go home fulfilled…happy…content. And yet for me as well as others this drive doesn’t end when we become adults. Just take time and observe yourself and other people going through their daily lives and you will see this drive for a sense of fulfillment. Some try to find it in their work, some in their spouse or kids, some in the approval of their parents, some in their money, some in the smiles of others, and still others seem to give up because they can’t find it at all. Everyone is craving this sense of fulfillment and especially I think those who have had or presently do have trouble in their lives. And sadly, many run this race to their graves.

What happens then when a person is awakened by the grace of God to a sense of who they are? Does this desire change? One now sees sin and guilt. All the things in which one tried to find fulfillment are now not able to even partially fill this need. Often one then tries to please God by ‘doing’ the right things: reading, prayer, proper church attendance, being kind to others, etc. This may work for a time but ends up futile as well.

For myself I especially lived a life of trying to ‘feel’ fulfilled often by trying to please others and yet through the years have learned that apart from Christ it is a futile effort. Nothing or no one on this earth can give us true fulfillment. Why are so many (even of God’s children) trying to live according to the smiles and frowns of other people…it is worthless, it is empty. Our money often flees from us; our spouse will never fill all our “needs”; our children disappoint us; our career can come to a screeching halt; our bodies begin to break down and we are left empty, unfulfilled and feeling like a nobody. I found an interesting quote by Thomas à Kempis in which he says, “He has great tranquility of heart who cares neither for the praises nor the fault-finding of men. He will easily be content and pacified, whose conscience is pure. You are not holier if you are praised, nor the more worthless if you are found fault with. What you are, that you are; neither by word can you be made greater than what you are in the sight of God.”

Ultimately then that is all that matters, what we are in the sight of God. I have learned and every day am learning to look away from this world and the things it contains as a means of fulfillment and I can testify it’s the difference between being a slave or a free person…

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Special Visitor

At this time of the year many in our society, especially children, are awaiting the night of December 24 because they think there will be a special visitor. This visitor they think will bring them toys and games and clothes…in short all the things that they have been wishing for (coveting) in the last months. We of course call this foolishness but I must admit deep down in my heart I am also waiting for next Saturday. On this day, the Lord willing, we too will have a special visitor coming to our house. This visitor happens to be my one and only younger sibling…a guy named Bruce. It began like this. Several weeks ago I received an email one morning which said, “Hi Donna, Do you still accept boarders? Bruce.” Well I almost jumped off the chair. Bruce my wonderful little brother might come and see us??? You see living in Canada 8 hours drive from my family and 18 hours drive from my husband’s family sometimes gets a little lonely. So I immediately emailed him back the following reply, “WHAT?????????? Are you going to come see us??????????? :) :) :) :) :),” to which he replied, “We have been talking about it.” I now felt like a little kid waiting for Santa Claus to come. My whole day seemed brighter and for some reason I had lots of energy. That night when we told the kids they were simply ecstatic. Having 6 extra people in the house is no new thing for our family…we love to have visitors!! And so this time of the year which sometimes seems somewhat lonely without our family suddenly seems to be brighter.
And so the children of the world are waiting for their gifts and we are anticipating seeing our family, and yet all this makes me think back to the time in Israel when parents would long and wait for a son in hopes that it would be the Messiah to come. Finally the Messiah did come and He came so low as to be born in a stable and laid in a manger. This is the greatest gift one could ever receive and I hope and pray that during this holiday season our eyes may look away from the things and festivities of this world and be turned to the Babe lying in the manger.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It was a hard labor. It was a difficult delivery!!…and after breaking a collar bone a 10 lb 2 oz baby girl was born to my parents. They were thankful that in spite of a broken collar bone all else was well. This little girl loved to eat (especially carrots) and continued to grow and by the time she was 1 year old weighed 36 lbs and was wearing size 6x clothes. Yes I was the girl who had an orange nose from eating too many carrots. As I got older I attended our Christian school until grade 5 when my parents decided to move an hour away from church/school and begin farming. Life on the farm was always busy and as I entered my teenage years the pattern became predictable: milking the cows….then head off to school….milking again ….supper….homework….bed…only to be repeated the following day. I didn’t have time for many school friends but I did have a very special friend whose name was Sir Lancelot (Lancer). Lancer was my horse and knew everything that was in my heart. Whenever there was a spare moment we were out together galloping at top speed or taking a slow walk while I told him all my troubles. And so life continued and finally graduation came and went. Three months after I graduated I met my future husband at a youth conference and after a 1 ½ year relationship we were married January 8, 1988. Shortly after we were married we moved from NJ to IA where we spent the next 9 years, he being a Christian school teacher as well as holding 2 other jobs…I being a stay at home mom with 2 part time jobs as well. By combining our salaries we were able to get by as our first 3 children were born.
In September of 1995 we moved from IA to MI where my husband entered the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary for four years. Three weeks after our move our 4th child was born and 3 years later we were blessed with our fifth. After 4 busy years at seminary my husband accepted a call to the Burgessville congregation where we are to the present. In 2000 our last child was born. And last year after 22 years of marriage our oldest son married his sweetheart…and so the cycle continues.
The calling we have as a family is a special one….we are called to a life of giving, but in essence is that any different than the calling each one of us has? We each are called to a life of servitude, a life of self denial, a life of giving, a life of putting others first….this truly is a blessed way to live for only then are we walking in the footsteps of our Master.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Place of Quiet Rest

It's a quiet afternoon. The sky is grey, the snow is falling. We've just been through a week of weather extremes and yet inside the house is peace, calm and quiet. I have titled my blog, A Place of Quiet Rest. Many of you who know me know that one of my favorite songs forms a prayer within my heart taken from the well-known hymm, Near to the Heart of God. The words and music were written by Cleland B. McAfee in 1903. He wrote these words after two young daughters of his brother Howard died from diphtheria within 24 hours of each other. The choir at Park College sang this new addition and were so touched by it that they went to Howard's quarantined house and sang it outside the window. And so my heart's desire is that in our daily happenings and events I as well as you may have a place of quiet rest even if all may seem in tourmoil...for there is always a promised place of quiet rest.
There is a place of quiet rest
Near to the heart of God,
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of comfort sweet
Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of full release
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.
Refrain: O Jesus blest Redeemer
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God. Amen.