Fishing in the River

Years ago, I went to San Antonio to a telephone company school for 2 weeks. That weekend while I was there, several of the students who were from the area invited us who were from out of state to go downtown to The River.

We parked on the street, which was almost totally deserted and walked down the stairs to where shops and cafés lined the river on both sides. The river was packed with people, walking on the banks, shopping, and riding in flat-bottom boats on the river.

 When I saw the famous “River,” I was astonished. “You call this a river? It’s no bigger than Bull Creek in Vinita, Oklahoma,” I told them. “I’ll bet I could wade across that river and it would never reach my waist. We have the Grand River in northeast Oklahoma, and what about the Mississippi River? Now those are rivers.” But of course, those San Antonians were proud of their river, as they should be, so no offense.

 I remember lying on a quilt in the back of the stationwagon in the dark, listening to Daddy and Granddad talk in hushed voices while they fished off the bank of some river all night. It was probably Grand River, below the dam at Langley. Dad also loved to fish at Spavinaw below the dam and we camped there too.

 There’s another river that I love to think about, but I’ve never been there. It’s been described several places by different people, but my favorite description is in Revelation.

 “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. . .. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light.” Revelation 22:1, 5 NKJV.

I can just imagine Daddy and Granddad sitting on the banks of the River of Life in heaven, pure and clear, fishing and enjoying their new life, but they won’t be fishing in the dark. No, the Lord Himself is the Light.

Aquarium Life

I’ve had aquariums off and on all my married life. My husband said one time, “I don’t know why you bother with an aquarium. The kids don’t even look at it.” I said, “But I’m not keeping an aquarium for the kids. I’m keeping it for me, because I love fish.”

Several times I have bought male bettas which don’t require an aquarium. They can live in a fishbowl on the window sill, but they must be kept in individual fishbowls. They swirl through the water, hiding and darting around the plastic plant, coming to the surface when I drop food in the water.

If one male betta catches sight of the other male betta in a nearby fishbowl, he ruffles up his fins to make himself look big and threatening. I try to keep them far enough apart so they can’t see each other, with the fish food container in between, but sometimes it just happens. Male bettas don’t get along with most other fish, especially each other, and not even the female betta.

Now neons on the other hand are compatible with almost every other tropical fish. They are small with a fluorescent stripe down their side and they run in gangs. If you see one, you will see them all, for the rest are right beside him. There is no discernible leader, just a bunch of followers all moving together.

Guppies are the flashy ones in the aquarium tank. They have long multicolored tails and float around near the top, showing off.

Another tropical fish frequently found in aquariums is the gourami, a fish that grows pretty large and is a predator.

We have had shrimp, frogs, crabs, and eels. They really stand out from the standard fish.

One of our favorites is the angelfish. Big, round, flat, with silver coloring and angel wings, they float gently through the water and reflect light. They get along with everyone.

Oh, and we love the goldfish, the one that can live under most any circumstances, in any old bowl or jar, as long as the water is changed once in a while and a pinch of food is dropped into the bowl now and then. But the goldfish will only grow as big as the bowl will allow.

Which fish are you?

“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”Romans 12:18 NKJV

We live our lives in a glass bowl. Let’s live in peace with our fellow bowl-mates and let our shiny souls reflect the light of Christ to all who see us.

Family Redemption

Rahab was the woman of the house, a house of ill repute. When Joshua sent two men into the city of Jericho to scout it out, they were hid by Rahab, who saved their lives. In exchange, she asked for them to “show kindness to my father’s house and save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all that they have and deliver us from death.” Joshua 2:12-13. She believed that their God is the God of heaven above and earth beneath.

So the scouts said, “Our lives for yours!” She should gather all her family and all they had into her house and hang a scarlet rope from the window as a sign.

Rahab said, “According to your words, so it is.” Joshua 2:21. Then, when the city was attacked, Rahab’s family was saved and she was accepted into the Israelites as one of them. According to the genealogy of Jesus, (Matthew 1) she was the mother of Boaz who married Ruth who was the grandmother of David the king of Israel and the ancestor of Jesus.

Redemption for the whole family! A woman obtained the salvation of her whole family, mother, father, brothers, sisters, and all that belong to them, including their children.

Rahab pleaded with the men of God for her family, just like many mothers and grandmothers have pleaded with God for the salvation of her children and grandchildren.

Just as God’s representatives pledged their lives to save Rahab’s family, Jesus has given us the promise that our families will be saved.

Paul and Silas were in jail, and the Lord sent an earthquake to open the prison doors. The jailer fell before Paul and Silas and said, “What must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Are you believing God for the salvation of your family? Here are two examples from the Bible where whole families were saved. Don’t give up. Take God at His word just like Rahab did.

Say to the Lord, “According to your words, so it is.”

Reaping in Joy

Mothers know tears. Childbirth? Tears, along with much wailing. Tears when they cut their first tooth, your tears and theirs. Tears when they start kindergarten, followed by sighs of relief, but  mother doesn’t talk about it, except to other mothers. Tears when the child plays his or her first tee-ball game, but shouts of joy when the child hits his first ball.

Tears when she graduates from kindergarten, mixed with joy. Then all too soon, Mother is crying tears of joy at high school graduation mixed with tears knowing the child is not her baby anymore.

Tears when her children go off to college. Tears when the baby graduates from college and moves off to get his first job. Or tears when he skips college and goes to work.

Sowing in tears. Planting and then watering the plants with your tears. Gardening, planting, hoeing, weeding, fertilizing, and watering are all hard work—hard work that is required to have a good harvest. Mothering is hard work.

We plant into our babies all that is within us, then water with our tears. We think we’re being too sentimental, too emotional, but God is using the tears to water what we planted in our children. We should look at our children with God’s eyes. Our children don’t belong to us anyway, they belong to God. He entrusted them to us to rear in His ways and lead them in the way they should go.

We have to see the harvest by faith, with the eyes of our heart and not with our natural eyes. The harvest you see by faith may not look like the seed you thought you were planting, but when it is fully grown, you’ll know that God gave you the harvest He had in store for you all along. One day we’ll look up from our hard work and see the harvest in our children.

“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5-6 NIV.

Then it will be time for songs of joy.

MOTHERS OF AMERICA

My mother Eunice Hightower age 80.

America loves mom, baseball, and apple pie. America was formed at mother’s knee. Proudly standing beside their husbands, they helped tame the Old West; labored in the factories during World War II, prayed for the troops on foreign soil who were fighting for freedom.

Mothers have made America what it is today. Have you ever noticed that when the media interview a football star after the game, he usually waves at the camera and says, “Hi, mom,” never “Hi, dad.”

Which of us can name the mother of Billy Graham? What is she known for? I’m sure she was a worker in her church, probably teaching Sunday School, but did she have a career? Did she make a name for herself in Southern society? Did she make her mark in history by running for the state senate? Not that we know of. As far as we know, the greatest thing Billy Graham’s mother ever did was raise her children to serve God.

It should make us mothers humble to realize that we hold the future of our country in our hands. We cannot do this formidable task of raising our children without divine help.

My 98-year-old mother went to be with Jesus in 2016. She went to work as a housekeeper and caring for children when she was a teenager, and then during World War II she worked in the Army base laundry. When her children were young, she took in washings and ironings, then went to work at the school cafeteria until she retired.

Mother was well known as a woman of prayer. She prayed for her children, as well as other people. People frequently visited our home to ask for her counsel and prayer. In her last years, she said, “I wonder why the Lord is leaving me here so long,” to which I usually replied, “Your grandchildren and great grandchildren need you to pray for them.” She lived every day of her life in service to the Lord and taught her children to love and serve Him too. Her children and grandchildren are proud to be descendants of such a woman of God.

“Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, ‘There are many good women, but you are the best!’ Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised. Show her respect—praise her in public for what she has done.” Proverbs 31:28-31 CEV.

Get up early next Sunday morning and take your children to church. Give your children to God and ask Him to teach you how to raise these children for Him. At bedtime, kneel down with your children and teach them how to pray. No career, no amount of money, nothing else you do in life is as important as this.

Foretaste of Heaven

My flowers put on quite a show this spring. The roses are trying to take over the backyard flowerbed. The white peonies bloomed first and the deep rose peonies are almost ready to open.

Last week, with a thunderstorm imminent, I raced out into the yard, clippers in hand, to cut roses and peonies, so I could continue to enjoy their beauty in vases on the dining table.

”Roses are red, violets are blue”…..” Every kid has written those words to his sweetheart.

“My love is like a red, red rose….” words written by Robert Burns in 1794.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” William Shakespeare in the play, Romeo and Juliet in 1597.

“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.”  Song of Solomon 2:1, New King James Version Bible.

Someone wrote a gospel song from that verse years ago, comparing Jesus to the lily of the valley, the Rose of Sharon, the Bright and Morning Star. I have sung it for years, in congregations and at times when the song just suddenly appears on my lips. And sometimes when I hear those words, love bubbles up in my heart for Jesus.

God is a gardener. ““The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”” Genesis 2:8-9.

He planted trees and all other plants on earth for our food but also to enjoy looking at them. See where it says the trees were “pleasant to the sight.”

Ever wonder what heaven will be like? Revelation 22:2 says, “In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

When I gaze upon my beautiful roses, it is just a little foretaste of heaven.