Until The Rain Comes

I’ve been trying to eradicate Creeping Charlie from my yard. I started far too late after several years of ignoring it altogether due to reasonable excuses. Years ago I used Borax or some type of weed killer with minimal results, which tells you why I am pulling it out by the roots.

Creeping Charlie’s proper name is Glechoma hederacea. It belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. I, however, prefer to call it “augh!”. It hides its roots and vine along the dirt or completely underneath the soil. It’s kind of pretty and smells a little refreshing if you like that sort of thing. The thing is, if you let it go, it takes over. And it doesn’t just take over, it kills anything it grows with – including plants like my thriving rhubarb used to be and grass. It’s very much like anything else in life that starts out rather innocuous- looking, and leaves us with reassurance that everything is just fine, and ends up making all sorts of trouble for us down the road. What we should have pulled up by the roots at first sight, eventually becomes death by a thousand cuts.

It took me five hours to clear a narrow strip by one fence. I’ve been out on afternoons since my initial attack and can now see some green grass. Much of it was killed by my nemesis, but some remains to hold the victory flag.

Today, I heard thunder at my back. I kept digging my fingernails under the tiny vines and roots and pulling – sometimes small bits, sometimes long vines. The long vines are the best. They help me feel like something is actually being accomplished. But they both count.

The thunder continued and a few raindrops fell. I ignored it and kept working, thinking all the while of a time in the future when Jesus will return with a suddenness that will knock us all to our knees and start our hearts beating like a stampede of wild horses with gratefulness or fear. Maybe both.

Then the rain began in earnest and I ran inside. And that, my friends, is my reminder to myself and you – if you want it – that there’s work to be done that needs to be done with all our strength because one of these days our work will be over.

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Something Like Friendship

He would rather have been in a small river in an out-of-the-way spot, casting a fly line for trout. It was that sort of evening, he thought vaguely. A warm breeze fingered his black hair; the musky scent of dry leaves infused the night air; the sky, black above the treetops, was beginning to show a few stars, the rest hidden behind heaven’s heavy blanket.

He had always preferred the strength and silence of the outdoors to anything else. A small-time outfitter, though, didn’t make much money. He knew that, and acknowledged, too, that life held limitless possibilities.

The sound of voices grew greater and the crowd thicker as the soft notes of a piano danced outside to greet those making their way up the wide cement walkway to the hall.  It was a simple affair: an alumni dinner of a small college.  Through the double doors, Tab could see long tables set with white paper cloths. Squeals of happy recognition punctuated the steady undercurrent of voices. He hated these things, but had promised to come. He stepped inside and scanned the room for someone he recognized.

“We’re sitting over here.”

The nearby voice was inviting and familial.

Tab looked into the eyes of a tall man who was his double, aside from a twenty-five year difference in age. Max’s hair was graying at the tips and the lines in his face revealed that he was not exempt from life’s hardships, but everyone they passed hailed him and he hailed them back in a mild, relaxed manner.

Walking together they sat across from a pretty woman with sparkly eyes who was chatting up a storm with the young girl next to her.


She reached across the table and squeezed his hand.

“Hi, Mom,” he said to the woman others thought pretty.

Such a thought had never occurred to him. She was always there, always making friends. There was something in her expression that told she was one who didn’t take life too seriously. Her crow’s feet were her signature, witness to an easy and ready laugh.

“I want you to meet Jessica. She’s interested in languages, too.”

This last statement was spoken with an unmistakable emphasis, and Tab caught his parents glancing at each other.

He looked into the round face of a girl close to his age. Her brown hair that hung in a blunt cut below her jaw line exactly matched the deep brown of her large, wide eyes.  She wore a pretty, delicately flowered dress. He reached out to shake her hand as she quickly put her hands in her lap.

“Hi, Jess.”

He pulled his hand back, and offered her an uncertain smile instead.

Jessica thought to herself that she had never seen eyes sparkle so. They were the color of the sea at its deepest point, and she wondered if that said anything about the man across from her.

Her mouth went suddenly dry – unusual for her. She sipped from her water-glass

“It’s nice to meet you, Tab.”

The music suddenly sounded too loud. It seemed a mere ten minutes had passed and it was time to go.


It was nearly 11:00 by the time Jessica pulled out of the parking lot. There was little traffic this time of night. She found herself in her room remembering little of the drive back. Quickly readying herself for bed, she pulled up the covers and stared at the ceiling, wide awake.

Beauty Walks

Let beauty drop her crystalled hand,

Its glittered touch upon the morn;

Sweetening minutes, coloring hours

Swaddling it – a babe, newborn.


In simplicity she walks,

Stopping here and moving on;

Bringing with her tireless watch

Mysterious knowledge yet unknown.

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A Prayer For The Church

Our Dear Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,

We are before your throne, that throne that is higher than any other, that throne that is greater than we can imagine, and we are here to talk with you about the church. Your church.

Jesus, we’ve read your prayer – or what was part of a prayer – asking God to keep your church unified. You asked for all Christians to be unified. You intended your church to represent You until your return. You intend for your church to be your hands and feet, your mind and heart, your song and voice. You expect us to be bold and courageous and wise and righteous.

We are not.

So here we are, asking. That thin, weaselly, voice of ours will not do. It never has. Yet somehow that voice, that hesitant, faithless voice has become more and more the voice of the redeemed. We have fallen asleep. WAKE! US! UP!

We stand here, shoulders back, spine straight, voice strong, asking now – no, imploring – You for boldness in this time.

If our eyes are clouded with untruth, wash them clean!

If our minds have forgotten reason, teach us logic!

If our discipline is weak, make us determined and strong!

If our desire for You, for Your Word, for Your Truth, for Your voice has grown cold, ignite that fire! Change our lack of understanding to wisdom!

Make us, Father, not what we are, but what we should be. We have many voices, but raise us up in harmony as one church! We have many jobs, but, seen together, may those jobs be flaming candles of heaven’s intent. We have many avenues of influence, but make that influence be the ushering in of Your kingdom. Take over! We would be Your church! Your power! Your will on earth as in heaven!

Truly, truly hear our prayer. Truly, truly answer in Your might and power.

In the Name of Jesus, the Coming King,


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The Threshing Floor

You know how when some little speck that was floating around or, perhaps, the result of some rogue particle from something your were doing gets in your eye, it’s either irritating or killing? It suddenly it takes all of your attention whether or not you have time for it. Despite the pain and distraction, all of your attention is sometimes a necessary thing, possibly even a very good thing.

As we celebrate freedom this 4th of July, there will be picnics and flags, parades and fireworks. We can celebrate because others sacrificed. Through the heroic efforts of our American forefathers, our country liberated itself from the rule of King George III and founded a nation with representation of its citizenry in government. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. I wonder if anyone’s hand was shaking when he signed that declaration? Those men, those women, those families, paid a steep price; a cost we would do well to consider.

They stood firm for what was right and true. Truth? Now there’s something that seems a bit slippery these days. The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence states, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. -That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Note those rights don’t come from government, they come from God. Government simply administers them. (So, as an aside here, things justly termed “entitlements” such as health care or even education are helpful and good to have, but to call them “rights” denigrates the true meaning of the word.)

Our nation has been on a journey for awhile now, traveling a twisting road of right and wrong, true and false. Words like justice, fair, right, tolerance, and even love have undergone a turn in the spin cycle. They’ve become twisted, ragged, and unrecognizable.

And, my fellow citizens, this nation under God finds itself at a well-worn place. We’re on the threshing floor where the grain is separated from the husks and chaff, truth from lies, if you will. Winnowing forks are tossing the mixture into the air where the chaff is blown away leaving only what is usable and good. I hope we get a little bit of something in our eye, even if it causes distraction or pain, and I hope that chaff in our eye draws our attention to the truth. I hope you and I are left on the floor rather than being swept away by the wind.

In 1861, Julia Ward Howe, after visiting a camp of the Union Army, wrote a poem. It was published in 1862. The Battle Hymn of the Republic says, in part: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored and He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.

This Independence Day I’ll eat barbecue, display the Stars and Stripes, and celebrate along with everyone else. But I’ll also be thinking: It’s great here on the threshing floor! Look! There goes another long-held assumption into the wind! Why, yes. I do see how some were blinded by this person or by that assertion; but things are clearing up now. The chaff won’t be here forever.

Stand firm for what is right and true. You’re in good company. And look up. You never know what you’ll see next.

Declaration of Independence; Luke 3:17, Hosea 13:3; The Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe, public domain; Image: Wikimedia commons; public domain 800px-Era_agrícola-(threshing_floor)

Where’s Melania Trump When You Need Her?

Images of Melania Trump have traipsed through my mind lately, along with the wish I could call her, like the besties we are, and chat for awhile. I need some fashion advice, and I doubt I’m the only one.

I’m just a mother of the engaged, but soon I will be a mother of the bride, and I have been looking for a dress. I thought I’d pass along my own (very) little advice – not to brides nor grooms, not about ceremonies nor decorations; no, nothing nearly as important or interesting; but about shopping for a mother of the bride dress.

You don’t think you need advice? Listen, I’ve discovered an entirely here-to-fore invisible population of desperate mothers of the bride/groom out there; and – to the woman – they’re willing to share their opinions, asked or not. These women who, aside from contracting a helpfully violent case of dysentery and losing 15 pounds in a week, are simply hoping to find something that will make them look like they haven’t given birth x number of times and still have the metabolism of an 18 year old. Or 30 year old. Or 40 year old.

“That looks good,” said a helpful voice where I was trying on a few dresses last week.

“I liked the last one better,” said another.

I swiveled my head. “Which last one?”

“The navy.”

Oh yes, they’re out there. One mother explained the wedding of her son was going to be casual.

“I’ve waited all these years and – casual. What am I supposed to wear?”

I shook my head sympathetically.

I was flipping through a rack at another store and looked up to someone inquiring, “Mother of the bride?”

I nodded. “I’m exhausted.”

The daughter pointed to her mother and nodded back. The mother wore sweat pants, had her hair pulled back in a ponytail, and looked like she was badly in need of a long nap.

And online? Are you kidding me? First of all, who knows how something will fit; probably not like it does on the dear soul in the picture. Secondly, how do you even know if the site is legit or is a trap set for desperate women of a certain age? Thirdly, two words: shipping fees. Make that five words: return shipping fees.

Let me tell you about online shopping. If you type in the search word ‘dress – mother of the bride’ (mob, for short – I won’t take the bait, no I won’t), you will see either dresses with the obligatory jacket or low cut gowns that look like they just got back from the Oscars. When you’re at a point where cleavage is actually a thing, low cut isn’t as exciting as you might imagine. I appreciate the jacket idea. After all, sleeves are nice for someone (I’m sorry to say it, but that includes nearly all of us) whose arms resemble a chicken’s wattle. Some of the designers seem to know this; others haven’t a clue, or run with a crowd that spends time every day at the gym, or are under the illusion that the customer really does look like the 20 year old model.

I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think Melania will be available for wardrobe consultations any time soon. You’re stuck with me. Here’s some of what I’ve learned along with a little advice. Take it or leave it:

  1. Go to some stores and try things on even if they’re not what you want. You can get an idea of how a designer (*I use the term loosely – in my world JC Penney is a designer) sizes things. You’ll also get an idea of what you prefer.
  2. You will learn to speak designer whether you want to or not. Not Dolce and Gabbana, mind you, but you will find out who the usuals are. Addrianna Papell’s dresses (who, according to Martha Stewart are the holy grail of bridal party wear) feel heavier (sequins and beads will do that) than Komarov. I loved the Komarov I tried on. It was lightweight and looked washable and like what a normal person might wear. Until I saw the price tag. Alex Evenings claims to offer the perfect fit for real shapes with materials that stretch. Gee, I wonder who they’re talking to.
  3. Take a look around discount and consignment stores, including Ebay. Pat yourself on the back for trying to save money.
  4. Look online for the designers * you like, and find something that’s actually closer to what you want than what the stores had.
  5. Do not order it.
  6. Type in the search word ‘evening gown’.
  7.  You’ll find something that might more closely resemble what you were looking for in the first place, won’t be one of the few mob patterns offered in a variety of colors, and it will cost less.
  8. Go ahead and eat the cookie. No one’s going to be looking at you anyway.

The Day He Left

Evening was just barely touching the late May day. A tangy, sweet scent drifted lazily on the breeze like a sleepy teenager floating on an inner tube, dipping his toes in a quiet river. It reminded her of the flowers he had brought to her the day he left. They were an inexpensive bouquet of daisies, chrysanthemums, and baby’s breath – sweet, innocent, and tender, like the kiss he gave her before he turned and walked away.

She closed her eyes, playing with the ring on her finger as she let memory have sway: The funny thing that happened the day they met, their first tentative gifts to each other, quick lunches and long dinners, walks down a familiar country road, the surprise of comfortable conversation, and values and thoughts so in sync they could read them in one look of the other’s face.

“Mother! We should be going!”

Waiting at the car was her daughter, now grown, who knew her father through others’ stories, but not through her own.

How many years would it take to loosen the knot located somewhere underneath her heart? She had thought it would be gone years ago. She realized now that it never would be. She knelt and brushed her fingers over the name engraved in stone, engraved in memory, engraved in time.

She whispered three words: Duty. Honor. Country.

Then she picked herself up and walked away.


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Living In Our Time

None of us is given the choice of the time in which we live. We might, depending on our mobility, decide which province or state or neighborhood to live in. Some of us, with enough freedom and cash, are even able to determine in which country we reside. But time? No amount of money, mobility, determination, or hard work can change the time in which we live.

The people who lived during the time of the Pharaohs or the Babylonian Empire might have been quite pleased or distraught to be living during those times, depending on who they were. Or what about the Medieval Period? Do you think those folks who lived during the time of castles and conquerors and feudalism were thrilled or disgusted to be living then?

I wonder what conversations were like around the dinner table during the French Revolution, a relatively few years following conversations around dinner tables during the American Revolution which followed the conversations around dinner tables during the Age of Enlightenment?

Perhaps the early settlers were happy to be breaking their backs digging and hefting huge rocks from the land because it allowed them to own it. Perhaps they were glad for the tiny cabins they built with their own hands. Perhaps the howling of wolves at night was a sweet lullaby. Perhaps not.

The folks who lived during the Great Depression might have been happy and content because they lived with a family that, despite deprivation, was sound and solid. Or maybe the hobos who wandered from town to town were glad for the freedom such a life afforded. Or maybe the soldiers of WWII were satisfied in the knowledge of fighting evil, of making every effort to prevent its spread.

Or maybe all of these people found good mixed with heartache. Because that is what life offers every single person. Every. Single. One.

Now we are living in our time. Some say it’s the end times. Others disagree. Whatever it is, it is a time of immediate information which, false or true, can spread as quickly and as heatedly as a California wildfire. We live in a time when we have a better idea than, for instance, the Medieval Period, of what is going on in other countries. Not the clearest idea, mind you; but more.

In our time we are tasked with the challenge of figuring out – from the plethora of information that comes at us like a freight train on a desperate mission – which information to believe and which information to discard. Not only that, we are tasked with which information to share, which personal opinion, which reproof, and which encouragement. Who we choose to listen to infuses our belief system. What we choose to believe – for there’s no mistaking it is a choice – determines our thoughts and our actions.

On Judgement Day we will not be given a pass because life was tough or confusing or unfair. Sure, Jesus will stand beside those He saves, but we will still need to own up to our own life’s decisions. Despite some arrogant points of view, I don’t think we are any better than anyone who lived in other times. I shudder when I think that maybe we are worse. And just maybe – if time itself is winding down – we have an extra responsibility to be faithful. Whether it’s done with scrappiness or desperation or bravery or poise, we work, for the night is coming. So here’s my unsought opinion.

No matter what century or decade we live in, we are responsible for dealing the hand that’s dealt us. No matter which era, each person has a lifetime, long or short, to do the right thing. Pray for insight. Pray for wisdom. And in order to do that – to pray – we need to turn off the ceaseless voices of “information” and go to the One who actually knows what’s going on. We need to ask Him what to think and whose voice to trust. We need to read His Word and pray always because without those two disciplines all hope is lost for any sort of clarity. I suspect those who’ve gone before us did the same.

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The Electives of Life (Conclusion)

Today’s guest post is by G.H. Cachiaras. He was for many years a college professor and the Dean of Minnesota Bible College whose building stood proud and strong across from the University of Minnesota. He was my grandpa. Most of all, he was a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. At this time of graduation from high schools and colleges, I thought it appropriate to share some of his words. The text he used is Hebrews 11:24-25. Read the following, if you like, with the sound of his Greek accent underneath his words. The post will be serialized throughout the month of May.

*Blogger’s note: You might be offended by some of what is said. If so, it is because you are offended by the viewpoint of those now passed through history, but whose perspective is every bit as valid as the ones held today. God help us when we are judged by those who come after us.


Fourth, we will elect to SET OUR TASKS TO MUSIC. By music in life, I mean harmony. How fine and exquisite it is to see a life set to music, happy, contented, at peace with God and man! One of the greatest statements I have heard in a lifetime is that of Dr. Wm. S. Sadler: “No happy man ever has a breakdown in health”. Irrespective of our outward conditions and circumstances, we can elect to be contented, happy, and at harmony with God and man. And without that peace and harmony, we can never be happy, nor will our health hod up under the stress and strain. Even Paul and Silas in prison set their task to music.

Fifth, elect to MAINTAIN YOUR INDIVIDUALITY in the crowd. There is a strange tendency in every generation to “Join the Crowd”; to do “In Rome as Rome Does”, to “join the gang”, and do things that in our own mind we question, but we feel we must do them because everybody else does it.

The strong young man, the one who goes farthest and the one who makes a real contribution to human society is the one who will maintain his own personality, his own individuality irrespective of what the crowd does. One professor cannot copy another’s actions in the classroom. It wouldn’t fit! Is the child in kindergarten crying with true reason or because all the other children are?

Sixth, elect to become a CRUSADER FOR RIGHT LIVING AND FOR CHRISTENDOM. All of our best thinkers are agreed on this one thing today – that our living standards are lowered; that, in many respects, America has lowered her standards to those of ancient pagan nations. America is today at the crossroads. She will either have young men and young women who, of their own free will and volition, elect RIGHT LIVING and high standards, and the ideals of the Carpenter of Nazareth, or we face the prospect of going the way of Pagan Rome.

What nobler sight is there that the mind of man can conceive than the mental picture of the young Crusaders of the Middle Ages who, as they went forth to rescue Jerusalem from the hands of the Saracens, sang “God wills it; God wills it!”

And what nobler sight is there for tens of thousands of young Americans (or Canadians) as they face the future, than to see these youth elect high and noble ideals, choose character above riches, elect to set their tasks to music, to maintain their own individuality, and determine to be a Crusader for Right Living and for the ideals of Christendom, singing as they go forth along the great highway of life, “God wills it; God wills it!”

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The Electives of Life (Part II)

Today’s guest post is by G.H. Cachiaras. He was for many years a college professor and the Dean of Minnesota Bible College whose building stood proud and strong across from the University of Minnesota. He was my grandpa. Most importantly, he was a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. At this time of graduation from high schools and colleges, I thought it appropriate to share some of his words. The text he used is Hebrews 11:24-25. Read the following, if you like, with the sound of his Greek accent underneath his words. The post will be serialized throughout the month of May.

*Blogger’s note: You might be offended by some of what is said. If so, it is because you are offended by the viewpoint of those now passed through history, but whose perspective is every bit as valid as the ones held today.


What are the electives of our lives today?

First, we will elect worthwhile IDEALS. Consider the ideals of two men: Al Capone and Robert M. Hutchins. Both men lived in the same city; but one had high ideals and the other, low. If you ask me, one of the weakest things about America today is lowered ideals. I have seen the day when no young woman would dare enter a saloon. Today one of the most painful things that can tear at my heart is the sight of a woman standing at a bar, drinking beer and whiskey like any drunken sot.

Second, we will elect for ourselves the development of a FINE NOBLE CHARACTER. Character is something that cannot be purchased for a price. Character is something that cannot be inherited from father or mother. It cannot be bequeathed to a son or daughter. It is something that must be elected, chosen, developed, grown, like a sturdy oak tree.

Third, we will elect to pay OUR DEBTS TO HUMAN SOCIETY. We are what we are today as the result of heritage. You have a written language as the result of heritage. You have countless inventions and conveniences and privileges, as well as human liberty, and a land where one may start at the bottom and the poorest of the poor, and go to the top – if he so elects as a result of a great price.

These things have not come by the wave of some man’s magic wand, but they have come from suffering, hardships, labor of both body and brain of countless ones in bygone generations. We have inherited these privileges and opportunities. After we have passed on, human society will either be richer or poorer because we have lived. But as for us, may we elect to pay our debt to society by making the world richer than it was when we came upon the stage of life?

to be continued . . .

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