Tag Archives: John 8:12

Rise Up, My Love (294): Who Are Our Companions?

Song of Solomon 8:13 “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice; cause me to hear it.” This is the husband’s cadenza. What is his last request for his beloved? That he might hear her voice. Tell me, if you can’t be physically present with the one you love, what’s the next best thing? For me, it’s talking on the phone.

Someone asked me what convenience I’ve enjoyed most since the beginning of the new millennium. Without a doubt, it’s having a cell phone small enough to slip into my purse and carry with me everywhere. My cell phone is programed and voice activated, so all I have to do is say my loved one’s name, and that person’s number is automatically dialed. With kids scattered from California to New York and even Italy now, one of my chief delights in life is being able to hear their cheery voices any old time I want! What a blessing! It takes a lot of the sting out of being separated. (And today, thanks to smart phones and internet, we can even see their faces!)  “The companions hearken to thy voice; cause me to hear it.” Our companions hear our voice…but how much more does the Lord long to hear us speaking to him! Actually, the verse doesn’t say our companions, or even your companions, but rather the companions. Who are “the companions?” According to the dictionary, a companion is “a person who accompanies or associates with another; a comrade; a person employed to assist, live with, or travel with another” (American Heritage, 384).  The root words refer to those who eat bread together. I was struck by the fact that being a companion is not exactly synonymous with being a friend, although certainly companions may also be friends. “The companions” is more closely related to “the business associates,” such as those individuals with whom we work every day. There is a sense in which this verse should encourage us to pay more careful attention to what we say to our coworkers, because “the companions hearken to thy voice.” Those we work with day by day are listening to us, whether or not we can tell, and they are being affected by what we say!  Above all, what is the message that God wants us to be telling “the companions?” In Exodus 3:16-18, God told Moses to gather the children of Israel together and tell them that God would deliver them from slavery and lead them “unto a land flowing with milk and honey.” God concluded by saying, “And they shall hearken to thy voice.” Listen to that! “And they will hearken to thy voice.” “The companions hearken to thy voice.”  Those around you do hear you. What are you telling them? What is the message you are preaching by your deeds and speaking with your heart and tongue? Beloved, is there any more needed message in this world today than the message that God will deliver us from our bondage and lead us “unto a land flowing with milk and honey?” Have you thought about what it means to “flow with milk?”  When I used to nurse my babies, I produced an incredible amount of milk. Sometimes while I was nursing, my husband would come over to watch, and the baby would pop off the nipple to look around and see his daddy, which would usually earn him a big squirt of milk all over his little face and ear. I mean, I was flowing!! The baby would fuss, but Alan would just smile and say, “Contented cows make good milk.”  A land flowing with milk and honey is a land where there’s peace, contentment, and an abundance of nourishing sweetness. On the spiritual level, “the companions” must be those with whom we associate because of our position as the king’s bride rather than simply the friends we have selected by personal choice. “The” companions are those who are also dwelling in the king’s gardens. We have all been engaged by the king to live together, to work together, to assist one another, to break bread together, and to travel together through the king’s gardens and into his celestial city.  “The companions” are fellow pilgrims we interact with through our church and other ministries. They also “hearken to our voice.” I graduated from a public high school but was able to attend a Christian university. My anticipation was that college would be sort of a Christian “Mecca” where I could relax and just “fit in” because everyone would love God and be zealously preparing to serve his Kingdom causes. My older and wiser spiritual brother, who was a senior at the same school, prepared me by saying, “Just remember, no matter where you go, you’re going to be either a missionary or a mission field.”  In this world, no matter how good our Christian organization or spiritual fellowship, all of us are works in process…growing, changing, backsliding, moving forward, needing encouragement, needing correction…needing each other to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord and calling one another on to love and good works. Until we get to heaven, there is no such thing as settling in to “status quo” mentality. The companions will be listening to our voice. May our speech be holy, gracious, and full of love and truth!

(Thank you, Bob Hardee, for sharing you gift of photos with scripture verses!)

Follow Me, Boys!

If you’re ever in the mood for a charming Disney movie about small town America in the 1930’s, especially if you have any grade-school aged boys or budding Boy Scouts in tow, you might really enjoy watching Follow Me, Boys When our boys were growing up, they loved all the old Disney movies with Fred MacMurray, like The Happiest Millionaire, The Absent-Minded Professor, and The Shaggy Dog. They were family “cult classics” that got watched repeatedly.  We also had a lot of laughs over the Disney movies starring Kurt Russell like The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit, Now You See Him Now You Don’t, and The Barefoot Executive. By the way, did you know that Walt Disney personally signed up Kurt Russell with a ten-year contract when he was just a kid, and Kurt became one of their studio’s leading stars in the 1970’s? Somehow, we all missed finding the earliest Disney movie where Fred MacMurray and Kurt Russell starred together: Follow Me, Boys! It might be because it was so old (1966), but it’s full of good-spirited fun and all the themes that make Disney movies memorable!Fred MacMurray plays the role of a young musician who decides to give up city life and settle down in a small Midwest town, where he becomes involved with the Boy Scouts. Kurt plays the role of a young boy who struggles with finding his own identity because his father is an alcoholic. Although you can kind of guess the plot from the beginning, there are some twists and turns along the way, and it’s a refreshing break from modern life! It’s good to remember a time when America was safer, life was simpler, and boys were free to enjoy hard work with lots of challenge while still having fun.Both my older brothers were proud Eagle Scouts in the 1950’s, and I’m really excited that my oldest grandson has just joined Boy Scouts! If your church doesn’t offer Awana or some other program geared to help kids grow up wise and capable, at least consider Scouts. But, maybe watch Follow Me, Boys! first. By the way, there’s something even better than following a good role model who will teach you how to tie knots, fish, and work hard as a kid, and that is a role model who will teach you everything you need to know about life both now and forever. There is only one such perfect role model, and his name is Jesus. Jesus can teach you not only to fish, but to be a fisher of men!  Do you know Him? Are you a follower? It will be the most challenging thing you’ve ever done in your life—much harder than becoming an Eagle Scout— but you’ll never regret it!

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
(John 8:12)

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

The Snow Is always Deeper on the Northern Side of the State

27So, I repent of complaining about spring taking so long to come to lower 22Michigan, because—as you can see from these pictures I took last weekend—28the snowbanks at the opposite end of our state in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, 30still conjure up thoughts of northern Alaska to me. 31(Although I promise you that all these pictures were just taken this past weekend 20while Alan and I were taking a little nostalgia tour of our old home town.) 01Sault Ste. Marie is a beautiful place to visit anytime, although I love fall the best. 14I grew up in a little house on Dillon St., but we did something very special this 05 time: We stayed at the Ojibway, a historic hotel overlooking the the Soo Locks 03 and famed for hosting the “CaChoo Club” and some notable guests.02The Ojibway is now owned by Ramada but still retains it’s 1930’s ambiance, and 06they include a lovely complimentary breakfast in their sunny dining room. 04Our room was charming and the bed comfy…definitely a pleasant stay. 10Our room overlooked the Soo Locks and Brady Park, and after we checked out, 11 we took a stroll through the park, as we have done hundreds of times over the 13 years. When we were kids, we used to sit in the crook of that tree on the left and 09watch the tourists passing by. Forty-five+ years later, we’re the tourists! 12My mother helped found the People-to-People organization nearly 50 years ago, and this gate from Japan in Brady Park was a gift from their “sister city.”15I used to have to walk up Easterday Hill every day on my way home from school. 32In those days, there were no steps and we sometimes had to pull ourselves up 29using the railings to keep us from sliding back down in the icy winter weather! 17We picked up Milt and Faye for lunch. They are like second parents to Alan. 18Alan grew up with their son, Larry, & he later worked with Milt at his dad’s shop.19(I hope you’re noticing the incredibly high snowbanks in these pictures!) 26 Milt and Faye have been a great source of inspiration to us over the years!     (This is a picture from the wall by their front door…and they really live this out!)21We stopped at “Cozy’s” for some of their famous whitefish & sour cream/chives  french fries. I’ll tell you, there’s no whitefish like Lake Superior fresh-caught! 16Oh, and I mustn’t forget to tell you about the great dinner we had the night before with Alan’s cousin, Jim, and his sweet wife, Gladys. 08What a blessing it was to head north for the weekend, even though they’ve had a 23

brutal winter and the snowbanks were unbelievably high! Next time I’m tempted to complain about the late spring in lower Michigan—or whatever challenge I’m dealing with—will you remind me that the snows are deeper elsewhere? I, for one, am glad I’m not on the other side of the fence, and I hope you are too!

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.”      (Hebrews 13:5)