Neither Snow nor Rain…

…nor heat nor gloom of night will keep us from our reservation at our beloved Greenbrier, where we just checked in after quite a trip from home. After dropping Hank off at the farm where he stays when we travel, we left the Indy area around 10:00 am and finally arrived here around 7:00 this evening. And it wasn’t necessarily an easy trip. We left in a snow squall that quickly turned to sleet and provided slippery road conditions.

Throughout the day, we ran into huge rain storms, fog in the mountains, sleet and temperatures that hovered around 30 degrees until we were far enough south and east to finally get into the mid forties. We didn’t stop as much as we usually do as the weather was so terrible along the way that we just didn’t feel like getting out of the car. We also couldn’t make very good time with the slick conditions and still be safe although, as we all know, there are always nuts out on the roads who think that they can travel at any speed. Therefore, it took us several hours longer than usual to get here and, thankfully, we arrived safe and sound…

The purpose for our trip this time is to celebrate my 66th birthday this Tuesday, February 19th. And that means that it is also the anniversary of Transitions by The Book! Yes, I started writing on my 58th birthday, eight years ago. It’s difficult to believe that I have been at it this long. I had been thinking about writing a blog for some time but couldn’t seem to find my initial inspiration. Then, I remembered that on my 10th birthday, my paternal grandmother presented me with a Bible – not the entire Bible, mind you… but a small book containing the Psalms and the New Testament.

Now, I am sure that you realize that this isn’t the sort of gift that a 10 year old kid wants. I was thinking toys, or games, but certainly nothing as dull as a Bible. And as was always the case with Grandma, she referenced a verse on the inside cover as a reminder to me throughout my life. To be brutally direct about it, Grandma and Grandpa really didn’t ever give good gifts. At least not like our Aunt Fran and Uncle Wayne. I always looked forward to what I would receive from them!

So it was no surprise that I didn’t appreciate Grandma’s present and I’m not proud of the way that I received her gift. However, it was on my birthday, 48 years after I received that Bible, that I finally understood her present to me. That Bible sat on the shelves in our various homes for years – yet on February 19, 2011, I was drawn to re-read the verse that was inscribed inside the cover. Sure enough, it spoke to me in a way that I had never experienced before. That’s the leading of the Holy Spirit – the Bible has different applications for us at various times in our lives and I guess I was ready to hear what Grandma had been trying to tell me so many years ago. Thankfully, I had not misplaced or destroyed her gift to me. And let’s face it – the Bible is the single most important document ever written and it points the way to teach us about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

That event changed everything. I became a prolific writer, with more than 1400 posts now on the site. That’s almost 1.5 MILLION words… In the beginning, I wrote a post every day. Six or seven weeks in I was getting a little tired of having to write daily. A dear friend Jewish friend of mine, Al, reminded me that in the Old Testament there was a year of Jubilee very 50th year when all the land was left unworked and almost everything was at rest. He suggested that maybe my 50th day should be a day of rest and, although I initially felt guilty, I broke my streak after 49 posts and took a Sabbath rest on the 50th day.

Eventually, I decided to write five nights a week, Sunday through Thursday, and take the weekends off. But after hundreds of posts, I could tell I was getting a little stale so I settled on a routine of writing Sundays and Thursdays – that way, readers would start the week, and finish the work week, with a post from me detailing how God is active in our lives. The idea was, and is, to remind everyone that God is with us all the time – the beginning and the end – and that schedule is the one I still follow all these years later.

In honor of my grandmother, I have made it a habit to use the verse that she noted in her gift to me on my 10th birthday. Therefore, our verse for tonight is from the author of Hebrews. He offers us great news, in Hebrews 13:20-21, “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

My encouragement this evening is that if God has called you to something, He will equip you with everything you need to accomplish the task that you have been charged with – no question or doubt about it. My prayer is that you will always have people in your life who encourage, motivate, love and value you the way that my family has done for me throughout the years! And here’s to the beginning of year number nine, continuing to bring the word of God to each of you through these posts… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

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