Archive | February 2013

Happy Birthday to You-oo-oo!

♫ ♪“Happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday, dearYou-oo! Happy birthday to you-oo-oo!”  ♪  You recognized my lovely rendition of the Birthday Song, didn’t you?  Consider yourself properly honored by me for your birthday this year!

February is a big birthday month for us in this family.  Our first child, Laurie, was born on the 1st.  (I won’t tell you how old she is.  Let’s just say the year was than four decades ago!)  Our first grandson, Benjamin, arrived on February 5th, and Robbie’s birthday is the day after on the 6th.  This week we celebrated three birthdays on the 22nd (Hannah Grace, Mandy and Uncle Lee) and on the 28th my sister Carleen will turn—ahem. (Hint—she’s a decade older than Laurie!)

Mandy, our youngest grandchild, turned two on Friday.  What a big birthday that is!  Birthday #2 is usually the first one where the child recognizes that it is all about her (or him.)  Mandy went around all day singing Happy Birthday to herself.  She was thrilled with her Minnie Mouse birthday cake.  She was thrilled with the balloons and streamers.  She was thrilled with her presents.  And by the time the whole Naranjo clan began to gather that evening to celebrate the little princess, she was beside herself with excitement.  We were able to Skype with her before the party began, and as usual, I was struck with how beautiful those Naranjo kids are, and how quickly they are growing up without us…

From the two-year-old to the oldest celebrating his birthday this week:  We will gather this afternoon to celebrate Lee Roy’s 80th birthday.  Technically, Lee Roy is not really a Pratt, but he might as well be!  Lee and his wife Jo have been my folks’ best friends for over fifty years and as such have celebrated many a birthday, anniversary and holiday with us over the years.  We think of their family as part of ours, and our children and grandchildren actually call them Uncle Lee Roy and Aunt Jo.  Lee Roy is beloved by all who know him and for good reason.  He is a true servant of God—compassionate, caring and with never, ever an unkind word to say about anyone.

Birthdays are certainly exciting for little ones!  Kids of all ages enjoy the hoopla, and who doesn’t enjoy a party given in one’s honor?  By the time a few gray hairs begin to appear, however, and we begin to feel the effects of the aging process, we start to get over the excitement of another birthday and would just as soon forget the whole thing!  (Well, maybe not the gifts.  Skip blowing out all those candles and just bring on the presents!)

Our parents and grandparents usually enjoy recalling the day of our birth, but we have no such recollections.  All except for my three-year-old great-nephew Isaac, that is.  According to him, he remembers even beyond his birth day—all the way back into the womb.  He told his mommy this week, “I was in your belly once and it was very dark in there and I didn’t even have a flashlight!”

We may not remember the day we were physically born into this world, but the Bible tells us there are two births—one physical and the other spiritual—and as believers, we ought to remember that special day when we were born again—or at least remember there was a specific moment when we personally accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior.  Some children are so young when they ask Jesus into their hearts that although they may have an understanding of what salvation is all about and what they are doing when they make that decision to accept the gift of salvation, they have no remembrance of that event when they are older.  Two of my grandsons had that experience.  Although their parents remembered well their sincere little confessions of faith, as older children they wanted to remember for themselves.  They reconfirmed their acceptance of Christ’s forgiveness, and later were baptized a second time.

I do remember well the day I was saved.  It was a beautiful day in October 1958, about a month before my 7th birthday.  I sat down on the step of the little platform at the front of the classroom after Children’s Church with my teacher, Mrs. Frank.  She told me how to be saved and I prayed to ask Jesus to save me.  Most clearly of all, I remember the feeling of a burden being lifted from my shoulders.  As a small child, I had not committed any crimes or gross sins, but still that burden of sin was there and I remember a distinct, physical feeling of it being lifted.  I remember running for the church bus afterwards, and never had an October Sunday seemed so beautiful to me!

Nicodemus, a religious man himself, came to Jesus searching for answers.  John 3 tells us of their encounter.  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

Jesus knew Nicodemus’ heart—his intents, his sincerity, his longing for the truth.  He knew his past—his training in the Law and his standing as a Pharisee—and told Nicodemus that those things that seemed so righteous in the eyes of the world were for naught.  He must be born again spiritually to enter the kingdom of God.

The Bible tells us later in I Peter that nothing of this world can bring about the new birth—it comes only through Christ. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you… that your faith and hope might be in God… Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”  (I Peter 1:18-19, 21b, 23)

The spiritual rebirth gives us a new life and makes us new creatures.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (II Corinthians 5:17)  Spiritual birth opens our eyes to the things of God and brings peace with Him. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  (Romans 8:5-6)  And did I mention birthday gifts?  Our spiritual birthday includes the best gift of all—eternal life!  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Do you have two birthdays?  If you don’t remember the moment you asked forgiveness of your sins and accepted the gift of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, maybe it’s time you make sure of that decision.  The Bible tells us that we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt if we have experienced that new birth through Christ.  “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  (I John 5:11-13)

Happy Birthday to You-oo!  Twice!

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The Right Hand of God

I have been learning to live with a disability—albeit a very minor and very temporary disability—for the last couple weeks.  A fall on ice resulted in a sprained wrist two weeks ago today, and since then I’ve been quite limited in what I’ve been able to do.  It is healing, and gradually I’ve been able to do a little more each day.  I was happy to wash a sink full of dishes on Friday for the first time, and even more excited to finally be able to drive yesterday!  Full strength has not quite returned to my hand and wrist, and twisting or turning something like the ignition key or a tightly closed bottle cap or Robbie’s pill grinder is difficult and painful.  Moving Robbie is very difficult, as well, since I can’t get a good grip on him and I am afraid either he or I—or both of us—will fall in the process.  If I drop him, I for sure will not be able to get him up off the floor.   Bob has to travel at least four days this week so it is a concern, but I know with prayer and dependence on God’s strength, we will manage and hopefully, by next Sunday, I’ll be back to normal.

I have learned a few things the last couple weeks.  One thing is that I am certainly not ambidextrous!  I am right-handed, and my first few attempts to feed myself, comb my hair, brush my teeth, etc. with my left hand were pathetic and laughable!  Writing a shopping list and signing my name resulted in chicken scratch that was barely legible.  I have had to learn how to compensate with other body parts, clutching objects close to my chest with my forearm, opening small things with my teeth, etc.   It certainly has given me a new appreciation for our wounded warriors coming home without a limb, or others who are partially paralyzed and have to learn a new “normal.”  I thank God this experience is just a teeny little bump in the path for me.

Being without my right hand has also led me to think about “the right hand of God” which is mentioned so often in Scripture.  The right hand is considered the hand of strength since it is dominant in 85 to 90 percent of people.  “The right hand of God” is a symbol of His strength.  The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly. (Psalm 118:16)  Standing or sitting on the right hand of one in authority is considered a place of honor, thus “the right hand of God” symbolizes honor, as well.  The Lord [God the Father] said unto my Lord [Christ], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Psalm 110:1)

Isaiah 41:10, 13 tells us that we are upheld by the right hand of His righteousness:  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness…  For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.  What a precious promise!  We have no reason to fear, whatever our circumstances, for our God is ever-present with His great and perfect strength to not only help us in our moment of need, but to sustain us, as well, for all eternity.

Matthew 14 tells us the story of when Jesus walked on the water during a storm on the Sea of Galilee.  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. (Matthew 14:24-32)

Peter got out of the boat by faith and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.  It is when he took his eyes of Jesus, though, and looked at the storm around him, that he suddenly let fear and doubt enter in and he began to sink.  Jesus reached out His hand to Peter and lifted him up, asking, “Why did you doubt?”  Walking by faith leaves no room for doubt and fear!  The same hand which saved us through His righteousness; the same strong hand that helps us during times of trouble is the strong right hand of righteousness that upholds and sustains us throughout our journey of life.  Just as Christ reached out his hand to Peter, His right hand of righteousness, who is Jesus Christ, reaches out to us today and will not allow us to sink.  All we have to do in faith is to focus on Him and grasp hold of His hand.

My human body has its frailties and is subject to injuries and illness.  I learned the hard way just how weak my hand truly is over the last couple weeks.  Our God is omnipotent, however, and there is no end to His strength.  Psalm 89:8, 13-14 says, O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?  Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. (Psalm 89:8, 13-14)  He is strong; He is powerful; He is faithful, righteous, just and loving.  Walk hand in hand with Him.

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!

As you may know, I did not write a blog last week because I was suffering from tendonitis in my right hand.  I felt like a wimp and a little guilty for at least not trying I decided to recycle an old entry of Sundays with Cindy in place of writing a new one.  Two or three hours later I headed out the door to go to church.   Suddenly I was on the ground staring up at the roof of my garage!  A clear, glassy patch of ice took me by surprise.  I couldn’t get my footing to stand up again, so I reached for my cell phone in my purse on the ground next to me and called Bob.

“Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!  I’m outside by the garage!”  He came rushing outside to help me.  I felt foolish and like an old lady, but unhurt–or so I thought.  I set off for church and the few errands I had to run on my way.

Within an hour I knew I needed to go back home.  My wrist was throbbing and I could barely turn the ignition key, use my seat belt or shift.  I had sprained my wrist–on the same hand as the one with tendonitis.

I’ve had my hand in a brace all week and it is slowly starting to get better.  My prayer is that I will be able to take care of Robbie when Bob has to go out of town later this week.  I am babying it for now, sooooooo–I can’t write a new blog this week, either!  I’m so sorry!  In its place, I will re-post another entry from May 2010.  It is fitly titled “The Stupids Step Out!”  (Sorry for the formatting problems in the paragraphs below.  I keep trying to fix them but the website is having technical issues, I guess.)

THE STUPIDS STEP OUT

     Many, many years ago someone in our family brought home a ridiculous little children’s book called The Stupids Step Out. It was the first in a series about the Stupid Family and their confusion in accomplishing the simplest of tasks and understanding the simplest of concepts. We laughed at the Stupids’ idiosyncrasies and well, stupidity, but unfortunately, we also recognized there is an awful lot of the Stupids in us from time to time! Now whenever we have one of those foolish moments when we are caught in public doing something ridiculous, we laugh and say, “Well, the Stupids step out!”
     My sister Cheree and I somehow tend to feed off each other and promote public stupidity when we are together. We also call them our “Lucy and Ethel moments.” It’s hard to say which one of us is Lucy and which is Ethel, but one of us will usually lead the other into trouble and the other sister will blindly follow. Then we laugh our heads off at ourselves – and continue to giggle at the memories of those moments for years to come.
     For instance, there was the time we were in a department store and Cheree asked, “Which way do we go?” We were standing next to the escalator and I answered, “Up there.” No sooner had she put her foot on the first step, though, when I said, “No wait! It’s that way!” Too late – one of Cheree’s feet continued to go up the escalator while the rest of her was planted firmly at the bottom, struggling to pull back and go the other way. Somehow she was stuck, and I was laughing so hard I was no help to her whatsoever.
     I give Cheree a lot of credit for doing most of the driving when we travel, but we have had several “Stupids Step Out” moments on the road – like the time we got confused about which way to go and she ended up driving ‘round and around the little island upon which a traffic light stood, to the amusement, or perhaps the disgust, of all the other drivers around us.
     Then there was the time we were trying to go through a toll booth when the man ahead of us apparently lost part of the change he was throwing into the basket. He pulled up to the gate but the gate refused to go up. We were stuck then, too, so I suggested, “Just throw our money in and maybe the gate will lift.” Cheree did as I said, and sure enough, the gate went up. The other driver went through, but as we tried to scooch through, too, right behind him, the gate came crashing down on the roof of Cheree’s car, leaving a yellow paint streak down the roof as we went on through! Oops!
     As the older sister, there have been several times when I have had to point out her “Stupid” moments. Fast food places tend to confuse her, I think. For instance, I have very sweetly (and loudly) announced to her several times, “Cheree! You threw the basket (or the whole tray) away! You’re not supposed to throw the basket (or tray) away!” Everyone in the place turns to stare. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on your “Stupid” moment, would we, Cheree? The best time, though, was when she paused to talk to a man as we were leaving a fast food place. “Get in, boys!” she said several times to her sons during the course of the conversation with the man. “Get in!” It suddenly dawned on me what she was doing. “Uh, Cheree,” I interrupted and gently pointed out, “look what you’re doing.” In her mind, I suppose, she was holding open the car door. In reality she was holding open the flap of the trash can and ordering Brian and Steven to get in!
     I have plenty of “Stupid” moments, too, as she would be happy to share with you. There was the time we went down to Spring Mill State Park and Inn to finalize the plans for our upcoming family reunion with the director of sales. I hadn’t had much success in getting her to return my calls. “Why are you getting dressed up for this meeting?” Cheree asked. It was also supposed to be a relaxing little getaway. “I want to look professional! I want her to take me seriously this time!” I stated strongly.Unfortunately, we didn’t look very professional when a little while later we had another one of those Lucy and Ethel moments. We were trying to take a huge luggage cart out to the car to bring in our suitcases and cooler when we went through a wrong door. What we had taken for an exit turned out to be a stairwell, and somehow we got the cart stuck, unable to move forwards or backwards. “Do you ladies need some help?” a voice behind us asked. “Oh, no! We’ll get it,” we answered with only a harried, hot and sweaty glance at the speaker. We were sure people were wondering why anyone would try to take a cart up the stairs, rather than the elevator. We struggled for a bit longer, laughing at ourselves in this ridiculous situation, until finally a man came along and we gave into his offer of help.
     A little later, as we waited in the lobby for our appointment, a lady walked by and Cheree said, “I think that’s the woman who caught us stuck in the stairwell! I’ll bet anything she’s the woman we’re supposed to be meeting!” My heart sank, but I said, “No way! That can’t be her! Oh, my goodness – if it is her, I hope she doesn’t recognize us!” A couple minutes later she came back and asked, “Are you Cynthia and Cheryl? I’m Tanya! We have an appointment, don’t we? And aren’t you the two ladies who were stuck in the stairwell?” She started to laugh. So much for professionalism and being taken seriously! What could we do, but laugh with her – and then Cheree tattled on me and my earlier remarks!

     To make matters worse, a couple days later I had to call Tanya and ask her if she could see if I’d left my phone charger there. “Just a minute,” she laughed. “I have your sister on the other line asking if I can look for her glasses she left behind!” Lucy and Ethel!

I could go on and on with our “Stupids Step Out” stories – some of which are just too gross to share! We come by it naturally, I suppose. My mother has those moments from time with her friends or daughters, and I have them with my girls, too. We’re certainly not the only Stupids stepping out, though! Julie just told me the other day of a story she heard at the post office, which is what started me thinking about this whole thing to begin with…

She was standing in line behind a woman who was chatting with the clerk, and Julie and the other customers couldn’t help hearing their conversation. “I was just at WalMart,” the woman confessed, “and I was standing in a food aisle. The only other person in the aisle was a man. Suddenly he asked, ‘What’s for supper?’ I turned around to see who he was talking to, and since there was no one else there, I timidly replied, ‘Macaroni and cheese.’ He asked, ‘What?’ I spoke up a little louder, ‘Macaroni and cheese!’ He looked at me strangely, and again said, ‘What?’ Thinking perhaps he was deaf or maybe mentally challenged, I moved right into his personal space and repeated very loudly, ‘I said – Macaroni and cheese!!’ The man said, ‘Uh, just a minute, Mike! I’ll have to get back to you. There’s a handicapped woman here who seems desperate for some macaroni and cheese!’ It was then that I noticed he had a Bluetooth in his ear and he wasn’t speaking to me at all! I was mortified, but he disappeared around the corner of the aisle and a moment later was back, shoving a box of macaroni and cheese into my hands! Feeling too foolish to even try to explain, I quickly took the box of macaroni and cheese to the checkout and paid for it, even though I really didn’t need it at all!”

By this time, all the customers and clerks in the post office were practically rolling on the floor laughing. It was after she left that the clerk told them all, “This is the same lady who last week told me she had accidentally barged into a funeral procession and was so embarrassed that she turned on her lights and followed the other cars all the way to the cemetery!” Julie said she couldn’t help giggling about it every time she thought about it, and that night as she relayed the story to me we were both laughing till we cried.

Ahh, the Stupids! Perhaps you know one or two – or perhaps you are one, yourself! We all have those moments, and we can’t always blame them on getting old, either! It certainly helps if you can laugh at yourself! And why not? If everyone around us is laughing, we might as well join them! I’ve always considered myself a fairly intelligent person – until the Lord has His ways of keeping me humble!

God has a sense of humor, I just know it! Look at the humor in His creation – all His funny-looking creatures on land and sea, and their funny behavior, both instinctual and practical. And then there are humans. The Bible tells us that God created us in His image. If He did not have a sense of humor, neither would we! The Bible tells us that happiness, joy and merriment are good things! “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance…” (Psalm 15:13) “…he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15) “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22)

We can laugh at the Stupids, both fictional and those who walk among us, but let us not confuse these occasional moments of silliness with what God calls foolishness. There are Stupids, and then there are Fools. God calls one a Fool who:

Does not believe He exists. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. (Psalm 14:1)

Blasphemes His name. …the foolish people have blasphemed thy name. (Psalm 74:18)

Despises wisdom. …fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

Is shameful. …shame shall be the promotion of fools. (Proverbs 3:35)

Lies and slanders. He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. (Proverbs 10:18)

Thinks he is above God’s standards. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes… (Proverbs 12:15)

Makes a mockery of sin. Fools make a mock at sin… (Proverbs 14:9)

Is quick to anger. He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly… (Proverbs 14:17)

Speaks foolishly. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. (Proverbs 18:7)

Causes trouble. It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. (Proverbs 20:3)

Loves his sin. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. (Proverbs 26:11)

Turns away from God. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:21, 22)

These are just some of the traits of a Fool in God’s eyes. The Bible goes on to tell us that the carnal man, in all his worldly “wisdom,” human strength and might thinks that the things of God, His word and His people are foolishness and weakness. I Corinthians 1:18-31 says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” God, though, tells us that it is the worldly man who is foolish. “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men.” (I Corinthians 3:18-21)

The apostle Paul called himself a fool for Christ’s sake. (I Corinthians 4:10). I may be a Stupid sometimes, but if I must be a Fool, may it always be a fool for Christ’s sake!

Robbie Appleseed

 

For the first time in four years of writing this blog I am going to repeat one of my entries.  I hope you’ll forgive me.  My right hand has been aching the last couple days, I think from tendonitis.  I’ve been using the mouse on my computer too much and I think I need to give it a rest for a few days.  This entry, Robbie Appleseed, is from March 29, 2009.  I apologize to my regular readers, but if you’ve never read it before, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

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Robbie has a “thing” for apples.  He can’t eat them, of course, but he loves to hold one in his hand all the time.  It is his precious treasure, and don’t even think about trying to get it away from him!  He’ll play Keep Away with you if you try to take it from him—and he actually plays it very well—or he’ll even fight you off if he has to!  Robbie is never, ever aggressive unless you try to take his apple or one of his pillows.  He does not share his treasures well!

After a week or two his apple starts looking all withered and bruised and we know we need to get it away from him.  He’s usually clutching it in his sleep, but every once and a while it will slip from his grasp and we can do the switch then.  Other times Daddy will get a fresh, crisp, cold apple from the fridge and bring it to Robbie hidden in the palm of his hand.  He holds his hand out and says, “Daddy has a surprise for you, Robbie!”  Robbie turns his hand over, and there is that lovely new apple!  His eyes light up and he starts to take it with a huge grin—but Daddy wants to trade him for the old one.  Oh, the dilemma!  He wants the new one, but he’s not quite willing to give up the old one.  Finally he gives in, unable to resist that shiny new apple!

What is it about an apple that attracts him?  Is it the color, or the nice solid feel of it in his hand?  Is it the smooth, cool texture or perhaps the scent when he puts it up to his nose?  We’ll probably never know why Robbie loves apples so much until we get to heaven and he can tell us all about it.  In the meantime, I guess we’d better keep the fridge well-stocked with apples!

I heard an old saying this week that made me think of Robbie and his apples.   You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.  There is great truth in that statement on so many levels.  The first thing I think of is in the literal sense.  My grandparents had eight — like seeds in an apple, count ‘em — children.  From those eight children have come nearly one hundred and twenty descendants—so far!  The Generation-3’s are still just getting started in producing little G-4’s, and in less than ten years, probably, the G-4’s will start having little apples of their own.  The earliest ancestor we have on record in our family is a John Robey who was born in 1455 in Castle Donington, England.  That was 554 years ago.  Can you imagine the thousands of apples who have fallen from his tree since then?

The second truth I see in this thought is similar, but in the spiritual sense.  There is something called the principle of “divine multiplication.”  I may not have a great audience in my life, like Billy Graham or D.L. Moody or Luis Palau, but who knows the impact of my witness when the Lord multiplies it in the lives of the few with whom I have contact?  Will the little boy I teach in Sunday School become a preacher someday and lead many to the Lord?  Will that teenager I lead in the youth group go on to share her testimony for the Lord because I was willing to share my faith with her?  We are encouraged not to be weary in well-doing. God gives the increase when we are faithful in our witness.  We may not know all the fruit of our labors until we get to heaven, but we can be sure that God will multiply.  Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”

This principle is even more precious when we see it happening in our own families.  It is true that God has no grandchildren or great-grandchildren.  Each person must become a child of God by accepting His salvation through Jesus Christ on his own.  Coming from a “Christian” home does not make one a Christian; having Christian parents does not insure one a place in the family of God.  It is our responsibility as Christian parents, however, to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  When we see them come to trust Christ as their own personal Savior it is one of the most momentous and exciting events in our experience as parents.  What a joy, then, to see our children grow up to lead their children to the Lord, and then those children grow up to teach their children, and thus our faith in the Lord is multiplied down through the generations!  God has no spiritual grandchildren, but it is a wonderful thing when we leave a spiritual legacy of faith for our descendants to accept and follow for themselves.

I see another principle of divine multiplication in our little apple seeds.  I have always said we influence every other life we touch—whether for good or for bad. Just as our faith may lead others to Christ, our godly example may encourage them to go on and live righteous, pleasing lives for Him.  On the flip side, when we are not living for the Lord, we may become a stumbling block to others, causing them to fall. People are watching us.  Our children are watching us.  If we want our influence to bear fruit we must live closely to the Lord—abide in Him. John 15: 4, 5 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”  I don’t know about you, but I would never want to be a bad influence on somebody and make them stumble.  May we always abide in Him so that our influence will multiply and bear fruit for the Lord.

When we count the seeds in an apple, we cannot know how many apples will be multiplied from just one of those seeds.  Only God knows that number.  Only God knows the fruit our testimony and godly example will bear, but someday in heaven, He may share it with us!  The next time you bite into a crisp, juicy apple I hope you’ll think of our sweet Robbie Appleseed and say a little prayer for him.  Remember, too: You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.  Let’s bear fruit for Him—over and over again.