Fifty years ago I was new in Africa. The officers at the border said, “Hire these two ladies to carry your luggage to the right side to be inspected. You’ll meet it in the neighboring country. You must walk through the left side for immigration, customs, passport stamp, identity inspection, and vaccination check.

When I arrived in the neighboring country my luggage hadn’t. An officer said, “It went forward to the taxi station.” No luggage. Other officials said, “It’s at the exit booth.” No luggage. “Check the café.” No luggage. “Go to the supervisor’s desk.” No luggage. I was frustrated and exhausted having searched for hours. So I sat on a rock and cried.

A military officer approached and introduced himself as a “specialist.”

I answered his questions. “Did someone hurt you?” No. “Did you lose your passport?” No. “Was your money stolen?” No.

I was upset because I’d not trusted God with my luggage. I’d trusted the two lady porters.

“Do you see the women carriers, anywhere?” No. “They must have gone home for the day. Let’s go back to where you left your luggage.”

He was genuinely helpful as we followed the path the porters should have taken. It was dark when we found my luggage under an inspection table.

Why must I learn the hard way to trust God?

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

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JEREMIAH

I think of Jeremiah as God’s weeping prophet. There’s a 1998 movie about Jeremiah. (starring Patrick Dempsey) It’s not all scripturally perfect, but condensing 52 chapters into two hours would challenge any script writer.

If you’ve never read the book of Jeremiah, this movie might help you get into it.

In God’s eyes Jeremiah might have been the most successful person in history for his obedience and faithfulness to the Lord in proclaiming His Word regardless of opposition and personal cost. Jeremiah was about 20 years old when as the son of a prophet he was called to prophesy. “Repent and turn to God, or He will punish.”

When the Israelites rejected these warnings, Jeremiah predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and later Israel and Judah being taken into captivity.

Jeremiah’s suffering is awful. He’s beaten, put in stocks, and lowered into a cistern without water, only mud and left to die. I can only read a small portion of the book at a time. As you go through it, you’ll agonize with him over his persecution, and empathize with the messages God called him to deliver.

His example of faith, obedience, and courage always cause me to re-evaluate my walk with God and re-commit myself to the Lord to do what He has called me to do.

I hope you will reach that conclusion, too, as you see or hear Jeremiah.

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THE FAMILY REUNION

After a long absence from our roots, my brother and I visited western New York and just returned. Unfortunately our “technical devices” spent hours searching for signals that never came. And it’s still a mystery why the batteries never charged. My apologies for not posting earlier.

After not seeing some relatives for twenty-five years, it was fun catching up on the family news at the reunion. Comparing familial traits was interesting. We joked about the “rebellious gene, talkative gene, and chocolate-loving gene.” Other common traits like eye colors and shapes of noses and lips were noticeable. We were family, and all related, somehow.

Imagine these traits originating from our ancestor Adam and then passed down in the genes through Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah. The earliest ancestors lived to be over nine hundred years old and passed down God’s laws, lessons learned, and family stories by word of mouth. Noah and his sons and wives, the only ones who survived the flood, continued passing on the genes and the history.

Most of our family descended from Japheth, Noah’s middle son who traveled northwest and in later years to Europe. For thousands of years families carried on its history by word of mouth. And there are many biblical reminders to tell our children about God’s laws and our heritage.

 “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.” Joel 1:3

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