Willis and Helen: They tackled life together

Tomorrow my father-in-law will face his first wedding anniversary without his spouse at his side.

My in-laws said their wedding vows on August 3rd sixty-seven years ago. They chose a small church service (tiny, by today's standards) on Sunday morning before Sunday School. From the beginning, their faith played a key role in their marriage.

Together Willis and Helen raised four strong, hard-working children who love Jesus. (I'm married to the youngest.) Together my in-laws nourished friendships, tackled home improvement projects, and served widows and families in need. Together they endured conflicts among their relatives, on the job, and sometimes in their own marriage. Together they coped with discouragement and disappointments, lean finances and long hours. Together they buried four parents and ten siblings. Together they battled cancer and dementia, first with Helen's mom and then with Helen herself.

Together was the way my in-laws did life.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says we're blessed when we can tackle life with someone at our side—with a spouse or sibling or friend, because two are better and stronger than one.

Though Helen is gone, Willis will not be alone on August 3rd. He will spend this anniversary weekend with a daughter and son-in-law, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Facing the hard things together. According to Willis and Helen, it's the Savage family way.

Friday – August 1, 2014

Answering the question: Why pray?

Last week I reached the end of Why Pray? by John F. DeVries. The author is the founder of Mission India. If anyone knows the value of prayer, I imagine it's someone who has founded a missions organization.

Though the book offers a 40 day journey to answer the "Why pray?" question, I took a longer route. I still enjoyed the journey.

Most Christians say they believe in prayer but admit they should spend more time in prayer. Count me in that group. These thoughts from the book helped rekindle my passion for prayer.

"I believe that we limit ourselves to a boring and predictable life when we eliminate God's surprises in answer to our prayers and ask Him merely to bless our plans."

"When we should be walking and talking with God, we're racing off to something that seems very important at the moment."

"The Western church may be compared to a little boy trying to fly a kite on a windless day. He runs furiously up and down the sidewalk, pulling his little kite behind him, and as long as he runs, the kite flies. The moment the little fellow stops, the kite plunges to the ground. His problem? The wind isn't blowing… We are too often trying to carry the church and its programs by our own efforts. The wind of the Spirit is not blowing."

"Every Christian should be praying for three kinds of homes: Jerusalem homes, Samaria homes, and worldwide homes (see Acts 1:8). Jerusalem homes are the ones we live in. They consist of people we meet with regularly—next-door neighbors, friends, coworkers, and people at church. Samaria homes are the ones nearby, with which we seldom have contact. These may be suburbia or the inner city. Worldwide homes are all the other places and people."

"The work of a praying Christian is to turn the keys in the gates of heaven and hell by praying. Every time you think prayer is not significant, just think of being locked outside your house or car on a winter day without the keys."

You can find DeVries' book on amazon.com.

Monday – July 15, 2014