Some may possess the ability to teach an old dog a new trick.  But our Creator is

able to quicken the coldest heart, infuse fresh life, and re-route the eternal destiny of

one who may seem so distant from Him.

I can still see her hitching up her britches, cigarette dangling from a mouth that

could make a sailor blush.  Gnarly and brassy, with a ferocious “don’t tread on me”

persona, she knew how to rumble.  Known by friend and foe as “Mickie”, I just knew her

as “Mother”.

We seldom had two nickels to clink together, but Mickie’s guard-dog tenacity

enabled her to manage as well as could be expected of a single mom in the 1940’s.

Most Sundays, we could be found in church, but the remaining six days God’s name was

used primarily to punctuate conversation.  But, unknown to either of us, those long-

ago, far-away visits to the House of the only Father I ever knew had quietly laid the

foundation for a far-more-incredible comeback than even those 2004 Boston Red Sox

could  ever  have imagined!

A generation later, Mickie had retired and was living alone.  I had finally found my

way into God’s fold, and that only through His amazing grace.  I was spending nearly

every Friday evening visiting with her, sharing supper and fond memories.  But the time

I treasured most was spent sharing newly-discovered Bible passages and the wonderful

truths they contained.  Exploring the Scriptures together carved new facets into our

relationship, as my Mom became my “Gospel Buddy”!   It was then that it dawned on

me … that my mother was … my Sister in Christ!

One Friday, Mickie revealed to me a fear that had been gnawing at her since she

was a little girl.  Based on a common misunderstanding of the true character of our

God, it continued to haunt her in her twilight years.  I listened intently and did my best

to comfort her, but I knew that only through His power could her fear be laid to rest.

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That next Friday, I returned with 14, perhaps 15, Bible texts, which I had

prayerfully gleaned during my own studies, and handwritten on a sheet of paper, on the

subject that still struck so much terror into her now frail heart.  Before leaving that

night, I hung the page on her refrigerator, which she always referred to as

“the bulletin board”, and I said to her, “When you study your Bible, take a look at these

passages and see if you won’t feel much better about the goodness and kindness of the

God we serve.”

I am thoroughly convinced that this was  the  incident which, once-and-for-all,

dismissed Mickie’s fear, and jump-started her voracious hunger for God’s Word.  As she

“mined” her Scriptures several hours each day, Mickie began to take on a startling

quality of refinement.  The cigarette that once dangled from her mouth vanished, and

the lips that could embarrass a bartender learned to praise their Maker.  That bold

brassiness gradually yielded to a softer, sweeter demeanor, prompting my wife to quip

more than once, “Are you sure this is your Mother?”  Ah, yes, but does not Scripture

teach that by beholding   we become changed?  And why are we so surprised when His

Word delivers     what it has promised?

It was about this time that Mickie carefully wrote in the flyleaf of her favorite

Bible “My aim is to be able to say, as the Apostle Paul said, ‘I have fought a good

fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith'”   (II Timothy 4:7).

Mickie continued her numerous Bible studies and soon began attending church

regularly with us.  And, before the year’s end, she went down joyously into the waters of

baptism, and arose officially God’s New Creation, at the tender age of 82!

Mickie celebrated her final years stocking the shelves of her mind with Bible

truths, and sharing hope and encouragement with nearly anyone who had an ear.

Visitors to her apartment were customarily treated to a Gospel music fest.  She played

her organ for everyone and invited all to bring their musical instruments.  Throughout

the day, wafting from her open windows could be heard the delightful sound of a

harmonica, an accordion melody, perhaps a guitar accompaniment, and Mickie’s organ.

They all came fully prepared to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Shortly before her 89th birthday, Mickie went to her rest.  Her apartment was a

veritable treasure trove of no fewer than sixteen fully-marked Bibles, boxes of audio and

video study materials, shelves laden with great Gospel music and innumerable volumes

of Christian literature.

But beyond all question, the most astounding discovery, and the one that brought

the greatest degree of joy and comfort in the midst of our grief, was a small note, stuck

high on the door of Mickie’s refrigerator – slash – “bulletin board” … right   where   she

 knew   it  would   be   found.  In her text-book neat handwriting, it read simply, “I have

fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith'”.

Mickie had turned the page, had built on the Rock, had committed all to Him and

trusted in His promises.  And I believe that her note was intended to assure all of us

who knew her and loved her    that her reservation for God’s Kingdom was secure.

So, when we meet again in the Earth-Made-New, we have to get together at

Mickie’s place.  Everyone is invited.  And, please –  you’ll want to bring that ukulele and

be prepared for a most glorious Gospel music jam!

The most compelling evidence of the power of God is a changed life.  And by

 beholding Him, as He is revealed in His Beloved Son, we become transformed

into His likeness.