Enoch and Noah – Part 8

It took a while for my leg to heal and I had to stay in bed for a several weeks before I could get back to caring for my birds.

When my leg did get better, I was still very curious and still looked around at the many strange, beautiful and sometimes terrifying animals; but now, I always went with someone else.

And I always came back to my birds. I decided to learn as much about them as possible.

There were lots of strange and beautiful birds to see and to get to know. There were white ones and black ones; red ones and green ones; yellow ones and blue ones. Every color you could ever imagine was painted on those birds. There were even some that had lots of different colors on them. It was a color explosion. It was everywhere. It was marvelous!

There were very big ones and very tiny ones. Some were noisy, and some were quiet. Some just squawked loudly while others sang sweetly and quietly.

But, no matter how excited they seemed to get at times, when I took out my flute and played for them, they settled down and got almost quiet.

One day as I was sitting and playing for them, I realized Grampa was sitting next to me. He had sat down while I was playing and I didn’t even notice. “You’re getting pretty good with that little flute of yours,” he said. “I like the way you play, and it seems the birds do too. In fact, all the animals nearby seem to settle down and quietly listen to you.” I hadn’t noticed the part about the other animals. I had just noticed the birds.

Grampa seemed to favor the birds above all the animals like I did. We liked sitting together and talking or just listening to the birds sing. After a while, I noticed there was one mostly white bird that would move over closer to me when I was playing, and it would sing with me while I was playing. I liked that, and so I began to play even more often than before.

The mostly-white bird, which Grampa told me was called a dove, moved closer and closer to me on a low hanging branch. When I fed the birds, I started making sure the dove got extra food. He would even eat out of my hand sometimes. I named him Jubal. I think it was a he. I’m not really sure. Jubal was the name of one of my ancestors who played the pipes, so I thought the name fit him.

Jubal and I would spend part of every day together. I would play, and he would sing. After a while, his mate would join us too. I named her Adah. They were a lot of fun to be with.

Then one day Grampa told me, “Enoch, the Lord has been speaking to me and told me there was going to be a special job soon for a few of the birds. He wants me to take one up to a window on the upper deck and let it go to see if it comes back. This is part of God’s plan for us, Enoch. This is how the Lord is going to let us know He is preparing for us to leave the Ark.”

I wasn’t sure how to take that. We had been on this trip for several months now. We had all been looking forward to the day it would come to an end but, now, I was worried for Jubal. Would Grampa send him? What would happen to him? Would he be able to find his way back? Would he get lost and die?

I made a plan to take Jubal and Adah and hide them. I know my Grampa means well, but these two birds were my very best friends.

Enoch and Noah – Part 6

I was frightened by the big cats at first, but they turned out to be pretty friendly as long as I didn’t get too close.

Then I saw another ladder leading even farther down.

Hmm, I’m pretty sure that this is where Papa told me not to go. But, I wonder what it looks like down there”.

Just then I heard some strange rustling around noises and noticed that the lamps that lit up each of the lower levels seemed to be out. I began to get very curious. I looked around to see if anyone was around.

Papa will never know if I look just once.”

So, I began climbing down the ladder and I was turning and twisting around trying to see what was there when suddenly the ark lurched and my foot slipped. I lost my grip on the ladder and began flailing around trying to grab onto something when my left leg got caught in one of the steps of the ladder.

There was excruciating pain, a horrible snapping sound and then I landed hard on my back, flat on the deck. The next thing to hit must have been my head because I blacked out for a while.

When I awoke, I was in more pain than I had ever imagined in my whole life. I realized I had broken my leg badly. I couldn’t keep from yelling and crying it hurt so badly, but no one came. I was down there all alone.

I realized that my father and uncles were cleaning out stalls at least two decks above me and couldn’t hear me.

Where is Grampa’s God when I need Him?

I immediately felt completely alone and in the dark. Then I began to feel afraid. I didn’t know how often they came down to this level to care for the animals.

My eyes began to gradually get used to the dim light.

I began to yell again.

“Help,” I yelled as loud as I could.

“Help!”

“Help!”

After the second or third yell, there was this really weird echo. It sounded a lot like a horn of some sort.

Every time I hollered help, that strange horn echoed back to me.

After about five or six times, I tried to sit up and look around.

Through the tears in my eyes and into the dim light, coming toward me was the biggest animal I had ever seen.

It was sort of a brownish grey with big floppy ears and a long huge nose, an absolutely monstrous, grey, wrinkly body and legs twice as big around as my Uncle Ham. Just as I started to get a good look at it, it rose up its nose and made that horn sound I had been hearing.

It walked slowly over to me with its nose pointed at me sniffing me and then touching me. I was scared at first, but its touch was so gentle I stopped being afraid. It pushed at me a little bit, like it was trying to help me stand up. I reached up to feel it’s long nose and it began to pick me up and cradle me with it. I felt the pressure on my leg get less and the pain got easier to handle.

I wasn’t sure what was going on or why this animal was doing this. I looked up and I could tell the big thing was also looking down at me. I began to feel very relaxed and very tired. My eyes had trouble staying open and I must have fallen asleep for a while.

When I woke up, the animal was still holding me up. I began to call out for my father. “Papa,” I would call out. I was not very loud at first. I did not want to frighten my protector.

“Papa!”

I would repeat a little louder each time.

“Papa!”

“Papa!”

After a while, I stopped because I wasn’t getting any answers. The pain was still pretty strong and I was getting tired again. I was also very thirsty and starting to get more afraid that no one was answering me.

I was getting scared and I didn’t know what to do.

I thought about what Grampa might do and, just as clearly as day, I could hear his voice talking to me. “Enoch” he said “you just tell the Lord what you need when you need His help. He will help you. God is faithful, just you wait and see.”

Enoch and Noah – Part 5

“Enoch … Enoch … come on son, it’s time to get up.”

“Okay Mom, just five more minutes …”

I had one more stone to roll before I would beat those town boys at their own game. I lined up my shot and just as I was about to make it …

“Enoch, you need to get up and do your chores. Come on, son.”

“Okay, okay …” Realizing the game was just a dream; I stretched my arms and legs, and then opened my eyes and tried to focus.

The room was pretty dark, “Where was my window, my furniture … my stuff?

Then suddenly I felt my bed lift up from behind me and tilt to my left. I quickly looked around, “What is going on? My whole room moved!

“Huh? Wha—where am I?” I said out loud.

“It’s alright, this is your first time waking up on the ark,” my Mom’s voice again filtered through the morning fog in my head.

Then things began to look familiar, “Oh, yeah, that’s right …”

Memories of the last days, weeks and months began to flood back into my mind, the work on the ark, the fire, the townspeople attacking Grampa, the animals arriving, the rains and flooding and finally the door of the ark closing on the outside world the Lord had decided to destroy.

“Ok Mom, I’m going.”

I got up, dressed, washed, grabbed a chunk of bread from the table and headed up toward the large pen with the netting containing all the birds that came with us on the ark. I have to feed them and clean out their pen.

There was singing and wild calls coming from the top of the ladder I had to climb to get to the upper level. I really like all the birds, feeding them isn’t too bad. It’s the cleaning up after them that’s yucky.

I grabbed a couple of buckets and filled them with the different kinds of food the birds liked and went into the pen. When they saw me with the food, the sound of all the birds got so loud I nearly had to cover my ears.

Looking up into the branches of the trees my Pop and uncles had brought in and mounted to the walls of the pen, I saw many of the birds moving to the lower branches. They seemed eager to eat.

It’s a good thing I looked up because one of the birds was dropping something yucky. I just barely got out of the way in time.

After cleaning out the pen and putting out the food, I sat on the bench inside the enclosure and thought for a while. “This is going to get boring real fast if this is all I have to do every day,” I said to myself.

I had asked Grampa how long we were going to be on this trip. But, the only answer I could get from him was “The Lord will let us know when He is done out there. Just be patient, Enoch.”

So, I decided to explore the Ark.

The first thing I did was to walk all the way from end to end on the deck my birds were on. I had already done that topside (that’s what we call the top deck of the Ark where you could go outside) but, I didn’t want to stay out there because it was still raining.

But, I wanted to see everything.

So I walked and walked and walked, each day I went to a new and lower level.

I looked and looked and looked. I had never seen so many different kinds of animals in all my life. A lot of the animals were new to all of us and we didn’t know what to call them. Many had come from very far away and many were very strange.

I wanted to see them all, even all the creepy, creeping things, no matter how long it took.

One night at supper, we talked about what I was doing.

“What did you see today, Enoch,” Mama asked.

“I saw the monkeys and the antelope and the . . . um . . .striped horses,” I said.

Papa laughed and said, “Those are called zebras son.”

Then he spoke up in his stern voice, “I don’t want you going down to the lowest levels son. The big cats and other very large, dangerous animals are down there. They may be safe enough but, I don’t want you to take any chances. Do you understand me?”

“Yes Papa,” I said.

There were still lots of other parts to explore that I hadn’t seen yet. And, there were lots of animals yet to see.

Every day for several weeks I went out and looked and explored. I was having a great time until one day when I was going down to one of the lower levels where we kept the larger animals.

Hmm, here’s another ladder going down, I don’t remember seeing this one before.” I thought to myself. Down at this level, the cages were much larger than the ones higher up.

Wow! I bet the really big animals are down here. One more level won’t hurt …

Enoch and Noah – Part 4

I ran to Grampa and asked what was happening. He told me the Lord had told him about the water from the sky. Grampa called it rain. He said it would continue for forty days and forty nights. All the water would destroy the whole world that we had known. He called it a flood.

Then something really weird happened. I looked out the door. I could see that the water was everywhere. It was beginning to cover our farm. People from the city and surrounding farms started arriving, and I could see that they wanted to come with us. Grampa, Pop, and my uncles came to the area near the door, and Grampa began to pray. He said, “Oh Lord of heaven and earth. You have blessed us all beyond measure, but we have rebelled against you. And because of this rebellion, you have chosen to destroy the earth by a flood. But you have also chosen your servant Noah and his family to care for the animals that you have sent to us. You have instructed me to build this ark. My family and I have done so. The animals that you have chosen have arrived. They are safe inside this ark, which we built according to your command. The rains have begun. The flooding has begun and we, your servant Noah and his family, are safe inside. The rest is up to you Lord. We place ourselves in your hands Almighty God. Do with us as you will.”

Just as Grampa finished that prayer, there was a loud creaking sound and movement by the door. It was the DOOR! It was closing all by itself! The people that had gathered on the outside began yelling and rushing toward the door, but…they were too late.

The door closed with a groan, a scraping, and finally a loud thud that echoed throughout the ark.

They were on the outside and we were on the inside and suddenly it got real quiet.

No one spoke.

The animals were silent.

Then the whole ark moved!

We suddenly pitched to the left. Things were sliding across the floor and falling. Then we pitched back the other way. Something hit me and knocked me down. Pop was right there with his strong arm and he picked me up. And then…the ark steadied upright again and we could tell that we were still moving. It was really weird!

After we put a few of the things that had slid around back where they belonged, we raced up the big stairway to the windows on the top deck of the ark. All we could see was water for miles and miles. There were just a few mountaintops off in the distance.

We were alone in the middle of all of this water that wasn’t even there just a few days ago. I couldn’t believe it. It was like a dream. I didn’t even want to believe it. I thought that I would wake up in just a minute. But…. I didn’t.

The sky was blacker than anything I had ever seen; the wind was blowing so hard it was hard to stand still. It made me feel so cold with the rain coming down harder and harder. I kept thinking about all the people and things that were under that water. I just stood there hanging on the edge of the window looking out.

I couldn’t understand why they all had to…be destroyed. That made me angry, so I went to a small place on the ark that I had discovered to hide when I didn’t want to be found. I wanted to think about things for a while.

I thought about the people and the places that I knew. Grampa was right. There were people that did really mean things. I didn’t understand a lot of what went on, but I thought that those people wanted to live that way. Maybe it was ok if they weren’t hurting anyone but themselves.

But then I got to thinking about something Pop had told me. If I make something and it doesn’t turn out right or work the way I wanted it to, I could tear it apart and start over if I wanted. He told me that was what God was doing. He was going to start over. He was going to keep parts of what He made that He liked and was going to do the rest over again. It was His choice. I repeated that to myself, “It was His choice and He always chooses to do the right thing.”

I didn’t even hear Grampa come up behind me. The first thing I knew was that his hand was on my shoulder. I turned and looked up at him. He told me to follow him. He led me to where the birds were kept. The light was dim and it was pretty warm in there. They seemed to be comfortable with that. They were strangely peaceful and quiet. We found a little bench to sit on, and Grampa and I sat there watching the birds for quite a while. We used to do that sometimes at home on his favorite bench, under his favorite tree, watching the sun go down. It was almost like old times. I began to feel a lot better and was able to relax a little. Then he scooted away from me just a bit, bent down, and looked me in the eyes and said, “Enoch, I am sure that all of this is frightening. It would frighten me too, and it might even make me angry…if I did not know the Lord the way that I do. That helps me to trust Him. Enoch, I want you to know the Lord the same way that I do. I want you to trust Him the same way that I do.”

I looked into Grampa’s eyes. They were deep and soft and loving. I knew I could believe him and trust him. Trusting God was a little bit harder for me. Then I remembered what Pop had said. He told me to trust Grampa and to trust in the Lord.

“God is faithful,” he always said, “you just obey and wait and see.”

Grampa had said the same thing many times. Suddenly, I felt like I wanted to trust him, God I mean.

“Grampa,” I said.

“Don’t say anything now,” Grampa said. “Would you pray with me?”

I looked down for a moment, and then back into his big eyes.

“Yes”, I said, “I would like that.”

“Hold my hands,” he said. I put my hands into his. My hands were so small compared to his. They were big and worn from many years of hard work, but at the same time, they were soft and tender.

He began to speak quietly, with confidence and familiarity.

“Lord God, God of the heavens and the earth, God of our fathers Adam and Enoch, Lord God, hear us now as we speak. I am here with my grandson Enoch. He is having a hard time trusting you; he might even be a little bit angry with you. He doesn’t know it is ok to be honest about all of our feelings. Mostly because he does not know you as I do. I know you are faithful and true. I also know that you love us each more than we could ever realize. Please help my grandson Enoch to know you as I do. Help him seek you and to know you as his great, great, great….great grandfather Enoch knew you. Help him to trust you and to know you are faithful. Thank you Lord, for I know you will hear and answer this prayer.”

With that, he squeezed my hands, and I knew it was my turn to talk to the Lord.

I was scared.

It’s not every day you talk to the God that created the universe, but Grampa knew Him so well and trusted Him so much I wanted to try.

I started the same way Grampa did.

“Lord God, God of the heavens and the earth, this is Enoch, and I’ve never spoken to you before because I…I…well, I just didn’t know I could. Now I know I can. I have learned that from my Grampa and I just want you to know I want to trust you in the same way my Grampa does. Please help me because I’m pretty young…and, well, I’m really new at this. Please help me to trust that you’ll take care of all of us in this ark and one day soon we can live on land again.”

Grampa laughed a little, but I kept going.

“Thank you, Lord, for loving us. Thank you for loving me and my family. Help us to take good care of all the animals. Especially help me to take care of all of the birds. There are more birds here than I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”

“Anyway, thank you Lord. Please forgive me for being angry with you. Please help me to do my part of trusting you to take care of everything else on the outside of the ark. I know it’s my job to just trust and obey you.”

Then Grampa put his big arms around me and gave me a real good hug. He looked me right in the eyes and said, “God is faithful, just you wait and see.”

I gave him a big smile and said, “Ok, Grampa, I’ll do my best. The Lord has to help me, but I will try very hard and trust Him.”

“God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.”

Then he walked away. I sat there with the birds for a long time thinking about all that had happened. I felt more peaceful than before. I, somehow, just knew that things would be all right. But, our voyage had just begun.

Enoch and Noah – Part 3

Then I got to thinking about all the extra birds and remembered the big area toward the top of the ark. It was like several really big rooms without walls. We had hauled in and mounted a bunch of different sized dead trees, so they would have someplace to roost if they wanted to. Then I remembered the stuff called fish net Pop had hauled up there. He said it would come in handy for keeping the birds where they belong. That was a little confusing to me because the net stretched from the floor to the ceiling and everyone knew chickens can’t fly. But, I had lots of other things to do, so I had no time to think about that.

The next day, right about the time the sun came up, Grampa came and woke me himself.

He said, “Today is the day, Enoch.”

“Today is the day for what?” I said.

“Today is the day the animals will begin to arrive. We need to be ready.”

“How do you know that, Grampa?”

“The Lord told me, and He is faithful, just you wait and see.”

Grampa was right. Even before breakfast, the animals began to arrive. They came in pairs. Grampa had me counting them to keep track. There were lions, pheasants, elephants, tigers, cows, horses, sheep, oxen, cats, dogs, monkeys, bears, and even snakes and all sorts of animals I had never seen before. They showed up…all by themselves. Pop and my uncles pointed them into one of the many, many pens or stalls that had been built. There was no fighting. It was amazing!

As for me, I couldn’t believe the numbers and types of birds that began to show up. Pop had gotten the netting up only a day or two before, and all of the birds either flew in or walked right into the big room we had prepared for them. I couldn’t believe it. This went on for seven days. Grampa was right. The Lord was being faithful. He was bringing all of the animals to us!

While all of that was going on, Grammie Naamah, my mom, my two aunts, and all of my sisters and cousins were helping get our stuff onto the ark. I had to tell them what I wanted to bring and what could be left behind. This was starting to get a little scary. It was really happening! For a while, it was sort of like…a dream! But, now…it was way too real. How was this ark going to float with all of these animals and us inside? How were we going to take care of all of these animals?

Grampa must have noticed the way I was feeling. He came over and pulled me aside. He squatted down next to me and looked me right in the eyes.

He told me there was nothing to be afraid of. The Lord had promised to take care of us, and He always kept His promises. “God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.” And then, he gave me a real big hug. I felt better.

Then I saw Pop watching us. He smiled, came over, and hugged me too. He told me to trust Grampa and to trust in the Lord. “God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.”

Pop then told me I had been doing a much better job of being dependable. He was going to count on me to take care of all the birds, not just the chickens. He was sure I could do it. He put his hand on my shoulder and smiled at me. I was so happy, I felt like my heart was going to bust out of my chest.

There were a lot of animals on board. So I got really busy taking care of all the birds. I needed to care for them the same way I took care of the chickens at home. It was the same job, only it was a lot bigger than before. I went up to where they were kept to sort of look around, and I couldn’t believe all the different types of birds. I still had no names for them, but boy, were some of them beautiful. They were different shades of every color in all sorts of combinations and, boy, were they noisy! Each one seemed to be talking or singing or chattering in some way. It was noisy, but beautiful.

We had covered the floor with sawdust and wood chips left over from the construction of the ark. That helped a lot with the mess the animals left on the floor. We also had a lot of hay to use both for food and to cover the floor. That way the animals could lie down and sleep at night.

Then, after the seventh day, the animals stopped coming. It was weird after they had been coming for so many days.

Then it got really cloudy outside. These clouds were darker than I had ever seen before, and soon it was almost like nighttime. The wind blew harder and harder, and then…water started falling from the sky. I’d never seen water fall from the sky before. Then it came down harder and harder. It came down so hard we could barely see a stone’s throw away.

Enoch and Noah – Part 1

 

I wonder exactly what Grampa means when he says his God is always there and always faithful,” I thought as I lay in the hayloft of the barn practicing a new song on my flute.

“Enoch, where are you?” The angry voice startled me.

“Uh oh, what did I do now?” I stuffed my flute into a pocket, climbed down the ladder and ran toward the door of the barn.

“I’m coming, Pop!”

I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Where is Grampa’s God when I’m in trouble?

When I got to the barn door, I saw Pop standing in the goat pen comforting a distressed goat. Then I knew what was wrong. I had forgotten to milk the nanny goats, but they didn’t forget and were making their displeasure known, loudly.

I ran toward the goat pen. “I’m sorry, Pop, I was in the barn and forgot to do the milking.” I gathered the stool, the bucket, and started milking.

“What were you doing in the barn that caused you to forget the goats…again?” he said. “Were you busy doing some work or just day dreaming?”

I kept milking the nanny goat and didn’t answer right away. Finally, I said, “I’m sorry Pop. I was thinking about something and just forgot. It won’t happen again. I promise.”

He leaned down toward me and spoke quietly into my ear, “That’s what you said last time, and the time before that.” He straightened up and spoke a little louder, “When are you going to stop forgetting and be a responsible boy?” Then he walked around to the other side of the goat, hooked a finger under my chin, lifted my face and looked me right in the eyes. “Enoch… son, you are 10 years old, and I need to be able to count on you. Please do the chores I ask you to do.”

His words burned like fire in my heart, but I didn’t want Pop to know. So I looked down again and just kept on milking.

Pop straightened up and said, “I am going over to work on the project with your Grandfather today. Don’t forget any more of your chores. I’ll check on you at lunchtime. I’m counting on you son, don’t let me down.” He turned and walked away toward the west meadow where they were building the “project”.

My hands kept milking the goat, but my eyes followed him as he walked away. I felt my throat tighten up, my eyes began to water, and my eyesight to blur.

I thought to myself, “I hate disappointing him.”

I wanted to run after him and beg his forgiveness. But I knew that the best way to get it was to earn it by doing all of my chores and doing them well. I sniffled and wiped my eyes. I continued to watch Pop walk toward the project while my hands began to milk as fast as they could.

How could I trust a God that isn’t there to help me when I need it?

As soon as I was done with all my chores, I decided to go over to the west meadow and watch Pop, my uncles, and Grampa work on the project. I ran toward a little hill that overlooked the whole meadow, and I lay down in the grass at the top of the hill facing the meadow so I could see it. It was huge.

It had been there for as long as I could remember. It was the biggest thing I had ever seen. It filled up the whole sky to the west and when the sun was setting, there was this huge, black outline I could see even from my bedroom window.

Pop told me God had appeared to Grampa and told him to build it. Grampa calls it an “ark.” He said it was a boat and would float on water. I’d never heard of a boat before.

At that moment, I wasn’t too sure about my Grampa’s thinking.

You see, all of my friends (and everyone else in town) said Grampa was crazy. They said that he was especially crazy to build the boat. There wasn’t any water to float it on here in the desert.

Grampa had spent his whole life here in the high desert, far away from any sort of town. Maybe he was a little out of touch with … things.

All I know for sure is that Pop, Grampa, and my two uncles all spend part of everyday working on it. It’s like our family thing, this boat or ark.

Every day I had to feed chickens and goats and milk the goats. I had to collect all the eggs. Sometimes I would talk to the animals when I was feeling lonely or when I was thinking that this whole ark thing was just plain crazy.

Grampa heard me talking to them one morning when I was not feeling very good about our family “project”. After I was done with my chores he took me for a walk to his favorite tree. We sat down and talked for a long time. He told me about how the Lord had really talked to him and that, at first, even Grammie thought he was crazy too.

The Day Great Grampa Disappeared – Conclusion

By the time old man Kenan’s story was over, I was finished fixing his cart, he thanked me and was on his way. I started off for Grampa’s friends house again. But, by the time I got there, Grampa had already gone.”

“Not again! Where did he go this time?” asked his son.

“We’ll get to that in just a minute. You see, Ezra’s wife had just died a few days before and he was very sad and lonely. So Grampa Enoch had spent several hours visiting with Ezra, just talking and laughing and praying. Ezra said the visit with Grampa was just what he needed and just when he needed it. He said my Grampa Enoch was the best friend any man could ever have. He also said Grampa kept telling him to put his trust in the Lord. Then he told me that Grampa said something strange about going away on a trip and that he wasn’t sure when he might be coming back.”

“Then what?” asked Lamech’s son.

“That’s all he said. I asked him where Grampa Enoch had gone. Ezra said that after a long day, Grampa liked to walk in his fields among the trees and talk with the Lord, that I should try looking for him there.

So, off I went, back to where the day started at your Grampa’s farm to the fields that were next to his home…you know, where the creek runs toward the valley where all the trees grow.

By the time I got there it was dusk, the sun was just hitting the tops of the western hills and I could see Grampa Enoch walking among the trees. I started running toward him. I had learned so much about him that day that I wanted to talk to him more than ever. Then it happened.”

“Then what happened?” asked his son.

“There was a strange cloud that formed in the open field near the grove of trees. Your great Grampa Enoch was walking toward it. It looked like he was walking with someone I hadn’t been able to see before. I called out to my Grampa. He turned, smiled and waved and then the two of them walked right into that cloud. I started to run faster to try and catch up but the cloud began to disappear. By the time I got there, the cloud was gone and so were they. I couldn’t see them anywhere. Your great Grampa Enoch and his friend were just gone!”

“Then what?” asked Lamech’s son.

“Then nothing, I never saw him again. Like I said before, it was one of the worst days of my life and one of the best.

It was one of the worst because of all the things that kept happening to me that kept me from getting to see your great Grampa. I only got a glimpse of him at the end.

It was one of the best because of all the things that I learned about the kind of man your great Grampa Enoch was. I have spent a lot of time in my life thinking about him and I have tried to be the same sort of man.

Let me tell you what I learned about him.

He was gracious, compassionate, fed those in need, gave freely, did not fear evil, was steadfast, and always, always trusted in the Lord.

Son, I want you to learn to be the same sort of man,” said Lamech.

“I will, papa,” replied his son.

“I know you will, Noah,” Lamech said. “God is faithful, just you wait and see.”

The Day Great Grampa Disappeared – Part 2

‘Ha, ha, ha, do you know where my great Grampa is?’

“Still chuckling he said, ‘There is a family nearby who are suffering because they were too sick to harvest on time. They have also been hit hard by some sort of blight. In addition to the grain and seed, your Grampa Enoch is taking over a few farm hands to help harvest what they can and to teach the neighbor how to avoid the blight next year.’”

“I thought that was unusual, but the foreman said, ‘Let me tell you something about your Grampa Enoch you may not know. He does that sort of thing all the time. He is always very generous with his neighbors. He says that is why the Lord has given him so much. He believes God wants him to care for others and, well, he always wants to obey the Lord.’”

“Well that made me stop and think for just a moment. But, it still frustrated me because I really wanted to find him.”

“So, I asked Samuel where he was now. He told me your great grampa Enoch had gone into town to arrange the details of helping another family that had been completely wiped out by a fire. He was going to meet with the village elders to put together a group of people to rebuild the house and barn for them. He was going to pay for the wood and other materials, but he wanted others to pitch in with labor and other things.”

“Wow, Pop! Was he always that generous?”

Lamech touched his son’s head. “Samuel said he was. I was beginning to learn that it was just the way he was. I never really noticed before, but later on I remembered some things he said, like the Lord had blessed him so that he could bless others. He also said that is what the Lord would have him to do. And he always wanted to obey.”

Lamech’s son thought about it for a minute and then looked at his father and said, “So what did you do next?”

Lamech smiled. “What could I do? I had questions I needed to ask your Great Grampa. So I headed back to the village to see if I could catch up with him there.

But, by the time I got there, he had already done his business and left. I managed to speak to the elder who was a friend of my family and he said to me, ‘Let me tell you something about your Grampa Enoch you may not know. Today, he helped us deal with a very difficult situation. Two members of our village were very angry with each other. There was name calling and a lot of accusations of cheating and lying flying back and forth. It was very tense. He took each one aside separately and then talked with both of them together. By the time he was done with them, they had settled their differences and were both smiling and laughing. They even walked away together. Then your Grampa Enoch said farewell, too, and went on his way. It was amazing!’

I asked him where Grampa had gone. He told me he was going to go have lunch with his friend, Ezra, on the other side of the village. I was just about to head over to Ezra’s house when my sister, Naomi, told me Mother wanted me home to take care of some more chores and eat lunch. My hunt for your Great Grampa would have to wait.”

Lamech’s son jumped up and said, “Didn’t you tell her you had some real important questions for Great Grampa Enoch, and you needed to go see him first?”

Lamech chuckled. “I tried to, but she told me mother was not going to take no for an answer and you know your Grandmother Lois. She can be very persuasive when she wants to be, especially with her children. I didn’t dare disobey her, so I went home.”

It was his son’s turn to laugh. “You’re right; I remember a time when I tried to do something different than the way Grandmother Lois wanted it. She wouldn’t let me get away with it. She kept after me until I did it her way.”

“That’s your Grandmother! So you see, I went home for lunch.”

“You didn’t give up then, did you?” his son asked impatiently.

“Oh no, I didn’t, but it did slow me down by about an hour. After I finished my lunch, I headed over to Ezra’s house.

The Best Christmas Present Ever

This is a script I wrote  a decade or so ago for Sunday School. The formatting did not come across right, but I hope you enjoy it.

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The Best Christmas Present Ever

By: S.C. Mathisen

Narrator:        One weekend, Susie and Stanley were spending the weekend with their Grandparents. Grammie was busy elsewhere in the house. Grandpa was in the kitchen whipping up a batch of his world famous oatmeal raisin cookies. The two kids have been trying to decide what would be the best Christmas present to get.

Stanley:        But Susie, I still think that a complete collection of Tonka trucks would be the best ever. Just think of all the dirt you could move!!

Susie:        Oh yeah, and you know how mom feels about all that dirt. Now what I think is that new Barbie doll with all of her stuff like the big house that looks like a castle & cars & boats & clothes…wow, that would be great!!

Stanley:        But that’s girl stuff!!

Susie:        Yes and trucks are boy stuff. We gotta think of something that anybody would like.

Stanley:        How about computer games? Remember that game where you had to find things, and it took us nearly a week of looking together to find everything?? That was fun, and we both like it.

Susie:        Yes, that’s true, and we both played with the Legos and Lincoln Logs. I made a doll house out them, and you built a fort.

Stanley:        But maybe older kids & grownups wouldn’t like that stuff as much as we would.

Susie:        You’re right, Stanley. Hmm, what would ANYBODY like to get…???

Stanley:        Hey! Maybe we could ask Grampa. He could help us figure it out.

Together:        Yeah!!!

Both kids jump up and rush into the kitchen . . .

Together:        Grampa!!!

Grampa looks up from his cookie mix . . .

Grampa:        Hey there kiddos! How are my two favorite grandchildren?

Together:        Grampa! We’re you’re only grandchildren.

Grampa:        Well, that doesn’t change the fact that you are my two favorite grandchildren in the whole wide world. Now, what is it that you two want? The world famous oatmeal raisin cookies have not even gone in the oven yet. I was just tasting the dough to make sure I haven’t left anything out.

Susie:        Grampa! They are not cooked yet! Ewww!! Yuck!!

Licking his lips & fingers . . .

Stanley:        I don’t know, Susie, this tastes kind of good. This would go great with ice cream Grampa!

Grampa:        What was it you guys wanted anyway??

Stanley:        Oh, yeah . . . we wanted you to help us figure something out.

Susie:        That’s right. We have been trying to figure out what the best ever Christmas present would be. Stanley thinks that it would be Tonka trucks & stuff. I think that it would be all the new Barbie dolls & stuff. Then we thought about computer games that we could both play or Lego’s or Lincoln Logs or—

Grampa:        Whoa there little one, I got the idea. Why don’t the two of you sit down at the table there while I put this first tray of my world famous oatmeal raisin cookies in the oven? We’ll talk while they are baking & maybe we can sample them fresh out of the oven.

Both kids:        All Right!!!

Grampa:        Now let me get this oven door open, put this tray in, make sure that the temperature is just right and set the timer. Good! All done! Now, let’s talk about this present thing. I don’t think that you kids are thinking big enough. Let’s think about the best present ever given. Not just the Christmas type. I seem to remember a story that starts like this.

A long time ago, far, far away, back during the time when God had just created the earth. He had just finished making all of the animals and fish and plants & trees. He said that all of this is good, but . . . He then took some mud and created Adam. (I think that is why boys like dirt so much.) When Adam was awake and had looked around a little bit, God asked him to name all the animals. Well, that took awhile, but, after Adam was done, he was a little lonely. All of the animals had males and females. They had someone to spend time with and talk with and stuff, but…Adam didn’t. God knew that this was making Adam sad. So, He put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs and made Eve. She was a present from God to Adam. God then gave the whole world to Adam and Eve to rule over and be masters of. That was a pretty big present if you ask me.

Well, pretty soon Adam and Eve messed up and sinned against God. This pretty much messed up everything all around. They got kicked out of the garden that God had planted for them to live in and they had to work hard every day just to survive. Sin had been brought into the world by their disobedience, and the world has been a mess ever since.

 

But, even as God was kicking them out of the garden, He made a promise that one day He would send someone to do something about the mess that they made.

Well, a lot of time passed, and God gave lots of presents to His people. Sometimes the presents were people to help them out when they were in trouble like Noah and Moses. Sometimes He gave them food and water where there wasn’t any like when the children of Israel were wandering in the desert for 40 years. God fed them twice a day.

When they got to the Chosen Land, He helped them take control of it and get settled. He sent people called Judges to help them when they forgot about God and got themselves in trouble. He gave them a king when they wanted one. When they were taken into captivity after forgetting about God again for a long time, He sent them Daniel and kept him from getting eaten in the lions den. He sent them Queen Esther to keep them from getting killed by the evil Haman. He brought them back to Israel when He said that He would and even after they were conquered by the Romans. The finally time came for the best present of all.

There was a young girl named Mary we talked about her before, do you remember? Do you remember how when the angel told her that she was going to become pregnant, and she said that couldn’t be because she was not married and the angel told her that all things are possible with God? She told the angel that it was ok with her because it was going to be from God. Do you also remember that she did get married, and she and her husband Joseph had to travel all the way to Bethlehem because the Roman Caesar wanted to count everyone? And then there was no room at the inn, and they had to sleep in the stable? And then angels appeared to some shepherds to tell them that a wonderful thing was about to happen?  Do you remember what the angel said?

“But the angel said to them, do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

The angels were talking about Jesus. He was the one that God promised to Adam and Eve that would clean up the mess that they had made. Jesus came to clean us and take away all of our sins by dying on the cross for us.

Jesus is the best Christmas present ever.

Stanley:        Wow Grampa! That’s really cool. I never thought of it that way before.

Susie:        That’s right Stanley, and now because we have asked Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Saviour, we can go to heaven when we die and live for Him while we are alive.

Stanley:        And we can pray to Him when we feel lonely or scared or for just any old reason.

Grampa:        That’s right kids. I think that you understand really well. Oops, the timer just went off. Who wants some of my fresh hot world famous oatmeal raisin cookies???

Stanley:        Grampa, do you think that it would be a good idea to tell our friends about Jesus being the best Christmas present ever? I was thinking about telling my friend Whitney and maybe Johnnie.

Grampa:        I think that would be the best idea that anyone could ever have.

Susie:        That’s right! If we tell other people about it, it would be like giving them the best Christmas present ever, and we could give it to everyone we know!! Like I could tell my friend Cherry!

Grampa:        That’s right Susie and you too Stanley. Stanley, could you get the milk from the refrigerator? Susie, could you get some small plates. I think that you two will need some milk and cookies before you go & tell all of you friends about Jesus and ask them to accept God’s Best Christmas Present ever.

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Two Shepherds

As it is Christmas eve, I would like to share an original Christmas story of mine. With this story, it is my fervent wish and hope that each and every one of you (my readers) will come to know the Saviour that we celebrate on this Christmas Eve.

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Two Shepherds  

Original story told by: God

Adapted by: S.C. Mathisen

“Jacob, how long are you going to lie there and stare at the night sky?”

“As long as I need to Zebedee, I’ve been watching this star every night for the last several months, and it seems to be getting closer and closer every night. I can’t figure it out.”

“We need to get back to the flock; I’m worried that those Roman soldiers will decide to help themselves to a couple of our sheep while we are away from them.”

“All right, all right, I’m ready to go back now. I made a few notes on the position tonight. It looks like it is straight above that little village of Bethlehem. Maybe we’ll go in there in the morning and look around.”

“Help me gather up our things here, Jacob. You know, after this season is over, I’m going to head back up to Galilee and take my uncle up on his offer to teach me fishing and to set me up with a fishing boat. I am getting really tired of sleeping outside on the hard ground every night, watching a bunch of smelly sheep.”

“That sounds pretty good, Zebedee, but I like being out here. I especially like it at night when I can watch the stars. Ok, I’ve got the food; let’s get back to the sheep.”

The two shepherds head back over several small hills to the small field where they had left their herd. Jacob looks back over his shoulder at the star that has captured his imagination, and Zebedee scans the horizon for any signs of Roman patrols.

“Jacob, why does that star fascinate you so much? After all, the night sky is full of stars. What is so special about that one?”

“I don’t really know Zebedee, for some reason it reminds me of the Lord’s promise to send the Messiah. You know, I heard from a passing caravan yesterday that there was a strange caravan of royal astrologers in the area from some country far away to the east. I heard they were here because they had been following a star all the way from their country. I wonder if it’s the same star. I’d like to run into them and ask them a few questions.”

“Sounds kind of crazy to me. No one believes any of that Messiah stuff anymore.”

“But don’t you remember all the prophecies from synagogue school? One of them talked about a star!”

“Jacob, come on! All of that stuff is just old, tired stories to tell the kiddies at bedtime. If God was going to send a messiah, he wouldn’t have let us get conquered by the Romans. If He exists, He’s off doing other things and has cut us loose to take care of ourselves. Come on, we need to get back to the sheep.”

“I don’t care what most people think, Zebedee. I believe the stories, and I think that star has something to do with them. I just have a feeling about it.”

“Great! Wonderful for you. Me, I just want to get back to the sheep and get some sleep. All this stargazing is depriving me of some well-deserved sleep.”

The two shepherds arrived back where they had left the sheep and begin laying out their sleeping gear and soon settle down for some sleep.

“Here we are, Zebedee. The sheep are right down there in that field all nestled in for the night, and we are here with them. Let’s call it a night. I sure wish that caravan from the east would come by here. I’d like to talk to those men.”

A couple of hours later:

Zebedee awakes. He hears something that sounds like singing. Then, his eyes are almost blinded by a bright light.

angel-shepherds

“Jacob, what’s that in the sky? It can’t be morning already.”

“What? What do you want?” He cups his hand over his eyes. “Wow! That is really bright!”

“I’m scared,” said Zebedee.

“ I am too,” replied Jacob.

A third voice speaks. The voice seems to come from everywhere.

“Don’t be afraid!”

“Who said that?” asked Zebedee.

“Is that you, Simon?” asked Jacob, in a shaky voice.

“Don’t be afraid!” the voice repeated. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds just looked at each other.

“Jacob,” said Zebedee, “remember all that stuff about not believing all those old stories?”

Jacob looked at his friend, smiled, and said, “Yes?”

“I’ve changed my mind. I do believe them now. ALL of them. Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and arrived just as the sun was coming up. After asking all around, they found Mary and Joseph in a stable with their baby boy, lying in the manger.

von_honthorst_adoration_shepherds_800x683

When they saw Him, they both went weak in the knees, knelt, and worshiped Him. They told Mary and Joseph what had happened to them, and they both were amazed.  

Afterwards, they told everyone they met what had happened and what the angel had said about this child and where to find Him.

All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished. Many came to worship Him as well.