MEMORIES


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All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall [fade] because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall [fade], but the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40: 6-8)

Memories are a beautiful thing.

My father was called home to heaven when I was eight years old. After a few years I realized that I could no longer recall his face or remember the sound of his voice. I am thankful for pictures. The pictures refresh my memory of his face. There are no videos to help me recall the sound of his voice, but the pictures are a true blessing.

Memories are precious, but I know from my own experience that memories fade with time. In recent months/weeks I have been putting together memory books for my five grandchildren who lost their dad to brain cancer on April 6, 2017. All that remains for them now is “memories” of their dad.

When my son was getting close to the end of his life, his social worker suggested he make memory books for the children. She gave him five hard covered books which were a blank slate. She inked his hand and put his handprint on the front of each book. He wasn’t able to do them himself, so he dictated to his sister and I notes of memories that were precious to him and that he wanted the children to remember. I have been busy making a book of memories for each child. It includes his notes and many pictures of him with them while they were growing up.

As time passes I know their memories of him will fade, but the books will give each of them a reference. The pictures will preserve the memory of his face in their minds. In the pictures they will see his mannerisms and remember the way he played with them. The pictures reveal many of the fun things they did together i.e. fishing with the boys, carnival rides, birthdays, and Christmases. He loved his children. After God they were his top priority. Every life decision he made was made with their best interest in mind.

The verses above from the book of Isaiah remind us that this life is only temporary. Like the grass and flowers of the field, humans have a life cycle also. From the moment of our birth death is a shadow that hangs over each of us. Sickness, tragic accidents or old age will eventually touch each of us and our loved ones. But the last line states that though the grass withers and the flowers fall [fade], the word of our God stands forever.

This life is sometimes sad. People we love die. Death creates an emptiness in our hearts and lives. Thankfully the promises of God never change. Jesus promises to never leave us. He says, and surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20). He is present in our lives watching over us and guiding us His children, along the road of life.

He promises that this life is not all there is. He tells us, do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14: 1-3)

All who believe in God through faith in Jesus His Son, will live forever with Him in heaven. Our heavenly home is ready and waiting for us. There will be no more death or sadness, no tears or pain. We will see Jesus face to face and we will see our loved ones who died in the faith also. What a beautiful thing to look forward to!

I pray that my grandchildren will retain their faith in Jesus and be reunited with their dad in heaven someday. I look forward to seeing him again also along with other loved ones who have gone before me in faith, where the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21: 3, 4).

This life on earth pales in comparison with what is to come. We live here by God’s grace. His deep love for sinners brought His only Son to the cross where He offered himself as a sacrifice for sin. What a wonderful gift! It offers hope to a dark world of sin, suffering and death.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2: 8, 9).

Gloria Dei!

By Christine
The memory books were put together with love and are meant to be a treasure to the children. They are a little piece of their dad – a reference. When they miss him or are feeling sad they can reach for the book and see him. It will reassure them of his love for them and be a little part of him to keep close to their hearts.
This life on earth is very fragile. We, or someone we love, can be here one minute and gone the next. Our minds have trouble grasping it. After we lose someone we love to death, it often feels like their life with us was just a dream. Time seems to stand still for us, but the rest of the world keeps moving forward. We see our friends and relatives continuing as normal and feel like we are left stuck in time. We wonder, was that person real – was he/she really part of my life? Does anyone remember or still think of him/her? Pictures are a reality – something we can see and touch. They are a comfort to the grieving.
As an adult I have made a memory book of my own father from the pictures I have. It would have been very precious to me as a child to have had a collection of picture memories of my life with him to go to when I was lonely. I pray that these books will promote healing of the heart for my grandchildren and be something they can share with their own children someday.

 

 

 

OUR STORY


The following poem, written to the meter of  ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, was written by my husband, Andrew R. Backus.

For those who do not know us, it is the story of our lives – the circumstances under which we met, fell in love, and were married. Some may think the timing, circumstances and place where we were married a little odd, but we believe that the hand of God was leading and guiding us and put each of us in the right place at the right time. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8: 28)

Robert Toree Mom - Copy
Robert before his illness

Important Facts:

  • Andy’s first wife Dee passed away on Aug. 25, 2013 of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Grade 4 Brain Cancer – a form of Brain Cancer that is always terminal.
  • My first husband Bob Pocza passed away on Feb. 2, 2016 of a blood disease called Myelodysplastic Syndrome after an almost 4 year illness. I was now a widow.
  • On April 18, 2016 My son Robert Pocza was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Grade 4 brain cancer, the same type of cancer that Dee had. Being a new widow, I moved from my home in Michigan to Wisconsin to live with and help my son, who lived in the Milwaukee area. He passed away on April 6, 2017.
  • Our story is bittersweet, but in all circumstances we know that God is good and does what is best for his children.

Christmas 2017/Epiphany 2018

 

 Merry Christmas to one, Merry Christmas to all!

And this Christ is named Jesus, as you may recall.

He’s the One God had promised right after the Fall.

He came into our world as a baby so small.

God and man in one person, He paid for all sin,

And He opened up heaven so all may go in.

 

With this letter we greet you, this man and this wife,

As we share with you things going on in our life:

 

‘Twas about this time last year that something was brewing,

And in a few months there will be vows renewing!

For you see, there’s a God and He knows what He’s doing.

 

It was May 22nd of Twenty-Sixteen

That a man and his mother in my church I’d seen –

A new widow from Michigan here for her son

Who had a brain tumor, the same kind of one

That somehow had happened to Dee my late wife –

The kind that ends up with the ending of life.

 

I offered support to this mom and her son,

For we know that with Jesus all battles are won.

The time went by quickly as we grew together

And they worked through medicines, red tape and weather.

 

The cancer progressed with its ups and its downs,

While Chris and her son dealt with smiles and with frowns.

In the meantime, my role was to offer support

 As we helped her son Rob who was such a good sport.

 

But something was happening, to our surprise;

We began seeing love as we looked in our eyes.

 

Robert noticed it too and began to remind us

That perhaps we should leave being single behind us.

 

Well, believe it or not, that’s exactly the thing

That transpired, and suddenly Chris had a ring!

 

Robert tearfully told her it would make him smile

If he with his mother could walk down the aisle.

 

So we planned and we plotted as fast as we could,

But that doggoned old cancer was up to no good.

Robert moved to a place, Zilber Hospice by name,

Where my wife Dee had been; it was one and the same!

So with God’s guiding hand and beside her son’s bed,

Christine Pocza and Andrew R. Backus – were wed!

 

Now believe me, the story continues from here;

For the next day we saw Robert’s end drawing near –

The end that without faith in Christ some would fear.

Chris’ son now went home to his Savior so dear.

 

In church we our vows reaffirmed on May six,

With God’s Word, prayer and song a big part of the mix.

The service by Pastor B. Adams was led;

Robert’s memory made known by a rose that was red.

Sarah Kuerth played the organ, Don Buch us addressed;

With song “You Gift of God” by Chris D. we were blessed.

 

Since then Chris and I have begun married life

And are making a home as a husband and wife.

We live in the same place as I did before,

And Chris’ sister Barb’s at Clare Meadows next door.

I still do many things such as I used to do,

But a dog, fish and birds are some things that are new!

 

I would be remiss if I failed to mention –

And bragging and boasting are not my intention –

That my grandchildren now number twenty and eight! *

Steve and Heather bore Theo – last June was the date!

I baptized little Theo at Bash – I was blessed!

And our family still knows “Backus Bash” is the best!

(*Just in case you are wond’ring “What else will he say?”

I can tell you that there is one more on the way!)

 

We have seen some things change and some things stay the same,

Yet in all of life’s changes, sin’s shame is our claim.

That’s why God sent His Son who is Jesus by Name;

He redeemed us poor sinners, and that’s why He came.

Happy Epiphany from the Backuses!

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Andy & Chris, May 6, 2017

 

 

 

 

What is Decision Theology?


Many church denominations today push the idea of “Decision Theology”. Maybe some who are reading this blog post do not know what Decision Theology means. It is possible also that many who are reading this do know what it means and feel or have been taught that it is the only way to heaven.

The purpose of this post is to define “Decision Theology”, state the truth, and most importantly, to offer comfort in the knowledge that the way to heaven does not depend on anything we do, say, or feel of our own decision. Salvation is a free gift of God’s love and mercy for lost sinners.

 

Decision Theology

Catechism

(Luther’s Catechism, Anniversary Edition pg.186)

Can people decide, by the power of their own wills, to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

Unfortunately, many today speak about faith in Christ as a personal decision. They believe that people must ultimately decide whether or not to accept what God has to say and whether or not to invite Jesus into their hearts.

The Bible doesn’t teach this. Rather, it teaches that we are all by nature spiritually dead. Our human wills, in any spiritual sense, are also dead. What is dead cannot contribute toward becoming spiritually alive. Those who view faith as something brought about by a human decision are placing confidence for salvation in something other than God. Such misplaced confidence opens the door to uncertainty and doubt, leaving them to wonder if they truly believe or if they are sincere. We place our trust in God, who alone has the power to work the miracle of faith through the gospel.

There is no need for anyone to make a profession of faith to any church body or pastor, or make a personal decision to accept or receive Jesus into his heart or follow Him. No; it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

So take comfort dear friends and be confident in the knowledge that Jesus did it all for you. There is nothing you can do on your own to come to Him. It is the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word. No one can say, Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)

I urge you to pick up your Bible and begin reading. Let the Holy Spirit take it from there. You will be blessed!

Gloria Dei!