New Beginnings in a New Year

A new year and new beginnings–at least that is the way most people feel. Whatever mistakes we have made last year are behind us. Well, it would be great if that were true, but I have found the consequences of my mistakes tend to tag along with me for awhile. It reminds me of the report cards I received when I was in school. They reflected how well I had done in the previous term. Once that report card was issued, it was a matter of history, yet it would have some bearing as I went forward.

I wonder what it would be like if the Lord Jesus gave each of us a report card for how we are doing. There would be different categories on it and a grade next to each. I would love grades that reflect “well done,” but in my heart I feel there would be a significant number of disappointing grades. His grades wouldn’t be false “on the curve” grades comparing us to others but rather grades of how we are doing compared to His expectations. As I ponder that thought, I have mixed emotions but a real desire in my heart to know what my results would be. I believe it would be both humbling and beneficial. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

If everyone reading this Corner received a report card from the Lord, it is very likely that some would receive a blank card. By “blank” I mean a card that somehow indicated that that person wasn’t a child of God and therefore the report card would not come from Jesus. If there was to be a card, it would have to come from Satan. That is a horrible thought, but then again, it would be wonderful to find that out now as opposed to judgment day.

If only each person had a visible indication of his relationship with Jesus such as the ID badges I’ve seen children wear to school. It would act as a clear sign as to whether he had been purchased by the Holy Lamb of God and would be with Him forever. Walking up to someone, you would instantly know whether he was a believer or not. Sitting in church, you could tell whether the person next to you was saved, regardless of whether he was a founding father of the church.

Yes, it would be helpful for us to be able to identify people that way, but better yet, it would assist the person who did not have the ID badge to know where he was going to spend eternity. I think the saddest words in the Bible are, “ . . . I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). Jesus said those words not to God-haters, but to those who were zealous for Him. The people referred to in this verse had done mighty things, but that wasn’t enough. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matthew 7:22) They were doing all of these great things in the name of Jesus. They may even have loved Him. Yet, He said they were to depart from Him.

Based on the e-mails we receive, there likely will be many homeschooling, professing Christian dads that will be sadly disappointed on judgment day. They may be in church every Sunday, and prayer meeting on Wednesday, yet Jesus is not their Savior. They may be religious and know how to outwardly walk the walk and talk the talk, but they have never repented of their sin and been saved. They may have struggled for years in not feeling close to Jesus, thinking something is missing, but finally decided it is that way for everyone.

Could that be you? Are you willing to examine yourself before God? With an open heart before Jesus, ask Him to reveal your true standing before Him. Will it be in righteousness or in sin? “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates” (2 Corinthians 13:5). I am judging no one, but like Paul, I am encouraging each of us to examine himself before God.

First John is an excellent book for self-examination. There are many verses that act as a test as to whether we have genuine salvation. I will list a number of verses and then a general comment about each one. Please, may we prayerfully read each one and ask the Lord to examine our hearts and the fruit of our walk with Him. Is there fruit? What kind of fruit?

“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6). Do we confess to have fellowship with Jesus (being saved) and our life has darkness in it? Do we have secret sin that we allow? Are we truly having daily fellowship with Jesus?

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). In the Greek “keep” means to observe and give heed to. Are Jesus’ commands extremely important to us so that we strive to follow what He commands us? Verse five reiterates this point again just two verses later. “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” Are we applying God’s Word to our lives? We can’t apply it unless we are reading it. Are we in His Word daily and still hungering to be in it more?

“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him” (1 John 2:10). Do we love our brothers and sisters in Christ? Do we enjoy being with other believers?

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Do we love the world? A great way to tell if we love the world is by evaluating how we spend our time. Is it on selfish, worldly pursuits or as God directs?

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). Is our hope in Christ Jesus? If so, will we not strive to be pure as Jesus is pure? Do we watch impure things or think impure thoughts without guilt, confession, and seeking Jesus to cleanse us?

“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). Like father like son. If we are born of the Father, regenerated, we will not be able to practice sin and be content with it. Our hearts will grieve and cry out against us as we sin. Can a saved man continue in some of the vileness available on the Internet and not be torn up inside over it and seek help?

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15). Do we identify with Jesus verbally? How many people have we told recently that Jesus is our Lord and Savior? If we are ashamed to declare Jesus to others, we can be sure He will not declare us to the Father (Mark 8:38). Romans 10:9-10 indicates that our confession of Jesus is a necessary evidence of our salvation.

There are many more verses that I could have gone through. I pray that each of us will take time to read and meditate on 1 John. May we ask the Lord to evaluate us? Are we His child or Satan’s child? It is no wonder that so many moms are struggling with the conduct of their husbands. It should be no surprise when a lost man acts like a lost man. What is unacceptable and not to be condoned is when a saved man acts like a lost man.

If you examine yourself and wonder if you might be lost, then do something about it. Be sure of Whom you will spend eternity with. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13). God’s Word tells us that we can know for sure.

If you want to be saved, turn in your Bible to Exodus chapter 20. Read and re-read His commandments. Reflect on how you have broken them and deserve hell. Let it sink into a deep awareness of sin against a righteous and holy God. Then please click this link: and go through the steps listed. Get your Bible out, and read the verses to yourself out loud. Don’t go on until each verse is clearly received in your heart. Before asking Jesus to save you, ask yourself, are you willing to follow Him? This isn’t about “fire insurance” but a relationship with the God of the universe. Do you desire that? In asking Him to die in your place, are you willing to obey Him? Then after praying, tell people and don’t stop telling people. If you have trusted Jesus, would you tell us by replying to this e-mail? We will pray for you and encourage you.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

Posted in: Dad's Corner

What About Me? – Part 4

For the past three Mom’s Corners, we have been looking at the focus of a mother’s heart and investigating the question “What about me?” If you haven’t read these Mom’s Corners, please do so. These articles have generated some responses via e-mail that related personal experiences, had other thoughts, or shared Scripture which encouraged my heart. I asked several of these moms if I could pass their words on to you in the hope that they will be a blessing in your life as well. Please be sure to read the three articles that these notes refer to in order to fully understand the context from which they are sharing.

“If God has ordained us for this servanthood, surely He will provide the strength, ability, and rewards in so doing. Sounds like our whole life–not only six days of the week–belongs to service to Him! Thanks for your encouragement.” Mom A

“If I knew you, I would give you a huge hug. The words in your newsletter this month are so much truth that they hit the heart and convict the soul that knows Jesus. I am a truly blessed homeschool mom with an incredibly supportive hubby and two beautiful daughters, ages 9 and 10.

“I’m currently teaching a ladies’ Bible study on Titus and had a very, very similar experience just last night at church. A few women were going away for the weekend and asked me along. One in particular stressed how important it would be for that ‘me’ time. I graciously refused the need for anymore ‘me’ and praised the Lord for what I have been studying in Titus. I also praised Him for seeing the need and leading our women to this particular part of Scripture at this moment in time.

“Tears flowed late last night as I felt two things . . . sorrow for their deception . . . and joy for the blessing of being allowed a part in these women’s lives. This advice, so worldly, has crept into Christian circles in a huge way. I’m not sure I’m making total sense, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU for sticking to the truth and not perpetuating the lie that we need more ‘me’ time.

“Long ago personal experience taught me that if your motives are purely selfish, there is NEVER enough ‘me’ time, and when you come home, your frustration is larger, not smaller. It’s like drinking to forget your worries. Obviously, when you wake up, the problems are still there, AND you’re probably late on a payment!” Mom B

“Being a wife and mother is often hard work, and glorifying God quite often involves doing our very mundane and hard duties.” Mom C

“I came across a gem of a verse this morning in my alone time that will help me through trying times. I thought I’d share it with you. ‘My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever’ (Psalm 73:26).

“King David went through so much in his life–so much trouble and tragedy–but he found solace and strength in time alone with his God. So can we.

“And the Lord Jesus Himself, what about Him? Did He worry about His ‘free time’? He was spent over and over physically and ultimately on the cross. He was renewed by getting away from people to spend time with His Father.” Mom D

“Your articles really spoke to me. This has been a message that has taken me a long time to begin to grasp. I became a believer in Jesus Christ at 33, married at 34, and stayed at home with my children in my late 30’s. Needless to say I have had a lot of worldly ways to leave behind. But God is gracious and has sharpened me and changed me gently and sometimes, not so gently.

“This area of personal ‘needs’ is not a popular topic to address but is so very needed for mothers in our generation. I first became aware of this in learning that I must die to myself so that Christ may live wholly and freely in me. It is a continuing struggle for me as I try to be obedient to my Lord and Savior and die daily, moment by moment, to my flesh.

“Many Christian publications do not address this and continue to mislead us by trying to put a Christian face onto the message of the popular culture. I find that when ‘I want time for me,’ I am often sorely lacking in my time with Him. As you know, when our eyes are on ourselves, they can’t be on our Lord. When I am abiding in Him, my deep needs are truly met in sweet communion with Him. I look forward to the continuing series and your ministry to get His Word out to moms who struggle in this area. It is an important, unfortunately unpopular, viewpoint that we all need to hear and take to heart.” Mom E

“I agree that we should work hard, but many moms are working as if it all depended on them–as if the Lord was not there. These verses address that. ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate’ (Psalm 127:1-5).” Mom F

“Thank you for consistently bringing us to the Lord!! I am like everyone else–ready to pity myself and not as eager to hear this but excited inside when I read it and think those thoughts. We are to run the race without being weary of doing good. However, we can’t do this with out Him and seeking Him daily.” Mom G

“Your article prompted me to again read Proverbs 31. The Proverbs 31 woman is praised for her hard work and self-sacrifice. The only verse dealing with her personally is 22, which reads, ‘She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.’ Even this is a benefit to others–her husband and children especially–for they are not ashamed of their wife’s/mom’s appearance.

“Thank you for pointing out that I can go from house to house while sitting in front of my computer. (Gulp–and the phone too, I guess?)” Mom H

As Christian mothers, we are called to obediently surrender to His direction for our lives. This direction will involve busy days spent serving our families. I pray that each of us may embrace this task with joy rather than focusing on ourselves. It is my hope that by hearing from the hearts of other moms who are learning to let go of their expectations concerning “me” time, you may be encouraged.