What’s It Worth to You?

Through the years we have known families who have invested significant finances and time to have good Christian fellowship. We have seen some sell houses and move across town or across the country to have that fellowship. What a blessing to be with others who are likeminded. But what if you don’t have those around you who are likeminded?

May I encourage you to embrace the possibility that the Lord may have a season of life in the wilderness for you? Are you willing to seek Him with all your heart and delight in Him? Moses, David, and John the Baptist all had times of being alone, and look what God did in their lives. Draw near to Him, be in the Word, and embrace loneliness. Ask the Lord to fill you with His presence. Then when the time is right, He will send earthly fellowship. In the meantime, rejoice in Him.

“And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:2-3)


Which Do You Prefer, Dusk or Dawn?

It’s easy to tell dark from light, but impossible to tell dusk from dawn by one snapshot in time. It is easy to tell by the decisions people make whether they are living in the dark or in the light. We have known many families whose lives were an example of walking in the light and many whose lives were examples of walking in the dark.

It is difficult to discern whether a family is walking in the dusk or in the dawn. If you took a photo of a family in either, unless you could tell by the direction of their shadows, you wouldn’t know whether it was dusk or dawn. You would know only by comparing snapshots over time. In a similar way, it takes observing a family’s decisions to predict whether they are walking from the light toward darkness or walking toward the light from darkness.

Dawn is good in our spiritual journey as we walk ever closer to our Lord and His light and away from darkness. As the Lord Jesus reveals more of His Light, we purge the darkness of evil as we draw near to Him.

Sadly, over the years we have observed families become more worldly as they head for the darkness. They are in dusk, gradually moving from the light to the dark, with ever increasing, even if slight, degrees of worldliness.

Which way are you leading your family? Each choice that we make is like a snapshot that records the direction of our movement. Take inventory in these areas as they indicate the condition and direction of our hearts: clothing, music, viewing habits, entertainment, and friends. “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:13-16)


The Dark

Everything and everyone is equally beautiful in the dark, yet the ugliest of sins thrive in the dark. The worst comes out of a person in the dark.

“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5)


The Blessing of a Smile

theblessingofasmile(Picture above is of our daughter-in-law, Melanie, with her four children. This beautiful picture is a reminder of the blessing and power of a smile!)

I remember the time years ago, in the midst of my season of homeschooling that my husband, Steve, looked at me one day and said, “Honey, I think you should smile more.” I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but I am sure it was not one of my more stellar days, and I didn’t receive his encouragement very well. I went off by myself into my bathroom and did a little experiment.

I looked at myself in the mirror and evaluated how I looked. Then I pretended to be unhappy with a child while correcting that child with that attitude. Immediately, I thought to myself, “Wow, Lord, if You had put little mirrors on my children’s foreheads so that I could see what they are seeing when I am displeased with their behavior, perhaps I would have more quickly come to the meek and quiet spirit that I long for.”

Finally I smiled at myself in the mirror. The difference was astonishing. It was beyond amazing. There was no doubt in my mind which image I preferred looking at, and I could readily see why Steve would suggest that I smile more. Truly, the smiling face was the one I desired for my family to see.

When a mom writes to me with struggles with her children, the first thing I usually ask her to do is to look each child in the eye at least once every day, smile at him, and tell him you love him. We get busy with life. We work with our children. We talk to them. We play with them. We do school with them. We disciple them. We are with them a great deal of time each day. Sometimes, though, we forget to simply quiet ourselves enough to catch their eye, smile into their face, and express the words that fill our hearts—”I love you!” We might say, “I love you” as we hug them during the day or tuck them in at night, but what about looking them in the eye when we say it?

There isn’t a verse in Scripture that says there is power in a smile, but this verse is pretty close: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13). Here the smile comes from the heart. For me there were times when my heart was not merry, but I chose to put a smile on my face. From that I discovered that the decision to smile could also cheer up my heart.

I was amazed a few months ago to read of a secular study that showed that simply having people smile changed their attitudes to become more positive. It really didn’t surprise me because I had that experience myself.

A smile is a blessing to my family. They like to see a wife and a mommy who is happy. A smile is a blessing to me. It expresses my feelings for my family, and it causes me to feel happier. A smile is also a blessing to my Lord because it says to Him that I am content in Him with whatever circumstances He has given to me. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

Could I challenge you to take the mirror test yourself? What kind of mommy do your want your children looking at—the one who is smiling, the one who is serious, or the one whose brow is furled and frowning? I would like to remind you to smile more. I would like to remind myself to smile more. There is blessing in your smile. Don’t lose those precious blessings!

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri Maxwell

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Life Takes Work

Dads usually work 40 or more hours a week.

Moms with several children often work 60 or more hours a week.

Those who have initiative and work hard will do far better in life than those who love entertainment and recreation.

God put man in the garden and on this earth to work. We do our children no favors if we do not teach them to enjoy work when, in fact, they will spend the majority of their daytime hours throughout their lives working.

Are we great examples of enjoying work, or do we “live for” fun and entertainment? Work is a blessing. If you doubt it, simply ask any immigrant or person who is out of work. 

Jesus Christ was totally focused on the “work” the Father gave Him to do on earth. He gave all of His day to His work. He finished His work and now sits beside the Father so that those who believe on Him might enter the rest of eternal life with Him.

Do we have a mind to work and be about the Lord’s business while He has us on this earth, or do we have a mind to play?  

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (John 5:17)


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