What a Blessing

As I listened to Evidence Not Seen (by Darlene Deibler Rose) my eyes often filled with tears. Hearing what newly-wed missionaries Russell and Darlene endured to share Christ in New Guinea shredded my heart. They were driven by a fervent love for the Lord Jesus, wanting to be used as light to those in darkness. A few years after arrival on the island, Russell and Darlene were placed in separate POW camps when WW2 began. He died in his, and she somehow lived through it. 

What efforts are we willing to expend to share Christ’s love with those around us? It is by God’s sovereign will that each of us lives where we do. We don’t have to travel thousands of miles to our mission field; we already live there. 

 Would you be willing to discuss with your wife what you might do in the coming days and make a plan to carry it out? Here are some ideas to consider:

  • If your family can sing, carol to your neighbors. We have done that for many years now. We only sing the first verse of an easy carol and then “We wish you a merry Christmas.” We encourage you to keep it short. (Trust me.)
    • If you want to carol and lack voices, invite others to join you. Either a family or two from church or Christian neighbors. We seek to include the “cute factor” — little kids who stand at the front of the caroling group. 
  • If caroling is out of your ability, what about just a casual, short, outside visit to wish them a Merry Christmas?
  • Bring a gift of food whether you carol or not. Food isn’t expensive, and people love tasty treats. Some possibilities are: sweet bread, cookies, or homemade candy. We make poppyseed loaves (Poppyseed Loaf). They are delicious, and our neighbors tell us they look forward to them each year.
  • With the food gift, what about giving them a card with it?
    • In the card, include a personal note if you know them, and it not, a more general one where you express your desire in getting to know them. If they have had health challenges, and you have been praying for them, tell them. Offer to pray for other needs they might have. Include your name and phone number so they know you are serious.

Something done for the first time can be intimidating. However, our lives are full of activities that felt awkward the first time but in time became special. That is the way Christmas caroling to our neighbors began thirty years ago. It is now a rewarding annual family tradition that grew from the ten of us before our children began to marry, to about 30 (on a good year) of us with daughters-in-law and grandchildren. It is a delightful opportunity to show our neighbors we love them and share some encouragement in Christ. 

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).

How Bright Are You?

Do you ever walk around the house turning off lights that have been left on? I think that is part of having a family and being the one who is responsible for the light bill. What a waste of light when it doesn’t benefit anyone. 

However, might that be true of many of us brothers in our neighborhoods? God has made our families to be the light of Christ to those who live near us. Are we being light to our neighbors? “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Next week I will share some possibilities. 

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Galatians 5:14). 

Next To My Salvation

I’m eternally grateful to Jesus Christ for His gift of salvation through His shed blood on the cross for my sins. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 Next, I’m eternally grateful for His gift of my precious wife of many years, Teri, mother to our eight children, and a 30-year homeschool veteran. When most today want the easy life, this woman invested her life in our family in obedience to her Lord Jesus. What a delight she is to me.

Moreover, there are countless women who look to Teri as their mentor and encourager. We hear from them as they share their gratitude for how her articles and Titus2 resources have benefited their walk with the Lord, their lives and helped them have more peace-filled and productive homes. Might your wife benefit as well? 

The Managers books (Homes, Chores, and Schools) are practical, giving long-term benefits: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit continues to be one of our most popular books. And finally, for ladies toward spiritual growth Sweet Journey and Sweet Relationships and specifically for wives, My Delight.

Not a Good thing

I wonder how many well-meaning parents are possibly harming, with potentially eternal consequences, their children every week when they take them to church (don’t stop reading now)? Have you noticed them? They bring their children to church (a good thing), but then during the service, the children do every imaginable quiet (mostly) thing, except listen to the message. Instead of teaching their children to sit still and listen to the preaching, so as to obey God’s Word, the children are “taught” how to ignore God’s Word—not on purpose—but isn’t that is the result? While the children occupy themselves, they become skilled at deflecting God’s holy Word from their minds and hearts while they are occupied with “more important” things.

Many times we read where Jesus instructs he that “hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt 11:15, 13:9, 13:43, Mark 4:9, 4:23, 7:16, Luke 8:8 and 14:35). That would mean open your mind to what is coming into your ears. It is an intentional, learned process to train the mind to concentrate with the goal of understanding so as to ultimately obey what is coming into the ears.

We listen intently because God’s Word is priceless and not to be treated like background music that is played in a store where we are shopping.“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).