Monday
Dec312012

JESUS WAS THERE AT EVERY CHRISTMAS

 

     At first, there was no Christmas…just a beautiful garden……a man and a woman.  Then, in a dark moment that changed history and had the potential to destroy all that God had created, sin entered that garden and suddenly everything changed.  The demons of hell laughed in glee but even in the deep blackness of that event,  as a silent, heart-rending cry rang through the universe, God was still in control and Jesus, precious Jesus, was there weeping over the souls of men and suddenly it was Christmas.

    The blood of thousands of innocent little lambs watered the parched barren world that sin left behind - blood that for a moment could cover the sins of a desperate, fallen mankind.  As the cries of those poor lambs rose above the awfulness of a world gone astray, God was still in control, and Jesus precious Jesus was there weeping over the souls of men and suddenly it was Christmas.

     Then the first Christmas happened. In the deep, black velvet midnight, as a mother held a warm wriggling little boy so close to her young heart, the world kept its desperate pace outside.  Only a few noticed – an innkeeper who knew something unusual had happened in his stable, a few tired, haggard shepherds who heard angels and hurried to see the miracle, and across many miles, men of great learning who saw a star and began a long journey.  And even though the world hardly noticed, that tiny baby was proof that God was still in control, and Jesus precious Jesus was there crying in the voice of a newly born infant and suddenly it was Christmas.

     The next 33 Christmases were celebrated without much glamour. That night in the damp, dark smelly stable a journey began.  This was the journey of a God who became a man to feel and experience all that man felt.  He knew the love of family, the grief of the loss of those He loved, the pain of rejection and even the joy of fellowship with friends.  He experienced all the things that the men and women around Him did, while knowing in the very depths of His soul that Calvary was just ahead.  The God in Him foresaw the cross, the nails, the crown of thorns, the spear, and the man in Him dreaded it with the same dread we would in His place.  Through all of the hours that led up to Calvary, even as Satan mocked, God was still in control, and Jesus, precious Jesus, cried out “It is Finished” completing redemptions plan and suddenly it was Christmas.

     The Bible is filled with so many stories – stories that encourage, teach, edify and throughout the stories we see over and over that God never, not even once, lost control of this world.  And over and over again and again we see the tender, loving heart of Jesus in every situation.  I could tell those stories, but I am sure that I could never tell those tales with the depth of conviction that I can tell you my own story!

     Many Christmases as a child revolved around the acting out of the Christmas story in our Church.  My Dad was the director, and most of the church participated.  I could hardly wait until I was old enough to be in the pageant.  God’s people were gathered together, using drama to worship Him, serving loving and sharing the story, and it the midst of the Christmas carols, and the wonderful familiar words of Luke, Jesus was there and and suddenly it was Christmas.

     The first time I really understood about Jesus, I was a little 7 year old girl.  My Dad was youth director at Ashland Ave. Baptist Church in Norwood, Ohio.  I was privileged to get to attend a youth meeting with him and at that meeting, a chalk artist drew a dramatic picture of the “great divide” that is between Heaven and Earth.  He drew a picture of the cross as the only bridge across that chasm.  He showed exactly what Jesus did for me – what it cost Him to build that bridge.  For the first time, I understood that Jesus died for me and that I needed to ask Him into my heart.  I waited a few days before I knelt at the front of the church with my Dad as He led me through the Scriptures showing me what I needed to do.  I ask Jesus into my heart, and went home with the greatest joy….even though I couldn’t quite understand everything that had happened.   Watching from His throne in Heaven, God took control of one little girl’s life and my sweetest friend, Jesus, precious Jesus, shed tears of joy because His word says that there is joy in the presence of angels when one (even such a young one) repents and believes.  I remember jumping up and down on my bed that night in joy, knowing Jesus was in my heart, and suddenly it was Christmas.

     Many Christmas came and went.  I became a teen girl and was learning to think on my own! I remember those moments of questioning….wondering….hearing voices that wanted to draw me away from the truth…away from my relationship with God.   Even in those moments of questioning….God was in control and Jesus, precious Jesus was there in the still of the night whispering words of love to a sometimes confused girl, and even in the silence of night it was Christmas.

     I remember those Christmases as a young bride. Still so young at nineteen, I had stood at the altar again….this time pledging love to a Godly man who wanted more than anything to serve and love the same Lord that had spoken to my seven year old heart.  Together we prayed that God would use our marriage and our home to show others that God was in control and that Jesus, precious Jesus, was walking with us daily and everyday was Christmas.

     Christmas became even more special as our children arrived and the joy we felt was hard to express.  Driving home from the hospital with Becky, and then Rachel two years later, we understood the grave responsibility that we had to raise those girls and later our son, to know and follow the Way of Truth.  We rejoiced every day that we knew God was in control, and we sang “Jesus Loves Me” to each baby as Jesus, precious Jesus, smiled on our little ones. We began the awesome and wonderful daily responsibility of teaching them about Jesus and every day was Christmas.

     Time passed so quickly…..just a few short years and the dark clouds gathered over our family.  “Terminal cancer” is such a hard term.  Through five years we fought against the inevitable, but even in the darkest times we experienced a grace and a peace that passes understanding.  God was so real to us throughout those days, that the veil between earth and heaven seemed very thin. Even that Christmas when we broke tradition and moved from my Mom’s house to ours for our family Christmas, because my husband was too ill to travel across town, we smiled and sang Silent Night with sweet peace.  I remember thinking that Death is just a release of the living soul, like a baby bird breaking out of its shell to truly live!  Through it all, even the morning that my husband’s soul took its flight, God was in control, and Jesus, precious Jesus, was there, holding us up and carrying us forward. I felt His arms around me, and suddenly it was Christmas.

    Since then, 27 years have passed. God has continued to lead and to guide our family. In His divine plan, He had preserved a very special Christian man to help us finish our race on earth until we could all be reunited.  He blessed our three children – each faithfully, passionately serving God today. I don’t know what tomorrow holds. He led me to the exact field of service that He had planned and designed me for – that of teaching.  Every day I get to stand before 50 children, loving them and sharing Jesus….as we teach math, language, science, social studies and the arts, we teach them where they came from, why they are here and where they are going.

 

There has not been a time in the sixty one years of my life when God was in control.  There has never been a time, even in my wanderings or questionings, when Jesus - precious Jesus - was not willing to walk and talk with me. If He gives me more time to serve, I want to remain faithful. I pray that others will see Jesus in me.  “If I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men to me” I pray that I will remain faithful no matter what the circumstances are in the years to come.   Christians say that Christmas is Jesus, so for me, and I hope for you too, every day of our lives from this moment we trust Jesus with our lives, through the good or the bad, it is Christmas because of our wonderful Savior!

Saturday
Apr022011

Responsibilities

I recently talked with a young mother who stated to me that she feels sad everytime she leaves her 2nd grade daughter at her public school.  In the progression of our conversation, I think I was able to understand her reasons.

A truly dedicated Christian understands the seriousness of their God-given responsibility to raise their child with a true understanding of where he came from, why he is here and where he is going. 

A child has three major institutions in his life. Two are ordained by God in this order - Home (family)  and Church.  In all likelyhood, God meant for a child's education to be done by these two institutions.  We, however, have added a third institution, the school, and turned it over to the secular, unGodly world to administrate.

When a child begins school, he is suddenly spending over 50% of his waking time five days a week with peers and another adult who has serious influence in his life. Even connected parents have a difficult time knowing what their child is learning from that adult and the peers with whom he is sharing such a major part of his life. Many times, the teacher and most of those peers are products of an unGodly society and that is the influence that is rampant in the school.  In the rare case that a teacher is actually a born again Christian, his or her hands are tied by "separation of Church and State lies" and he can't  have much of an influence for God in any child's life without risking his job.

The time a child spends with his parents on those five days is filled with eating, preparing for school, sports, eating again, doing homework and getting ready for bed.  There is very little time for instruction from the parent - either formal or "life happening" instruction. We dream that we will be able to influence our child for God but, in all honesty, most of the time we spent is stress filled as we try to get everything done in the time we have to do it.

So what is the answer?  The very best answer is for a parent to home school their child if they are at all able to do so. If it is done properly, the child gains everything good. There are so many opportunities available for homeschoolers. However, this takes a major sacrifice and most parents are not able to do it. 

The second answer is to find a good Christian School and allow that school to help you educate your child.  What are the earmarks of a good Christian School?

1. You know and your child knows that Jesus is the head of the school.....that is evident in the behavior of the School Board, Administration and teachers.  It is evident in discipline, in the classroom, and even in the instruction that each child receives.

2. Your child is viewed as an individual and not one of many.  The school is constantly working to meet the needs of each individual child.

3. Everything is consistently Christian - activities, curriculum, conversation, attitudes.

4. Academics are taken seriously because everything is done as unto the Lord!

Tuesday
Jun292010

The Greatest Legacy

As a part of the founding team and now serving as Director of Cornerstone Christian Academy, one of my greatest fears is that we will spend our time educating our students academically and fail to give them the greatest legacy of all which is a purpose for living.  We could invest time sharing the secrets of Language, Math, Science, Social Studies and even Religion, and fail to share Jesus Christ and His plan for their lives and we would have failed miserably.  We could lead them to great success in standardized test scores but not help them understand the tests of life, and we would not accomplish what we were designed to do.

God has a definite plan and purpose for everything He created and this includes every child who enters the doors of CCA.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."  Jeremiah 29:11

These words, spoken by God  to Jeremiah in the Old Testament, confirm that God had a plan for him but also remind us that God has a plan for each child.  When  we are chosen to educate a child, we are also assigned, along with parents and extended families and church,  to help that child find the purpose God has for his life if he is really going to be successful.

 

 

 

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