Continue reading “Day 5: Witness”
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.Romans 1:16
Crucifixion was the best thing that could have happened to him.
No, I’m not talking about Jesus. I’m talking about the repentant thief next to Him on the cross. Presumably, he’d led a pretty miserable life, resorting to criminal activities that gained for him the death penalty. As he woke up that morning, he was probably looking back upon his life with bitterness and regret, knowing he had wasted his potential and squandered his talents. What he didn’t see coming was an encounter with a man who would alter the course of his eternity.
I’m running out of time. The closer I get to launch date for Faith Alone, the less ready I am. I’m about to drive my formatter crazy with the last-minute changes I’m making. Why am I just now noticing how often I use certain words and phrases in dialogue between characters? And doesn’t this need to be hyphenated? Oh, and this word needs to be italicized. And how did we miss that comma through all the rounds of editing? Sigh. For a “final” proofread, I sure am finding a lot of changes yet to be made. In some ways, I feel like the editing could go on forever.
It was a confounding problem. It was dinnertime, there were over 5000 hungry people, and they were in a desolate location with little to no food immediately available. So the disciples naturally urged Jesus to send everyone away to fend for themselves. They looked to Him to make things right, and He did. But not at all in the way they were expecting. He told them calmly, “You give them something to eat.” Um, Jesus? All we have here is five loaves and two fish. That won’t even feed the 13 of us. Still, Jesus meant what He said. He directed everyone to sit down on the grass, blessed the food, and had the disciples distribute it to everyone there. Incredibly, everyone was fed, and there were 12 baskets of leftovers. Way to go, Jesus! And clearly, yes, He deserves all the glory for the miracle. But there’s something we’re missing if we stop there—the role the disciples played.
I’m going through something of a mid-life crisis right now. Oh, don’t worry—I’m not running off to buy a cherry-red convertible. I wouldn’t be able to fit all my kids in it anyhow. Nor am I scheduling a facelift quite yet. It’s more of what you might call a time of reflection. Not long ago I attended the funeral of a woman who was twice my age. That was sobering. What if half of my life is already over? Am I living to my fullest potential? Then I thought about my kids. One of them only has four years left at home. Am I teaching him the skills he needs to be a responsible adult? Have I instilled strong morals? a strong work ethic? Have I equipped him to be a faithful witness to a world hostile to the Christian faith? Have I been a faithful witness? Has my life been fruitful and productive? Or have I been selfish with my time?
His circumstances were hardly ideal. He had been beaten, was falsely imprisoned, and there was a price on his head and a plot to kill him. Not the sort of situation In which I’d want to find myself. But the apostle Paul didn’t look at the unfairness of the situation or complain about it. Rather, he looked at the people God was placing in his path. These were people to whom he could witness: fellow prisoners, Roman soldiers, even the king. God used Paul’s circumstances to further the spread of the Gospel. In fact, one could say God even orchestrated those less-than-ideal circumstances.
I’m convinced that little to nothing would get done in this world without deadlines. Houses would rarely get cleaned if guests weren’t stopping by, school projects wouldn’t be completed without a due date, and books wouldn’t get published without a deadline from the printer. I don’t know what it is about the human psyche, but we tend not to act until we know our time is limited. I may have a coupon for three months, but it’s not until the day before it expires that I get serious about redeeming it. I can get the hymns for a Sunday service on Tuesday, but it’s a pretty safe bet I won’t even look at them until Saturday night. I can steam mop the entire house in about an hour, but if the kids are in school, I will inevitably drag the chore out to last all day until I’m racing to finish in the final minutes before I have to leave to pick them up. And even though I have all week to write a blog post for Monday, I rarely ever work on it before Sunday afternoon. If I have time to waste, I’ll procrastinate with the best of them. When faced with a deadline, however, it’s time to get serious.
One thing that weighs heavily on my mind as a Christian parent is the question of how to equip my children for sharing their faith in this fallen world. My husband and I try very hard to make our home a safe environment for discussing our faith openly. We have devotions and read the Bible together. Our kids know a lot of Bible stories, Bible verses, hymn stanzas, sections of the Catechism, and prayers. But will they be able to share their faith with others outside the home?
Believe it or not, our kids are already sharing their faith, sometimes more boldly than I am. Continue reading “Equipping Your Kids to Share Their Faith”
Instead of a nightlight, I turn on the closet light for my children at bedtime. At first, when our eyes are used to the bright fluorescent bulbs in the rest of the house, this is a tough adjustment. Even with the closet door wide open, the light appears dim. But as our eyes adjust, that light which once appeared so dim now seems way too bright. So every night I go into their rooms and close the closet door. That light is still shining as brightly as it was before, but now it is contained behind a closed door. Light seeps out around the cracks and underneath the bottom, so it’s enough to comfort them if they wake up, but it’s not enough to offend the eyes if they awaken from a deep sleep. Continue reading “A Light in the Closet”