Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b ESV
I sometimes enjoy watching the HGTV shows like “Hometown” and “Love it or List It”. My favorite moment in the half hour shows is always the “Reveal”. That is when the happy couple is lead into their newly remodeled home and shown all the amazing improvements, while uplifting music plays in the background. One part we don’t notice is that most of the furniture we are seeing, is actually just staged and that if they want to keep it all, they will need to pay a bit more. While that technique is great in selling television shows or homes, it is not so great with families. In the old days, that is what we did when company came over and today it is more like posting pictures on Facebook of our family vacation or our smiling grandkids at the beach. But the real life, messy scenes that never make it to social media are our arguments, heartbreaks and tears that lurk behind every one of those staged images. But God is not shocked, offended or pushed to the brink of unfriending us when we are going through a family crisis. Instead, it is during those dark and terrible times that God chooses to teach us that He wants us to stand and fight for our family and that by His grace we can learn to love as He did.
We fight because a family is worth defending We fight because we love them too much to quit We fight because no one else will come to their aid We fight because family is a precious gift from God And God expects us to lay down our lives As He did His And then stand strong in His love When everyone else has walked away
There are various stories about the early life of John Newton. While some of the details remain sketchy, the truth behind the details led him to write words that still resonate in hearts today. It is said that when John was a young man, he fell overboard and was brought back onto the ship only after being harpooned and dragged up on deck. I am not sure whether the harpoon was all they had to throw or how he was wounded, but the scar left behind was something he carried all his life. But we don’t have to wait for God to harpoon us to come back to Him. In fact, Jesus simply invites us to come. Our problem is sometimes we are so busy thrashing about in the waves that we can’t hear His voice. For some of us that may mean God has to allow us to be wounded to get our attention and to bring us safely into the ship. Here is His invitation –
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV
If you would like to learn more about using nursing home ministry in nursing home ministry, I wrote a small book several years ago titled, “Music Matters in Nursing Home Ministry” which focuses on that subject. It is available both in regular print as well as e-book. There are also a few videos from a series of talks that I gave to our ministry team on my YouTube channel that are devoted to music ministry for those wanting an in-depth examination of the subject. Thanks for listening and reading. Have a blessed weekend!
While we sat together in our favorite restaurant after the Christmas Eve service it was hard to imagine (or even remember!) that we have celebrated 48 Christmases together. Through both the wonderful and the most difficult times God has shown us that He is good. He has been faithful and because He chose to come to Bethlehem, He has been with us.
But God with us is only good news because of grace. If He came only with justice then Emmanuel – God with us- is very bad news indeed. But He came to seek out and save us if we will only stop running and allow ourselves to be found. So, Merry Christmas and may His grace reach down to wherever you are and remind you that He came for you as well. Nothing more important was on His agenda that first Christmas morning and nothing matters more to Him today than your soul and your heart. He is our Emmanuel – God with us – both now and always!