‘I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the House of the Lord”’ (Psalm 122:2).
Why, Lord, do we go to Your House? We go ‘to give thanks to the Name of the Lord’ (Psalm 122:4). We seek Your mercy for our past sins: ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!’ (Psalm 123:3). We seek Your help for our future temptations: ‘Our help is in the Name of the Lord…’ (Psalm 124:8). We receive mercy and help from You, Lord. Help us to worship You: ‘Blessed be the Lord’ (Psalm 124:6). In our worship, we ‘look to You, the Lord our God. We draw encouragement from Your Word: ‘The Lord is on our side’ – In Him we have the victory (Psalm 123:2; Psalm 124:1-5). Help us, Lord, to rejoice in Your blessing and to pray for others: ‘May they prosper who love You’ (Psalm 122:6).
There are times when death comes early to those who are still in the “midst” of their days as the psalm says. Facing the helplessness of death, the dying often feel an irrepressible urge to act, to set things straight, to prepare, to get ready to go.
A young mother dying of breast cancer—helping her prepare a letter or video tape for her children will enable them to hear her words of love after she’s gone.
A grandfather with a terminal disease—arranging a phone call or visit may help him mend a misunderstanding with a friend or relative.
A dying college student—helping him to select the music, liturgy and manner of burial gives him an opportunity to contribute to the memories his loved ones will take with them after the funeral.
A teenage girl with terminal leukemia—reading Bible passages with her about heaven and salvation can clarify what lies ahead and can help calm her fears.
When life is cut short, we can reach out to help those facing death. We can provide the tools to say good-by to this world and hello to the next.
The young husband was desperate. His wife had abandoned him and their two children weeks before. Though she still called occasionally, he had no idea where she was. On the phone, he pleaded with her to come home and told her how much he and the children loved her, yet she continually rebuffed him. Was it time to give up and move on?
No. The husband used his meager savings to hire a detective, who found his wife living in a third‐rate hotel across the country. The husband borrowed money for a plane ticket. Soon he was on her doorstep saying, “We love you so much. Won’t you come home?” She fell apart in his arms, and they went home together.
Weeks later he asked why she hadn’t come when he expressed his love repeatedly on the phone. “Because,” she answered, “those were only words before. But then you came.”
True love is more than words. It may involve flying across the country, even when it costs you your last nickel, to bring your spouse home.
JUST BETWEEN US…
How have I shown you my love this week?
If “actions speak louder than words,” are my deeds shouting or whispering my love for you?
What can I do this week to show my love for you?
How, specifically, did Jesus show us His love?
Dear Lord Jesus, we want both our words and our actions to say “love” in personal, powerful, and positive ways. Show us new ways to “honor one another above ourselves.” Amen.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
When you construct a plan for introducing your children to Jesus, you may want to make your motto “the earlier the better.” In a recent nationwide poll, researcher George Barna learned that children ages five through thirteen have a 32 percent probability of accepting Christ as their Savior. That rate drops dramatically, to just 4 percent, for kids ages fourteen through eighteen. And those who have not become Christians before age nineteen have only a 6 percent probability of doing so during the rest of their lives!
Spiritual training of children should begin at their earliest moments of awareness and continue through the teen years. The most important year, however, may be age five. That is when they are open and tender to the call of Christ. Some kids come to a fork in the road at this point. Either they begin to internalize what they are taught and make it their own, or Bible stories and lessons become like fables that don’t apply to the real world. Your careful instruction during this period can lay the faith foundation that will guide your children throughout their earthly lives—and lead them into a joyous eternity.
BEFORE YOU SAY GOOD NIGHT…
Where do your kids stand right now regarding faith in Jesus Christ?
Does the level of spiritual training you’re providing match the ages of your kids?
How does the spiritual training you received as a child influence your faith today?
Dear Jesus, You are the master teacher. Help us to follow Your example as we train our children—to say the right words at a time when their ears will hear so that they will become devoted followers of You. Amen.