|From the Editor -
||The Joy of Family
By Karen Treharne¹
A few years ago, one of my Christian friends called me for lunch. During the course of our meal, she tearfully told me that she had been fired.
The lengthy story involved her working for another Christian who discovered and confronted her with stealing company funds.
I was shocked, then saddened, by the news. We held hands and prayed; we both cried. As a friend, I comforted her, and as a member of the same church family I encouraged her in her repentance.
In March of this year, I had a similar experience.
This time, I was the guilty party. Confronted by a Christian co-worker regarding a questionable breach of contract, I admitted to the misguided, compromising failure to fulfill my obligation.
Consequences were forthcoming and justified, but handled with Christian love and understanding – neither of which I deserved. I prayed for myself, asking forgiveness and direction. Ashamed and embarrassed, I expected to be fired. I waited for God’s judgment.
During the week that followed, I continued to pray and listen to that inner voice of the Holy Spirit. This testimony is the result.
One of the ways in which our Father teaches us is through our sins and those of others. By giving me the opportunity to comfort someone else who gave in to temptation, I received an invaluable lesson in humility. Turning in my grief to the co-worker who initially questioned me about the matter, she kindly offered me one word of encouragement: GRACE.
It is this undeserving grace that enables me to continue at my post of bringing Christ’s inspiring love to others. I thank God for my church family and for the Christian family of fellow believers that He has placed in my life. He is beyond understanding but His love and, as Jesus told Paul, His grace, is sufficient.
It is to this promise from 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) that I cling and rejoice: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
By Howard L. Pierce
Remember well the times at ‘home’
And ‘paint’ them on your heart.
The time will come when you’ll be gone,
With ‘home scenes’ set apart.
Recall the smell of wood smoke
As it curls around the flue,
And don’t forget the apple pies,
(Right there…and tempting you!)
The waking up, with each new day
To kitchen smells and sounds,
The coffee ‘perked’…the bacon ‘fried’…
Left odors all around.
And seems we always had the time
To ‘visit’ for a spell,
You’d go see ‘them’…or ‘they’d’ drop in
(True…life was NOT pell-mell!)
But time goes on…and ‘home’s’ no more
(Not like it used to be).
But through the ‘paintings’ on my heart
Those scenes…STILL beckon me.
Howard was born into a Quaker family in Southwest Virginia in 1938, and spent his high school years in a Quaker boarding school in East Tennessee. Married for more than forty-one years to his wife, Loretta, they have three sons and three grandchildren. Howard, who has been legally blind for about seven years considers his writing specialty to be poetry but he also does prose, and has been published in the local Alliance for the Blind newsletter. You can write to Howard care of the Letters page of this magazine.
«¹Karen is a beloved child of God who holds tight to the promises the Father has given us in scripture. She understands that it is only through His love that she remains under His watchful care and will one day praise His name in heaven.
Young Mother’s Prayer
By Toni Smothers
Dear Father God, tears swell and my heart aches when I feel his tiny fingers cling to me. The wonder in his eyes, his helplessness, innocence and trust, all bombard me with the depth of his dependence on me.
I think of so many failed attempts to conform myself for You – so many broken vows, angry words, lost chances, unkind actions. Can it be possible that I will be the one to shelter and instruct another? How will I fulfill the enormity of nurturing this precious child?
My Lord, you know all of my weaknesses. Help me to find victory over them for my child’s sake. Put within me a new heart, as clean as his is, so that we may begin together. Give me the desire to sacrifice willingly and to discipline myself totally. Let the confidence you have shown by placing this blessed child in my care, become my own.
I seek your counsel in every moment and every decision I make. Recreate me, Father, to be like a stained glass window, allowing Jesus, the Light of the world, to pierce the colors that are me until we blend and radiate with love a steady sunbeam to shine before my child as he grows.
Fill me with a passion for your Word and elevate my soul toward You so that I may gain the wisdom and patience his mistakes will demand. Let my love be freely given – with no trace of it hoarded away in any dark, selfish corner of my heart. But if in my weakness I should fail him, reassure his heart of hearts that he is always cherished – no mistake, no failure, nothing, can separate him from Your love for him.
My fear is great at times, knowing that my little son will be watching and learning from me. It doubles the burden of my imperfections. Please don’t let my faults stain his chances. Give him the understanding to realize that great strength is found in weakness. Give him the desire to turn his struggles over to you. Show him how to draw power from Your Throne.
Lord, I implore you to inspire my teaching. Give me the depth of understanding and the total acceptance of who You have created him to be. Show me how to nurture his dependence on You, which will form a healthy self-esteem in him. Deliver him from temptation, making him capable of withstanding whatever Satan throws at him. Let nothing in this world ever devastate him or separate him from his faith in You.
Father, I dedicate my precious little son to You as a faithful servant to further your kingdom. I trust you to direct my guidance of him so that he puts all his trust in You and loves all humanity with a truthful, compassionate heart. Let his faith always give him hope and a firm assurance that he is a child of God, unique and invaluable to You. I ask all this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
Toni is a full time child of God with a passion to share the abundant life through our precious Savior, Jesus Christ. She has worked with youth for many years and is co-founder of Abundant Faith Zone, a faith-based outreach ministry. She is a published writer currently working on two book projects, including a Christian novel. Toni ghost writes for www.GotQuestions.com and www.AllAboutGod.com. You may visit Toni at www.SmothersVariety.com.