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Matthew’s Mixed-Up Math (A Christmas Kickoff)

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series The Curious Corners of Christmas

Copyright © 2021

from the manuscript of
The Curious Corners of Christmas

by
Jim Kerwin

Popping the Wig

Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to introduce readers to the glorious Christmas Incarnation story (never mind starting the entire New Testament!) with a genealogy? A genealogy! Really? It’s like putting a pre-converted, bah-humbugging Ebenezer Scrooge in charge of Christmas party activities, like putting the Grinch, still pinched with “a heart two sizes too small,” in charge of gift distribution.

Who thought it was a good idea to start with a genealogy? Well, the Apostle Matthew did, for one. And he did so under the Divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so God thought [continue reading…]

How Far Is Bethlehem?

John Wright Follette
(1884-1966)

Once again the Christmas season
Finds our hearts in eager quest.
Tired of all the world may offer,
We would find a deeper rest.
Bethlehem, the prophets tell us,
Is the birthplace of God’s Son,
If we find Him and [continue reading…]

Your “Acción de Gracias”: Deeds, Not Words

24 November 2021

Dear Friend,

I am a writer, so I think about words a lot. Perhaps worse, I am a language student, spending time each day learning and reviewing Spanish, New Testament Greek, and biblical Hebrew. Occasionally while talking to someone, my wires get crossed and I can’t pop out the appropriate English word, because the equivalent Spanish or Greek or Hebrew word sets up a lingual roadblock in my brain. Sometimes those “roadblock words” and phrases are better or richer than their English counterparts. I submit to you two of those: acción de gracias (from Spanish) and [continue reading…]

“Be Not Silent to Me”

Public Domain (with exceptions)1

Unto You will I cry, O Lord my rock;
be not silent to me:
lest, if You be silent to me,
I become like them that go down into the pit.

—Psalm 28:1 kjv

PHoto of Isaiah Reid, circa 1905Isaiah Reid

Have you not gone oftentimes to the post office or waited anxiously for the postman, and failed to get the letter you anticipated? Your heart could not quit its sighing for hours. Perhaps this has lengthened out into weeks, till hope dropped exhausted, and the heart grew dazed and dead. Unexpected, undesired silence is awful. We can bear many other grievances better than silence where we expected speech. “She would not speak to me!” My! How the very thought wrenches the heart strings! How the very feet drag along the way, and the hands forget their skill2—so quickly does the physical respond to the spiritual.

The cold lips in [continue reading…]

Liberating “Prisoners of War”

13 October 2021

A Bumper Crop of Prayer Requests

Dear friend,

Photo of barbed wire and concertina wire against a dawning horizonPart of our goal in spiritual warfare is to pray
for the liberation of the “hard cases.”1

Remember last newsletter when I casually asked you to send along any prayer requests you might have? I remember for sure because — overnight! — my daily prayer list grew by almost 30 people. So September 2021 became special because of the extended, focused concentration on prayer.

Most of the new names on the prayer list were of those suffering from the coronavirus, some hospitalized, a few in intensive care. One brother had to be re-admitted both to the hospital and to ICU. Thankfully, he’s home again. But for one sister, [continue reading…]

Warfare After Victory

Summer 2021

Dear friend,

Dark cloud image serving as the backdrop for the title graphic, 'Warfare After Victory'Wait! Warfare AFTER Victory? Yes, actually, because that’s the time we’re mostly likely to let our guard down.1

My spiritual mentor, Percy Gutteridge, taught on more than one occasion that one of the times to be most wary of enemy attack is right after a spiritual victory. That pretty well sums up our summer so far: victory in the form of ministry in the Midwest during June, followed by persistent spiritual warfare. But we have broken through to victory as August winds down.

Another trip to Honduras [continue reading…]

Soldiers of Christ, Arise!

Charles Wesley
(1707-1788)

Ephesians 6:10-18

First Part

Soldiers of Christ, arise
And put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies
Through His eternal Son;
Strong in the Lord of hosts,
And in His mighty power;
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts
Is more than conqueror.

Stand then in His great might, [continue reading…]

America, the Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates
(1859-1929)

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And [continue reading…]

Mother’s Legacy

Copyright © 20071

chapter 10 from the book
Boyhood Memories & Lessons
by
Isaiah Reid

Title image, text surrounded by a floral wreathA Mother’s Day Tribute2

Mother had a catechism which was called The Child’s Catechism. She used it for teaching us before we could read. She asked questions, and answered them either according to the book or with her own “Notes” and personal explanations and illustrations. The first question in the book was “Who created you?” The answer was in a monosyllable, “God.”

I have never been able to get away from that teaching. It was in harmony with the Lord’s Prayer she taught me a little later, beginning with the same Person, only the name was changed to “Our Father.” From that day I always believed that God was my Father in the creation sense, and that He was the Creator of all souls, and ruler of this world. I could never believe that I was a “child of the devil.” In sin I acted like a child of the devil, and was on his side, but all this while I was a prodigal from home. While in sin, and I read from the Bible, “All souls [continue reading…]

An Open and “Shot” Case

5 May 2021

Dear Friend,

Yes, I know — the phrase in the newsletter title is usually “an open and shut case.” I'll explain in a moment but first I have a…

Newsflash for “Somebody,” the Intercessor

Title image of a rusty metal key in a lockOur COVID vaccine shots don’t open doors,
but Jesus does!1

I want to thank the Lord and somebody out there. I don’t know who. You may recall the last newsletter took on the theme of my “oomph-lessness.” I managed to hit the “send” button around 8 pm local time and I went to bed.

Somebody received the newsletter that same night and prayed for me. Dark and early, right at 04:00 the next morning (my preferred wake-up time, a schedule that allows me to spend over two hours in research and writing on [continue reading…]

Oomphless, But in a Secluded Place

Resting on the Rock(ing Chair)

3 April 2021

Dear friend,

Title image showing a very tired labrador retrieverI’m so dog-gone tired that cat-naps won’t suffice.
I find myself envying ol’ Rip Van Winkle
just a bit!1

Photo of a rocking chair on an outdoor porch

This is what an idyllic vacation dream looks like for me; but it doesn't hold a candle to the Secluded Place where “He restoreth my soul.”2

Yes, this newsletter is a bit late, and it’s a bit different. I just haven’t had the internal oomph to write it and get it published. Oh, don’t worry. External circumstances are going well, the blessing of God seems to be on our activities, the path ahead looks bright, and we are healthy. We had our Finest of the Wheat annual board meeting this past week, and we were all giving thanks to God for His goodness and blessing over the last year.

But having acknowledged that, I also realize that I’ve reached a point of temporary burnout. It happens now and then, since I usually go nonstop, and I’ve learned through experience that it’s nothing that should raise alarm bells. Experience has also taught me that it’s rather futile to harness the remaining “fumes” of my willpower in order to “blast through.” In burnout times, the most fruitful response, yielding the quickest recovery time, is to listen to Jesus when He says, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).

My idea of a [continue reading…]

Copyright © 20211

by
Percy Gutteridge

God’s Calendar of Events

As Christians, we are facing a great and glorious future. But it is a future in which the enemy will try to entangle our minds and confuse us, so that we shall not be ready when the Bridegroom comes. We need guidance from the Lord and His Book so that we may understand and be able to read the signs of the times, to be “men who know what Israel ought to do.”

To that end, God the Father intends that you should have in your mind a divine calendar of events leading up to [continue reading…]

Margaret J. Harris
(1865-1919)

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

Zechariah 13:1

When I saw the cleansing fountain
Open wide for all my sin,
I obeyed the Spirit’s wooing,
When He said, “Wilt thou be clean?”

Chorus:
I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb [continue reading…]

Face to Face with Christ, My Savior

Carrie E. Breck
(1855-1934)

Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me?

Chorus:
Face to face I shall [continue reading…]