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Christmas Short ‘n’ Sweet

16 December 2021

Christmas Crunch Time

Dear friend,

Image of small candy canes overlaid with the title 'Christmas Short 'n' SweetThis will be a short ‘n’ sweet newsletter,
because we’re all busy this time of year!1

In the weeks leading up to Christmas it seems especially true that “there aren’t enough hours in the day.” My usual habit is to arise between 4 AM and 5 AM in order to study and write. During the last several weeks, in those “wee hours,” I have been meditating on and “Greeking out” in the story of Gabriel’s visit to Mary in Luke 1:26-38. My heart’s desire has been to gain a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role in true New Birth.

I have come away awed at the “newness” of an “old thought” — the Logos Himself became a partaker of our human nature (Hebrews 2:14) so that we might become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). There’s been no need for an alarm clock to [continue reading…]

Christmas Resources 2021

Pine branches and a bright red Christmas ornament on a score of musicA joyous Christmas to all!1

Every year the number of our Finest of the Wheat Christmas-related posts grows. Here, all in one place, is a quick list of what is available on our site at the moment.

Our resources consist primarily of Bible studies focused on various aspects of the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, as well as poems, hymns, and carols celebrating Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.

Christmas Bible Studies

by Percy Gutteridge

by Jim Kerwin

from the manuscript of
The Curious [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…]

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…]

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…]

Spring Training!

28 February 2021

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

1 Timothy 4:8-10 nkjv

Dear Friend,

Photo of a man and woman power-walking outdoorsPrepping for a new teaching season!1

My next-door neighbor, despite being Virginia born and bred, is a lifelong New York Yankees baseball fan. This morning he and his family left for Florida so that he can fulfill a long-held dream of watching the Yankees during their Spring-training camp. (Of course, there’s also the small matter of visiting a Florida-based great-grandchild — their first!)

My neighbor’s neighbors (that would be Denise and me) are in “spring training,” too, but it’s not nearly so glamorous as swinging bats, snagging line drives, and signing autographs for fans. Yes, assuming we can [continue reading…]

Pedaling as Fast as I Can!

30 January 2021

Title image 'Pedaling as Fast as I Can!' using a photo of an old Volkswagen 'bug' in the backgroundIf “speed kills,” then VW bug owners should live a long time!1

Denise and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary yesterday, and I am reminded that when we got married we owned a high-mileage black 1965 VW “bug” as our first car. Though loved by economy-minded VW owners, that model more than deserved its nickname of “gutless wonder.” Did you ever get stuck on an uphill freeway on-ramp behind a “bug” that was reciting “I think I can, I think I can” as it strained up the incline? If you did, you probably got close enough to read the bumper sticker that only a VW bug owner could fully appreciate:

DON’T HONK!
I’M [continue reading…]

Reading, Writing, and Reigning

Copyright © 2020, 20211

by
Jim Kerwin

Simple text title graphic for 'Reading, Writing, Reigning'

Several times a year I drive down a long stretch of highway in my home state of Virginia. While traveling westward on this road, I pass a church which hardly ever changes the message on its marquee. It nearly always proclaims that congregation’s motto:

Training for Reigning

Even though that probably doesn’t leave much to the imagination as to the typical content of their preaching and teaching (I’m guessing topics like prosperity, positive confession, and “living like a king’s kid”), it always makes me wonder if they teach anything about God’s minimum [continue reading…]

The Great Christmas Commission

19 December 2020

Dear Friend,

On December 25th we celebrate missions. Missions!? You probably thought I’d say, “Christmas” or “Jesus’ birth” or even “the Incarnation.” All of those are valid an­swers, of course. But have you ever thought about all of those as very im­por­tant sub-topics under the topic of mis­­sions, specifically the Great Com­­mission?

Title image showing earth's atmosphere from space, with the sky bearing the title 'The Great Christmas CommissionThe One who said, “Go” was sent.1

The Great Commission? Isn’t that the man­date Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20? That’s when they became full-fledged apostles, right? “Apostle” — apóstolos in Greek — is just the noun form of the Greek verb apostéllō,2 to send some­one out, to send a message. So the word apostle means nothing more — and nothing less! — than [continue reading…]

“…From Whom All Blessings Flow…”

23 November 2020

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him, all creatures here below!
Praise Him all above, ye heavenly hosts!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Dear Friend,

Man in rural NicaraguaOcotál, Nicaragua: Blessings flowed into this man’s life via that bag.1

Those words from the hymn which we call “the Doxology” actually represent the very last verse of a much longer hymn. It’s a summary, as it were, of Thomas Ken’s greater work Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun.

In the same way, a “summary” of God’s many blessings over the last six weeks is about all I can share in one newsletter. And the Latin American leaders have sent me so many photos that I can't share a tenth of them with you.

Blessing Should Flow [continue reading…]

“Channels Only”

27 September 2020

Channels to Latin America

How I praise Thee, precious Savior,
That Thy love laid hold of me!
Thou hast saved and cleansed and filled me
That I might Thy channel be.
Chorus:
Channels only, blessèd Master,
But with all Thy wondrous power
Flowing through us, Thou canst use us
Every day and every hour.

Dear Friend,

Graphic showing the opening lines of the chorus of the hymn 'Channels Only'It’s not just a song; it’s an evangelistic lifestyle!1

Praise God for His wonderful supply! This month He presented us with an unexpected opportunity to send COVID-19 relief funds to five Latin American countries. A few of you became “channels of blessing” to make this possible. My heart has been singing Mary Maxwell’s lovely hymn Channels Only all month. “Channels” is a song Denise and I have come to sing together when we prepare to minister at a certain location here in [continue reading…]

Praying for Friends in “Heavy Gravity”

3 September 2020

Was Gravity “Extra Heavy”?

Dear Friend,

Simple graphic that says, 'Gravity is Extra Heavy today!'I know for certain, because I performed a “random gravity check!”1

I appeal to your imagination: Tell yourself, “This is the August newsletter, and it’s late because of gravity.” Yes, really! I had a bad fall four weeks ago, and the incident reminded me of a story Denise tells about her childhood friend, who, after a bad day of repeatedly dropping things, exclaimed, “Gravity is extra heavy today!” That’s my alibi.

Was anything broken in my fall? Well, yes — my pride, and over three weeks’ worth of meaningful productivity. Besides about eight hours in the emergency room, it has taken me considerable time to get back to normal in terms of daily routine, early-morning writing, our publishing schedule, and so forth. So my quick personal report is: “I fell down, got up, got patched up, and now I’m finally better.” (Oh, and the doctor tells me that there’s no miracle cure for [continue reading…]