Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16
Christmas is often known as the Season of Light, and for good reason. It is the Season of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who brings light and redemption to each dark corner of lives and to this world.
This Christmas season, I would challenge you to share with your family and friends how the transforming power and light of the Gospel and Jesus, changed your life.
In other words, share your testimony
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.” Daniel 4:2
What better time?
Sharing your testimony is like sharing family stories (and I hope you do that, too). Family stories of how your relatives met and married, moved or stayed put, children that were born or perished. These family stories ground your kids and give them a sense of identity and place in history. Even more so, when they hear stories of the faith of their fathers- and mothers!
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!” 1 Chronicles 16:8
We often forget to share our stories of faith. We dismiss it, thinking others will find it silly, or it will be awkward. Sharing our testimony- or of a time when God showed up in a mighty way in our lives- strengthens our own faith and gives courage to those looking for some. It can be a touchstone that our children refer back to, and it is a simple act of obedience.
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” Psalm 22:22
Keep it Simple
It doesn’t have to be complex. It doesn’t have to exploit transgressions. It can be simple.
I grew up in a religious, but not Christian ,home. My father had been an ordained pastor, but grew disillusioned with the pastorate and left the church. Our family attended church when we visited my Grandparents and occasionally on holidays. In high school, my sisters and I walked to our local Methodist Church on Sundays and I attended a Catholic High School. In college, I struggled. I struggled with health issues, and floundered spiritually. Meanwhile, my parents had been invited back into the church by former parishioners and my Dad had gotten re-ordained. During a particularly trying week-end, when I was home from college, my Dad led me in the sinners prayer. I actually prayed that prayer on a dare. A dare to God. If He was real, then He would show up. I can’t describe exactly how He did that, and it is simplistic to say that I went to bed in darkness and despair and woke up to light and hope. But, lIke Mary Magdalen says, in the Chosen, “I was one way… and now I am completely different. And the thing that happened in between… was Him.” I committed myself to Christ that night and I have been committed since.
Through the years, God has shown up in big and small ways, directing, guiding, leading and exhorting. I don’t struggle with knowing if he exists. To me, that score is settled. The Master of the Universe is alive, present, holy and powerful. He loves His people and has a perfect plan for this world and for all of His creation. He is a good, good father, a gentle shepherd, a powerful adversary, a Holy Lord and a perfect Love. God loves me and He loves you. He knows you by name and you are His. You can come to him- even when you are burdened, heavy- laden by burdens or sin, in despair or full of sorrow, loss and anger. He can take all of that and wash you clean and pure, give you a new name and write you in the Lamb’s book of Life. He is faithful, true and worthy of all praise!
Isaiah 12:4 “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted.”
Declare the Deeds of the Lord!
The Psalms exhort us to declare among the peoples the deeds of the Lord.
This Christmas season, let’s declare the deeds He has done in our lives and join in prayer that the light of the living Christ shines brightly in our homes, in the hearts of each family member!
3 Ways Your Testimony Brings Glory to God
Your testimony shows God’s power and love in a way that is personal to you and relatable to your family members
Your testimony allows people to rejoice and praise God together as they revel in the great things He has done for someone that they know and love.
Your testimony is proof that the Adversary, who seeks to kill, steal and destroy from you, is defeated in your life.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Revelation 12:11
This Christmas Season, we pray that the light of Christ shines brightly in your home.
Resources for Your Family
Now that we have encouraged you to share your testimony let us share a personal testimony guideline that will help you structure your personal testimony. This workbook from Powerline Productions will help you keep it simple and meaningful!
Can your family make a difference in the confusing times we are living in?
Let’s meet Corrie and her family who lived during some significant changes. This Dutch family loved the Lord and lived a simple life going to church and running their own business. Their home was filled with love and laughter. Guests frequented the little home behind the watch shop.
Almost a century earlier, in 1844, Corrie’s grandfather, Willem was approached by a Messianic Jewish pastor who asked Willem to start a weekly prayer meeting for the Jewish people. That was strange because back then there was no nation of Israel, and the Jews were scattered throughout the world. Nonetheless, Willem began weekly prayer meetings for the Jewish people that continued for exactly 100 years.
Corrie’s parents, Casper and Cor had moved to a Jewish neighborhood in Amsterdam for a short while early in their marriage made good friends and enjoyed joining in many Jewish festivities. Casper also spend lots of time sharing passages of Scripture in the Old Testament such as Isaiah 53 that Casper believed were fulfilled in Christ.
When Corrie’s grandfather died, her father Casper brought his family back to Haarlem and took the helm of the weekly prayer meeting.
Corrie and her sister Betsy never married and remained at home with their widowed father Casper. Corrie started clubs for girls where she taught them crafts and shared the Gospel.
War Breaks Out!
Abruptly, everything changed when invaders from nearby Germany conquered and began to rule the peaceful nation. The goose-step marching sent shivers down their spines when they saw the Nazis marching down the street. People began to disappear; never to be seen again. Their Jewish friends were taken away to concentration camps. It felt like darkness had descended on the land.
When Germany invaded Holland during World War II, Corrie, Betsy, Casper, and the rest of the ten Boom clan, joined the resistance. They housed Jewish people who were fleeing for their lives, until they could find another place to hide out in the country nearby.
Even so, love and laughter continued to fill the little home. Their Jewish visitors might tell stories or play the family piano. When there was danger, the guests had to escape quickly to the hiding place. They worked hard to get the drill down to 70 seconds. They also had to get rid of any evidence of their presence such as a teacup or extra hand of cards.
The hiding place was a tiny secret room. The thick walls of the hiding place were built below the floor so the Nazis wouldn’t find it with a secret entrance through a linen closet. This little family saved the lives of many Jewish people.
When Casper was warned of the danger of hiding Jewish people, imprisonment and death, Casper declared that he felt it a great privilege to give his life to save God’s Chosen People.” Corrie and Betsy shared his heart.
Clash of World Views
The ten Booms faced a collision of worldviews. Hitler led Germany with a wicked philosophy doing everything in his power to make the Jewish people and every other “undesirable” feel debased, humiliated, and hopeless. But he could not overcome love, forgiveness, and mercy, that flow from the heart of God. Corrie and her family recognized the value and dignity of every life, especially the lives of those so precious to our Father God. When worldviews collide, God’s love always wins.
The night of the final raid came on an evening when Corrie was very sick. Betsy answered the door. Though suspicious of the Dutch traitor, she gave him help anyway. He brought back the Gestapo, who arrested all three ten Booms, but those in the hiding place were not found. The soldiers chopped, hacked, and destroyed, but the little hiding place worked! Two days later, members of the resistance were able to get the five people out of the cramped little space and they all escaped to freedom.
The final raid came 100 years to the day that the Willem ten Boom held his first prayer meeting. Coincidence? I don’t think so. This family was in the center of God’s will, though it was not an easy place.
Corrie alone survived the concentration camp, being let out due to an administrative error. She and her family made a conscious decision to forgive. Even the traitors that reported them were both written a letter from the family expressing forgiveness and the love of Christ. Corrie spent the rest of her life sharing her testimony and helping people learn to forgive.
The ten Boom family paid a huge price to resist evil. Yet, because of their heart to obey God rather than man, they saved lives. After the war, Corrie ministered to thousands of bitter souls who learned to forgive from her example.
Glamorous? No. They were just a normal Christian family. Just an ordinary family who trusted God. A family that obeys God can change history. Because of families like the ten Boom, enough Jews survived to make it to the Holy Land and usher in the birth of Israel in 1948.
Don’t underestimate what God can do with your family.
Your family can speak wisdom into the lives of those who are confused and frightened. Your family can teach timeless truths that many Americans have forgotten.
Even if your family is just a place where visitors find love and laughter, think how many lives can be changed by that! You may think you don’t have a perfect family, but your family may be the best example of Christ that anyone has ever seen.
Resources that Help Your Kids Make a Difference
All our online classes and other resources are designed to support your family and help your kids strengthen their faith. Our podcast, Softskills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age, provides encouragement and information that will help you homeschool. High school students can learn more about how to defend their faith with our Introduction to Apologetics Course. This is a class students can join for a full year, or for just one semester- we hope you check out the other courses and resources on the website for parents and K-12 homeschooled students.
Meredith Curtis is a writer, speaker, and curriculum creator with Powerline Productions and teaches courses like Who Dun It, at True North Homeschool Academy. A veteran homeschooler, she is mom to five and “Grandy-Merey” to five so far. As a pastor’s wife, worship leader, and teacher she loves to give young people the gift of classic books and a Christian education to see lives changed for the glory of God.
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Twelve years ago, our house had burned, my 47-year-old sister had died unexpectedly, my oldest ended up in an E.R. several states away with Bird Flu, our contractor was crooked, we moved three times in ten months and threw away 90% of our possessions. We moved back into our partially finished house during the worst flooding in our region’s history (though last year topped that). My dad died a few months later.
One thing we all have in common right now is that life is uncertain.
And with that uncertainty comes anxiety, fear, and possibly depression. Stress. Will we get sick? Will we get better? And will we have a job? What will the world look like in 2, 4, or 6 months?
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Maybe right now you can relate to these words that I wrote 10 years ago:
I have been tossing and turning for nights. If there were an Olympic event for turning 360’s under the covers- I’d win. Cause while we are home, we are far from settled. The house remains undone and critically demanding from both a time and money standpoint. I feel pulled in a 100-directions at once for a myriad of reasons. Like Mrs. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, flurrying around, scurrying in all directions, wondering if she should pack the kitchen sink for their flight from imminent danger, flustered because she’s worried she won’t make a good impression, concerned that Mr. Beaver will fall into the path of danger. Geez, man, she’s a worrywart.
Oh, how I relate. Cause I’m faithful and true and a diligent and hard worker and busy and industrious and mindful of things, and thinking of what’s next and on and on. But I’m concerned. Concerned about all that’s not being done and what’s up ahead and how I look and what’s next.
When Mrs. Beaver finally meets Aslan, his comment to her, which sets all things right in her life is, “Peace, Beaver.”
And with those two little words, the High King sets it all straight. He recognizes who she is, calls her by name, dignifies her presence and speaking words of power and might, and straightens the crooked places by His ruasch, alive and manifesting His strength and vision for her. The fussing and stressing and striving cease and she can relax in His presence knowing He’s got her back.
Sunday’s Coming! I’ve had a hard time getting there for the past many months. I’ve been grief-stricken and weary and flustered. And it’s not that things aren’t better than before, we have been blessed in amazing and profound ways; it’s the process of how they’ve gotten that way. Inventorying time and materials, thoughts and actions, sorting through possessions that were meaningful because of memories or people, profoundly feeling the loss of family, moving yet again in a matter of months.
Looking at Our Circumstances
I look around at all of the projects and consider how we’ll make due this fall and feel, oh so rocked by the waves of the circumstances. The work is something we enjoy, but the amount of it seems ominous, and while Dr. Dh is confident we’ll get it done, it’s all in the context of a day job and homeschooling and the living that will take place around it. And I see how we get tired and sore in a way we haven’t before. Age, stress, and the demands of the year manifest themselves in practical ways.
This year, in the midst of the chaos and flurry of once-in-a-lifetime circumstances I’ve longed for ritual. For benchmarks that say it’s this season or that. This is what you do when, the words you say now, the posture you take in response. I’ve needed guides, markers, mindless actions to go through that indicate time and life go on in a sensible and pleasing pattern despite disruption and chaos and hurt and fear and unrest and inconclusiveness”- the ritual and meaning and confirmation of faith and death and loss and living.
God is Our Refuge
My youngest came up to me where I was sitting a few days after we moved back home and said, very quietly, “Momma, the fire scared me.” Just so plain and simple and straightforward, but sad and apologetic, like her little 7-year-old self should be braver. The very fact of being home again, I think, finally allowed her to say these simple words. I said, “I know, Baby, of course, it did.” And she crawled into my lap and snuggled against me, curled up like when she was two, and stayed there for a while. Later she looked up at me and smiled and gave me a big hug and hopped up and went to find kittens to play with. I’m grateful she could be as little as she needed to be and snuggle up with someone older and bigger and stronger and sit and soak in my strength and comfort until she’d absorbed as much as she needed.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever–present help in trouble. … Come and see the works of the LORD. Psalm 46:1
On so many levels, I’ve felt like my little girl and I’ve wanted to say the same thing; “The fire scared me, Sue’s death rocked me, I feel the loss and lost.” And I want to feel and hear and know Abba is saying, “I know, Baby, of course. Rest in My peace. I’ve got you. Despite the worry and chaos and confusion and disorder and the house undone and work ahead, I’ve got your back.”
And He does.
I know He does for me and I know He does for you!
Sunday’s coming! And with it, the Living Christ!
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Blogging Goals I had a couple of goals for blogging when I started back in 08′- to write more regularly, to be part of a broader homeschooling community than I have locally, and to have a creative outlet that was less messy and expensive than scrapbooking. What...