My First Baby

by Tabitha Rudge Smith

It is so easy to lose the real meaning of Christmas with all the lights, shopping, gifts and the hustle-n-bustle. Each year God reminds me in some way of the true joy of Christmas. But through the birth of my first child on December 15, 1999, God reminded me in a special way.

Being a first-time mom at that time (I now have five beautiful children), I was a sucker for everything and anything. When I walked into a baby store, I felt like I needed to buy it all: the latest stroller, bouncy chair, high chair, mobiles, canopy crib, changing table, and the cutest toys and stuffed animals. This list didn’t even include all the adorable clothes I and most everyone else seemed to think my child would need.

After an exhausting day of shopping and preparing for the coming of my child, I was overwhelmed. I began to pray and ask God what was really needed and how we were going to afford all of it. That night during my devotion time the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of the verse in Luke 2:7:

She wrapped her babe in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The King of kings was laid in a feeding box the day He was born while my child was laid in a warm crib. My materialistic list did not seem as important anymore when I recalled the Christmas story and how my Savior came into this world. I was once again reminded of how amazing God’s love is for us. I was also reminded to live a humble and selfless lifestyle.

Have a Merry Christmas celebrating God’s
most precious gift – His Son and His love!

How Would Your Neighbors Describe You?

By BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

For our family devotions, we have been dealing with the issue of love. One of the Bible passages that we looked at was from John, chapter 13. In this chapter, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, predicts His betrayal by Judas, then gives His disciples the following command:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, 35).

As we talked about this verse, I asked my kids to describe for me the people who live in our neighborhood. They talked about some neighbors who were not friendly, other neighbors who always complained or caused problems, and others who would do anything to help you out. In response to their descriptions of our neighbors, I then asked them how they thought our neighbors would describe us. Specifically, would they describe us as a family who showed love?

I explained to my children that we should not be surprised to find differences in how we lived from the way many of our neighbors lived. In fact, we should not be surprised to find some neighbors who may not even like us because of our Christian faith (John 15:18-21). However, despite this reality, I told them that we should never have anyone in our neighborhood describe us as a family who did not live out a love for God and for others (1 Peter 2:11, 12).

So how would your neighbors, coworkers, etc. describe you? Would they describe you as a person (or family) who lives out God’s command to love one another? In a time when our world is full of hatred, violence, and discord, let all of us be reflections of Christ-like love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:7-11).

How Children Learn Spiritual Lessons

by Bill Rudge

Young children repeat

  • what they hear, and
  • imitate what they see.

Youth receive moral instruction from

  • television,
  • movies,
  • music,
  • the Internet, and
  • their peers.

How can they stand against secular influences and the lure of this world unless they have wise and positive role models who display principles of truth and righteousness and Godly mentors who will inspire them.

It’s Your Move, Daughter … Son

I gave you life
but I cannot live it for you.

I can teach you things
but I cannot make you learn.

I can give you directions
but I cannot always be there to lead you.

I can take you to church
but I cannot make you believe.

I can teach you right from wrong
but I can’t always decide for you.

I can advise you about friends
but I cannot choose them for you.

I can teach you about sex
but I cannot keep you pure.

I can tell you about alcohol
but I can’t say NO for you.

I can warn you about drugs
but I can’t prevent you from using them.

I can pray for you.
but I cannot make you walk with God.

I can teach you about Jesus
but I cannot make HIM your Savior.

I can teach you to OBEY
but I cannot make Jesus Your Lord.

I can tell you how to live
but I cannot give you Eternal Life.

Author Unknown