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Monday, January 28, 2008

Curt Haldeman
Curt and "his" racecar

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"No Greater Joy"
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth"  (3 John 1:4).
Curt and Bev Haldeman have been our friends since we moved to Pennsylvania early in 2001.  Several years ago Curt, a farm equipment salesman, won a very unusual incentive prize for his outstanding sales work. He was awarded the opportunity to go down to the Atlanta Speedway and then was given driver training so that he could drive a genuine NASCAR racecar around the track eight laps.
Curt has shared the details with me several times and did so again yesterday with great enthusiasm, as they joined us for dinner. I am pretty sure that he would do it again if he had the opportunity and would likely share his remarkable experience with any who might be interested.  I am sure there are a few NASCAR fans who read this. It was a very enjoyable experience for him.  He managed to reach a top speed of 165 mph.
But when we talk about his children he shows an altogether different form of joy. His son John is in college and remaining faithful to the Lord as he prepares for a career in engineering and is now on a project as part of his studies. His daughter Julie is in Thailand on a "Youth With A Mission" (YWAM) team and shows an earnest heart to live for God and serve others. His youngest son Jeremy is still at home and active in his youth group.  Ask Curt about his kids and this farm equipment salesman tears up with gratitude to God. 
His children are treasures from God and it is evident that he values them above any of the temporal thrills this world has to offer. We can all identify with the excitement we feel when receiving a material gift.  We also know the joyous anticipation that grows when we get to experience something out of the ordinary or as some would say "the opportunity of a lifetime."
But as parents one of the most blessed events to occur, taking us beyond the superficial or temporal experiences of life, is seeing evidence of spiritual life and growing faith in our children.  We concur with the apostle John who wrote, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."  Earthly delights and outstanding opportunities afforded us on earth do not transfer to heaven, but our children who walk in the truth do. 
When he wrote the daily text he was likely referring to his spiritual children, those whom he had impacted for Christ. I have often used the passage in this way when I consider the growing blessedness of our impact on others over the long-haul. It's a great joy to hear from someone whom Brooksyne and I worked with years ago telling us of their faithfulness in following God.
However I believe the joy the apostle John speaks of surely includes our children in the flesh as well.  Nothing brings greater joy or warms our hearts more as a parent than hearing others speak of the Christ-like qualities they observe in our children.  This is true when people speak positively of our spiritual children as well which brings a double blessing to our hearts!
I know as I prepare this, that many of you have children who are not presently following in the ways of the Lord. What wrenching heartache this brings to godly parents. I encourage you not to give up but to pray unceasingly for your loved one.  At times it seems your prodigal child(ren) is moving farther away, but keep looking for that joyful spiritual reunion when he or she again chooses to "walk in the truth."  As much as we want to prevent them from crashing or falling deep into the pit it is often these heartbreaking events that finally move them from their spiritual slumber to a spiritual awakening.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we as parents want to help build a Christ-centered home: with the teaching of Your Holy Word as our golden text for living.   Help us to instill love for acquiring knowledge and imparting wisdom.  May we be living examples of committed believers demonstrating those character qualities that bring glory and honor to You.  Because You have given us so much You now require us to give much in return.  May our home be a place that stimulates creativity, that offers opportunity for the study of music, of books, of hobbies where ideas can be shared and questions safely discussed. May Christ's presence permeate our conversation and synchronize our hearts. 

Father Your creation reveals that You are a lover of beauty, color, simplicity, and creativity. When disunity or rebellion crashes the loving setting that we so greatly desire, help us to reflect Your character of endurance, faithfulness and self -control.  Our example as leaders in the home is more often taken notice of when we're required to deal with the undesirable circumstances of life. May our family, in as much as it is possible,  be a reflection of You whom we serve. Amen.

Brooksyne's note:  I have often reflected upon the old proverb:  "More is caught than is taught."  Of course this means we could give daily discourses on how to live, but to be a picture of what we teach is even more powerful than a thousand words.  Oh, yeah, that's a  proverb also:  "A picture is worth a thousand words."
Here's a story that will touch your heart and encourage you!  

Golden Nuggets
Curt and Bev Haldeman

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

"God Answers Prayer"  (Audio)

"Good To Me"  (Audio)

"Hallelujah, What A Savior!"  (Audio)  I am so moved as I listen to this song! The text and music are by Philip P. Bliss who was born in Clearfield County PA, a short distance from where we lived for many years in northern PA. He lived at the time of DL Moody and worked with him. This grand old hymn goes through the entire gospel.  I really like this version! If you can do so, sit back, turn up the volume and worship the Lord!  

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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