img002(One of my favorite Christmas pictures of my daughter and son when they were little).

INTRODUCTION

Making Christmas crafts with my children and decorating the tree together, staying up until 2 a.m. assembling and wrapping their presents after they were snuggled in their beds and fast asleep, remembering the joy on my precious children’s faces when they’d open their gifts on Christmas morning…these are just a few of the special memories of Christmas past.

Then there are the ones that still linger in my mind that bring feelings of heart-wrenching sadness, like the one Christmas when my son was older. It was around five or six years after his dad had left us. My daughter was playing either in her room or the family room to pass the time, while my son sat on the couch and waited patiently for his dad to come as he had told him and my daughter that he would. When minutes began to turn into hours, the sadness and disappointment that my son was feeling grew more evident on his face, and my heart broke for him. Then the phone rang, and his dad gave them both the frequently given reply on Christmas day:

“Dad can’t come today, but I’ll come and take you out during the week.”

Even though their dad did call them every day after he left, and came over twice a week to take them out, to tell your children that you are coming on Christmas day and to get their hopes up only to disappoint them, was cruel and totally uncalled for!

Christmas for me personally was very hard. Especially when I had to go to the mall and shop for gifts and watch many different men and women walking hand in hand and laughing together, and I was all alone, but still faithfully waiting and praying that my husband would return home and love me the way a husband is supposed to love his wife.

The Christmas before my ‘husband’ left, when things were tense and I was being completely rejected by him, temptation literally came knocking at our door:

It was about a week before Christmas, and it was after 10:00 p.m. Suddenly there was a knock at the door. As usual, my ‘husband’ was out with his friends, so I was not about to answer the door when I was home alone with two little kids. My daughter, who was nine years old at the time, but very wise for her age, kept telling me to open the door, and I kept telling her all the reasons why I shouldn’t. However, I gave in when she said, “Mommy, maybe God wants you to open the door.”  Hesitantly, I opened the door, keeping the screen door locked. There in front of me stood a tall, dark, and handsome man. He said,

“Hi. I know it’s late, but my car died out in front of your house, and I just wanted to let you know that I called the police to let them know, and I will be back tomorrow with a friend to help me get it started.”

I said, “Okay,” and closed the door. The verse “make the most of every opportunity” came to mind, and since it was almost Christmas and I had a box of New Testament Bibles and would give a New Testament to people who would come to my door whether they were Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, or selling magazines or windows, etc., I decided to give him one, as well. After all, it couldn’t be a coincidence that his car just happened to die out in front of my house when his car could have died out a few houses further down the street. I knew that God wanted me to share the gospel with this man, so I wrote a short message inside of the New Testament that I was going to give him. I said something like this:

“I don’t know what you have gone through in life, but I know that it wasn’t a coincidence that your car happened to die out in front of my house. I believe that God allowed your car to die out in front of my house because He knew that I would be faithful to share His love and truth with you. He wants to bring healing to your broken heart and hope for your future that can only come by receiving His love and forgiveness.”

In my message I clearly shared the gospel with him, and included a tract, as well. In front of the Bible was a list of questions that led a person to the knowledge of the fact that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, and the need to repent of sin, and listed many Scriptures where these truths could be found. When I finished writing the letter, I put it inside of the Bible and wrapped it in Christmas paper so I would be ready for when he would return  with his friend the next day hoping to get his car started.

The next day he did return with his friend, and after his car started he came and knocked on our door to let us know. I then held out the wrapped Bible, and said, “This is for you.” He said,  “What’s this?” I said, “Well, it’s almost Christmas, and I wanted to give you this.” He looked stunned and appreciative as he took the package and thanked me and went to his car. I closed the door but stood there and prayed strongly as I watched him walk to his car through the tiny window in the door. He sat there for a while, so I figured he was opening his gift, so I closed my eyes and strongly began to pray for him. I prayed that God would prepare his heart and mind to receive the message of the gospel and all that I had shared with him. Suddenly, I heard the door bell ring, and opened the door to see him standing there. With tears in his eyes, he said, “How did you know?” He proceeded to tell me that he had been in Viet Nam and how when he came back his wife had left him. Everything that happened I recorded in my diary, but basically I said the following to him:

“I didn’t know. I just knew that God allowed your car to die out in front of my house and knew that He wanted me to give you a Bible and to tell you that He loves you.” 

His eyes filled with tears as he thanked me again, and he went back to his car and drove away.

Little did I know that he would return less than a year later, just a couple of months after my ‘husband’ left us. To make a loooong story short, he came to our door and said the following words to me:

“I thought about you a lot over the past year. I didn’t come back to start trouble; I just needed to come back to see if it was you, or Jesus in you that I was attracted to.”

I stood strong, and in my mind I kept saying, “Jesus in me! Jesus in me!” I loved and feared God too much to give in to temptation, and I loved my ‘husband’ in spite of how he treated me throughout our marriage to ever consider getting involved with another man when I was still married to him.

In an attempt to stop him from continuing to talk about me, I turned the focus of the conversation on to Jesus, and shared the gospel with him again, making it clear to him that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, so that he would see his need to turn from sin by having a true godly sorrow in his heart for the things he had done. I asked him if he would like to receive God’s love and forgiveness, by placing his complete trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins, and he said he did. I led him in a prayer, and he repeated it after me, and when we were done he looked as if the weight of the world had lifted off of his shoulders.

After encouraging him to continue reading the Bible, I tried to end our conversation so he would leave, because he was saying all kinds of things that every woman would like to hear. Especially a woman like me who rarely ever heard those kind of things from her husband; a ‘husband’ who had now left me. There was no sexual overtones to anything he said; he just made comments about the thoughts he had concerning me over the past year. Things like how he thought I was pretty, and how he thought about my “big brown eyes.” As I firmly tried to end our conversation, he handed me a ripped piece of paper with his phone number on it and told me that I could call him if I wanted to, and then he finally left.

I could have tried to justify calling him in my mind by telling myself that ‘he needs my guidance,’ but the  thought to do that never crossed my mind; I knew this would not be God’s will, and I would be setting myself up for temptations if I ever did. He was completely in God’s hands now. I never called him, and he never came to my home again. It was one of those opportunities that I made the most of, at a time when I could have been sad and depressed, but I chose instead to share the love of God and the gospel of grace, hope, and forgiveness with this heart-broken man. We as Christians need to see the opportunities that God sets before us, but we need to proceed with caution! We must use the opportunities that come our way with the desire to bring glory to God by constantly being led by His Spirit and not our flesh, because  Satan will try to use some of these opportunities that come our way in an attempt to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8) if we are not constantly in God’s Word and ignore the warnings clearly set forth in Scripture!

I praised God for the opportunity that He gave me that night, and still praise Him and stand in awe at how He arranged for this man’s car to die out in front of our house that night right before Christmas so many years ago!

 

RELATED SCRIPTURES

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18)

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b,14)

“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15,16)

“Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5,6)”Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8,9a)

“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9,10)

“We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” (1 John 4:13-16)

Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible New International Version® 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved.

CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS

The Christmas season has a way of bringing many memories to my mind

Some are precious moments tucked away, unchanged by time

Some are best forgotten, but they linger still the same

Some bring tears of joy, some still a hint of pain

Unmet expectations, hopes and dreams yet to be fulfilled

Sorrow grows within my heart, and yet, in a moment’s time, because of Christ, my

heart is stilled

I choose instead to reflect upon that holy night, so long ago

When God sent His only Son to redeem mankind, because He loved us so

I take time to reflect upon the moment, that He gave me eyes to see

His redemptive plan revealed in Scripture, His truth that set me free

It’s then my perspective changes, before my emotions send me spiraling out

of control

I choose instead to be led by His Spirit, to find someone who is broken of heart

and soul

Someone who needs to hear the gospel message, that brings hope, forgiveness,

and grace

A message that can set a captive free, and bring a heart-felt smile to light one’s face

Though there are many longings in my heart that still remain

From dwelling on thoughts that can lead to despair and hopelessness, I must choose

to refrain

As this year draws to an end, I reflect upon one thing I know to be true

That God’s love transcends any love I’ve ever known, for He came down to give

His life for me —and you

Copyright©2014 Mary K. Dalke/Living4HisGlory/Living For His Glory All rights reserved.

Updated January 5th, 2015 (Added more thoughts to my Introduction and another Scripture).

Thank you for stopping by! And thank you very much for taking the time to read some of my posts and poems.

A BLESSED HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

God Bless You

~Mary/Living4HisGlory

 

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