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Christian Concourse
Newsletter of the Month

November 2014


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


Again this month we greet you with joy and peace in our hearts by the grace of God. What a wonderful Heavenly Father we have and what a wonderful Grace He bestows on His children! The grace of God that we try to reflect and express in the services we hold in nursing homes comes from the Heart of God – from His written Word and from the witness of the Holy Spirit in our very being. If there is anything that challenges the faith of nursing home residents in God's work of salvation in their hearts, it is the discouragement and accusations and doubts and guilt and condemnation that Satan heaps on them relentlessly. Indeed, these distractions are like flaming arrows, fueled by constant suffering and deprivation, raining on their heads from all directions. Father God wants them to trust Him! Their Heavenly Father wants them to talk to Him about their difficulties and failures and faults, not become despondent and turn away from Him! So, we are there to remind them of the message of the song writer's words:


What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!


It is our job to help them consider the grace of God! To help them consider how strong and how long is the arm of His everlasting love for His children! And God has given us this job in the face of their pain and suffering!


We have some mighty weapons to combat the wiles of the Enemy. We sing with them the songs of His mercy and grace. We read and speak from His Holy Word, the Christian Bible. We pray with them to our Heavenly Father. These are practical weapons we use in every service. But, in our dealings with our brothers and sisters in care centers, we consider it most important for us to be ever mindful of the pre-eminence of the Grace of God. It is easy to get distracted by their dire straits and by the emotional roller coaster their circumstances impose on them. They do not always act like saints and we must constantly guard our hearts to show them the love and grace of God with our kindness and patience. It is spiritually uplifting when someone is loved especially when they know they don't deserve it! We know God forgives. We know God is love. But, we must remember He wants us to reflect His forgiveness and His love to them in the same manner and to the same extent as He has forgiven and loved us. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you (Eph 4:32 NKJV).


If we are honest with God, we all know what sinners we have been. And we all know how often some of those old ways raise their nasty head in our thoughts and in our attitudes and, yes, in our behavior. It is important for us as ministers to consider how hard it is for us to walk the "straight and narrow" and have compassion for our fellow believers in long-term care for the battles they also fight: the battle to forgive the disrespectful nurse; the battle to be kind to their unkind neighbors; the battle to be patient with their family; the battle to be anxious for nothing; the battle to abide in Christ.


So, as part of their spiritual family, visiting them in their home, OUR battle is to speak the truth IN LOVE to the Christian residents of care facilities! To speak words that minister GRACE to them (Eph 4: 15, 29). To build up the faith of Christian residents in nursing homes in the grace of Christ. We thank each of you for your support and we ask for your prayers as we seek in this way to be a blessing in nursing homes.


Love in Christ,

Jerry and Dar

Jerry and Dar Johnson


Scriptures quoted from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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