As many of our readers are probably aware, the recent closure of Vision Forum Ministries and the retirement of Mr. Doug Phillips from public leadership has been an event of dynamic impact in conservative circles.
Though I feel intimidated at even mentioning this issue, with my parents blessing, I want to share a few brief thoughts, with the prayer that they will cause you to seek the Lord as to what your response should be.
First, I am renewed in my desire to put my hope and trust in the Lord – not in my relationships, my circumstances, my possessions, or my mentors. He alone is the Author and Finisher of my faith – the One Who has promised to bring it to completion – and it is in Him alone that I must trust. He is the only factor of life that will never change; what better rock of assurance, what safer haven of rest?
Second, I am reminded of the vital importance of intercessory prayer on the behalf of those who are leading in the gates. My first thought upon hearing this news was one of regret that I had not been more faithful in lifting up the Phillips family before the Lord in prayer. Think of those who are influencing your life right now, who are doing battle – especially public battle – with the ideas and issues of our culture. They are on the front-lines, often on the behalf of those of us who are leading quieter lives, and do we not do them a disservice (or rather an act completely unworthy of the name of Christ – 1 Samuel 12:23) to neglect fighting with and for them in prayer?
Third, I am convinced that my response should be one of gratitude, instead of criticism. Mr. Phillips has probably been one of the most influential speakers/presenters of truth in my life, and for that I will ever be immensely grateful. The truths of Scripture do not change with the shortcomings of man.
Fourth, I am humbled, with mingled feelings of awe and fear. If a man so godly, so esteemed, could fall, how much more could I? There is not one individual on this earth, no matter how spiritually minded or intellectually gifted, that is above a fall with such consequences. How earnestly, how frequently, then, must I be seeking the Lord, entreating Him for mercy and remaining surrendered to His Word.
Finally, I am filled with hope. Our actions do have results, but we have been chosen by a God of second-chances, a Father of mercies, and a Redeemer from our wretched condition. He delights in impossibilities. Though an aspect of my life that was highly influential and important to me has now changed, I believe that the Lord is not finished yet. I rest in the hope that He does all things well and will perform that which works in the extension of His Kingdom and for His glory.
In closing, Paul’s words from Philippians 3 seem quite applicable:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Family Fun Night: an annual event that has turned into a tradition for not only our family, but also for about 80 other people in our community.
The purpose? To create wholesome, fun, family time, specifically as an alternative to Halloween.
This year was no exception – despite freezing cold weather, dozens of people gathered in our driveway to once again celebrate the onset of fall and beauty of the family. Such a blessing it is to see families come together, and enjoy being together, playing together, and working together!
Games were specifically chosen for the purpose of encouraging father-leadership in the home and teamwork/cooperation. With this purpose in mind, there was hilarious fun to watch entire families, with ankles tied together, or with cardboard in hand, as they tried to get from point A to point B, working diligently toward the common goal of winning.
May the Lord bless each family, strengthen the inner relationships, and allow many more joy-filled, memory-making times to be created as we embrace the blessings God has given us!
We’re looking forward to next year!!!
A few weeks ago we were able to make a spur-of-the-moment trip to South Carolina to surprise Grandmama with a birthday party! The Lord has blessed her with 75 years on this earth, and what a joy it was to come together as family to rejoice in this gift. Special thanks to the Fleishers for their generous hospitality — specifically to Aunt Miriam (“Auntie Fun-Fun”) for all of the scheming and planning and preparing that went into it. The Lord gave us a truly joyous, delight-filled evening together.
The older I get, the more my heart is filled with gratitude for Grandmama. When I think of her, several things come to mind: the legacy she and Grandpapa have left and continue to leave; the way in which she supports us in the way our dear parents have led; the heart-to-heart talks — when she shares memories from her past, stories about Grandpapa, and encouragements to us to keep running the race of life with Christ as our focus; the contagious joy that characterizes her entire self more and more with each passing year; her love for Uncle Fudge and delight in his antics and humor; and last, but not least, her love for the Lord and faithfulness to His Word.
Grandmama, we love you dearly. We treasure your friendship and influence in our lives and look forward to many, many more years with you!
Happy 75th birthday!
Well, after 260,000 miles, we found a new way to use our van.
Whatever works and is most efficient, right? We were headed out of town in the same direction that this truss delivery needed to go….so why not tow trusses with a 15-passenger?
Praise the Lord for safety through all those miles!
What could be better in the middle of a lovely fall season than a camping trip?
A few weekends ago, that is just what we did, along with several friends of ours. This tradition started nearly 26 years ago, with the dear couples pictured above plus one more, and since then the group has grown by leaps and bounds… life has changed… but we still try to get together for this annual trip.
The choice for this year’s event was Lake Jocassee in South Carolina. What a perfect place to enjoy the wonders of our Creator!
Whether hiking, running, fishing, or fellowshipping around the campfire until midnight, the Lord gave us a safe and tremendously enjoyable weekend. Looking forward to next year!
For all of you who read and laughed over our failed attempt at watermelon growing, with gratitude I can tell you that the Lord saw fit to bless our endeavors at last.
As they were so late in the season, we did not know whether these two would be edible before the cold settled in, but last week, just before our first freeze, we decided that their time was up and harvested them. How exciting to find that they were indeed ripe!
So, do not give up when a situation appears to be hopeless, when your days seem full of impossibilities. We serve a God of second-chances, the Finisher of the good work which He has begun in each one of us. Look to Him. Rest in His mercy, grace, forgiveness, and strength… and try again!
With much excitement, we are grateful to announce the soon release of Tasty Traditions!
Step into the kitchen of a family of twelve, and enjoy some of the same taste sensations that have been their favorites for over 25 years. With over 400 recipes, this collection will bring fresh vibrancy to your every-day meal times. Gather round the table with your family and friends, and enjoy delightful and delicious feasts together!
- over 400 recipes
- easy-to-read layout
- plastic cover on front and back for convenience and durability in the kitchen
- spiral binding
The Neely Team
PO Box 1486
Andrews, NC 28901