Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver’s Journey offers the Biblical guidance and support I learned in my 1001 day trip of caring for my late wife. The book helps you connect with the perfect love which casts out all fear, the love of Jesus Christ. God’s love that sustained me during those days.
Each chapter contains Scripture from the Holy Bible that touched my life, explanation and application of the verse’s Truth to daily living, a prayer using the Scripture I prayed during the travail, three directed questions for journaling, and a takeaway that the Lord showed me. I share how God and God’s Word guided and sustained my wife and me through this journey.
My day began with me carrying out trash. Taking my morning prescriptions followed. After a short drive, I’m enjoying a venti blonde roast coffee from Starbucks. For your information, a venti is 20 fluid ounces.
My To Do List
Today I’ll be working on Bible verse memes for the next few months. I’ll create them and schedule them. I use Canva software for this job. I post them daily on two private Facebook groups I manage. One of the groups is for my family and is used to keep track of me.
The other is for the retirees and friends of the day job from which I’m retired. I’ve been doing both foe around four years. The day job retiree/friend group helps friends and former coworkers stay connected and to share prayer requests/needs. I have 168 people in that group.
I’ll also do my daily writing, some editing, and strive to get my 10,000 steps in for the day. Additionally, I’ll do some longer range planning for the my writing goals including my nonfiction, my pen name work, my blogs , some video work (working on doing a video blog), and reading/ listening goals/schedules. I also have my Spanish lesson.
My working about 30 to 40 hours a week on the writing work is why I’ve had writing income for 50 consecutive months. Some months the income is small but it all ads up and it’s what gives me purpose and fills my retirement hours.
I confess that my writing keeps me from being bored. I’m never lonely.
“You need to remove John from teaching the young married class,” he replied.
I faced an arduous task less than six months into ministry.
My pastor wanted me to replace seventy-five years old John. John was beloved and viewed as a grandfather like figure for a dozen young married couples.
John was also a door-to-door Bible salesman. I traveled the highways with him as he sold his Bibles and shared the gospel.
“You know Russell?”
Russell and his family recently joined the church.
He was a gifted teacher and professor of theology.
“He needs a place to teach, to use his gifts. He’s young – mid 30s – and will better relate to the young married crowd.”
“I beg to differ with you. The class loves John. He and his wife mentor them and from what I’ve seen and heard, they’re like wise grandparents to the class.”
“I didn’t ask your opinion. You were told to remove John. I’ve already told Russell he will teach the beginning of next month. Do your job. Don’t blame me for this change. Make it happen. Follow your orders.”
I took John and his wife out to dinner.
Fear and sorry overwhelmed me as I told them their services were no longer needed.
John and his wife were heartbroken.
John told me he was under my spiritual authority and would step aside. He also told me he would teach one last Sunday and tell the class goodbye. A surprise came as they informed me they would leave the church and join a sister church. A few of the couples in the class followed him to the new church. There, he taught a young adult class.
John also told me he assumed I was just following the pastor’s orders. He said he knew it wasn’t personal. After thanking me for using my day off to travel with him in the north Georgia mountains while he peddled his Bibles, he added, the book of Philemon has some principles that apply to our current situation.
He said I was his brother in Christ and despite my breaking his heart by ripping his ministry away from him; he considered me a friend.
Here’s my summation of the five principles he shared with me.
1. Christian love is thankful for the best in others.
“I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers”
Philemon verse 4 KJV
John told me he would continue praying for me. He said I was his brother in Christ and considered me and my wife his friend.
“You answered God’s call, left a promising career as a US Army officer, retrained, and now are at this church. I’m thankful for your obedience to God. From what I can see, you are a good man. I believe you believe you are doing what is best for the church. I disagree.” As he shook my hand and excused himself, he said he would pray for you.
In the verse, we see that –
Paul thanked God for his friends.
Paul prayed for his friends.
Do you pray for your friends?
Are you more concerned about what you can get from your friends than what you can do for them?
Are you thankful for your Christian friends?
2. Christian love seeks the welfare of others.
“I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:”
Philemon verse 4 KJV
Nothing I could do or say could change the situation. After the change, the class exploded with new members. New members replaced the few couples that left. Many young adult couples joined in the weeks ahead.
I also showed concern about John and his wife. They missed old friends, but God used them in their new church.
Understanding of the situation was difficult.
“You are loyal beyond your own good. It has to be your military training,” he said.
In the verse, we see that –
Onesimus was a slave.
He ran away.
Paul leads him to Christ.
He showed concern about Onesimus’ safety and welfare.
Do you seek the welfare others?
3. Christian love deals fairly with others.
“Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, mine own bowels:”
Philemon verse 12
My pastor called the neighboring church. He told their pastor what an outstanding Bible teacher John was.
On the pastor’s recommendation, John taught a young adult class in his new church. It helped this church of almost all senior adults to start again reaching young marrieds.
My pastor didn’t toss John out the door. He interceded on John’s behalf.
Were we fair to John? The Lord will judge us concerning our handling the change.
In the verse, we see that –
Paul sent Onesimus back to his owner.
He interceded on Onesimus’ behalf.
He showed concern about following the law and for Onesimus’ welfare.
Do you deal fairly with others?
4. Christian love bears the problems of others.
“If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;”
Philemon verse 18
Even though I apologized to John for changing the leadership, I still felt awful.
Several members of the class gave me a STRONG piece of their mind. They viewed my explanation as nothing more than an excuse to get rid of a kind old man.
In the verse, we see that –
Paul pleads for forgiveness of the offense.
Paul will take responsibility for whatever Onesimus may owe his master.
Do you bear other’s burdens?
5. Christian love believes the best in others
“Having confidence in thy obedience, I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.”
Philemon verse 21
When the class started growing and persons responded to the strong Biblical teaching of Russell, some of its members told me they realized the class needed the shakeup. I was even told they knew I loved and cared about them and those without Christ in the community.
In the verse, we see that –
Paul tells Onesimus that he believes in him.
He tells him he knows he will do his best.
He encourages Onesimus.
Do you encourage and believe in your friends?
I may never understand the impact my actions had on others when I made this change. All I know is many young men and women came to know Christ and became active in church. Satan wouldn’t have wanted that, so maybe we did well.
Heavenly Father, sometimes hard decisions and choices need to be made to advance your kingdom. Help us to always seek your will and your mind when faced with these challenges.
Can you recall a time when you could see the best in others or others saw the best in you in a tough situation?
What would be an example of you seeking the welfare of a brother or sister in Christ?
How can we deal fairly with others in difficult situations?
It’s easy to talk about bearing other’s problems. What are some ways we can put that talk into action?
Recall a situation when someone saw the best in you?
As you embark on the journey in the year 2022, two things you do are critical.
The CHOICES you make.
The ACTIONS you take.
One – Choices You Need To Make Everyday
1. Choose to get excited about each new day.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 English Standard Version (ESV),
Each day is a gift from God.
Make a daily choice to rejoice.
Get yourself fired up for having another day of life and be glad.
2. Choose to be thankful.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15 (ESV)
Allow God’s peace both into your heart and to rule your heart.
It’s hard, if not impossible, to be thankful and miserable at the same time. Choose to be thankful.
Thank God daily for your daily bread.
3. Choose to be positive.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
Don’t say, “Good Lord, it’s morning” but say “Good morning, Lord.”
Make sure you get up on the right side of the bed.
As the late Zig Ziglar used to say, “Get rid of your ‘stinking thinking.’”
4. Choose victory over defeat.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 John 5:4 (ESV)
Remember the words of the old hymn, “Faith is the victory.”
Never forget it is the Lord who goes with you to battle the daily enemies and challenges. (see – Deuteronomy 20:4)
God gives us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. (see – 1 Corinthians 15:57)
5. Choose to live above the level of mediocrity.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
We are to work heartily.
Our work honors God.
Remember, in any endeavor of labor, our work honor’s God.
6. Choose to put the other person first.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 (ESV)
The late Christian motivational speaker, writer, and Bible teacher Zig Ziglar (a Baptist deacon and member of my church) said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
7. Choose to have hope.
Though he slay me, I will hope in him (God);
Job 13:15a (ESV)
8. Choose to keep on keeping on.
I had an Associate Pastor named John West that frequently admonished all to “keep on keeping on.” He would say, “Keep trying; keep doing what you are doing. Keep doing your best; never give up and keep on keeping on.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967, “You don’t get to the Promised Land without going through the Wilderness. You don’t get there without crossing over hills and mountains, but if you keep on keeping on, you can’t help but reach it.”
Two – Choose to take ACTION by accepting Christ as Savior.
The only way we can really have a winning 2022 is to know Christ as Savior. Do you know Him as your personal Savior and Lord? Here is how to be sure.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:23 (ESV)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (ESV)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (ESV)
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9 (ESV)
To accept Christ as Savior – A Prayer of Salvation:
“Lord Jesus, I confess to you I am a sinner. I believe that you died for my sins and that God raised you from the dead. I ask you to forgive me for my sin right now. Thank you for saving me and for giving me eternal life. In your name, I pray. Amen.”
FYI – I originally wrote this last section in 1988 as an article titled “Our Need and God’s Provision” using the KJV as the Bible reference. It was published in “Motivators for Sunday School Leaders” by the Baptist Sunday School Board (now Lifeway Christian Resources).
What if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s? What if all the C’s went out on strike? Tired of being seen by you and me as just average unlike the letters A and B. Now here is how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.
You begin your day with a ‘up of hot ‘offee while in your lap is your ‘urled up ‘at. Then later you ‘ould take your dog for a walk While wearing your favorite ball ‘ap to keep the sun out of your eyes Unless of ‘ourse, dark stormy ‘louds filled the sky.
On to the park where the ‘hildren and ‘anines go to play Where you li’k an i’e ‘ream ‘one bought from a man pushing a ‘art. While sitting in the park table’s ‘hair you ‘arefully observe the ‘ars Driving down the street wondering about the driver’s worries or ‘ares.
A gust of wind makes you need to retrieve your ‘ap that just blew off your head. Your hair now a mess needs ‘ombed but instead of ‘ombing it the ‘ap you wear The favorite team’s ‘ap does its job of hiding your unkempt hair. And you let your dog lead you ba’k to the house.
Ba’k inside your ‘ondominium a box of ‘andy ‘alls your name. The temptation is too hard to resist so you pi’k a ‘ho’olate that’s ‘herry filled Get a ‘up of hot ‘appu’’ino and sit on the ‘ou’h. Then into your lap jumps the ‘at and she quickly ‘urls up.
Finally, resting in his home he re’alls his manners, And remembers to remove his ‘ap, and loves on his ‘urled up ‘at. Now you know how it would be if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s Because you’ve seen how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler Written for my granddaughter Aurora Written during November – December 2017