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O Lord my Father teach me
Lead me in the perfect way.
Guide each one of my footsteps
and from Thy path let me never stray.

Lord send to me Thy comfort
When the tears begin to fall
Help me to see the good in everything
Even if the good is small.

Lord help me to help others
When their way isn’t always clear
And when my own struggles are too overwhelming
Please hold me up and hold me near.

I pray to Thee my Father
Bestow upon me what is Thy will
And when my heart is troubled
Help me to hear the words “Be still.”

Lord be my guide in all I do
Help strengthen me when I am weak
And when times of anger roll around
Help me to watch the words I speak.

Lord my Father help me remember
And let me never forget
To never want what is upon this earth
But to have my heart on heaven set.

Lord please forgive my many sins
That have been done in word or deed.
Again, I ask Thee to guide my footsteps
And a Christian life let me lead.

Amen.

Hold on My child
I have not forgot.
You may feel abandoned
But I leave you not.
You may feel alone
But I am always near.
You may be afraid
But there is nothing to fear.
For you are My children
You are held safe in My care
You are my sheep
My love to you I share.
I am the LORD thy Father
And you My children shall be
Held within My hand
For all eternity.
Sometimes I take you
Before you have lived life below
And sometimes there were burdens
And My reasons I did not show.

But through it all I’ve been beside you
To hold you up along the way
And I have been behind you
To catch you when you sway.
You have never left my sight
I was always there
You may not have felt My presence
But I held you from the devil’s snare.
Each time you thought
That no one was aware or understood
I was the one who was there for you
—like no one ever could.
Again I must remind you My child
I thy Father am.
I hold you close to my breast
Within My holy hand.
I will never leave thee nor forsake thee
No need to ever fear
Feel safe and feel protected
All within My care.

Take the time today to say I love you,
To your spouse, your child, your friend.
Take time today, and not tomorrow
To work on problems and help them mend.

For today may be the last time
You’ll have the chance to say
“I love you, and you mean so much to me
Upon this very day.”

God calls to Himself His children
The time we do not know.
That’s why each day we have to treasure
And let our kindness show.

Tomorrow may be too late
To kiss our child goodnight.
To tell our spouse “I’m sorry”
And to make everything all right.

Never take the day for granted
And that loved ones will be around.
Never assume that they know already
How strong our love for them abounds.

Take time today and not tomorrow
To encourage the helpless and the weak.
Take time today and not tomorrow
To show all acts of kindness, and with care our words we speak.

Think not as if each day is the last
Nor, of it as an ending.
Each time you see your loved one smile
Remember it as a beginning.

It is a beginning to a memory
A treasure that will always stay.
That helps us through the bad times
When our loved ones go away.

God calls home His children
Today or tomorrow we do not know
So treasure each day and each moment
And through us let God’s love always show.

A first place winner in the Beacon Lights story writing contest.

Throughout life we go through tragedies or what the world calls: bad luck. As Christians we know them as trials; “gifts” sent by God. Gifts? How can we call the death of a loved one or a serious disease, a gift? The story below depicts a time in my life when I was given a trial. It tells of how my faith was tested and how my spiritual life hung in a balance. And I will tell of how I realized that my trial was a gift.

By looking at me you would never know I have a disease. If I didn’t take insulin shots four times a day and test my blood, you would probably never know that I am a diabetic.

Diabetes is a disease that affects an organ in your body called your pancreas. The pancreas’ job is to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps sugar travel through the body and get used. The difference between you and me is that when I eat sugar, I don’t have a way for it to travel through my body, because I don’t have insulin.

I was diagnosed on July 2, 1981, a day that I will never forget. Not only was it the day I became diabetic, it was the day I turned 6 years old. Weeks before the only thing that consumed my thinking was that my birthday was coming. It was a different story for my mom and dad. I noticed that they kept whispering around me and mom was crying all the time. Something was weighing on their minds.

About a month or two before, my mom noticed things about me that didn’t seem quite right. I was getting thin, I always looked sick and tired and every time she turned around I was drinking something. Mom took me from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was wrong. Each doctor told her the same thing: “There is nothing wrong, don’t worry so much.”

My parents grew more concerned as time went by. I didn’t look well at all. My mom refused to give up. She set out trying to find a doctor that might know what was going on. She ended up making an appointment just two days shy of my birthday. I was so angry with her. We went to the doctor’s office where he drew my blood and told my mom: “We’ll call you with the results.”

July 2! I was so excited. All the worries of the doctors had vanished, this was my day! It was my birthday! Then the call came. The doctor didn’t want to tell my mom the results over the phone, he wanted her to come in. I didn’t want to go. I wanted just one day without a doctor.

I remember getting to the doctor’s office where he ushered us into his office and sat us down. The mystery had been solved. I heard him tell my mom that I had a disease called diabetes. He started asking questions that none of the doctors had asked. One of them was: “Does anyone in your family have diabetes?” I wondered what that was, but mom must have known because she said no.

I remember my mom holding me and telling me that I was sick. I remember thinking how big that word “diabetes” sounded. But was that it? Why was my mom crying because of that? Didn’t she know what I knew about being sick? You take medicine and then you get better. I could not wait to get home. Mom had promised me a party with cake and ice cream and all my friends. But we didn’t go home, we went to the hospital instead.

I remember being taken into a room and having a hospital gown put on. I remember seeing people come into my room and poke me with needles. I saw my mom at the door way. Why was she letting them do this? I remember screaming and wanting to get out of that bed. I saw my mom walk away. At the time, I thought that they didn’t care about me. Why else were they letting these people hurt me? Was I being punished? I couldn’t see it at the time, but all of this was breaking my parent’s hearts.

I spent my birthday, the Fourth of July, and 10 days in the hospital. I could not understand why I was being left there. Each day someone would come in and give me shots and they would draw blood. I remember being so scared. I thought that all I had to do was take my medicine! I took it, why wasn’t I getting better? The medication, the stuff I thought I would have to take only while I was in the hospital, was actually medication I would have to take for the rest of my life.

I think my parents were scared too. They were always crying when they came to see me. But what confused me was the fact that they left me every night. I wanted to go home with them too!

I can remember the first day home. When it came time to have my shot I started screaming and I ran around the house so my mom couldn’t catch me. It took one of my uncles and my mom to hold me down. She quickly jabbed the needle into my skin. I hated it. I still didn’t know what I was doing wrong! Why did my parents hate me so much? Didn’t they know that this was hurting me?

As a teenager my thoughts that I had as a child turned. I realized that I was given this disease by God. I questioned Him over and over. Why me? Nobody else was sick, why did He have to give it to me? I became angry with Him. I rebelled against my parents. I rebelled against God and I rebelled against my disease. I didn’t care what happened to me. I just wanted to have it all go away. I wanted to forget that I had a disease. I wanted people around me to see me as Angie and not Angie with diabetes.

I started skipping my shots around the age of 15. One reason was because I was sick of taking them. And a second was because I realized that when I took my insulin I always had to eat. I began looking at myself and hating the image I saw. I was fat. I figured if I skipped my shots I would not have to eat, then I would start losing weight. This was so important to me because in high school, the way people perceived me was so important.

I knew that what I was doing was not good for me, but it was working. I was losing weight and I wasn’t going to stop. But something was happening in my body. In skipping my shots, my sugar went high, damaging my body and bringing me closer to death. I was slowly committing suicide. Now to those unfamiliar with diabetes, a normal blood sugar is 70-120. If blood sugars remain high complications can occur. These complications are blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage, and heart problems.

When sugars get too far out of control they call it keto-acidosis. When keto-acidosis occurs, your body goes through chemical changed affecting organs in your body—mainly your heart and your eyes. It is hard to describe what it feels like, but it is almost like having a bad flu bug. You start dehydrating and your mouth and throat is so dry. You don’t dare drink anything because everything that goes in your body, makes you feel nauseated. You hyperventilate and your heart rate goes so high that it feels like your heart will beat through your chest. Your vision doubles. You want so badly to be well again. I ended up in the hospital quite a few times with this.

When I skipped my shots I knew exactly what I was doing. I knew about the complications and I knew that I hated the feeling of having high blood sugars. But I was obsessed with the fact that I was losing weight. In a way I was thinking that if I didn’t take my shots, I was forgetting about the diabetes.

After a while the symptoms of the diabetic coma became more and more severe. When my sugars went high I would notice my vision was blurry, but I also noticed black spots. My heart would pound, but I was also starting to have chest pains. I got scared and called the doctor. His first question was always “Are you testing your blood?” Of course! (how was he going to know if I wasn’t?) When he asked for some blood reading, I would always send him a list, but they were numbers that I had made up in my head.

I was in complete denial. I hated this disease. I didn’t want it, let alone, accept that it was part of my life. And the whole time I kept saying I was a Christian. I went to church and young people’s society. But I never once went to God in prayer asking for His help and strength. I kept blaming Him for this disease. And the only prayers I basically prayed were for Him to take my life.

About two and half years ago something happened that changed my life. I had been out with my friends and I had forgotten to take my shot. All night long I felt that my sugars were high and getting higher. Then something “new” happened. My chest started hurting and my arms were tingling.

My friend brought me home and I tested my blood; it was 590. I woke my mom up and she took me into the emergency room. I remember lying there fighting hard to breath. I ended up passing out. I remember coming to a couple times and hearing the doctors say that they would send in a heart specialist. I heard my mom start crying. I heard the doctors tell her my heart had stopped. At that moment I thought I was dead. I started to pray “God, if I am supposed to go now—please take me but don’t make my family suffer. Don’t let my mom cry.”

I woke up a day later in the ICU. The nurses told me that my heart had stopped beating a couple of times and that my blood sugars were close to 1,000. Then it hit me. I almost died! God may have let me live this time, but there might not be a next time. I had to fight for control and acceptance.

But it was so hard. I had denied it for so long, it had become so easy to do. How could I accept it? I couldn’t do this alone. I knew that God was there and had been there from the very beginning, but why would He listen to my prayer now? For so long I had blamed Him, I questioned Him, and I was angry with Him.

I have never been as humble as I was that night. I sat on my bed and I prayed that God would forgive me for everything that I had done. I prayed that He would help me in accepting this and strengthen my faith. I gained strength and an inner peace that night. I realized that I can live with this disease, but I can only live because God gives me the strength to do so. For so long I tried to live on my own. I failed to realize that God was there and that all I needed to do was rely on Him.

I had seen this disease as a punishment. But now I saw it as a gift. I realized God gives us only the burdens that we can handle—nothing more and nothing less. When God gave me my diabetes, He knew how I would react, but He also knew that it was going to strengthen my faith in Him.

Being a person with a disease is very hard. But there is one thing that separates us from the world. Our faith that God will help us through all our trials. But even as a Christian there are times when we fall. We want to know why they happen to us. We want to be angry for our lives not going the way we want them to go. I see now that all things happen for a purpose. Sometimes God lets us know the reasons, and sometimes we just have to trust in Him that whatever the purpose, He will always be there.

I have learned that this trial has made me a stronger Christian. I am able to look at my life and see that even though I have been given some pretty tremendous burdens, I was chosen especially for them. I don’t have to look at them and be afraid. I now have the faith and understanding that He will never leave me.*

I went to God in prayer tonight,

To ask Him to free me from sin.

I went to God in prayer tonight,

To have Him take away the troubles within.

 

I went to God in prayer tonight,

I asked Him to hear my needs.

I went to God in prayer tonight,

And I asked Him to remember me.

 

I went to God in prayer tonight,

Because today I failed to see

That HE is in control of things

And His plan is not up to me.

 

I went to God in prayer tonight,

I asked to be forgiven.

I also asked for guidance

In the life that I am living.

 

I went to God in prayer tonight,

I asked that He humble my pride.

I went to God in prayer tonight,

And I asked that my faith never slide.

 

I went to God in prayer tonight,

As I do most every day.

I went to God in prayer tonight,

And I asked that my Comforter, my Redeemer

He will always stay.

(Someone who will always be close to my heart)

Heidi L. Baas

May 1957 – July 1997

 

As every day passes and the minutes go by,

The pain never ceases and I start to cry.

The memories within me they always appear,

Whether good ones or bad ones, they start with a tear.

 

He took you away from us, to be with Him there,

Your heavenly mansion was already prepared.

Often I wonder why He had to take you,

Didn’t He know that we needed you?

 

The first time I saw you, I just stood there in shock,

You didn’t look like Aunt Heidi; this picture I wanted blocked.

I wanted to scream and drop to my knees,

I didn’t want you to be gone – “God help me please!”

 

There were feelings inside me, and things I wanted to say,

But you’re no longer here and I had to walk away.

 

When I found out you had died, I cried in my sleep,

That’s when the pain started, it started so deep.

I hated myself for never saying the phrase:

That was “I love you, I’ll love you always.”

 

You are gone now, away from me, but so near to my heart,

Your memories I’ll cherish, they’ll never depart.

Often I find myself thinking of them,

Wishing to turn back and that the “rules” could bend.

 

But I know where you are now,

And how happy you must be.

Because you are singing with the angels,

Living with God and His Son for all eternity.

God in heaven hear my prayer,

Keep me in Thy loving care.

Be my guide in all I do,

Bless all those who love Thee too.

God I ask Thee in prayer tonight,

Keep Thy children free from fright.

Be with those who needy be,

Hold the mourners close to Thee.

Keep me safe and hold me dear,

Love me and dry my tears.

Heal the sick, feed the hungry bread,

Shelter those with no roof for their head.

Lord be with the weak: make them strong,

Lead us Thy sheep—in Thy flock we belong.

Forgive us our sins when we stray,

And Lord forever guide us in Thy perfect way.

The Lord God is my Shepherd,

He meets my every need.

He leads me to still waters,

In green pastures He makes me feed.

 

He knows about my sorrow,

He even knows my pain.

He stands by through all my trials,

He’s with me in sunshine and in rain.

 

He’s my friend and I can trust Him,

He never lets me down.

He walks with me and guides me,

His voice is like no other sound.

 

His voice controls the thunder,

The trees heed His command.

The birds fly as He wishes,

Even the waters know when to stand.

 

He’s around me every moment,

Yet no one is able to see

This wonderful Lord my Shepherd.

I love the friendship between God and me.

I am the person that came to this world

I came to this world to bring cheer,

To bring you salvation and to save you from fear.

 

I am the Father’s Son,

Come down from the world above,

To die on wood to save you.

 

I preached to the world

Of salvation, the Lord, and of me,

And you listen to me.

 

My mother a virgin, with a sign from an angel

Gave birth to me the Son of man and of God.

Her husband named Joseph understood not but,

with faith he came to realize that I was the

miracle of God.

 

I walked among men and traveled with sinners

All to find out that I would die for my own.

Sinners were they and they did not believe.

 

I performed many miracles from water to wine,

From feeding five thousand with fish and bread,

From healing the sick and restoring sight to the blind.

 

By now you must realize that I am Christ, the Son of God and of man.

Born to save sinners,

And to be the Friend to you.

 

Today may hold the sun or rain.

Today may hold a sigh or pain,

Today may hold each bitter tear.

But we must remember God is near.

Today may hold excitement and cheer,

Today may hold a boring Friday night,

Today may hold within its hand a pleasure unknown to man, And we must remember God holds us dear.

Today might be the day when children play,

Today may be when God takes His sheep away,

Today may be the day when a person gets a date,

But we must remember God’s promises are never late.

Today may be the day when we are sad and lonely,

Today may be the day when we are happy and outgoing. Today may be the last day of our lives,

To rest with God in our abiding home.

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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