Thoughts for Easter and "Take Your Wife to Work Day" :)

Dear Friends,

Perhaps you are wondering how Easter and 'Take Your Wife to Work Day' go together!

Take Your Wife to Work Day:

Bernie and I work together in our ministry in many ways, including spending time each week planning and strategizing together, and I write most of the devotionals, and go with him on outreaches, and occasionally for speaking, but the 'outreach tours' he usually does by himself.  This past week, though, he asked if I would come with him on the final day of a three day outing in Washington DC with a wonderful group of homeschooling families, mostly from Texas, who he was taking around the city while they were here together for a week.  Since it was a bit unusual for me to join Bernie on an event like this, it was actually Daniel who quipped, when we came home, "So how did 'take your wife to work day' go?"  :)

Laying Down Your Life:

This particular day Bernie led the group around Arlington National Cemetery. The somberness of the day was underscored because it coincided with Good Friday, the day we remember when our Lord was hung on the tree for our sins. One of the many stops in the cemetery was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The message there was powerful and moving. There were a large group of WWII vets in attendance at the time we were there, and their minimum age was 90.  They sat in rows of wheelchairs, each with an assistant, and it brought tears to watch them with hand over heart, as they watched the wreath being presented and the guard changed.  Four of them stood and participated with the wreath laying ceremony.  These men had risked it all to fight to keep America free, had seen their friends make the ultimate sacrifice in battle, and then they had returned home to try to resume a normal life sometimes wondering why they were spared while their friends were not.  They had seen the horrors of war first hand and survived.  It doesn't take much to move from their earthly willingness to lay down their lives, to remember the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross.

"Greater love has no man than this, to lay down his life for his friends."

John 15:13

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:

The unknown soldiers (one from WWI, WWII, and the Korean War) in the tomb represents all the soldiers, known and unknown, who have given their lives in the service of our nation. And since July 1937, (incidentally the same week Bernie's mother, Bernardine Gladhill Beall, was born - she will turn 80 in July of this year!) there has never been a moment, 24-7, that the grave has been unguarded. These men who gave their lives are never forgotten. This brought to mind, for me, how Jesus is ever diligent is his pursuit of his own.  We are also, never forgotten by Him.  He doesn't forget us but has loved us with an everlasting love, and has laid down his life for us.

As I write today, I feel I can't quite capture and explain how much observing these men perform this ceremony moved me in gratefulness for their bravery and sacrifice, and then also made me think of the bravery of our Savior's ultimate sacrifice he made out of love for us. These men gave up their lives and the bible tells us,

"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:6-7

As is normal on these outreach tours, Bernie, in addition to sharing with our friends many spiritual truths & Bible verses related to the most visited locations in the cemetery, Bernie handed out gospel fliers along the way. People received them gratefully! A cemetery is certainly a place we think of the brevity of life and of what comes after. (If anyone would like to see Bernie's list of 12 locations in & around Arlington National Cemetery and the associated key verses, just ask!) We rode the tram from stop to stop to save our group's energy on their fifth day together and third day with Bernie - he reminds me of the energizer bunny as he will go as long as people will listen, he never seems to tire! So on the third day of this tour he wanted to make it a bit easier to cover the material he wanted to share, so we rode the tram. I took a picture of a few of the tired participants on one of the tram rides. :) It was a treat to meet them and chat with these people, their journeys in homeschooling and in the Christian faith were inspiring!  Their sincerity of heart and focus was palpable. Bernie was grateful for this opportunity and they greatly appreciated Bernie's passion and enthusiasm and leadership.  And this is just a snapshot of one 'day in the life' of a Christian History Evangelist. :) He serves many groups and individuals in many ways, tailor making the outing to the desires of the group. I may be biased :) but I think he incredible in his energy and enthusiasm and focus on the powerful messages of the gospel that are throughout the pages of history.

I think the people on this tour would agree with me, though, and afterwards, one couple from the group sent Bernie this encouraging thank-you in an email, which he shared with me,

"Thank you Bernie for being an upbeat and inspiring teacher! I saw the inside of buildings I had previously seen only the outside. I appreciate your passion and knowledge of the Christian heritage of America and noting the scriptures that are fitting for various monuments, people, etc.

Loved getting to know Linda a little and will pray for you mission to share Jesus with others so we see them in heaven. We'll recommend you to our friends also though I bet you have a lot of repeat groups because you are so passionate about the truth and our country." - one of the participants

We hope this short devotional encourages you as you celebrate Easter today, to take some time to reflect on the glorious truth that Jesus has called us His friends and has made the ultimate sacrifice for us!

"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." - John 15:15

God bless you all!!!

Much love from Linda for the Bealls

P.S. -
The day we visited, in addition to being Good Friday, also happened to be the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the 152nd anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. A Titanic related memorial is at Arlington, and one of Lincoln's sons is buried at this famous cemetery. But those are other stories of faith for other times... :)