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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merriest Christmas

Here's a little Christmas humor to lighten your day:
Thanksgiving was only eight days away. Michelle, who teaches the Bible in our midweek children's program, decided to ask her preschoolers about the upcoming holiday. She thought it would be effective to have the class playfully correct some wrong ideas about Thanksgiving.

"Now let me see. Thanksgiving. That's the day when we think about all the stuff we have. And how we want more things than anybody else has. And how we don't care about anybody but ourselves. And —"

"No!" the kids started to yell. "No-o-o!"

Then one little guy called out, "That's not Thanksgiving, Miss Michelle, that's Christmas!"
(Rubel Shelly, Nashville, Tennessee)

Let's laugh at that, and determine it's not true in our homes and lives. May we remember this Christmas day that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, laid in manger, worshipped by shepherds, wisemen and angels. He grew to adulthood, lived a perfect and sinless life. He healed the sick, cleansed the leper, forgave the sinner, loved the unlovable. He made blind eyes see, deaf ears hear, and lame legs walk. He raised the dead to life again. And then, to ultimately show His love, He gave His life on the cross to pay for your sins and mine. He lay in the grave for 3 days and then arose, defeating death. And the best part? He's coming back - for me and for you! GLORY!

That's Christmas! May we never forget it. May we keep Him in the center of it. This year, and every year.

"For unto us, a child is born. Unto us a Son is given."
"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Only a Few

"...small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:14)

Everybody talks about Jesus this time of year.

Some will show up at church services during the Christmas season, even though they don't attend the rest of the year. Some will loudly proclaim how offended they are at any mention of Christianity during the Christmas season. I know, that's ludicrous... but it's how many in our society think these days. And some will think in a slightly more focused manner on the meaning of Christmas - the meaning of that wonderful Baby's birth.

Everybody talks about Jesus.

But Jesus said very few will get it. "Only a few." As we go about the hustle and bustle of Christmas, don't forget how important it is that we who know the Savior proclaim Him to the world. Right now - while everybody is talking about Him, we have a great opportunity to introduce them to Him.

Share Jesus with somebody during this Christmas season. Help somebody find their way onto the narrow road that leads to life.

Oh, and by the way - don't forget our Christmas Eve service at 7:00 PM on Christmas Eve! Bring your family and friends.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Lightbulb Speaks

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. (James 1:19)

Have you tried the new CFL lightbulbs? You know the ones that look like an ice cream cone? They are supposed to save energy, and therefore save the world. We recently replaced nearly everyone of our old bulbs with these new fangled types, and are therefore doing our part to save the world.

This morning, I again experienced one of my biggest complaints about these bulbs. They don't turn on immediately. I flipped the switch and was just about convinced that the bulb was not working when it decided to come on. Just a momentary hesitation while it warmed up, but enough to cause me to react negatively to the delay. That got me thinking:

Isn't it interesting how quickly we can feel upset about something and react to it? Especially in the realm of WORDS. James warned us to be "slow to speak," and that is good advice when we hear somebody say something that offends, disgusts, angers, or dismays us. We are tempted to react immediately to the offense, but Christ is better served by our silence.

The next time you flip the switch on one of those supposedly improved light bulbs, notice the delay, and remember to be "slow to speak."

Oh, and about saving the planet? The only way to do that, is to win it to Christ. May God help us all to be actively engaged in that greatest work of conservation today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The First Gleam of Dawn

Morning is such a special time to spend with the Lord. Arising before dawn, smelling that first whiff of coffee, and then settling into an armchair with the Bible - it's just a great time of the day. And it's commended in the Bible in so many ways. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. (Psalm 5:3)

May I encourage you to set aside a bit of every morning for the Lord? When we give Him the first part of everything, including our time, He always blesses that gift.

Well... this morning I sat in my chair looking out my window as the sun rose, pushing aside the grayness of night, and revealing with ever increasing light the snow - both in the air and on the ground. Turning away from the window, my eyes fell on my chapter in Proverbs for the day, where I read:

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. (Proverbs 4:18-19 NIV)

Looking out the window again, I watched as the light increased, and pushed away the darkness. What a reminder, that no matter how dark the night we may go through, the first gleam of dawn will come, and the believer can keep walking, secure in the knowledge that God will always provide the light needed to see the way - more and more - until we get home.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Promise of Winter

It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter. (Psalm 74:17)

I sit, this morning, huddled in my warm house. It's hunting season this week, and I would normally be outside, enjoying God's beautiful creation. But I've been smitten with a head cold all week, and can't bear the thought of being out in this cold. As I sit looking through my window at the bleak grayness that envelopes the world this time of year, I can't help but suppress a shiver.

But then I read today's "Morning and Evening" devotional by Charles H. Spurgeon (highly recommended, by the way, even though the language may seem a bit dated) and took heart. For God did, indeed, make "both summer and winter." He is faithful to ensure that the seasons continue every year. He promised Noah that while the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22) He keeps the cycle going by His faithfulness. And that gives me hope that His other promises are just as sound.

Look out your window this morning and view winter in a different way - as a promise that summer will soon be back! You have the promise of God on that. And then remember that all His other promises are just as sure.

We serve a faithful God.