Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve - Dec 31, 2007

Good Monday morning! Warming is in the weather forecast, but not until Wednesday or Thursday... maybe. I goofed off yesterday, but I couldn't let the final day of 2007 just go by. Tomorrow is the day for those resolutions. What must be improved about ourselves for another year. Is there anything? To be saved there is nothing about us that needs to be worked on or improved. God takes each of us just as we are at the time of repentance. Some arrive at that moment in the very bottom of the pit of life. Alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals, all can come to God and receive salvation. All are sinners, is anyone worse than another when we ask God to forgive in the name of Jesus? Others come to repent in what we might call the high place of life; they have it all, fame, money, family, and lots of stuff. However, they look and realize that none of that satisfies and none of the world's things will save them for eternity.

We do not need resolutions for improvement to come to Jesus. In our Christian journey, we will take the time to make, and then keep or break, many New Year's resolutions. None of them will affect our salvation, but some of them will have an effect on how closely we walk with Jesus. Resolving to put aside lusts of the flesh, giving up an addiction, or resolving to visit people in the hospital or prison can help us to walk more closely with our Lord. Make your resolutions and have a good time in the process, but remember that you are saved in Jesus. Your resolution might be simply to learn more in God's Word, from that all other problems might take care of themselves.

May the light of our Lord shine in our resolutions for next year!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Potter's Clay - December 29, 2007

Good Saturday morning, and the last Saturday that we will see in 2007. I have enjoyed a great vacation and there remain a few days to enjoy it even more! There are roots to my family; I wonder about them and the information arrives. My roots may no longer remain a figmentation of my imagine, or something to that effect. :-)

I read the chapter in Jeremiah about the potter and his clay this morning. This famous passage has graced many a sermon over the years and is still direct and to the point. God is the potter, and although His example to Jeremiah concerned the nation of Israel, it can be applied to an individual, a church, a town, a different nation, or even the earth and universe. God can start over at any time, and we know that He did just that in Noah's time. That flood was so catastrophic that we may never know in this life just how advanced civilization had become before the destruction. No signs of that civilization have come to light as far as anyone can tell, and so it is assumed that no advanced civilization existed. However, we come once again to that choice. If you believe in God as the creator of all, then you shall have no trouble in believing that He could have quite easily wiped out every trace of those former civilizations in order to start over with a clean slate. Noah's ark rode across the water. Underneath the waves the earth may have been entirely remade, we don't know for sure.

I don't want us to go running around spinning tales of Atlantis, but thinking outside of the normal assumptions does allow for a little mind relaxation. There is so much that we do not know about the past, creation, and even each other. I am glad that none of us will run out of things to learn in this lifetime, and I look forward to meeting Jesus and finding out even more!

Have a wonderful weekend in Christ Jesus!


Friday, December 28, 2007

Groundless - December 28, 2007

Good morning! A clear and cold morning dawns over the high plains. In a class this fall, the students were tasked with writing a paper on their roots; the family heritage and ethnic history that contributed to who they are today. I do not know a lot about our family history, the genealogy, or what racial and ethnic roots we have in our background. It may be that our family is so ethnically diverse that we can only be described as American. What does come to me today is the great history behind the Word. Lately, I have been reading in Jeremiah. He foretold of the destruction to come to Israel and Judah. This places his life way back there, about 3,000 years ago. You and I can open the Word and read the thoughts, fears, and hopes of someone who lived in what seems to us a very long time ago. Looking for roots? The Word tells us of our Christian heritage, all the way back to the Creation. The founder and object of our faith, Jesus Christ, is there, along with Abraham, Paul, Mary, Peter, and many others. Gentiles is another way to describe us physically and racially, but in Christ we are all one family under God. If you are ever feeling cut off from your "roots", look no farther than the Word of God. There you and I can find all the roots that we need in Christ Jesus. It should be no surprise to us that Jesus spoke of our firm foundation in Him. We stand on a mighty foundation and our fears of being ungrounded are, to put it succinctly, groundless.

Rejoice in God the Father on this fine day!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

December 27, 2007

Good Thursday morning! We are expecting snow today and it does look like it will start at any moment. This year, a white New Year's will most likely accompany our white Christmas. Today, Pastor Rogers asked this question, "Are you looking at life with the eyes of the Lord and trusting that He will provide, not necessarily what you want, but what you need?" How would you answer that? I will share with you my answer, and that is, "Not entirely and not yet." That seems a bit wishy-washy, like there is some shortcoming in my spiritual life. However, I know the Lord has brought me a long way from where I was some years ago. I also realize that my journey in this life is not complete. That is no huge revelation; I am here writing to you this morning and not in heaven with Jesus, so it isn't too difficult to figure out that my journey is not finished in this life.

Each Christmas, millions of kids, and more than a few adults, are encouraged to write a list of what they want. The things or stuff that we want come very easily to our minds and change almost moment by moment. Those things that we truly need are more difficult to list. Few of us know every thing or situation that we need; almost all of us have a good idea what we want. The comforting thing to know is that God knows both what we want, since we usually tell him often, and what we need.

Remember reading about the rich young ruler coming to Jesus and being told what he needed? What we need may not line up with what we want or think we want, but it is what God knows that we need. That young man needed to get rid of some stuff and learn to give. Our needs may not be the same as his; you may not have anything to sell or give right now materially, we can all give the Good News to an ailing world. Some of us may need an education (that would be me!), some may need a different job, some may need a friend, and others may need a mate. We don't know all of these things because God doesn't always tell us directly what it is that we need. You or I may need to be in a certain situation or circumstance. If God told us that, we would immediately start trying to accomplish the circumstance in our own strength and knowledge, and we would probably make a big mess of things.

What do we, you and I, need? Each of us will spend a lifetime learning the answer to that question, and the Lord will provide not only the answer, but the needs as well. This learning and looking back will make for one interesting journey, with a wonderful reward at the end.

God bless you as you prepare for a new year in this life.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December 26, 2007

Good morning! 365 days until Christmas! If I am off by a day either way, then I am not going to worry about it. I do know that next year will be a leap year and we will get that extra day tacked on to February. I have five new calendars; I wonder if all of them have leap day where it should be? Yes, one more year is passing and Christmas is over. Soon we will need to think about income tax filing, resolutions for 2008, getting back to work (there's a depressing thought), and changing to new calendars for the new year. What are we going to change about ourselves for the new year? Bad habits, addictions, bad attitudes, and other "bads", are all candidates for a resolution. However, we seem to skip resolving to eliminate bad thoughts. Many of our addictions or bad habits might fall away on their own if we first work on eliminating those bad thoughts. Elimination of bad thinking is not easy; we will need the strength and authority of Christ to accomplish this task. Store away some fond memories of Christmas, and then add Christ himself to those memories. Who gave you the strength to get up this morning? Who died for your sins? Who created the heavens and the earth? Jesus did and by placing Him first in our thoughts, we find the strength and joy to go on living.

Look with hope to the new year and trust in Christ Jesus!


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day - December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas! We are getting a new blanket of snow this morning and it is beautiful! A white Christmas and a new day in Christ. I pray that you are having a wonderful Christmas day. From the weather map, it looks like a lot of people will have wakened to a white Christmas, and after years of drought in the area, that is very nice to see.

The metaphor of the new fallen snow is used often in literature and poetry. I like the one for reconciling our sins. In Isaiah, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." God gave us himself, in the form of Jesus, on this Christmas day many years ago. The greatest gift, and one that continues to give us hope to this very day and beyond. Oh, the great joy that lives in our hearts for those who believe in Jesus!

Good Morning America invited four Christian leaders to the show this morning to voice their thoughts on what Christmas means. I am glad that at least a few minutes can be set aside in the secular news media to remember why it is that we celebrate Christ's birth.

Well don't spend too much time reading this, you must get ready to celebrate Christmas! Have a merry, joyful, and wonderful Christmas Day in Christ Jesus!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve - 2007

Good Christmas Eve morning to you! It is a fairly cold morning around here, but bright and beautiful. I know that some of you will be going to work today; I am off on a vacation day. School will break after today; two wonderful weeks off from class! I did get to watch a couple of my Scrooges this weekend and that does help to get ready for Christmas. And get ready is right, tonight is Christmas Eve! It seems strange that Christmas should come so quickly; I have been mentioning it since about June or July.

Here is the problem that many run into around Christmas. The anticipation of the holiday doesn't match the reality. A materialistic person may not get enough or the right gifts, an emotional person may have someone reject or mock a gift, a social person might find themselves alone, and many other potentially depressing situations can come to a head at Christmas. The law enforcement community refers to this as the "silly season". To me, all of this points to depending upon someone or something other than God. If you worship at the shrine of materialism, then sooner or later you will be disappointed. If your emotional condition is dependent upon how well a gift is received, then you will be bound for despair at some point, for we cannot read another person's mind to find that perfect gift. Depending on others to be around you and make you the center of attention? Well, in this world almost everyone wants to be the center of attention and many think that they are at every gathering. Why do people go to a party and get silly drunk? To be the center of attention, at least in their own mind, for a brief time.

Did you know that you have the full, undivided attention of God? Yes, the creator of all the universe is fully attentive to you, and to me, and to everyone else who trusts in Him. As a human, I cannot do that. If I am listening to one person, I cannot pay attention to what another is saying. If two or more people try to talk to me at once, I will become overwhelmed. However, God is not like us in that way. He can and does pay attention, fully, to each and every one of us at the same time. Did I say two or more people? Try to imagine hearing - and answering - the prayers of millions of people at any one moment! Yow! How does our Lord do that? I am just glad that He does and I trust in Him to do that for us.

I just realized that I am like... two hours late in writing this today. Aren't vacation days great? :-) If I cannot have fun in writing, then I should not go into it for a career. New Year's resolutions are coming soon. What do you have in mind for 2008?

God loves you and so do I!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Sunday - December 23, 2007

Good Sunday morning! What a blessing I received today. The guest pastor on the Hour of Power was none other than Max Lucado, author of 3:16, the Words of Hope. I learned that his last name is pronounced with the long "a" too. Never think that a ministry is without practical value! :-) This morning always starts the core of the Christmas season for me. The Sunday morning services before Christmas start a period of intense reflection and joy in the celebration of Christmas, and in what God's gift means to me.

Today we may lose some of our snow covering as it is already above 30° and the wind is blowing. I think God is cleaning the slate to give us a new blanket of snow on Christmas day. Those of you traveling this weekend may wish for clear skies and clearing roads; it appears the snow that missed us on Friday hit quite hard a little further east.

More good news, I hear that Jeff D. and family were able to take his grandmother home for Christmas. It is always a blessing to hear of someone able to spend Christmas at home rather than in the hospital. One day I expect all of us to celebrate Christmas together in Heaven with our Lord Jesus. Please don't be late!

I see signs of hope in America, signs of a great revival coming. Let us all be ready to do our part in this, in whichever way that God calls for us to serve. This may be the last great revival, as the signs point to the arrival of the great events that will close out this chapter of history. What a blessing it would be to see all of America taken up on that great day of the Lord. Why stop there? Even better would be all of humanity, but the Bible says that many will not believe. Since I have no idea who will believe and who will not, I will just keep on writing.

Have a merry Christmas in Christ Jesus!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

December 22, 2007

Good Saturday morning and may you have a fine Christmas weekend! Today has arrived, just as promised. Winter begins today and it feels like it outside as well. We received only a few flakes from this last predicted snow, but I am hoping that more will arrive on Christmas day. We, that is my fellow students and I, are still in class this weekend. To use a popular phrase, that really sucks. College continues to find new ways to annoy me, but it will have to hurry with just 3 months and a couple of days to go. Christmas is but three days away now, and the days will become longer as we move through the winter.

In proclaiming the word of God, Jeremiah learned of a plot to murder one of God's prophets, himself! Jeremiah didn't hear it through his intelligence network or from the king; God told him. Imagine having knowledge of Israel's coming destruction, warning everyone you could find, and then finding out their proposed solution was to shut you up...permanently. Jeremiah probably had a moment or two of panic, "they want to kill me?" However, Jeremiah was one of the few serving the Lord at that time, and he enjoyed the protection of the Almighty. We can learn from that story, for the world killed our leader and savior too. When speaking out for God, spreading the Good News and loving our neighbors, we too will incur the wrath of the world. Some of us may die for speaking out. To us the thought of dying for Christ is at once joyful and frightening. We would be honored to be counted worthy to die for Christ, but we are all afraid of dying. In Christ we are not afraid of death and what comes after, but we do rightly fear the pain of that transition. Even Jesus feared what was to come at Gethsemane; there is no shame in being afraid of a painful death, and He knew that His would be very painful.

Christmas is coming and here I am getting into the morbid again... but wait! Jesus death paid the price for our sins and His resurrection brings us the Good News of life everlasting! The bad news is not bad at all! Praise God for the life changing grace of Jesus Christ our Lord! Have a wonderful, merry Christmas!


Friday, December 21, 2007

December 21, 2007

Good Friday morning! Have you eaten as much junk as I have these last few days? It seems that around every corner is a new treat or sweet to sample (sometimes two or three samples are necessary). For many of us, today is the last day of work for a bit as vacations will be in abundance over the next week or so. Children are out of school, some plants close up, and many just want to get away for a while. At Christmastime, we like to get away from the normal work and school. Some enjoy a quiet time and others like a good party. In whichever activity you like, remember to worship the Christ child. Our Father in Heaven sent to us a gift that cannot be bought with all of the money in the world. Sadly, a lot of celebrating will be done with too much alcohol or substances even worse. In a season of happiness and cheer, some one's life will be ended by a driver under the influence of some drug or drink. It does seem depressing to think about such things right before going out to enjoy some time off, but we have a responsibility to pray for those who have not seen the light of Jesus. Tomorrow, I will try to do better for ending on a cheerful note.

Christmas is here! Let the glory of the Lord shine on us!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

December 20, 2007

Good Thursday morning, and a fine Merry Christmas to you! The next couple of workdays will see a lot of what can best be described as non-work. Many places will see everyone take a bit of a break before Christmas and New Year's Day. How many workplaces are too scared of political correctness to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Probably almost all of them. That is a sad commentary on what began as a Christian nation.

Last night we held our annual Christmas quiz in Bible study. This is one where we try to spot the errors in the story of Jesus birth. No, not the real story, but the one with a stable, cattle, hay, three kings, a little drummer boy, and a few other "oopses" included in the story. The Bible doesn't say how many kings or wise men made the trip, nor does it say anything about cows, hay, or stables. It is interesting to see how many things have crept into the nativity story over the years from songs, poems, and stories. Does that make them wrong? No, just like December the 25th, we do not know that those things were not there and that God didn't guide someone to add them to the story. The manger could very well have been in a stable, and an innkeeper might have been involved in telling Mary and Joseph that there was no room for them. Praise God that the world can see Nativity scenes and the Baby Jesus, that is a great place for a non-believer to start. Perhaps somewhere on this Christmas, someone who does not believe will ask, "Why do they celebrate the birth of this particular child?" I am sure that God will have a Christ-one there to share the Good News that arrived with that birth.

Have a fine celebration of the birth of Christ!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December 19, 2007

Good Wednesday morning! It's out there now! I had a meeting with my boss yesterday and let the cat out of the bag, if you will. For two or three years I have deflected the question, or avoided the answer, of "what are your career goals?" Now Cabela's knows that I want to retire in a couple of years and start a writing career. That is a burden that is off of my conscience. They know my plans now and will probably hold me to them. Praise God! Even a good secret can become burdensome if kept too long. However, I shall believe that this revealing, as with all of God's plans and purposes for my life, is at just the right time.

Merry Christmas! Let me say it yet again. Less than a week now and the excitement builds. This is a tough week in college, we all want to break for Christmas. It reminds me of the Christian walk. We anticipate that day when Jesus calls us home, or even better comes to take us up from this earth together. However, that doesn't mean that we can drop our tools and relax in spreading the Good News. The devil would like nothing better than for all Christ-ones to relax and goof off until Jesus comes. The Word must go out and each of us, in our unique God-given talents, is called by God to do some task in bringing in that one, ten, or twenty lost sheep. Some Christians are called to help bring in thousands or millions, such as Billy Graham, but others might be called to only bring in one. That one is just as important to God as each of the thousands, do your task with the knowledge that all of Heaven's saints cheer you on!

To God be the Glory!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

December 18, 2007

Good morning and Merry Christmas! The story of the woman caught in adultery, and Jesus words about he that is without sin can throw the first stone, are often used in teachings about the Word. I like reading that story as it points out many things about the people then and the people now. One thing struck me today while reading it one more time. The Pharisees refused to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, yet when he passed judgment in this case - they obeyed Him! The Bible records that starting with the oldest, the accusers all dropped their stones and left. Jesus did not accuse the woman and told her to sin no more. The new covenant had arrived! In forgiveness we are not "let off" to go do as we please, but to sin no more. Jesus said the same thing to the Samaritan woman at the well, sin no more. Jesus seemed to say this to many women at that time. Did they need it more than the men? No, I think those stories are recorded because the women listened and took His words to heart. Go, and sin no more. Mary Magdalene, the woman caught in adultery, the Samaritan woman at the well, and others came to Jesus, received forgiveness and then became believers in the Son of God. Women of the time were little more than property, even the smelly shepherds probably got more respect at the city gate than the women. However, Jesus ministered to all and He planted where the soil of the heart was fertile. Too many men and women at that time did not think they were sick at heart and in need of the physician. Today, so little has changed in many hearts. Pray for those who will not hear and will not see.

On a better note, say a great "Hallelujah!" for those who have seen the light and heard the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ! Today is one week until Christmas Day and the celebration of our Lord's birth. We, the undeserving, received a great gift from the Father in Heaven. We give gifts to each other to commemorate that gift. Enjoy the reason for Christmas!


Monday, December 17, 2007

December 17, 2007

Good Monday to you! Yes, the morning is here, but I thought a little change of greeting to be appropriate. Merry Christmas to each of you also! In reading a devotional from Max Lucado this morning, I thought of all the pains in the world. Yours, mine, a person in China, another in Africa... all over this world people are hurting and dying. God knows each and every one, and as Max pointed out, He sorrows over each one. Our thinking might turn toward the, "God has forgotten me" self pity that comes from the whispers of our adversary, but as you will see in Pastor Rogers' devotional, that is never the case. We have a need to be reminded daily, and perhaps more often, that we are loved by God and by many other people. Self pity drove Elijah to comment that only he believed in God. To which God responded, "No, there are 7,000 others who still believe in me." Be watchful for that self pity, a sneaky feeling to be sure, it comes upon us when we least expect.

The state of self pity comes very easily during the holiday season. We often fail to think of those spending the holidays alone, especially in a hospital. Someone noted that in suffering we gain understanding of others and their pain. One place that is extremely difficult for me to visit is the hospital. Most of you understand the reasons behind that, but one more I time I shall try to visit someone this Christmas. I have been blessed with that understanding that comes from experience.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and please pray for each other,


Sunday, December 16, 2007

December 16, 2007

Good Sunday morning! It's close now; can you feel it? Christmas is in the air! This week will see a lot of Christmas fun at work. Production on Friday will be quite low I think. "And there were in that same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." We often try to compare ourselves with the shepherds of that time, perhaps hoping for a choir of angels to give us an announcement from above. The shepherds are easy to identify with; they were the blue collar workers of the day. None held political office, and none were rich compared to the leaders and wealthy of the day. However, Jesus identifies himself as the Good Shepherd and places us with the sheep. That is not a demotion, but simply showing us that we are blind and helpless, and most definitely in need of the Good Shepherd to lead us home. We tend to forget that as the shepherds listened to the tidings of peace and goodwill toward all people, the sheep stood in awe and listened to that same heavenly host. One day those tidings will literally come to pass; the lion will lie down with the lamb and a little child shall lead them all. That seems so strange in this world. We know that if you place your lion and your lamb in the same stable, you will soon have only a lion, and if you try to sleep with that lion, the lion will soon have you! This world is not full of peace, but full of groaning and dying. God knows all of this and one day His peace will descend upon us. For now we must treasure His peace in our hearts, and spread the glad tidings of our Savior's birth this Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Joy to you!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

December 15, 2007

Good Saturday morning! Praise the Lord for the dawning of a new day. It is easy to realize the time of the year when I can write this late (0716) and the sun has not quite come up yet. Next week at this time, we will be sitting at the darkest point of the year and the official start of winter. It seems fitting that just after the darkest point, the shortest day of the year, we celebrate the birth of the one who brought hope and light to the world. We may not know the exact date of Jesus birth, but celebrate it to your heart's content. By the way, I have seen that supposed "letter from Jesus" floating around the e-mail chains, and one thing does occur to me. What makes them think that God could not have guided us to select December 25th? Believe in God and that He can take care of every detail, or choose the darkness.

Some good news for you! Kevin Everett, the NFL player who was injured catastrophically in the first week of the season, is walking again! You may recall a prayer request for him way back in September. It is good to see the young man walking again. You can read his story in the December 17, 2007 issue of Sports Illustrated. You may note those who give credit to God for a miracle. Yes, God deserves full credit, but why do some continue to insist that science and God must be separate? I see no problem with God working through scientific and medical advances in our world. He created it all in the first place and we know that He hasn't gone on vacation or left the stage. Hmmm, lots of things to say "hmmmm" about today it seems. :-)

Speaking of "hmmm", I made it through the third day of Workshare with no mental problems. The physical pain I can recover from through the grace of God! I did get to see some old friends on the third day and that helped a lot. Workshare is a good way to dampen your Christmas spirit. By the end of day 2, I would have gladly helped the Grinch steal every decoration in Whoville, and loaded his little sled for him. Today, the Christmas spirit is back in full force, though the pain in my body is still reminding me of my time out there working.

Christmas arrives soon! Praise God the Father for the gift of His son, Jesus Christ!


Friday, December 14, 2007

December 14, 2007

Happy Friday to you! The Lord led me through yesterday with only a doubt here and there. Praise God for His grace and peace! Today in reading a devotional from Max Lucado, I thought about Jesus' neighbors. Growing up in Nazareth, Jesus lived next to someone, probably like us, one across the street and some on either side of the house and carpenter shop. What an opportunity they had to know the Lord as a child and young man! However, we also know that Jesus was not recognized as the Lord in his hometown. I can see that some of those same neighbors later gossiped about Mary, "did you know her son went down to see that baptizing guy and then went mad?" Many in Judah and the surrounding countries didn't see that God had come to live among them, and today many refuse to see the saving Lord of grace. Praise God for those who have seen the light and do know Jesus as Lord.

Pray this day for those still lost in the darkness.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

December 13, 2007

Good Thursday morning! Yesterday at the DC did not go so well. I got anxious and ill, which caused me to be hauled home once more. I hate making others go out of their way for me, but that is what happens so very often. Is that unique to me? Certainly not, no one likes to depend on others, why do you think old people get cranky in nursing homes? We know that self-sufficiency is an illusion, even for the young. We may think that we are able to get by depending upon our own selves, but each and every day we are dependent upon God for many things, most of which we take for granted. Did any of us wake up this morning and thank the Lord that a meteorite didn't land on our house last night? Such a thing is possible, but we seldom realize how much danger we walk through daily. As the Good Shepherd, our Lord would probably not have us worrying about every real or unlikely danger each moment, that would be a tremendous burden. Instead, we put our trust in Him. It isn't that we live blind to every danger, but that there are so many that we let our Lord carry that burden. Lately, I have been seeing and imagining far too many dangers and threats. Please pray for each other in that we will place our burdens at the cross, and leave them there. This life is a difficult journey, we do not need to walk with imaginary monsters. Let us instead walk with Jesus and imagine our hand in his mighty grip.

Nothing can take us from Jesus' grasp; let us remember that today as we pray for each other,


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 12, 2007

Good Wednesday morning! Today is my first day of working at the distribution center in almost 10 years. No, not a job change, just a cute little program the company calls "workshare". My attitude about the program is not the best, to put it mildly. I will let you know what the Lord has in store for me through this trial. Speaking of trials, today I started reading in Jeremiah. Now here is a follower of God who did not enjoy prosperity in his life. Jeremiah also started his ministry by telling God that he was too young. Sometimes God doesn't let us get away with excuses like that, and He didn't with Jeremiah. As a result, we have one of the great prophetic books of the Bible. Jeremiah saw many of the prophecies that God spoke through him come true in his lifetime. That probably was not a reward as Jeremiah's prophecies spoke of death and destruction for Judah. Jeremiah watched as the great and noble in the land of Judah were led away as naked captives to the far land of Babylon. Imagine the terror of those captives and their wailing. No doubt many of them remembered which deity they should have been worshipping then! However, sometimes it is too late to call to the Lord. The Judeans had to endure 70 years of exile before they could return home, and obviously many never saw their homeland again.

Today we enjoy direct access to God. We do not have to wait for a priest to give an atonement offering, or sit outside the Holy of Holies. When forgiveness is needed, Jesus has already paid the price, and we simply must repent and ask. We do not have to endure a 70 year exile, but we do need to ask forgiveness regularly and pray for our country. Many of the sins pointed out by Jeremiah to Judah have modern equivalents in America. How long, I wonder, before a prophet appears here and says "repent or suffer the consequences!"?

Wrap the Holy Spirit around your heart today, and have a great Christmas! :-)


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December 11, 2007

Good Tuesday morning to you! More snow last night, but not a lot. We are enjoying a period of white before Christmas. Isaiah ends with a great and terrible prophecy, and isnt' it interesting how often those two words come together in prophecy? We see great rewards for those who will believe and terrible tragedy for those who chose to rebel. I know that in human reasoning there is a scorn for such beliefs. Intellectuals will scoff at those who believe in the Creation. Jesus told us that all who believe in Him will come under the scorn and scoffing of the world. How true that is today when the ancient Greek or Roman reasoning is worshiped in academia, but the Bible is under attack. In the world today it is becoming easier by the day to see the division happening. On one side there are many believers in Christ, but on the other are many who choose to rebel.

I found a new mantra for my meditation yesterday, I even placed in my cubicle at work. It arrived in one of the devotionals that I receive each day. Just a simple statement really, but it holds a life changing meaning. "I shall believe in the miracle-working power of Jesus Christ today." I have wondered at times why I don't see the healing that is happening in other parts of the world and that seems to be the answer. I don't believe that we are cursed around these parts, but I do seem to be not believing and receiving. Sometimes I am a little slow and need to repeat something until it gets into my thinking. I choose that statement because that kind of believing seems to be absent in my life, a shortcoming in my Christian walk. It is all the more interesting since I received that kind of healing myself once, and now it is time to believe once more. God isn't on holiday; believe in the miracle-working power of Christ, today!


Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10, 2007

Good Monday morning! The world awaits the Good News of Jesus Christ! This week holds new challenges and new blessings for each of us. It may be tempting to sit at home all week, but we must quickly be working on what Christ would have us to do. Great things await without the walls of our fortress. We know that our fortress is no longer the thin, wooden homes that we live in on this earth. As Martin Luther wrote, "What a Mighty Fortress is our God!" Unlike other, human-made forts, this one does not have a fixed location. Our strength and our shield goes with us and leads us everywhere in this life. Do you face a trial this week? I suspect that all of us do. This week, remember the Rock, our Redeemer, who goes before you in all things. Obstacles will become clear pathways, and challenges will show your unique gifts from God. Let the mighty arm of God lead you to victory in all that you face this week!

God bless and keep you!


Sunday, December 09, 2007

December 9, 2007

Good Sunday morning! A load of guilt. Why do we carry it around with us? Jesus paid the price; He carried our guilt to the cross. Yet we still want to pick it up like some overloaded pack and carry it with us. Guilt loads us down, bends our backs, turns our smiles to frowns, and makes us hurt those around us. During this Christmas season, while forgiving all those who have hurt us, let us also forgive ourselves and lay aside that burden of guilt. You gave it to Jesus once, don't try to pick up that old burden again.

We are enjoying a very Christmas looking day here. It is cold, but the new-fallen snow is very beautiful in the sunlight. The pine trees all look like Christmas trees and the houses look like Christmas cottages. This will probably not last until Christmas, but we certainly can ask God for another round on Christmas Eve. Praise God for the wonderful snow!

God bless you and have a merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 08, 2007

December 8, 2007

Good Saturday morning, the weekend is here at last! The cat wanted to go outside today, but it is cold, snowy, and even windy this morning. She may be crazy, but I let her out anyway. I am glad of the snow, especially from inside my nice, warm house. Trusting in God, what does that mean to us and for us? We have been raised to become self-sufficient and to believe in our own self. Jesus says that worldly wisdom is wrong, and He calls us to trust in Him. I think back to the Israelites and their laws, given by God. Every seventh year they were to leave the fields alone, no planting or tilling. They were to eat only what the earth produced in that year. Now that is unheard of in farming. Farmers today may let a field lie fallow, but they are planting another to the north, which will in its turn lie for a year. It is difficult for us to imagine a farmer, or for that matter all farmers, not planting on every seventh year. Think about that for a while, no planting or harvesting on the seventh year. That was not only to allow the land to rest, but it showed a trust in God that seems beyond our abilities today.

Praise the Lord that it is not beyond our ability, for the One who commands complete trust, also gives us the strength to trust in Him. It seems odd by the standards of this world that Jesus would tell us to trust in Him, and then ascend to heaven and send the Holy Spirit into our hearts to lead us to trusting in Jesus! However, in Christ we do not live by the standards of this world. Do you feel out of place in this world? You are! Our place is with Jesus, and since He has not taken up His sovereign place in this world just yet, we feel out of place. Yes, something is amiss. Jesus isn't here yet. Trust that He will arrive at just the right time, and that time is closer than ever.

Christ is risen!


Friday, December 07, 2007

December 7, 2007

Good Friday morning. May the love of the Lord Jesus shine on you this day! The Christmas songs are playing on the radio this morning, as we have awakened to a white day of snow. It is supposed to snow at times throughout the weekend, and that is welcome news to a dry area. It seems that lately I have been leaning on Jesus a lot. Troubled times bring us to Jesus as the good times never do. Thank you Lord, for those times that bring us closer to you!

It is Friday, and that means another weekend will soon start. I pray for those of you who might be travelling this weekend, even if only for a shopping trip. As though anyone needed another reminder of how life can be ended on any given day, we pray for those in Omaha involved in the recent shooting. Did we need another reminder of the dark times ahead? It seems that in these dark days that suicidal persons do not want to go out alone. Hardly a week goes by that innocent people are not killed by someone wanting to commit suicide. The headline "murder-suicide" has become so common that we often don't take notice unless it strikes close to us. Pray for those around you, the only safety is in Jesus.

Have a wonderful weekend and a very merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 06, 2007

December 6, 2007

Good Thursday morning to you! The sky is turning bright outside, which coincidentally means that I am running a bit late this morning. :-) This does happen to most of us on some days. Today I read an article on the super-rich. It's funny that we once had articles on the rich, but now that is no longer enough, the rich don't bear mention, only the super-rich. Part of the article spoke of the rise in the number of gated communities; it seems that islands of wealth are now taking the place of the castles that once set the nobility apart from the crowd. Money is now the dividing line between the nobles and the rest of us. It is interesting that these noble networks have resources for philanthropy, and probably a false prophet or two to tell them how "good" they are. You have probably noticed that this has not changed from Jesus' time when He pointed out the self-righteous wealthy man giving a large amount of money while the poor widow gave all that she had. It is noted how easy it is to give from an abundance, I would do it and you would too. Win 400 million in the lottery and all of us would give large amounts to a charity. However, it is the daily, weekly, and monthly gifts that do both your heart and the charity or church the most good. The amount may seem small, but the Lord knows how much it is in truth. It is kind of funny that I realized just today that storing up treasure in heaven takes practice. A little giving each day, week, or month. A good deed done each day. Faithfully practice giving and one day we will see a treasure in heaven that we could not have imagined while on this earth. Take those little steps and trust in the Lord to provide for you.

Great and glorious is our Lord!


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December 5, 2007

Good Morning and Merry Christmas to you! Are you past the point of no return? We often think of the point of no return as that utter and final rejection of the Lord Jesus. However, there is also the point of no return in the other direction, believing in and surrendering to Christ. Jesus told His Father that He had not lost even one of those given to Him. I believe that means that everyone who makes that setting aside of the self and accepting of Jesus as Lord has also passed a point of no return. Jesus will not let us go, not one, not any of us. That is one aspect of resting in the Lord; there are no longer any worries about becoming lost again. Should we feel lost, the Good Shepherd will find us, and remember that is one of Christ's titles for himself, not something anyone made up for him. Put it in capital letters and sing praises to His holy name, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and a good shepherd does not lose his sheep, no matter how those sheep may feel at any given moment.

Praise God and sing a happy Christmas tune!


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

December 4, 2007

Good Tuesday morning, and a cloudy one it appears from my window. Today I read the terrifying, highlighting, and wonderful tale of Jonah. That story is not long, but it highlights our fear. We are all at one time or other just like Jonah, facing a calling from God to run a particular course... and just plain terrified. The tale tells of the wonder of serving God on the course that He has set before us. Jonah watched as a city, the entire city, of 120,000 repented, as the Bible says, "from the least to the greatest" all repented and were saved from certain destruction. If God can save the proud Assyrians of Nineveh, don't you think that a message of salvation can save the proud citizens of the United States? What a wonderful sign of the end it would be to have such a proud and destructive nation repent from the least to the greatest.

What about the course that God has set before us? How will we recognize it? Did God literally speak out load to Jonah? You might realize already that we do not know that Jonah "heard" God's voice through his own ears, God might have spoken as a voice in Jonah's mind. The Bible states plainly that people conversed with God as you or I would with each other, or they heard His voice in thunder, or as a still, small whisper, or even as an announcement from Heaven as they did when Jesus was baptized by John. What is going on that we don't hear God that way any more? The one great separating event occurred at Pentecost. Jesus had returned to Heaven and He sent the Holy Spirit out into hearts and minds. From that moment we are baptized with fire and the Holy Spirit of God. We hear the Lord in our thoughts and in the feelings of our heart. We hear the Lord in the ministry of those called to pastor churches. We hear the Lord in devotional messages, even in the writing of them! I am glad today for the healing, guiding, and saving Spirit of God in my life. Praise God the Father!

As the dark clouds turn to beautiful yellow and pink in the dawn, so I am reminded that the dark clouds of this world will soon give way to the Son of God!


Monday, December 03, 2007

December 3, 2007

Good Monday morning! The world awaits the Good News of Jesus Christ! I read in Joel this morning about a devastating locust swarm that hit Judah back in the day. It is hard to imagine a swarm of insects coming through and eating every plant, even to stripping the bark from all of the trees. I look outside and have trouble envisioning that. However, it did happen in Joel's day and the message of hope was that if they would repent, the Lord would restore everything. Joel reminds us that the Lord is always ready, even eager, to restore us in all things should we but repent. Yesterday Kenneth Copeland spoke about how it is possible for us to choke off our pipeline to God; the one that carries the glory and blessing of God to us. By building up a blockage of unrepentant sin in our lives over the course of years, we can choke off that pipe. Like its champion, sin is very sneaky and stealthy, it can build up on us if we do not listen carefully to the Lord. I don't want to choke off the blessings and glory shining down from God, and I'm sure that you don't want that also. Close examination of our lives may reveal some sin that has plagued us for some years. Bitterness, anger, lust, and many other sins can start small. It may be time to forgive someone from many years ago. The Christmas season is one of hope and renewal, not unlike the Easter season, after that we have summer and fall to grow and harvest. God has everything laid out just right for us, praise His holy name!

May the light of Jesus shine on you today!


Sunday, December 02, 2007

December 2, 2007

Good Sunday morning! The Christmas songs have begun, the trees and lights are up, and everywhere people have Christmas on their mind and on their smile. Yes, it is the blessed season of our Savior's birth. Do you have worries, fears, anxiety, stress, or perhaps self-pity this season of the year? Many people do. I read something that gives me comfort today in Isaiah 55:8

"My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the Lord. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."

To me that is a great comfort. When I think back on all of the self-destructive thoughts that come through my mind it is comforting to know that God's thoughts are not like that. When people build their pantheons or idols, often the stories of their beginnings are very much like our own thoughts; sexual deviance, violence, incest, and theft all mar the tales of these pagan religions. God's thoughts are not like that, and you can read in Genesis that the story of the beginning was not like the world's tales. Take comfort in God's majesty and in His sovereign will at work in our lives. In the end it isn't about what evidence the world can present to bolster its shaky foundation; it is about the choice to believe in Jesus, the Christ and Messiah, or to not believe. Believe and we are saved, don't believe and be condemned already, no middle ground, no excuses, just a clear choice. The Christmas season takes on a whole new glory in the light of believing in Jesus. Everything light, tree, gift, and wreath celebrates the birth of our Lord when we choose to believe.

Have a very merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 01, 2007

December 1, 2007

Good Saturday morning to you! And it is December 1st also, the first day of the month of Christmas. I don't know about you, but some of the wonderful Christmas movies are in store for me today, along with that old schoolwork. One of these days you will be reading this and notice that I don't mention school or homework. Yes, I look forward to that day too, and it isn't far away from now! It looks like snow around these parts and I do believe the weather forecasters agree with my amateur prognosis. Perhaps there is no scientific evidence for a person's joints predicting the weather, but I surely can feel the change this morning. I pray for a white Christmas this year, even for you folks down south. There is something so very special about Christmas, the celebration of our Lord's birth in Bethlehem.

Have you seen the news reports about Bethlehem lately? The little town in the Middle East has become a scene of contention with a huge wall separating the people from each other. The Prince of Peace may not seem to be in control of His own birthplace, but let us remember that Jesus will one day set all of that to right. In Bethlehem, the freedom to choose between Jesus or this world is at the most obvious. One one hill is the Church of the Nativity, in other places the worship of Muhammad, and in others the idol of violence and secularism, all together in a place that we hold dear. In the last days there will be a coming home for God's people; I wouldn't be at all surprised to see that kick into high gear very soon.

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas season!