Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Passing of a Year - December 31, 2008

Good Wednesday morning, and the last morning for 2008! This year has not lacked for interesting, that can be said both for me and for the nation. We elected a new president this year and, allegedly, saw his former senate seat put up for an informal auction by an, allegedly, crooked governor. We saw many layoffs and bankruptcies due to what has at last been acknowledged as a recession in the economy. We continue to endure rumors of more layoffs and foreclosures of people's homes. Folks who have money are sitting on it, folks who do not are wondering how they will make it in the next year. The Summer Olympics took place in China this year and we saw a man win 8 gold medals. The mainstream media has also come to face the possibility that the whole Iraq thing might just work out for the better. Afghanistan remains in doubt, but looking though history the question arises; hasn't it always been in doubt?

One more interesting note for this year... I graduated college and like most college graduates, I face a time of great uncertainty. While being older than most grads gives me a different perspective, it isn't my age that gives me hope for the future. I have hope because Jesus reigns in my heart! Think of how many people came to trust in the saving grace of Jesus this year; now that is good news! Churches and ministries are still open and trusting in God, the Word continues to reach out, and we still have the Internet to reach out to each other and the world. An interesting year may include bad news, certainly this year did, but it doesn't have to. Next year, 2009, may bring steadily increasing good news to the world as more people come to trust in Jesus instead of the powers of this world. On the other hand, this may be the final plunge into the great tribulation. That would mean Jesus is coming soon! Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! Paul may have written that at the end of some period deemed significant back in the day, or he may have simply reminded us of God's good rain, showering the blessings down upon us. Remember 2008, and have a great and joyful 2009 in Christ Jesus!

Your friend in Christ,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Resolve to be Holy - December 30, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! Someone mentioned "wind" as a force involved in our weather for the next several days. That doesn't sound like something to look forward to. Ah well, praise the Lord for our houses and homes. Today, I looked through the list of the most powerful people in the world, at least those ranked according to Newsweek magazine. I was not surprised that our president-elect is listed as number one, and I am not surprised that Jesus is not listed. The world does like to ignore our Lord and the widespread effect he has on our hearts. Of course the excuse would be that the list is limited to those that are alive in the world today. Yup, my point exactly... Jesus is very much alive in the world today, whether any can physically see him or not. "Blessed are those who have not seen, and still believed."

What will each of us think about for the New Year's resolutions? Lose weight, spend less, eat better, save more money, be kinder to animals, love your spouse more... many of these are made each year. What if we resolve to be holy this coming year? What would the world think if each of us resolved to be more like our Lord Jesus this coming year? Becoming holy is a tough task, the devil will fight it and the lust of the flesh will fight it. However, we have one great and all-powerful ally in that fight, the Lord Jesus himself! Sounds like something to ponder over the next couple of days.

New Year's Eve is coming up once more. Do you have parties to go to; friends and loved ones to celebrate with, or perhaps just a quiet evening at home to celebrate? Whatever you feel called to do is probably the way to go. I love to recall that even in the so-called non-religious holidays that Jesus will direct our footsteps to where He would like us to be on that day or evening. Trust in our Lord in all things!

Have a joyous New Year in Christ Jesus!


Monday, December 29, 2008

Trust or Toss the Load? - December 29, 2008

Good Monday morning! Three days left in 2008; what last minute rushing about do we need to do before the new year starts? I think that I will pass on the rushing about this time. Today the thought came to me that this life is not an easy journey. Look at Pastor Rogers' devotional this morning. We have heard this one before, and I have written on the same subject. Focus on the goal. Okay, that's sounds great, but what about the other stuff? I look at a pile of bills on my desk and realize that focusing on the goal will not make them go away. In the first century, the church at Thessaloniki (I hope I spelled that one correctly) heard that Jesus would return soon and did what any of us might be tempted to do... they quit their jobs, shouted "Hallelujah" and divorced themselves from the world. We are told the same thing they were told, Jesus is coming soon. However, Paul had to tell them that "soon" might not be in their lifetime and that they should get back to work. I suspect Paul might have sympathized with them a bit and even entertained a regret or two in having to write that command.

We all yearn for the day that Jesus will return, but the everyday things continue to press upon us. Creditors and utilities will not drop their charges because Jesus is returning soon, they must feed their families too. I was thinking today that perhaps some of my pile could be reduced by focusing on the goal. If God has called me to do X, do I need to have Y in my life. In other words, how can I simplify my situation in order to focus more on the goal toward which I run the race? The cares of this life cannot simply be ignored. Like the runner in Paul's letter, we have our eyes on the prize, but we still feel the pain of straining muscles as we run the race.

Another take on this whole thing is faith. God sees the pile of bills too; we cannot forget that God knows our needs better than we do. In a time of recession, we often think of reductions and simplifications to reduce expenses. This may be something that is needed, but I am also reminded of the weight loss wisdom of not so long ago. As a young man in the Marines, the prevailing wisdom for losing weight was to eat less and exercise more. An unfortunate side effect of near starvation dieting is that your body reacts by slowing down the metabolism, thus sabotaging the very effort your are engaged in. Those of us put on diets in boot camp soon found ourselves unable to keep up in anything, much less the physical training. Years later the prevailing weight loss wisdom had turned about and we are told to eat more often and make better choices to control our weight. Of course eating more often does not mean eating all the fat and sweet stuff all day; calories/portions/servings/points etc. are all still important to the overall effort.

In our efforts to run the race or improve our lives, we are often like the sailors of old who would rush to lighten the ship at the first sign of trouble. Throwing all the stores overboard might make it difficult to find anything to eat when the storm has passed. Sorry for the pause, I am working over my desk to fix a nagging problem. There, that seems to have firmed up the keyboard shelf. The teapot should be whistling soon, I need to wrap this up. Trusting in Jesus when the storm is raging can be difficult, but we must learn to trust at the darkest of times in order to have His peace in our hearts.

Trusting always in the one who died to save us, and having a great day in Christ!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fears and Rest - December 28, 2008

Good Sunday morning! Did you ever have a question that God answered before you asked it? With me it seems to happen often. When we realize that ministers plan their sermons days or weeks ahead of time, writers send out their articles months in advance, and even a devotional might be written down years ago, we see the hand of God in answering a question before it even occurs to us to ask it.

How 'bout another one? Does your generosity exceed your means? We need to realize that nothing or no amount of giving or need can exceed God's means and resources. One of us might feel called to give some huge amount to a ministry. How would any of us do that on our own? Any of us could face sudden expenses beyond our means and control. We must remember that none of these are beyond the control of our Father in Heaven.

Rolling on... Do you fear disasters and storms, the acts of God as the insurance companies like to call them? Humans have made it to the point that we can create or put together machines and devices that we may not be able to control. The fear of this shows up in books and movies fairly often. God created the entire universe and nothing, no part or whole of it, is out of his control. The universe, in spite of what we see in the media, is not spinning out into chaos. Yes, mankind does have a certain freedom to choose, but that is only because God chooses to allow us this freedom. Every possible decision, big or small, made by all those free individuals is a part of God's great plan. How does that work? I don't know, but God does!

Sitting in a chair in our homes, so much of the universe and this world seems so very large to us. We control so little that we might be tempted to just give it all up. However, we are commanded to spread the Good News. Much of the temptation to give in is rooted in the focus on our own problems. We are to focus instead on Jesus and His might and glory.

Events seem to be whirling over us at the close of this year. Let us work to focus on the Almighty One, Jesus, as the new year begins this week. For the needs of each of us, the needs of your town, or state, or even the entire world, Christ is sufficient. Jesus will see to all of our needs, or this is the end times and He will return to take us home; sounds like a win-win scenario to me!

Rest in Jesus as the new year begins!


Friday, December 26, 2008

New news? - December 26, 2008

Good Friday morning! A merry and wonderful Christmas has just passed, and we eagerly anticipate the next one. Today, as I explore my purpose in life, I am wondering just what that purpose is. Yes, I am created to glorify God, but just how to accomplish that? As you may have guessed already, I have begun The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (day 7 and counting!). Perhaps at the prompting of this book, or more likely at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I see that we have a problem here and now. In the old days of the Cold War, we often criticized the communist news agencies as tools of their respective states. However, the major problem with current news agencies under capitalism is that they are tools of that dreaded bottom line. We wonder why news seems to become ever more sensational, and the answer is to improve the bottom line. Think about it. To get more viewers, which improves the Nielsen rating, and thus allows the channel or show to charge more for advertising, the news must compete against other news sources. Now we may think that getting to the news first is one way to accomplish that, but there are other ways too. More attractive news anchors, better pictures, and better commentary are also ways. However, as those managing the finances take over the company direction - don't laugh, it happened at my old workplace and probably yours too - employees are pressured to find ever more creative or underhanded ways to gain more viewers.

We chuckle at the channel billing itself as "fair and balanced" at the expense of the other news sources, which must by definition then be "unfair and unbalanced." This morning, I thought that perhaps a not-for-profit, unfair and unbalanced news source might be just the thing for these dark times. Instead of reporting that 6% of the working population does not have a job this morning, this news source would joyfully report that 94% of the working population is in fact gainfully employed on this fine morning. Which would you rather hear? :-) Our new news could report on the joyous arrival of new babies around the world. Take polls asking how many people actually do like their boss even while knowing that no boss is perfect. Each day the news could report how many people came to Christ on that day. I saw a news report this morning showing the Iraqi Christians celebrated Christmas openly for the first time in years... that's the kind of news we like to see! This news would also share the Good News of Jesus' imminent return (the world would call that the unfair and unbalanced part).

Do you think there would be resistance and criticism of this new news service? Yeah, oh boy would there ever be! I would sign up for it though; bring on the good news and the Good News!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! - December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! I pray that you are having a wonderful Christmas Day on this anniversary celebration of our Lord's birth. This morning I want to send out the love of Jesus to all. In our Christian witness, we study many things; discipleship, apologetics, diction, service, and of course, the Bible. However, what we must send out and show to the world is much more simple. We need to shine the love of Jesus into a dark world. Sometimes I think that I get too worried about giving a perfect testimony to an unbeliever, and forget that what Jesus wants me to show is love. He sent the Holy Spirit to give us comfort and to convict the unbelievers; we do not need to worry too much about perfect speaking or writing. Practicing and becoming more proficient at our witness is good, but we don't need to worry over it. On this Christmas day, take time to relax into the love of Jesus. Share that love and enjoy the love of our Lord in your life.

This year is a good year to share love instead of loot; many of us are short on loot this year as compared to past years anyway. We are never short of love, and in that love we realize that Christ has provided all that we need. Grow closer to Jesus during the tough times and you will find the worries taking a hike. I love you Lord Jesus! Have a great Christmas in the love of Christ!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Turn the Heat Up - December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve! The celebration begins tonight in homes across the world as we remember that Jesus was born upon this earth to save us all. Praise the Lord for Christmas! Many folks will rush out today to buy a last minute gift, but the greatest gift has already been given. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. Some might forget the reason for Christmas, but I feel better when remembering just what, or rather who, Christmas is all about.

Waiting on the teapot to be ready is sometimes a reason for a bit of impatience. However, I seldom remember to turn up the heat under it to speed things along. It has been a long time since I have been a boss; turning the heat up is something those bosses are good at. :-) Perhaps serving as an employee for so long has given me an empathy for the teapot. In any case, the tea will be ready soon. Christmas doesn't work that way. There simply is no way to hurry it along, the date gets here when it arrives and not before. Turning up the heat, so to speak, on yourself before Christmas will only increase the anxiety and impatience; it will not cause Christmas to arrive any sooner. Interestingly, the heat will be turned up on the world in the days before Christ's second coming, but that will not cause that great day to arrive any sooner. Did you ever try to hurry God along? Didn't work, I suspect. Our Lord has His own schedule, and nothing we can do and no degree of impatience will rush His perfect timing. One of the things that we must endure to the end is our own impatience. Just as children everywhere are looking with impatience at the countdown to Christmas (yes, me too!), we must patiently await the arrival of Jesus. Praise God that we have much to do until that day!

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sharing the Joy - December 23, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! Christmas is one day closer; we can see it coming up the walk! It looks like at least one of my neighbors has already taken off for Christmas vacation, good for them. I've been off for more than 2 months now. :-) I think that today is a good day to try something different, a phone call around 0900 should take care of that.

What to write about today? Hmm, could Christmas make a good subject? I suspect that hundreds of devotional writers are faced with that same dilemma today. Why not write about Christmas? Of course we'll write about Christmas today! This is more than a simple holiday on the calendar, another day off stolen from Scrooge, and a day of sports events on television. This is one of what we call holidays, but one that is truly a Holy day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. No one else in history has so many prophecies concerning his birth and life. We celebrate the fulfillment of only some of the many prophecies regarding Jesus. The Good News is that from His death and resurrection, we gain a whole life in eternity. Want more good news? There are still many prophecies yet to arrive, more gifts from our Father in Heaven. Christmas is wonderful, but Jesus is coming again! How great is that?

Christ offers so much to tell about. A believer in Christ cannot help but write, speak, or read about our Lord. We see His creation all around us; we see His works manifested in events and blessings, and we see His birthday each year as another chance to celebrate the wonderful gift of a savior. Yes, I do like to write about Christmas, and praise God the joy is independent of any material wishes I might have. Sharing the joy of Christmas is a blessing all its own. The funny thing about joy is; the more you give it away, the more you have. That's not an original statement, but I like to remember it at Christmas.

May God's joy and peace enrich your life this Christmas!


Monday, December 22, 2008

A Gift That None can Match - December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas on this December 22! I am still marveling at the volleyball matches this past week as the NCAA championship tournament came to Omaha. The Big 12 conference came out second best all around, but oh what matches they were! Penn State, the juggernaut of college volleyball right now, only lost two sets all year, and guess where that happened! Yes, Nebraska put on an inspired performance in the semifinal match on Thursday night and took Penn State to the fifth set. I had a hard time watching that match, it was just too exciting! What a Christmas present for volleyball fans.

Have you read the articles on executive compensation in America? I read about these incredible salaries and perks, and then pray that some or all of those corporate officers will do the right thing for their companies. However, I also remember that Jesus told us something about that a long time ago. Something about a camel and the eye of a needle. One would of course have to wonder if I, in a similar position, would quickly do the right thing? Should I ever face that test, I pray that the Lord will lead me to pass with flying colors. I haven't always been faithful in the small amounts, that money that we deal with every day.

Does that make it a dark Christmas, careful introspection revealing that I too am in need of redemption? No! Christmas came to Bethlehem with no help from me and it will continue to arrive until Jesus returns. Each of us already knows how badly we are in need of Christ's grace, else we would not have come to Him in repentance. Freed from the guilt and shame of sin we celebrate the arrival of the Messiah on earth and in our hearts. Hallelujah for our Lord Jesus! A Christmas gift that none can match, no matter how much loot they have on this earth. Glory to God in the highest!

A great, huge, and merry Christmas to all of you!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Movin' on Up - December 21, 2008

Good Sunday morning! The archaeologists have found Bethsaida once more. I am always amused by the fact the world doubts first when it can't find a site mentioned in the Bible, and then doubts some more after the site is found and proven to be historically correct. "Well you found the town, that still doesn't prove that Jesus fed the 5,000 as the Bible talks about..." You can believe in Jesus, in which case you don't need to find the ruins of a site, or you can reject the truth and still not believe in spite of evidence of historical accuracy. There will always be those who refuse to believe even after every historical site from the Bible is found. As for those of us who believe, we don't need further proof that historical sites exist, but we do enjoy the discomfort of the world when another one is found. :-)

Another cold Sunday here on the plains, but not as cold as last Sunday. We stand a chance of having a white Christmas again. Snow is in the forecast for Tuesday and the temperature should allow it to stay around for Christmas. I have decided that this is the best Christmas in years, and the day isn't even here yet! Hmm, a chipped nail, must be one of those occupational hazards of writing. Dear, dear, whatever shall I do? Ha, ha, I think that I will go have breakfast and turn on the Hour of Power. Speaking of those guys... the younger Pastor Schuller is going to start his own ministry. I hope to see him on television soon. Perhaps their disagreement over the ministry's format was in God's plan all along. Now we will have two ministries where only one existed before. This is not to say that every church with more than one pastor should split up, but that sometimes the Lord will call one to move on and start a new church. We feel sad for the breakup of a great team, but then rejoice for a new ministry in Christ.

Pray for our ministers in Christ on this fine, cold Sunday morning, and have a merry Christmas too!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dogged Pursuit - December 20, 2008

Good Saturday morning! The cold of Christmas is here and snow is on the ground, now to set the warmth in our hearts to making the season glow. Are we solo agents or part of a team in this building of the Lord's kingdom? I think that we would immediately answer that we are a team, but what does that mean? In doing some research this morning (Wild West Tech on the History Channel) I heard about a bounty hunter who worked for four years and reputedly logged more than 25,000 miles in the saddle in pursuit of some train robbers. However, he never caught any of the big name criminals he pursued. In Christ we are often told that while some plant, others may do the harvesting. In the story of that bounty hunter, his dogged pursuit kept the crooks on the run for all that time. Eventually they had enough and left the country. The crooks were none other than the infamous Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The bounty went uncollected; someone else would make the harvest. We may end up in a similar situation. We may sow and sow in our walk with Christ and never see a soul harvested for Jesus. Not a thing wrong with that; Jesus is the one to whom all of us must come for salvation. While we may not witness a person accepting Jesus as Lord and savior, the fact that it happens is good enough for us all. The Bible tells us that the saints in heaven rejoice over each lost sinner found on this earth. Just as they have no direct part in that sinner's salvation, we too should rejoice for everyone saved, even those far away from us on the other side of the globe. We are a part of a great team, all serving our Lord for the greater glory of God. Our support of ministries and missions is valuable and God does not forget it!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Mountains, meet the Mountain Mover! - December 19, 2008

Good Friday morning! We received a nice snowfall last night, no blowing and drifting just nice snow. Now to get out and clean the walks and driveway. The weather folks say that deep cold is on the way again for the last-weekend-before-Christmas shoppers. For me the very cold days are simply an opportunity to stay inside and write! One of the ministers on TV likes to mention turning problems into possibilities. I found that takes a lot of practice. We seem to have a tendency to see the negative at the expense of the positive. In boot camp we spent much time on the parade deck marching. What do you suppose the drill instructor pointed out? Yes, he would faithfully holler out every wrong step or turn, while ignoring the 99% of the platoon doing the right thing. Rumors that I was always the 1% are only partly true. :-)

How often do you or I take stock of all that is wrong in our lives and start our prayers from there? I am guilty in that regard too. Too many times I have found myself running down a long list of problems for the Lord. A good activity might be to list those problems, and then try to imagine what might come of them. How will the struggles we face bring us closer to Jesus? If God were to take all of our problems away tomorrow, would our first reaction be a hearty "thank you!" or would it be a very ungracious, "it's about time too!" On this Christmas week, what possibilities are waiting to spring upon each of us through working and waiting on the solution to the problems this life has set before us? Where can we be a blessing to someone looking at a mountain of problems? Each of us is not the only one with problems. We might find a solution to a problem of our own by helping another person look beyond their "mountain" to the mountain-moving power of our Lord Jesus.

Problems, you look so big to me now, but I would like you to meet my Lord Jesus.

Merry Christmas and love in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Child is Given - December 18, 2008

Good Thursday morning, 1 week to Christmas Day! May the Lord bless and keep you during this celebration of His birth. The economic barrages continue in the great blame game of "who's fault is it?" The news media anxiously awaits the outcome, will it be a good Christmas or a bad Christmas for retailers. Even from a secular standpoint, the Who's in Whoville know something that many seem to have forgotten; Christmas is not about buying. However, we know something Dr. Suess' little characters do not... Christmas is about the birth of Christ.

Yesterday on CNN, Dr. Phil mentioned our children's sense of entitlement as one of the reasons that it is so difficult to tell them that this Christmas many of us won't have as much. One problem with that... the kids didn't get that sense on their own. Yes, all of us, even those of us without children, like to buy gifts for each other and those entitlement-bound children. I like to buy gifts, and I am sure that you do as well. Giving is not the reason for Christmas, but it certainly is one of the great benefits. Now, in another sense I am quite wrong that Christmas is not about giving. The greatest gift God sent to us wasn't the earth and everything in it, life on this earth is not it, but the gift of a savior is very much what Christmas is about. For unto you a child is given... The wonderful words from Isaiah echo down to us throughout history. God sent us a gift, the child Jesus, and then announced His gift with a heavenly host to shepherds in the field.

The thing about giving is that we should not think ourselves or our children are entitled to the latest and most expensive gifts. That may be where Dr. Phil is aiming in his critique. We can enjoy giving this year and in the years to come by going to the thoughtful gifts. The key to making this work? Gratitude, a "thank you" from the heart will go a long way to making every gift a joyous occasion for all.

Have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This Much - December 17, 2008

Good morning on this fine day. We are but one week from the eve of Christmas, if you're not playing the Christmas music by now there will be some prayers for you on the way. As for me, I am hoping that the weather will warm up just a bit, a bit would put it in the right range for a nice snow at Christmas.

God loves you on this day; we do not have to wait for Christmas to see God's love in action in our lives. We might be tempted to think that God loves everyone extra-specially on Christmas, but that would not be correct. Extra-specially? Anyway, God's love does not diminish with circumstances or days on the calendar. We may feel that He loves us less because of something we've done or the circumstances surrounding a "bad" day, but God's love is described as everlasting to everlasting. Have you ever tried to imagine "everlasting"? That word ranks right up there with 'forever' and 'eternity' in my limited imagination; the words just don't compute. We have read or heard the comparisons of the national debt, a billion dollars, or some other huge number and the incredible amounts they attempt to convey to us. However, those numbers are finite, despite what the national debt may seem, it too is a finite number. Eternity, forever, and the amount of God's love for each of us is just not quantifiable to us. A child might stretch her arms out to describe God's love and say, "it's this big!", and that describes God's love pretty well. Stretch your arms out as far as they will go and say, "God loves me this much!"

Have a merry and loving Christmas!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seriously Joyful and Loving - December 16, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! Waking up to a temperature above 0 this morning is a blessing. I think it made it up to a hot-smokin' 5 degrees yesterday, a cold day here and colder still in Fargo. This may be the first devotional typed from my laptop while I sit at the kitchen table and listen to the new Casting Crowns Christmas CD, Peace on Earth.

Okay, this is one of those re-write days. I started out with a devotional that I thought a bit on the serious side for Christmas. I want to be serious, but not depressing, in the writing of these messages. This brought me to thinking about love and joy, and also why I didn't think these to be serious subjects. We should take love and joy very seriously, just not the depressing, sad kind of serious that we are often presented with on our network television sources. The economic news right now is a case of the sad, depressing side of serious. On the other hand, the celebration of Christ's birth is the right kind of serious. The expression and exaltation of the heavenly host is the kind of joyful and loving seriousness we need. The need of the world is great. While we could jump out at someone on the street and call attention to their sins, would it not be better to give them the seriously loving and joyful good news of Christ's birth and redemption of our sins?

Yes, it would be fun to see a Scrooge on the street and jump out yelling 'sinner', but even Dickens left it up to the ghosts to show him the error of his ways. Most of us know of someone who should expect a visit from the three ghosts on Christmas Eve, but Jesus didn't come to condemn the world, but to save it. Take a moment and spread some Son-shine around you on this fine morning.

Have a merry and joyous Christmas!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Cold, but so Warm in Christ! - December 15, 2008

Good Monday morning! Let's not talk about the cold today. Nothing about how the furnace ran all night or the -14° temperature, I won't even mention that I'm wearing a stocking cap... inside the house. A little person could go ice climbing on my windows. Yes, like the proverbial elephant in the room, we won't mention the cold this morning. :-)

Some things occur which are nearly impossible to not discuss. Sooner or later we turn to the latest event to "talk it out". We like to support each other through the tough times. I pray for all of those who must get out into the cold and go to work this morning. No, I did not go out walking this morning. It is much too dangerous to walk in this weather. One slip and a person's body would be frozen before help could arrive. Oops, I wasn't supposed to talk about the cold. What does a person write or talk about when avoiding the major event of the day?

When I ask God what to talk about on mornings when I have no clear message bouncing around in my head, the first answer I get is "talk about me!" In marriage we learn that the partners to their new life together submit as equals. Following the Bible, the woman submits to the man as the head of the household, but not as an inferior. In Christ, we might think as unbelievers that we are submitting as an equal. However, once we believe, the manifest power of God in our lives and all of creation becomes apparent to each of us. We now realize that we did not submit to Christ as an equal, but that He died for us as a servant. Eh, how did that happen? Yes, we submit to the Almighty One, only to realize that He has already served us to the utmost by dying on the cross to save us from our own sin.

Wow, talk about the elephant in the room! Unbelievers get very uncomfortable when confronted with the idea of an all-powerful God coming to earth to serve His own creations. Ya know, it still blows my mind, so to speak, when thinking that God, in human form, died for me. How does one go about repaying the Almighty One for something like that? God already knows that we cannot, but He loves you and I just the same. In fact, we come to realize that He loved us before dying on the cross, else He would never have done such a selfless and courageous act of love. We can circle around it in our discussion, but we will in time come to one very important statement made by Jesus. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." At Christmas time I like to come back to that central verse of our faith, and remember just why He was born in Bethlehem.

God bless your Christmas!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Cold, the Cold! - December 14, 2008

Good Sunday morning. Today, even the toughest of the high plains dwellers will admit to a cold day. High winds and below zero temps make for a day to stay inside with a blanket and a hot drink. Even inside the house it feels like a cold day. If the paper arrives the debate whether to go out and get it will begin in earnest. Wow, a real ice-on-the-windows kind of day.

So, what to talk about besides the cold? With the cats trying to get space on my lap, it must be cool in the house too. I think my brain cells need to be thawed out; nothing is coming to mind other than the cold weather outside. Extreme weather can dominate our thinking in this world. This isn't so surprising, a starving person only thinks about eating, a dehydrated person might go mad with thirst until they drink something that at a normal time they would not. We are in this world when it comes to eating and drinking to survive; making adjustments to our clothing or shelter for the weather conditions, and all of the other physical things that affect us daily. However, we are not to be in the world when it comes to the activities we know involve sin. No longer are we to hang out with the old crowd of sinners.

Do you find it more relaxing to go out with a group of fellow Christians knowing that no one will suggest going to a strip joint, or getting drunk, or any of the many temptations that we face in this world? I know that I do; it just makes dealing with temptation a lot easier when I know the group is not inclined toward that type of activity. Paul speaks to us about the whole armor of God. Today is a good example of that. I could go outside in my skivvies and freeze to death, or I could put on the necessary clothing and go get the paper. We are in the world physically whether we like it or not. We need the whole armor of God when facing temptation in this world. But like the well-armored soldier, we still do not knowingly place our person in great danger without orders from above and support from our fellow soldiers in Christ.

Trust in God, and have what is at the moment, a very merry and cold Christmas!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Spend or Save? - December 13, 2008

Good Saturday morning! This area has been told to expect bitter cold later this afternoon and for the next four days. All discussion on global warming is tabled until Thursday, have a great week.

The advice given to us by the world comes up a lot in this devotional. Some of it is good, some bad, some humorous, and some of that worldly advice is just plain dangerous. We know by now that believing in our own self is not going to get us very far, certainly not far enough to save us from sin. We know that our only hope is to believe in Jesus; some advice the world will never tell you. I like the example Pastor Rogers gave today. If you don't believe him you might dangle yourself from a rope and give the knot tying advice a try. It sounds more than a bit difficult to me.

The last full week before Christmas starts tomorrow! Time to get that last minute gift shopping done. I went to Wal-mart early this morning, they are well stocked with all manner of things, as usual. What's the news? We are in a recession, but does that mean it is hopeless? We were told many times that Americans need to save more. Well, now they are doing just that and being blamed for the recession too. "America is a consumer-driven economy, you must spend to make it go!" Make up your minds already. :-) Save or spend, we have a hard time doing both with the same money. Worldly advice can be so confusing to me. :-) I think that our economy will recover right along with our growing faith in Christ Jesus. Bring America back to Jesus and we'll be just fine.

This Christmas may be a good time to teach a lot of people, not just children, that we don't have to give or get expensive gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus. May your Christmas be bright in the light of our Savior's birth!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Advice Resistance - December 12, 2008

Good Friday morning! Only one more Friday before Christmas! Good news on the economic front yesterday. Household debt across the country fell. That might not seem like much, a .8 percent reduction or something like that, but it seems like a good trend to me and one that I will join. Yesterday I also took the advice of Pastor Schuller and made some impossible Christmas requests for God; three for me and three for other people. The only rule to these requests is that they must be impossible for me to fulfill by Christmas. I don't think that any of us will have any trouble with something like that.

Sometimes we look at advice from others and immediately resist. Something about the advice seems selfish, or it sounds too good to be true, or our mind comes up with some other reason to resist. When I began looking into writing, many others when told of my plans were not resistant, quite the opposite in fact. God sent many people to overcome my own resistance. To change from a career field that I have trained in for some 15 years into one that I have no experience in does not seem like a smart move. Praise God that our Lord does not operate according to human intellect. When a person is called to do something else with their life, they may need our support and encouragement. The move into a ministry, the missions field, or some other drastic career change may seem really dumb from the world's point of view. As I read more about what others are doing after a layoff, I find that many look to God and make the same choice that I have, follow Him! Others are called right back to the same field, but in a different company, location, or even a different country. Nothing wrong with that, we all must go where the Lord would have us to be.

Speaking of location, I am going to try some different writing locations over the next week or so. The distractions here at home are hampering my efforts. The change may be as simple as a different room, but I'll see what happens.

Have a fabulous Christmas this year!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trusting Now - December 11, 2008

Good Thursday morning! Some old friends were in town last night and we enjoyed a good dinner. Last night we realized that it was two weeks to Christmas Eve, which makes today two weeks from you know what day! I am one of those who make atheists grind their teeth. I cannot get enough of Christmas. Not Santa Claus and the Grinch, although they are okay, but the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem so many years ago is the reason I celebrate so much at this time of the year. Which reminds me that something is missing from my first book; at the moment I can claim that I just haven't gotten to it yet. What would a story of the Old West be without Christmas? One thing they did not have in 1894 was e-mail ads for Christmas loot. We on the other hand are enduring a virtual storm of ads right now. I am hoping this isn't a sign of desperation from the e-sellers. I have several in the inbox and two more have shown up as I sit here writing. Phew! Enough already.

We have read about trusting and following Jesus in the Bible; I have mentioned trust many times in this devotional; Pastor Birky spoke on obedience in October, and today Pastor Rogers wrote about it again. Why so many messages exhorting us to trust and obey? In times like this, we need it more than ever! As we look at the bad news these days, the message of Christ shines all the brighter in the darkness. One of Pastor Rogers' favorite lines was: "It is getting gloriously dark!" I believe that too. We live in the times right before the tribulation, of that I have no doubt. That does not mean that we should despair as many are doing right now. Instead, trust and follow Jesus, rest in His assurance that each of us will be taken care of in this life and will join Him in the next.

Have a joyous and merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting Jesus - December 10, 2008

Good Wednesday morning! I read a novel once where a character was described as "she got Jesus in a big way..." At that time I knew what the author meant. To the secular person someone getting Jesus in a big way meant that they had become a conversational bore and a huge pain in the neck. Now that I am on the other side of that double-edged sword, I have to wonder; is there any other way to "get" Jesus? I don't think that it is possible to get Jesus in a small way. Another author once commented that people seem to want the very things that are the worst for them to have. When a Christian witnesses to another person, there will be resistance. We are offering that which is best for someone to have, a life in Christ, but the flesh resists that which is good for us. That same resistance is felt in addictions, sometimes to great pain and discomfort as in the case of chemical addictions. Jesus reminded us that he has overcome the world. All the curses we feel in this world, lusts of the flesh, illnesses, addictions, and any other part of the curse Adam's disobedience brought up on us has been conquered by Jesus. Testing and trials will come to us, but we can rest in the assurance of our Lord and Savior.

Who has authority in this world? Some persons and principalities think that they do, but who is really in charge? The other day the History Channel showed a series on the Wehrmacht, the German army in World War II. In the episode I watched, the initial blitzkrieg had trapped the British Expeditionary force in an area known as Dunkirk, spelled Dunkerque on the sign if I recall correctly. Do you suppose a few prayers might have been going up to heaven from that trapped army? What historians found is that Hitler had a bully contest with his generals. The army had already exceeded its orders in how far it had advanced. Hitler ordered it to stop, the generals wanted to destroy the British force. Hitler won the biggest bully contest and what we know as the Miracle at Dunkirk came to pass as ships, yachts, and boats of every size and purpose rescued hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers from certain death or capture. Whatever the cause of the Wehrmacht's delay, the rescued troops would later play a significant role in the remainder of the war. Looking back on history, we can often see the hand of God in events and decisions made by people. You and I can see this in our own lives as well. What we do may not go down in history as a major event affecting thousands and millions of people, but someone will be affected by our life here on earth. Do we need to worry about our effect on history? I think not, our Lord's life on earth affected everyone... whether they will admit it or not! :-)

God bless you and have a merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Loving Each Other - December 9, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! We won the booby prize in the snow contest again. I thought we had a good start last night when I went to bed... and I woke up this morning to find that even that little bit had blown away. The cold will be here though, and in case we have any doubts about winter, there is a chance of snow this weekend.

How are you today? In case no one asks you today, or means the question as nothing more than a casual greeting, I will take the time to ask about your circumstances. In my former workplace one of the amusing activities I had was to respond with something off the wall to the "how are you?" line used so casually. Often I would get the response of "I'm fine too," proving that the other person had in no way listened to my actual response. On the other hand, there were my brothers and sisters in Christ, who would stop and let me know that he or she would pray for me. Of course, for the off the wall answers this would not involve prayer, except perhaps regarding the question of my sanity.

The good news in this is that we do as Jesus told us, we love one another. Caring about the health and circumstances of our brothers and sisters in Christ is a step toward loving everyone. Love is the reason we help each other with moves, house repairs and cleanup, rides to various places, and the many other ways that we can help out in this life. The most important way to help each other? Prayer. Engage in the power of prayer for all of those we love. The other person does not have to be stricken with something to be the object of prayer. Of course for those we know are facing a specific problem, we can grant them specific prayers for healing or overcoming strength. We also pray in great strength for those who do yet believe in Jesus. Even those who have made it clear to us that they, "don't want to hear it!" can be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of God's people. We hope that no one requires the direct intervention of three Christmas ghosts, but I am sure that God will spare nothing to save every last person who will believe. Even old Scrooge wasn't beyond help as Dickens demonstrates in his story. Never give up praying for everyone!

Have a beautiful Christmas!


Monday, December 08, 2008

A Failure to Recognize? - December 8, 2008

Good Monday morning! Snow in the forecast, hope you are ready! :-) I am glad that we are all here today. Let a song of Christmas sing in your heart today. I pray that the Christmas season has filled you with an eager anticipation of Christ's second coming! I like to celebrate the blessed event that happened in Bethlehem so long ago with a hope and prayer for the next time the Messiah will arrive. The return of our Lord fills the enemy with dread, but that great event fills our hearts with a great joy and expectation. Around 2,000 years ago a great light shone on the world from a small town in Judea. In a land under occupation by a conquering nation, a savior came and a king was born.

The people at that time expected a king that fit their own image of a king. Jesus came in His own image of a king and most of the people failed to recognize Messiah though he stood right in front of them. We do not have the opportunity to see Jesus in the flesh in our time, at least not so far, but perhaps it is better that way. At least we cannot make the same mistake the people made back then. Many of our fellow persons in this day do make the mistake of not recognizing the Good News of Jesus' resurrection and grace. What could be worse? Some people do recognize Jesus in the Good News and choose to reject Him. That frightens me for their sake more than anything else. That someone could see Jesus for what He is and still choose to turn away seems much like something that any of us might have done at some point. Yes, any of us may have done that in our lives at some time in the past. The world of sin is very seductive and we must pray for those still caught up in its dread grip. You and I turned to Jesus; we should never give up praying, witnessing, and hoping for those still in the world.

Today I resolved to have a great Christmas once more. Not only that, a Christmas joy that does not depend upon giving expensive gifts or receiving anything but what God has given me already. Peace and contentment to all in this wonderful Christmas season!


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Faith and Strength in God - December 7, 2008

Good Sunday morning! The past ten years has been a journey of ever growing faith. The great example of God's everlasting faithfulness, given to me at the beginning of this period of my life, has sustained my faith in some dark times. You and I may face darkness of the mind, of our health, of our finances, or simply the dark of darkness itself. In everything, God's faith does not stop giving, and He gives us the strength to go on. At this time the nation, and that includes all of us, is facing tough times economically. We pray and we wait upon the Lord, trusting completely in His answer and grace. Have faith! Tough times will come and go, economic downturns are followed by upturns, the doldrums are followed by a fresh breeze. In everything give thanks to God for His glorious presence in our hearts and in our lives. To us the world may seem out of control, but from God's point of view His plan is unfolding just as He set it so many eons ago.

Each day we must get up and take up God's strength to get through the day. Let us each resolve to set aside the worries about tomorrow, and trust in God's strength to get through this day. In the seeming darkness of these times, I can see a huge revival coming throughout our nation. Let us each be ready to plant the seed of the Gospel and to harvest the wonderful growth of God's saving grace in our nation. The Lord is coming soon!

Have a wonderful Sunday and a merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Excluded! - December 6, 2008

Good Saturday morning! Not so cold last night, but we have been given notice that winter has indeed begun. Last night I went to see a friend and he was out. Nothing unusual about that, most folks get out a lot more than I do. However, I wondered if an annual event was taking place that, now, I am excluded from? Yes, the annual MIS Christmas party, that event that we tried to get home for those ten years ago when an accident happened. The funny part was that I felt sad for my exclusion (I don't even know if they are having one this year), because I have not attended that same event for the last 3 or 4 years. It amazes me that God will pull us out of a certain path, set our feet on a new one, and then the first thing we want to do is cry, "I wanna go back!" At least now I can laugh about this kind of reaction. :-) Remember the words of Jesus, "He who looks back is not worthy..."

Many organizations and events will exclude us in this lifetime. The exclusion may be done overtly as in men not being allowed to join a sorority, or it may be done with the cold shoulder, the gradual realization that we are not welcome at some event or gathering. The excluding, especially in the cold shoulder case, may hurt, we may very much want to be included. Even a person such as myself, one who is generally content to be alone, wants to join in some groups and activities. There are very few folks who do not want to be included in anything at all. Exclusion can be a painful thing. I always like to compare that to the coming reign of Jesus on a new earth. I believe that none will be excluded under His gentle rule; at the same time there will be plenty of opportunity to get alone with God too!

In this life we often feel the sting of emotional pain for some reason or another. You may not have wanted to be among that select group diagnosed with cancer, the dreaded "c" word, you or I may not have wanted to be an auto accident statistic, we may want to be numbered among that very small group of major lottery winners, or you simply may want to belong to a church where no noses are pointed up in pride and arrogance. I have not personally found a church like that, but I have been assured that they do exist. If you have a story of that type, please be sure to forward your tale to me. I think it would be fun to pray for a revival to take place in that church! :-) Wouldn't a good old revival be the sweetest revenge on a place like that?

Praise the Lord for His saving and reviving grace!

Speaking of revival, each of us goes through personal renewals almost daily it seems. A bit more bad news about the economy, a loved one loses a job (or we get booted out of our own!), a friend is depressed, any of these things can cause us to get down a bit, and then we turn to Jesus, and the renewal begins once more! We fall down, Jesus picks us up. We get down, Jesus douses us with joy. We lose a little faith, and Jesus says, "Trust in Me!" One cannot stay down in Christ!

Enjoy some Good News from our Lord Jesus today!


Friday, December 05, 2008

Cold Days - December 5, 2008

Good Friday morning! Does it feel cold this morning? It should, we have a 6° day outside with a balmy wind chill of -11°. Winter has arrived and it does not care what the calendar says! Mornings like this remind us of our gratitude to God for providing warm houses and faithful furnaces, without which we might be tearing down the neighbor's wooden fence to throw on the bonfire. Warm coffee doesn't hurt either, and warm oatmeal and warm socks and... do we have a theme going here? Praise the Lord for the warm house! Alas, my neighbor has a PVC fence, probably not good to burn that. :-)

Pastor Schuller asked if we have joyful expectation today. I remember that feeling best by what I felt as a child at Christmas time. Joyful expectation brings us the expectation of good things in our future. As a child and thinking like a child, we tended to associate the joy of Christmas with what we received as gifts. As an adult, we come to realize that the joy of Christ is in the gift He gave to us at the cross. We also learn the joy of giving. Children benefit directly from that joy, as do our friends and loved ones. What happens when things get tough? Many people are out of work this Christmas. Some have been out of work for quite some time as I am sure that Cabela's was not the first to have layoffs due to the recession. I pray that this Christmas will bring us a renewed hope.

It seems that we have now been in a recession for a little over a year, or so the experts claim. I don't think that will come as a surprise to anyone; we have been feeling the effects for perhaps a bit longer than that. Actually, if the experts are correct, then my 401K balance is an accurate economic barometer. It was about a year ago that the decline began and the balance sits at about half of what it was last Thanksgiving. Like the news, our retirement funds may not be fun to look at right about now. How many times must we say it? Trust in God!

A very cold and merry Christmas to you!


Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Significant Date - December 4, 2008

Good Thursday morning! Here it is; I can ignore it no longer. December 4th on the calendar, and a new life in my heart. Many of you will be wondering at that. December 4th? Eh? No it isn't my birthday, that comes along some months from now. No, there will be nothing on your calendar; I don't think anyone has a holiday on this day. However, whatever may come later, ten years ago today my life changed forever. Most days or dates in your life are soon forgotten; one day is much like another for much of our lives. Some days stand out in our minds throughout our lives. A wedding day, the birth of a child, news of a loved one going home to Jesus, 9/11, 12/7, and other events stand out as special days. Most folks of a certain age remember the news of Kennedy's assassination or the first moon landing and can tell us the date of those events. An athlete could tell us the date he or she won a medal and a performer could tell us what date an award was received.

Jesus tells us that upon his return, which will be in an instant, everything will change, but no one will know the date. Each of us has examples of dates like that throughout our lives. We didn't know the date would be significant until the event occurred. My most recent event is of course, 10/7, a day which will live in my roll call of infamous days for some time to come. What is important about these dates is not so much what happened, but how we responded and what grew from that response. On 12/4/1998, I remember the word I used to describe my first impression of the event that happened that day. I won't repeat the word here as my use of the language has improved greatly since that day. What happened that sears the moment in time in my memory? Yes, an auto accident happened, but many more important things happened as a result of that. People - loved ones, acquaintances, coworkers, friends, professionals, volunteers, and even complete strangers, rushed to my aid. For someone accustomed to being strong, to taking care of myself, this was almost as traumatic as the event itself. The world trains us to be self-reliant and then Jesus in his mercy shows us that we are not, as the world says, on our own.

What grew from this dreadful event? A great love of Jesus sprang forth in my heart. To me this was like a seed that had been planted when I was young, but didn't burst into full bloom until a traumatic event cracked the shell of that seed. I had been raised in the love of Jesus; we attended Sunday worship service, Sunday school, evening services, and even mid-week services at our church. I knew intellectually everything I needed to be a dynamic follower of Christ, but did not put it into practice during my late teens and twenties. Like many in the world, I had become a believer in my own strength, ability, talents, and intellect. Many people will never realize the limits of their own strength. The wisdom of the world would have us believe that some gene can be turned off and, presto, we become immortal. Explorers never found the fabled fountain of youth in the New World, so the new explorers have turned to our DNA to look for it. As you can see in Pastor Rogers' devotional this morning, Jesus simply tells us to finish the course in this life, to walk the path He has prepared for us.

Speaking of new paths in life, what will grow from my own significant dates, especially this most recent one? What will grow from your significant dates? The Gardener approaches to prune the beautiful plant that is each of our lives; the Good Shepherd comes to tend to his beloved sheep. Let Him in His great wisdom make something beautiful out of your life and my life, to the glory of God the Father!


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Run the Race! - December 3, 2008

Good morning on this cold day! The forecast high temperature today is, um... 29º. Wow, we haven't enjoyed that kind of cold yet this season. And a balmy 22º tomorrow, it must be December! Whoops, in trying to brush a cat hair or two off my mouse pad, I managed to knock my mouse into next week. Cats should come with warning labels regarding their fur.

Have you ever looked at the other contestants in a race and decided that you could not win before the race even began? As one not blessed with exemplary foot speed in my youth (my phys ed teacher translated this as "slower than molasses in January"), I often failed to give a race my best effort, after all what was the point? The race Paul refers to in Corinthians, and in Pastor Rogers' devotional this morning, is not one that we would want to default in. One good thing, a bit of good news in this if you will - we don't run this race against each other. Comparing our selves or our situation to someone else will either give us pride that we should not have or leave us with a feeling of despair. One can always find a faster runner, a stronger swimmer, a wealthier banker, or a slicker* lawyer in this life. Comparing our own skills to someone else might leave us to default in a race we should be giving our all in running. We must all look to and run toward Jesus, and run with the cheers of the saints in Heaven in your ears!

Looking around your group of fellow Christians, there will be one or more who seem to have it all together. You know the ones: nice house, good jobs, kids excelling in what they do, expensive cars, and they even manage to take a really nice vacation a couple of times each year. To top it all off, these folks are usually very nice folks and might even be good looking too! How can you not hate them? First of all, you and I are not running the race against them. God will not judge us on such things, but on our belief in Jesus. That person with a collection of nice cars? He will look around before the judgement seat of God and will not be able to find his nice car collection. However, if that same person believes in Christ Jesus, he won't even care about those things that he owned here on earth. We won't either. Whether we have much in talents and wealth, or only a little, we live for Christ and in Him is our victory.

Ah, warm coffee is just a bit better on those very cold mornings. I guess tomorrow's java will taste better still! You know a friend pointed out that after 8 weeks I might be feeling better. You know it's time to say it in public... I'm glad that I'm outta there! Now to turn all those worries about tomorrow over to the Lord.

God bless you and have a wonderful Christmas!


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Good News for Us - December 2, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! Do you look back upon your life and realize that everything has worked together for your own good? At times the regrets from the past rise up like weeds to choke out our light, but the Bible tells us that all things work together in God's plan and are designed for our own good. Trusting in Christ may bring us to a point where we come face to face with an old memory that just makes a person cringe. "Now why did I do that?" may be one of the milder questions or critiques that we give ourselves when faced with some memories of our life without Christ. We are not to be stopped or made fearful by those memories, but to learn from them. One way to become a better Christian is to forgive your own self. Each of us has made some frightful mistakes in the past. I don't think that I'm going too far out on a limb in stating that! The Accuser will parade those incidents in front of us in the hope of paralyzing our witness for Christ. "Hypocrite! How can you condemn this when you have done that!" is a thought that has probably occurred to each of us at some point. The forgiveness of Christ, the gift of grace that we are given, covers all of those painful and embarrassing memories and washes them clean in the blood of Christ.

I often marvel at someone setting out to write an autobiography. These days most memoirs are written to embarrass someone else, but what if that writer stuck the truth of his or her own life out there for all to see. Yowch! I don't think that many folks could do that without some selective editing of certain events in our memories. The Holy Spirit knows my innermost secrets and memories, even the painful ones. I am content with that and will not drag out a bunch of 'dirty laundry' into public view. The world might be just a bit better if a few memoir writers thought the same.

A photographer, Ken Duncan, from Australia spoke on the Hour of Power this weekend. One of his suggestions? Turn off the news; it's full of bad news and we don't need that in our lives. As I thought about that, I changed my Internet start page so that all that bad news doesn't pop up each time I start my browser. One of those "that's not a bad idea!" moments. If you think about it, my finances are not where I would like them to be, and a dose of the current financial difficulties each time I bring up my web browser is probably not good for me. Trusting in God to provide is much easier if I don't inflict bad news upon my brain throughout the day. God is in charge of my life, not the economy or bad news about what it is doing today.

We should not hide our heads in the sand, figuratively speaking, but one news source each day should be enough. I am aware of what is going on in the world. However, in changing the amount of news that I see each day, I can stop feeding the despair that can attack us through repeated exposure to bad news. Another thought, if our exposure to bad news in the media is greater than our exposure to God's Word each day, might that not be feeding at the wrong trough so to speak? We need more Good News!

Praise God for His Good News, and have a Merry Christmas too!


Monday, December 01, 2008

Play it on the "Surro"? - December 1, 2008

Good Monday morning! December has arrived, both on the calendar and in the weather. We have snow on the ground this morning! Not a lot, but we'll take it. A great good morning and a hearty "Merry Christmas" to you! I am up and awake early this morning. When inspiration comes for one of my stories I have found it best to get up and write it down before the inspiration fades away. Yes, it can be a bit of a pain when inspiration arrives at 0400 in the morning. Welcome to the day now known as Cyber Monday. This is the day when web shopping starts in earnest for the holiday season. Several sales e-mails were in my inbox this morning, I even watched some of them arrive. Guess they didn't expect me to be up and online quite that early.

Be careful driving to work today; the sun is going to make the new snow very bright this morning. Josh Groban's Christmas CD is playing on the stereo today, sounds good too! I guess I am showing my age by using the term "stereo". That term came from the old stereophonic sound in the '70s, should we call it a "surro" now? A short term from surround sound system. Somehow saying Josh Groban's Noel is playing on the surro hasn't quite caught on yet. :-)

December 1st means that we can have a "Merry Christmas!" on our lips and even the most secular folks won't growl too much. Some of the secular Christmas songs can be fun. Does she really want a hippopotamus for Christmas? However, I especially enjoy the Christmas songs that sing of Christ and His birth. This time of the year is so full of the celebration of Christ's birth and the joy that event brought to earth that December 26th almost seems like a day of mourning. In this life we must enjoy the seasons as they come. Times of rejoicing can be followed by a time of mourning and vice versa. The feeling we enjoy at Christmas time is just a taste of the never ending joy that will be ours when Jesus comes to take us home. Right now "never ending joy" is difficult to imagine. If we don't want to think that all good things come to an end in this life, someone or some media is sure to remind us. Rest in the assurance that Jesus has prepared a place for each of us, and that joy-filled place will not end!

Have a very merry Christmas!