Monday, December 31, 2018

Our Eternal Hope

And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Romans 8:23

As the old year comes to a close, we look around in wonder at the world. The Rapture has not come yet, the Tribulation not yet begun? It sure seems like everything is prepared and ready for it. As the women watched the tomb closed after our Lord's body was laid to rest there, they must have felt a similar feeling of wonder, a sort of sorrowful, depressed kind of feeling that is tinged with hope, though we cannot quite see why it should be.

That hope speaks to something not quite seen, a happy place that we cannot quite get to, and even a joyous celebration that is just a little too far away to grasp. There is within us an expectant anticipation of something new, but we know not quite the what and especially the when. Birthdays and holidays have dates on them, so that cannot be it. Events that we know have dates and times, so this thing must be something other than what we have experienced up to this point. Of course the coming event we look for has a time and a date, we just don't know what those are from where we sit now. Our eternal hope is coming though, and this hope is in a person, Jesus our Lord and Savior.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Finding Fault and Taking Credit

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great. Job 2:11-13

Not many days left to write to you in this year, so I need to make every day count. Job's story is one of the more fascinating from the Bible. There is so much that is relevant to our lives today that I can't help but think, "Hey, it's the same with the rest of the Bible too!" Yes, some mornings I'm so brilliant that I amaze even myself. Talk about setting a low bar. Do I get to take credit for my insights? Did I make a good decision and thus get to take personal responsibility? If that is the case then when I write some real garbage I should get to suffer the consequences and take the blame too.

I watched a news story on the NFL and the former players injuries and consequences this morning (I think it aired a few years ago). It is interesting to see those who are successful in life after football dearly wanting it to be about good decisions and personal responsibility, while those who are suffering very much want it to be someone else's fault. Nothing unusual there, in my life those times of suffering are nice for throwing blame (and hoping it will stick) while those times of success or just pain-free living I would like to grab up the credit for a good decision... somewhere back there, not sure where it might be, but didn't I make a right decision once?

I like how Job's friends do their hollering and dust throwing a ways off, but then just come and sit with him, for seven days and nights, without speaking a word. Not sure that any of us would have the patience for that in this age. The argument does ensue however, and much of it is about this very question: where do we get to find fault and where is the credit ours to take? God is the central figure for finding fault with Job, and Job is the faulty one to his friends. That both of them could be wrong does not seem to occur to them, which pretty much describes a lot of arguments in our time. God does not say anything for quite some time as the back and forth between friends goes on. Then, the answer from God.

And, it is not a direct answer we might give, such as that old standard, "I didn't do it." God answers Job and his friends out of the whirlwind, and it is with a series of questions. Kind of a test, if you can answer the least of these then maybe you can judge the Lord. The questions are just beautiful, and go something like, "Where were you, dear Job, when I made all of Creation and the morning stars sang together?" (my paraphrase). Job, as we would be, is left wondering in his ignorance and quite possibly thinking to himself, "Stars sing?"

Yes, God's questions were beyond Job, and they are beyond our knowledge as well. So, maybe when I see a man in his particular condition, I can now think that I do not know whether there is any blame to place upon him if that circumstance is difficult or any credit due him if he has a success. Maybe I can learn not to blame God for my circumstances by studying Job with some diligence. And, ya know, maybe the tough stuff you and I face in this life is just not all our fault either. It may be that, we can repent of the bad decisions, endure the faultless trials that come, rejoice in the right decisions, and give God the glory for all that we are and are becoming in Christ. And maybe one day soon we will get to hear the stars sing!

Love in Christ,

Friday, December 28, 2018

In Him Was Life

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:4

The search for eternal life has gone to great extremes in swamps, jungles, deserts, high mountain peaks, and even such disciplines as chemistry and medicine. And always the answer was right there: "In Him was life." Why do some expend such effort apart from God to find eternal life? Easy, they want to deny God's Son.

If they can find the Tree of Life is still available to humanity by some means, then that whole story about the expulsion from Eden is shown to be just another myth, and some can walk away from God's word. If they can find some way to extend life to the infinite by having better babies, then some will no longer need to look to the Cross for salvation. If a heaven can be made right here through human effort, then no repentance is needed to turn to God's Son. And on the story goes, this quest to leave God behind through the strength of Man on several fronts.

God, His Word, and His Son are all linked forever by the bonds of love, and they must be True or they are not. The Creator is, or He is not. In Him was life, or He never was. I cannot force belief through argument, but I can bear witness through my testimony. Every one of us has a decision before us: believe in the Son or do not. Each way has consequences for the decider. "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." I like those consequences! Light and life sound good to me. I believe in Jesus, the Son of God!


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Between Times

Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. Numbers 13:23

If this were among the clusters of grapes that we are accustomed to seeing in the grocery store then we would have a picture of absurdity. Two men to carry one cluster on a pole? However, that the spies, strong men of action that they were, required a pole and two bearers speaks of a cluster of surpassing size and weight. This would point to a land of plenty, just as God had promised to them. However, we know from the Bible story that Israel would not believe and did not enter the promised land. We also read that they did eventually enter Canaan, but they had a lengthy between times to endure.

We are also between the first coming of our Lord Jesus and the Second, and this between times seems anything but short to us. No doubt that between time of wandering the desert seemed long to the Israelites as the generation that refused God's promise died off one by one in their later years. While this between times we sail may appear that way at times, it is anything but as this time is to be used to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ! And, we are not waiting for the last of a generation to pass on, Jesus will return for us at any moment! As John said, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Day After

Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. Joshua 5:12

And manna was no more seen in all the Earth. Like the day after Christmas there is a bit of sadness in this verse. The gift of manna stopped coming and never, at least until this time never, has come again. But the verse points to better, the promised land food replaced that gift of manna that came every day. So, as we go forth from another Christmas celebration, full of good food and fond memories, we look to what is better - our promised land, the place Jesus has gone to prepare for us.

In the gospel of John, the disciples faced a day after, the day after Jesus was with them. The Lord spoke of going away from the disciples and that day after could hardly be looked upon with anything but dread and sorrow. Our Lord said that was not the case though. He said to look forward to that day as that was the day He would go to prepare a place for us.

Each year the day after Christmas may seem a little sad, a let down, but let us remember that it is only the first step of the waiting time; that time we live in now wherein we wait and learn as our Lord prepares for us a new place, a better place.

Have a happy anticipation day, our Lord returns soon to take us home!


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A Most Unlikely Story

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

I'll have to admit right off that it is highly unlikely that God could not make sure there was room for a birth in an inn. But there is so much that is unlikely in the Christmas story that this particular verse from Luke is almost ho-hum in its announcements of the great event. A woman had her firstborn son, wrapped him in the usual swaddling gear and laid him in a feed bunk at the local barn because there was no room left in the local inn. Ho-hum, hum drum. Even in our lifetimes we have been to towns where a large event has all the rooms booked solid at the motels. Not at all unlikely.

This young woman was a virgin.

Oh, that's something entirely unlikely. Did the husband believe her when that story came out?

No, and that is the likely outcome of such a preposterous story. But then an angel visited Joseph in a dream, not once but four times altogether before the small family settled down in Nazareth. Comforted, warned, guided by angels in dreams, not likely at all.

Angels, magi, shepherds, this whole story has unlikely written all over it! About the only likely thing is a census in order to tax the people, and yet that census was used to get one particular family to one certain town at just the right time to fulfill a prophecy. The greatest story ever told is also the most unlikely story ever told. A story of such wonder that it is wonderful!

Happy Birthday, Jesus! We wait earnestly for Your return,


Monday, December 24, 2018

The Sign of Christmas

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in
swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God, and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Luke 2:12-14

Finding the Christ is a sign to us on earth of peace and goodwill from God. It is so important to us because the older agreement is one of toe the line of the Law of Moses or suffer the consequences. God came out of that agreement seeming to be the bad guy, always up above looking down for that one toe out of line so He could smack us one. This is a flawed view coming from fallen humans in a cursed world. However, we could not help that feeling that came from reading of God smacking around the Israelites one more time. They just could not keep every jot and tittle of the Law in order to be righteous.

Then the Savior came. Born in Bethlehem as foretold by the prophet and announced by the angelic host in a most startling way, our Lord Jesus changed all of it for us. He fulfilled the Law and paid the price to God for the sin of man. That baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger was the one who saved us. He is God's Christmas gift and miracle to those of us who cannot save ourselves. Great is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Merry Christmas to you!

P.S. Please gift our family some prayer time as this weekend my uncle Jud passed into the arms of our Lord. It is tough for all of us to suffer these separations right before the Christmas holiday. One day we will celebrate with the Lord, one and all together.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Lord My Strength

The LORD is my strength and song,
​​And He has become my salvation;
​​He is my God, and I will praise Him;
​​My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. Exodus 15:2

We look to a great many things of this earth to save us as a race. Religions, governments, and knowledge have all spent time on the Idol Throne. Moses sang that the Lord is his strength and song, and he sang this more than a thousand years before Christ was born. Moses also sang that the Lord has become his salvation. This acknowledges that the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, but it is also prophetic in that as Christ was born the Lord our God began the relatively short lifetime of His Son in Bethlehem of Judea that would culminate in those actions that would save us from our sins. The Lord Jesus became our salvation.

Therefore this Christmas season, I will proclaim the Lord my strength.

Wait, does that mean that I will proclaim my strength to the Lord? Ha, ha, only if the Almighty needs a good laugh. He knows my weakness. As Moses, David, and many other heroes of the faith have written down through the ages in order to teach us, the Lord is my strength by way of my complete dependency on Him.

Thank You, dear Lord, for Your gift of salvation and strength this Christmas,


Friday, December 21, 2018

Oh, Shortest Day!

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Luke 2: 8-9

As there is so much darkness to spread around today, let us take a look at those frightened shepherds quaking in their old-time sandals out in the field. Actually, they may not have been able to afford sandals in their day. The shepherds of the time were ranked just above pig farmers in their social standing. The prodigal son in that famous parable may have tried to get a job as a shepherd before being turned out into the pig pen. "Hey, that guy owes me money from his last party, don't hire him!" Even shepherds had a step to fall down, but it was a short one.

Shepherds weren't much welcome in town either, smelling of sheep and pasture dust as they did. If it rained on them, children threw rocks to keep them out of town until their pungent smell dried out a little. In the schools when the Judean children learned that their great king, David, had begun life as a shepherd, they probably believed it with a grain of salt, like those other childhood fables to be outgrown. Ho, ho, ho, the children would laugh, people can't go from shepherd to king, how would you ever get the sheep smell out of the palace? Shepherds got no respect back in the day.

And yet, Someone sent angels to announce to the shepherds the birth of a certain child in Bethlehem. A Shepherd had arrived.

Joyous Christmas to you,

Thursday, December 20, 2018

And There Were In That Same Country...

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. Luke 2 4-5

In that same time and country, there were: taxes, registrations, road trips, births, marriages, people working jobs they might not like, forced moves from one town to another, and all the other stuff we might not enjoy in this time. So, maybe we should be watching a bit more diligently for the next time our Lord will come down to His Earth!

That next visit from our Lord and Savior may be here before we really think it could happen. Yes, even those among God's children may be taken by surprise as we get caught up (pun intended) in the daily tasks and thorns of this earthly life. Christmas each year is a good reminder that Jesus came that one time by way of Bethlehem, but He is also coming again by way of the clouds of Heaven. We may be just a little envious of those who saw the Christ child born in Judea, but how jealous would they be of us who stand ready to see the return of our Lord?

And there was in this same country... an eager and loving anticipation of our Lord's imminent arrival!


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Pain Before Christmas

Look on my affliction and my pain,
And forgive all my sins. Psalm 25:18

As Christmas approaches, we don't want to rock the jolly boat by speaking of our pain. They are out there though, people in pain. Emotional pain, physical pain, and other sufferings are as common but perhaps more noticeable than in other seasons of the year. It is this time when the daylight is less and the air is colder that those with many physical conditions suffer more. Those who cannot get out to join in the holiday activities may feel more left out than at other times. I did some computer work for a customer last weekend whose knee suddenly began hurting and she had to get out a cane on the eve of her holiday travels. It happens more often than we know, people feeling the pain before Christmas.

King David in writing the 25th Psalm had an interesting method of bringing his pain to the Lord: he asked the Lord to see his pain and then forgive all of his sins. Eh? What's that? Yes, forgiveness in place of what we usually do; that is, to ask the Lord to heal the hurt or relieve the pain in time for the celebrations. Such writings in the Bible are so interesting to me. Is David thinking that by way of earning a break God should look on what he has suffered already? David was anointed in his youth with the Spirit of the Lord, so I don't think that is where the king is going with this. What he does know from God's dear Holy Spirit is that sin has caused the pain in the world. It may be his sin or the sin of another that is causing his pain, but David in his wisdom starts with that sin he knows most often, his own sins. What an amazing change of heart for those of us in pain in this season of Christmas!

Please, forgive all my sins, dear Lord, in this season of your birth celebration, and please heal any hurt my sins have caused others,


Monday, December 17, 2018

Star? What Star?

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. Matthew 2:9-10

Herod wanted to know where the new born king was staying in Bethlehem, but why didn't he just follow that star? Something about that 'star' is not what we have been taught in school, if King Herod and his soldiers could not simply go the same way as the wise men and look under the star in Bethlehem. Was not the star a huge, bright light in the sky like a supernova or a planet moving through, between, or around a constellation? I have heard those given as explanations, and the scribes in Jerusalem had the prophecy of Micah too. It seems that the Christ child should be very easy to find! Something is not as the world teaches here.

The star was a sure guide to the wise men who did not know the area of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. They needed a guide to find and worship the Christ, and a guide was provided, and it was not a stationary light way up there kind of over toward the east. This star was not a giant ball of hot gases either it would seem, else the wise men and the earth and all in it would have been burnt up and gone and we wouldn't be doing this thing right now. This star was not what we think we know of stars at all.

Why didn't Herod just follow the star? It would seem that the star was not for him.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Dividing the Spoil?

You have multiplied the nation
​​And increased its joy;
​​They rejoice before You
​​According to the joy of harvest,
​​As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.  Isaiah 9:3

Increased joy, rejoicing before God, the joy of harvest, and rejoicing over dividing the spoil? It sounds a lot like Christmas! Now though, our joy is tainted even at Christmas time. The thought of the invoices that will come later is difficult to put aside during the moment. The parents know that all of that electric holiday cheer will soon show up on the utility bill as well. This prophecy from Isaiah speaks to us of a time when the joy and rejoicing come like Christmas morning presents without the costs associated with today's celebration. A time when there is no thought of worry over how it will be paid for tomorrow. That time when Jesus reigns and there is rejoicing in the streets and homes as though each day was a Christmas without fear or worry lurking about in the shadows of the holiday lights.

Kind of hard some days to wait for that time of the promise, eh? Let each Christmas season remind us that God fulfills every promise He has made, and this one too will come in the Lord's good time, for which He uses words like quickly and soon.

Have a Merry Christmas season!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Start of the Story

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. Luke 2:1

Raised in the church as they say and reading the Bible through much of my life it is easy to recognize this as the start of the story, the Christmas story! We know from Matthew that the story actually began some months before when Mary received a startling announcement. Or, maybe it began when Zacharias, going about his priestly duties, suddenly saw an angel of the Lord. Wait, what about that time Isaiah was given advanced knowledge of the coming Messiah and some of His titles? Yes, we know that the start of the Christmas story goes way back to the beginning when God knew there would be a need for a Savior.

It is wonderful each year to sit down around Christmas Eve and read the story again in Luke 1 and 2, or Matthew, or even in Isaiah and other prophetic books of the Bible. Handel's Messiah captures a great many of the Biblical words and sets them to great music. Plays and musicals at church also tell the story of that first Christmas. David Jeremiah's church service last Sunday had a live camel, who wanted to stop and check out a couple of the folks along the way down to the stage. Even distractions such as that cannot stop the power of the Christmas story!

While the actual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations are still a week and a half away, we have well begun the celebration in our hearts of that great time when our Lord Jesus was born on this earth to save us all from our sins.

Great is His name in all the Earth!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Secret Meeting

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” Matthew 2:7-8

When the governing official secretly calls for and holds a secret meeting we are put on the alert. The wise men were apparently not street-smart enough to see the problem in all that secrecy, but a dream sent from the Lord redirected them later. We should give the wise men some credit though, secrecy from a ruler need not be evil or corrupt. Herod may have known well the people of Jerusalem and might have prevented a rush of people descending upon the home of a young family. We have the same sort of thing going on today with a celebrity culture in much of the world.

If the Christ child were born in Bethlehem today, the young Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus would likely wake up one morning to a crowd of reporters and news media vans outside of their home. As word spread further, there might even be mobs of people wanting autographs. To get the family away to Egypt, Joseph would likely need to dig a mile-long tunnel out of the house.

We don't have to speculate on that though, Jesus was born in God's perfect time about 2,000 years ago. Herod did go on to do the evil deed and the wise men escaped not only the king's wrath but complicity in mass murder by an alternate route home. Jesus and His family were warned in time and made their escape to Egypt. The secret meeting and secret intentions of Herod were not hidden from the Lord!

Have a great and wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Christmas Decision

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18

The story of the birth of our Lord Jesus begins with an admission by one of his disciples, Matthew, that all was not quite normal in this marriage and birth. After the betrothal ceremony, but before the actual marriage, the young woman was found to be knocked up - suspicion and evidence of adultery, but maybe they just couldn't wait. Uh oh, it's not the father's child, so we'll pin it on a spirit. Critics have fodder aplenty in this one, all they have to do is decide whether to believe or not believe.

There it is once again: the choice. Believe and we have Messiah, Jesus the Savior, the Son of God. The virgin shall conceive was told by the prophet Isaiah centuries before the event. Born in Bethlehem was foretold by Micah. Believe and these prophecies come true in the story right before our eyes. The virgin couldn't do it herself, so there is an agency of God at work here, His own dear Holy Spirit. Believe and we have Christmas with all its blessed events, prophets, shepherds, angels, wise men, dreams, and of course the birth of the Christ child.

Don't believe, and sure, you can appear to make some points in your criticism and sarcasm. You might appear, especially to yourself, to be sharp and smart. It's just another myth to start a new religion; heck, even the Jews didn't believe it and it came out of their legends. You sure are smart!

There is the Christmas decision: believe and rejoice in the birth of the Son of God, or don't believe and rejoice in your sharp wit. Seems simple enough. It only gets complicated if that Son should become the one way to eternal life when this life is concluded.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 07, 2018

Precious In My Sight

Precious in the sight of the LORD
​​Is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15

When we face the death of one who is a brother in Christ, we wonder what God thinks. I'm not sure why we would do such a thing when in His word He tells us exactly what He thinks about that passing from here to Himself. Precious in My sight, the Lord says to us, as He gathers in one more sheep no longer lost in this world but found in Christ. No more wandering for this one, no further doubts to test his faith, only an eternal union with our Lord Jesus and a reunion with those beloved who have gone before.

It is that union and reunion that give us hope for this brief time when we seem left behind and alone. Neither are true of course as Paul reminds us that the Lord is at hand so that we are never alone, and John tells us that the eternal union will come for the entire Church at the time appointed so we are not missing out on something that has already gone by. Therefore, one day all of us will be united to our Lord forever and reunited with those who have gone before us, and we will rejoice. Until that time, there is a season of grieving and sorrow, and the Lord treasures every tear drop.

In the love of Christ Jesus,

Thursday, December 06, 2018

A Heavy Heart

Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather,
And like vinegar on soda,
Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. Proverbs 25:20

But our brother in Christ has gone to be with Jesus, should we not rejoice? And we will, when all of us are there with the Lord. Right now there is separation, and each time we endure separation in this world our tears flow a bit more easily. We do rejoice for the dearly departed; that he is free from the pain he endured for many years in this world and even now we can know that the Lord will wipe away his tears of pain and sorrow. The Lord will wipe away our tears as well, but the fact that the Bible promises this means that tears will be shed. Nothing wrong with that; as we learn to love one another by our Lord's command the separations will cause sorrow. We grieve for one another in this world and especially for those left behind.

My brother in Christ has passed away from here and gone to be with my Lord Jesus. Jim will be missed by many in these parts. His memorial may not get the same attention nationally as President Bush, but that's okay with us. Jesus has the both of them, and while one served in the big political arena that is reported by the media, Jim served right here where it matters most to those who mourn him now.

Some months ago I resolved to believe that all who passed away from this world had gone to be with Jesus because my Lord loves them all. Some lives make it terribly difficult to comfort myself with that faith and there will be many who refuse to believe no matter what happens in this world, but with Jim it is so easy to see Jesus in his life. And it is the Holy Spirit in Jim who helped me to see that life even at a time in my life when I was not always paying attention to my brothers in Christ.

Grieving and sorrow must be for a little while. Rejoicing will come in that great reunion, and, oh, the songs we will sing then with our Lord Jesus.

To Sally and the many others who are missing Jim even now, love in Christ to a heavy heart,


Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Making Payment

But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. Matthew 18:25

Under our legal system a person cannot sell himself into slavery to pay a debt. Better still, the wife and children cannot be sold into slavery for a man's debt. Pause for a moment to imagine the outrage if such a story was played out here in the U.S. now. That master would have a forest of signs and a sea of angry people outside of his office faster than we could say, 'wait for the end of the story!'

In the story, the master is moved to compassion and, even though the man promised to pay all, not only did the master grant him a release but forgave the debt entirely! I hope you feel released and forgiven today because our master, whom we could not repay, has done the same for us with one big difference. In the story the master does not have to give up or sell his son to pay that debt.

In Bethlehem of Judea, a child was born who would be the payment for the sin debt we could not pay. That Christmas gift is so valuable that our gratitude seems but a paltry beginning for a the gift that spans eternity.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 03, 2018

All The More Reason

People will oppress each other—
man against man,
neighbor against neighbor.
Young people will insult their elders,
and vulgar people will sneer at the honorable. Isaiah 3:5

A difficult task is to speak of how people will act toward each other in the end times, but examining what our Lord has to say about this gives us all the more reason to love one another. A quick read down our verse for today shows pretty much what goes on all around the world of today. One way to follow our Lord's commandments is to avoid all of this sort of behavior. That is not always easy as we can quickly fall into company who appear to be running down the list of our verse for today and checking off each item as a sort of to-do accomplishment.

On the other hand, to borrow an overused phrase, we can rejoice in being an honorable elder if the young and vulgar are sneering at and mocking us. Yes, a bit weak, I'm struggling to put a good spin on a society fallen into a bad condition. When this time comes, and looking around at my neighborhood we are not there yet, we may have trouble rejoicing, but we are told to look up for our redemption draws near. To me that means our Lord Jesus will be on the way at that time. We will have all the more reason to rejoice when we see Him.

Christmas Eve - just three weeks away!

Saturday, December 01, 2018

The Hoarded Horde

"Indeed they don't know to do right," says the LORD, "Who hoard plunder and loot in their palaces." Amos 3:10

The home of a hoarder is made a spectacle on television for our viewing pleasure, or at other times it is a joke to be enjoyed among an idle crowd. But, look, over there in the corner, there is one not laughing at the hoarder joke. It isn't that he or she doesn't get it. No, it is much worse than that, That person is among those select few who have unloaded a hoarder home. Please forgive their lack of humor in this matter; he or she simply cannot laugh at this subject any more.

Last night my thoughts turned to dark humor as I was washing DVD's in my home. You might for a moment think ol' Buck has misused a word there, another victim of that oft' blamed spellchecker, or worse, slipped one of those cogs I have been known to do, I assure you that I was not viewing DVD movies but actually washing DVD's in my sink. A lot of them. I have been doing this morning, noon, and evening for the past 2 days, and I'm almost done. However, this is the easy part of the job. Let us talk vinyl records and when you can speak of thousands without wrinkling your brow or twisting your lips in disbelief, then we can discuss my new 'hobby' for the next several weeks (maybe more). The sum total of hoarded record albums and singles from this home is more aptly described as a horde, even a hoarded horde!

The tragedy in this collection of media is not the many she never opened and enjoyed, but that I could see myself in it. A short step or two across a fine line that I cannot see, and there I am surrounded by my media collection, too hemmed in to move around my home until I can no longer watch or listen to all those hoarded albums and shows that I so wanted to own. Like many folks, I enjoy having my favorite movies, shows, and recordings at hand, ready to enjoy whenever I can. However, how close am I to that point where my collection owns me? This house has been a strong warning to those of us who worked to unload it!

Then, of course, I get the occasional return of that smell, the one in the home; that is in case I forget the lesson too soon I suppose.

Praise God for the snow day!