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Showing posts from December, 2008

How Hard We Try

I've been reminded this week of how hard we try to please others, outdo others, and impress others. I've both seen and participated in a frenzy of activity intended to accomplish one or more of the above.
Of course, the only important thing is pleasing God. That means spending quality time with Him daily, and giving Him the "first-fruits" of our time, talents, and possessions. It seems that Christmas is especially a time when we fall prey to the temptation to get involved in the flurry of the season and ignore the Reason for the season. We try to cram so much into the time we have off work and out of school that it is very easy to push Christ aside. We get out of our routine, and even our personal time with God is often forgotten or pushed into some niche at the end of a hectic day. Quite often, it is our loved ones that contribute to our lack of continuity in our devotional life. They make plans without thought to your primary commitments. They, perhaps unwit…

Twas the Day Before Christmas

After a 12 hour drive from Sebring, FL to Birmingham, AL, we arrived at our daughter's @ 7:30 p.m. last night.  We slept (kinda) on the blow up bed we brought, on the living room floor.  During the night we were visited at various times by one or both of the family cats.  Also the temp dropped enough that at various times Rae and I both searched the room for additional covers.  I'm not sure how much I slept, but it was not enough.  Today (the day before Christmas) has been filled with walks, football, baseball, table games,etc. with the grandkids.  We've just returned from lunch at Krystal (it's a southern thing). Rae, Carissa & I split a bag full of Krystals, while the kids polished off some chicken bits & fries.  Now, hopefully, everyone will catch a nap (except the son in law, who is installing a new dishwasher.)  I've offered my services, but, as of yet they aren't needed.  It's just as well cause I'm sleepy.
Hopefully the Christmas Eve servi…

I Hate to Pack

Today will be packing day. We are leaving for about 2 1/2 weeks to visit with family during the holidays. Because of the difference in climate, we have to take many more, and much heavier clothes than we wear here in Florida. Besides that, my wife, the ultimate Christmas gift giver, already has the van full of Christmas gifts. I'm not sure where we will put the suitcases, coats, etc. I always either pack too much, or forget something really vital. Even if I start days ahead, as I did this time, I usually wind up cramming some things in at the last minute "just in case". I don't expect this time to be any different. However, I do have a plan. Several pairs of jeans, some long sleeved pullovers, a nested Columbia jacket (2 in 1) gloves, a stocking cap, 1 pair of dress pants, a regular long-sleeved shirt for Sunday, walking shoes, 1 pair of regular shoes, undies & tee shirts, and my shaving kit. That oughta just about cover it. However, I still expect to…

The Power of "For"

Today I inadvertantly answered one of those phone calls that I normally would let the answer machine pick up. Upon realizing that I had answered a computer-generated call, I listened for a moment and then hung up. The caller was representing a national "ministry" that seems to be constantly against something or other. Now, I agree with their right to be against evil, and even applaud it. But I wonder what the effect would be if the same amount of money, man-power, and effort were put into spreading the Good News of Jesus to our world. Somehow I think that being "for" something is so much more powerful than being "against" something. Granted, Jesus came out four square against the Pharisees and Sadducees in His day, but His main focus, and the mandate that He left us was to "go and make disciples of all nations..."
Wouldn't it be great to get a call one day that says, "Hi. I'm calling to tell you about the greatest news that wo…

Christmas Musings

This past weekend we really got into the spirit of the season. First we attended the Christmas Extraviganza at First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach. I don't know what else to call it. There were dancers, acrobats, singers, musicians, dramatists, pyrotechnics and animals (Bart, the camel) included in the performance...some 400 in all. 144 of these were on the Singing Christmas Tree. Then on Sunday evening we attended the Singing Christmas Tree performance at First Baptist of Sebring. This was almost at the other end of the spectrum so far as "extras" were concerned. I came away from both with a mixture of joy and sorrow. Joy, because that is what the season and the music, drama, etc produces, but sorrow, because our sin made the first Christmas necessary. I wonder if anyone else thinks about this.
Yes, there were, "Good tidings of great joy!" at the first Christmas, but the coming of the Savior was made necessary because of man's sin. Apart from …

Irritating Comes Naturally; Obnoxiousness Takes Practice

Last night my wife and I attended a dinner theater at the clubhouse where we live. We wanted to support one of the guys who comes to our Home Group and was in one of the plays. As usual at such events, people who imbibe, BTOB (bring their own bottle). We were a little concerned because we didn't know who would be at our table and whether or not they would want to share their "cheer". Fortunately, there was only one "imbiber" at our table and she never even asked if we wanted to share. Thank goodness.
However, at the table next to us was one woman who seemed to have gotten a head start before coming to the event. She was sipping wine throughout the evening, and getting louder and louder both with her talking, laughter and "hooting" both during and after the performances. I noticed that some at her table seemed a bit uncomfortable. Her husband just smiled alot. Several of her friends dropped by the table to see what was going on. One of them to…

Christmas; What & Why?

Have you given any thought to what Christmas is all about, really, and why we have Christmas? As I hold our Christmas celebrations up to the template of scripture, I think we're missing the point.
Why is Christmas? It is the result of man's sin. Apart from that, Jesus would not have had to come to earth and endure all He did. Our celebrations should include times of extreme, remorse for our own sinfulness, and thanksgiving to God that He didn't just write man-kind off, but had a plan in place before creation for our redemption.
What is Christmas? It is the fulfillment of the Father's promise to provide a way of salvation for all people who would believe in His Son, Jesus, and receive Him a personal Lord and Savior. Christmas is a time of remembering, renewing, and returning to our first love. It should be pivot point for our year; the time when we recalibrate our spiritual sextant and focus on Jesus as our Redeemer, example, elder brother, mediator, friend and con…