Archive for December, 2018

Final Thoughts at Christmas 2018

As I sit here looking at what is left of Christmas when you have a two-year-old grandson in the house, I smile at the mess, but I also feel sad that the day is ending. I know that for months we have planned on this day to arrive so we could see the excitement on his face, this was the first year he understood Santa and presents. Even though he is still under the weather, he was overwhelmed with the gifts and is still processing all that this day brought.

I also know that Christmas is not the same for everyone as it is for me and my family. I miss being with my family back in Alabama during the holidays. It has been over ten years since I spent Christmas back home. It was the final Christmas my mom ever had, and we had to celebrate it with her in the hospital. Today, there are many of you that had similar feelings mixed into a day we Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. I spent some time today doing what I could to help a dear friend that was not have a joyous Christmas and it was difficult for her. I spent time thinking on some that this Christmas was their first Christmas without a loved one who had passed away this year. Emotions are high, and low, on this day and as believers we should be sensitive to this so we can better minister to those around us.

So, as Christmas comes to a close in just a few minutes, I want to let you know that you are loved with a love that is greater than any words I can type or say. No matter your circumstance at this moment, God loves you with a love that surpasses anything this world attempts to suppress you through meanness or ugliness. In the brokenness of man’s relationship with God brought on by the fall in the garden of Eden, God promised to send a rescuer to restore fallen man into a right relationship with Him. Christmas reminds us that God keeps His promises. He promised that through the seed of woman would come someone who would crush the head of Satan, while only bruising His heel. This man was born on the day we celebrate Christmas and His name is Jesus. Why did this happen? Because “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16–17, NKJV). May you never forget how much God loves you. God bless you as you press forward into 2019.

 

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Another Year

Here we are…Again. Another year is rapidly ending. The saying is true, “the older you get, the faster the years go by.” I cannot believe 2018 is about to be over and we will ring in 2019 (Lord willing) in a few days. Soon you and I will put away the Christmas decorations, make a promise to ourselves to we will do much better in 2019, and some of you will join a gym for the month of January. Just for your information, the worst time to join a gym is now…they will be extremely crowded the first month of the year.

Oh, there will be other promises made besides the standard workout, eat better, and get off soda ones. Christians will make the standard ones too; pray more, read the Bible more, give more (or begin to finally give), and go to church more. There is that false assumption that if I do more, God will love me more and all will in my life. Yes, things will be better by spending more time with God, you will begin to have a close fellowship with Him and He desires for you will become easy to recognize and understand…it will not make Him love you any more than he already does. A central attribute of God is that He is LOVE and love always flows from Him.

As we enter 2019, my challenge to my church is the same it has been for many years…stop trying to do things for God under the false assumptions mentioned above. Instead, be only who God has called you to be in His kingdom work. By being who God has called you to be, others will see Him in you while you simply do those things because of your faith in God to be God. Being causes the doing and the doing is a result of our being in Christ. The apostle Pual wrote, “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:1–4, NKJV). May this be our driving force until the Lord returns.