Archive for December, 2013

Really Living

“We’re really living, Pauline.” Tom bent over the trendy restaurant table, smiled and took my hand.

I pondered his words. Moving to North Carolina with my 93-year-old mother and our standard poodle, Sam, starting a farm, building a house, purchasing and raising 75 baby chicks. Working from dawn to dusk and then some more.

Doing stuff I never dreamed of. Like shopping at the Tractor Supply store regularly and loving it, planting seeds and watching them grow, petting a chicken (having a chicken fly into my hair which I wasn’t too fond of), chopping a path through our forest, petting a donkey, gathering eggs, cleaning up after chickens, moving heavy timber. The list is endless.

Tom’s right, we’re really living.

It might kill us.

But we love it.

The Bible has a different definition of “really living.” I’m basing my life on God’s Word, not my own opinions.

God’s Word says in Ephesians 2:1-7:

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

So I started “really living” the moment I trusted Christ’s death and resurrection to pay for my sins, and then I turned from them. I was spiritually dead. Now, thanks to Jesus, I’m spiritually alive. I used to live according to the passions of this world and Satan was my king. Now—not because of anything I’ve done—Jesus is my King.

My hope and prayer for you this season is that you will “really live.” That you will be born into the family of God.

A blessed Christmas to you.

Some of our “first fruits.”

Don’t Stop at the Manger, Just Pause

Tears streamed down my face as the soloist sang Handel’s, “Hallelujah Chorus.” I sat mesmerized in the pew of my church over fifteen years ago, awestruck by the majesty of Handel’s musical portrait of Christ.

This year, my pastor in Mt. Airy, NC is doing a three-part series on the background of Handel’s Messiah in Sunday school. I’m glad.

Learning about the Oratorio forces my mind to consider the fulfillment in the prophecies of Christ. Listening to the splendid music helps me to experience the wonder of the Christmas miracle.

God became man and was born of a woman as a baby.

Often, at Christmastime, we don’t just pause at the manger, we stop. And then we move on to more important things like shopping and baking and family. We don’t take time to consider the significance.

Jesus came to die.

But before that, he lived a perfect life. And died a perfect death.

And sometimes we stop there. Handel didn’t.

The end of the second movement (I think that’s what you call it.) is the “Hallelujah Chorus.” The words are a quote from the prophet Isaiah when Jesus is prophetically called the Wonderful Counselor. The Mighty God and the Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace.

How can that be? One glance at the Internet or turn of the remote dispels any hope of peace.

Let me give you a couple of reasons. First, Christ’s kingdom isn’t of this world. At least—not yet.

In John 18, when Pilate asked Jesus if He is King of the Jews, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

So where is this mysterious kingdom? And where is this elusive peace?

Let me take you to one of the most famous passages of the New Testament, the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew’s gospel, chapters 5-7.

Jesus astounds the people and enrages the Pharisees when He describes a new kingdom of the heart. A kingdom of grace. A kingdom that begins in the heart and works itself out in actions. This kingdom is Christ in you. (For more information about that, refer to the book of John, chapters 14-16. Or just email me.)

The other kingdom described in Messiah, is a future kingdom. A kingdom ruled by the One True King. King Jesus.

In a day when we hear about government corruption, don’t you just long for a just ruler? One that has the best interests of His subjects in mind?

One day, there will be.

Here is my question to you; Are you part of Christ’s kingdom now? Do you want to be? It’s easy to do. But costly. You give up the right to run your own life.

But good.

Then, you will join that Hallelujah Chorus. And you’ll sound good.

Take time to pause at the manger, but don’t stop. Move on. Drink in His majesty. Meditate on His kingdom now and to come. Be amazed and awed by this baby in a manger. The King of Kings.

Listen and be amazed with me:

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Investing in Christmas–Fitting In

“Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?” I asked almost everyone I greeted on Sunday morning.

What I think I meant was, Did you spend it with someone you loved? 

I wondered about this as I dropped my daughter and son-in-law at the airport for their flight home.

Then I sobbed.

The reason I sobbed wasn’t because I missed them already. That’s a given.

The reason I cried was I wondered where I fit in.

My kids are grown. They have spouses and fiancés and good friends and new family. It’s normal. It’s expected. It’s hard.

“How do we know how to fit into our children’s’ lives?” I asked Tom while I snorted into a Kleenex. We live a twelve-hour-shift away from them. We can’t offer them an exciting time. Watching the sun rise. Listening to chickens coo. Throwing a stick for our dog, Sam.

“That’s not for us to decide, Pauline.”

Tom is almost always right about those things. It’s infuriating. And refreshing.

“Besides, we have some new family now. A bigger family–the body of Christ here at our church.”

Right again.

Where I “fit in” is in a heavenly kingdom.

And it all began with a baby in a manger. The season we just entered.

I grew up as the daughter of Salvation Army Officers. I’ve seen lonely and plenty who didn’t “fit in.”

So I know there are lonely, hopeless people in all income brackets and of all races.

That is the beauty of the Christmas story–hope.

God became a Man so we could be part of a heavenly kingdom.

So we could have an eternal place to fit in with a loving Savior.

It’s the reason to hope. The reason to praise. The reason to share with someone who doesn’t have a Happy Thanksgiving, or a Merry Christmas.

The real Christmas Gift.


But, I still miss my kids.

Hang in there, friend. I’m going to write every day until Christmas.

Galatians 4:4-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

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