Archive for December, 2014

Are You Really Celebrating Christmas?

 

Today’s post isn’t for sissies. It’s not Christmasy. In fact, in may be offensive to you.

But some words need to be said or written.

In a post I received through my email, I learned of a man who is in prison for his faith in a place–well let’s just say, it’s not an American prison with weight-lifting or college classes. The man’s face is deformed from beatings.

What’s his offense?

Owning a Bible. That’s it.

What keeps him going? According to the ones who know him, only one thought keeps him going–seeing Jesus.

You see, people in this country know that once they believe in Jesus they make a choice between life and death.

Many in this country celebrate the baby in Bethlehem, but are they worshipping the King in heaven? Are you? Maybe I’m way off base, (to use a baseball term) but I suppose that many who buy gifts, attend church, and say prayers at Christmas, don’t really believe.

Because you see, believing in the baby isn’t enough. Understanding why He came and why you need Him is a must.

The Bible states in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Falling short means missing the mark. And friends, you need Jesus.

If there were a shooting contest with a target and we all had rifles, I’d miss the whole target, much less the very center. (In fact, if I ever do that, you should vacate the premises.) You may be an expert marksman and hit it dead center, so let me give you another analogy.

Let’s say we stood on the beach in Clearwater, Florida. The Gulf of Mexico spread out before us. We both decided to swim to Texas. You  may get farther than I could, but face it, neither of us would make it. Imagine sin on your back. Sin isn’t just not doing certain things, basically it’s living your life apart from God. Not worshiping or obeying, or caring. We all sin everyday. So that sin weight is weighing us down and we CANNOT achieve a relationship with God with a trace of sin in our lives.

We’re all disqualified.

That is where the baby in Bethlehem comes in. He came from heaven to be born to live a perfect life in our place. He died, and His blood paid the penalty of our sin.

But He didn’t stay dead. God raised Jesus from the dead to show His death was enough. Enough to take our sin. He shot the perfect shot, He swam all the way. His risen life proved it.

Because He is risen, I know I will rise.

My friend, hear this passage from I Corinthians 15: 54-57, “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable and this mortal will have put on immortality then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory, O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’”

So what now? You have a choice; believe on Him to be your Savior, or reject Him and face God’s wrath–and there is judgment coming, make no mistake.

It’s that simple.

So I have a question for you; Will you celebrate Christmas and Worship the King.

Your eternal destiny depends on it. Email me if you have questions. I’d love to chat.

Here’s a verse from one of Fanny Crosby’s most famous hymns:

“O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, to every believer the promise of God. The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”

Here’s the chorus:

“Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice. O come to the Father through Jesus the Son, and give Him the Glory great things He hath done.

Give Him glory this Christmas beloved. And just like the saint in prison with the deformed face, you’ll see Jesus one day.

And it will be worth it.

 

 

A Romantic Gift Idea for Christmas

Hello All! Christmas is approaching but I haven’t put up a tree or decorations. I’m gonna get busy, but for now, you can plan your own private holiday celebration with your spouse. NowU Online Magazine has a short gift idea I wrote. It’s about a special night Tom planned for me.

Check it out at:

http://www.nowu.com/article/connect/gifts-of-a-lifetime-romance-at-home/20322181/

So What If I’m Still in My PJ’S

It’s noon and I’m still in my nightshirt, slippers, and frumpy robe.

It’s not like I haven’t done anything. Up at 7, I read my Psalms for the day. Reading Psalm 63:6-7 made me think I needed to share with you, friend:

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for you have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

The way I see it, David encourages us by example to do four things.

First, he remembers. It’s almost Christmas, and I need to remember. Not just Christmas’ past because I cannot hardly remember a gift I’ve received. I remember people I’ve been with and places I’ve been, but it’s all getting kind of middle-aged-hazy, if you know what I mean.

At Christmas, I’ll remember Christ. Sure, I think about Him as the baby in the manger. But when I think of Jesus, what passes through my memory is how He healed the sick, and touched the untouchables, and spoke the truth. I remember His perfect life and His horrific death. All because of love.

I remember His resurrection and His words which include His promises and His judgments. These are  eternal things–not passing gifts or Hallmark circumstances. (Don’t get me wrong, a Hallmark movie is playing in the background.)

David also encourages us to meditate. He’s doing it on His bed. The difference between remembering and meditating? I guess that’s personal, but the way I see it, meditating is deeper. The dictionary describes it as contemplating or pondering. Taking it to heart. Not that Jesus lived and died for humanity, but that Jesus lived and died for me.

For you.

Next, David sings. I did too. A chorus in the same Psalm, verses 3-4. The song goes like this:

Your lovingkindness, is better than life.

Your lovingkindness, is better than life.

My lips will praise You, Thus will I bless You,

I will lift up my hands unto Your name.

The last verb David uses is cling.

I’m clinging to Him. Lately, I’ve been aware of my utter dependence on God. Not that I’m not always dependent on Him, I’ve just realized it more. Instead of fighting dependency, I’m jumping right in. No such thing as “co-dependency” with the Almighty.

So around noon, still in my PJ’s, I prayed. I admitted my complete dependency on Him. I remembered and meditated and sang and I’m clinging.

I got nowhere else to go.

Plus, I’m still in my jammies.

A Girls Trip to Paris

So finally, I had a chance to write about my mystery trip to Paris. I hope you enjoy!

http://www.nowu.com/article/travel/two-moms–two-daughters-take-on-the-city-of-love/20257061/

Good Friends, Great Time

The recommended pizza place with our “dear friends.”

Middle-aged people should frequent middle-aged vacation spots and middle-aged lodgings.

We batted 1000. Meeting our Florida friends in Florida wasn’t even on our radar a few weeks ago. But unused vacation points beckoned the Gordons who beckoned us. We couldn’t turn down a free stay in Ormond Beach, Florida. Since becoming farmers, we’d hardly taken a day off, much less six.

We packed up, tucked Mom in with competent caregivers and hit the road. I’d never traveled to that part of the state so I googled it.

“Tom, it says the city is a great quiet place for middle-aged couples.”

“What?” Tom asked.

Arriving at the beachfront hotel, our friends hovered over the balcony. A smile spread across my worn face.

“We’re in luck, they have shuffleboard!” Michael grinned.

I felt as if I’d been in a dessert and reached an oasis. An oasis of friends and memories and fellowship. We walked the beach and talked. We ate “Sticky Burgers” that combined a hamburger, peanut butter, bacon and cheese on a bun at a local hangout and watched college football.

The next day, our other friends, the Brinkers, made the three-hour trek to visit for a few hours. We crowded into the apartment and laughed, snacked, and reveled in just being together. Priceless.

Tom and I haven’t made much money over the last 18 months, but I feel rich. Those friendships didn’t bloom overnight. They took years of cultivation and feeding and pruning. Now we have a beautiful strong friendship that’s endured storms and even neglect–because like a magnificent tree, it’s rooted and established.

On Monday the four of us traveled to St. Augustine.

“Oldest city in the country. How appropriate.” Tom said.

Overwhelmed with touristy venues and parking, we stopped a mailman to get a quick restaurant review.

Without hesitation he said, “To be honest, all the places around here are overpriced and the food is (expletive).”

“Gee, tell us how you really feel,” Diane added.

We ended up at a pizza place he recommended. It was near the chocolate factory we toured earlier in the day. Lots of “early birders” there, too.

The Gordons left yesterday and Tom and I spent the evening alone last night. That part is a secret.

Today we see our son and his wife at their apartment. We also meet the Grand dog, Kratos. Tomorrow we head home.

I don’t miss Florida. I miss walks on the beach, sure. Mostly, I miss my friends. I’m making new friends in North Carolina, but friendships take time.

For now, I’ll remember great times with good friends.

If I can remember.