Out with the old…

With the cultural and political unrest of this past year, we can all breath a collective sigh that 2020 is officially over. The infamous year will go down as a particularly trying one for many. Though, there is always an upside to trials, particularly for God’s children.

 

For believers, the book of James points us to the mindset we should have during trials and tribulations, and that we are to “count it all joy” when we encounter them, for the “trying of our faith works patience.” But we need to allow patience to work in us or we’ll never master it.

 

As some lament the world is falling apart; for the children of God, we know with the Lord on the throne, things are not falling apart but instead are falling together. Although we cannot see all of our Lord’s plans and purposes in the blueprint of life, we do know he is at the helm in the midst of the battle. Resting through trusting in his promises is our only refuge.

 

Trials and tribulations are relative. Some by the fire, and some by the flood… What the Lord allows us to endure as Christians is all for our holiness and to mold us into becoming more refined in Christ. We may scoff and shrink back, but he promises to never leave our side, and his grace is always there to carry us through no matter the storm.

 

Now that 2021 is here, we’re closer to Jesus’s promise of returning to earth. In the meantime, we trust his word, which says, “…God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” ~ Romans 8:28

May we have a blessed New Year in the Lord!

Wonderful, counselor, Prince of Peace

This season we celebrate something so miraculous, it never gets old. No, it’s not the fat man in the red suit squeezing himself down the chimney!

Though, we’re all familiar with the Christmas story, it still remains difficult to logically comprehend. An infinite God who came to earth for our sakes, yet was born of a virgin and lived a human though Godly life? It defies all logic.

This tiny baby grew to become a prophet, priest, and the King of Kings. His presence on earth created a mark in history that would forever be a turning point. Jesus became the division between the pride of the proudful and the humility of the repentant. His life’s example paved the way for believers to emulate by and through his spirit into the way of truth and life.

On that quiet night, the angels sang in heaven and the world would be forever changed.

Christ is the Lord/Oh praise his name forever/His power and glory evermore proclaim!

Jesus was tempted, hungry, and scripture says that he identified with man’s sufferings. But that he humbled himself to endure such a lowly existence for the years he walked the earth is such a study in contrasts.

With our finite minds, it’s hard to conceptualize the awesomeness of the nature of Jesus. That he always was and always will be the great God of all Creation who loves us is too magnificent to fathom. It’s not so much a matter to consume and comprehend through logic but more of a respectful apprehending through our faith.

We celebrate the Lord’s birth this season as well as every day in our hearts because He first loved us. There are so many names for him because his being is so infinite, no one name can describe, define, nor contain Him.

Still, we wonder if Mary knew she bore the Lord of all creation, heaven’s perfect lamb, and who would one day heal the nations?

May the spirit of the season give you much peace and draw you closer to the Lord as you celebrate Him.

A cancelled Christmas

The problem with Christmas is not that the word Christmas, isn’t in the Bible as some purists point out. Nor that it’s celebrated at the wrong time of year as other purists argue. It’s not even so much the fact that the name of Jesus is getting dusty and he’s more to be found in the wings, while crass commercialism and partying have taken center stage. Still, there’s another issue.

Whether St. Nick may once have been a true-to-life generous soul or just a fictitious legend, I’ve come to live with the fact that the world wishes to celebrate the fat man in a red suit. Yes, it bothers me that this bearded idol has become more important that the Messiah, and it bothers me that presents have become the mainstay, and that trees are the focal point.

Six to seven-foot trees today cost upwards of sixty-nine dollars. You have to drag the tree into the car and then the house. The pine needles go everywhere. You have to find a space for it or clear out a space, and then worry your pets might pull it down. You need to water it or it becomes a fire hazard. After Christmas, you drag it back outside to the curb, and it sits there so forlornly, that you are now sad. There are pine needles in the house for weeks afterward. Still, there’s a worse problem.

In this 2020 season of Christmas, the Covid-19 virus has been a mixed blessing. While it’s been a rough time for those who’ve succumbed to its insidious nature, there is a bright side. Now, we don’t have to worry about Santa taking center stage this year because we have a social distance policy. Sitting on Santa’s lap would not fall under that directive. It could be dangerous to the children.

Also, there’s no need to worry about drinking and driving because the restaurants will be closed. And for those who chafe at having to schlep to stores, take heart! Not all of them are open. Your local mom and pop stores have probably gone under with the lockdown crisis. So, take your pick among the big box stores for all of your needs. Nothing like a practical gift from Home Depot.

Regardless, the Christmas story offers a positive narrative to the wearying mantra of mainstream media regarding the Covid-19 which, sadly, is frightening the masses into going into hibernation and turning humanity into singular biohazards one to another. We are in a world where those in charge are going to great lengths to mandate conformity. Masks, isolation, curfews, limits. Cancel culture is the new moniker. It’s easier to control a compliant, willing populace than those who squirm. What better way to do that is to isolate us from each other for months on end and force us to wear masks—even between bites of food, yes!

The spirit of the Antichrist has been here for a long time, even since Biblical days, and has never been more palpable or predictable. Along with the heavy hand of men in high places, whose ambitions and directives fly at their own discretion—even above the banner of law they are sworn to uphold, as they assume to be a law unto themselves with their “All for Thee, but not for Me” examples, our culture is deteriorating before our eyes.

The Prince of Peace whose word provides the ultimate model of love and fellowship will prevail over the godless dictators who exalt themselves. They will be humbled, and the humble will be exalted. No governor, mayor, or any other politician has the right nor the power to literally “cancel” Christmas.

May the joys of Christmas be with you all year long.

g

 

 

 

 

 

Be still before him…

With all of the worldly noise and chatter, it’s refreshing, at times, to be able to turn it all off. In the silence of our quiet times, with a Bible in our hands, is where the Word of God can renew and restore us. Our souls need spiritual nourishment as much as our bodies, and to allow our Creator’s word to take prominence in our hearts and minds as we struggle to silence all that would distract us, is a sure balm for whatever ails.

To be still before the Lord can take place at home, in the car, or while taking a hike in the rolling hills of Valley Forge. The silence of a forest…the rush of sea waves…the serenity of a swan on a lake—it all speaks of the Lord because he created it all! Yet being still is more than a place or position.

   For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him ~ Psalms 62:5

To be still is before the Lord is to be surrendered to him. To be still is to be yielded and open to the Holy Spirit’s direction. To be still is to seek his wisdom above our own.

Our hope remains steadfast as we rest in the Lord. May we continue to hold fast to being still before him always.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint~ Isaiah 40:31.

In God we trust or bust

We’ve been told from a young age not to trust strangers and to be discerning in dealing with people we don’t know. Unless you know someone, you cannot be certain of the person’s intentions. Appearances can be deceiving.

As with God, how can we walk in the paths he’s created and trust him if we don’t fully know him? How does one have faith in something we can’t even see? Where does the faith and trust come in?

The word tells us that our faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. As we read and meditate on his word, the more we get to know him. The more we read, the closer to God we become and the more our minds are able to dwell on what he’s all about.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God ~ Hebrews 1:8-10

 The more we get to know the heart of God, through the Holy Spirit’s revealing God’s truth, the more yielded and trusting we become. Through the reading of his holy word, the more we see the hand of God working. As a result, the less fearful we are of our future and the more surrendered we become in placing our complete trust in him daily for everything.