Archive for November, 2010

The Real Beauty of the Season

November 30, 2010

I find myself so blessed in the little things this season. Here I am up in my study working on Sunday’s sermon. Meri is downstairs putting up Christmas decorations. Familiar Christmas music is playing gently throughout the house. The atmosphere is warm and inviting. The word of God comes and speaks eternal peace and joy to me. I am a blessed man.

Zechariah went to the temple to observe his duty as priest of the day. He would light the incense and the smoke would remind the people that their prayers ascended to the presence of God. This was a special day just to enter into the Holy of Holies. Yet God had a surprise waiting for the old man. The angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that he and his old wife would be having a baby son.

Life became very interesting and different for old Zach. He was speechless til the child was born and then he had to raise the young man who would be the forerunner to Jesus, the Messiah! Life can take some strange turns and we realize we are so blessed. May this Christmas season surprise you with the joy and peace of God. Expect it. Seek it. Leave time and space in your busy schedule for God to surprise you.

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It’s Not About the Turkey!

November 18, 2010

It is amazing to me how this holiday has become all about a bird. What kind do you have? Roasted, fried, smoked, baked, sautéed, butterball, light or dark meat?? The pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving were just glad to have food period. They gathered about the tables and had a meager meal. Today we gather around a table and gorge ourselves with plenty. In Luke 17, we read that ten lepers were healed yet only one returned to say thanks. Only a tenth of the crowd of former lepers. They got so caught up in the blessing that they forgot the blessor.

How will you stop and say thanks this year? Some families share one thing around the table they are thankful for and say a blessing before they eat. Another family I know always spends the day at a soup kitchen serving the least among us. Another family always invites in people who do not have family to be with. Another family eats a meager meal and gives the savings to the local food pantry. Two families told me they would be writing thank you notes to people this Thanksgiving who have blessed their lives the past year. These are great ways to show thanks and real gratitude. 

It’s not about the turkey! It’s about having an attitude of gratitude. Try it this year!

Granddogs & Fear

November 8, 2010

This past weekend we kept our granddog. It was probably good practice for about 5-10 years down the road when we are probable grandparents. Now we already have a one dog and a cat. I thought they would get along fine. Well, Anna’s dog, Railey, arrived and immediately marked our den carpet with quite a large deposit. Then he dropped more all the way down the hall! Our dog, Vixen, then had to mark the hallway floor to regain her territory. The cat stood on the steps completely disgusted with both of them. Later, Railey tried to play with our cat and she proceeded to swat him in the nose. So Railey ran and hid under the bed in the guest room. I found him and had to drag him out. He is 10 times bigger than the cat yet was overcome with fear.

This morning’s sermon was on Overcoming Fear. The simple phrase, “Fear Not!” is one of the most common phrases found in the Bible. When the Lord is with us, we need not fear. Faith overcomes fear. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I said much of this to Railey with no effect. The swat of a cat is painful – I know so personally. So, all weekend he stayed clear of the cat. If he saw her in the room, he chose to abide elsewhere. I guess fear can be good. It can protect us from an angry cat or an unfamiliar dog. Fear can lead us to wear a seatbelt and avoid unnecessary risks. Fear can teach us not to place our hand in the fire and to not tempt fate.

Next time my granddog comes to visit, I think I will have a long talk with his Aunt Kittie about hospitality and kindness. Oh, life is so good!