A Different Kind of Christmas Attitude

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well
preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand,  eggnog in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and  screaming "WOO HOO what a  ride!"

You Decide. Michael

How to Get Lost

Mike Yaconelli writes in The Wittenburg Door: I live in a small, rural community. There are lots of cattle ranches around here, and every once in a while a cow wanders off and gets lost….

Ask a rancher how a cow gets lost, and chances are he will reply, "Well, the cow starts nibbling on a tuft of green grass, and when it finishes, it looks ahead to the next tuft of green grass and starts nibbling on that one, and then it nibbles on a tuft of green grass right next to a hole in the fence. It then sees another tuft of green grass on the other side of the fence, so it nibbles on that one and then goes on to the next tuft. The next thing you know the cow has nibbled itself into being lost."

What has your attention right now?  Where is it leading you?  Don’t get lost!  Michael

Scratching the Surface

Some years ago Donald Grey Barnhouse was counseling a young woman on the sidewalk in front of a church following an evening service. She said she was a Christian and that she wanted to follow Christ. But she wanted to be famous, too. She wanted to pursue a stage career in New York. "After I have made it in the theater, I’ll follow Christ completely," she said.

Barnhouse took a key out of his pocket and scratched a mark on a postal box standing on the corner. "That is what God will let you do," he said. "God will let you scratch the surface of true success. He will let you get close enough to the top to know what it is, but He will never let you have it, because He will never let one of His children have anything rather than Himself."

Years later he met the girl again, and she confessed that this had indeed been her life story. She had dabbled in the stage. Once her picture had been in a national magazine. But she had never quite made it. She told Barnhouse, "I can’t tell you how many times in my discouragement I have closed my eyes and seen you scratching on that postal box with your key. God let me scratch the edges, but He gave me nothing in place of Himself."

What are you looking for?  Look for Him.  Michael

It’s Okay to Say “Merry Christmas”

According to a 2008 Gallup poll, 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. However, in past years, due to political correctness, disinformation and even the threat of lawsuits from the ACLU and its allies, religious expression at Christmastime was becoming increasingly absent from the public square. But today, because of many Christian defense ministries, several of the "anti-Merry Christmas" stores and organizations across the nation have been silenced about their resistance in the wake of such overwhelming public enthusiasm to say "Merry Christmas."

The years of educating Americans with an awareness of their rights by organizations such as Alliance Defense Fund and annual efforts to reclaim Christmas show that:

· 69% of Americans now use the "Merry Christmas" greeting compared to 56% previously.

· 61% of Americans now oppose generic "Happy Holidays" greetings, compared to 44% previously.

· 69% of Americans prefer "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays."

Foundation Work

On December 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was finally reopened to the public, after having been closed for almost a dozen years. During that time, engineers completed a 25 million-dollar renovation project designed to stabilize the tower. They removed 110 tons of dirt and reduced its famous lean by about 16 inches.

Why was this necessary? Because the tower has been tilting further and further away from vertical for hundreds of years, to the point that the top of the 185-foot tower was 17 feet further south than the bottom, and Italian authorities were concerned that if nothing was done, it would soon collapse. What was the problem? Bad design? Poor workmanship? An inferior grade of marble? No. The problem was what was underneath. The sandy soil on which the city of Pisa was built was just not stable enough to support a monument of this size. The tower had no firm foundation.

How’s your foundation lately?  In this the season of Christ’s birth, spend a little time shoring up your relationship with Him.  


Reasons for Bankruptcy

A study at Harvard University revealed these primary reasons for filing bankruptcy: Illness or injury—28.3%, Uncovered medical bills—27%, Lost income because of illness—21.3%, Birth of a new family member—3%, Death in family—7.7%, and Alcohol or drugs—2.5%.

Be careful and don’t get sick.  Michael

Blend In Today

A young police officer was taking his final exam for the police academy and he read the following question in the exam paper: "You are on patrol in the outer city when an explosion occurs in a gas main in a nearby street.

On investigation you find that a large hole has been blown in the footpath and there is an overturned van nearby. Inside the van there is a strong smell of alcohol. Both occupants—a man and a woman—are injured. You recognize the woman as the wife of your Chief of Police, who is at present out of the country. A passing motorist stops to offer you assistance, and you realize that he is a man who is wanted for armed robbery.

Suddenly a man runs out of a nearby house, shouting that his wife is expecting a baby and that the shock of the explosion has made the birth imminent. Another man is crying for help, having been blown into the adjacent canal by the explosion, and he cannot swim. Describe in a few words what actions you would take."

The young man thought for a moment, picked up his pen and wrote, "I would take off my uniform and mingle with the crowd."

Hope you blend in today.  Michael

A Read Christian

A real Christian:
Feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen
Talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see
Expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another
Empties himself in order to be full
Admits he is wrong so he can be declared right
Goes down in order to get up
Is strongest when he is weakest
Richest when he is poorest
Happiest when he feels worst
Dies so he can live
Forsakes in order to have
Gives away so he can keep
Sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passes knowledge.

A.W. Tozer

Religious men

Religious men, especially evangelical Protestants, are more involved and attentive as husbands and fathers than men who are not religious, finds to a new study.

W. Bradford Wilcox, a University of Virginia Sociologist, reports, "Evangelical Protestant dads come out on top compared with every religious group in the U.S." The results point to greater family involvement and less domestic violence among churchgoing Protestants (Southern Baptists, Assemblies of God and nondenominational evangelical churches are among those included).

Religious men out-scored other fathers on most family life indicators, he says, because religion stresses familial involvement. These men are reluctant to share in domestic responsibilities, such as cooking and cleaning, with their wives. 58% of evangelical Protestant men, compared with 37% of those who said they were unaffiliated with a religion, believe that men should focus on breadwinning while women focus on homemaking.

Our Personal God

Naturally, I believe we should always treat God with reverence and awe, because He is God, because He is holy:

Exo 3:5 (NIV) "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."

However, I think sometimes we have a wrong idea about God. Perhaps we think He is a far away being who is too busy to care about our "petty little concerns." Or maybe we believe that He cares about only our eternal destiny. But that is not the God that the Bible portrays. In both the Old and New Testament, God shows us that He cares about us, our feelings, our concerns.

Psa 62:8 (NIV) Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.

"Pour out your hearts….." This is evidence that God wants to hear what is on our hearts. He really does care about our feelings, and what is going on in our lives. Jesus, who is God Incarnate, showed God’s empathy for us.

Mat 9:36 (NIV) When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

"He had compassion on them." He longed for them to have a close relationship with Him. He felt with them. The Greek word "compassion" here is "splanchnizomai," which means "to be moved…to yearn with compassion." If you have someone(s) in your life that you love a lot – perhaps your children, think of how much you hurt when that person hurts. Then multiply that infinitely, for God’s love for us is even stronger than the strongest love we have ever felt or received from a human. That is how much He loves and cares about us. Think of the words He uses to describe our relationship with Him:

Mat 5:16 (NIV) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

His will for us, is a close father-child relationship. And even more:

Rom 8:15 (NIV) For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "ABBA, Father."

The word "Abba" translates as "daddy." According to the Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, "It approximates to a personal name, in contrast with ‘Father….Abba is the word framed by the lips of infants, and betokens unreasoning trust.’" So when you think of God, remember that our Lord is Someone who loves us so much that He wants to have that intimate relationship with us. He wants us to trust Him completely, with our hopes, our hurts, our worries, our everything. If you are hurting, remember thatyou are never alone. God is always there, and He truly cares. Take Him up on it. Pour your hearts out to Him. You might be surprised at the results. : )

Dear Lord, thank You for not being an aloof deity. Thank You for taking a personal interest in each of us. Help us to trust in that love of Yours, and to live lives of grateful service because You are God, but also because of that love You have given us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

%d bloggers like this: