When Your Christmas is Blessed

When Your Christmas is Blessed

  “And Theirs Isn’t”     Christmas, like any holiday, can be a blessing for some and a painful reminder of loss and loneliness for others. We often hear advice on how to keep our chins up when we’re struggling through Christmas, but what if you’re like the majority who are having a very Merry Christmas and yet know of someone who isn’t? Guilt settles in as you realize that it could have easily been you in their shoes, but you were spared. Maybe the person who popped in your head is struggling financially, lost a loved one, or received …

Hidden Gifts

Hidden Gifts

  Some of the most wonderful gifts we ever receive are surprises. They can be free or extremely expensive, be wrapped with a bow or take the form of a person. The element of surprise within a blessing is all about perspective and when we have the right perspective, it can affect everything else in our lives. Imagine a young boy who’s always longed to play the guitar. On Christmas morning, wrapped in a beautiful red bow, is a brand new acoustic just for him! He is overcome with joy because he never had a clue that the gift could …

Priceless Christmas

Priceless Christmas

Is it just me, or does disappointment sometimes seem to rear its ugly head at the most illogical times? How much sense does it make to feel discontent or discouraged when you are in the middle of mounds of blessings? It sounds spoiled to say that, but I know I’m not the only one. Sometimes we tend to hyper-focus on what we wish would be and it’s hard for us to see the greatness of where we are. We see and hear examples of this most obviously in the faces and voices of excited children at Christmas. It sounds like …

All Things New

All Things New

Some of my favorite decorations at Christmas are the ones that reflect a time long past: vintage ornaments, popcorn chains, and brown paper packages tied up with string (sorry, couldn’t help myself). There’s something nostalgic about Christmastime when you’re picturing the beauty of years gone by. However, irony lies in the fact that nowadays it seems to take more effort and investment to embrace something old than to just buy something new- just look in those home magazines! How much money do we spend on items that look like they’re a hundred years old when the factory made them just …

Faith Like Mary

Faith Like Mary

Do you remember when you were about 14 years old? I was a sophomore in high school and boy, did I think I was grown! I thought that I knew exactly how my life was going to work out, what I was going to be, and how God was going to use me. HA! I was a good kid who loved God but I also thought God would take all my prayers into consideration and surely, His plans for my life would look like mine because they were great plans! Maybe you were a self-diagnosed goody-two-shoes like I was, or …

When Jesus is Small

When Jesus is Small

  It’s a week before Christmas and all through the house the children are yelling and so is the spouse. The presents are wrapped but the cat ate the tinsel now vet bills are piling and the ham’s full of gristle. This year was to be different, it’s an annual goal, but stressors keep piling like your yard full of snow. Your heart wants to focus on what Christmas is for but the world, so it seems, always wants so much more.   Not everyone experiences stress during the holidays, but if we are all honest, many of us do… …

Easy Way Out

Easy Way Out

      The Easy Way Out   What makes us think that, as believers, we’re fine with just coasting through life and not learning/doing as much as we can in order to reach the lost and equip the saved across the street and around the world for God’s glory? Seriously, when is the last time you mentally “checked out” during a sermon, when did you last do your own personal research or Bible study in order to learn the Word of God for yourself? When did you last care enough about another culture or religion to learn the ins …

For Freedom We Are Set Free

For Freedom We Are Set Free

      For Freedom We Are Set Free How often do we take our freedom for granted?  Not only do we tend to get calloused toward the everyday freedoms we have (speech, religion, etc.) but, as Christians, it’s sobering to realize how often we become numb to the personal freedom offered through the Holy Spirit as well.  We go through our day to day lives with narrow thinking, guilty conscious, worry, fear, anxiety, selfishness, and sin.  Yet Christ said in John 10: 10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NASB) This is echoed again …

Gospel Guilt

Gospel Guilt

      Gospel Guilt   Do you really share Jesus with others enough? Do you at all?  If we are honest with ourselves, none of us do as much as we should.  However, many times we allow ourselves to be OK with doing absolutely nothing. It becomes cliché to say, “I really need to do more”, but sometimes we say it so often that it becomes a cop-out or excuse that we think allows us not to do anything at all!  I say this, not to make you feel guilty, but to put a fire under you (as I …

Head Knowledge

Head Knowledge

      Head Knowledge   “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.”  Psalm 9: 9-10 (NASB) If I told you that I’ve read a thousand books on the designs of airplanes and how to fly one, but have never actually seen or set foot on a plane, would you board a flight I was about to pilot?  Probably not! (If you would- I’d question your sanity.)   Knowing about something and knowing something personally are two very different things.  A lot …

Love and Hate

Love and Hate

    Love and Hate     How much do you hate people?  That’s quite a loaded question isn’t it? I’m sure your initial response is, “I don’t hate people!”  Maybe not, but I think if many of us took the time to really think about how we feel sometimes there may very well be a level of hatred toward others that we’re reluctant to admit is in our hearts.  Still don’t feel like this applies to you?  When was the last time you looked at someone judgmentally, perhaps with a disgusted look on your face, because of something they …

Time is Running Out

Time is Running Out

    Time is Running Out     Have you ever known someone who passed away and you weren’t quite sure of their salvation?  I have, and it always leaves a very disturbing question in my mind: who in my life am I allowing to slip through the cracks?  Ask yourself that same question- how many of your co-workers, teachers, acquaintances, friends and even family members are missing out on eternity with God?  I’m sure every one of us could name at least one person we are directly/indirectly related to who is not a believer.  I think many of us …