Two thousand years ago, God fulfilled a promise to His children that He made at the time of their fall from the Garden. Their first parents disobeyed His one command that they not eat from the tree at the center of the Garden – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Well, you know the story. They disobeyed, they sinned, and as a consequence they were ejected from the Garden and the entrance was blocked by an armed guard. They brought sin into the world and man has suffered from it, never able to break free of it.
God’s love for His children was absolute and unconditional. However, He knew that even though He wanted them to be with Him for all eternity, they were incapable of cleansing themselves of their sin and thus could not be with Him.
In order for them to be with Him, He gave them the gift of salvation in the person of Mary’s child Jesus – Son of God and Son of Man. Her child was the only acceptable sacrifice that could atone for the sin of His children.
At Christmas, we give gifts to those we love; a small token of the gift that He gave to each of us. Just like the gifts that you receive at Christmas that are addressed to you, the gift of Jesus was also addressed specifically to you from the Father.
Scripture: Luke 1 & 2
How Large Is Your Plate?
A question that each person must constantly ask is: how large is my “plate” not in terms of that amount of food that the dinner plate can hold but in terms of how I can use my time and talents.
It’s not uncommon to take on too much in the way of commitments. After all its just a little request, and I can tough it out for a while. We tend to forget at times that we need to prioritized our resources in order to remain healthy.
If we don’t, or are unwilling to do so, then something has to give way. All-to-often its relationships with family, loved ones, and God. We allow one, or more, of our relationships to suffer thinking that we can go back later and repair the damage; but do we?
The solution is a simple one – reduce the size of your plate. Prioritize what needs to be there and be selective as to what can, or should, be added. Allow nothing on that will result in something more important to be pushed off.
Need help in doing this? Go to God in prayer.
Scripture: Exodus 20:1-17 (noting the order in which He presents His commandments.
We live in a world in which technology is as much a part of the fabric of living as breathing. We’ve come a long way from the technology days of David’s sling that slew Goliath.
This technology by itself is neutral – neither good nor evil. It just exists, ready to be put to use. While God doesn’t speak to its existence, He does speak to how it is to be used – for good or evil.
It can be used in either realm – benefit or harm, good or evil. The computers that are the heart of the diagnostic tools available to your physician are certainly well within the realm of benefit. Those same computers, however, can be used for evil, doing harm and causing us to step away from God.
The point here is that this technology, no matter how powerful it is or will become, is only a tool. Therefore, the question is not the technology but the intent of the one who uses it. Do I use it to glorify Him or the world?
Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46
Over the years you’ve been blessed by the many relationships that you’ve encountered. As you look back over them, you see that they are a living reminder that life is all about relationships.
Most of our relationships are transient and for the most part enjoyable. However, there is one relationship that is permanent, joyful and by far the most important of all – our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. He brings a love to the relationship that is strong. So strong, that He willingly died on the cross so that you and He can continue your relationship for all of eternity.
So, the next time one of your relationships is not going as well as you think that it should, think back to what He did to ensure that His relationship with you went the way that it should. He gave everything to make the relationship with you work; can you say that you’ve done the same?
Scripture: Acts 10:43
Life’s Only Constant
The only constant in life is change, or so a very wise man once said. At first-blush you might think that he was just being funny, but history teaches us that he was spot-on with his observation. The world of today is no longer the same world as it was even a few short years ago.
There is one aspect of life, however, where his observation is not spot-on. In amongst the changes in our lives, there is one facet of life that has not changed – God’s word and His love for His children.
Our understanding of right and wrong, good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable may have shifted over time, but His word and His love for His children has not!
His love for each one of us is the same now as it’s always been: at times soft and comforting and at others, hard and demanding. Yet, in all of His dealings with us, this foundation has never changed.
Scripture: 1 John 4:19
There’s nothing more quieting than to just sit and look out over the lushness of God’s creation. It’s good to just get away and think. And, no matter what the season, if you’re patient God will unfold before you all of the majesty of His creation.
If you’re very quiet you might even hear the birds begin to serenade you with their song. Notice that they go about their business without a single sign of worry or concern, for God has provided all that they need.
Why is it that unlike these birds, we spend so much time worrying about what we can’t control when everything that we need is close at hand. God takes care of the least of His creatures so doesn’t it stand to reason that He will take care of you as well.
Scripture: Matt. 6:25-34
We live in a time when living together without the benefit of marriage has become more the norm than the exception that it once was. Why is that?
One argument that is often heard is that we need to “test drive” the relationship to see if we’re compatible before we commit to marriage. Data shows that this “testing” does not improve the relationship in the long-run and in fact, can actually harm it.
The more important argument against living together before marriage, however, is that it is not what God envisioned for you. God calls for one man to be wed to one woman in a public setting with a public commitment to each other to remain in the relationship until death separates them.
Scripture: Genesis 3:24; John 4:16-18
Gifts from God
Your kids are God’s gifts to you – even when at times, they seem more like a curse than a gift. In our youth, they brought great joy into our lives as infants and toddlers. As we’ve aged, we’ve experienced a great sense of satisfaction as we watched them encounter and then overcome the challenges in their lives. In our older years they bring a sense of security, knowing that now, they are there to care for us.
This can only happen, however, when we love them as God loves us – unconditionally, from their first day to our last.
Will they break your heart at times? You had better believe that they will. But just as quickly, they can mend that tear with nothing more than a kiss and a hug. We are blessed by these gifts, so take care of them, appreciate them, and love them unconditionally.
Scripture: Psalm 127
Time For Your Children
When was the last time that you took the afternoon off to spend with your kids? Been a while has it!
As important as your work is, spending time with your kids is by far more important. We need to play with them, to read to them, and to show them what is important to us. We call this teaching and it’s important because if you don’t teach them, who will? If you don’t teach your kids, there are those who are more than willing to do so; most likely with lessons that you do not want them to learn and over which you have no control.
Jesus took time as a part of His public ministry to be with His disciples. Indeed, these were important times in His ministry. It was during these times that the disciples came to know Him, not just as a Rabbi, but as a fellow human being. They came to know what was important and what was not, what was acceptable and what was not.
He was investing in the future of His Church by investing time in these twelve men. Isn’t this what we do when we take time away from work to be with our children? Aren’t we investing in their future as well as ours?
Scripture: Proverbs 5:7; 7:24; 22:6
Communication, THE Problem in Marriage
If you were asked the question of what is the most commonly found and frequent problem in any relationship, what would you say?
The answer is poor, or nonexistent, communication. It takes time and effort to build a strong and vibrant relationship; and most, if not all, is best spent in building open and strong paths of communication. The only way for you to truly accomplish this is always be there and “plugged-in.”
But I’m always texting and communicating. Well, you may be passing information, but you are not communicating. You need to hear the other person’s voice and see his, or her, body language. You need to be present in the same space for the meaning of what is being said is not found just in the words alone
Just keep in mind that being present and “plugged-in” is how Jesus communicated. Don’t you think that the other party in your communication deserves the same?
Scripture: 2 Peter 3:1-12