Saturday, December 20, 2014

The end is near!

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7 NIV)

I don't mean to spread gloom and doom during the greatest time of the year. But, the end is coming. It's not a time of fear and dread, it's a time of praise and rejoicing. We celebrate the first arrival of our savior this week. We, however, look with even more joy and anticipation to his coming again. The next time the celebration will not be in a quiet little town or observed by only a few dirty shepherds. This time the world will know and peace will reign for all who believe and worship him. 

Praise God his return is near. Come lord Jesus come!

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 19th, 2014 was planned long ago!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)

The events of Ćhrist's birth, life, death, and Ressurection were ordained before the world began. God new everything, knows everything from the beginning of time to this very moment. Last night we were blessed with the arrival of Jordan, permanently into our family. My daughter McKenzie, Jeff, and the rest of the family welcomed this young man, permanently, into our family. The adoption will not be final for 6months, but he is one of us. 

Just like God ordained the sacrifice of his own son, he has planned for Jordan to be with us. It's not by chance. I don't know all the details of Jordan's life. I don't know the circumstances of his birth mother giving him up. I don't know the life he has led. God does and for reasons only God knows he has brought this wonderful boy into our lives. I guess I can really say that about all our daughters and our grandchildren. He has appointed us to be a family. So many people take for granted the precious life we live. We all neglect to realize the awesome plan working right before us. This precious moment, December 19th, 2014 we have been granted a precious gift, to see into the heart of God with the wonderful life of Jordan. Praise God. Dear Lord, continue to bless Jordan. We ask that you use his life in a special way that he can share your love like others can not. Protect him and let him know he is always loved. Bless our entire family may we all serve you, answer your call and be open to your mighty works. Thank you Lord! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17 NIV)

Tonight at my mothly Bible Study we talked about big decisions in the Bible. We talked about the fall of man, Nehemiah, Peter and Andrew, James, Jesus being tempted, and more. But the greatest biblical decision of all time......... God deciding to send his son to us. The profound impact of that mighty decision lingers today, 2000 years later.

We are faced with decision after decision during the Christmas season. Choosing the correct gifts, planning where you will be for Christmas celebrations, giving to special Christmas charities, and how much money to spend. But, the biggest decision we make is how we will include Jesus in the celebration of his own birth. It seems a little ironic that a birthday celebration wouldn't even include the celebrant. But, it happens more often than not. Please keep Christ in CHRISTmas. Choose to include him in your life now and every day. Remember the story of his birth is just the beginning. 
Praise God for his sacrifice that saved me for eternity.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I've heard it all before!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (Luke 2:1 NIV)

How many times have we heard this verse? I first remember it from the Charlie Brown Christmas show. But, I have heard it countless times in my 54 years. It never gets old. This beautiful scripture is the sign of great things to come. This story is one of the few biblical stories people know. Even those that don't follow Jesus, that don't worship him on a regular basis, know this story. 

How can you interject anything new? How can you learn anything elsemfrom this "old" story.

This Christmas story and the rest of the bible are applicable today. They are adaptive in that they fit your life where you are at today. It's not just a story of historical fact. It's a story with deep meaning to our lives today, in 2014! 

The Christmas Story is brand new to me this year because my family is changing again. My daughter is adopting a 10 year old boy. He comes to live with them permanently on Friday. What a precious gift! It's not a birth of a baby, but its equally precious and the newness of life is just the same. The Christmas story is about the newness of life. It's about hope. It's about the promise of a future free of sin. We are reminded of that every year through the story that begins, "In those day......" As we welcome Jordan, we are exited to see how the baby Jesus affects his life and how he grows in his trust and love in the Lord.

Praise the Lord for the newness of life and the freshness of this wonderul story. I praise your name for the beautiful gift of a young persons life and bringing Jordan to us. Thank you Lord for all of my family and the life we all share for you and the sacrifice you made to save us. May we never treat the story of Jesus birth as an old tired story. May we see the birth through our daily lives as being relevant and important to us every day. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What are your Christmas Traditions?

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17 NIV)

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Christmas Tree decorating AFTER thanksgiving - I love this first official activity of Christmas. This year Stephanie and I got to do this with two of the three daughters and their families.

The countdown - There has always been a countdown to Christmas in my family. My mom used to give special advent calendars for  my kids to countdown the days. I still do it!

Christmas Eve shopping - this has been my tradition for years. I go by myself and enjoy the peace by myself picking out special gifts for the ones I. Love.

Christmas Eve Service - I am saddened that our church does not have a midnight Christmas Eve service. This was such a great tradition of peace and joy leading to Christmas Day. 

Opening one gift at a time - My family still honors this tradition. It stretches out the enjoyment and the fun/fellowship is always more valuable than the gifts.

Christmas Day movie - this started for my family when we lived in New York. I love it!

Egg Nog - I could drink a gallon.

Cinnamon rolls - this started with my grandma Rhoades. Nothing matches hers. Others have tried with only limited success. But, we still love them!

 There are too many more to even list. Christmas is filled with tradition and the most famous story of all time. A miraculous birth is the most precious tradition. I love the peacefulness, the joy and the hope that always comes around Christmas. No matter what your traditions remember to always keep the wondeful savior of the world as the center. Thank you Lord for the gift of Jesus and the traditions we have!