Monday, December 26, 2011

Mary Did You Know

Merry Christmas to all of you!  Just wanted to share this beautiful hymn that we love.  We were blessed to hear it sung on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day by two different people in two different churches.  Both were wonderful.  I chose this link because the words were also shown.  We hope that you enjoy it as well.

May God continue to bless you this Christmas season.

~ Beef & Judi

Click the title to hear the video.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What’s all the hub-bub about?

He came into my office already possessing a negative attitude.  He asked, “Do you get involved with all this hub-bub concerning Christmas?”  I told him, “Yes, but I try my best not to go overboard.”  We talked; he, like many, knows the Christmas story.  But, he said his sporadic childhood church attendance at a Catholic church didn’t leave much of an impression.  He, like the world, knows the story but the meaning has been lost in the shuffle or should I say, lost in the “hub-bub”. 

Why all the hub-bub?  God comes to earth in the person of Jesus, walks among us, dies for our sins upon a gruesome cross, takes God’s wrath intended for us, and by God’s power, Jesus is raised from the dead victorious over sin and death.  We are pardoned slaves to sin who will live eternally.  It is all a gift to us and we shall reign eternally with God.  This should all be a comfort to those of us who believe. 

Some may say they know the Story. They think they even know what it means but how is Jesus going to make tomorrow any better than today?   We sinners are all short-sighted.  Does God care that I lost my wife and the loneliness and tears have been crushing?  Does Christ make any difference today and in the future?  Remember these things in these perilous days:

  1. God cares about your tears.  He keeps track of them.  Psalm 56:8 says, “Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll-- are they not in your record?  God Himself will wipe our tears away.  For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Rev. 7:17.
  2. Your prayers are heard—the angels gather them up.  Rev. 8:3-4:  Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.  The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand.”
  3. Your death is precious to God.  “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’   I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one ‘like a son of man’ with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.”  Rev. 14:13-14.
  4. We are slaves to sin, purchased by Christ to serve God and reign with Him eternally.  Rev. 5:9-10:  “And they sang a new song: ‘’You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."  
  5. Do not be afraid!  For Jesus Christ is with us now and He will return.  He has and will always be in control.  Rev. 1:12-19:  I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,  and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.  "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 

Lift up your head; you are a child of THE King.  Yes, though we may suffer for a little while, God cares, God rules and we will reign with Him, and He will come again.  Don’t be afraid.  Jesus was born God man—the manger is empty.  Jesus was slain for our sin—the cross is empty.  Jesus was dead and is now alive forever—the grave is empty; our God reigns.  That is what all the hub-bub is about.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Rhinestone Cowboys of Advent

My plan was a night of serious study; I had a sermon to prepare and had ideas rolling in my head that I needed to get on paper. I decided to put the TV on as background. I chose a program on Public Television about crossover country hits—hits that were country but became pop hits at the same time. I worked with the background of music playing in my ears. Glen Campbell came on singing “Rhinestone Cowboy. I have heard the song many times before but never really listened to the words. For some reason I listened last night. These words caught my attention. I quote: “There’s been a load of comprising, on the road of my arising, but I want to be where the lights are shining on me. Like a Rhinestone Cowboy, out on a horse in star spangled rodeo…I wanna be where light is shining on me.”

Yes, we crave attention but at what price? Did it involve a load of compromising to get into the light? Fame is temporary and fleeting yet many people crave so much attention they will compromise their values to achieve their 15 minutes of fame.

I wondered about Advent and Christmas. Isn’t so much of this season about me? We want to be the one whose Christmas letter is the first to arrive. Effort is put into our Christmas lights so everyone will notice. Of course, the gifts so perfectly chosen so in the presence of extended family, others will swoon at our pluck and creativity.

Yes, we want to be “where the lights are shining on me.” Remember this Advent season, Jesus does not need any light shown on Him. He is the Light, the Light of the World, the Light of the World to bring us out of sin and darkness.

Dear Lord, please forgive us as we Rhinestone Cowboys struggle for our place in the spotlight. Lord, draw us to the “real Light, Jesus Christ, and our desire for human attention will fade away in the fullness of His Light and glory and grace. Come Lord Jesus, come. Amen.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Quotes from the Bulletin Board

While preparing for my office move, I took down the bulletin board which held the following quotes. There’s a variety of topics but you may find them thought provoking.
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle--                When the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”                            ~ Roger Bannister

Warren Buffet said on ABC he “doubts very many children in the Forbes 400 served in the war. They come home to Nebraska in body bags but you don’t have to call up to the country club to let them know.”


“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”     -- Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship in a Republic,” Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1919.

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“The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense.” From “The Beast God Forgot to Invent” by Jim Harrison.


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“In America, it’s far more shameful to owe money than it is to steal it.” (from an article in the November 25, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi entitled “Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners”

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“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.”
~~ John Stuart Mill