Archive for November, 2011


Gifts?

Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas season is upon us. There is a song that says it so well, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” It truly is a wonderful time of the year. As a kid, I remember the anticipation of Christmas morning. The time it took to get from Thanksgiving to Christmas was an eternity! Now, in a flash, it’s gone.

But what gifts do we look forward to? I used to look forward to electronic toys, music players and games. Clothes were the worst thing I could get. Nowadays, I look forward to getting together with my family and spending time with them. Games, watching movies or anything else that comes up is just what I need to make a complete day. The other present that I look forward to is the one God has already given to all of us, Jesus.

I get goose bumps everytime I hear Linus read the Christmas story. God sent His son to this world and every Christmas, we need to celebrate, not because we should, but because we want to. What else could be greater to celebrate? My birthday is nothing compared to this!

May we take the time this year to anticipate the gift that is coming to us all. And better yet, I pray that the season takes it’s sweet time so we are able to enjoy every moment of it. Merry Christmas!

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Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday

Happy Thanksgiving! I am have a hard time today with all of the hype over “Black Friday.” What happened to Thanksgiving? Did anyone think about what they were thankful for? I hope so!

My problem is this; We as a society have now crossed the line of being thankful into buying all the things we don’t need. It was one thing when black Friday started at 6am, but now they are starting on Thursday night.

We complain about the commercialization of Christmas and how they start it earlier and earlier every year, but what about when it encroaches on Thanksgiving? We should take the time every day to think about all the things we are thankful for, however, Thanksgiving is the day that we all get together to talk about those we are thankful for and we are getting that taken away from us.

Yesterday, instead of spending the time enjoying our family and telling them we are thankful for them being in our lives, we spent more time planning our shopping routes and talking about the deals that people will get for that night and the next morning. What is wrong with us? I remember Thanksgiving being a day, all day, to get together with family and talk, play cards and enjoy each others company. I don’t even remember much about the food. Yeah, we had turkey and potatoes, but it wasn’t about that, at least to me it wasn’t. Thanks grandma for the memories. I will always cherish the times I was able to play cards or board games while digesting dinner. Thanks to mom for traditions that will live forever for me, “pudding on toast” is by far the best holiday breakfast that I will ever have. I know that my kids will continue this tradition on as they also love it!

May all of you create your own traditions and always be thankful for all of those we have in our lives!

Further Instructions

As I reach the final chapter of Paul’s words to the church in Colosse, I find Paul giving some lasting instructions to his brothers there. He wants them to pray, to watch and to be thankful and not just for themselves but also for himself. Paul wants them to pray that he may proclaim the good news clearly and that others will hear and understand the message that he brings.

May this also be for us. We should pray that we can proclaim the message, but also that our pastors and lay people can speak the truth and it will be heard and understood. We should take time to pray for our pastors on Sunday morning before we go to church. Pray that they will be filled with the Holy Spirit and able to spread the message to the people of the congregation.

Paul continues on about making the most of every opportunity. Whenever the opportunity arises to share your faith and your relationship with Jesus, seize the moment. Someone very wise once said to me, “your relationship with Jesus should be personal, but NEVER private.” Smart words to live by!

Finally, make sure all of your conversations be full of grace and seasoned with salt. Gossiping, talking down to someone, coming across like you know it all are all bad ways to have conversations. We need to be vigilant about how we carry ourselves in public. Our conversations should always be uplifting, and they should always reflect our beliefs and how much we care for others.

Work Ethics

I’ve heard it said many times and I have even said it myself way too many times that good help is hard to find. Employers are always looking for good people with good work ethics. But when you hear “work ethic,” what do you think of? Someone who is nice to fellow workers, on time, does what is asked of him/her? I think it reaches beyond all of that.

I have had the opportunity to work with people that follow the phrase, “while the boss is away, the people will play.” I think we have all met people like this. At some point I get swept into feeling this way as well. However, Colossians 3; 22-24 tells us how we should truly act in our work life.

We are to do what is asked of us, not just when our boss is watching, but when they are away as well. Just because the person who is responsible for your employment is not is sight of your work, does not excuse you from doing it. We need to be vigilant about getting our work done.

In verse 23, it says that whatever it is you are doing, do it with all of your heart. Do it as though you are working for the Lord, not for men. Don’t give half heartily. Give 100+ percent of your efforts. I know that when it comes to working for the kingdom of God, I don’t want to be known for working only as much as I can get by with. I want to be sold out in everything I do.

These verses also apply in our christian lives and the work we are doing for God. We are to be working towards bringing people to a relationship with Christ and just because Jesus is not physically walking the streets of Rockford, Illinois or wherever you are, does not excuse us from trying our best and working our hardest to spread the good news. Work at all times to bring others to the family of believers and one day we shall hear “well done good and faithful servant.”