Anita and I have been on vacation this week trying to get a few things caught up around the house and just relaxing. I was asked to do a funeral for a family outside our church today, and will do that because they are an influential family in the community. Otherwise, I’m just laying low. Anita and I went to see ‘War Horse’, watched a couple of unknown Christmas movies from the 1930s and 1940s, and have eaten out a few times.
On Sunday we’ll have 30-some people here as my brother and sisters have the Diehl family Christmas at our house this year. No one knows this yet, but I’ve written a book about our parents’ experience in World War 2, with a lot of photos, maps, and memorabilia scanned in. I’m looking forward to everyone’s reactions when I give out these books as gifts on Sunday.
What was your best Christmas gift and why?
True story: About 25 years ago one of the other churches in town was having parking problems. They only had off street parking and there just was not enough spaces for the number of cars people drove. So, the pastor went next door to visit the manager of a small factory which had a parking lot for employees adjacent to the church. The factory was closed on Sundays so he asked if the church attendees could park there on Sunday mornings. The manager was more than pleased to share the gravel parking lot with church members.
Several years later there was a heavy snow on a Saturday night. The parking lot had deep snow drifts and was not plowed out by Sunday morning. One of the church members contacted the factory manager and scolded him soundly for not plowing out the lot for the church people. By the following Sunday there was a locked fence around the parking lot. There was no intervention the pastor could do that could undo the damage done by that one inconsiderate church member.
Sometimes we forget that what we are enjoying today does not really belong to us. Could it be that if we abuse the gift of grace given by God that we could find ourselves locked out of that grace?
Tags: grace, parking, thankful
On one of my first mission trips to the Dominican Republic, the airline lost my suitcase. It arrived a day later, but I was scheduled to speak the next day at a pastor’s conference in LaVega and only had the sweaty jeans and shirt I wore on the plane. Fortunately, I was able to wear a set of Dr. Allyn’s scrubs and gave it my best. It was a good meeting after all and my suitcase did finally arrive.
Sometimes things just don’t go our way. When we recognize a pattern of the devil’s messing with our plans, that’s often a test for us to keep going. The more we see his handiwork, the more we must press on. Its an attack from Satan, a test for us, and an ultimate victory for God. Hang in there no matter how it looks.
When our children were little, each of them had an opportunity to lay in a manger and play baby Jesus. They didn’t know what they were doing, but they played the part well. Of course, there is a narrow window of time when a child can play the part of Jesus. Or is there?
Although we each grow physically and psychologically beyond where we could effectively portray Jesus as a baby, perhaps we should look for opportunities to portray Jesus as the adult child of God that He was. He was no sissy, sending the money-marketers in the Temple fleeing, walking on water on a stormy night, defending the embarrassed adulteress, and ordering demons from possessed people. That is a role model we should each strive to be like.
Who wants to be next to play Jesus?
During the holiday season, an atheistic organization put a sign alongside the community Christmas display in Madison, Wisconsin. It blatantly declared: “In this season of the winter solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our material world. Religion is but a myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
On the back of that sign was the warning: THOU SHALT NOT STEAL. Where do you suppose such a statement as that came from? If there is no God, why are they quoting Him? Either there is a God who establishes order out of chaos, or we should let nature take its natural course, which is always chaos. I choose to believe in God but wouldn’t trust the atheists with my sign!
Tags: Christmas, Law, signs, stealing
During the Great Depression that hit the United States in the 1930s, a family in the Midwest struggled to put food on their table. They had no money for luxuries.
One day posters all over town announced that a circus was coming. Admission would be $1. A boy in the family wanted to see the show, but his father told him that he would have to earn the money on his own. The youngster had never seen a circus before, so he worked feverishly and was able to buy a ticket.
On the day the circus arrived, he went to see the performers and the animals parade through town. As he watched, a clown came dancing over to him, and the boy put his ticket in the clown’s hand. Then he stood on the curb and cheered as the rest of the parade moved by.
The youngster rushed home to tell his parents what he had seen and how exciting the circus was. His father listened, then took his son in his arms and said, “Son, you didn’t see the circus. All you saw was the parade.”
Is it possible that when we attend church all we’re seeing is the parade and missing Jesus Christ? There’s more to Christianity than what we see in church. Let’s go deeper.
‘Twas the night before Jesus came
and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not one ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby in her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!
The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as he searched for my name;
When He said “It’s not here” my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and i cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call
We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!
©1993 Bethany Farms, Carrollton, IL.