Could or should?

2016 is almost finished. I would think that most people would reflect and look back on what the year has been for them. Not a bad thing to do.

Unless you stay there. Unless you get stuck wishing you should have done things differently. The mud of the past is very sticky.

“I could have given more this year.”

“I could have read more books.”

“I could have sent more thank you notes.”

“I could have…”

The past is past and there is no changing it.

I hear a song recently. The title is All is Well. There is link to the video as well after the lyrics. Here are the lyrics:

 
All is well all is well 
Angels and men rejoice 
For tonight darkness fell 
Into the dawn of love’s light 
Sing A-le 
Sing Alleluia 

All is well all is well
Let there be peace on earth 
Christ is come go and tell 
That He is in the manger 
Sing A-le 
Sing Alleluia 

All is well all is well 
Lift up your voice and sing 
Born is now Emmanuel 
Born is our Lord and Savior 
Sing Alleluia 
Sing Alleluia 
All is well

Christ has come to earth as a baby. All is well.

He then lived, died, and was resurrected. All is well.

jesus-will-be-right-back

Sorry the image is blurry. This picture is of my page-a-day calendar. The white square in the middle says “Jesus will be coming back soon.”

And then all will be well again.

Don’t waste time think about what could have been. Instead, think about what you should be doing for 2017.

2017 is full of great things! God is good like that.

Happy New Year!

Come back next week for the start of a new series; Alphabet Soup.

 

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A stone and it’s waves

Christmas time…celebrating a birth. The Christ child laid in a manger. The star showing the way. We all know the story, right? Hang on a minute and we will get to that very story.

But first…

Two weeks ago, I had a conversation with a good friend. It seems that every time we talk, something good comes from it. Thanks Nick!

One of the take-aways I had from the conversation was about influence.

We all have influence in our lives. Like a shadow covering the edge of the light, we don’t always see the influence we have on people. Why is that? Does God hide the influence so that we don’t see our total impact on people? Not really sure.

Imagine a stone. Now throw that stone into the water. What happens?

ripples

We have all seen it. The stone creates waves. Those waves are like influence. 

Some thoughts of mine regarding the stone and the waves:

  1. The waves all originate at the place where the stone entered the water.
  2. The waves are uniform in size and shape going out from the stone.
  3. The waves will continue until they hit the land.
  4. The stone, after creating the waves, sinks.
  5. The waves, once began, cannot be stopped, only redirected.
  6. Bigger stones make bigger waves.

Let’s bring this together now.

We are the stone. At least that is the way I feel that God designed us. We were made to splash! Waves of influence are the destiny to which we have been called. 

Will I let God toss me? Once I make that decision, God pulls back His mighty arm and lets go! Can you see Him throwing rocks?

Now that I have been thrown by God, my life is not my own. See Galatians 2:20.

Here is the catch, I am meant to sink. Rocks do not float.

I don’t mean sink as in fail. What I mean is that God uses a rock to create waves.

Waves equal influence.

Okay, back to the Christmas story. I want to recall a few “rocks” of historical note.

Mary.

Joseph.

The shepherds.

The Magi.

King Herod.

Baby Jesus.

If you look in the waters of our history, you can still see waves radiating outward from these rocks. 

God is using the influence of these rocks to impact you and me.

And it is about time we realize that we too, are making waves.

The choice is yours and mine to make. Let God throw you today!

Are you this one?

rock

Or this one?

ripples

 

 

 

Page 715

Page 715 in my bible only has three words on it. It is blank on the back.

All it says is “The New Testament”. Here are some pics.

Page 714 ends with the last verses of Malachi. Page 718 starts with Matthew.

Think about the bible for a moment…

It covers thousands of years of history. There are many genres and writing styles used by 40 some authors. Can you count all of the people of which the bible speaks?

But yet, in all of that amazing stuff there is a period of silence. Page 715 

That single page represents silence. History tells us that the silence between Malachi and Matthew is 400 years. 400 years of nothing.

No prophets. No judges. No stories. No wars. Just…nothing.

Where was God?

Is your life stuck on page 715? Do you feel like God is not there? No voice? Nothing happening? There is silence and it is deafening.

But, (and there is always a But), God. Yep, He is still there. 

Let’s jump to page 867 in my bible to Galatians 4:4. This is my favorite Christmas verse.

Here is the first half of the verse in various translations:

New International Version
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son,

New Living Translation
But when the right time came, God sent his Son,

Berean Study Bible
But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, 

New American Standard Bible 
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, 

King James Bible
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, 

International Standard Version
But when the appropriate time had come, God sent his Son, 

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But when the end of time arrived, God sent his Son

GOD’S WORD® Translation
But when the right time came, God sent his Son [into the world]. 

 

After 400 years, God sent His son.

From silence came the Word.

From nothing came a Baby.

From darkness came the Light.

my-bible-3

 

Have hope this season. Christ is alive and well. You don’t need to live on page 715.

So turn the page and keep reading! God has great things for you this December!

Stay tuned next week for another Christmas post.

Have a fantastic day and Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

Yep, you can tell that I wrapped that one.

Almost every Christmas since we got married, we have had the fortune (blessing) of waking up on Christmas day at my in-law’s house. No, that is not an opening line to a joke. =-)

There is a tree and plenty of decorations. And of course, gifts. As a follower of Christ, I know that Christmas is about the birth of a savior and not the presents under the tree. I do my best to teach that to my family as well. But let’s be honest, I like getting stuff. My mother-in-law always asks me for my Christmas (and birthday) list. So I oblige her and write one out. =-)

christmas list

Generally, my wife will wrap the gifts for our two children and mine as well. I only wrap the ones for my wife and occasionally, some gifts for the other family members. It seems that every year, my father-in-law makes a comment about the wrap job on a gift. By now, it is really simple to tell which presents I wrap and which ones are wrapped by my wife. Getting those corners so crisp is near impossible for me. I think I use way more tape than necessary as well. Every time, my wrapping paper is not very good, and it is obvious.


Let me share another little story. On Sunday, I saw my friend at church. We have shared many life experiences and have grown together in the Lord. There was a book, Lessons from a Venetian Vinedresser by Robert Scott Stiner, that I had read. I passed it along to my friend. Both of us agreed that we should re-read it. It really is a phenomenal book. But, in the past six months I lost my copy of the book. So I ordered two copies, one for me and one for my friend. I gave it to him as church this past weekend. He was really surprised but very grateful to receive his own copy of the book. It was a great joy to be able to give it to him.

vinedresser book


Do you know what a mash-up is? Take peanut butter and chocolate and mash them together. What do you get?

Reese's-PB-Cups-Wrapper-Small

That makes a fantastically tasty mash-up!

So take my first story about not wrapping presents very well. Mash that story with the second one about giving the book to my friend. What do you get?

jesus in manger

Luke 2:7 says, “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,”

 

Jesus was a gift to the human race. God even had it wrapped! Sometimes I don’t feel worthy to accept the gift. Other times I just plain reject it. Sometimes I feel honored to have the gift. There are many moments when I feel I need the gift.

Whatever the case (my feelings being irrelevant), the gift has been offered to me and to you. It comes to us free of charge. Anyone can have it. You don’t need special credentials or status. Young or old; rich or poor, the gift is exactly the same for everyone. We are given the opportunity to unwrap the gift and then God can do the cleaning up. We don’t get right and then accept what God has done.

So, what gift will you be opening this year? 

One Yard of Christmas, pt. 3

Shepherds. They saw angels on the night of the birth of Jesus. Can you picture these smelly guys hanging around the fire? They could have been dreaming up stories for their families. Maybe they were thinking of how to make some money off of the angel visit. Perhaps a book deal was on their mind? Actually, we know that they were not doing any of those things. As with the first two parts, let’s go to the Word of God.

Luke 2:16-17 “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,”

Here is how Dictionary.com defines the word feet:

Noun, 1. a plural of foot.

Foot, noun, plural feet

  1. (in vertebrates) the terminal part of the leg, below the ankle joint, on which the body stands and moves.

 

One of the best parts about the gospel (or the story of Jesus) is that is forces us to make a decision. It seems that the shepherds were among the first to hear the story.

Once they heard, they moved. It was clear to them that what the angels were speaking of was for real. They had a choice and they made that choice without hesitation. It says the “hurried.” And when they saw the baby, another choice was to be made. They “spread the word.”

It is like having a can of paint. It must be spread in order to do the job. It won’t do any good to anyone if it stays in the can.

paint can

Friends, Christmas is all about God giving to us something unique. His son. The other part of that is us giving the world the same gift.

WE MUST TELL THE WORLD ABOUT JESUS. And it is my opinion that this “feet” is the most difficult of the three.

In conclusion,

  •  One Yard of Christmas
    • Feat
    • Fete
    • Feet

Will you wonder in the feat of God giving His son to us?

Will you celebrate the birth of Jesus instead of commercializing it?

Will you be like a paint brush and spread the truth about Jesus?

I hope you have enjoyed a One Yard of Christmas. It has been fun reliving Christmas this January.

Now go, spread the word and enjoy Jesus for the rest of 2015!