Not-so-secret Santa.

I got my Secret Santa gift at work today.

secret santa

You know how it works. There is a dollar limit and everyone picks a name out of a hat.

You buy, then wrap, the gift.

But the person getting the gift does not know who is giving it.

The gift I received was great. There was a party game and a dozen A Christmas Story socks. Whoever gave the gift did a fantastic job. I loved it!


When living through Christmas every year, one is reminded about the greatest gift ever given.

A baby in a manger.

Have you received that gift? Even though there are billions of people in the world, that gift of salvation is still available.

Here’s the kicker: This gift comes from God, not a Secret Santa.

There are no surprises. No bad gifts. Nothing to return. No gift receipts needed.

We actually know what the gift is going to be before we receive it.

Our bibles tell us everything we need to know.

So as you are ripping apart wrapping paper and cutting through the ribbon on your presents, remember this:

Jesus is a gift that is already unwrapped and you have full access to Him.

opening a gift

This could be your best Christmas ever!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

School is in session.

Today was all about school.

school

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, both my wife and I teach.

She is a college professor and I teach high school science.

My children, 9th grade and 6th grade, also had homework.

Our whole family was involved in learning today.

All except our dog, Murray, that is.

back-to-dog-school

Will it ever end?

No, I don’t think so.

Sure, school will end for my kids (someday). Maybe I won’t teach forever.

But there will always be learning taking place.

God is so vast that I could spend many lifetimes learning about Him and His creation.

Whether you are officially a student or not, it does not matter.

Keep learning! You won’t regret it.

P.S. Getting an education from God is free! What a deal!

Just a little ember

If you have read my posts this month closely, you will realize that I did not post every day in October like I said I would.

Yesterday, Sunday, was a long day and I was tired. So I went to bed instead of writing.

Now, however, I have an illustration that spoke volumes to me.

Once a month, we have a church small group that meets at our house. There is food. We generally laugh. Something from the Bible is discussed. It makes for a really enjoyable time with fellow followers of Jesus. We encourage one another.

fellowship

It was decided that we meet outside. So I pulled out the small, round portable fire pit and got a fire started. It was both for warmth and ambiance.

At 9:00ish, after we had cleaned up and everyone went home, I needed to deal with the fire.

In our firepit (think small depression in the lawn with no grass growing), there were a large number of old deck boards. We replaced our deck this summer.

I poured out the embers from the portable firepit onto the pile of used boards that were already stacked in the firepit.

Then I went in and watched some TV with my wife.

About 10:00, I was brushing my teeth and decided I had better check on the fire. There was a full-blown bonfire raging in my backyard! So cool!!! The embers had started the boards on fire without any assistance.

bonfire

But it was bedtime so I needed to put it out. Bummer, it was a great fire!

With the hose in hand, I doused the fire to the point where I thought it was too wet for even a spark to burn.

Guess what? Yep, you guessed it. When I took my dog out for his morning poop and pee at 5:30, the fire pit was empty! Nothing but ashes!

Apparently, the fire did start up again. It must have burned through the night. The pile of ash was still warm that many hours later!


All God needs is an ember. In my opinion, our availability is the ember that God can use to start a fire.

The world is broken and used up (like the old deck boards). Our life can be the spark that is used to set people ablaze for God.

If you feel dried up and spent, remember this:

Wood that is dry and empty is the quickest to start on fire.

Be available to God.

He just may start a fire in you or because of you.

Burn baby burn!!!

wood embers burning

Where to begin…October 1.

Hello Reader. I hope your day is running smoothly. Perhaps you have just woken up. Maybe sleep is coming very soon.

Whatever time of day it is for you, enjoy it.

For me, there are many things in my life right now that can be looked at as negative. I won’t even list them because they are not negative things.

If I choose to look at a circumstance or situation and be depressed, that is my choice.

If I see the joy in the chaos, that is also my choice.

positive-attitude

Today starts a campaign if you will.

No, I am not running for public office. However, I am out to make a change.

Not a change in you but a change in me.

I want God’s best in me. Writing this blog is more for me than you, the reader.

So for October, I am posting every night.

This will allow me to see my journey. It is almost as if the words that are typed out are a signpost of where I have been.

The plan is to keep looking forward; progressing.

Looking back only serves to slow things down or worse, cause an accident.

If you choose to read along every day, I am cool with that decision.

If not, no worries because, again, this is really for me.

May God grant you grace and mercy today in ways you have never seen before!

See you tomorrow!

Gold!!!

Guy walks into a jewelry store and proceeds to steal a gold watch. As he is running away, the store owners yells at him. “AU, that’s not your watch!”

gold watch

If you didn’t get that joke, go back to the periodic table of elements. Find number 79. It should make itself clear at that point. =-)


My last post, Trials and Chocolate, ended with the promise to blog about Gold bars.

According to www.usmint.gov, here are some fun facts about gold:

  • Amount of present gold holdings: 147.3 million ounces.
  • The only gold removed has been very small quantities used to test the purity of gold during regularly scheduled audits. Except for these samples, no gold has been transferred to or from the Depository for many years.
  • The gold is held as an asset of the United States at book value of $42.22 per ounce.
  • Highest gold holdings this century: 649.6 million ounces (December 31, 1941).
  • Size of a standard gold bar: 7 inches x 3 and 5/8 inches x 1 and 3/4 inches.
  • Weight of a standard gold bar: approximately 400 ounces or 27.5 pounds.

Now for the spiritual side of gold.

We are in I Peter, and, if I say so myself, not moving very fast. No problem. It is good to meditate on God’s word. Here is verse 7 of the first chapter:

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

If I read that correctly, my faith has greater value than gold.

Why do we go through trials and tribulations?

So that our faith can be proven.

Gold is put through fire. It needs the fire to be purified.

By itself, the gold cannot remove any impurities.

This process of refining gold is complicated and multi-faceted. I don’t understand it either. But the basics are worth catching.

Gold can be found on all seven continents. Regardless of where it was mined, the gold coming out of the earth is not yet pure. It has a long way to go before it gets to your fiance’s finger.

Hence, the refining process. The fire of God.

gold refining

For us, that comes in the form of hard times, temptations, or struggles.

God is desiring that the impurities are removed.

When Jesus comes back, our lives will reflect His glory. Or they won’t reflect His glory.

We can choose to rely on God through the trial or we can try to stick it out ourselves. 

Think about that last sentence.

Who are we to say that we know better than the Almighty God?

Who am I to ignore His grace just for a moment of pleasure?

As much as it hurts or is uncomfortable, let the refining process happen.

I know that I am trying.

I want to be super shiny when Christ returns. I will reflect His character, praise, honor, and glory so much more that way!


At some point soon, you will probably see gold. It might be your wedding band. Perhaps a gold crayon. Maybe the sky will provide golden hues.

Let that color remind you of these two things:

  1. God is letting you go through the refining process to become pure.
  2. God will also never let you go through it alone.

gold bullion