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What Can I Give?

“What can I give Him?” For days, these words have been roaming around in my head along with the rest of the line, “give Him my heart.” They were driving me crazy, because I couldn’t remember from where they came, so I had to do some research.
What I found surprised me. These words are in the last stanza of a poem written by Christina Georgina Rossetti, born December 5, 1830. Historians are not sure when Miss Rossetti penned them, but believe it was before 1872.

The Wonder of The Incarnation

The countdown continues and we find ourselves rushing toward our Christmas Day finale. But, has the busyness of Christmas kept you from truly experiencing the wonder of the Incarnation – Emmanuel – God with us?
I know it’s difficult with all the shopping, baking, cleaning, and decorating, to stay focused on this amazing truth. So, let’s take a few minutes, right now, to reflect on this glorious wonder.
Incarnation, it’s such a complex word. Nevertheless, it speaks of the moment God, who is Spirit, stepped from eternity into time, into our world, becoming one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. He did this to pay the death penalty for humanity’s sin, because of His great love.

The Spirit of Christmas

It’s December and the spirit of Christmas is everywhere. This is the time of year when people are concerned about being “naughty ornice” and they try live out the one portion of scripture that no one seems to oppose, peace, good will toward men.
Lately, I have been reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. If you have ever read this Christian classic, then you know Lewis talks about a knowledge that is inherent. I believe it came as the result of sin. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobediently ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and their eyes were opened. Where they once knew only God and purity, they instantly had an understanding of good and evil, right and wrong. Now everyone born from Adam is born with a sin nature and this knowledge. (Rom. 5:12).

Our Greatest and Priceless Gift

The race is on! We’re streaking toward the finish line of December 25th and I’m already starting to panic. My calendar is full, the hours left are short, and I’m not quite sure I will make it.
I started out really well, with plenty of time to spare. My daughter and I braved the howling storm and sea of people on “Black Friday”. We were among the midnight crazies at Walmart, doing the all-night shopping thing. Infused with caffeine and adrenalin, we sped from one end of the store to the other and got some decent deals. However, what seemed to be suitable gift ideas in the excitement and haste of early dawn, once home, turned out to be not-so-wise choices.
For one special item, I stood in a three-hour line that snaked through several aisles. While I waited, I had an opportunity to observe the people around me. Each person was cordial, courteous, pleasant, and helpful, but completely absorbed in their own shopping needs. They came from all walks of life with many different interests. Some…

For What Are You Thankful?

Are you thankful for your family, your home, your job, your health, or countless other items?
We have so much, and in this season of Thanksgiving, we do see “thankful” people. In fact, there was a TV program Thanksgiving night called “Thank You, America”, where Robin Roberts and Jimmy Kimmel, surprised ordinary citizens who have done much to help their community and those in need. I must admit, I did not watch it. I’m only going on the Network’s advertisements.

Learning The Secret of Abundant Life

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV)
Do you live in the knowledge and understanding of life abundant? It’s easy to quote John 10:10, and say we live it. But do we really?
When our lives are so full of activity and crazy drama, it is hard to live and believe Jesus meant this for us. We know He said it and we try to believe, but sometimes it’s just easier to feel overwhelmed and depressed, than to think, somehow we missed it.
In the chaos, we long to withdraw to the refuge of our bed and pull the covers over our head until it all goes away.

Aromatherapy By God

It’s fall! I love fall! Like many of you, it is actually my favorite time of year. The harvest, the changing leaves, fall colors, football games, cheerleading, and marching bands. There’s just a different feel to this season and, in my opinion, a special fragrance to the crisp coolness of the air. I am exhilarated and energized, ready to prepare for the long winter ahead. This is what I would call God’s own aromatherapy.
Did you know God also enjoys certain aromas?

The Gift of Friendship

It’s the time of year for parties, tailgating, and family get-togethers.
They can be large or small assemblies consisting of people with like interests, employment, age, or gender. Nevertheless, at most gatherings I’ve attended, small groupings emerge. In corners, around tables, standing or sitting, there are pockets of people, engaging in conversation. However, if the party is mixed company, I’ve noticed women seem to end up in one room, usually the kitchen, and men just naturally gravitate towards the living room, den, or man cave.
Why does this occur? It’s because, human relationships are important and friendship is a gift from God. He created us to need one another, and says through Solomon, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion…Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

When we have a decision to make, it’s nic…

Is Your Wardrobe Changing?

Indian summer is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Hues of burnt orange, vibrant gold, and rustic red mixed with the last bits of deep green, inspire feelings of warmth and passion. Beginning preparation for the long winter, our thoughts naturally turn to fall harvest. The cool crisp foods of summer give way to pot roast, soup, and of course pumpkin pie. We sip apple cider, mulled or straight, as sweatshirts and fleece become part of our wardrobe. In a seemingly effortless transition, we move from swimming pools and bathing suits to football games and jackets.
Nevertheless, it’s not an effortless transition; it requires a conscious decision. We could stay in our bathing suits and freeze, but we don’t – we change with the seasons.

Happy New Year

Are you kidding? It isn’t New Year. Well, maybe not, but September always feels like it to me. With a new school year, new church programs, etc, the lackadaisical summer has turned into a disciplined schedule. Nevertheless, September-October is the month Israel celebrates their civil New Year, called Rosh Hashanah. Israel’s New Year begins Wednesday, September 24, 2014, but for them, it’s the year 5775.
Rosh Hashanah or The Feast of Trumpets is one of the seven feasts the Lord instituted in Leviticus 23. The first feast, The Sabbath, is weekly. Three spring feasts are next, ushering in the religious New Year:  Passover/Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Firstfruits, The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. Jesus Christ, in His first coming, spiritually fulfilled these three. The remaining three are fall feasts, ushering in the civil New Year:  The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and The Feast of Tabernacles are yet to be fulfilled. The gap of time between the spring feasts and the fall fe…

Taken A Faith Walk Lately?

Has there ever been a time when you felt you were just going through the motions spiritually? You pray, read your bible, go to church, and do all the things you know, as a Christian, you are supposed to do, but you’re just not feeling it? Well, welcome to “Faith Walk”.
Wasn’t it just a little while ago we were standing on that mountaintop praising God, feeling His presence and seeing His hand at work in everything? It seemed like nothing could interfere with our closeness to our Savior. Then, without realizing it, slowly things changed. Emptiness crept in. Our prayers seem to stop at the ceiling not reaching God’s ears. We’re feeling spiritual dreariness resembling this time of year. Our weather is transitioning from summer to fall, from the intense heat of the sun to overcast, damp, chilly days. Gloominess like the groaning of creation, booms in our ears. (Romans 8:22)

Are You Ready For Change?

Change is in the air – can you feel it?
A change of season approaches with cooler nights and shorter days. Our flora and fauna change – fall flowers wear deeper hues and trees sport orange, gold and red leaves. Animals grow thicker coats instinctively preparing for winter. Change is part of our world. Genesis 8:22 says, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”
Nobody experienced more change than Noah and his family. The global flood changed the face of the earth. Nothing remained the same except for those on the ark. They must have felt as though they were stepping out on an alien planet. Nevertheless, Almighty God was there with His covenant and rainbow. He was their one unwavering constant who says, I am the Lord, I change not.”

Christian Tattoos?

Two weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with my aunt and cousin. As volunteers, we arrived very early and the arena’s immensity stunned me. All I could say was, “Lord Jesus, fill this place with Your Spirit.”
After receiving our assignments, people began filling the seats. Soon the entertainment started with music of every genre, mostly appealing to the younger crowd. There was Rap, Grunge, Alternative, etc, and for us ole-folk, earplugs.
What a joy to see the kids having such a great time moving to the music of these Christian artists and then intently listening to their testimony. Each artist gave details of their life and the lies they believed until someone introduced them to Jesus. And as He does with everyone who calls upon His name to repent, believe, and receive Him as Savior and Lord, Jesus turned their lives around. They are new creations, who now sing for Him. Each evening, Jesus Christ was lifted up…

The Lord of Hosts Is His Name

On a warm summer night, darkness creates a quiet calmness. Chipping tree frogs and crickets break the silence and distant stars sparkle like diamonds on black velvet. “The heavens declare the glory of God…” says the Psalmist, and my breath catches, suddenly comprehending how small I am and how great is our God!
In these moments, I understand King David’s proclamation, “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord God… So let Your name be magnified forever saying The Lord of hosts is the God of Israel…”  Jeremiah agrees, “Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and stars for a light by night…the Lord of hosts is His name.”

Has God Made You Laugh?

Have there been things in your life you never thought would take place, because you prayed and prayed, but nothing changed? When you began this quest, did you cling to Psalm 37:4’s promise of when we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart, only to realize His answer was no or not now? Did you pout and get angry or take matters into your own hands? Did your solution backfire or did you finally accept things as they were?
       Imagine Sarah, Abraham’s wife, would answer with a resounding “Yes”, considering the years of praying for God to open her womb. Each month her prayer and anticipation, just to experience great disappointment and pain when conception did not take place. Month after month, year after year, the same thing; after a while it can make you a bit numb and desperate. Finally, as a last resort, Sarah suggested something despicable; something I believe, she would never have agreed to under any other circumstances. It was a huge sacrifice, but s…

What's Gonna Get You Through?

Sometimes I feel as though I’m dog-paddling in the water of life, just barely keeping my head above the surface. Do you ever feel this way?
     If so, then you know how hard it is to maintain our closeness with God. But we must, because He is the Source of our strength (Psalm 27:1). He will bring us through.
     In this time of treading water, I need the hope and transformation Ezekiel 47:1-12 conveys:

A Letter of Christ

In this very busy digital age, we have all but lost the art of letter writing. Gone are the days of the eloquent handwritten letter with its etiquette and style. But here to stay are emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and all the others.
For years, personal letters became keepsakes; tangible and identifiable items straight from the heart of a loved one, perhaps many miles from home. Just by observing the handwriting, the reader could recognize the writer and almost feel their presence. And no matter how many times they reread the letter, the feeling was the same.
I realize it is much faster to shoot out an email, post on Facebook, tweet, or text, and receive almost immediate gratification, but it’s not the same. Our busyness and time constraints necessitate this mode of communication. Yet, when someone does take the time to hand-write a letter or card, it somehow feels more special and so do we.

Let's Break Free - Part 3

The blinding stream of light swept across the courtyard. It wouldn’t return for another five minutes, I had it timed perfectly. Lying flat on my belly, head raised, forearms in position and toes dug in, I began an army-crawl across the compound. Inching toward a hole in the wall, something grabbed my ankle chains. I kicked to break free, but to no avail. Pain shot through my arms as I lugged my body toward that hole. Freedom was twenty yards away, but this thing held me back. With each pull forward, I’d be yanked back two.
“Let me go!” I whisper-shouted.
“No way!” it cackled.
“I’m not guilty! I’m innocent I tell you. I must break free!”
“You can’t, you will never be free!”

Let's Break Free - Part 2

As we begin our second week of breaking free, consider your initial reaction to the thought of a physical, emotional, or spiritual prison. Did you think it too harsh an analogy, or did you have an epiphany and say, “Yes, that’s exactly the way I feel”?
Last time, we focused on physical prisons constructed of materials beyond our control. This time, we are discussing an emotional penitentiary built by someone else:  A verbally abusive spouse, a domineering friend or family member, a child’s drug addiction, etc.
Many factors can cause emotional incarceration and we may feel these are also beyond our control, but are they? Although we cannot really control another person, or how they treat us, we can do something about our reaction and emotions. So, what can we do?

Let's Break Free - Part 1

Freedom is one of our most prize possessions. As American citizens, we talk about it, sing about it, and we love our military for keeping us free.
However, in our personal lives we may not be free at all. Many things can hold us captive. They may be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Nevertheless, we end up feeling as though we live in prison.
But, what type of prison?

Independence Needs Dependence

On July 2, 1776, in a secretive meeting set in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence proposed in June 1776, by Richard Henry Lee. A committee of five men, with Thomas Jefferson as primary writer, compiled a document known to us as the Declaration of Independence.

According to http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration.html, “What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy [of individual liberty] in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.”

Blessed Are The Fruit Bearers

Since our Nation’s 238th Birthday approaches and we see activists and militants rising, I had thought to write about the coming persecution. However, in my study, the Lord showed me something I never knew.
Reading the Sermon on the Mount passage in Matthew 5, because verses 11 and 12 deal with persecution, it suddenly occurred to me, I always saw these as separate people. In my mind, the poor in spirit, the mourner, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the peacemakers, and the persecuted, were each unique and distinct. I thought we just needed to find which mold we fit into and that was that.
Because Matthew was set in a time before the crucifixion of Christ, I didn’t realize the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, etc. become this way by the power of His Holy Spirit. These are attributes of Christ; qualities we cannot sustain on our own.

It Isn't Easy Being Green

The slogan “Go Green” has been around for quite a few years and our Muppet friend, Kermit the Frog, is incredibly proud. Going “Green” is so popular, hotels are even using it as a way to reduce their amenities. When conversations turn to environmental issues, it seems there is an urgency and fear associated with saving the planet.
Celebrities, campaign ads, commercials, newspapers, and magazines all call for us to step up and do our part. We must right the wrongs done to earth and it’s atmosphere or else life as we know it will disappear. We are enticed by hybrid car and home improvement tax breaks and our tax dollars fund government-sponsored ecosystem research.   Not that I am against being good stewards of God’s creation over which we were given dominion, but why such desperation?

Waiting On The Lord

How do we WAITon the Lord? How do we stay strong, steadfast, and keep the faith when our prayers seemingly go unanswered?
In the beginning we pray with strong faith, believing it is God’s will. We expect to see an answer and faithfully watch for His hand to work. When things begin to happen, we grab-on to the possibility that it is at this time and in this way Almighty God is answering with a resounding YES! Excitement builds as we anticipate life finally going our way. But a gnawing inside says, “Be careful, maybe you’re reading too much into the situation.”  Immediately you stuff that thought and chalk it up to a lack of faith. After all, “nothing is impossible with God,” and “He is able” to answer this prayer. It’s not a selfish prayer or something contrary to God’s word. No, it’s a good prayer, a need, and God’s word says He supplies our needs, so why the concern?

Where He Leads, I Will Follow

Traditionally, June is the month for graduation and weddings, each individual or couple setting out on a new experience. The high school graduate out from under the rule and reign of mom and dad can, if they so choose, get a job and move out on their own. Some will work through the summer to save money for the new adventure of college.  On the other hand, marriage is also a new frontier. Most have only observed marriage, whether modeled in the home or on television. Still, they all set out on this journey into the unknown.
So, what might you be attempting this summer that you have never done before, or what would you like to do, but are fearful?