Bah Humbug! What is Jesus Thinking?
Are you just about ready to yell, “Bah Humbug!” Is the Christmas spirit turning into a bad spirit that seems to be haunting you? Breathe deeply. You are not alone. December is a crazy, chaotic month when expectations can smother you like a heavy fog moving in for the kill. Lists, lists, and more lists. Other people requesting things and the calendar is your enemy. Cold, damp weather brings on some joint pain and stiffness in the old folks (yeah, that’s me) and the juggling act is an amazing performance. The bah-humbug spirit is chasing hard after your last nerve! You didn’t expect this from me, did you? Actually, in the midst of the frenzy, I confess that I can feel all those things, but I do love sitting at night before bed with my hot vanilla chamomile tea, scrolling through the lovely photos online at whatever site I land. Those amazing shots of winter wonderland forests, candles burning on mantels, and chihuahuas in their red sweaters do help me relax and smile and think some fuzzy thoughts about the season.
Several phone calls I received this past week reminded me that not everyone is basking in the glow of the fireplace while hanging their stockings. Christmas can be the most stressful time of the year. People without families envision “everyone else” coming together with love, gifts and warm embraces, while they’re sitting home alone. Single people fantasize that life would likely be perfect at Christmas with a spouse to share it with. Many who struggle to make ends meet every month of the year push themselves to ulcers trying to figure out how to buy gifts for everyone, in addition to paying the past due bills. And, those grieving the loss of loved ones reminisce and long for times past. These things can rob us of joy and peace in a heartbeat.
What is Jesus thinking as He looks upon us in our hectic activities and stress filled days? Of course, I don’t know, but I think I can make an educated guess. I think He is slowly shaking his head, reaching out His nail scarred hands toward each of us, attempting to calm us, to infuse us with His peace and love. He longs for us to stop the insanity and just sit at His feet. Just be with Him. He doesn’t really care if we celebrate His birth.He certainly doesn’t care about our shopping and parties. He just wants us to be so filled with His love and His Presence that our lives illuminate the darkness----in a more pure and perfect way than all the twinkling lights on our rooftops. If only we could get it! We don’t need all the hype. We only need Him. Joy and peace originate with Him. There is no other place to find them.
When January finally settles in, I want to look back and say that my best Christmas was this one---the one where I took more time to sit with Jesus, getting to know Him more, experience Him more deeply, and the one where I didn’t really care about the gifts, decor and food. Those things are nice, but they are the lesser things. Like Mary and Martha (in Luke 10), Jesus was blessed by Mary’s heart of zeal to sit at His feet and experience fellowship with Him, while Martha was scurrying about, fretting. There’s really no reason why we can’t change things in our holiday routines. We can. I am working on it. Peace on earth, goodwill towards men is a wonderful ambition. And the best way to celebrate Christmas. Let’s try to make some positive changes so that we truly experience the love of Jesus and share it with everyone we are in contact with. I believe that is the real Christmas spirit. The Holy Spirit of God moving in us and through us. As others observe our peace and joy, they will begin to reach out to Him to receive it too.
Best Wishes to you all this season!
Out of the Saltshaker
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Matt 5:13
Jesus is speaking here to the people surrounding him on the hillside, who were anxious to soak up all that He had to teach. Instilling the principles of being light in a dark world was not an easy task. The people back then were not that different from people today. There were different types of challenges in their culture, of course, but the basic human frailties and strengths were the same. The world was full of darkness, crime and evil. Followers of Yeshua searched for ways to live out the gospel as He taught it. We all share that hunger and thirst to to be salt and light. He says that if the salt loses its saltiness, it's good for nothing except the trash pile.
We must daily do a “salt check” to see if we are still sprinkling the darkness to keep it fresh. Salt is a preservative in one sense. Spiritual salt preserves Christ's word and dispenses it into the bland, colorless, monotonous areas of the world. The truth of the gospel salts the negative nothingness of the “world's” ways to spice it up and make it not only interesting, but more palatable. Let us never grow weary of finding the freshness of the deeper things of God and ever willing to share them.
I recently came across “Herbs & Spices” by Michael McIntyre. McIntyre talked about salt & pepper sitting on the table ready to be used while various spices, like oregano, rosemary, cumin, thyme, paprika, were kept inside a cupboard waiting. McIntyre says: “Occasionally the cupboard door is opened & these other spices see the salt & the pepper sitting on the table. One spice, looking at them says, ‘What have they got that we haven’t? Ever been out of the cupboard, oregano?’ ‘Once, when they cooked spaghetti bolognaise in 1988.’ ‘What about you, cumin? Ever been out the cupboard?’ ‘Yes, just once, when they moved from their old house to this house.’ ‘What about you, paprika?’ ‘I fell out the cupboard once, & they put me back in, the wrong way round. I’ve stayed like that for 7 years.’ ‘What about you on the end? Who are you?’ ‘I’m Five Spice. I am better than all of you & have been part of recipes in China for thousands of years.’ ‘O, yes, but have you ever been out of this cupboard?’ ‘No!’”
Funny, but obviously salt is the most useful and popular spice. Salt is also used in healing such as when you gargle warm salt water for a sore throat. Christians in this world are the salt, distribute the salt and utilize the salt. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” If our conversation is seasoned with salt, we will be drawing people to the Lord, causing them to look deeper into themselves and toward God. Our seasoning will pull them out of their usual thought cycles and into a mindset of seeking more, seeking Him. And it will be done with grace, love and insight that come directly from the Father. That's how you will know how to answer everyone! Come out of the saltshaker and season the world this week.
The Night is Almost Gone
Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of right living…Romans 13:11-12
The alarm is sounding! Do you sometimes sleep through the ringing of your alarm clock in the morning? Certain people in my family (which shall remain nameless) can sleep through the most obnoxious alarm tone ever known to man. I can’t imagine sleeping that soundly, to not even hear that noise or be stirred by it.
The truth is that many in the church are in the same state of deep slumber. Prophets and watchmen have been sounding a loud, sometimes even grating, message of warning to ‘wake up now’. Over and over we hear the watchmen’s messages of getting our houses in order, our spiritual hearts right. And yet….many Christians are placing their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes and saying blahblahblahblah…… don’t want to hear it. I’ve heard every imaginable response to the ‘get ready’ message, the most common being that people have always thought it was the end times and there’s been no major earthshaking change, so life goes on. It’s easier to live in denial.
“The night is almost gone, and the day is near.” The “night” is the dark world in which we currently reside. The “day” is the day of Christ’s coming. The day is near. We must don the armor of light, the armor of right living, purity, godliness, preparing ourselves to be a spotless bride. If the awesomeness of God is so powerful one cannot look on Him and live, what will happen when we’re standing in His Presence and our hearts are still full of anger, unforgiveness, greed, jealousy, etc. We will disintegrate into a pool of regret. Yes, we are His forever, forgiven, loved and redeemed. However, He has given us mandates, commands, non-negotiable guidelines for walking in His Spirit, with our eyes focused on Jesus, the Light. A spotless Bride requires house cleaning of massive dimensions. He helps us do the work because we are His. Then, we reach out to a lost and dying world who wants to know the reason for our hope.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow; The sun forbear to shine
But God who called me here below, Will be forever mine, will be forever mine
You are forever mine
Ask God to reveal to you what your role is in sounding the alarm. You may not be a prophet, but you are a redeemed, beloved disciple who is called to be salt and light. Be sure your alarm is not droning on unheeded, first. Then, get serious about your part in touching a wounded, bleeding world who needs the Light of Christ.
10 Tips for Slowing Down and Learning from a Type B
You’re pretty proud of being “Type A,” aren't’ you? After all, Type A people are producers, go-getters, successful and fun. You wouldn’t say it in just any circles, but in your head people who aren’t Type A are pretty much “losers.” They are lazy, uncommitted, lacking passion. There is a sense of pride in being a Type A, driven, passionate soul.
Preventing Stressful Holidays
It appears that the day after Halloween officially kicks off the Christmas season. Since I love Thanksgiving, I hate how it gets cheated! I don't decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, giving it it's rightful honor. Turkey is almost sacred at my house--ask my family. It's a tradition that for me has wonderful memories from childhood family reunions and a closeness that will never leave my heart. Of course, as a child it was seen through very rose colored glasses, which is okay....and as it should be.Tags: holiday stress stressful holidays preplanning for holidays reduce holiday stress christmas stress3 comments Read 214 times Read more...
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