It’s a new year and a new start – fitting that it should be on a Sunday. We now have three hundred and sixty-five days to make a difference in our life, for good – or not so much. Change doesn’t always come easy though – sometimes it’s the hardest thing you’ll have to do because you are your biggest opponent. Sometimes, no matter what you try, you can’t change on your own. You have to recognize that there are people in your life who were put there to help you guide your way. Don’t give up on yourself – you have more ability than you think you do …
And on and on and on. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to enact the change I want to see in my life. I can read all those motivational “new year, new you, new start, new …” but it’s not going to do me much good if I don’t start off with a new way of thinking. Not easy – but way worth it.
With these last few days, I’ve been thinking on Luke 12:35-48 lately. I have the house as clean as it’s going to get (for now) straightened up (somewhat) and most of the chores taken care of and I’m just waiting for a particular return. It could be at any minute of the next few hours, or later on – I just have to wait and see. It’s easy though, to keep a house in order, it’s much more difficult to keep a spiritual house neat and tidy. Still, when you read through all of that, isn’t it just the thing we should do?
-Be Dressed: Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27, Colossians 3:12, and 1 Peter 5:5
-Ready for Service: Titus 3:1 and Revelation 19:7
-Keep your Lamps Burning: Matthew 25:1-13 and Matthew 5:14-16
When it comes right down to it: From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
That’s the way it is. Have you been given much? Are you ready for much more to be asked of you?
(I’ve made some changes – recent events have convinced me that the less you have on you on the internet, the better.)
I’ve already mentioned that there are two Christmases that are commonly celebrated in the states – the one with Santa Claus as a central figure and the one that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Celebrating Christmas without Santa Clause shouldn’t be a problem – but it does pose certain issues for families with young children and other relatives with young children who don’t quite see eye-to-eye on the matter. Let me see if I can say this delicately – parents are generally honest to their young children. Stoves can be hot and it’s not a great idea to play in the snow without a proper jacket or gloves. Yet when it comes to the holidays we have many traditions that fall away as we age – the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, etc. Why do we fill our young children’s minds with ideas and concept that will not last? If we give them something to believe in that they can’t believe in when they get older – what sort of impact will this have? Is it not strange that we have so developed Santa Clause as a man with a past, present, and future yet when it comes to the tooth fairy, we haven’t even given her a first name?
By the way, the idea of Santa Claus was based off of Saint Nicholas of Myra (born sometime in the year 270 – died the 6th of december 343), which was also called the Lycia region of Modern-day Turkey. His parents were Christians and he joined the faith early on in life. He had a reputation for putting coins in the shoes of people who left them out and once gave a poor man enough money to cover the cost of his three daughters’ dowries so that they wouldn’t have to participate in the oldest profession in the world for women. Much of our American tradition is based off of various older Dutch and German traditions around the character of Sinterklass which were modernized at the turn of the century into the Santa Claus that we see everywhere today. I don’t think good old Saint Nicholas would be pleased with the idea that it was more popular to believe that a version of him would give greater gifts than the man he died believing in – but that doesn’t exactly sell soda pop these does, now does it?
Maybe there is room for the two – but I’d rather have the truth than any easily-marketable idea: Were it not for Jesus Christ, there would be no Santa Claus.
is a ‘David and Goliath situation’ and the challenge has been put forth. I’m not sure how much I should say – I’m not certain I have all the facts. One thing I do know is that for all that our ‘David’ is up against, there is one powerful entity there to sway the turn of events – a loving God who takes pride in representing the oppressed, down-trodden, and people who have nowhere else to turn or nobody else to speak up for them. Still, prayers are greatly appreciated – so keep them coming if you can.
Kindly pray for:
– A place to rent poste haste
– The weather to be conducive
– A pro-bono lawyer who isn’t afraid to fight an established family
– A schedule that accommodates work and court appearances
– A support system: so that this whole thing isn’t faced alone
– A true Christmas miracle
It’s December, what a rotten time of the year to be so under-handed, uncaring, and unkind.
December isn’t just about Christmas, there’s also Hanukkah – which isn’t celebrated by Christians, but knowing the story behind it is worthwhile. As we know, Ancient Israel had to contend with their more powerful neighbors who were’t known to respect their beliefs. At one point, the observance of Judaism was outlawed and the Holy Temple was desecrated. This outraged a number of Jews to the point where they revolted and successfully drove out the force occupying the temple. Now first thing comes first, they started to clean it out. They discovered that there was only enough oil to last the lights for just one day – but they lit them anyway. Then they began the process of making more oil – but it would take more time than the oil was expected to last. As they faithfully proceeded to restore the temple, they realized that the oil hadn’t yet run out – even though it had been a full day. Even on the second and third days, the oil lasted. It didn’t run out on the fourth, fifth, or sixth day. It was still there on the seventh and continued to provide light on the eighth day – lasting just long enough for the replacement oil be made according to the way God had prescribed it.
It reminds me of another story – just after Israel had been dedicated as a nation, it’s neighbors took advantage of their newness and weakness and attacked in what would be known as the Six Day War. One day, four soldiers stood guard by a steep hillside, not expecting to be attacked. Suddenly, the could hear a force of several dozen attackers approaching – the soldiers realized that they no more than a dozen bullets between them – so they took their positions and readied themselves for the short battle that was before them. Once all of their ammunition was expended, they ducked back into their fortification and waited. Suddenly, from behind them they could hear the attackers let out a scream, they turned around and ran back the way they came. The four soldiers couldn’t believe their fortune, time went on, the war ended. Then one day, one of the four soldiers – an old man by now, was recounting the story of the strangest battle he had ever fought to a friend of his whom he had brought to the battle’s site. He was interrupted by a stranger who happened to have been on the other side. He explained that as they were almost to the fortification they had all seen an impossibly large man appear just over them. They thought he was Abraham and were so terrified by the size of him that they couldn’t fight a second and fled to fight another day.
In a modern world where so many people take the sacred for granted – here is one lesson we should never forget, God loves His chosen people and has been known to back them up with His power – which cannot be defeated, contained, diluted, or contended against. He has promised to bless those who bless them and curse those who cursed them. Historically speaking – it’s better to be on His side than against Him.