Christmas Canine Cuteness

I had already purchased Christmas cards when the idea was suggested that we make cards with photos of George and me.

It wasn’t a bad idea, necessarily, but I do have a wife, so wouldn’t it be a good idea to include her, too?

So, since I already had the cards (sorta), and since my wife has been out of town and unable to have her picture made with me, I decided to take pictures of George and make copies to insert inside the Christmas cards I’m mailing out.

George is like a wind-up toy that never winds down. Yet, when I put him up on the table and wrapped him in electric Christmas lights, he sat there perfectly calm and still. I was shocked … see what I did there 😉

Anyway, here are a few photos I took with my iPhone, including one with me in the jacket I wore last Sunday night for our Christmas concert. Don’t envy me; that’s a sin.

A perfect little gentleman 🙂

Someone has a little attitude.

He’s either singing “Oh, Howly Night,” laughing at my attempts to make him smile, or screaming, “I don’t want to be a media hound!”

Buddies 🙂

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10 Reasons Why Jesus Is Better Than Santa Claus

It wasn’t an anti-Santa sermon; it was pro-Jesus.

Yes, Sunday morning I did my best to keep things positive and upbeat, rather than pound Santa Claus into the ground as an antichrist-like idol that replaces our Savior as the primary focus of this season.

As a matter of fact, a 5-year-old could have sat in the service and not been dissuaded in his belief in the existence of Saint Nick.

The whole point of the sermon was to highlight Jesus Christ by contrasting Him with the legend of Santa Claus. Therefore, even if you still believed in the jolly old elf, there’d be no comparison with Emanuel, God with us.

If you can spare 39 minutes, click on the picture or the link below and listen to the audio of the sermon. It’s a lot more exciting than simply reading the outline – which I also provided (in case you want to follow along or use it – feel free).

“10 Reasons Why Jesus Is Better Than Santa”

 

1. Santa lives at the North Pole – JESUS is everywhere!
Psalm 139:7-8
“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from the presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”

Mat 28:19-20 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

2. Santa rides in a sleigh –JESUS walks on the water!
John 6:18-20
“And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see JESUS WALKING ON THE SEA, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But He saith unto them, ‘IT IS I; BE NOT AFRAID.’”

2Ki 2:11 – And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

3. Santa comes but once a year –JESUS is our ever-present help!
Psalms 46:1
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Isa 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego

4. Santa fills your stockings with goodies –JESUS supplies all your needs!
Philippians 4:19
“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

5. Santa secretly sneaks down your chimney uninvited –JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited!
Revelation 3:20
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

6. You have to wait in line to see Santa –JESUS is as close as the mention of His name!
Hebrews 4:16
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Galatians 4:6
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

7. Santa lets you sit on his lap –JESUS lets you rest in His arms!
Deuteronomy 33:27
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the EVERLASTING ARMS.”

8. Santa has a great laugh: “HO, HO, HO!” – But Jesus sings and dances!
Zep 3:17
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love (so deep of an expression that it’s difficult to translate), he will joy over thee (to spin around) with singing (a ringing, joyful cry).

9. Santa says “You better not cry” –JESUS says “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
He even collects our tears!

10. Santa is most famous for giving gifts to good boys and girls — JESUS was the gift to make bad boys and girls good!
John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ”

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2Co 5:21 KJV

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*Santa has a list, but so does the Lord: The Lamb’s Book of Life

Rev 21:27  – And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Santa checks his twice a year… The Book of Life only once.

Rev 20:15 KJV – And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Remember #5? He’s at the door of your heart right now.

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Christmas Monkey (“The Least of These”)

The Least of These

This video from several years ago is one of my favorites. It features my youngest daughter, Haley, wrapping a warm blanket around a shivering Mr. Monkey.

Katie (the daughter that is going to be graduating from Bryan College this Friday! After 6 years!!) is doing the camera work.

The message of the video should be obvious, and one that we should take to heart.

I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to share it, too!

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Under the Light On the Tree

We had just finished putting up our first Christmas tree here in Georgia.

So, after getting the lights and ornaments set, it was time to move it out of the middle of the floor. While under the tree, pushing it closer to the window of the living room, I looked up and thought, “Isn’t that beautiful!”

Then, like any good blogger, I decided I wanted the world to see the pretty photo I took with my iPhone. It was when I titled the post that I thought of the beauty of another tree.

“In the old rugged Cross, stained with blood so divine, such a wonderful beauty I see; for t’was on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me.” – George Bennard, The Old Rugged Cross

The only reason we have a Christmas tree is to celebrate the One who came to offer us eternal life, and that only could have happened by Christ being crucified.

I probably wouldn’t have thought “Isn’t that beautiful!” when standing underneath the cross, but in retrospect, that would have been a wondrous sight to behold!

The Light … on a tree.

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Are You Ready for Christmas?

If it was this easy!

If I have been asked once, I have been asked a thousand times: “Are you ready for Christmas?

Well, if by “ready” you mean “have you purchased gifts for every relative and friend, cleaned your house, wrapped everything in red foil, watered the tree, mailed the cards, etc.,” then NO! I’m definitely not ready!

On the other hand, if you’re asking if I am ready for Christmas to get here, then yes, I am.

Am I the only person in this situation? I would suspect most people probably wish they had at least another month to get everything on their lists done.  On the other hand, I hope that we are always ready to celebrate the birth of Christ, which is, of course, the point of the whole day.

But aside from getting ready for the Christmas celebrations, there are other things for which we should be prepared.

As a matter of fact, below are three things we all should be prepared for, maybe even more so than Christmas.

Be Ready to Preach

Paul said, “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel…” (Romans 1:15).  I should be able to say the same, for, just like the apostle, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” (1:16). I should, and YOU should be ready to preach/teach/share the gospel at any time with anyone.

But you may say, “I am not a preacher, though.” Really? Well, the words of Jesus apply to all of us. He said,

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. – Mar 16:15

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. – Mar 16:15 ESV

Even though you may not be a pastor or Sunday School teacher, if you are not ashamed of Jesus, then it is still your responsibility to “proclaim” the message Christmas, the gospel (“good news”) of Jesus coming to save.

Be ready to preach.

Be Ready to Give an Answer

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer [a reasonable defense] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” – 1Pe 3:15 NIV

If Jesus is the “reason for the season,” are we able to defend the Reason based on reason and evidence, not hollow, empty faith?

There are so many who are quick to attack Christians and the God of Christianity. They claim Christmas is based on a myth no more verifiable than the existence of Santa Claus himself. These same folk who deny Jesus was the Messiah then choose to follow some other pagan god or no god and say their “reasons” are more logical.  Really? Where is their evidence?

The Apostle Peter, when he said to “always be ready,” knew that there would be those who would question us and ask, “why do you have so much hope?” There are still plenty of people who are without hope in this world.  They are looking for answers. What they are not looking for is a fairy tale to make them feel good; they are looking for Truth that will make a difference in life, both on this earth and in eternity.

Be ready to give an answer.

Be Ready to Go

I know that Christmas is just around the corner, but who can assure me I’ll be around to see it?  There are no guarantees about tomorrow; one day life on this earth will be over and eternity will begin.  However, for many of us, we believe that Jesus is coming back one day.

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. – Mat 24:44

I want to be ready for His return.  I want to be ready to go with Him.  Being ready for that day, I believe, is a lot more important than getting everything wrapped just so, or cleaning house. If any “cleaning house” is done, we should always make sure our spiritual “house” is clean and ready.  One day, someday, a trumpet is going to sound…

1 Corinthians 15:51-54  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Are you ready to go?  If not, then there is good news: You can be!

You may say that you are not good enough.  You may think that you have done too many things to be forgiven.  You may think that if God is real, then there is no getting right with Him because you’re just too bad.  Well, if you are willing to put your faith in the Christ of Christmas, the good news is that God is also ready…ready to forgive.

For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. – Psa 86:5

Get ready for Christmas, but make your heart ready for Christ.  The Savior born in a manger wants to give new life to you.

Are you ready?

Questions about faith in Jesus Christ?

Call 1-800-NEED-HIM

 

 

 

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Filed under Apologetics, Christmas, Culture Wars, Preaching, salvation

Things NOT to Hang On Your Christmas Tree

The Old Lights

For those of us who were born after the advent (see what I did there?) of electricity, the most dangerous Christmas tree lighting we experienced were the glass light bulbs that tended to heat up too much. Long before there were those tiny cool-to-the-touch diodes, we had colored spot lights that broke into tiny shards of foot-stabbing cheer!

These are actually for sale!

Man, I miss those lights! The best one can do nowadays is find plastic reproductions that look like the old bulbs. However, you could take an extra risk of burning down your house by plugging in some vintage ones you buy online.

When we were told to unplug the lights before going to bed, it wasn’t just the energy we were trying to conserve.

The Older Lights

Source: Huffpost.com

But before there were electric lights of any kind, our forefathers and foremothers evidently had the ability to hang flaming wax sticks on combustible evergreens and not die as a result. Of course, these were the same people who survived lead-painted toys and smoked Marlboro Lights for “better health.”

Yes, believe it or not, people really did put candles on Christmas trees, even up until the 1940’s! And what’s even more shocking to me is that there are actually people who still do! Literally, according to some, candle-lit Christmas trees are on the comeback!

If you don’t believe me, here’s a link you can follow to buy your own Christmas tree-burning ornaments.

By the way, has anyone noticed an uptick in house fires, lately?

The What Not’s

I don’t know about you, but it would seem to me that there are some things one should never place on a Christmas tree; the old incandescent bulbs and even older, match-lit torches are only two of them.

But as family conversation would have it, the subject of Christmas trees came up over lunch the other day. Sitting with my wife and my mother, between sips of eggnog and nibbles of Christmas cookies and sugar plums, we determined what things should NOT be put on a Christmas tree – besides candles.

  • Tinsel. I don’t know why one is not supposed to put tinsel on a Christmas tree, other than because cats love to eat it. But what’s wrong with that? All it does is make their litter more festive, right?
  • Mini Christmas trees. I mean, why? After all, it’s it enough that you have the real thing in your house? Why put little imitations on it? Isn’t that redundant? A little overkill?
  • Old ornaments with your ex’s picture on them. That’s just asking for trouble. Fires are started by people, too, you know.
  • Cheese. Ever heard the story about it being quiet in the house, right before Santa arrives? Remember how not a creature was stirring, “not even a mouse.” Well, put cheese on your tree and all mistletoe could break loose!
  • Mousetraps. Let’s just say your really do want to put cheese on your Christmas tree, you know, to go with the string of popcorn. In an effort to keep the mice from steeling your cheddar-flavored ornaments, you might think it’s a good idea to hand a few well-placed mousetraps. But seriously, what will the children think when dead vermin are found bleeding all over their presents come Christmas morning? Not good.
  • Knives. (I thought of this one) My mother literally asked me after I made the suggestion, “Why would anyone put knives on a Christmas tree?” I answered, “Why would anyone hang a lit candle on a piece of kindling right in the middle of the living room?” “Good point,” she replied. But even though knives are shiny, reflect light, and, depending on the color of the handle, can blend in nicely with the decorations – don’t shake the tree when reaching under it for a present. You might end up needing the ribbon for a tourniquet.
  • White-corded lights on a green tree (or visa versa). This was my wife’s suggestion of what NOT to put on a Christmas tree, but then I reminded her that such a suggestion might get her into trouble. Why? Because what if the boxes in which the wires came were mislabeled? What if the white strand of lights self-identified as a green strand of lights? Who needs a law suit on Christmas Eve? Just wrap them around the tree and let them twinkle.

So, in a chestnut shell, try to avoid anything that might cause bad memories, set your house on fire, harm pets, or offend trans-colored wiring, and your Christmas tree will bring you hours of entertainment and joy – until you have to take it down.

Do you think the real reason there may have been “no room in the inn” was because Joseph mentioned something about putting up a birthday tree?

I hope you laughed. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22a). 

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Wellness: How to Create a Support System for the Pastor’s Wife — The Light Breaks Through

I love my wife, and sometimes it’s not easy knowing all that she endures because of my position as Pastor. That’s why I found the following post from Keith Haney so encouraging. It shows that pastors aren’t the only ones who deal with the struggles of ministry.

God bless all the pastors’ wives! 

When we talk about church worker wellness we often forget the spouses. This post is to alert you to a growing problem that often goes unnoticed and rarely addressed. Many pastors are lonely, and so are their wives and their children can become isolated. This account is not every minister’s history, but it is the tale…

via Wellness: How to Create a Support System for the Pastor’s Wife — The Light Breaks Through

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by | December 5, 2019 · 4:12 pm