Tag Archives: Christmas

What’s Your Life Worth?

Someone needs to read this. Is it you?

What would you die for?

What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? Then you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Foolish, frankly.

Even more than concrete items, some value their pride more than life. They are willing to fight to the death, or kill others when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be thought of wrongly. So many have yet to learn that what people think of them does not determine the reality of who they are.

From the perspective of family, I would say that most believe life is worth risking life. If my loved ones were in danger, then it would be natural to put my life on the line. Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society is very fickled when it comes to how it determines the value of one life. One life is not as valuable as another, after all. Life is not as valuable to some if convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.  I would die for my children, but many kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that values gold more consistently than life itself.

What about beliefs? Are you willing to die for what you believe? Now, this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s ok. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance. A martyr is one who will die for what they believe, rather than deny it.  Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

But here’s one more thought…how much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, right? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you.

Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own. Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s. Your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make you of incalculable worth! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilts and failures as His own, and paying the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

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. – 2Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes you valuable. That makes Jesus pretty unique. How many others have done what He has for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

That’s the whole reason for Christmas, you know.  Jesus had to come to earth as a baby to grow into the Man that would willingly go to a cruel cross.  The gift of Christmas is the gift of life, purchased with the life of the Giver of Life. How ironic is that; and how wonderful?

What is your life worth?  It was worth the Messiah suffering the most excruciating death Rome could conceive.  It was worth the Prince of Peace being shredded by a “cat of nine tails.” It was worth God becoming flesh so that we could know Him.  If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.

Your life is worth it.

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, salvation, self-worth, Uncategorized, World View

After-Christmas Gifts

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11

Late-Comers

Part of the Christmas story can be found in the book of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament. There, in chapter two, we read of several wise men, Magi, who followed the star till it rested over the place where the young Jesus was living.

But what most people fail to notice is that only the shepherds came to visit Jesus while he was still a baby in a manger. The Magi came later, once they were living “in the house” and Jesus was a “young child.” And, based on Herod’s decree that all male children 2 years old and younger should be killed (Matt. 2:16), Jesus could have been a toddler up and walking.

Simply put, generally, every manger scene protested against by atheists is not a faithful representation of the Christmas story. How ironic is that? But I digress…

The Gifts

When the Magi came to Bethlehem in search of “he that is born King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2), they brought with them three very rare and valuable gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were not random gifts, but ones with specific political, spiritual, and practical importance; they were meant to recognize a literal, earthly, but also heavenly King.

gold frankincense and myrrhGold was a universally recognized precious metal, symbolic of all wealth. Frankincense was a substance primarily used as incense, but also mixed with other substances to create the holy anointing oil placed on high priests and kings. Myrrh was a substance used for things ranging all the way from cosmetics and antiseptics, to perfuming the living and embalming the dead.

According to Matthew 2:11, the Magi fell down before Jesus, which would have been an appropriate response when in the presence of royalty (and these men knew the difference). But the wise men did more than fall prostrate before royalty, they “worshiped him.”  This young king was more than just “King of the Jews,” but the long-promised Messiah, and they offered their gift to the Son of God.

Are You Wise?

As long as I can remember there have been sermons preached during and before Christmas entitled, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” The sermons focus primarily on the seeking leading up to Christmas, but rarely, if ever, on the gifts given after the celebration is over. But today is different.

Today, I am going to ask you to consider three gifts we should give, now that the birthday celebration is over.

  • Gold. Gold represented wealth. In your worship of the King, will you give Him your wealth? In reality, God owns everything, including everything He loans unto you. But with your heart, are you willing to lay everything that is most valuable to you at His feet?
  • Frankincense. Frankincense represented worship. Would you be willing to fall down before Jesus, or do you hold back some of your Frankincense in reserve? Are there idols in your life – people or things – for which you reserve a little of that anointing oil, making those things lords of your life? Would you be willing to make Jesus Lord of all? Will you worship him without reservation?
  • Myrrh. Myrrh was symbolic of the beauty of life, from beginning to end. Would you give to Jesus everything that makes you happy? Everything that brings you hope? Everything that is sweet-smelling? Everything that hides your faults and failures, disguising your true self? Would you give Jesus your life? He can do more with it than you can do on your own.

Returns

For several days after Christmas people will stand in line to return and/or exchange unwanted gifts. Many will trade what others gave them for something they want more. Others will just ask for a refund or in-store credit.

Rest assured that when you give your gifts to Jesus, he will not return them, exchange them, or re-gift them next year. But will you, once you realize what you’ve given, want to take something back?

Don’t wait for a New Year’s resolution. Now that Christmas is over, be like the Magi and leave everything at Jesus’ feet, then “depart…another way.” Once you give Jesus those three gifts, you’ll never be the same.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christmas, God, Love of God, salvation, wisdom, worship

“They are killing us”

This morning, as we go to church to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and thank Him for entering this world as a child, born of a virgin, only to one day die for us that we might receive the gift of eternal life through faith in Him, think on the following message I received this morning from a pastor friend in Pakistan…

“Brother we are dying here
they are killing us
please pray for us”

That was it…just three lines of text on Facebook Messenger.

Inside Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, Quetta, Pakistan

Earlier today a Methodist Church was attacked by two suicide bombers while the congregants were inside celebrating the birth of Christ. The attack was meant to be a message, one that was meant to strike fear. For some, I’m sure it worked. Thankfully, neither bomber was able to get inside the building, and only one was able to blow himself up at the entrance, so only around 10 people (including children) died, as opposed to the 400 who were in attendance.

But how does this affect my day? How would it affect yours? Are you even planning on attending a worship service? While there are Christians who are attending corporate worship services in places where their spiritual enemies are literally trying to kill them, do we take advantage of the complete freedom in America to congregate, or do we shun it? “Forsake” it?

How does the above message from my brother in Pakistan affect my preaching? My worship? Do I go about my day as usual? Or, do I recommit myself to the seriousness of the call to “take up your cross and follow me”?

“Brother we are dying here.” How long before we start dying HERE? With Islam on the rise, and with very few who are willing to challenge its destructive works-based theology for fear of being labeled “islamophobic,” how long before suicide bombings become more common-place than shootings?

“Please pray for us.” How long before we realize ALL of us stand in need of prayer? How long before we repent of our Laodicean lukewarmness? How long before we take seriously the calls from our brothers and sisters enduring persecution and pray for them? In reality, we should be asking them to pray FOR US!

Our churches will be relatively empty, today. Our post-modern, social-justice-minded, hedonistic society will go about this morning without a thought of God, while those who call themselves “Christian” will blend in with them. The relatively few who do attend worship services will hardly consider the rare privilege of worshipping in peace without the fear of being blown to bits while singing “Silent Night.”

Yet, somewhere in another land, there will be followers of Jesus Christ who will not be intimidated or deterred, bravely walking into proverbial lions’ dens. As the Hebrew children who refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, there will be some who will pray for deliverance from the furnace, but continue to worship Jesus and not bow down to Allah, even if the fire is inevitable (Daniel 3:18).

There are many who are dying. How are you living?

I’m going to church, now.

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Filed under America, Christianity, Christmas, Church, worship

Remember the “Least of These”

A few years ago I made a lot more “Monday Monkey” videos than I do now. Sadly, as I look back, I can see how much my girls have grown up. The following video is a good example.

In the following video you will see my youngest, Haley, doing her part to help the “least of these,” a freezing puppet next to a tree…and I wasn’t exactly warm, either.

Remember, Christmas is not about getting; it’s about giving. God gave Jesus Christ unto a world who didn’t deserve Him, and that supreme act of love (both on the Giver and the Gift’s part) should be reflected in our giving.

This Christmas, why not give something of value to someone in need, someone who won’t expect it. Then, take the time to talk about the Greatest Gift ever given to mankind.

Seriously, ask the Lord to give you the opportunity to share Jesus with someone; He will make it happen.

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Filed under Christmas, Love of God, ministry, Witnessing

The Devolution of Society as Evidenced By the Gender of a Singer

This morning I stopped by a Hardee’s to get a biscuit for breakfast. Upon walking in, I heard a familiar Christmas song – one that I actually like – being played.

Let It Snow

But what has society become when a woman is the one singing this song? Is there no more chivalry in the world?

That’s right, a female was singing: “When we finally kiss goodnight, how I hate going out in the storm. But if you really hold me tight, all the way home I’ll be warm.”

What kind of jerk would sit there by the fireplace, continue to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, and let his girlfriend walk home in a blizzard? Is there no decency left? Can she not find someone better than this?

So, I drew the following illustration on my phone.

Ladies – you know who you are – leave “Let It Snow” for the guys to sing. Western Civilization is at stake.

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Filed under Christmas, General Observations, Humor, Uncategorized, Weather

Last Year I Gave You My Heart, Now It’s For Sale In a Resale Shop

Three years ago I wrote about my disgust with a familiar Christmas song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” That was three years ago…

This is now.

Back In 1984

I was a senior in high school; I was infatuated with Pheobe Cates and Susanna Hoffs; I drove a 1979 Pinto station wagon, and that Chrismas season the English pop duo Wham! released “Last Christmas.”

The year was 1984.

George Michael (the famous half of Wham!) wrote “Last Christmas,” and in the end donated all royalties toward the Ethiopian famine relief. However, it’s my belief that there was an alternative purpose for writing “Last Christmas.” Besides feeding the hungry, the idea was to create a song which every new and up-and-coming talentless pop star could record in lieu of composing something original.

It was December of 1984…the year the movie Dune came out. No wonder I hate this song.

It’s Now 2017

It is now December of 2017, and everyone from Ashley Tisdale and Taylor Swift, to Crazy Frog and Gwen Stefani has done a cover of “Last Christmas.” Just about every time I get in the car and turn on the radio, or walk into any store, restaurant, or torture chamber, “Last Christmas” can be heard degrading the airwaves.

You know, if mankind is supposed to be evolving, why doesn’t Gwen Stefani just do a cover of Handel’s “Messiah”? Oh, yeah, I forgot.

Why I Hate It

So what is my gripe about “Last Christmas”? I’m glad you asked.

It’s the chorus…the chorus that gets sung over, and over, and over, and over again.

“Last Christmas I gave you my heart / But the next day you gave it away /

This year / To save me from tears / I’ll give it to someone special.” – George Michael

Questions:

  • Was the person this song was written about not a special person when the singer’s heart was given away?
  • If this year you’re going to give your heart to “someone special,” what does that say about the person to whom the song is being sung? Was she nothing more than some floozy you met at the ski lodge? Did she wake you up before she went went?
  • If you’re in the habit of flippantly giving your heart away to non-special people – people who think so little of your heart that they give it away the very next day – what makes you think this year’s “special” person won’t do the same on December 26th?
  • I can see how a person would receive a heart, like during a transplant, but how does one “give it away” the very next day? Does one say to a new lover, “Hey, baby, let me give you this heart – some other guy gave it to me yesterday for Christmas”?

The Answer

The other day my wife and I stopped by a charity to donate some items for resale. Before we unloaded the items we no longer needed, my wife asked, “Do you want to go inside and look around?” “Sure,” I replied. “Anything to make you happy.”

A few minutes into our exploring of used or discounted items, my wife saw this strange, yet interesting music box sitting on a shelf. She said, “Look…a music box…it’s different…I wonder how much they want for it?”

Valerie reached up and turned the music box up on its side, and then she asked me to look at what she saw. Immediately I was struck with the awkwardness of the message and realized there was a potential blog post waiting to be written.

Here was the answer to at least one of my questions to George Michael and all of his subsequent knock-offs. Obviously, George was giving his special and non-special Christmas relationships tacky music boxes…

And they gave them away. 

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Filed under Christmas, Humor, music

A Sexually Predaceous Christmas Song

Every year around this time I will re-publish this post. My opinion is the same this year as it was last year.


“No!” Means “NO!”

A Winter Romance album coverI don’t know about you, but “Baby It’s Cold Outside” absolutely disgusts me. Every time I hear it sung on the radio (usually by Dean Martin), primarily during the Christmas season, it makes my blood boil! But what happens when I complain? Nothing; it’s “just an innocent song,” they say.

It’s just a “cat and mouse” thing, they say.

But seriously, would you just consider the lyrics? Have we not progressed to the point in society where we recognize red flags when we see them? Or, are we still in the age when it’s perfectly acceptable to coerce a woman, to interpret her “no” as a “yes”?

Is it acceptable these days to care nothing about a girl’s feelings and reputation all because your pride might get hurt if she says no to your advances? Well, that’s all “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is; an aroused sexual predator pressuring a reluctant date to stay the night, drugging her if necessary.

Red Flags

To make my point, I have included the lyrics to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in this post, highlighting and commenting along the way.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice

Up until this point, it’s not that bad. Asking someone to stay the night is not the problem (from a legal sense). But things start to progress from questionable to insensitive pressuring very quickly.

My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour

So, the girl actually cares about the feelings of her parents – imagine that! But does that matter to the guy? No. He cares nothing for her fears or her parents feelings – sounds like a real “keeper.”

The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink?No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell

Yeah, who cares what the neighbors think? No biggie, right? But isn’t putting drugs in your date’s drink illegal? Isn’t denying your date safe transport home considered kidnapping? Isn’t drugging your date and keeping her against her will the precursors to rape? I guess it’s hard to break the “spell” of a drug once it’s already caused one’s eyes to sparkle like “starlight.”

I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside

Notice the “no, no, no” followed by the predator’s advancing moves (as a father, I wan’t to beat the crap out of this guy about now). She said “no,” but she also said she “ought” to say no. Well, what do you expect someone drugged to say??? Now you’ve got a girl who’s unable to decide for herself what to do and a guy who’s making her feel guilty for not putting out!! Whatever happened to the season of giving, not getting, hmmm?

I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you seeHow can you do this thing to me?

Don’t you just love this? It’s now around the fifth time this girl’s expressed her desire to leave her date’s house, but he won’t give up. Then she appeals to chivalry and asks for his coat, because by now she can’t remember why she doesn’t have one, even though it’s cold enough to be snowing. Does he give it to her like a gentleman should? No, he hides her coat (evidently) and continues to touch her! Finally, she begs him to recognize her reluctance, but all the animal can do is play mind games (a hallmark of predators).

There’s bound to be talk tomorrowThink of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stayGet over that holdout
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

Once again, it’s all “poor me” from the predator, mixed in with a little twist of feigned caring (“Oh, you’ll get sick!”). Does he care about her reputation? Does he care about her at all? Evidently not. Even after she makes one last plea, all he can say is “get over your holding out on me!” Because, after all, it’s cold outside.

 – Lyrics: Frank Loesser, 1944

I’m dead serious about this, people. This is no joke! If we will allow every other little thing to offend our sensibilities, and yet allow this song to be played over the airwaves, we are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.

Am I overreacting? What if it was YOUR daughter? 

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Filed under abuse, General Observations, Parenting