Tag Archives: gifts

Shopping – Evidence We Need Jesus

The Perfect Gift

Will we ever find the “perfect” gift? So often people spend hours and hours navigating traffic, long lines, websites, and clearance racks trying to find a gift that is just right, one that is just “perfect” for the recipient. Color, size, flash, style, and price all play a part in trying to determine how the gift will be received – will they love it or hate it? Who knows?

Unfortunately, because of the stress of it all, much gift-giving has been reduced to whatever is on sale or the ultimately non-personal gift card. The fact is that the “perfect gift” is an illusion, or a sign, rather, that there is something just beyond our grasp – the real Perfect Gift.

Already Given

You see, the only “perfect gift” has already been given; all other gifts pale in comparison. Jesus – the meaning of the season – was the Perfect Gift from God to man, making all other gifts mere reflections.

Seriously, what other gift can compare to the One that was delivered in Bethlehem?

  • He was given at the perfect time (Galatians 4:4);
  • He was wrapped like no other gift could ever be (Luke 2:12; Philippians 2:7);
  • He was exactly what everyone in all the world needs (Luke 2:11);
  • He was the greatest expression of love the world would ever see (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9).

There’s nothing you’re going to find at any mall or specialty store better than what was already given two thousand years ago.

Our search for the “perfect” gift is nothing more than a sign – that there’s always something better, something that can’t be purchased, something only grace can provide.

Have you received the Perfect Gift?

PS, the above video was made a few years ago. Nugget was the best dog ever, and we miss him dearly.

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Filed under Christmas, salvation

10 Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) Suggestions

From whence come wars and fighting? Or, to put it another way, “Why do you people keep fighting and killing each other?” Well, according to the 4th chapter of James, it’s because we want things we never ask for.

That got me to thinking…(work with me on this, OK?).

A lot of you will be out early on Friday morning looking for the best deals, and then you’ll be online come Cyber Monday for even more. Therefore, for the sake of local and world peace, I think it would be a good idea for me to do my part in breaking the cycle of hatred, envy and violence by giving you a list of things you can purchase for me while you’re shopping.

I have not, so I’m asking. It’s all for peace.

  1. An iPad Pro with a pencil so I can easily do all my own illustrations for my stories.
  2. A new guitar. It could be a Marin, Guild, or Taylor; I’m not too picky. My daughter claimed my vintage 1980’s Takamine and my Yamaha is a cheaper unit with a broken tuner.
  3. A car for my daughter, Katie (whenever she’s allowed by the doctors to drive again). Her’s is dead and we can’t afford another one right now.
  4. A new iPhone XR. Why not? My iPhone 7 has been working fine, but I’d love to play with the new hardware.
  5. A decent, used Ford police interceptor (police car). They are workhorses that last forever, get decent mileage, run like a scalded dog, have awesome suspension, and can take a bullet in the door (unlike normal cars). And, you can get one for less than $1,500.
  6. A table saw and bench. I’ve got a project to build for my wife for Christmas.
  7. A trip to Israel, or at least a mission trip to Jamaica.
  8. A couple of new suits and ties (been wearing the same ones for the last 8+ years, and I’m doing a lot more weddings). Joseph A. Bank is always running a sale of some kind.
  9. Dental implants. I’m running out of good chewing teeth.
  10. A few invitations to conduct revival services.

There you have it! That’s my list of things I’m asking for.

At least I asked, right?  

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Filed under Christmas, clothing, current events, Humor

National Coffee Day 2018 – Praise God!

There are some things and people that don’t deserve a “day” for themselves, however…

Today is National Coffee Day.

How am I celebrating?

Well, first of all, I took my cup of coffee and my Bible and went outside and staged a photo. I plan on doing some study on the front porch while sitting in the antique glider, but I don’t plan on studying at this metal table in the front yard. However, it made for a decent photo, don’t you think?

Secondly, I’m going to drink coffee all day. Don’t worry, a lot of it (but not all) will be decaffeinated.

Thirdly, I’m going to pretend I’m going to Krispy Kreme to get a free cup of coffee because I’m not going to drive the 20 miles and then wait in line, only to be tempted to purchase a dozen hot, life-altering donuts (and what’s worse, they now even have a “coffee glazed”).

Fourth, I am going to thank God I’m not living as a Southerner in the Civil War (The War of Northern Aggression) when Yankee embargos kept coffee from being imported. Believe it or not, the average Confederate soldier had to substitute dried dandelion and other nasty stuff for coffee, which actually did have a detrimental effect on morale – and alertness. #*@! Yankees!

Fifth and finally, I’m going to thank God for the coffee bean and the invention of hot water, for, as the Bible clearly says (and I’m actually preaching from this passage tomorrow in my continuing series through the book of James):

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights [He provides the fire to heat the water], with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. – James 1:17 KJV

Praise God for good and perfect coffee.

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Filed under America, Bible Study, Food, Humor, Preaching

Happy Birthday to Me!

Starting Over

Today is my birthday! I’m excited.

Actually, I’m not as excited as I was last night, because last night was when we actually celebrated my birthday. Today I just got older.

Well, that’s not completely true. You see, my wife and daughters baked a cake for me and decorated it, but the only candles we had were a “1” and a “2.” Even if we had had 51 little candles, I would have hated blowing them out! And they would have melted the icing!

So, I decided the “1” candle would work (I had to blow out something), and that made me think…instead of turning 51, I’m starting over!

Now, if I could only live to my 20’s or 30’s I’ll be in good shape 😉

Birthday Gifts

Last night my family presented me with a few gifts, and I was very pleased. Each one was evidence they had really thought about me, for each one took some thought.

And that’s the way gifts should be, you know? Gifts should give the impression you care, not that you were fulfilling an obligation.

But if money and reality were no object, I would like to add the following to my birthday present list. If any of you out there would like to check any of them off, be my guest 🙂

  1. One of those really nice, calfskin-covered, high-dollar new Bibles. You know, something like an Allen or a Cambridge with a wider margin for making my own notes.
  2. A couple of new suits that actually fit.
  3. A Breitling watch.
  4. An iPad pro.
  5. A ride in a WW2-era bomber or fighter.
  6. To drive an exotic supercar, like a Cobra, Ferrari, or Porche 911 turbo. A Dodge Demon, 2019 Mustang GT, 2018 Corvette would be nice, too.
  7. A trip to the holy land.
  8. Another mission trip either to eastern Europe or Africa.
  9. A Gen4 Glock
  10. A trip to Washington, DC, to see the new Bible Museum.

But the love of my family is worth more than any of the items on my list. Sure, the things on the list would be really cool, but I’m infinitely blessed beyond measure to have a loving wife and 3 daughters who love the Lord.

Happy birthday to me!

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Filed under clothing, Family, Vacation

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

Please Don’t Ask This Question

It’s Inevitable

Every year I get asked the same question from the same people, and then a few extra (I’m always meeting new people). It is a question that is usually, if not always, asked with only good intentions. However, it’s a question I hate to hear, much less answer.

As a matter of fact, last week our oldest daughter sent the question to me via a text message. I did not reply.

What was the question? What did she ask me with a text? What did she ask that others have also begun to ask?

“What do you want for Christmas?”

I hate that question.

What Is a Gift

I guess what really bothers me about the whole question is the fact that I’m being asked. You see, if you want to give me a gift, give me a gift. If, however, you don’t know me very well, and you have no idea what I would like to receive, don’t ask me – that’s cheating.

Folks, I  am at the age where most of the things on my “wish list” are beyond my budget or I’ve already deemed them an unwise purchase. Otherwise, I’d already have them. For example, I can’t afford a Rolex, but I’d love to have one. On the other hand, I’d hate to know I was wearing a timepiece that cost the equivalent of a mission trip that I could have taken.

Just last week my wife suggested, “Why don’t you just ask for something you need?” Well, then, would it be a gift? No, it would be asking for charity wrapped in shiny paper.

If you want to give me a gift, seriously, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. If it does, and it was from your heart, then fine. However, the gifts that mean the most to me are those that imply you’ve made the connection between the gift, the giver, and me. The gift I want is one which tells me, “This gift is because I care; I thought of you when I got this.”

What is a gift? Actually, a gift is something special. If it’s not special, then what is it, exactly?

Why the Gift?

Stop and think about it, my friends. Why do we give gifts during this time of year, anyway? It’s because God “gave his only begotten Son” to those He loved, who needed Him, who couldn’t afford Him, and in most cases didn’t even know how or what to ask for.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. – 1 John 4:9 

Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift. – 2 Corinthians 9:15 

So, don’t ask me what I want – it might not be what I need. Don’t ask me what I need, because needs change, and sometimes I don’t know what I need more.

Just think of me, think of what might put a smile on my face, and let it be from your heart – that’s what matters. The best gifts I’ve ever received were the hand-made little trinkets my kids have created, so money shouldn’t be a concern – unless you’ve got it to burn, of course 😉

Whatever you do, do it with love. That’s all that matters. After all, isn’t that Who the first Christmas Gift was?

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Filed under Christmas, Love of God

The Orange Razor I Never Got

I don’t always like doing it, but I do shave my face and head. I’m not overly picky about the razors I use, but I do have my preferences. Usually I prefer the 5-blade kind. 

I have, however, shaved with an old-fashioned “safety” razor in the past. Well, at least it’s safer than a straight razor. 

But last night was one of those times when I received some very troubling news, the result being a restless night with less-than-needed sleep. Therefore, it’s not surprising I had a strange dream. 

I don’t know what led up to it, but all of a sudden there was our oldest daughter, Alicia, griping at me for not writing a blog post about the razor she gave me as a gift. When I looked down (in the dream) I saw the razor she was talking about, and it was one of the orange razors they sell at Target and online. 

So, I know dreams can be crazy, but sometimes they can tell us a little about ourselves. Evidently, as best I can figure, I like sharp blades and orange things.

That makes perfect sense, too, because I’m sharp and from Tennessee. 

Maybe, since Alicia has never purchased a $9 Harry’s razor for me, she was really actually upset because I haven’t talked about myself? Yet, haven’t I done that before? 

Maybe, my mind wanted me to tell Alicia to put an orange razor on my birthday gift wish list? 

Maybe I’m low on vitamin C and I’m losing my edge…and I need to get a handle on things? 

Well, I definitely need to get a grip on some things, and an orange (or maybe orange jello) would be nice. But I can tell you this one thing for sure…

…I never got an orange razor. 

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Filed under Struggles and Trials, Uncategorized