Tag Archives: gifts

Stick Simplicity: A Lesson In Contentment

George

First off, George is my dog. George is the best dog in the world. Everybody loves George. These are the facts.

Secondly, George loves me more than anyone else, and that’s because we think alike in many ways – and because I play with him more.

George is a dog. He doesn’t have a job, any source of income, and no idea what it would even mean to go shopping. His only concept of “Black Friday” is when I turn out the lights and put him in his kennel earlier than he deems fair.

Simple Stick

But George is the kind of dog that likes simple things. He likes his fancy squeaky toys, but he is just as happy with an empty toilet paper roll, a dust mask he might have snatched, or a simple stick in the back yard.

Don’t you wish we could be that way? Don’t you wish that we could be satisfied with a simple little stick to play with? Why do we crave the extravagant things? Why do we need so many expensive and complicated things to make us smile?

That reminds me of a song by Sean Morey I heard on the radio years ago when I lived in Kentucky. It’s called “Dear Santa.” Here’s a video made by a fan.

Sure, there’s more to life than a stick. But just look at George’s face! Look at that smile of contentment! Wouldn’t you like to be that happy?

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. – 1Timothy 6:6-8

Why don’t we just try – I know, we try every year – to keep things simple? Just keep in mind this key truth: George is MOST happy when I play WITH him.

As long as we can find enjoyment in being with those we love, who needs more than a stick?

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Culture Wars, Family, Life Lessons, Thanksgiving

Misleading Amphibian Projectile Saliva

Does water fall sideways?

My wife and I were taken to dinner the other day by a very nice couple who appreciate fine dining – they took us to Cracker Barrel. While in the gift shop, I noticed two frogs continually spitting into a small pond.

And two thoughts came to mind…

photo (24)First, what is so attractive about a fountain with spitting frogs? I mean, do frogs spit? And if they do, wouldn’t that much be a sign of impending kidney failure and death? What would make an amphibian with projectile saliva be your first choice of lawn decoration?

Secondly, notice the water. The saliva stream spewing from the frog on the right is obviously falling at an angle due to the position in which he/she is sitting. What might not be as noticeable is that the one on the left, as I was standing there watching, was really, literally falling to the left, i.e. NOT straight down! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

So, another couple walks up behind me and I say to the husband, “Does the water coming out of the frog’s mouth on the left look like it’s falling straight down?” “Huh, no it doesn’t,” he said.

Then the man’s wife walked up and asked what he was looking at. He asked, “Doesn’t that water look like it’s falling to the left? How’s that possible?” No joke, the wife replied, “Well, it would if the hose was curved.”

I looked at the guy and asked, “Can I quote her on that?

We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7)

Thinking about the frogs and the crazy water, I was reminded that our eyes can play tricks on us. In reality, based on what we see, our understanding of the world can be very misleading.

“Who among you fears the LORD and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God.” – Isaiah 50:10 NLT

That is why, even in the darkest nights of life, I trust God: He knows what’s really going on.

1 Comment

Filed under Faith

Wise Men Give 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.

2 Comments

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

Sharing (Re-blogging, Social Media) Is Caring

    Starting this Monday (Dec. 17, 2018) through Christmas (do I have to tell you the date?), I encourage all of you to accept the following challenge: “Like” and Share our fellow bloggers’ posts.

    Sure, go ahead and write your own stuff, but try to share another blogger’s work at least once a day, either by re-blogging on your own site, or by forwarding it on other media platforms. If possible, try to find a different blogger to repost for each day. 

    By the way, is it “reblogging” or “re-blogging”? Or either?

    Anyway, sharing the posts from other bloggers is a way to increase their readership, along with yours. But mostly, it’s a way to show how much you appreciate what others in our blogging family contribute to the Kingdom. 

    Build our community through sharing and edification.

Sharing is caring. 

Are YOU up for the challenge?

 

13 Comments

Filed under blogging, Christmas

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.

7 Comments

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?  

6 Comments

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.

4 Comments

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