Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Telling kids about Christmas: Christmas short story

I picked up my grandson from daycare. When I pulled into the driveway at my house, he pointed at the Nativity scene and asked "That do those guys have to do with Christmas?'.
I felt like a heathen. I explained. He shrugged. So I wrote a story to read him. He loves my stories.
I think this is a good way to introduce kids to Jesus and tell them why we celebrate Christmas.

Once upon a time, there was a mommy and a daddy. They were very excited because they were going to have a little baby boy. Mommy said his name was Jesus.

The mommy and daddy had to go to a big party, but it was far away, from where they lived. They walked a long time, and then they came to the town of Bethlehem. This was where the party would be. It was very dark when they got to the town. All the hotels were taken, so the daddy found a nice room in the stable where the people kept their horses.

The room was a little stinky, but daddy did not care. He was glad it was warm. Daddy got some clean hay and some clean blankets and made a bed for mommy to lie down. Mommy lay down and told daddy “It’s time for our baby to come”.

Mommy and daddy were happy. Jesus was a very cute baby. As Mommy held baby Jesus, she told Jesus how special He was. When Jesus was a big man, He was going to be a king. He was going to bring peace and joy to all the people. Jesus would have another name when he was big. He would be called Christ. Daddy smiled.

Mommy put Jesus in his little crib that Daddy had made. Then Mommy and Daddy went to sleep. All of a sudden, they heard beautiful singing. An angel had come to visit the baby Jesus. It was Jesus birthday, the day he was born, and the angel wanted to sing him a lullaby.

While the angel was singing, three big men came to visit Mommy and Jesus. The three men had heard about how Jesus was going to be born, and what a special baby He was. They wanted to see him on his birthday. The three men brought Jesus some presents. One present was a box of gold, to help Daddy pay for the trip home. One present was a spice to help Mommy make good food. And one presence was perfume to help their stable smell good.

Mommy held Jesus so that the three men and the angel could see him. Jesus smiled at them.

Now Jesus lived a long time ago. But every year people all over the world celebrate His birthday because Jesus is so special. His birthday is called the festival of Christ, and it is also called Christmas. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What are your opinions worth

I have opinions. We all do. The important thing to remember about opinions: you are going to die and so are your opinions.
Our opinions form structure and standards in our lives. But what is good, or bad, for us may not be for another person. I was listening to a young woman tell me how she was mad at her sister for having a baby so soon after her sister was married. The young woman believed that a couple should be married for at least a year before having a child. Okay.
I responded that it is a good idea to wait awhile to have a baby, but that is a choice each couple must make. I talked with her about the standards or opinions, she sets for herself, and how these standards are what will guide her life. However, these personal standards, or opinions, are for her, and don’t guide or govern those around her.
This conversation reminded me of how important we as individuals think our opinions are. I recalled the discouragement and dismay I have seen when opinions are thrown around like the truth.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What is the motive in your relationship

I was talking with a friend today about her new relationship. They have been together about three months, and everything is still wonderful. She is thinking about getting a ring. I asked her to wait at least a year before marriage.

I have come to understand that it is really easy to be wonderful for a few months. Sometimes it even goes on for nine months, but there is always a time when iron sharpens iron, and you discover what the person is made of. During this time you often discover the motive for the relationship, yours and theirs.

This motive is where I have taken a bow in past relationships. I thought about this during the day, and I realized why I am so slow to move into a steady relationship.

I have seen hell. It nested in dark eyes that shone brightly to conceal malevolent intent.

Friday, May 9, 2014

America has gone too far

When did it become a threat to have freedom of ideas, opinions, and lifestyle? America has gone too far in the effort to ensure freedoms for some by restricting the freedoms of others.
An owner of a sports team expresses jealousy because his girlfriend is hanging around with powerful men. He states that she should not be hanging out with black men. Now he is losing his livelihood, labeled a racist, and is being publicly disgraced. However, no one seems upset that he is a married man having an affair.
HGTV cancels a show about two brothers building houses so that low-income families can have decent housing. HGTV canceled the show because one of the brothers expressed concerns about abortion and homosexuality on a talk show in 2012. Does being pro life interfere with a person’s ability to build a decent home?
America was built on a foundational statement “I may not agree with what you believe, but I will defend to the death your right to believe it”.
This foundation is what brought about the 1960s racial equality movement. This foundation is what drives the right of gays and handicapped persons to be treated with respect.  This foundation is what makes us a free and unique people.
Why should we be so frightened of disagreement? If we truly believe what we believe, then why is disagreement such a challenge?
I have heard that 10 percent of the people I met will not like me. Oh, well. What I have come to understand it that yes I have opinions and ideas, but when I am dead they will blow away in the wind.
America, as a country of individuals, would be better served by simply shaking it off.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Are you wise or foolish?

Did you ever wonder about the difference between wise and foolish people? Foolish people don’t give much thought to the effect their actions have on others. They don’t really think through their decisions, then complain and feel like the world is against them when life doesn’t work out according to their plan. On the other hand, people who have some wisdom understand their actions have repercussions, and usually think before they act. When they make a mistake, they own it, and try to recover.

 A gentle answer will calm a person’s anger, but an unkind answer will cause more anger.
Wise people use knowledge when they speak, but fools pour out foolishness.
As a tree gives fruit, healing words give life, but dishonest words crush the spirit.
Wise people use their words to spread knowledge, but there is no knowledge in the thoughts of fools.
People with understanding want more knowledge, but fools just want more foolishness.
A wise son makes his father happy, but a foolish son disrespects his mother.
 A person without wisdom enjoys being foolish, but someone with understanding does what is right.
 Plans fail without good advice, but they succeed with the advice of many others.
People enjoy giving good advice. Saying the right word at the right time is so pleasing.
 Wise people’s lives get better and better. They avoid whatever would cause their death.
Good people think before they answer, but the wicked simply pour out evil.
Good news makes you feel better. Your happiness will show in your eyes.
Respect for the LORD will teach you wisdom. If you want to be honored, you must be humble.

Fools reject their parents’ correction, but anyone who accepts correction is wise.
Those who make fun of wisdom don’t like to be corrected; they will not ask the wise for advice.
If you listen to correction to improve your life, you will live among the wise.
Those who refuse correction hate themselves, but those who accept correction gain understanding.
People with quick tempers cause trouble, but those who control their tempers stop a quarrel.

A lazy person’s life is like a patch of thorns, but an honest person’s life is like a smooth highway.
The person who quits doing what is right will be punished (by his own undoing), and the one who hates to be corrected will die (because he doesn’t listen to reason and act carefully).

Greedy people bring trouble to their families, but the person who can’t be paid to do wrong will live.
Much wealth is in the houses of good people, but evil people get nothing but trouble.

Actions and Effects
Happiness makes a person smile, but sadness can break a person’s spirit.

Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast. (Therefore, share your happiness with those who suffer; bring cheer and hope to those who are in despair)
It is better to be poor and respect the LORD than to be wealthy and have much trouble.

It is better to eat vegetables with those who love you than to eat meat with those who hate you.
How God views the difference between wise and foolish lives

The LORD knows what is happening in the world of the dead, so he surely knows the thoughts of the living.
The LORD’S eyes see everything; he watches both evil and good people.  

The LORD hates the sacrifice that the wicked offer, but he likes the prayers of honest people.
The LORD hates what evil people do, but he loves those who do what is right.

The LORD will tear down the proud person’s house, but he will protect the widow’s property.
The LORD hates evil thoughts but is pleased with kind words.

The LORD does not listen to the wicked, but he hears the prayers of those who do right.
Proverbs 15:1-33 (NCV)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Are you thinking of suicide

Life can be brutal. I found myself at a crossroads seven years ago. I was very sad; my grandchild has just passed away. My job was stressful, and, no matter what I did, I never seemed to do well enough for my boss. I doubted my ability to be a good enough person. I became lost in a dark and desolate place.
As I sat on the edge of my bed, thinking about ending the confusion, I had a piercing of light. Where I was in my life was very low, I did not think it could get any worse. And I realized that this was a horrible place, about as low as I could feel, so it was not going to get any worse. I realized that as long as I breathed, there was hope of life getting better.
I will not tell you it happened overnight, but I will tell you that my life is so good now, it was worth the pain. And I will tell you that there is a God, and He loves you.
Perhaps you have heard that God so loved the world He sent His only Son into the world to become the graceful reconciliation of God and man. Maybe you think, “Well, God did that for everybody, no especially for me”. But God did do this especially for you.
God sent Jesus because we can never be good enough on our own, no matter how hard we try. Jesus will come along side of you and infuse you with hope. Take another breath, then another. Ask God to help you.
Then call someone and talk to him or her about how you feel. Maybe you do not think you can talk to those who are close to you, and that is okay. There are 24-hour hotlines with people like me who really understand the depth of your despair and pain.

Call 24/7 1-800-273-8255. Someone is waiting to help you.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Honoring your parents

I saw a woman in the elevator at work. She was taking her mom to or from an appointment. The woman’s mother looked to be around eighty or so. She had twinkling blue eyes and she smiled at me. The woman with her mother looked bored and aggravated, as if this action of taking care of her mother was the most unwelcome chore in her life.
I remembered when my Dad was in the hospital at the end of his life. He was very ill, and apologized to me for being such a bother. I thanked him for the great life he provided for me, and told him never to apologize. I said “Dad, you didn’t throw us out when we were too much trouble, you made sure we were fed, sent us to good schools, and never turned your back on us (there were six siblings) even when we deserved it.”
People are living longer now, and many people have taken on the role of caregiver to their aging parent. I see some of them. They are aggravated with their parent for being old and needing care. And, yes, it is difficult. But so were they when they were they were babies, toddlers and teenagers.
If you are in this situation, remember your parent took care of you when you were unlovable. And, the way society is today, your parents could have ignored you, walked away from you, or simply thrown you out of the house.
There is a psychological toll when a care-giving child has to come to terms with the fact that they, the caregiver, are no longer children. It is a kind of forced adulthood. However, do not dishonor your parents. Do not act as if this is a huge inconvenience and wear your distain on your face. No parent wants this situation when the roles reverse.
Remember the fifth commandment:
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16 (ESV). This is not just for kids.

Friday, March 21, 2014

What is so wrong with prosperity

I have been looking at the many objections to prosperity teachings among Christians. I did a word study of the word prosperity and found some interesting information.
Prosperity comes from the Latin word prosperitas and means good fortune and success. The word prosperity was first used in the 13th century. So what happened in the 13th century?
The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380's AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe was well known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe.
I looked at John 1:1  in the handwritten English version. Old English.
Today, the word prosperity means "the condition of being successful or thriving; especially:  economic well-being." (  I am thinking that the association with economic success is what causes Christians to pause.  In the Word, we are cautioned: For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10 (KJV).
However, many people forget that it is the love of money, and not the wealth itself, that is the root of all evil. There are many scriptures that point out how riches are deceitful, and those that trust in them trust in vain. Trusting in wealth is foolish. Wealth can come in many forms: a wealth of talent, a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of beauty-trusting in any wealth instead of trusting in God can create a heart of pride and self-confidence.
God wants Christians to be prosperous. God wants His children to be rich in spiritual knowledge, wisdom, spiritual gifts, and in love. He wants His children to thrive. Throughout the Old Testament, God tells Adam, Noah, and the Israelites to be fruitful (abundantly productive, thriving). In the New Testament the Word says: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Colossians 1:10-11 (KJV)
Our lovely English language, which gave birth to the word "prosperity", has many meanings for the same word. Fruitful, an adjective, means productive, rich, abundant, successful and profitable.  Prosperity, a noun, means success, richness, and wealth.  Each is part of the same theme God has for His people- that we would be abundant in the riches and wealth of His Spirit and multiply the Word of God (Jesus) in the earth.  For the heavens and the voices of angels are “saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”  Revelation 5:12 (ESV)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why are Christians stoning each other

I was talking to a friend the other day who did not like Joel Olsten. When I googled “Why don’t people like Joel Olsten” I found a few Google pages of websites talking about what was wrong with Joel Olsten. Curious, I search for “why don’t people like Joyce Meyer” and found many websites that spoke against her.

Hummm.  I serve a BIG God who is able to search the hearts of men and bring all things done in darkness into the light. I listen to many preachers and teachers. If they say something I don’t agree with, I pray for wisdom and search the Word of God.  But I was still courious why so many people were so worried God was not BIG enough to tear down a false prophet.

So  I search “false prophets 2014” and I was amazed at what I found. According to one site, listening to religious apostates like Joyce Meyer, Rick Warren and Joel Osteen will lead Christians astray. There is a site that lists the 10 most false prophets naming James Swaggert,  Oral Roberts, Pat Robinson and John Hagee among these. Creflo Dollar is a false prophet at another site.  Another site lists Billy Graham, Kenneth Copeland, and many others as false prophets.

As I searched for false prophets, I found Christian sites naming almost every speaker and minister as a false prophet. So are we all going to hell?

I didn’t find much about who a true prophet was, and that made me feel a little better.

Christians might do better by spending more time reading the Word than judging those who are delivering the Word to the nations. In the Bible I read it says:

 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10 (KJV)

I (Paul) appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11 (ESV)

So am I going to spend my time obeying the Word of God, or stoning others? 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Understanding the Christian Walk

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. (Job 38:4 ESV)

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1 Cor 10:21 KJV)

I have a difficult time listening to Christians who believe they alone have the truth. There is one truth-Jesus is Lord. There is one church-the followers of Christ. There is one God.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Tim 3:16). The goal is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, learning to trust God above all else, even our own wall of wisdom.

When I hear Christians bashing other Christians, my heart hurts. Yes, there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but when we hear servants of the Lord speaking words we don’t necessarily agree with there are proper actions to take.

Pray and ask God why you are having a difficult time with the message.

Gain understanding that words mean different things to different people. How we hear a particular word can be colored by our upbringing, or the place where we stand in our walk. For example, I hear the word “jerk” and it is an affectionate word for me. My Dad use to say, with love, “come here you little jerk”

Choose to disagree without slandering the brother. I had a very difficult time with a one of the days in Rick Warrens 40 Days of Purpose. When I read the sentence “God does not care about….” I closed the book. I was going through a very hard time coping with the death of my grandson.  Later when I read the book, I had less internal pain and more understanding.

Show grace to the brethren.