All in Scripture and Life

Christmas—Gifts—Family & Waiting

It’s Christmas Eve, and for many little ones, the waiting is almost over. When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was when we put up the tree and more. Our tradition was born, in part, from celebrating Advent, that season of preparation, that season of waiting. Our tradition also helped to keep my parents sane. There were four of us, and our excitement about Christmas grew exponentially as December 25th approached. Filling Christmas Eve with a mountain of things to do kept us fully occupied until we rushed to church at Midnight. It was a good plan. Yet the waiting…oh, the waiting to get to Christmas was torture!

Christmas—Gifts—Family, Part Two

In Part One I joked about that Christmas classic, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” All kidding aside, as we seek to reach our loved ones for Jesus, we do not want them thinking, I got run over by a Christian! I doubt people truly seeking Jesus ever felt run over by him. Yes, the religious of his day—ever challenging him—got clobbered, but they were not truly seeking him. For those who seek him, his presence is grace-filled. Yet many may not be seeking him, and we want to invite them to meet Jesus. If your heart aches for those you love to meet Jesus, what can you do?

Christmas—Gifts—Family, Part One

Christmas: it comes with gifts of all shapes and sizes and prices. It has its own genre of music, which somehow includes “Silent Night” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” As followers of Jesus, we sometimes lament how Christmas has morphed into any number of ideas, all of which seem to leave Jesus out. Phrases like “Keep Christ is Christmas” and “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” hit a sweet spot in our psyche. Beyond the slogans, there is a deep ache in our hearts; it is an ache for our family and loved ones who do not yet accept this child in the manger as Lord. That ache is magnified during the Christmas season. What do we do?

Thankfulness & Thanksgiving

“David, what do you say?” I would answer, “please” followed quickly by “thank you.” I was taught to be polite. How about you? Better yet, how do you do when someone tells you to adopt a certain attitude? By now, you probably know that I don’t do well when I’m told what to do. When someone tells us what our attitudes are to be like, our first reaction is normally resistance. However, that is exactly what God’s Word instructs us in Colossians 4:2. “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” So, what is up with this situation?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 — Proof-texting and other unhelpful tendencies

There is an old saying: “He can’t see the forest for the trees.” No doubt you have heard it. What I find amazing is how easy it is for many of us to get into exactly that position. We live is a world where everything is dissected to the nth" degree. Why talk about not seeing the forest for the trees? Because you and I have been going through the Letter to the Colossians in painstaking detail. I am enjoying it. I am also challenged to keep the big picture—the forest, if you will allow—in front of me. I believe this is especially important as we come upon verses that speak to how husbands, wives, children and more are to relate to one another.

Luke 22:44 — The Hardest Day of Jesus’ life: Muscle Memory in Action

What have been some of the hardest days of your life? I do not mean to bring up painful memories, but let me ask a question. Do you have any memories where, although the day or situation was hard, now in hindsight, you can see how God prepared you for it? For me, I will be honest, for some of the situations I have been through I can see God’s hand was preparing me—and for others situations, the pain is still too present, and the emotion too strong. I have written here about how following Jesus is not about having an easy life. No, whether we follow Jesus, or not, we all will face challenges. The question is more: how will we face those challenges—and who will be with us?

Certainty and faith: does having faith imply being blind?

I am writing this post as I am reading Colossians. I am about to move from chapter 2 into chapter 3, which starts with the words “If then you have been raised with Christ...” and then offers all sorts of instructions. Before we tackle them, some questions might be asked: should do those things? Why? Am I really confident in Jesus? Am I confident that following him is really the best path?

How do I follow the Holy Spirit?

“But God told me to do it!” Thoughts about how and when God leads:

We’ve all heard the news reports: someone carries out a horrific act, and then claims that God told them to do it. Now we know that it wasn’t God, but somewhere along the way, God’s reputation, and the reputation of the Church, takes a hit. People who don’t believe in God note that we, Jesus’ followers, are crazy and one-step away from making our own horrific news story.

Add to this situation our own real dilemma. How do we make decisions? How do we know when God is leading, as compared to when we are possibly projecting our desires on God?

So, just how do we navigate the big and small decisions of our lives? How do we hear His voice? How do we know His voice?

The Devil made me do it

Recently, the movie The Darkest Hour, captures the struggles of Winston Churchill during a small window of his critical first year as Prime Minister.  Churchill often to be the only person in his circle who seems to understand that there is such a thing as evil—and that evil will never be satisfied until it dominates – indeed destroys – all that it possesses. For evil, possession equals consumption. Evil is real. And not only is it real, but it is not something “out there.” We are in the battle.

Coffee with Jesus

I want to invite you, on this day in between Good Friday and Easter Day, to take a moment and imagine sitting with Jesus. If you were to sit with Jesus, where would that be? Outdoors, indoors, your living room… where might you sit with Him? I envision us sitting in two chairs with coffee. It is quiet.

Sin

Sin, not a popular party topic. Not a popular topic at all. It seems that in our world today we don’t talk about sin. Is sin even real? Is sin the invention of religious types to keep the masses under control?