Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Cherish the Moments

A few days ago, a friend of mine said, "It's never as good as you expect." I asked her what she meant and she explained that things(holiday celebrations) weren't what she'd imagined and she couldn't help but be disappointed.

We all have expectations about special celebrations or holidays. Christmas is the one we pin our highest hopes. When it's not as perfect as we'd imagined we're deflated and disappointment.

When we allow our imaginations freedom to roam, movies run through our minds and we almost believe life can be perfect. Of course that's not true, but it doesn't change our hope for perfection. Instead, we need to watch for moments of "perfection".

During the Christmas holidays we imagine carolers (in perfect key), games full of fun, well mannered children and families who never disagree. There will be a stunning tree and the house will be in perfect order. Instead, there are crowded streets and crowded stores, dirty diapers and sick children. Our lives are more about finding the perfect gift instead of the greatest gift--our Lord. Celebrations are dismantled.

Nevertheless, in the midst of the chaos there are precious moments--the joy on a child's face (like when our great neice, Laila, meets a dog named Tex), a hug from a loved one, a card with a heartwarming message, or the laughter of a child.

If we look closely, we'll see the true gifts of the season. They flit by in a moment, but they can warm our hearts and minds for a lifetime. Enjoy every one of them.

Grace and peace to you. And a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Don't Bury Your Treasures

A couple of weeks ago I watched my dog, Bentley, bury two of his bones. These were his treasures, and yet he buried them. I chuckled as I watched him use his stubby nose to carefully push the dirt into place, just so. Finally, satisfied that his treasures were safe, he trotted away.

I thought, how silly. What good would his bones do him buried beneath the dirt? He could no longer chew on them or throw them into the air and chase after them. They were no longer a pleasure to him.

God shares his wisdom with us through ordinary events of life. My dog and his bones were a lesson for me and I hope for you.

Do we bury our treasures--Use our good china only for special occasions? Or do we save our favorite clothes for important outings? What about spiritual gifts of encouragement, serving or teaching? Do we keep them to ourselves? Or natural gifts like music or art? Do we hide them from others and keep them for our eyes and ears only?

Treasures are to be enjoyed and shared. I'm reminded of the parable in Matthew 25 about the man who entrusted money to his servants. Two of the servants put the money to good use, but one decided to play it safe, and he dug a hole and buried the money. He was afraid and did nothing with what his master had given him.

Just like that man we are given much--possessions, spiritual gifts, and natural talents. These can and should be used to the glory of God. Is there something preventing us from giving back to Him? Are we afraid? Is it possible we're unable to grasp how much God has done for us and lack gratitude?

I've suffered from these shortcomings. The days when I refuse to share God's gifts life is dry and empty. He wants more for you and I. Giving of ourselves always has praiseworthy returns. Enjoy what God has supplied and offer money, gifts and talents back to the Kingdom. The experience creates a well of joy. Let us light up the Kingdom of glory so others can see The King.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, December 13, 2010


Christmas is only twelve days away. The malls and stores are crowded with harried shoppers, who seem to have forgotten what the season is all about--Love, Joy, Peace--Christ.

I was reading in 2nd Peter this morning in chapter one vs 19. and these words leaped out at me, The words of the prophets are like a lamp shining in a dark place. I thought about believers who are in the midst of the shopping crowds. Are we a light in a dark world?

In recent years I've had great fun shining a bit of light of my own -- at my local Walmart or Fred Meyer or Costco. I love to look people in the eye, smile and tell them "Merry Christmas". Always . . . always I receive a smile and a Merry Christmas in return. Sometimes there is a look of pleasant surprise or the recognition of one Christian to another. And often I've watched the person move on, their step a little lighter.

So, my challenge to you this week is to reach out and be a light. Share the joy that is Christmas with others. I'd love to hear what you did and what the response was. There are lots of ways to shine a light into the darkness--be creative and have fun.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Hope In Christ

This morning I awoke feeling tired of the battle. I sought out God. I needed to feel His presence, His comfort. And I needed to listen to Him, not to me. A picture of trees in bloom fillled my mind, and I knew that spring is coming. And then I heard that quiet voice, I know so well, saying, "Hope in Me."

When we despair or are filled with fear or temptation where do we go? Where do we place our trust? In our government? Our job? Our church? Or our own strength? None of these or the hundreds of other places we go for aid or even salvation are steady. They cannot be trusted. There is only one who will never lead us astray, who will always provide for our needs, who will hold us up under the greatest sorrow -- Our Lord.

Isaiah 40:31 says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength."

Rest in His capable, compassionate and reliable arms. And no matter what terrible place you may find yourself, remember there is HOPE . . . always hope . . . in Him, the creator of all things.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, December 03, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Be Ready To Suffer

Suffer? I don't like that word or the experience. However, it is part of the real world we live in. Some of us rale at it or we ask why, again and again. Sometimes I gripe--loudly. What we need to do is see our sufferings as opportunities.

1 Peter 4:1 says, "So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too."

How do you feel when you read that? My first reaction is--Nope. Not me. Suffering is meant for someone else. Or I figure I can learn what I need without experiencing the really hard stuff. Thinking like that means I need an attitude adjustment. Scripture says, we're to have the same attitude as Christ. How do we do that? He suffered in ways we can't even understand. The question we should ask is, are we willing? Will we do what God asks --at any cost?

We need to look that question straight in the eye and decide--Christ's way or mine?

God can do amazing work through broken hearts and broken bodies. Take His hand, listen to His voice and follow Him. He will not let you down.

Grace and peace to you from God.