Archives for October 2008

Declaring a Holiday

Had your fill of the campaign trail? Worn out with news of the economy? Anyone in need of a break from it all? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’m declaring a holiday. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV) says, “To everything there is a season…”, and I say today’s a season for fun. A little holly, jolly holiday right in the middle of the muck, smack dab in the midst of the doom and gloom.

Yes, I said holly jolly. You’re right, I’m talking Christmas! Now don’t groan — I know it’s way too early, but today’s a day for fun. Let’s get merry!

Think about it with me. Not the stressful part — not shopping lists or crowded malls or too few hours in the day. For a few moments, let’s treat our minds to a mini-vacation and think about the good stuff. The parts of Christmas we love. Let’s give ourselves permission to slow down and savor our thoughts.

Go ahead and imagine your favorite moments of the season. Picture them in your mind. Drink in the details: the sights, the sounds, the aromas you love. And the people you happily share them with. Softly sing your favorite Christmas carol and feel the contentment…feel the peace…as it permeates your soul.

Feeling Christmasy yet? :) I hope so. I want you to feel relaxed and happy and looking forward to some of your favorite things.

Me? I look forward to the beauty of the season, all the lights and decorations. I look forward to watching White Christmas yet again and listening to Christmas music throughout the holidays. I can’t wait to taste a piece of fudge and then balance it out with our not-too-rich, oh-so-delicious Christmas cut-out cookies. And above all this, I look forward to our kids coming home, the excitement of their arrival and the fun we have together. But in all these things, the underlying joy is Jesus. I treasure the worship Christ’s birth inspires, the days of celebrating Him.

Aren’t you glad I declared this little holiday? Before you settle back into mid-October, why not share your holiday spirit? What are some of your favorite things about Christmas? What are you looking forward to? Come on and leave a merry comment — remember, today’s the season for fun!

*Flickr photo by American Society of Student Governments

Rescue Needed

Would you like to have the chance to bring healing and hope to women in your church or community who are dealing with the pain of abortion? Melinda is offering just such an opportunity through a giveaway she’s sponsoring through Sunday on her blog Traveling the Road Home. Five winners will each receive one DVD Leader Kit of Surrendering The Secret as well as 12 member books. Wow! Wouldn’t it be a blessing to be able to present a gift like that to our churches or local pregnancy care centers?

No matter how we look at, we can’t get around the ugly fact that abortion devestates lives. There are the babies, of course, but then there are the mothers — and sometimes fathers — who are left dealing for years to come with the guilt and heartbreak of their secret. We as believers need to be ready to point them to the One who can forgive the guilt of their sin and heal their hurting hearts with His love. Who among us hasn’t needed His forgiveness and love in our own lives?

Not only do we need to reach out in love to those who are living with the pain of abortion, we need to speak up for the babies yet to come, the innocents who cannot speak for themselves. We need to take a stand for life.

God’s Word says, “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this’, does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it?” (Proverbs 24:11-12a).

In a few weeks when we go into the voting booth, we will have the chance to stand for life. We can do our part to rescue those being led to death, to hold back those staggering toward slaughter. We can help save the babies. And as abortion rates decline, we will be helping untold numbers of women avoid the emotional and spiritual aftermath abortion leaves in its wake.

Let’s reach out to moms and babies alike. Be sure to head over to Melinda’s blog to sign up for the giveaway — and be sure to head to the polls on November 4th. Let’s be part of the rescue team.

*Flickr photo by limaoscarjuliet

The Trickster

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That’s a picture of a shirt hanging in a garden. My dad’s shirt in his garden, to be exact. I actually took this shot on a visit in July, but as long as anything is left growing in the garden, the shirt will stand guard.

We never know what project Dad might be at work on or what problem he may be solving when we arrive for a visit. Kelli will never forget the year she and I pulled in the drive and caught Grandpa on the tail-end of a squirrel skinning. He was stretching the hide on some kind of contraption out by the wood pile. The shirt in the garden is tame by comparison but still a sight that made me take a second look and start asking questions.

As some of you may have already guessed, this is Dad’s version of a scarecrow. He’s been trying to trick some pesky garden-eating deer into thinking someone is standing there — and it’s working. Not just the sight of a potential enemy keeps them away, but the scent as well.

I didn’t realize scent was part of Dad’s scheme until I heard one of the grandkids announce one morning, “Grandpa’s stripping down outside!” Come to find out, it was just his shirt (thank goodness!). He was replacing the one that had been hanging in the garden for a few days with the sweaty one he had been working in. Tricky, tricky Grandpa :) The result? So far, my dad has outwitted the deer (except for the night the shirt got blown away when the remnants of Ike swept through Missouri. Some of his green beans were missing the next morning!).

Too bad deer aren’t the only ones susceptible to trickery. The Bible teaches we have an enemy, an enemy to our souls, who is doing all he can to scheme against us — to keep us from knowing God, to keep us from living for Him. Ephesians 6:11 speaks specifically of the devil’s schemes, and 1 Peter 5:8 instructs us to stay alert because “[our] enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Sometimes he’s hard to recognize, though. The apostle Paul taught that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Are we wise to Satan’s schemes in our lives? Or is he managing to outwit us with his tricks and his masquerades? What are you doing to stay alert to the tactics of the enemy? How do you take your stand against him? What has God taught you about dealing with Satan? Share with a comment, please. Maybe what you say will be just the word someone needs to hear.

*My photo

The Winner Is…

Believe it or not, it’s October 1st. Time for the big announcement. The winner of the Help Me Out Giveaway is…Cecil! Cecil has won the $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble and his choice of one of the devotional books offered. I have emailed him to get a mailing address. Congratulations, Cecil!

Cecil is not the only winner in this particular giveaway. I feel like I’m the biggest winner this time because so many of you decided to help me build my mailing list when you signed up for the giveaway (remember, you signed up for my newsletter at the same time). Thanks to all 114 of you who showed your support!

I put out a call for help, and you answered. You lived the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31). I had a need — to build a mailing list — and you helped meet that need. And as I think of you, I can’t help but recall some other scriptures. Consider these:

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galations 6:2) Also, “Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galations 6:6) You helped carry my burden. You did good to me. You have blessed me richly, and “…I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you…” (Romans 1:8a)!

How about you? Who or what are you thankful for today? Give thanks!

p.s. I’ll send the first issue of the newsletter sometime in late October or early November. Hope it blesses you!

*Flickr photo by Shorts and Longs The Both And