Photo of the Week: December 31, 2014

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An End of the Year Reflection

I’ve been taking a little blogging break over the last week or so, posting light you might say. I tend to do this in between tours through books or topics, and being in between right now, coupled with holidays and various activities associated with them has surely resulted in fewer posts here; I hope you can understand… and maybe you are doing the same thing.

This has also given me an opportunity to just sit and think a little more about “stuff”.

I like being able to think abut “stuff” sometimes, but there are limits, you know what I mean; sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t all that good. I’m a lot smarter under pressure than I am in leisure.

I guess that for the next few days, I’ll still be posting light, I may skip a day or two. She Who Must Be Obeyed wants to go to the movies again; she wants to see… something or other; I keep forgetting the name of it… it’s just one word, I remember that much. I wanted to go out to the National Mall tomorrow for a walk, but I heard on the news that they are playing the “Winter Classic” tomorrow at Nationals Park; a hockey game in a baseball stadium… go figure. Nats Park is between here and the Mall… I guess we’ll see.

I suppose I could post about my holiday culinary triumphs… but then who actually writes recipes down?

The holidays have a way of bringing about this sort of listlessness, at least for me. In a way, I’ll be glad to get back to normal, whatever that is. This coming Monday, I plan to launch a new adventure through something or other; I hope to have an actual specific idea by then!

For now, please accept my best wishes for a Happy and Blessed New Year!

The Way

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As we begin a new year our life’s road stretches out before us.  Look ahead; what do you see?

Like the picture you might see cold snow and ice for a piece, and then the thaw of spring out ahead…

Maybe you are going through hard times right now; many people are.  Maybe things are going well… even many of these are worried about the future in such uncertain times.  There are nasty economic rumblings out there; in some places there are people in the streets crying out for change.  In some parts of this world there is unrest; unease everywhere.

Are you walking down your life’s road all alone?

Maybe you are going along with your family and your spouse as a strong unit; if so that’s a very good thing. If you falter, maybe they can carry you a ways…

What if you all falter… then what?

Just to be on the safe side, I like to take Jesus along on my life’s road: He can handle things that I can’t quite seem to manage on my own.  He can help me when I stumble, He can carry me if necessary; in fact He can carry the whole family if we need it. We are never alone out in the wilderness to freeze, or in the desert to die of thirst, for He fills out needs.  We are never overpowered by strangers, for He is with us.

Yes, taking Jesus along life’s road is a good idea, don’t you think?

Look!  Just a little farther and the sun is shining!

Fresh Snow

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There’s something about fresh snow that’s sort of comforting, although it also seems a little dangerous at the same time.  Yes, it is cold, and it can be uncomfortable physically, and heaven knows I’m not all that crazy about shovelling it; in spite of all that there is a comfort in seeing it.

It does have a nice way of covering the brown of winter… not to mention the left-over fall leaves, and it all looks so very clean.

The clean look of fresh snow is more than just in covering up the ground with a fresh white covering, it is representative of something much more profound… and a little scary.

Fresh white snow is mentioned several times in the Bible in connection with the righteousness of God and the purity of His Word, and I don’t know about you, but to me there is something slightly intimidating about that since I am so acutely aware of the fact that I just can’t measure up to His standard.

The comfort, however is greater than the danger, for in Christ we too can be made to “measure up”.  Not, of course, by our own work but instead by His.

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Isaiah 1:18

Our sinfulness and imperfection, our unholy thoughts and motivations, our inadequacies and unfaithfulness are made white as snow by the blood of Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t matter that I am my own worst critic, it doesn’t matter that somebody might not like me or that I might stumble and fail.  What matters is that our Lord has taken care of all of that ‘stuff’ and in God’s sight, by His great mercy and love we are as white as snow in His sight by and through Jesus Christ.

Since Jesus has done this for us, doesn’t it motivate you to live a life pleasing in His sight?

A Christmas Wish

-LR

I would like to take just a moment today to wish each and every one of you the best Christmas ever. May all of the joys and blessings of Christmas be yours all the year long, and may your loved ones be blessed as well.

I would also like to say thank you to every one of you who follow this blog, who drop by and visit from time-to-time, as well as those who comment, ‘like’ and repost; your encouragement means a great deal, and helps me to carry on even on those days when it feels too much like work. We are serving an awesome God, and together I hope that He will do a mighty work here… even if none of us realize it at the time. May His love dwell in your lives and be seen by all of those around you.

A Merry Christmas to one and all

Don

Christmas and the Garden of Eden

Q:  What do Christmas and the Garden of Eden have in common?

A:  Nothing.

…and everything!

Christmas as a celebration, tradition and season have nothing to do with Eden.  Christmas as in the birth of Jesus Christ has everything to do with Eden…

When the man and the woman inhabited the Garden of Eden, they lived in perfect fellowship with God.  They had relationship with Him, and we know this because the Genesis account tells of God speaking with them directly.  God talked with them and He walked with them in the cool of the evening; direct relational access between man and God.  God also gave the man a job to for Him, to have “dominion” over all the earth, and thus mankind was involved in God’s purposes as an active partner.  Relationship with purpose is what we call “fellowship.”tumblr_mbk81oDqUS1ru4biyo1_500

Of course we all know that is not the end of the story, for the man and woman saw fit to defy God and enter into rebellion against Him when they sinned.  We also know that the result of this was that the relationship was severed and their access to God was terminated; they “died.” They were also cast out into a harsh world to fend for themselves; thus their sin had a sweeping and profound series of consequences.  Of course God then began His work to redeem mankind, to re-establish relationship, and this is the story told by the Old Testament.

When Jesus was born, He was born to play the critical role in completing God’s work of redemption, and by his death on the cross, He paid the price for sin enabling the relationship between man and God to be restored.  After His sacrifice, for those who are willing, there is once again the possibility of direct access to God. After He arose from the grave, Jesus gave His followers a direct commission to take the good news of His New Covenant to all men, and enjoined them (and us) to get that job done.  In doing so, He gave mankind a direct role in accomplishing the purposes of God: Purpose. Thus, we can accurately say that through Jesus Christ God has redeemed mankind to a state of fellowship with Him.

Jesus Christ made it possible for us to have the same relationship status with God that Adam and Eve had back in the Garden of Eden: Fellowship.

So you see? Christmas has nothing to do with the Garden Eden… Christmas also has everything to do with the Garden of Eden!