Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sin Is Sin

Tit 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

Christian friends, today I just want to speak to you from my heart. I hate to say it, but sound doctrine is not being taught in many of our churches. Today's churches are using programs, gimmicks, and other persuasive means to entice folks to get them in church. That's the reason many churches are having trouble, divisions, and Pastors just resigning and leaving the ministry. They took in a lot of unsaved people who don't know the LORD, and, those people think of the church as some social group. 
Church is the place where saved folks go to worship our GOD, and the unsaved go to seek GOD. Church is not for entertainment, but, for confessing sin and asking GOD for forgiveness. 
We need to flee those places that offer only a “good time”, drinks and snacks while someone tells jokes, sing some kind of “rock” songs, and tell you everything is alright.

SIN IS sin!! Have you confessed your sin???

God Bless;

Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Drawing Back To HIM

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Not so long ago the son was expected to train and do the same kind of work that the Father did. The son was expected to follow in the steps of his Father.

In this verse, we hear Jesus confessing he “worketh” because his father “worketh”. That brings us to the question, “ What work is GOD doing?” We know HE created everything and rested on the seventh day. Is HE still resting? Is HE sitting up in heaven just watching his creation go into chaos? Is GOD doing an experiment with mankind? Just what is God doing? Jesus said he is doing the same thing.
GOD created everything and He is sustaining everything. He is controlling everything. One thing we know is GOD is reconciling man back into fellowship with himself. Jesus came to save and draw mankind unto him. HE said he didn't come to condemn,but, to save. Man sinned and that separated him from GOD.

Jesus is drawing mankind back to Himself. Have you felt His drawing?

God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Saved or Not Saved

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

There are some people that use this verse to argue the point for predestination. They say that you can not come to Jesus to be saved unless the Father “giveth” you to Jesus.

I know this is a touchy issue, and, that is why I wish to clarify some thoughts about it.

There is nowhere in our Bible that teaches a “single” person has ever been predesignated. There are many places where we see “groups” of people predesignated. Our Bible divides people into two groups. Those that believe and are saved, and, those that do not believe and are not saved. Saved folks go to heaven. Unsaved folks don't.

Where are you going?

God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

When We Are Tempted

Matt. 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Knowing Jesus was tempted of the devil; Why do we complain so much when we are tempted to sin? Temptation is a fact of life, and, we must learn the correct way to react to it.

We can not fight temptation alone. There are too many, and, too strong of temptations for us to think we can over come them without help.

In today's chapter we find that Jesus used scripture to rebuke the devil. Three times Jesus answered, “it is written”. Jesus was referring to the Jewish scriptures we know as the Old Testament. Yes Ken, the Old Testament is still relevant for today. Our Bible has the answers for all of life's problems. We just need to read, and study it more. With a little knowledge of God's Word; we too can say ,”it is written” when we are tempted to sin. When someone ask about a question of life; we can say,”it is written” and be sure we have given the right answer.

How will you answer?

God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Fear Of The LORD

Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
The word “fear” in this verse does not mean “scared of, and, afraid to be close to”. Rather, this word “fear” used here gives the meaning of reverence, respect, and acknowledge of a superior being. In south Georgia English, I take it to mean, “its wise to respect our God”,and, to obey Him!
The second lesson in this verse speaks about pride. Few people respect or honour a prideful person. Most of us look down upon, with criticism, those that brag about them selves all the time. Pride is a sin often addressed in the Bible.
Humility and pride is a state of mind. They expose our inner selves, and, who we really are. Do we think only of our selves, showing pride, or are we concerned about other folks before we are about our selves? 
Humility is a virtue we should all strive to achieve.
God Bless;

Walter D. Hill D. Min.
P.O. Box 235
LaGrange, Ga. 30241

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Unfinished Story of Christmas

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

“…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…
When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe…” 2 Thessalonians 1: 7, 10

The Jesus who came the first time is coming again, and Christmas is not complete without the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The incarnation without the coronation would be like east without west. It would be like an engagement without a marriage. The story is not complete until Jesus comes again.

You may have thought that this was a good Christmas for you—but, friend, I want to tell you…the best is yet to come! The Heavenly Father has so much more in store for us when Jesus comes again.

You see, we get all wrapped up in the little baby, the baby that was born, and we then go beyond the birth of the baby, saying, “Yes, He came to die for our sins” (thank God He did that), but I want to remind you that the First Coming of Jesus and the Second Coming are linked together.

The Christmas Story in Luke 1 and 2 speaks not only of the Jesus who redeemed, but the Jesus who reigned. Not only Jesus who came the first time, but Jesus who is coming the second time to sit upon the throne of His father David, to rule over the house of Jacob forever and ever.

Imagine for a moment what your life would be like without the Resurrection, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. The most glorious fact of the past is that Jesus came the first time. The most glorious fact of the future is that this Jesus is coming again. The one sure hope of this jittery old world is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Was There A Virgin Birth?

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
“And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David…and of His kingdom there shall be no end.’ Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God…. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’” Luke 1:31-37

There are people who sneer at the idea of a virgin birth. “Ha!” they say, “How could this happen?” The angel said to Mary, “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

Do you believe that? “With God, nothing.” If you have trouble with the virgin birth, your real trouble is with God. Be reasonable. If God could make the first man without a father or mother, don’t you think He could bring His Son into this world in a virgin birth?

If you don’t believe in the virgin birth, you have some character problems.
  • The character of Mary. If Mary had a child out of wedlock, then Mary was an impure woman.
  • The character of Jesus. If Jesus had not been born of a virgin, he would have been the son of Adam, and in Adam all die. Jesus Christ would have had the same human proclivities you and I have, who are by nature the children of wrath.
  • The character of the Word of God is flawed, because the Word of God clearly, plainly teaches it.
Think about this today: Your salvation is inextricably interwoven with the virgin birth. No virgin birth, no deity. No deity, no sinless life. No sinless life, no sacrificial death. No sacrificial death, no salvation. No salvation, you’re going to hell. Jesus came to earth that we might go to heaven; born of a virgin that we might be born again. Thank God for the virgin birth.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Don't be a Christmas Jerk

Isaiah 9:6

One of my favorite Christmas stories is the classic Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Last year my wife and I enjoyed a fantastic stage production of this wonderful old story.

It seems every Christmas story has to have a Scrooge, from predictable Hallmark dramas to children's books. The reason we always write a jerk into our holiday stories is because it's true. It's real life.

Today I want to encourage you not to be a Christmas jerk. Don't be the Scrooge. It's all too easy. Maybe you're expecting an Xbox and you get a sweater. Maybe your parents have to tighten the belt and you have fewer packages under the tree. Maybe Christmas is a tough time because you're reminded again of the fragility and dysfunction of your family. Perhaps you wish your family would be like the others who seem to have it all together.

Or... maybe you're stressed out because you have a ton of stuff to do. Recitals, plays, people, parties.

The circumstances and environment around the holidays make it all too easy to fall into jerk mode. And I'm saying, don't let it happen. Why? Because, of all people, it is Christians who should be full of joy on Christmas. Why? Becasuse this is the celebration of our story, how God moved dramatically to rescue His creation by sending Jesus to live, first as a baby, then as a growing boy, and then as a man.

Christmas is good news. It is God's entrance into the world. God didn't stay in Heaven as a detached deity, he moved to become flesh. What a powerful story.

How do you avoid becoming a Christmas jerk? First, meditate on the story. Go back to the chapters in Isaiah and Matthew and Luke. Remember why we celebrate. Second, go with the flow. What I mean is hold your Christmas plans loosely. Remember its about love, about giving, about peace. So if you get stiffed on the Xbox, let it go. Third, find ways to give back this Christmas. Is there a needy child, a program at your church, a community center that needs you're time and perhaps your money? Give. Fourth, don't get hung up on frivolous stuff. Don't be a Christian who whines about commercialization, about the "War on Christmas." Just fight against those with genuine, Holy-Spirit-led Christmas cheer.

Strive this year, to be part of the good at Christmas. And leave the jerkiness to Dickens, Hallmark Channel, and others.

Check out our Christmas Facebook page at

Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at, or check out his website:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Christmas Tree???

In case you might have been questioned about your Christmas tree; let me share what a Christmas tree means to me.
On top, a star reminds me where I want to go, or an angel reminds methat Jesus made it so.
The lights tell me Jesus is the light of the world and I am to let my light shine also in this world.
The different decorations so pretty and bright remind me of heaven and its eternal light.
The garland wrapped around the tree holding it so tight, remind me of God's wonderful love and all of His great might.
The gifts piled under the tree that's given just to me, remind meof Jesus and His love for me. 

As I stand off and look upon my Christmas tree. I realize it was cut and killed to be a blessing just for me.
So you see friend, I don't worship that tree. I worship God who MADE that tree.
God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ask, Seek & Knock

Matt. 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Many of us Christians want a lot of things. We wish and wait for the LORD to do something with our lives. We pray the LORD will heal, provide, and use us in some way. We want good things to happen, but, we never put forth an effort ourselves.

We tend to ignore the second and third verb of this verse, seek and knock. We must put forth an effort when we “seek” something. We must ask for an opening when we “knock”. Do you see friend; that while we wait on the LORD to move, we need to work and redeem the time while we wait! None of us are perfect, but, we should strive to be. As a bride prepares for her great day; so should we prepare to meet Jesus? All of us need a cleansing by his blood. We should put on the whole suit of armour of GOD, and, we need to gird up our minds.  

God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

It's Not about "Keeping Christ in Christmas" by Kelly Balarie

Every Christmas I hear people say the phrase "keep Christ in Christmas." I get the idea. I get the motivation. I get that things are changing in our world and we must continually keep Christ before us.

But, still, I think we are missing the point. It's not about "Keeping Christ in Christmas"; it is about keeping Christ alive in our hearts.

You see, "keeping Christ in Christmas", is about saying Merry Christmas, it's about including the words on cards, it's about ensuring stores acknowledge it and it's about monitoring their display of red and green colors on their signage. It's about making sure people don’t trample the name.

But, by "keeping Christ in Christmas" - we are sometimes led astray. Because even if we speak the words, or see the colors, or witness the tree decorations, we can often altogether miss Christ.

We can focus on the wrong things. It is so easy to do. It is so easy to get distracted by it all. To get lured in by the fanfare. I understand. I do.

But, I don't want to be so concerned with the decorations that I miss the adoration. I don't want to be so annoyed by the word Xmas that I miss the hurting person speaking it. I don't want to be so consumed with others that I miss the one who stands above all others.

Do you know what I mean?

Truly "Keeping Christ in Christmas" transcends formalities and external traditions. People are going to do what they are going to do. But, we have to follow what God wants us to do. And, Christ wants us to be less concerned with others - and more concerned with Him. His purposes. His ways. His gift.

The more concerned we are with Him, the more like Him we become. We become living testimonies and sacrifices who project the image of Christ. We become ones who will give it all to love another. We become the greatest gift to people in need.

This is Christmas.

We no longer need lights adorned outside our house or stores, because we become the shining lights.

When Christ is in us - and we are in him - we portray Christ through Christmas. It's not about "keeping Christ in Christmas" it's about "Keeping Christ in us this Christmas". It's about keeping our passions set on Him.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)

Christ is not illustrated through shallow words, colors or decorations.

"...The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7)

Christ is most exalted through true believers, not trendy decorators.

Christ is best displayed in Christmas, not through colors, words or displays, but through displays of affection towards him and towards his creation.

Let's not keep our eyes on trees and stores, but let's keep our eyes on the one who came as a baby to set the captives free, to extend all grace and to bring all joy.

"Keeping Christ in Christmas" - is less about the external and more about our internal. Our internal beliefs and our reliance on Christ will determine whether Christ really is in Christmas.

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden." (Matt. 5:14)

So, this Christmas let's not stress about "keeping Christ in Christmas", but, instead, let's "Keep Christ in Our Hearts," so we can shine his light throughout the entire Christmas season.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Virgin Birth

Luke 1:34," Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?".
If anyone should know if Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was a virgin; she should! About this time of the year some people bring up the question of the Virgin Birth.
Let me say that I have no problem with the virgin birth. It was a miracle of God. Many miracles are in the Bible and I don't have a problem with believing them all.
Our God can do anything and if He desired a virgin to give birth, bless your heart, the virgin gave birth.
This is one of the doctrines in the Bible the unbelievers try to rationalize and reason away.
As we come to this Christmas season, dear friend lets you and I remember that Christ was given for us. He is the GIFT of life. May you have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!
God Bless;

Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Divorce

KJV Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
This is the only place that Jesus gives a reason for divorce. Falling out of love is not a reason. The kids are not a reason. Money is not a reason. In-laws are not a reason. Loving someone else is not a reason. Fornication is the ONLY justification for divorcement! Fornication is having sex with someone beside your married partner. Again, fornication and adultery is a sin of selfishness. Selfishness wants things MY WAY regardless of whom it hurts.
I can’t understand a person willing to forfeit a stable life style for a few moments of self-gratification.
Next week I will attempt to deal with the last phrase in this verse.
Keep praying God loves you!
God Bless;

Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Good Night's Sleep

Psalm 3:5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
One of the blessings for Christians is a good night’s sleep. Sleep rests and refreshes the body. Some folks say we need eight to ten hours of sleep every night. They say many diseases, depression and emotional disorders are caused by sleep deprivation. You must admit that in today’s society, sleep takes a back seat in our life. Most people stay up at night watching T. V. and don’t go to sleep when they should.
This verse also confirms the Christian’s confidence and faith in the LORD. It is truly a sign of peace, confidence, and assurance when we can lie down to sleep and rest in our LORD. We know when we awake that we will be in the presence of Jesus, or, we will have another day on earth to serve and live for GOD.
This brings me to the point, of whom or what, is sustaining you? Are you sustained by alcohol, drugs, other people, or, the Devil himself?  All of these will fail you.
Its only when we are sustained by the LORD, we can have rest. Did you have a good night’s sleep last night? 
God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Mark

Rev. 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
There is still much debate about the “mark of the beast” as stated in our Bible. I don’t claim to know it all, or, have special Devine revelation concerning scripture. I do try to use logic and common sense to understand stuff. People use their name or a mark to claim ownership of things. Bears claw trees to leave their mark claiming their territory. Different animals urinate upon trees and bushes to mark out their home area. 
It stands to reason that the Beast would put a mark upon what he claims as his own?
People also leave a mark by the way we live. That mark identifies us long after we are gone. That brings me to the question of “What mark am I (and you) leaving that others may follow??”
God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Justice and Mercy

by  Charles Stanley
Romans 3:21-26
The sinful condition of mankind presents us with a dilemma: How can a holy, righteous God forgive our sins? If He deals with us only on the basis of His justice, every human being would suffer the eternal punishment of His wrath, which their sins deserve. But if He extends mercy instead of justice, no one would pay the penalty for sin, and God would then cease to be just.
There was only one way the Lord could stay true to His nature and at the same time forgive our sins. The solution was to satisfy His justice by pouring out His wrath on a substitute. Then the penalty for sin would be paid, and He would be free to extend mercy to sinners. This is the only plan that accommodates both aspects of His divine nature. So Christ came as our substitute; He took the punishment for our sin, enabling us to experience the Father’s mercy. Now, by placing faith in Jesus, anyone can be justified—that is, declared legally righteous.
God’s plan of salvation is simple enough for a child to understand. Yet at the same time, the complexities of the transaction that occurred at Calvary are far beyond human comprehension. Although we may not fully grasp what transpired there, we can know that the cross is the greatest possible display of the Lord’s love for us. 
Can you even imagine the cost of your salvation? The magnificent plan of the Father and the willing cooperation of the Son prove your tremendous value in God’s eyes. From His perspective, you are worth all the pain and suffering that was necessary to secure your eternal presence with Him in heaven.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

God's Listening For The Sound of a Thankful Heart

(By Roy Lessin, Co-founder, DaySpring Cards)
"When ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will." - Leviticus 22:29 KJV

One day, while paying my electric bill, I decided to thank the company for the service they were providing me. "Thanks for my electricity," I said, "It's really quite a bargain for all the benefits I receive." "What!" said the lady behind the counter, in amazement, "That's the first time anyone has ever thanked us. All I ever hear around here are complaints."

It's a challenge to grow up with a thankful heart. From an early age we are exposed to a culture of complainers, gripers, grumblers, and critics. We complain about the weather, traffic, food, work, neighbors, bills, the government, church, and life in general. Worst of all, we are ungrateful toward God. It would be hard to count the number of complaints and criticisms that are daily spoken before Him and against Him. How can we, who have received so much, be thankful for so little?

One of the great indicators of true spirituality is not measured by how many times we go to church, how big our Bibles are, or how long we pray, but it is measured by the level of gratitude that is in our hearts. When we are ungrateful, the heart of God is saddened, the Holy Spirit is grieved, and the joy of the Lord is quenched within us.

Being thankful sweetens you, grumbling sours you; being thankful brings sunshine to your countenance, being ungrateful casts a shadow; being thankful brings a melody to your words, criticism makes you sound like a clanging cymbal; being thankful keeps your feet on the pathway of celebration, complaint takes you down the road of despair.

When our hearts are filled with gratefulness we may feel like our thanksgiving is inadequate, but we can be certain that our thanksgiving is always appropriate. It will gladden the heart of God to hear your heartfelt thanks being freely offered to Him today.

Thought for Today
Jesus Christ wants disciples and not admirers. 

An admirer is the cheap edition of a disciple.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Road of Discipleship

by Charles Stanley

Galatians 1:11-17

After Paul's conversion, he disappeared into the desert for three years, during which time the Holy Spirit instructed him in the ways of God. He emerged, ready to communicate divine truth.

The Lord speaks to believers so that they will comprehend the truth, conform to the truth, and communicate the truth. These same steps form a roadmap to discipleship. What happened during Paul's desert years was only the beginning of a life-long process—God renewed his mind and transformed him into the image of Christ. For the apostle, that change began with connecting his rich biblical knowledge to the revelation that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

Paul knew Scripture thoroughly, but the truth that Jesus was the promised Messiah made him reconsider the foundation he'd been trusting. Everything he knew about God had to be re-evaluated in light of this new information. Paul had a history of wanting to please God, so the Holy Spirit no doubt found him a willing pupil.

The apostle's spirit had to be shaped according to the Father's will. And the Lord kept working on him long after Paul left the desert and began his ministry. Every person who reads his letters is a witness to the work of God in a submissive man.

The Lord's discipleship roadmap looks similar for every believer. Like Paul, you are the Holy Spirit's student, and the knowledge you reap from Scripture should be changing your life. Be like the apostle in this way to become a disciple maker by sharing what you learn with others.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


By Skip Heitzig
In Acts 4:1-22, the Jewish leaders had just seen a display of power, as a lame man was healed at the temple gate. Now they were confronted with another: Peter and John, two ordinary fishermen, were quoting and perfectly understanding the Scriptures.

Read verse 8: "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…." That was the key factor of their boldness and power. Peter and John were standing with hostile faces peering at them and antagonists firing questions at them. That's enough to make any one of us flustered. But instead, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they were bold.

Note that "uneducated and untrained" (v. 13) does not mean they were ignorant. It means they were laymen with no rabbinical credentials whatsoever. These were ordinary guys, the kind of people that most in corporate circles would pass over because of what they lacked. But Jesus chose them and molded them, and they became His ambassadors. They were ordinary men doing extraordinary things, because an extraordinary God was working in them.

The Bible is chock-full of examples like that, of ordinary people that God got hold of: David was only a shepherd boy, but God made him king. Gideon was a fearful man hiding from his enemies, but God made him a great general. Esther was an insignificant Jewish girl living in Persia, but God made her a deliverer for her people. Ordinary men and women all throughout the book of Acts were filled with the Holy Spirit and dedicated to Jesus Christ, and they became extraordinary vessels.

May God deliver us from professionals appointed by men and not by Him! May God give us men and women filled with the Holy Spirit instead of people who just push their psychology, church-ianity, or social agenda.
What about you? Your life might be one that the world would just pass over and disregard. Oh, but if Jesus gets hold of you and you become His vessel, what He can do through you! "Ordinary-but-filled-with-the-Holy-Spirit" can become extraordinary, a true ambassador for God.

You might say, "I don't have any credentials." But if it can be said of you, just like Peter and John, "they had been with Jesus" (v. 13), those are all the credentials you need. You can have worldly credentials, but unless you've been with Jesus, you'll be a big bag of wind. Educated wind, maybe, but wind. Of course, you can have both, but it's essential that you spend time with Jesus. Then you become emboldened and powerful. People filled with the Holy Spirit are unstoppable.

Your life might be warped and out of tune, and you can't make any sense of it at all. But let the Master take it, and let Him show you what He can do through the life of an ordinary person yielded to Him for His glory. This week, may you watch God do great things in and through you!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

You Can Never Be Undone

by Ann Voskamp

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." Genesis 50:20 (NLT)

It can be a real mess out there. And the crazy thing is, there can be whole rising muck of stuff on the inside too.

And yet — we do it anyways: String up a tangle of lights. Set a musty angel atop the tree.

Deck the front porch and the back streets and the whole tilted world in this twinkling robe, this tinselled robe. Watch how the whole world spins round in these lit colors.

But as much as the world decorates and prepares for Christmas, it's like the hem of our robe is dirty and dragging; there's always the ripped underside of things, the dreams and bits of us and unspoken hopes, all torn to pieces.

You can feel this — in a torn-up world, you feel a bit torn apart.

When you are brave, you give yourself the gift of facing and touching your own torn places. The places where we're torn to pieces — can be thin places where we touch the peace of God.

Like Joseph, in the book of Genesis, who reaches out touches his own worn-thin place. He feels along the edges of the torn places, and he sees through, telling his brothers that verse we can hold onto like a gift today: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good."

What was intended to tear you apart, God intends it to set you apart.

Whatever has torn you, God makes a thin place to see glory. Whatever happens, whatever unfolds, whatever unravels, you can never be undone.

You can stand around a Christmas tree with a family tree like Joseph's, with cheaters and beaters and deceivers. Or his dad, Jacob, who ran away and ran around and ran folks down.

But out of a family line that looks like a mess, God brings the Messiah. What was intended to harm, God intended all of it for good, and no matter what intends to harm you, God's arms have you. You can never be undone.

No matter what intends to harm you ... God is never absent, never impotent, never distant.

You can never be undone.

In the middle of all our collective mess stands the most monstrous evil. The wood of the crèche that held baby Jesus lies torn apart behind the wood of the Cross. The cries of the innocent Babe under the stars of Bethlehem twist into the agonized cries of the innocent victim atop the injustice of Calvary.

The holy dark over the manger gives way to the heinous dark over the Messiah and the slamming hammer and the tearing vein and the piercing thorn — the created murdering the Creator.

The Cross stands as the epitome of evil.

And yet God takes the greatest evil ever known to humanity and turns it into the greatest Gift you have ever known.

"If the worst things work for good to a believer, what shall the best things?" writes puritan Thomas Watson. "Nothing hurts the godly ... all things ... shall cooperate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings."

If God can transfigure the greatest evil into the greatest Gift, then He intends to turn whatever you're experiencing now into a gift. You cannot be undone.

Somewhere, Advent can storm and howl and look messy.

And still, the world all robed for Christmas can spin bravely and beautifully on — holding on to a God who won't let you be undone.

Lord, we come to You not because You are our last hope, but because You are our first love. We're coming to You before we do anything at all because waiting on You is wisest of all. We trust You to work all this out in Your good time. You are only good. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, December 12, 2014

If the Daily Grind has Made You Blind

Alicia Bruxvoort
"O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single blessing!" Psalm 103:1-2 (MSG)
We'd argued on our drive to the hospital.  Soon I'd be lying belly up on an exam table as my stretched-out skin was covered with clear cold goo. Soon we'd get our first glimpse of the baby tucked beneath my heart.
However, my husband and I couldn't agree on one thing: Should we find out the gender of our baby or not?
His vote was yes; mine was no.
Two years prior, we opted for the moment-of-arrival surprise when we were expecting our firstborn. I loved the thrill of hearing the doctor say, "You have a boy!" after my son had entered the world on that momentous August day.
Since I was the one laboring, I figured I deserved a weighted vote. So, when the grainy glimpse of our wee one appeared on the ultrasound screen, and the tech asked if we'd like to know the gender, I stated my preference.
Rob didn't dispute my final call, but he did leave the hospital with measurably less excitement than his victorious wife. In fact, for the rest of the pregnancy, he tended to the daily grind — went to graduate school, paid the bills, played with our toddler — but he seemed blind to the gift growing right under his nose.  As the due date neared, I looked desperately for a way to awaken my husband to the blessing burgeoning beneath my heart. That's when my doctor suggested an ultrasound to check on the baby's questionable size.
With Rob stuck at work, I drove to the hospital alone. The ultrasound tech greeted me with a smile and a mint green hospital gown. She dimmed the lights and the screen alit with a wiggling silhouette of our second child. My heart ached with the weight of wonder.
Then, suddenly, I had an idea.
I pulled a post-it note from my purse and asked the technician to write the baby's gender on the slip of paper. She nodded knowingly and wrote something in slow, choppy scrawl. Next, she rummaged through a drawer and grabbed an envelope. She slid the post-it-note inside and sealed it.
That evening over dinner, I handed Rob the envelope and explained what it contained. At first he just looked at me with quiet confusion, but as he began to understand what I was offering, a smile spread across his face. He grabbed the envelope, excused himself from the table, and returned with a fresh sparkle dancing in those deep green orbs.  For the remainder of my pregnancy, my husband was a new man. He couldn't keep his hands off my bulging stomach or wipe the grin off his beaming face. When our bundle of wrinkles and wails arrived three weeks later, we named her Elizabeth Grace, for we both agreed she was an undeserved gift.
Once the frenzy of delivery day had grown quiet, I listened to the squeak of the rocking chair and watched my husband cuddle our baby girl. Then, I asked the question I'd been harboring for weeks. "What finally got you excited about this baby?"
Rob kissed our daughter's soft pink cheek and shrugged his shoulders. "I guess it was that little slip of paper."
He glanced at the miracle in his arms and cast me a sheepish grin, "Once I knew we were having a girl, I began to call her by name. That's what made her real to me."
Sometimes naming a gift helps us to see it more clearly. Maybe that's why God urges us to remember our blessings: "O my soul ... don't forget a single blessing!" (Psalm 103:2, MSG)
The One who is timeless invites us to carve out time to give thanks. Not because He needs our gratitude, but because we do.
The daily grind can make us blind.  It's easy to go through the motions of life and fail to see the gifts planted right beneath our noses. But God has given our eyes a prescription: 
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (I Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).
Naming a gift doesn't change the gift; it just makes it real.
So make a list, tell a friend, utter a prayer or compose a song. Tell a story, keep a journal or post a praise.
Practice the habit of gratitude frequently and faithfully, and odds are, you'll begin to see some gifts that have been there all along, blessings burgeoning beneath your heart, just waiting for a name.
Dear Jesus, I don't want the daily grind to make me blind. Open my eyes to see the blessings in my life. Grow in me a heart of gratitude. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

At the Foot of the Cross

(Written by Marcia Krugh Leaser)
Fearing the battle was over
And I'd already lost the war,
I was tired of trying and failing.
I just couldn't fight anymore.

So, dragging my battle-scarred body,
I crawled to the foot of the cross.
And I sobbed. 'Oh please, Father forgive me.
But I tried...I tried.. and still lost.'

Then the air grew silent around me.
I heard his voice just as clear as the dawn:
'Oh, My child, though you are tired and weary,
You can't stop, you have to go on.'

At the foot of the Cross, where I met Him,
At the foot of the Cross, where He died,
I felt love, as I knelt in His presence.
I felt hope, as I looked in His eyes.

Then He gathered me lovingly to Him,
As around us God's light clearly shone.
And together we walked though my lifetime
To heal every wound I had known.

I found bits of my dreams, long forgotten,
And pieces of my life on the floor.
But I watched as He tenderly blessed them,
And my life was worth living once more.

I knew then why I had been losing.
I knew why I had not grown.
At the foot of the Cross came the answer:
I'd been fighting the battle alone.

At the foot of the Cross, where I met Him,
At the foot of the Cross, where He died,
Then I knew I could face any challenge
Together--just my Lord and I.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Afraid Of What The Bible Will Say

(Author Unknown)

A school teacher lost her life savings in a business scheme that had been elaborately explained by a swindler. When her investment disappeared and her dream was shattered, she went to the Better Business Bureau.

"Why on earth didn't you come to us first?" the official asked. "Didn't you know about the Better Business Bureau?"

"Oh, yes," said the lady sadly. "I've always known about you. But I didn't come because I was afraid you'd tell me not to do it."

The folly of human nature is that even though we know where the answers lie--God's Word--we don't turn there for fear of what it will say.

Foolish indeed. 

Thought for Today

"When we read the last chapters of the Revelation, we find ourselves mysteriously touching the first chapters of Genesis. As you survey the whole circle of the Bible, you find you have been following the perimeter of a golden ring." - W. A. Criswell 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


by Max Lucado
There was a blackout one night. When the lights went out, I fumbled to the closet where we keep the candles for nights like this...I lit four of them.
I was turning to leave with the large candle in my hand when I heard a voice, "Now, hold it right there."
"Who said that?"
"I did." The voice was near my hand.
"Who are you? What are you?"
"I'm a candle."
I lifted up the candle to take a closer look. There was a tiny face in the wax.
"Don't take me out of here!"
"I said, Don't take me out of this room."
"What do you mean? I have to take you out. You're a candle. Your job is to give light. It's dark out there."
"But you can't take me out. I'm not ready," the candle explained with pleading eyes. "I need more preparation."
I couldn't believe my ears. "More preparation?"
"Yeah, I've decided I need to research this job of light-giving so I won't go out and make a bunch of mistakes. You'd be surprised how distorted the glow of an untrained candle can be...."
"All right then," I said. "You're not the only candle on the shelf. I'll blow you out and take the others!"
But right then I heard other voices, "We aren't going either!" I turned to the other candles, "You are candles and your job is to light dark places!"
"Well, that may be what you think," said the first one, "You may think we have to go, but I'm busy...I'm meditating on the importance of light. It's really enlightening."...
"And you other two," I asked, "are you going to stay too?"
A short, fat, purple candle with plump cheeks spoke up. "I'm waiting to get my life together, I'm not stable enough."
The last candle had a female voice, very pleasant to the ear. "I'd like to help, "she explain,"but lighting the darkness is not my gift...I'm a singer. I sing to other candles to encourage them to burn more brightly."
She began a rendition of "This Little Light of Mine" The other three joined in, filling the closet with singing....I took a step back and considered the absurdity of it all. Four perfectly healthy candles singing to each other about light but refusing to come out of the closet.
Here is a question for you, when was the last time you shared the gospel to someone? This world is full of darkness, with many people stumbling around trying to find their way. You can be a light for them, and believe me, there's a light waiting for you. It can all happen with something as sharing the faith, to just a smile across the room, to a quick hello to a forgotten friend.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE BEFORE MEN THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS, AND GLORIFY YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN." Matthew 5:14-16
Thought for Today

"...Work is a very, very holy thing...Most of us think that spiritual exercises are something you do once you get home from work, but I think what you do at your work is just as spiritual as the twenty minutes you have set aside to read Oswald Chambers...If you're a plumber and you become a Christian, you don't [necessarily] quit being a plumber to become a preacher. You become a great plumber because your work is infused by your faith." - Rich Mullins, musician best known for "Awesome God"