New Year’s Resolution

14BCF8B6-C084-4E2B-B379-D5B3FDB0EFD1“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The New Year brings so much to mind. Mostly I am thankful for all the blessings in my life—Faith, family and friends.  Just to be alive to experience it is a joy and I know that God’s plans are far beyond my wildest dreams. My resolution will be to strengthen my faith and follow His ways more nearly. Each new year, indeed each new day, we have a new opportunity to improve ourselves. I pray for strength to honor this commitment to obey His commandments, and to enjoy the process.

Joy to the World

ED3A1AC2-5E5E-417C-A8F7-8103C15A3AD3Joy to the World

This Christmas I really want to celebrate the joy that was brought to earth when Jesus was born in a manger.  I have witnessed so many decorations and commercials and wondered what the world would be like if we proclaimed the Good News as much.  I have experienced the hustle and bustle of traffic and shoppers and wondered how different it would be if we rushed to serve others as much.  Ultimately everyone seems to come together and experience a part of the joy of Christmas.  It seems that there are many others like me who long for the full joy of Christmas.  We live in a culture that promotes the material gifts and fanfare, but discourages Christianity.  What if we all loved God with all our soul and all our heart and all our might and loved others as ourselves every day?

Go With All Your Heart

0C7C1FD0-A3B9-4CDE-A60B-49D502F988A1“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:37-39 ESV

Go With All Your Heart

Yesterday’s events aligned in such a way that this post is truly fresh. In Sunday school yesterday, we discussed how we should be in constant prayer with God, always doing our best and praising Him, no matter the circumstances. Shortly after Church, my sweet mother-in-law mentioned how she always enjoys what she is doing at the moment; and, she is always doing something for others. And our exchange student from Spain related her joy from being at a party with mostly strangers, relishing every experience in a foreign country. Finally, my wife spent over four hours on the phone with an airline agent, getting our tickets in order. All of these things reminded me of the greatest two commandments, which combine to say, “Go with all your heart”.

United

3CB54149-B2C0-49D0-817C-D98DD95B30C9“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

United
As a human society, we have common healthy goals that can be obtained more readily when we are united. Watching our government bicker like immature children disgusts most of us; because, deep down, we know we have more similarities than differences. Still the enemy tries to divide us by focusing us on those areas that have fierce opposition. As the 1970 song proclaims, “United We Stand”! We must learn to love and forgive and be united in that respect. Our future depends on it.

Children

257E8357-BD36-4987-AD40-E33C92EA96EB“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭127:3-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Children

As my mother and her mother always reminded us, children are a blessing. With the average cost in the USA for raising a child to age 18 of about $300,000.00, it is definitely a financial sacrifice; but, there is no greater investment of money. My children have brought much joy into my life and have taught me far more than I ever imagined. Life is a struggle and one of my goals is to help my children become all they are meant to be. They have far surpassed my intellect and accomplishments educationally; and while that is so amazing, my hope is that we all stay focused on the real prize—our eternal life with God.

 

First Dance

C8739EE4-9902-4A48-8E95-DFDC444826A3“a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The tradition of first dances at weddings is not that old. Perhaps as early as the 17th century, wealthy families had first dances at balls to celebrate the hosts or special guests. But weddings adopted the concept.
The first dance of a newly married couple shows the love and unity between them. The synchronization represents an important guideline for a good marriage. It gives the new couple an opportunity to express through body language the love chemistry with their graceful dance movements. The bride and groom come close to each other and the combination of the song and the dance steps of the couple speak for how they feel about each other. It strengthens their unity and they and their guests cherish the memories forever.

Sacrifice

DE80CA3B-1070-48F8-AF49-9B5B76039381“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!””
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭5:11-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Sacrifice

In a world full of materialism and self-centeredness, it is miraculous that many people do actually sacrifice for others. Often these extreme acts of love and kindness are overlooked. As a parent, I now know how parents often sacrifice so much for their children; but, it happens with perfect strangers as well. The ultimate sacrifice is giving one’s life to save others and while that occasionally happens in our modern day world, nothing compares to what Christ did for everyone on The Cross. He died to cover our sins and make us righteous to God. My mind cannot comprehend such love, but my heart can feel the joy of salvation.