My heart is that you would comprehend His love, and turn and hear Him whisper peace and kindness to you. There is no question– we’ve sinned and rebelled and screwed things up. But He doesn’t judge, or give us what we deserve. Jesus gives us the most wonderful present ever.
We really have nothing to bring. We are like the poor shepherds– and not at all like the three kings. When it comes to spiritual, or eternal things we are completely bankrupt. The Holy Spirit who wants to speak to us, we more or less confuse His voice. People tell us about Jesus, and we turn it into ‘gobbledygook.’ We simply can’t connect the dots. Don’t you wonder why you think there must be something more? That is the plight of a fallen heart.
But Jesus did die for us. And, furthermore He paid the ‘sin-debt’ that we owed. When we receive Him as our personal Savior, we will find the forgiveness that we need. Seek Him, and ask for understanding. Things are really not what they seem. His deep love for you goes beyond what you can possibly imagine.
There is another tree. One we decorate with sparkling lights, the other becomes the only way we can be saved. “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” (John 12:32).
If you would like, I’m just an e-mail away. I would be honored if I could offer you some kind of simple guidance. No weirdness, just a friend.
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Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. I was raised in the northern part of Wisconsin, and my most valuable and tenderest recollections are my Christmases. I was raised in a Norwegian Lutheran church (Lutefisk?!) Many memories flow from that; the cold, the snow and the tree and the presents. I have been made a ‘rich’ man through all of these great memories.
I remember our annual Nativity play at Church. I remember the sticky, carmelly ‘popcorn ball’ each one of the kids would get from the church ladies aid. I also remember a very bleak Christmas when there was no money to be had for presents. A local charity came through at the last minute with gifts. I was profoundly touched by all of this, and more. Even when it was bad, it was good.
I have no real way of instilling any of this to you. Each of us has what we have, and we must make it work. But I do exhort you, go out of your way to touch the young hearts you have contact with. Help them believe. Make it easy for them to touch Christmas magic. Let them leave your presence yearning for God’s presence in this day.
It won’t take much, maybe a little imagination on your part. But those things you do may ignite and become a blaze that will direct them through their lives. Be kinder then you need to. Do things that will impact them, even small things often carry an astonishingly strong influence.
You may be in the thick of it. You have “lost” the purpose and meaning of this day. But I’m pretty sure it isn’t permanent. But at least, try to do what you can.
A Lutefisk History – Lutefisk Recipe (Lyefish) http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/LutefiskHistory.htm
1 O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me.
Psalm 13, NLT
Life can get complicated really fast. David finds that sometimes there are no easy answers. If we look objectively at his life, we see the frayed ends where confusion rules. It was never meant to turn out this way.
V. 1-2, David believes that he has been forgotten. A phrase is repeated an astounding four times, “How long?” It does seem that impatience is a significant issue for him. Often when it gets this bad, we find ourselves turning to surrogates to fill the gap.
V. 2, “Anguish…sorrow, everyday.” Somehow David is alert enough to recognize the evil one. Everyday=no relief– constant, gnawing pain, which can be physical, emotional, or spiritual (or all three).
V. 3, “ Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.” (I love this version–“sparkle”). David knew that life was exceptional. And there is much more than breathing to life. He speaks of being restored. He seeks a reason to keep living.
V. 4, Also, he is quite aware that his life is being threatened. The word, “gloat” is interesting translation. It has the idea of boasting, or relishing someone else’s failure. The dark prince savors your defeat. He has been looking forward to this desperate moment.
V. 5, “ But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” The Lord has covered David with His hand. His life has been saved by a love that never falters or weakens. Never, Never!
V. 6, Tremendous verse; it is really wonderful. When we finally get to this last verse, we see that we have “run-the-gauntlet” with David. Often good jewelers display their diamond necklaces on a black background. The darkness intensifies the brightness of the jewels. They become even more beautiful. David is singing and praising the Lord in His nearness. It really is what we were made to do.