A Rose in the Snow

Merry Christmas, dear ones! 

Linda and I hope, and pray that Jesus will direct and keep you in His care. 

I’m looking to a Christmas a thousand years from today, when He will bring us all together.  I think that we’ll all kick back, and we will try to remember Christmas, 2021.  We will most likely say, “But that was so long ago, it feels like a dream, I’m not so sure now…”

Like me, I trust your deepest hopes are pinned on an incredible grace. 

The gifts that are for me, under the tree are good.  But we have been given a gift– of gifts.  It is something that ‘rocks our world’.  It’s called ‘eternal life’.  It has been given to us freely, and without any stipulations.  We’ve been ‘cut-loose’ from the tangled mass of sin.  We are now very much free.

I know I need to learn to live like a free man.

My physical and mental illness often trips me up. I’m saddened by my weaknesses.  But I reach out and touch this grace, I pull it in and take and make it my own.  Jesus has freed me, and I want to walk in truth, with Him—and with you.

I’ve recently been diagnosed with a terminal disease. I’m grateful for my doctors, they’re definitely a blessing. I must keep looking to my rose–my Jesus who is my Savior. I covet your prayers especially now.

Our Lord Jesus is truly a “rose in the snow.” He has come to this hostile environment, and is precious and beautiful in the eyes of the faithful. Linda and I pray that you find Him flourishing in your heart.

Love to you from Brokenbelievers!

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Let’s Get Loud. It’s Christmas!

“Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord.12 This is how you will know him:

You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”

 13 Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:
 14 “Give glory to God in heaven,
       and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.”

Luke 2:11-14, NCV

How very busy things get.  Think of it, shepherds are meeting singing angels who are meeting people.  It must of been a bit crazy!  It’s verse 13 that, ‘a very large group of angels’ made their entrance that night.  Human history is being made now, the world has now been changed.

these are not quiet or stoic angels. they are large, and musical and filled with so much joy.

And as happy as this ‘angel-crowd’ gets,  it doesn’t phase them that God in heaven is now wrapped in human flesh and has been born in a manger.  Every angel, and almost every person understands– this is’t the place to have babies!  (Angels being angels, I think they were not thrilled with this dark hospitality being shown to God.  They probably said some ‘un-angelical’ things under their breath).

But this doesn’t matter, you see this swarm of angels descend on the stinky stable. 

And they are ecstatic, belting out at the top of their lungs songs of worship and praise.  The squalid environment isn’t a problem for them at all.  The cow manure, sheep feces, filthy straw can all be smelled, but that means nothing at this moment.

Friends, I must confess–my heart is very much like this dirty stable. 

Everything is so filthy, and the smell makes my eye’s water, and the flies are thick and intrusive.  It is all so sad, and pathetic.  There are many others with clean, white hearts, why should He choose my heart to abide?

The choir is singing now, and all of them are in deep, wonderous worship.  They belt it out with the enthusiasm of rabid fans at a NFL game.  But I examine my heart, I see so many issues, some things that are actually destroying me. I’m glad He’s all powerful and all loving–all the time and forever and ever.

But the angels, well, they just keep singing.

Christmas is just a couple of days away. Yet this is the time to prepare for a special holiday in your heart. May this year be the most meaningful time you’ve ever had.

“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”

Charles Dickens

 

Some Christmas Advice

Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. 

I grew up in the northern part of Wisconsin, and my most valuable and tenderest recollections are my Christmases.  I was raised in a Norwegian Lutheran church, (Think: Lutefisk.). Many memories flow from that; the cold, the snow and the tree, and the presents.  I’m a ‘wealthy’ man through all of these great memories.

Even when it was bad, it was still very good.

I remember our annual Nativity play at Church. I fondly remember the sticky, caramel-covered ‘popcorn ball’ each one of us 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. 

But I have no real way of instilling any of this to you. 

However, I do exhort you to go out of your way to minister to the young hearts you have contact with.  Help them believe.  Make it easy for them to touch the miracle of the manger.  Let them leave your company yearning for  God’s presence in their day. 

It won’t take much, maybe keen imagination on your part and humble prayer.  But those things you do may spark, ignite and become a blaze that will direct them through their lives.  Be kinder than you need to be. Purposefully do things that will impact them, even small things often carry an astonishingly strong influence.

You may be in the thick of it.

Just maybe you have lost the purpose and meaning of this day. But I’m pretty sure any failure isn’t permanent. But at least, try to do as much as you’re what able. Let Linda and I pray for you this season. Email us please.

A Lutefisk History – Lutefisk Recipe 

A Life for a Life

entertain-cross

We must decide upon some things. This is not easy theology. It calls us to take decisive action.

The idea of Jesus dying on the cross for my sin is brutal. I’m left with the idea that I contributed to His death. But my sin had to be covered, and alas, and He did so. But I can never repay God for the drastic measures He took. But I do know that my life is now His. His for mine.

In many cultures it is a life for a life.

Some people groups believe that the person who saves another person is owed a “life debt” out of gratitude. I become His “property” because He died in my place. A life for a life. His for mine.

There are sins that I commit that He must pay for. This is not as easy as you might think; I confess my sin, and Jesus Christ picks it up. He has chosen to pay every and all penalties for it. I go “scot-free” while He must die. This is what He decided to do for me. A life for a life.

The cross was not just a Roman method of execution. It was planned in eternity for the rebellion of mankind. It was God’s “method.” He knew those “from the foundation of the world” but had to find a way to atone for their sin, and redeem them from Satan’s control. He must die for them. And it’s a life for a life. His for mine.

I’ve been ransomed and redeemed.

His death gives me eternal life– something which can ever be taken away. His own death makes me “holy.” The Bible promises me even more than this: forgiveness, peace, joy and “real” holiness. He has done everything, I have done nothing except believe.

His life for mine. A life for a life.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”

Romans 11:33, ESV

 

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