Beat the Bah-Humbugs!

By Julie Morris –

Do you have the Bah-Humbugs? Do you even know what it is? “Bah” is an old fashioned word that means that you dislike something, and “Humbug” means that you think that something is a fake.

Do you have a “Bah-Humbug” attitude when people talk about peace and joy at Christmas? Or, do you have the Bah-Humbugs all of the time, not just at Christmas? Do you say things like, “Everyone has it better than me,” “I give up. There’s no hope that things will change”?

If you have the Bah-Hubugs, you’re not alone. Do you know the first guy who had the Bah-Humbugs? It was stingy old Ebenezer Scrooge—the meanest man in London. Charles Dickens wrote the book A Christmas Carol in 1843, and Ebenezer is the main character. You may have read it or seen it on TV.

Ebenezer is a businessman who thinks only of making money. For him Christmas is, humbug—a fake. On Christmas Eve he has a dream about three ghosts. Let’s look at some of the things Ebenezer Scrooge learns from the three ghosts in his nightmare on Christmas Eve.

The Ghost of Christmas Past.

When the Ghost of Christmas Past makes Scrooge look back at his childhood, he sees how much he had been hurt, and he gets angry all over again. It’s true, though, that hurting people hurt people, and that’s what Scrooge had done. Instead of dealing with his hurts, he had carried them with him his whole life. We can learn from Ebenezer and deal with our hurts—forgive those who hurt us–so we don’t have to continue to live in the Bah-Humbugs.

The Ghost of Christmas Present.

When the Ghost of Christmas Present makes Ebenezer look at how others are enjoying their lives even though some of them have many overwhelming problems, Ebenezer is jealous and he wants what they have.

Many of us can understand because we have felt the same way—stuck in the Bah Humbugs because others have it better than we do. But there is something we can do to get rid of those negative thoughts. Replace them with positive ones so can get free of the Bah Humbugs.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.

After the Ghost of Christmas Present finishes with him, The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come makes him look ahead—at his funeral! It is then that Scrooge realizes how empty and meaningless his life has been and he feels tremendous regret.

Like Scrooge, do you feel regret when you examine your life? If you do, discover the life-changing message that Scrooge learns: joy doesn’t come from having what you want when you want it; it comes from loving and sharing and being thankful. And it comes from overcoming problems with God’s help and then helping others to be overcomers too.

Do you remember how Scrooge feels when he wakes up from his nightmare? He is overcome with relief because he still has time to change! He still has time to have the joyful life he has always wanted—and he beats the Bah-humbugs. Will you?


Shepherds for Christ

May 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Marty Norman –

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night”  (Luke 2:8).

Shepherds are amazing people. From biblical times to today, they are on guard as they watch over the sheep and baby lambs placed in their care. By day they feed the sheep, leading them to pastures for grazing. By night they guard the entrance to gated pens, protecting the sheep from wolves and predatory animals.

Shepherds have a distinct place in history. They were the first to whom God revealed the good news of the birth of his son. Standing in a brightly lit field, they stood in awe as the heavenly host descended, singing and praising God, proclaiming peace on earth, good will towards man.  Without hesitation, these simple men left the hills of Judea to see for themselves the miracle of the baby’s birth. They found him lying in a manager wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Today there are many types of shepherds–pastors, preachers, parents, grandparents, teachers and youth leaders.  They each have a role in the guarding of the flock. In God’s way, he uses the few to confound the many for he leads with precision those he has called to shepherd his sheep.

As grandmothers, we have our doctorate in shepherding. Not only does our age bless us with wisdom and longevity but our role in the family places us in a shepherd position. If we look closely at the Christmas story, the Word gives us the key to shepherding. For isn’t this how god made us—to feed our flocks by day and guard our flocks by night.

As grandmothers, we do this a number of ways–physically, spiritually and emotionally. Physically we provide necessities for their well-being, but we also give them fun things we didn’t provide for our own children because of lack of funds. Emotionally, we offer a place of safety and a heart of unconditional love; we see and have time to do the things that others don’t. Spiritually, we show Jesus to our grandkids when we sing songs or hymns of praise, sharing our joy in the Lord. At night we offer comfort and protection through our prayers. In our quiet times we speak and read the Word of the Lord over them, providing a canopy of covering.

But there is more to the Christmas story than just guarding the flock. Luke 2:17 tells us, ‘When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”  This is the heart of the story. First they saw, guarded, protected and watched; then they went and told.

As 21st century shepherds, are we doing the same, telling all that we see about Jesus?  Are the people who hear amazed at what we tell them?  If not, then we are not applying the Christmas story to today.

So our challenge this Christmas is to make a plan. Determine how you will you share the gospel that Jesus, the Messiah, has come. Who will you tell about the good news of the baby Jesus?

Prayer:   O God, I praise you that you sent your son, Emmanuel, the Messiah, to us on Christmas Eve. I praise you that you spoke to humble shepherds who were guarding their flocks by night. I thank you that they investigated, believed and went out to tell others.  I pray that you would do likewise with me. Use me this Christmas season to spread the good news of the birth of the Savior. Use me to amaze people with your story.

You Can Stay Fit During Christmas!

By Laurette Willis –

“I am the bread of life” (John 6:48 NIV).

Those words really put holiday overindulgence into perspective don’t they? Perhaps the overindulgence we could enter into this Christmas is filling up on the “bread of life” instead of the bread of this world—after all, Jesus was placed in a manger (a feeding trough!) as a baby.

When we think of the bread of this world, we think of physical bread, but it can also be “soul junk food.” I’m referring to the PG-13, R-rated (and worse) so-called “entertainment” of this world.

Okay, now I’m meddling, right? It’s just that I’ve found that if I’m filling up on the world’s junk food through my eyes and ears, I also seem to want to satisfy my mouth with the world’s processed junk foods for my body. Could they be connected?

When I’m taking in less life through the Word into my spirit, my discernment and choices in other areas of my life aren’t as clear or focused.

Pick a “Scripture Snack” Each Day.

Fill up on real soul food! Pick one “Scripture snack” to chew on each day. Today my “snack” from the Word was the verse at the beginning of this article where Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.”

Throughout the day I went back to that Word and asked the Lord to give me new revelation on it. I noticed my mental focus became clearer, I made better choices in a number of areas and I felt satisfied on the inside (not “stuffed” and numb from overindulging my flesh as I had so many times before).

More Practical Tips:

In addition to ensuring your heart and mind are full of the Word, here are 5 tips to help you spearhead the movement in your family to a healthier Christmas and 2012:

Make a difference in someone’s life.

Focus on one or two people you are going to get to know better over the holiday. This can be a member of your own family, a friend, a neighbor, perhaps even someone at church who needs to be with a family at Christmas (why not yours?).

Exercise.

If you don’t move, you lose. Much of the weight gain during the holidays is due to a lack of physical exercise. Decide to get some exercise in early in the day before the hubbub of activity starts.

Make it a family affair. After the big meal, be the instigator behind a “Let’s all go outside and walk off some of that delicious dinner before dessert!” I think you’d be surprised how many will thank you for it later!

Don’t skip meals.

Even if you think you may be eating more over the holidays, don’t make the mistake of skipping meals so you can stock up later.

Drink plenty of water.

Stay well-hydrated. This will also ensure that you eat less. We often reach for a high-calorie snack when our body is really crying out for water.

Above all, stay focused on making sure your spirit is well-fed. You will sail through the holidays and into 2012 with your heart full, your mind clear and your body full of energy as a fit witness for Christ. He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20, NKJV).

Let’s believe Him for itand share our victory with others this holiday season!


Thirty-three

May 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Heather Allen-

A few weeks ago our plumbing had a run of unfortunate events.

Early one morning I leaned in to the shower and realized it had not drained from the previous shower. I opened my mouth to groan but a verse came out instead. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). I  swallowed a mouthful of irritation and croaked my thanks for indoor plumbing.

The next morning I woke to find that our hot water heater was not working properly. Thanks for indoor plumbing I mumbled through blue lips. I have to admit I have become an expectant wimp. Where is the thanksgiving for the other days that start with a hot shower, full belly, and the best cup of coffee in town?

Christ left Heaven for Earth and He did not even have a place to lay His head. He was looked down upon. He was called a drunkard and a glutton. But He knew who He was and why He had come. As I work my way through the book of Matthew and consider Christ’s words, I find a priority list slightly different than my own. Christ said that He only does what the Father instructs Him to do. He said give up your life if you want to find it. He says follow me. And when the day came to lay His life down in obedience, He did so.  He is God and He chose to walk among us for thirty-three years, poor and rejected.

I don’t think modern Christianity lines up well with Jesus’ instructions. Because there is a lie we tell ourselves, and it goes something like this: I deserve this. I deserve a nice house, a nice car, to do what I want, to watch what I want, to respond how I want. I deserve to be treated with kind respect and even preference.

I think we tend toward what is permissible rather than what is beneficial. And I wonder what this attitude has cost. If I pursued holiness like I pursue my comfort zone I would be a different person.

I long to be different.

I yearn to imitate a God who does the unexpected and never tries to woo us with a good reputation. We would have been drawn by power, looks and wealth.

He was born in a stable. He did not have anything that would cause us to desire him. He knows humanities tendency to be drawn by outward appearance and lovingly preferred us by coming in humble fashion.

He showed us what was important by the way He lived, and it was not reputation building, it was humble obedience.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8 NIV).

Philippians 2 goes on to say that the result of Christ’s humility was exaltation, a name above every name, and every knee bowing before
Him.

He laid His life down freely and He says we should do the same. May He enable us, through His great strength, to give up our lives to follow Him.

Showing Love–the Right Way–During the Holidays

By Cami Checketts –

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year to me because of all the love that is shown. Love to neighbors, family, friends, and those in need at home or abroad. We all show that love in different ways. Most of us will make extra donations to those in need and reach out to neighbors we might not see often. We’ll enjoy spending more time with family and close friends.

My husband and I were both raised by wonderful parents who loved us and took very good care of us. It’s always so fun to go to Grandma’s house and get spoiled as they serve us a hearty meal and dessert, and then afterwards…when they start passing around the chocolate. While we love these parties (and the food), we’re grateful they are special occasions. Sometimes the love is shown through the sharing of food and it’s awfully hard to make healthy choices at such times. Has anyone else offended Grandma by saying no thanks to pumpkin pie?

None of us would knowingly hurt one of our children or other family members, but I’ve found myself showing love through food. The baby grins when I hand him a sucker. The older boys jump with joy when Daddy makes cookies. My husband gives me an extra kiss when his special black licorice appears in his drawer. I don’t believe any of these examples are a problem if they happen occasionally, but when the baby is eating suckers and cookies all the time, he’s not going to feel good or develop properly.

In Romans 13:10 (KJV), the Bible says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor….” The last thing we want to do is to show our love by doing something that harms others, but my husband and I are often guilty of showing love through food. My husband’s chocolate chip cookies are famous in our neighborhood. We often discuss how we can enjoy sharing treats with those we love while still modeling and offering mostly healthy choices. My husband’s thoughts: “If you truly love someone, you would encourage them, in a positive way, to make the healthiest choices possible because you know how great that is going to make them feel.”

I can’t imagine a sweet grandmother handing out her lemon pound cake is thinking, “Here you go, my darlings, clog up those arteries, get hyped up on empty sugars, and just deal with being overweight.” Of course, none of us thinks that way, but if we aren’t offering healthy foods (most of the time) to our family, we are essentially handing them problems.

My husband is still going to bake cookies and I’m still going to hide black licorice in his drawer, but I hope that both of us will be more conscious of how we show love and what we serve at those holiday parties. Having a happy, healthy family is worth being a bit more conscious about what we eat. Now if I can just wrestle the sucker out of my baby’s mouth!

« Previous PageNext Page »