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Thankful at Christmas

Ronnie Isley

“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to make this freewill offering? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you”
1 Chronicles 29:14


It’s Christmas time, like Thanksgiving when we should be thankful every day, we should give every day not just Christmas day. In 1st Chronicles 29:14 everything we have is because of the birth and death of Jesus Christ. I wonder sometimes about my giving. I am reminded by my wife giving is not just money sometimes, I like most people, think we have no talents to give. Our tithe can be a kind word to someone troubled. Sometimes just listening or just being there is a great gift. I think I don’t give enough but when I see grown-ups or children smile because of what I taught them on or about horses they are happy so I guess that’s a gift and a talent.

As we are getting ready to celebrate Jesus’ birth why don’t we think of forgiveness as a great gift to give and receive. A perfect way to honor God‘s greatest gift, Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas to all and God bless.

Grace Unopened

Geoff LaLone

“As we work together with him, we urge you not to accept the grace of God in vain”
2 Corinthians 6:1


I recently attended a Christmas luncheon held for the staff members of a large church in town. The lead pastor, knowing I am on my own, graciously invited me to be a part of the celebration. At the conclusion of the meal, each person received a “grace gift,” an envelope containing a $50 bill, and very explicit instructions; they were to go immediately and spend every single penny on themselves.

It’s a very thought provoking exercise, and, for a variety of reasons, is harder to complete than you might imagine. Even though this is the fourth year I have participated, it’s always interesting to observe what the difficulty of completing the task reveals about our struggle to receive grace. But something else that occurred to me this year is that receiving the benefits of this “grace” begins with opening the envelope. If this does not happen, the grace cannot truly be experienced.

In one of his letters to the Christians in Corinth, Paul urges them to “not accept the grace of God in vain.” That Paul has this concern suggests to us that we have something to do with whether or not God’s grace has its intended effect in our lives. God’s grace, by definition, is freely given. But we most open it up in order to receive its benefits.

The Advent Season provides us with an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the amazing gift of grace that God has given us in his Son. May we also be encouraged to consider whether we are opening up ourselves to experiencing his grace at work in our lives.

All

Ronnie Isley

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

I have been thinking about God‘s love for us. I have been reading the Bible for a long time and this just came to me. Read John 3:16 then 1 John 3:16.

When we read in John, God so loved the world, stop and reflect on just how much God loves each of us. Then in 1 John we have the love of God because he gave his son’s life for us. We should give our life for our brethren. The question for me is how much and what am I doing for my brethren. God wants me to give to and love my fellow man. Just something for us to think on. GOD BLESS ALL!

After I completed this, a little later I started thinking about what I had written, God gave his son for ALL. He wants us to love ALL. I don’t know if y’all are like me, I find myself picking who I want to love and help. I am wrong, I should love ALL and help all I can.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Remember be thankful every day not just on Thanksgiving day. Have a great day!

Control

Geoff LaLone

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth”
Psalm 121:1-2


Over the past several months leading up to yesterday’s elections, the word “control” seemed to dominate discussions around the topic. To be more specific, the question of which political party would gain control of the House, and which would gain control of the Senate. How that question would be answered at the polls caused a great deal of anxiety among people, perhaps more so at these mid-term elections than most. The political climate in our country, for all kinds of reasons, has created a passionate electorate with pockets of extremism on both sides. How should Christians approach something so divisive?

I don’t think Christians should remove themselves from the political process. Taking elections seriously is our civic duty, and our freedom to participate is something we should not take for granted. As a large voting block in this country we should seize the opportunity to influence those in power. Neither do I think Christians must share the same political views. Contrary to the message coming from many pulpits, God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. To suggest that a faithful Christian must support one party or the other is not biblical.

All Christians, however, should keep this election, and all elections, in their proper perspective. Our passion toward politics must fall short of believing that a certain political party or candidate can be our salvation. We must never lose sight of what the psalmist reminded us of in the verses above, our help comes from God; therefore God is the one in whom we place our hope. As far as control is concerned, we must never forget that God is ultimately in control of this world and its future. We should not be overly anxious about who controls the House and Senate when we serve the God who created them both and allows them to exist at his pleasure.

Anyone who attends our church regularly knows that we are not entirely red or blue. This was clearly evidenced this past Saturday when a few of us gathered for an informal workday to spread mulch in the flowerbeds. With the election only a few days away it only made sense that it would become a topic of conversation. It did, and at times the conversation was heated. But it was brought to a peaceful end when one individual approached another, put his arm around him and said something along the lines of, “We’re going to have to agree to disagree, but I still love you.”