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It’s Christmas time again!
Hurry to buy, rush to wrap.
Did the cards get mailed?
And that package to Sue?
…  And what on earth should we buy for Ted?!?!

Find the perfect dress for that big event!
And the kids need dress shoes … again!
Did we invite Grandma to see them perform?
…  And where’s the camera anyway?

Where’d we stash the lights?
The angel got broke!!
Do we buy a tree or cut one?!?
…  Can we just do something fake this year?

It’s Christmas … again,
And as I rush here and there,
I forget why it’s here,
Why we do this each year.
…  I’m too busy to stop and enjoy.

Then I hear a song, just a note or two.
But the memory of words fills my mind.
And suddenly, I’m on a hillside somewhere
With sheep all around and a star-filled sky,
…  As an angel’s song fills the air!

Come all ye faithful!
Gloria in excelsis deo!
What child is this?
Sleep in heavenly peace.

And peace fills my heart
as the ancient words ring out.
And I suddenly remember
…  Just why we do this each year!

It’s Christmas once again.
Another chance to remember the birth that changed the world!
The gift that proves God’s love for me!
…  And you! And all!

Oh, let heaven and nature sing!
Rejoice! Emmanuel is come!
To save us all from Satan’s power!
Glory to God in the highest!
…  It’s Christmas once again!

Have you ever thought about what Adam must have felt like, what he probably did, when he first became a ‘living soul’? Imagine the curiosity, the excitement, the wonder that raced through him as he looked around for the first time!

Can you imagine how he turned to God and said, “What is that?!? And that? And … ohhh, what is this?”
I imagine God laughed, standing there by his side, and said, “What do you want to call it?”
Can you imagine the sheer JOY that Adam and God shared as they wandered the garden together, talking and sharing?
* * *
Can you imagine how Adam felt when he lost all that joy? When his choice left him and Eve feeling naked and alone?
Can you imagine how sad God felt to lose that fellowship? To no longer have the option of wandering arm-in-arm through His creation with someone who could enter into His feelings about it, understand His thoughts about it and life? To no longer have fellowship with the ones He created all this for?
* * *
No wonder Jesus gladly gave up His place with the Father to come save us and restore us to fellowship with Him!
No wonder He did EVERYTHING necessary not just to release us from the bondage of sin, but to set us free from all its consequences as well!
No wonder He wrestled the keys of death and hell away from satan, and prepared a place for us with Himself and Father!

* * *

As you prepare to spend the next week with friends and family, gathering around the turkey and the TV, may you get a glimpse of this relationship with you that He gave His all to restore.
As you share the bounty He has blessed you with, may you draw closer to Him, and to your loved ones.
And may His joy and love fill your hearts, souls, minds, relationships, and even bodies over the next days and weeks, as you prepare to remember the birth of the One who came to restore us to fellowship with God!

Today is the day that millions of Americans, young and old, put on a costume and go out to a party or harvest festival, or door-to-door ‘trick-or-treating’. This one night of the year, they all pretend to be someone else.

But in reality, most of us are pretending all the time.

In the Garden, as Adam and Eve listened to the lies of God’s enemy, they began to believe that there was something wrong with them, when there wasn’t! So they tried to impersonate God, in a sense, by doing the thing that the serpent said would make them like Him.

When they traded the truth of who they really were, for the ‘lemon’ of lies and independence that satan sold them, they discovered their nakedness and tried to cover it with fig leaves.

And we still do that. In his book ‘Radical Honesty’, Dr. Brad Blanton says that we all create our personality as a kind of lie, to protect our true selves. Others have expressed this in other ways (‘Married Without Masks’ comes to mind), but the core truth is that when we believe the lie that there is something wrong with us, we are forced to hide that flawed self behind a mask that we hope will be considered acceptable by others. We may even try to become someone else, someone without flaws.

We sew together our own set of fig leaves, to cover up the mess that we believe we are.

* * *

When God came looking for Adam, though, He made it clear that the fig leaf aprons didn’t cut it. He killed an animal and made clothes for them out of the skin. (Gen. 3:21)

In other words, their own efforts at covering their nakedness didn’t work.

And they still don’t. No matter what kind of ‘fig leaf apron’ we create – successful businessman, high-powered female executive, stay-at-home mom, rock and roll singer, artist, dropout, good little girl/boy – none of it works.

Nothing we do in ourselves can cover us, can hide our true selves. Sooner or later, we will reveal just a bit too much of the true person beneath that covering, and someone will reject us.

And in reaction, we will try to strengthen that covering, or maybe create a new one, to try yet again to cover our nakedness, instead of allowing God to provide us with protection.

* * *

As you prepare to dress up as someone else tonight (or not, as the case may be), or get ready to hand out treats at your door, may Holy Spirit begin to show you that your true self is totally loved and accepted by Father God, because of the covering made from the death of the Lamb of God.

May you break free of all the lies that tell you that you are less than what He created you to be, cease your own efforts to hide your true self, and accept the covering He provided for you on Calvary.

And may you learn to live your true self in Him – in His love and acceptance and peace.

God is good?

How many of us really believe that – that God is good? Oh, sure, we say it, but do we really believe it? I’ve heard a lot of sermons over the years that made it clear that the one giving the sermon didn’t believe it at all!

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God so loved the world’ – we say it all the time, even use that verse to ‘get people saved’.

But do we believe it? Really???

Another verse says God is love (I John 4:8).

How many of us really believe that?



You know, if God isn’t good, if He isn’t love, what are we doing in church? Why are we trying to follow Him?

Let’s stop going! Let’s stop giving Him all that time and attention and money!

Let’s just go once or twice a year for ‘makeup’ worship, and then get on with our lives!

You don’t think that’ll work? Why not? It worked for the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Babylonians. Annual or monthly visits to the appropriate temple with an offering, and you’re good ‘til next month/year.

Easy-peasy!

Yeah, if God isn’t good, if He isn’t love, let’s go back to that kind of religion.

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But if He is good?

If He is love?

Then, the only appropriate response is to love Him back!

The only thing you can do with a Good God who loves you, is to be with Him as much as you can!

To spend time just talking with Him.

To go by His side on whatever path He feels like traveling today.

To receive whatever gift He is giving you now (and there’ll be a lot of them, ‘cause that’s how love is.)

To reach out in love to those He is reaching out to.

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I rarely dare people, as I think that’s stupid, but I’m gonna do it now –

I dare you to take I Cor. 13 – the love chapter – and put ‘God’ in place of ‘love’, and read it out loud. And listen! You may be surprised at how that changes your view of God.



May you be blessed with knowing Him who loves us on an increasingly intimate level, all the days of your life.

In previous posts, I talked about the three basic lies that satan has been telling humankind since Eden’s garden. Hopefully, Holy Spirit has been showing you any variations of those lies that you have believed, and brought Truth in to break them.

But is breaking lies enough? Does that set us free?

Yes!!

And no!

* * *

Yes, truth makes us free! Period! Scripture says so, and down through the centuries, experience has proven it to be true.

And yet …

And yet, most of us don’t really see that much change in our lives just because we’ve learned Truth.

Why?!?

Because it’s not just one lie we are dealing with, but a whole way of living that we created as a result of that lie!

Here’s where our enemy gets really sneaky! The initial lie is introduced into our hearts and minds, and we react to it a certain way. Some of us hide, some fight, but we all react. And the lie is repeated, over and over, encouraging us to keep reacting the same way.

Somewhere along the way (for some it’s the first time something bad happens, for others, it takes prolonged exposure to a lie), we decide that whenever we are faced with that lie – that situation – we will react in that same certain way to protect ourselves.

So now, we have created a law inside ourselves, by which we run our lives. And our enemy keeps throwing the same lie at us, until the reaction that began way back there becomes not just a law, but a habit, a pattern of behavior.

Now the enemy has us right where he wants us! He’s got us operating on his default settings! We don’t even think about what we should do when faced with that same lie – we just follow the pattern!

* * *

So even when Holy Spirit has revealed Truth to us, we can find ourselves falling back into the same behaviors. And we get discouraged, and think we didn’t learn anything after all, and we quit searching for Truth.

And satan wins again!

But God, ‘who is rich in mercy towards us’ is not content with this scenario. He desires to make us free ‘indeed’. So He keeps shining the light of Truth on our habits, our thoughts and feelings, until we see the ‘law’ we created to live by. And He sets us free of that!

Then He begins to work on the wrong habits and patterns, destroying those default settings that satan and his lies helped set in place in our lives, and replacing them with His new default settings of trust and faith in Him!

Now we are truly free!!

* * *

As you continue your journey into God, He will reveal more and more truth, and break more and more of those old laws and patterns, until one day, you discover that you have new default settings in most areas of your life – settings that automatically bring you to God, rather than hiding from Him, or fighting Him.

And that is a glorious day!

* * *

May you learn from Holy Spirit what your default settings are, and may He change them to reflect truth rather than lies.

May you be set free from every bondage, lie, and law that hinders you from living His perfect life in you.

And may His Truth truly ‘make you free’!

In most churches across the U.S., there is an emphasis on evangelism, on ‘winning the lost’ to salvation. And that’s well and good, but I’ve always had problems with it.

Being an introvert, I’m just not that comfortable with walking up to complete strangers and telling them that they ‘need to get saved’.

Another problem I have with it is that I think too much emphasis is placed on getting people saved, and not enough on helping them grow in their new life. (Ya know, Jesus said ‘go into all the world making disciples’, not ‘go into all the world and have huge altar calls’.)

If people aren’t taught what they need to know about living this new life, they will eventually just fade away, because it’s not an easy life.

* * *

And that’s the main reason I have a problem with evangelism – what are we inviting people into?

Are we telling them this is an easy life, with no problems?

Are we telling them that if they ‘get saved’ all their needs will be met and most of their desires, too?

Are we preaching a gospel of good works?

And what about God – what are we telling people about who God is and why He wants us to be saved?

In most churches I’ve been in (and that’s a lot, over the last fifty years), Christianity has been presented as a formula or a set of rules for life. And God has been depicted as either a heavenly Santa Claus or a stern Judge waiting to condemn us for the teeniest infraction.

But as I make this journey ‘farther up and farther in’ to His kingdom, as I discover that most of what I was taught is wrong, I find myself even more reluctant to ‘win souls’ than ever before.

* * *

Because this life ain’t for wimps.

It’s not a social group, and it’s not a spiritual version of Home Shopping Network.

It’s more like a mail-order marriage – where you leave everything familiar and head off into uncharted territory, with a new spouse you barely know.

This ‘Christian’ life will require you to give up everything you hold dear – possessions, friends, family, dreams. The way you look at the world, the way you spend your time, the way you see yourself.

It’s all gotta go.

And the farther down this road you go, the farther away from people you are – unsaved people, mostly, but also other ‘Christians’, because many who attend church are not on this journey.

This can be a pretty lonely life.

* * *

Yes, it’s a very rewarding life as well.

You learn to know God in such intimacy that He becomes everything to you.
He blesses you in material and emotional and spiritual ways that you never dreamed of.

And it’s worth every pang of loneliness, every possession/friend/dream you leave behind.

It really is!

But when we ‘go out soul-winning’ we should tell people this!

Tell them that what we are inviting them to is a life-long journey into being different;
into a different way of thinking about the world and life;
into a journey that leaves everything familiar and dear;
into loneliness alleviated only by God’s presence;
into hardships and dangers survived only because He sustains and protects;
into being so different from the world around you that you never fit in.

This kingdom life ain’t for wimps. It’s for people who have discovered that loving and being loved by God is worth more than everything in this world. It’s for people who have decided that this world and its ways are not enough. And breaking free of this world is gonna be tough. But they’d rather deal with that than stay where they are.

How many souls would ‘get saved’ if we presented the gospel like that?

* * *

May you be blessed along your journey with at least one or two others who share the same destination and a similar passion for God.

May He continually uphold you with His right hand, and provide everything you need for your journey.

And may you be shown how to ‘evangelize’ those you meet, in ways that actually show them what they are being invited to.

Luke 14:26-33

Every once in a while, I get a whiff of something, a brief glimpse of another time in another place. Just a fragment of a scene – the house with the garden, the form of a person in the doorway, the scents of the flowers drifting on the breeze. Familiar, though I can’t remember why. Loved, though I can’t remember who or where. And so real, I can almost smell it and feel the warmth of the sun.

For a long time I thought this was memories of the past (and it might be just that), but now I wonder if it’s actually glimpses of heaven, of what and who we’ll see there. Sometimes I think I know the people in the vision; sometimes its the place – house, garden – that seems familiar. But always, always, there is the sense of familiar and loved.

I wonder if this is what Lewis was thinking of when he had Jewel the unicorn say, in The Last Battle, that we loved Narnia because it reminded us of Aslan’s country.

And I wonder how much our longing for that beloved, familiar place is behind our dissatisfaction with this life, our moves from one house or job or relationship to another, or our travel to exotic locales. Are we always just searching for home?

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The thing is, we were created to live in God. Adam was formed in God’s image, designed to be a companion and friend of God, fashioned for fellowship with his Creator. We lost so much more than we understand when Adam disobeyed.

Nothing will make us truly and eternally happy, or content, or at peace, until we make our home in Him.

It’s not enough to say that you are saved. Not enough to say that you’ve filled that ‘God-sized hole’ inside you with God rather than other stuff. Definitely not enough to say you’re ‘following Him’. Even when we’ve done that, we still feel a need for more.

Oh, the need comes and goes, but it’s always there, underneath. Isn’t it?

What we really need is to go farther, and actually move into Him. Pack up and move to another place.

Just move right into God’s heart. You invited Jesus into your heart when you got saved, but He wants you to live in His heart, too.

This is God’s strongest desire – not that He lives in us, but that we live in Him. This is what we were created for!

In that place of oneness with Him we can live in wholeness in every facet of our being.

In oneness with Him, we can be who and what we were created to be – unique and individual and perfect!

And from that place of oneness with Him, we can reach out and change the world, one heart at a time.

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May you find your true home in Him, and move right in and settle down, nevermore to roam.

I in them, and You in Me – John 17:23 (The whole chapter is good, especially from verse 20 to the end!)