If you have had the chance to watch any of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, you have seen both the “thrill of victory” and the “agony of defeat.” I can only imagine what the athletes have thought and felt when extremely narrow margins have determined the outcomes of these competitions. The excitement of watching the performances of the individuals and the teams has included seeing how years of training has paid off in strong finishes or unexpected losses . . . It’s all been inspirational, and challenges me to put some of this in writing as I ponder what we can observe in the Olympics concerning the past, present, and future.
Sometimes it’s a refreshing spiritual exercise for me to link several ways God has led His people to creatively convey His truth. I recently heard JJ Heller’s song “Your Hands”: “When my world is shaking, Heaven stands . . . When my heart is breaking I never leave Your hands.”
There is a story told about “two dogs” which battle within us. Some say it’s an Indian legend . . . some say it’s an old fable told long ago . . . but the story makes the rounds, and also makes a lot of sense. As the story goes, when a youngster comes to the old sage leader and asks why he feels so angry at unfair treatment, the older one explains, “It is as if there are two dogs inside of you. One is always good, peaceful, and loyal.
She was a lay leader in her unit—deployed for seven months. Before she left we spent time together talking about her hopes for spiritual growth in herself, and her unit, during this time away from home. So when she returned it was a joy to link up and hear about what she had observed and experienced from her time away—visiting foreign ports, leading the chapel praise team, praying and reading devotions for those who gathered for fellowship and study. But I caught some doubt and discouragement in her voice.
I have always appreciated a good mechanic. Whether it was for our own vehicles or those vehicles used in the military—the fact that reliable maintenance is necessary to perform the mission was never lost on me. So when my husband and I meet maintainers, we express our appreciation for their expertise and dedication. After all, nothing happens without them.
I have several friends who email me “forwards.” Perhaps you do, too. I received this one back a few years ago--and I like to return to it, this time for 2018. The ten predictions are from the forwarded email (author unknown). . . . .and the additional comments are from Scripture, and my heart. Top 10 Predictions for 2018: 1. “The Bible will still have all the answers.”
It is the end of 2017–the beginning of 2018 and the perfect time to ask the question “Who is Jesus Christ?” Even better, it is the perfect time to answer the question, “Who is Jesus Christ to me?” It’s a very personal question on which all of life hinges. It is interesting that Jesus begins this encounter with His disciples by asking who “others” believe that He is. Very interesting.
Pastor Tommy Nelson, of Denton Bible Church in Texas, gave a sermon to his church for Christmas, 1988, entitled “Jesus’ View of Christmas.” The text for this powerful sermon was an unlikely one . . . Luke 11:21-26. Those verses are several chapters away from the traditional Christmas story which we all know and love, Luke 2:1-20: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed . . . “ I was intrigued. How could verses about Jesus and Satan give us a message for Christmas?
This matter of “gifting” is complicated. Before Christmas I have my list, which only seems to grow as I think of more and more people I want to “remember” with some kind of something. But then there is the matter of “how much do I spend on each gift?” You want your gifts to be meaningful—but what if what you really want to buy is more than you can afford? And what if you just don’t know what to give—is a gift card a good option or a cop-out?
Take time during this deployment. . . during this Advent season . . . to think on these truths of God from the Christmas story. The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . . 1. disrupted the lives of many.