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Lonely Yes,but Never Alone

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Holidays have a tendency to bring out a myriad of emotions in all of us. When you really think about it, Christmas seems to tug at our emotions more than any other holiday.

Emotions run the gamut don’t they? From sheer joy and excitement as anticipation of the big day grows more intense every day, to the lowest of lows as the realization sinks in that another Christmas must be endured without a precious loved one there to share in the day.

Watching the news at this time of year brings to the forefront a different kind of emotion: DESPERATION. Desperation because once again there isn’t money enough to buy even one gift for the children. Desperation because once again excuses must be invented in order to sooth the broken hearts of the disappointed. Desperation that escalates into despair, so much so that parents will stop at nothing in order to avoid having to look into the eyes of their children who will not be receiving a present at Christmas. Stealing, and much worse, are all part and parcel as seemingly anything goes in order to avoid the inevitable.

As horrible as desperation and despair can be at Christmas, I have found that there is another emotion even more horrific, even more gut wrenching to have to endure, and that is LONELINESS.

What a powerful emotion loneliness is. At times it can reach the point of complete debilitation, rendering a person to the point where they feel worthless, unlovable, even forgotten by God Himself.

As a Christian we have a promise that we will never be alone. The writer of Hebrews made this very clear when he said:

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb 13:5 NKJV

But not everyone has this promise, because not everyone knows the Promise Giver.

And if I’m to be completely honest, many who do know the Promise Giver suffer the pain of Loneliness. Many of God’s children struggle with abandonment, betrayal, and a broken heart. Some would say how can this be? I thought God took away all of the negative things!

Living in this world we are not immune to these emotions. We are not exempt from hurt and pain. Sometimes I wonder if we don’t struggle with them as much as those who do not know Christ!

Again, when we turn to scripture we find that we are not alone in our struggles:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 2Co 4:8-9 NKJV

In the midst of it all, when the weight of loneliness and despair is crushing us, God’s word declares with the sound of a trumpet: we are not alone! We have not been forsaken! We will not be destroyed! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!

This Christmas, if you find yourself struggling to keep your head above water, I urge you to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. The all time, undefeated Champion of love and mercy will make a way where there seems to be no way. He will be your oasis in the midst of your dry, barren desert of loneliness and despair.

Beloved, it isn’t a pretty package that will strengthen you for the journey. It is the peace that passes all understanding. It is Jesus. The Christmas Gift for the ages.

Remember, we are often lonely. The holidays can bring those emotions to the surface.

But we are never alone.

Be blessed!

Ron

What I Think About at Christmas

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Funny how time changes our perspective,isn’t it?

Like many of you, I can remember when I thought that Christmas was all about what was under the tree. Not being raised in a

christmas-tree-pics-0101

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home that was particularly religious…OK let me restate that. Being raised in a home where the only time God and Jesus were mentioned was in a curse,it never occurred to me that there was another “reason for the season”.

Oh sure, I participated in the obligatory school plays,sang Silent Night and Up On The Housetop,and somewhere I had heard about a babe in a manger and all of that,but I just figured that was all part of it.

My mothers family being Italian meant I was exposed to Aunts and Uncles who were Catholic,but there was no mention of that in our own home.My dad would have none of it.When I would visit their homes I would see the Crucifix and other religious items but none of it made any sense to me.I mean,why have a Bible written in Latin when you can’t even read it!

Things went from bad to worse when I was twelve years old when right before Christmas my father died.That first Christmas was one of grief and misery that I could not wait to be over.If I’m being honest,the next several weren’t so hot either.

Through the years I went through the motions,the motions of the rest of the world that focused only on what was under that tree.Some years I got what I had asked for,some years I did not and that was OK.After all,it’s all just part of the deal right?

Everything changed for me when as a young man of 20 I was introduced to Jesus. Wow,that was a long time ago!As I developed in this new faith I learned so much about what Christmas is really all about.I learned that there really was a babe in a manger,there really were wise men,and most of all that there really was a God in charge of it all.

In the church I listened to many debates and arguments from the religious crowd about whether or not Jesus actually did arrive on December 25th,only to figure out that the date didn’t matter at all! What mattered most was that He had come! Wouldn’t make a bit of difference to me if we celebrated Christmas in July!

Sometimes it seems to me that the church should be the biggest fan of Christmas,and I don’t mean just on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.Don’t we who have met this promised King have the most to be thankful for? Then why don’t we act like it the other 364 days of the year?

For Christians,shouldn’t every day be a celebration of Christmas?

Yes,my perspective has done a 180 since I was a boy.Oh,don’t get me wrong.I still love to be surprised on Christmas morning just like I did so long ago.I mean,who doesn’t like a new fishing lure once in a while(hint hint)?

Even though it isn’t fashionable and certainly not popular these days,I realize that Christmas is all about honoring the King that arrived on the scene over 2000 years ago.Presents are optional,of course.

But what isn’t optional,at least for me and my family,is that we recognize the Gift that was so graciously given to each of us,unworthy though we were.

infant Jesus

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This Christmas,with it’s rushing,stress, and hurry of the season my prayer is that you will take a few moments to reflect upon your own unique perspective.

How far have you come in your journey to comprehend the Wonder of Wonders?

How have you changed,or more importantly…how has He changed you?

Be blessed this Christmas season!

Ron

 

Are There Any Wise Men Left?

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Just wondering is all.

This world is in desperate need of wisdom and guidance from One far greater than any of us.Don’t believe that? Look around and see how “great” a job we’ve done on our own,apart from God.

Like as the days of Elijah,I pray that the Lord has reserved a few for our day.

Thoughts?

Oh What A Season!

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“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.      Luke 14:27  NKJV

The Cross…

Yes,of course I know that this is the season of the Manger,the Magi,and the virgin birth of the Son of God.

My mind however,is not on any of those.My mind,and especially my heart,is on the Cross.

All of Christendom is rightfully preparing to celebrate our King during this Christmas season.

Choirs are rehearsing and the children’s play is almost ready for the big day.

I get it. I really do.I hear the wonderful Christmas songs on the radio.I love to look at the pretty decorations that have taken many hours to assemble.

In many ways I feel like a kid again at Christmas.My mind goes back to happy times as a child,laying under the Christmas tree for hours looking at the pretty lights.Hardly able to stand the wait until Christmas morning.

I hope I never lose that feeling,no matter how old I become.

Maybe you can relate?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Christmas,about Christianity.About us who claim that name “Christian”.About the One who authored it all.

I suppose there could have been Christianity without a stable and a manger,yet that is the way the Father ordained it.

There could have been Christianity without the angels declaring “peace on earth,good will to men”…yet that is how God ordered it to be.

And lest I be labeled a heretic,I guess there could have been Christianity without setting aside a day in December to honor Him who was born of a virgin.

Yet there could be no Christianity without a cross.

The Cross.That awful instrument of torture and death.That Cross,where no Wise Men were in search of the Bright and Morning Star.

No gifts were brought to THAT Cross.No gold,no frankincense,no myrrh.

No Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes surrounded by barnyard animals.

Tonight my mind is fixed upon a Cross.A lonely Cross.A desperate Cross.A bloody Cross.

Yes…THAT Cross.

Why the Cross? And why now? It’s almost Christmas time after all!

From a Babe in a manger to a King on THAT cross.

Birth to Death

Born to die.

For you and I.

This Christmas season my prayer is that in the midst of the twinkling lights and holiday gatherings,we pause to reflect upon the Gift of God.

The gift of that Babe in a manger.

Where Satan and every demon had to pause in sheer terror at the site of the One who was destined to destroy the powers of darkness for all time.

The gift of THAT Cross.

Where new life suddenly became available to all men everywhere,and the curse of death had been broken once and for all.

As we celebrate Jesus this Christmas season,let us never forget that He has charged us to bear our cross and follow Him.This is the only way we can be His.

Oh What A  Season!

What A Reason For This Season!

Ron