The after Christmas returns.

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Christmas is over and all the retailers are preparing for the rush of people returning gifts they received. Maybe the gifts were the wrong size or color; perhaps someone received gifts from different people that are the same or they started using the gift and found out that it was defective somehow; maybe the recipient just did not like the gift, there are many reasons a person may want to return something to the store to exchange it. The good thing about this time of year is that most retailers are more willing to accept exchanges with less fuss, without the receipts and work with people to make the process less of a hassle.

God lets us exchange without hesitation, but not only after Christmas. He allows us to exchange anytime. We can exchange our anger and sorrow for joy, our hate for love, our confusion for clarity and understanding. As it says in the song I have been hearing on the radio and He  “take all that is wrong and make it right.” All we need to do is listen to Him and let Him have His will in our lives. Just follow where we know He is leading us.

If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.  Job 22:23

Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.  Lamentations 3:40

Yeah, the Lord takes returns and He does so gladly. He takes us with all our faults and sins, no matter how we have used and abused our souls. He takes the damaged and defective creatures and makes us new and perfect, that is a better exchange program than any store.

For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.  1 Peter 2:25

Just as in the parable of the prodigal son, the son is not only allowed to return but is welcomed back by his father with rejoicing, open arms and without judgement or criticism, without saying “I told you so.” That is how God does when we return to the life He wants for us and turn away from sin. He accepts us; He’s glad that we are back; and He doesn’t try to tell us He told us so. He rejoices that we did return. That’s how I aspire to be, I hope I prove myself worthy.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  Luke 15:20

 

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Luke 15:22-24

It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.  Luke 15:32

Yes, I hope to be as the father here, as God our Father, and rejoice when a lost one returns. No other thoughts than how important it is to rejoice.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:34

 

Lord, I praise You for welcoming me back when I had strayed from You. Thank You for accepting me and not dwelling on my mistakes. Thank You for the mercy and grace You showed. I pray in the name of Jesus that I learn from You and from Christ’s words about the prodigal son whose return was met with only rejoicing and no other thoughts or concerns. That when I see other’s return to You, and Your will for them, that I not say or think about anything but rejoicing on their return. That all I think, say or do, be a reflection of the joy You feel and the way You respond when one returns to You. I ask that You draw us all to You so we may all know the perfect love and forgiveness You give and that we all know that it was paid for through the sacrifice of Your son, Jesus, when He died on the cross.

Amen

 

I hope all are enjoying the last of this current year and are blessed throughout the rest of this year and all of next year. Remember to try to be a blessing to someone as you go through your days.

 

 

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The Christmas Gift!

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As I am thinking about Christmas gifts, those I have bought, those I have received. Some I received, I really loved, some, not so much. Some were fun to unwrap (aren’t they always fun to unwrap?) but once you saw the gift, it wasn’t as good as you expected. Others were fun to unwrap, and even better than you expected. I have watched as others opened gifts, with the expressions on their face telling exactly their thoughts about the gift, whether happy about it or disappointed. I watch a little closer on gifts that I bought, hoping that the recipient enjoys it and is pleased.

But, as I think about Christmas gifts that I have both given and received, some will forever be burned in my memory, some the unwrapping seems a blur but the gift is remembered in marked detail, others I remember unwrapping but don’t remember the gift, and, even others I can describe in detail the wrapping, how I unwrapped it, either tearing the wrapping off quickly or taking my time and unwrapping slowly to somehow prolong the joy. I can also describe in extreme detail some of the gifts, who gave it to me, the year, exactly where I was when I received the gift. I can remember similar details about others opening gifts I gave them.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.         James 1:17

For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

Yet, as important of a human interaction as gift exchanging is for people, I think about the greatest gift I have ever received, my salvation. What a priceless gift that is and it was paid for in a currency that I can not even begin to put a true value on, the blood and suffering of Jesus. But, He bought me the greatest gift of all time. Yet, in the gift exchange, I cheated Him. I gave Him my sins, my failings, my hardships and He took them gladly. WHAT AN AMAZING GOD WE SERVE!

 

Lord, I cannot find the words to thank You enough for the gift of salvation that is the most wonderful gift I could ever receive. I praise Your Holy Name. I pray in the name of Jesus that You help me always remember that costly gift that I was given in exchange for giving You something of no value. I ask that You work in the hearts and minds of loved ones that they remember the gifts of true value and forget all the meaningless gifts that are temporary and of this world. Draw us all closer to You that we all enjoy the fullness of Your gifts.

Amen

 

Well, it is Christmas eve, I pray all have a blessed day and share their blessings with others.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Christmas shopping

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I went Christmas shopping the other day and while trying to figure out gifts people I needed to buy for would like I was walking through different stores in the mall. Now I must tell you that I hate shopping. If I have to go to a store I almost always know what I need so I go, maybe compare a few similar items, make my selection and go. But I needed to buy Christmas gifts and while it would be so much easier to give money or gift cards but that doesn’t really say much other than, “here, take this I couldn’t be bothered to go shopping. So for people that know me, they realize the effort it takes for me to go shopping. I do something I hate doing for people that I love because actions say more than words or money plus if I mess up and get the wrong size or whatever they can always take it back and exchange it get a refund but they know I tried.

This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.   Titus 3:8

I was walking through the stores and looking at different things, slowing down when something caught my eye. Several times as I walked past displays of different things I thought about people that I no longer shop for, my mother, father and others who are no longer in my life. They may not physically be in my life but they will forever be in my heart. Some of the things I saw I thought how much my mother would like it and a few things I thought would be good gifts for my dad or others. The thoughts about I should get that for my mother occurred quickly and I thought about how she would enjoy it and then reality struck and boy even after so long it still stings. Yet, death awaits us all.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.  Ecclesiates 12:7

But, death and loss are a part of life. I take great comfort and joy knowing that I will be reunited with loved ones I have lost. Until then, my parents and many others are rejoicing with Christ. Until the time comes I will still miss them but Jesus has helped me to think on the happy memories and let go of the painful thoughts.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  Revelations 21:4

 

Dear Lord,  I praise You for all You are and I thank You for the lessons You give me, for the reminders that we have cause for joy, even when we feel some sorrow. I also thank You for parents that taught me right, even though at times I went down the wrong path and for Your faithfulness in bringing me back to where I should be. I thank You for the promise that death has been defeated and that there will be a day when there is no more sorrow. I pray in Jesus’ name that You draw my loved ones to You and pray that they all know Your love, and hopefully, in some way loved ones no longer with me will know that they are loved and missed and I am looking forward to they day we are all reunited.

Amen

 

Thanks for the visit today. I hope the Christmas season is going well and all are remembering the real reason to celebrate. Have a blessed day. And be a blessing to others.

Black Friday

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Thanksgiving is over and, even though places have already had Christmas displays out for weeks, it’s the “official” start of the Christmas shopping season. So, as I write this there are people already at stores or waiting for them to open so the can push, shove, argue and fight to spend money. People who, for a holiday season that is supposed to represent the love God had for us and sent His Son to be amongst us, are willing to show the very worst in human behavior at times. I have seen some pretty abhorrent behavior, and read about far worse than I have seen personally. Then, besides the fights for the special deals, people worry about what to buy, will they be able to afford all they purchase, that they think is what others want. Creating massive debts for themselves in vain, shallow attempts to please themselves or others.

All of that, to “honor” the birth of Christ? I know Christians that behave that way. Black Friday is definitely a dark day for many, it shows how willing people are to get up early, stand in the cold, fight crowds, and in other ways treat one another horribly all out of vanity and greed. I know what I say won’t change society, and there are some who will likely read this, agree, but were out there and will be out again in the future, behaving in a way they know is wrong, just to spend money on gifts. It saddens me to know that people are exactly as they are and even though they do these things “in the spirit of Christmas” they miss the mark. What should be about peace, love, mercy, grace and kindness very rapidly deteriorates to greed, vanity and hostility.

Maybe I am wrong, but I think not. I believe that the behavior that one hears about is completely the opposite of what Christ would have from us. The materialism, greed, maltreatment of others and near frenzy one hears about is contrary to His teaching. The fact that many Christians are out shopping and behaving as badly as others is a sad thing. They have to get the best deals, they are so worried about saving money and getting things cheap that they treat one another horribly.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  John 13:34

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.        1 Timothy 6:10

He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this [is] also vanity.  Eccleasiastes 5:10

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   Romans 12:2

 

15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 John 2:15-17

 

Lord, I praise Your Holy Name and thank You for the blessings. I pray that people understand that the greed and materialism are the opposite of how You want us to live. That the desire for things and the love of money, along with the willingness to do anything to get things or money is not what You want from us. I thank You for reminding me that there are more important things than material items and money. I thank You for the salvation that was not obtained cheaply, that You sent Your son to die on the cross and pay for my redemption with His precious blood. Draw us all to You, teach us how to live the way that You want us to live.

Amen

 

I pray all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that the upcoming Christmas season is blessed for all. Please take time to be a blessing to someone else today.