Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Madness of the Season

I work part time at a Wal-mart store in my area. This works out well for me as I take classes during the week. Sales are consistently down {when compared to last year's sales} at this particular store, due to the depressed area in which I live {rural mid-Illinois}, as well as the economic downturn.
As everyone knows, today was black Friday. I have never participated in this madness in my life, so this morning was a whole new eye-opening experience for me. I saw, firsthand, what Christmas really is about in America, a 'Christian' nation {I use that term very loosely}. At 11 p.m. Thursday evening, people were already in the store waiting for the big event. By 3 a.m. the crowd had tripled. I wondered, to myself, what drives people to spend nearly an entire night in a supercenter! By 4 a.m., the store was packed, with people hovering over the particular item{s} they'd set their sights on. Let me remind everyone, the unemployment rate in my area is over 10%.
We were instructed to cut the plastic off the pallets around 4:45, telling the people not to put anything in their carts until 5 a.m. This was done for our safety, which I am very grateful. At 5 a.m., I yelled to the people in my area to 'go'! Then, I stood back and observed the insanity of it all. There was one particular item, bath towels and washcloths, that were 'sale priced' at $2.oo; folks went crazy! What they didn't know was that at the end of the aisle where the regularly priced towels and washcloths were, there were towels and washcloths with an 'everyday' price of just 1.75! No one even bothered to venture down the aisle, they stayed on the 'racetrack' of merchandise mapped out with balloons identifying the price.
By 6 a.m., the mob had moved to any available check out, so my observing was basically done. As I re-hash all this, I get back to my thoughts of what Christmas means in America...Christmas means pushing and shoving others, fulfilling our greedy, selfish desires, and those of our loved ones by standing in line so we can buy what our/their carnal hearts desire; Christmas means we drag trees in our homes, throw lights up on our house, set cookies and milk out for some imaginary fat guy who dresses up in a red suit, and lie to our kids about where the presents come from; Christmas means we spend money we may not have on presents we don't really need as we lavish ourselves and others with gifts. What about God's Son? Didn't He come here, as a newborn babe, with one purpose, one die?
As we approach another pagan holiday season, let us reflect on the beauty of our Lord's first coming, His giving of self so that we may live eternally with Him. Christ is our gift, He is our reward...what can we possibly buy that could top that?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sin- the most unpopular word in any language

We live in a time of great danger, many refuse to speak out against sin; seldom is judgment mentioned. Apostasy and deception are swirling about the land with much force. In Matthew 24, the disciples asked our Lord, 'when will all these things take place, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?'
The Lord responded, 'Take heed that no man deceive you'. Deception rides in on the heels of inaccurate preaching; refusing to speak out against sin for fear of making anyone uncomfortable is the 'excuse' most use.
I feel it quite necessary to share this quote from Thomas Brooks...
"Sin in a wicked man is like poison in a serpent; it is in its natural place."

When we share the Gospel with others, let's not fail to give the whole counsel. A lost sinner will never see the awesome beauty of the cross until they see their own filth, their own vileness and wickedness. Brokenness over sin cannot happen unless the sin is exposed. As painful and offensive as this may be to some, it is essential. If you truly love others and care about their eternal destination, do not sell them short! Speak the truth, for the sake of their souls.