The holiday season is upon us and Christmas is fast approaching and it’s easy to get caught up in the rush and excitement of this time. Shopping, cooking, visiting with friends and family top our “to-do list.”
As Christians, we have the responsibility to insure that we don’t assume the world’s point of view but instead make known to all that our savior is born and saves us from our sins.
Jingle Bells may top the charts and be the song in everyone’s heart, but let’s shout from the roof tops that Jesus is born and loves us with all His heart.
This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Even though we have about a foot of snow, which is unusual for Atlanta, I will rejoice. What am I, nuts? Not really. You see, we don’t get this kind of weather very often and so to look at what the Lord has made really makes me joyful.
No matter what the day brings, rejoice in it! No matter how tired, upset, or frustrated you get, remember this. God put the breath in your lungs and eyes to see His beauty. Thank God He has given you and me life to enjoy all that He is and ever will be. Again, I say, rejoice!
It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment. God became a man! Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb. Jesus came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were un-manicured, calloused, and dirty. For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt…weak; weary; and afraid of failure. His feelings got hurt.
To think of Jesus in such a light seems almost irreverent. There’s something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant and predictable. But don’t do it! For heaven’s sake, don’t! Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the muck and mire of your world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out!
Maturity in the Lord is a lifelong process. The heavenly Father will continue to grow His children until He brings them home. Seek the Lord’s wisdom and truth, and ask that He reveal anything holding you back from a beautiful friendship with Him. He wants to walk closely with you all of your days—and for all of eternity.
The rewards of our maturity in the Lord are great. First, our Father removes any spiritual obstacles that impede a close walk with Him. Second, we gain greater intimacy with the Lord and with others. Third, as resentment, fear, and other ungodly attitudes stop draining us, our energy is renewed and serving God becomes a joy instead of a duty. Fourth, regardless of circumstances, we experience spiritual freedom through forgiveness.
All of these benefits lead to deeper fulfillment, peace, and joy. And, maturity in the Lord.
By reading the headline of this post you probably think I am going to discuss hell and ways to get there. That’s not my purpose today. What I do want to discuss are the damaging and long lasting effects of the sun on the human body.
Let me start by praising God for providing us the sun. It gives us life and keeps us from freezing to death. But, too much sun is not a good thing. Think drought and sunburn.
On Thursday I had some minor surgery to remove some lesions on my body that were created as a result of too much exposure to the sun. I lived in the Philippines for 2 years and while there I basically lived in swim trunks and tennis shoes. The rest of my body was exposed to the sun. When I returned to the U.S. I was very dark skinned. Little did I know the future consequences of living without proper sun protection. Future surgeries would be very painful and in some cases leaving unsightly scars.
Every summer thousands of people flock to the beach or lay around a pool in hopes of getting a “tan” that is supposed to be a sign of health. Nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve all seen the advertisements for Copper Tone and other sun screens. They make it seem like if you apply these ointments then you are protected. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.
The only way to avoid damage to your skin now and in the future is to avoid direct exposure to the sun. I know it’s hard, especially when your neighbor invites you to a BBQ at his pool or your friends say let’s go to the beach. You’d feel pretty silly in either case showing up covered head to foot in clothing and a hat. My friends cover yourself and avoid long-lasting harm to your body.
Remember, God created you and wants the best for you. He gave you sound judgment on how to live your life and present it to Him a living sacrifice. That’s hard to do when you look like a piece of toast and you’re in agony because of 3rd degree burns.