Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Thursday, December 30, 2010

God does hear our prayers

I believe that God hears us when we pray. I also believe that God answers every prayer that is prayed. I wish that I always understood his answer but I don't. I wish that I could always say that I see exactly what God's answer is, but I can't. I do however believe and I am assured that God does hear and answer all of our prayers. Maybe not how we want him to or even how we can understand but he does answer. Every time.

I trust when I pray that God hears.
I trust when i pray that God knows best.
I trust God knows, better than me, what is really needed. What healing is needed. What comfort, what strength, what-- whatever it is that is really needed.
I trust God answers every time. God's way not mine.

God does not ignore us when we pray he listens and he answers.

When my prayers are not answered the way I hope it does not mean that God didn't care or listen or answer me. It just means I don't understand. I pray that I can become more comfortable with not leaning on my own understanding. And I know God hears that prayer and is answering it.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine, Doug

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello

I could not believe it when I saw that Christmas eve was the last time I had posted. But time flies when you are having fun!

We had an awesome Christmas Eve Service at Dockery Chapel. I spoke about how we hear the same story each year and the story never changes but we should. Everyone in the story of the first Christmas goes home a different way than they came. We are told that the wise men after being warned in a dream didn't go home like they came they went home a different way. We hear the same story every year and we encounter Christ in the sacrament of communion and we have the opportunity to go home a new way. We have the opportunity to be changed and made new each time we encounter and worship Jesus.

We had a great Christmas morning with the kids and than we got to spend time with friends in the afternoon. We worshiped again on Sunday and I shared about how we don't want to miss God. We don't want to let another Christmas go by and miss what God wants us to get out of Christmas. We need to make sure that we receive the gift that has been given to us in Jesus. Many people that first Christmas didn't understand or notice that God showed up in their world. I don't want to miss God.

After church we traveled to spend some time with family and celebrate with them. It has been a blessing celebrating through worship with the church family and with my blood families. I am thankful for Jesus and what he is for me in my life. It has been a good Christmas. And there is still more days to go in this Christmas season!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Outside it is snowing. It is the beautiful kind of snowfall. Big flakes softly falling on undisturbed snow covered ground. It is a beautiful sight. "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." I have to admit that I am one who likes a white Christmas. I don't want it to snow so much that people can't get out and come to worship on Christmas Eve but, I like for it to be white. I don't want it to stick around too long but some snow on Christmas Eve makes for a beautiful backdrop to celebrate the birth of my Savior.

Today, as I get ready for our worship service to celebrate Christmas I am grateful that God comes to me. I am grateful that God is not far off or distant as I once thought before encounter Christ in my life. I am grateful that his light shines in my darkness and that I am warmed by his grace, love and presence. I am grateful for the beauty of Christmas.

It is Christmas Eve, as my friend Jeff always says, it is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good. I hope that you can make worship part of your Christmas celebration. Attend the church of your choice and celebrate the beauty that is Christ in your life. If you don't have a church home and you are near by i invite you to celebrate with Dockery Chapel at 7:00 pm.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas is Coming

"Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man hat.
If you haven't got a penny a hay penny will do.
If you haven't got a hay penny God bless you."

This little saying was on my mind today. I am sure it is because Christmas is coming. In just a few day we will celebrate Christmas. I realized today, that I never really paid attention to what this poem was saying in all the years that I have recited it. The poem seems to be saying that Christmas is a time of blessing. It is a time to share our blessings with each other. It is a time to be a blessing and to be blessed. It is a time for those with fat geese to car for the ones who have no geese and no pennies. It is a time for blessing for everyone.

Blessing is not a financial thing. Too often we equate finances and blessing like they are equal. Money does not equal blessing. "If you haven't got a hay penny, God bless you." God enters into our world and spends his first nights sleeping in a cattle feeder. Jesus as an adult, had no home, no place to lay his head. Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, those that mourn,those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, the meek, the peacemaker, and the merciful. Blessing was not equated in finances. Blessing comes at Christmas. Blessing is God with us. Blessing is that for unto us a child is born, a savior is given. Be blessed this Christmas. Be a blessing this Christmas. God bless you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday

It's Friday and I feel like It is time for another thank God it's Friday post.

Thank you God...
for my family.
for Nicole and the kids.
for wonderful parents.
for great in-laws.
for loving brothers and sisters.
Thank you God...
for my church family.
for people who help me see you everyday.
for people who pray for me everyday.
for people who love me unconditionally.
for people who help me grow in my relationship with you.
Thank you God...
for my friends.
for the people who let me be me and help me be who you want me to be.
for the people that laugh with me.
for the people who cry with me.
for the people who will just hang out.
for the ones who always have my back.
for then ones that refuse to leave me behind.
Thank you God...
for the many things that I often take for granted.
like clean water.
the air I breath.
food, clothing, and shelter.
indoor plumbing.
good health
Thank you God for your...
Love.
Forgiveness.
Blessings.
Grace.
Salvation.
Presence.
Guidance.

Thank you God. I have so much to be thankful for and you are the source of all of it. Thank you God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Program

Last night I went to our Christmas program at church. I was blessed to sing in the choir. I was not responsible for leading the worship or reading scripture or preaching a sermon. I just sang and listened and tried to lose myself in the story of the first Christmas.

It was a beautiful program and I thank God for the opportunity to be in his presence and lose myself in the story. Change that-- find my self in the story. You see the Christmas story in it's purest since is our story. It is the story of how God loves you and me so much that he enters into our world to reconcile us to him. It is the story of a loving God putting on human flesh, bearing what we bear, feeling as we feel, being born as a baby and living as a human so that he could die the death that is necessary for our sin. Because he loves me. Because he loves you. Christmas is my story. I could not make a way to God so God came to me to make a way for me to get to him. The way he makes is a way in a manger. A Savior has been born, he is Christ the King. My Savior. Your Savior. It is our story.

This year I pray that we all lose ourselves in the story of Christmas so that we might find ourselves in the story of Christmas. The story of God's love for us and how far God will go to show us that he loves us and to love us for all eternity.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Relational Giving

I have a new quote that has really been speaking to me as I prepare and get ready for Christmas. I shared it a couple of Sundays ago in church and it has continued to speak to me.

"Time is the greatest currency of love, not money."

Think about that. Think about what it means for how we celebrate Christmas. Money is not what we spend on someone to show them that we love them. Money, or an expensive gift , is not the greatest gift that we can give someone. Our time is. Giving our time expresses our love more than money ever could. Giving our time is the greatest gift we could ever give to those that we love.

I have never known of, or been with anyone, who at the end of their life said, "Pastor, I just wish I had more stuff." They all speak about how they wish that they had spent more time or could have some more time with their loved ones. Time is the greatest currency of love. When we give our time we give our presence and we give ourselves to each other. That is what love does.
There is a hymn that asks, "What gift can we bring, what present, what token?" What gift best expresses our love? This Christmas I want to give myself to the people I love...because I love them.

"Time is the greatest currency of love, not money."

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 10, 2010

It is all about Jesus

As I get ready for Christmas, I keep having a reoccurring thought. It is not a knew thought. It is nothing I came up with. It is something that we hear all the time. It is insinuated in phrases like, "the reason for the season" and "the true meaning of Christmas." The thought that is continually part of my reflection about how I prepare for and celebrate Christmas is,"it is all about Jesus."

We have a tendency to make it about so many other things than Jesus. We have talked at church about how this time can become all about retail sales and consumerism. We will make it about presents and not about Jesus. This time of year we can make about ourselves, or about Santa. We can make this time of year about tinsel and lights and decorations. We can make this time of year about stress and worry and frustration. It can be a time of pain and grief.

Yes, we have a tendency to make Christmas about so many other things than Jesus.

Yet, it is all about Jesus. It is about Jesus entering our world. It is about Jesus coming to save us from our sins that separates us from God and to save us from ourselves. It is about worshiping Jesus and giving thanks to Jesus. It is about celebrating Jesus who is light in our darkness. Who comforts those who mourn and gives strength to the weak. It is all about Jesus. It is all about Jesus. IT IS ALL ABOUT JESUS.

I don't write this to beat up the world and create an "us vs. them" thing. I am not writing these words to be on some Christian high horse. I am reflecting within myself about how I might allow Christmas to change my world. The world in me. The world I live in. I know that it easier to talk about what Christmas is suppose to be about than it is to celebrate it in a way that honors and lifts up Jesus rather than other stuff. It is easy to say that it all about Jesus. And it is easy to celebrate it like it is all about us and our traditions.

What can we do to make sure that we don't make it about something that it is not about? What do we do when everyone else around us and our family is pointing at and lifting up other things beside Jesus? I think this is deeper than just the language that we use in talking about the season. What will I celebrate and worship? What will I lift up? What will I do? So, that my heart and at the core of my being I am living that it is all about Jesus.

It is all about Jesus.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Now I lay me down to sleep...

It seems as if another day a flown by. As I said yesterday, I am going to work at making sure to take the time to blog. All day I just thought about the opportunity that each day is. Each day is an opportunity to live in Christ and for Christ. Each morning we wake to the opportunity to love more like Jesus and to serve him. The opportunity and the choice is ours. Each morning our feet hit the floor and we take off and either take advantage of the opportunity or we fail to seize the opportunity.

We are given opportunity to trust, to follow, to serve, and to love. The first step is to recognize that this day is our opportunity and each moment is filled with the potential to live as a follower of Jesus.

At the end of this day as I lay down to sleep I thank God for the opportunity that I had today and I pray that the Lord will give me another day. I pray that tomorrow I will seize the opportunity to life for him.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Remember Me

I don't know what it is but I have sure got out of the habit of daily posting. I want to. I tell myself when the day begins that I will post. I will have thoughts to write on that come to me through the day and in my times with God. I will have every intention and want to and then at the end of the day I will have not taken the time to do it. I get to busy. Other things take priority. Another day goes by with no post.

This teaches me that good intention and desire are not enough.

Do you think we do with following God.

We desire to follow him with our lives and we want to, but at the end of the day we let other things take priority. We intend to serve him and give him control of our lives, but at the end of the day we didn't take the time to give it to him. We want to worship him and fellowship with other followers but we let other things take priority over church.

I am gonna work on staying focused on posting because it helps me stay focused on my relationship with God. It helps me keep my priorities straight. Act on your intentions and desires today before it is too late.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

P.S. Please excuse any mistakes I did this from my phone because I wanted to make sure I took the time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Am Here

I am here.
Even when you don't see anything new. I am here.
Even when you don't think I am listening. I am here.
Even when you don't hear from me. I am here.

When there are long gaps in my correspondents, I am still here.
Even in the space between words, I am here.
In the dark.
In the light.
In the storms.
In the sunshine.
I am here.

I may not be where you are looking.
I may not look like you expect me to look.
I might not sound like you would like or respond exactly how you think I should.
But, I am here.
It will never change.
I am here.

Whose words are these?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug