I know its been awhile since I’ve posted and certainly appreciate all the friends who have contacted me wondering where I’ve been. December has certainly been a busy month; there’s been lots I could have written about.
We’ve had a good month at Shorewood as we are working to pay down the debt on our mortgage, which we will be refinancing soon. Looks like we’ll cut the indebtedness in half as well as reduce our interest rate by over two points. That’s like getting a raise!
My trip to Detroit went well for the TV taping but I came home with the beginnings of the flu. Have you been watching Forgotten Truths via the net? I have—we don’t have DirectTV. Its great! No, that’s not self promotion—its just fact. I don’t watch myself, frankly, but focus on the way the program goes together—how the camera shots move, the editing, etc. Tom does a GREAT production job and we have a truly outstanding crew! The message ain’t bad either—but then, preaching grace makes anyone sound good!
I also had to send Cynthia back to Mobile on my birthday. Her dad unexpectedly had open-heart surgery and she spent several weeks there. He is still in the hospital but doing well. It meant I got to spend some "home alone" time (no biggy) and endure the flu on my own (now that is a biggy!). I managed to read a couple of books that I’ll try to report on in the next few weeks, along with having unexpected “quiet time” to study the books of John and I Thessalonians (which I’ll start teaching in January).
Cynthia got home the Monday before Christmas, so I was happy again. Sunday the 21st was a truly bitter day in our area. It was –2 as I drove the church that morning with wind chill at –30. We had a good crowd anyway, considering the holidays and the weather. That evening was a bit different. With the weather still threatening, we had a “corporals guard” (as Mel puts it) for the study—but had 50+ hookups on the Internet! We did better on Wednesday, the 24th. We don’t make a big deal of Christmas—I have never put up a tree or decorations, even raising three boys—but it is a natural family time and we certainly do promote that.
I encourage our folks to remember and appreciate the “Real Miracle”—that is, the incarnation of God the Son into our humanity (John 1:1,2, 14; Gal. 4:4). That’s what the real issue around Dec. 25 is all about—and why the vain religious systems of the world have sought to usurp it.
Thinking alone those lines, Matt sent me a list suggesting that Isaiah 55:8 is still true: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” Some of the ways that this is true:
As for beauty, man thinks it is glorious, but God says it is vain (Proverbs 31:30).
As for riches, man thinks they are greatly to be desired and praised, but God says the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10) and “riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away” (Proverbs 23:5).
As for men of high degree, man thinks they are impressive, but God says “men of high degree are a lie” (Psalm 62:9).
As for the prosperity of the wicked, man thinks it is desirable and fascinating, but God says it is foolish and casts men into destruction (Psalm 73:18).
As for trouble, man thinks it is a nuisance, but God says it brings spiritual growth (Romans 5:3-5).
As for poverty, man thinks it is to be avoided at all costs, but God says it can be better than riches (Proverbs 15:16-17; 19:1).
As for children, man thinks they are a burden, but God says children are a heritage from the Lord and happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them (Psalm 127).
As for evolutionary theory, man thinks it is brilliant science, but God says it is the vain babblings of science falsely so called (1 Timothy 6:20).
As for foolish laughter and filthy jesting, man thinks it is fun and cool, but God says it is vanity (Ecc. 7:5-6) and brings His wrath (Ephesians 5:4-6).
As for self-promotion and self-praise, man thinks it is wise, but God says, “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12), and, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth” (Proverbs 27:2).
As for the pride of life, man thinks it is commendable, but God says it is of the devil and will pass away (1 Timothy 3:6; 1 John 2:15-17).
As for religious harmony, man thinks it is expedient, but God says Christ has no part with Belial (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
As for human nature, man thinks it is basically good, but God says there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Romans 3:12).
As for religion, man thinks all religions have some truth and lead to the same God, but God says that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man cometh unto the father but by Him (John 14:6).
As for hell, man thinks that it is a religious myth, but God says it is the destiny of every man that dies without Christ (John 3:36, Eph. 5:6).
The wise man will align his thinking with God’s by humbling himself before Him and studying His Word. “... for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).