Behold the King has come! The King of all KINGS. The Messiah, Redeemer, the Lamb of God. Come to us, here with us! God with us! Immanuel! The precious babe of Christ!
Behold the King has come! The King of all KINGS. The Messiah, Redeemer, the Lamb of God. Come to us, here with us! God with us! Immanuel! The precious babe of Christ!
Why my kids don’t believe in Santa…
Because one quiet Christmas morning when my sweet and innocent children woke up to open their gifts they realized that Santa had not visited our house on Christmas Eve.
It was not Santa who stuffed his big belly down our chimney and indulged himself with the Christmas cookies and milk that my children had left out for him. It was not Santa that left presents under our tree. No, the gifts my children were tearing into were NOT from Santa at all!!
However, they were from a man who also wears a red-suit, but this man does not have a big round belly, nor does he have a soft white beard, or a deep joyful laugh of “Ho-Ho-Ho.”
Instead, this man, carries a pitch-fork and adorns his head with horns. It was not SANTA who left presents under our tree that year, but it was SATAN, himself!!
You see, I had been up late on Christmas Eve and having three young children at the time, my eyes were heavy with a tiredness only a mother can know. I was quickly addressing my children’s gift tags, one after another, and in my hurry I signed each one,
“MERRY CHRISTMAS, LOVE, SATAN!!”
I did not realize my mistake until the next morning, half-way through opening the presents when my husband said, “Suzanne, stop for a second, and SLOWLY read the gift tags, are you dyslexic!? Are they all suppose to say Satan or did you mean to write Santa?” My poor children were opening gifts delivered from Satan!? What kind of mother secretly puts presents under the tree and pretends that Satan was the generous gift giver!?
It’s amazing how one can mix up a couple of letters and change the entire mystery of the Christmas experience.
However, like a good parent, I have worked this mistake into my favor! For now, when the Holiday season rolls around I can tell my children that, “they better not shout, they better not pout, they better watch out, I’m telling you why, Satan…will surely come back to town!
Disclaimer – Satan did not really visit our house and no children were hurt or have experienced emotional long term effects by this mistake.
Crimson shades of tattered white,
a moonless night yet all is bright.
An ordinary man who had a dream,
of impossible things, or so it seemed.
A child bride, a mere servant girl,
carrying a baby that would change the world.
Two relatives startling an unborn Son,
only to prove what had actually begun.
A cousin set apart to lead the King’s way,
to turn back hearts that have gone astray.
An order to travel to one’s own town,
a difficult journey with a belly so round.
They could stay in the stable or so they were told,
each innkeeper said all the rooms had been sold.
Shepherds and wise man each brought a gift,
to lay at His feet our sins He would lift.
The King of all kings was born in a manger,
humbled and quiet did his parents realize the danger?
A king afraid of losing reign,
a baby born to carry the pain.
A spirit of death upon the earth,
what Man has come with second birth?
A Godly man holds The Christ,
warning Mary that there will be a price.
A prophetess sees God’s Salvation,
and spreads the hope to a desperate nation.
A mother pondering all things in her heart,
God’s Son would bring joy, but first torn apart.
His life lived for only one reason,
He’s why we celebrate this Christmas season.
A baby born, to live to die,
it’s tempting to ask the question why?
His story doesn’t stop at His birth,
He died on the cross to give our lives worth.
But our story doesn’t end at His grave,
He’s risen again our souls He can save.
So let us bow down our lives to give,
we need to die to fully live.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
In the last year I’ve been speaking mostly to women’s groups, but this last Sunday I was given the opportunity to speak at Community Fellowship; to the Junior High Sunday School class and later in the evening with the High School youth group. I love the privilege of sharing God’s message with all people and all ages. This is the second video on a three part message about the second coming of Christ.
“If I should speak then let it be, Of the Grace that is greater than all my sin, Of when Justice was served and where mercy wins, Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in, To tell you my story is to TELL OF HIM…” (Big Daddy Weave)
I am on trial. I stand in front of the Judge. I wear a prisoner’s uniform. My hands are in chains. I am ashamed and humiliated. I am without defense. I am guilty. I am condemned to die.
I proclaimed faith in Christ when I was a young child, but since that day there have been many times I have strayed from that proclamation. If I didn’t know the truth, if I had not pledged allegiance to Christ as my Savior and Lord, I could say I didn’t know any better. But, I know the truth. I know right from wrong. I can cry out with Paul and say, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”(Romans 7:15)
Every day, every hour, every minute, I must choose to die to myself and my desires and allow Christ to live through me. I want His desires to be my desires. This is such a challenge for me. I am the prodigal child. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” I am like the Israelites in the desert, following and praising God when all is well, and then quickly forgetting God and returning to sin. “Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brother’s and sister’s this should not be.” (James 3:10)
I hate sin and the way I can feel its strong pull, tempting me to give into it’s desires. I hate sin and the way I’ve allowed it to slowly creep into my life. I hate that there have been times I have declared faith in Jesus with a sinful heart and dirty hands. I have been unfaithful to Christ so many times that I wonder how He could still love me. Why would He give me; a stained, filthy, ugly, guilt-ridden sinner, the privilege to share His story? I deserve to be punished. I deserve death.
And it’s here, standing in front of the Judge, in my deepest, darkest, sinful place, that Jesus approaches me. I feel His presence. I am so unworthy that I don’t want to look at His face. But, He lifts “up my head,” (Psalm 3:3) and in His eyes I see love and kindness, mercy and grace. It’s a love so strong that it brings me to my knees. A kindness so sweet it brings me to repentance. A mercy so rich in compassion it brings me to humility. And Grace, amazing grace, full of forgiveness, it brings me back into my Savior’s arms.
He releases my chains and puts on my prison clothes. He stands guilty in my place. Condemned. Ready to die, on my behalf, a sinner’s death to set me free. As He stands in my place, I realize He IS my defense. My ONLY defense. JESUS. My only way to freedom and eternal salvation. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But, if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1) “Look, I’ve stripped you of your sin and dressed you up in clean clothes.”(Zechariah 3:3-4) At that moment, I look down and see that I am no longer dressed as a prisoner, but I am, “arrayed in the finest of pure white linen, bright and clean.” (Rev 19:8) “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) I am dressed in His righteousness.
(This blog was written in response to a question that was posed to me: “After sinning, what hoops does a Christian have to jump through to reconcile with God?” In short, there are no hoops because “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”)
My Uncle Rolle Rexilius died February 25th, 2014. I had the extreme privilege to give the eulogy at his funeral. He made a huge impact on my life and on my Christian faith. He was a praying man and he lived His life, completely sold out, to his Savior. He was another Rexilus man who left a lasting legacy of faith.
I’m thinking about him today because I received an email from my mom that said, “Rolle played this Easter song for me about 15 years ago. I listened to it today and wanted to pass it on.”
Although I know and believe that Jesus was both Son of man and Son of God I’ve never thought of it in this way before…
“Just a young boy in the temple one day
Shared with the scholars, they were so amazed
Never had they seen, one so young, speak so swift,
They asked Him many questions,
The conversation went like this…
WHAT’S YOUR NAME SON?
On my mother’s side, My name is Jesus
But on my Father’s side, they call Me Immanuel
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
On my Mother’s side, now I’m 12 years
But on my Father’s side, I’ve just always been
WHERE YOU FROM?
On my mother’s side, I’m from Bethlehem
But on my Father’s side, it’s New Jerusalem
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN?
On my mother’s side, I’ll be crucified
But on my Father’s side, in three days I will rise,
And I’ll sit at my Father’s side”
He was the Son of God, yet the Son of man.
And I can’t help but wonder,
What Joseph must have felt,
Through an open door that day,
He heard his son reply, He said,
You see, I ‘am the KING OF KINGS
That’s on My Father’s side.”
(The Barn Again Gang”)
We have an awesome God! Who but He could have made such a plan for our salvation. Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN!
Last Tuesday, I woke up in the middle of the night to find my son on his cell phone. He knows he’s not allowed to be on his phone that late, so I took the phone from him and told him he wouldn’t be allowed to have it for one week. I thought to myself, “I need to hide it in a really good spot so he won’t find it.” (He always finds my hiding spots) And that’s what I did! I put it in the BEST hiding spot EVER!
Unfortunately, in my comatose stupefaction, I really did hide it in a good spot because now I CAN’T EVEN FIND IT! I’ve called it multiple times, searched through every single drawer, under every couch cushion, coat pockets, back-packs, every cabinet and every closet in the house. Not once, not twice, but more times than I can even count. Where is that allusive phone!? I DON’T KNOW!!
NOTE TO SELF – In the middle of the night, when half-asleep, don’t hide a cell phone in the BEST PLACE EVER…unless of course, the punishment you have in mind is to ban your son from ever using his phone again.
When I was a little girl I have very vivid memories of my mom gathering us around before bedtime and reading us a book. All of these books usually had important life-lessons. I loved listening to my mom read and when I became a mother I started this tradition with my own kids. It’s still one of our favorite things to do as a family.
One of the books my mom read to us was, “Where the Red Fern Grows.” To this day it is still one of my favorite books. A book about a boy named Billy who dreamed of owning his own hound dogs. Unlike today, Billy didn’t have the option of entitlement or immediate gratification so he had to work hard and long days to buy the dogs he desired. After a couple of years, he finally had enough money to buy his dogs and he named them, Old Dan and Little Ann. He was ready to teach them how to become coon trapping hound dogs.
One thing from this book that has stuck with me my entire life is the way Billy’s grandpa told him how he could catch a raccoon. First, find a log and drill a hole just big enough for the raccoon’s paw to fit inside. After drilling the hole, pound two nails diagonally into the log and drop a shiny object into the hole. This can also be done using a simple tin can and placing a shiny object into the can. Raccoons are curious animals and they are drawn to bright, radiant objects. That dazzling item is all that is needed to tempt the raccoon to reach his paw into the log or the tin can and wrap his fist around the object.
And just like that, the raccoon is trapped! Can He escape? Of course he can! But he chooses to remain trapped, because he is not willing to let go of the captivating object that lured him there. All he needs to do is open his hand, drop the object, and he’s free. However, the raccoon is often to stubborn to drop the object. He is obsessed with it and becomes a slave to an object that he doesn’t need. An object that steals his freedom and will eventually cost him is life.
Just like the raccoon, we can gaze upon a bright, shiny object and all of a sudden find ourselves ensnared into a trap of slavery, a trap that steals our freedom and sometimes our lives. In Romans 1, Paul calls himself, “a slave to Christ,” not out of duty and fear but out of love and gratitude.
If we aren’t enslaved to Christ, we will find another luring, captivating object. It can be an eating disorder, pornography, bitterness, unforgiveness, greed. It can even be a good object, that eventually replaces Christ and becomes an idol in our lives, such as our kids, our marriage, a job, etc. Again, in Romans, Paul says that people, “Exchanged the glory of God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Our hands desire to be clenched around something, and if it’s not Christ, we will find ourselves in chains that trap us, control us, and steal our ultimate purpose of life; to love and serve our Creator.
If our hands are entwined around Christ and all that He encompasses we will live in absolute, perfect freedom. Beth Moore has said, “Christ is the only one who I can bind myself to and find freedom. He is the only one that frees while binding.”
Unlike the raccoon, who is bound to a life-threatening object, I want to be bound to Christ. I want my fist wrapped so tightly around Him that I don’t ever want to let go. I want to say I am a slave to Christ. I need nothing more. He is enough. And it is here, bound to Christ that we can live in the freedom He intended for us.
“The Million Dollar Foot” versus “The Million Dollar Arm.” In the movie, “The Million Dollar Arm,” 38,000 Indian hopefuls showed up for a shot at the American big leagues and a $100,000 prize. Rinku Singh won the contest and the runner-up was Dinesh Patel. Both were brought over to America to be developed and trained into MLB stars. This is in contrast to the million dollar foot. I feel as if I have actually given away a million dollars in time and money in order to heal my foot. In the last couple of years I have not developed into a better runner. I have not trained since 2014 and my last race was in April of 2014. The million dollar arm racked up money while the million dollar foot lost both time and money.
However, the good news is, that eleven months after surgery my achilles is ONE-HUNDRED percent healed. The scar from surgery is almost invisible. And although there is still a little swelling around the achilles, the recent MRI shows that there isn’t any build-up of scar tissue and all looks good. Boy, do I want to run!!
Unfortunately, I still can’t go out and pound the pavement. The reason I had to have another MRI is because I am still having pain along my foot. The MRI revealed that I have some other issues going on, the biggest one includes acute FHL tenosynovitis. The FHL tendon lies deep behind the achilles tendon and tendonitis in this tendon is usually seen quite frequently in ballet dancers. Thus, it has become known as dancer’s tendonitis.
For anyone who knows me, they would agree that I am quite clumsy. While I am pretty good at running in a straight line I also tend to trip and fall A LOT, and it’s usually on smooth pavement!? So obviously, I am not a person who emulates elegance, grace, or rhythm. So unless I’ve been BALLET DANCING in my sleep, both the doctor and I are a bit confused why there is such a collection of inflammation and fluid around this tendon.
I just received a cortisone injection and will start physical therapy tomorrow in hopes that this new issue of pain will resolve. I am also scheduled to see another foot and ankle specialist the first week of March. I want to have a second opinion to make sure everything on the MRI was interpreted correctly and that this is the best course of action.
Lastly, I was told once again to REST. It’s hard for me to rest. I like being active. I like feeling fit and strong. I don’t want to rest. However, it’s been in the resting that I have found a new and closer love and passion for my Savior. I love how Jesus meets us right where we need Him too. I just opened up a small devotional book only to read these words;
“Thank ME for the conditions that are requiring you to be STILL. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of the greatest works in MY Kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for MY way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to ME. Although, you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in the spiritual realm. My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness.” (Jesus Calling)
I know there are many people struggling with far worse ordeals than an injured foot, but God keeps reminding me that no matter what the struggle is, He is with us ALWAYS and if we are willing to submit to His ways, He will bring us through stronger and closer to Him.