Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What An Amazing Opportunity!

   It surely is aggravating when Christmas and New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday. As I reflect on the history of my life, I am reminded that having these holidays on Sunday puts a type of “wrench” into your normal, traditional actions on these days, especially Christmas Day. Christmas Day is about ripping open packages and eating and being with your family and eating again. It is about decorations and traveling and memories and sweet smiles on the faces of our children. It is a special “once a year” time that allows families and friends to be together, sometimes when they do not see each other any other time of the year. Christmas is a special time and I love it. That “Christmas on Sunday” really only happens about once every 5-7 years. It can be a “burden” to my plans and a “wrench” to my traditional activities, but it is not every year.


   Perhaps I’ve been looking at this wrong all along. Perhaps I have failed to appreciate the “amazing opportunity” that has been presented.  On Sunday, December 25, and January 1 for that matter, we have a very special opportunity to “practice what we preach.” Can you think of a better circumstance to make clear to your family what really matters most? You have an opportunity to make a statement to your children that can last a lifetime. While their friends in the neighborhood are riding their new bikes and playing with their toys, you are showing your children that nothing, and you mean absolutely nothing, takes precedent over your commitment to God, and the church. I do not know if our children and teen agers will remember one thing from their Bible class and worship service on that day. In fact, it is very likely there will be some “disappointed” children having to put their toys down as they get in the car and head to the church building. But, you are providing them a memory of what mama and daddy put first. That is absolutely “priceless.” By the way, in the “bringing up” of your children, this roll of the calendar to a Sunday Christmas will only happen a handful of times. Please do not waste the “amazing opportunity” that is there for you this year. I said earlier in this article you will have an opportunity to make a statement to your children that will last a lifetime. The truth is, you are going to make that statement, one way or the other.

May God bless you and yours in all you do.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteusness”
Matthew 6:33

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Striving for Perfection

By: Charles Steiner

  Are you a perfectionist? Do you feel like you have to be perfect all the time, or your never happy? The protestant preacher Martin Luther (1483-1546) started his life out at a young age in much the same way. As a young man he had the goal of living without sinning. He became a Catholic monk. At the monastery he worked all day and then prayed and studied at night. His idea was that if he could isolate himself in this way, it would keep him from sinning. At the end of his first year as a monk, he vowed to live as a monk forever and was part of a big ceremony. At the ceremony he put on a distinguished looking robe. He thought the robe would make him feel holy, but it didn’t. In an effort to feel holy he began to do radical things, which even most monks wouldn’t do. He fasted frequently. He put in extra work. Eventually, Martin came to the realization after reading Romans 1:17 “So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” that no amount of work on his part to be sinless could ever make him justified in the eyes of God.

  The truth is, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24) You see, it is only through Jesus’ gift of redeeming us of our sins, that we can ever be made right with God.

  Some of us take it to the opposite extreme as Luther. We think that because we can’t be perfect, we might as well do whatever we want with no care or concern for what is right and wrong. In this case, may we remember the words of Paul in Romans 6:1-4, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” So what is the answer for the Christian who struggles with being a perfectionist? Do your best to always obey God, but never forget that it is only through Jesus that we are made right with God.