Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Few Thoughts at Christmas 2017

I feel very blessed to be happy & eager about Christmas. One present that is constant is my wonderful wife, Julie. She will be off work from December 22 thru New Year's Day.We have a special Christmas & Holiday Season in general planned but nothing will top simply enjoying time together.

I also look forward to unplugging from social media for a few days. The first of the year will be busy enough with the release of The Preacher's Letter on January 9.

This is a different type of blog than I usually write. It is just some thoughts to share. Please don't take them as being written to you but rather this is about us. Anything I write it is a safe bet to say that I struggle with the same, or I have at one time, or I will in the future.

1. Hate- Let's do away with this word regardless of how strongly our opinions can be.

2.  Church Leadership- It is easy to criticize those in leadership roles in our churches. Let's pray for our leaders far more than we find fault with them.

"Criticizing others is not a calling. What are you doing to help and serve others?"
Louie Giglio

3.Social Media- We don't have to engage in endless arguments that solve nothing. I am no different in that I read something that makes me irate & I can't tell you how many times I have typed the comment & before hitting the send button the common sense portion of my brain kicks in & I have to ask what if anything am I going to accomplish.

4. Before-  If you insist on ignoring #3 at least read & listen thoroughly before responding & verify your so called facts before issuing them. Don't use them as facts simply because they line up with your point of view.

5. Introspection- Be able to look inside & search yourself before going on the attack. I find it always helpful in any source of conflict to ask God how I might proceed. And always give yourself plenty of room to be wrong.

6. Name Calling- Don't resort to name calling just because someone does not see things the way you do.

7. Division-  We live in a very divided country. It is not the sole fault of one political party. It is the fault of both. But we don't have to allow it to divide us as a neighborhood, work place, church..etc One of my favorite quotes. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

8.Fairness-  If we could care more about being fair than being right we can really put a dent in #7. No one wins an argument.

9. One- Never underestimate what we as one person can do.

10. Kindness- It doesn't have to be something big. You never know what a kind word or smile can mean to someone who is suffering. I have suffered mightily in my life at times with depression. Trust me when I tell you how much it means when someone is kind to you. It is a light in the darkest of places. Encourage others. It is the greatest of the spiritual gifts.

11. Dismissive- Don't be dismissive of others just because it is not part of your world.

12. Understanding- Try to understand someone's viewpoint even if you disagree. Your opinion is just that. Don't mistake it for truth. Warning- This could lead to real conversation.

13. Grow- Regardless of our age- never cease trying to grow.

14. Simple- The simple things in life are truly the most valuable. A dog that insists on touching you while she sleeps. A sunset over the nearby river. The quietness of the beach that you find this time of year. Sometimes while walking Teke in the woods at the nearby State Park I will stop & just listen to the stillness. Holding hands in church or anywhere else with your spouse.

15. Peace- If you have this there is not anything I can think of that is worth giving it up for. Let the conflict go. Life is fast paced enough. Hold on to any stillness that you may be blessed enough to enjoy.
Hebrews 12:24 Pursue peace with everyone...

16. Competition- Run your own race. Don't waste time measuring yourself against others. 

17. God hurt me. No, He did not. It was probably some religious person or even a wayward church that caused the pain. Don't judge God by them. 

18.  One thing-  If there was one thing I would want people to understand about Jesus Christ. It is about relationship not religion. Your head knowledge of religion will always miss the mark. How is your heart? 

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

The last scripture. It does not say you will find me by perfect church attendance. By living a certain way. By following a set of rituals.  


May God's peace that passes all understanding flow down on you without measure.

Merry Christmas 
Billy, Julie, & Teke



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