The shopping mall is a dangerous place. You know that, right? And I'm not just talking about the potential thief in the parking lot or the danger of having someone steal your credit card information. I'm talking about something much worse. I'm talking about danger for our souls.
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a word in the English language that is more overused and a concept that is more underused than "love."
Those of us who consider ourselves conservatives need to understand that conservatism to the Republican hierarchy is defined differently than we define it. And those who consider themselves Republicans because they still believe the party represents what it did at its inception or what it did under President Reagan must understand that's no longer the case.
What are you standing on?
When's the last time you've felt excited about giving an offering at church - I mean really excited? If you've been reading this column for the past month, you might remember that when I was in Nigeria, I wrote about how excited the Nigerians got about "offering time!" with the dancing and music accompanying the bringing of their gifts, spending at least an hour of their service giving their monetary offerings.
"When were you saved?" Have you ever been asked that question? When were you saved? Maybe it's just because of my line of work, but I get that question all the time.
"Therefore, let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified." Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and ...
They say you find God in the strangest places. Well, the story of Christmas proves it. Read Luke 2. Even though the text starts in the Emperor's palace of the most powerful nation on earth, when "Caesar Augustus issued a decree," and it passes through every place of power and beauty you can imagine from the Governor's mansion of Quirinius to every corner of the known world - we find it settling down in Nazareth, ...
"You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people, all of the time." We have all heard that quote, but here is another: "You can never fool God or yourself." Those two always know the "real" truth. So, let's ask the tough question, "Are you for real?" Or you do look like you have it all together on the outside, but on the inside you're not ...
Are you a New Year's resolution maker? Or are you someone who used to make New Year's resolutions but never kept them and so now you don't even bother? Wherever you fall on this paradigm, a New Year is a good thing. It is a great time to evaluate your life and to make adjustments if needed. There is an old adage that rings true, "A life not evaluated is not worth living."
"Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?" [Jesus] replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.
"Therefore, as God's choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other."
Wives, do you wish your husbands were better communicators? Guys, do you wish your wives didn't read things into what you say that were never there? You know what I'm talking about.
In 2011, Walmart's total worldwide net sales total topped $418 billion with $309 billion coming from sales within the United States. You read that correctly, $418 and $309 billion. If Walmart were a country, its GDP for 2011 would have edged out the entire GDP of Austria, making it the 27th wealthiest nation in the world. Walmart's commitment to always giving the consumer the low price has paid off and Walmart's revenue will likely only continue to rise.
I am always asked this time of year, "What should Christians do with Santa?" In America, Christmas has become a time of incredible materialism that is driven by companies doing whatever they can to take advantage of holiday shopping, and Santa Claus has become the symbol of this consumerism. Therefore, some Christian families feel that Santa takes the focus of Christmas away from Jesus. So what should Christians do?
"Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, And they will call him, Emmanuel (God with us)."
You can tell a lot by a gift's reaction, can't you? - about the gift, the giver, the receiver, their relationship. So, since reactions to gifts are so important - think about your reaction to the greatest gift of Christmas -Jesus.
Every Christmas, I look forward to watching, once again, "It's a Wonderful Life." I love seeing George Bailey in that most wonderful moment when realizing that he has his life back says, "My mouth's bleeding Burt, my mouth's bleeding!" The lead character in this 1946 classic learns the wonderful truth that what is most valuable in life isn't riches, fame, or adventure, but rather relationships. George Bailey learns that a good family and true friends ...
"We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn't put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
It's getting closer. The end of the Mayan calendar has caused so many to talk about the end of the world. They say it will be next Friday, Dec. 21. Of course, God said we wouldn't know when - but we do know he's coming. So it is important to ask if you're ready. Are you?