Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday evening 12/23/12

Here we are tonight.......very thankful the world didn't end on Friday!  I've been fending off questions and discussions for a few weeks now from family and students alike, wondering why people thought the world would end and if I agreed.  Of course, only God knows the future; He alone knows when He will send His Son back to collect His bride.  Since the world cannot end without Revelation's prophecies being fulfilled---the rapture, marriage supper of the Lamb, etc.---I felt fairly secure in my belief that life would continue as usual after December 21, 2012.

However, I did take pause at the thought that we seem to be living just like the people in Noah's days.......eating, drinking, and making merry without any thought of God or truth and with many completely turning away from what God has established as right (homosexual "marriage", abortion, premarital sex, and so on).  I don't mean to preach---my kids might disagree!---but God is very clear in His Word about certain issues that some even in Christian circles simply ignore.  I don't think Noah was a perfect man, and the Bible never says anything about his wife or sons or their wives living righteous lives; but, obviously, Noah himself found grace in the eyes of the Lord by his actions and his walk.  It cannot be argued that, if we as Christians take a firm stand for God and right, there will be a difference in this country and around the world.  If we stop focusing on what we desire, on what we want to do with our lives, and on what we think is right, and instead focus on our Saviour and His wishes, the world would see a change in our behavior.  I'm guilty of the same thinking---"I don't see what's wrong with _______" or "If Jesus were alive today, He'd change His mind about _________."  It's not what we think that matters; it's what God has said.  And that goes both ways:  some need to stop trying to justify their actions and simply follow God's commands while others need to stop judging fellow Christians based on what they themselves believe.  God is the Judge; He will convict hearts. When we all get to Heaven, we'll probably find that each of us was wrong on some issue.  After all, none of us is perfect as we are, and that's the reason why God sent His Son.  That's the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Christmas is a promise kept.  God fulfilled His promise to us to send a Saviour to save us from our sins.  I'm so thankful God the Father sent His Son Jesus to be born as a babe in Bethlehem that night so long ago, but I'm even more thankful that I don't have to depend on a baby for my salvation.  Jesus grew to be a man and willingly went to the cross to suffer and die so that we might be saved.  He did all the saving work; all we have to do is accept His offer of salvation.  Oh, we can walk away.  We can choose to deny His royal birth, snub His righteous life, spurn His death for us.  But all that does is guarantee an eternity in hell, separated from the very One Who died for us.  Jesus wants so badly for us to be saved, He's even willing to have us turn our backs on Him once we accept His gift.  We don't have to sign up for a lifelong commitment or pledge hundreds of thousands of dollars after our salvation.  We can accept and leave it at that.  But why would we do such a heartless thing to God?  Why would we live the rest of our lives for ourselves instead of for the God of Heaven?  This Christmas, let's choose to give ourselves to God, to renew our commitment to our Saviour.  What a wonderful birthday gift that would be!

Dale has had such a shaky week!  Chad and I are trying to figure out why he's so unsteady, and the only thing we can blame is Dale's interrupted sleep schedule.  He's been getting to bed later than his usual bedtime of 9:00 p.m. for a couple of weeks now, due to Christmas excitement, last-minute stuff, and general laziness (on my part!).  Plus, for several days now, since we're out of school for Christmas break, Dale has been staying up even later and sleeping in each morning.  This also throws off his medication schedule.  So, Chad and I decided to make sure Dale gets to bed each night on time from now on (a decision met with groans by Dale) and his pills on time as well.  Hopefully these measures will help steady Dale's balance and walking.

This morning as we were getting ready for church, we heard a small thump from Dale's room.  Chad looked at me and said, "Is he all right?"  Just then we heard a mournful "OUCH!!!" emanate from Dale's bedroom, which sent us rushing down the hall.  Lo and behold, Dale had fallen off his bed and scraped his nose on the carpet.  He said he wasn't doing any particular thing; his body just gave a tremendous jerk, and he couldn't prevent the resulting fall to the floor.  He tried to break his fall with his hands, but they wouldn't cooperate either.  So his nose wound up taking the brunt of the impact, leaving a painful scrape on the bridge and a smaller scrape towards the tip.  Poor guy just sat there whimpering in pain, fending off well-meaning questions about what had happened and wishing he could rewind the clock and stay in bed!  Then, it dawned on him that he would have to face everyone at church and explain why he was competing with Rudolph for the shiniest nose! Chad told him to tell folks that he cut himself shaving.  Then, when people laughed about his lack of aim, Dale could say, "I don't have much experience!"

I got Dale good this morning.  We were walking down the stairs (him - facing forward, me - facing backward) when Dale said, "I'm sorry you have to look at this ugly face." I responded, "It was ugly before the scraped nose!"  :-D  He laughed, which helped to raise his spirits again.

May your holidays be filled with friends, family, love, and laughter, and may all your wishes come true.  (That sounds so wonderful and hopeful but you know it'll never happen!  LOL!)  I do hope you will let the love of Christ shine richly through your lives this holiday so that those around you will be drawn closer to His light.  God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Matthew 1: 23  "Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." 


  1. Please remind Dale that setbacks are God's stepping stones to later successes. Failure occurs only when one gives up and quits.

    Here is a link to a video about a Gospel Quartet singing a Christmas song. I think all the family will enjoy it. Be sure to watch to the end.

    Merry Christmas from the Bishop family to the Ostrander family.

  2. Kirsten this was a wonderful Christmas message, and all too true. I remember when I gave my life to Christ; after the baptism my Pastor said "Congratulations Eric, now the road gets rough". At the time, I didn't understand why he said that, I figured I was saved and everything would be a breeze. Wow, was I naive lol. Life was and is a struggle, and living the life that God would like us to live is never easy. But oh, the wonderful rewards that await us in haven!

    I'm sorry that Dale has had a shaky week, I feel each bump and bruise as I read your post. But I'm glad that he has a sense of humor, laughter is truly one of God's gifts, and great medicine in it's own right. I hope that you and your family are having a very Merry Christmas, and may the New Year bring continued happiness, peace, and good health to you all. As always, thank you so very much for your blog, and your family will continue to remain in my prayers. All my best, Eric