You Have an Appointment

“Honey, I made my favorite thing for dinner tonight!”

“Oh really,” he replied quizzically, “what’s that?”

She replies, “Reservations!”

Last week my parents asked me to go with them to his appointment at the U.A.M.S. Reynolds Institute on Aging. Memory loss issues runs in the family as they near their 80s. My Dad is no exception. I went with my Mom and Dad to help negotiate the morning traffic, construction, and the U.A.M.S. complex of buildings.

Every fall I get a physical. Every six months I get my teeth cleaned and checked.

Appointments, we look forward to some and others we don’t.

But there’s one appointment everyone has and no one will miss it. It is an appointment made by God himself.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.  Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV

Our Father and Creator has provided everything we need so we can be ready for this appointment. We celebrate the first coming of Christ at Christmas. Christ will come a second time for those who are eagerly waiting for this appointment to arrive.

The first time Christ came he dealt with sin once for all. He is the total and complete sacrifice needed for sin. The Old Testament sacrificial system required sacrifices to be done over and over and over again.

It sounds gruesome to some, but I’m actually looking forward to dying. No, I’m not in a hurry to leave this earth. But as the writer of Hebrews says it, I am “eagerly waiting for him.”

That’s an appointment I look forward to keeping. I rejoice that my name is written in heaven. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

At the same time we wait with tears. We all have those we love and know who ignore the fact that they even have an appointment with God.

Reality check: “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

EVERYONE will keep this appointment!

Pray urgently this Christmas for those who need to know Jesus as their Savior. Witness as the opportunities arise. Pray for our International Missionaries, over 4,000 of them scattered around this globe, that their sharing of the gospel will be successful!

Give a generous, sacrificial amount to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year. My challenge is to think in terms of giving your largest Christmas gift to this offering. How much did  you spend on your most expensive gift this year? Give at least one dollar more to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions!

Our Father, thank-you for sending Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for our sin. Thank-you for the salvation that will be fully revealed on that day we stand before you. We urgently request that our friends, grandchildren, children, neighbors, and acquaintances come under the deep conviction of your Holy Spirit of their urgent need for a Savior. 

 

Nose Prints on the Window

Everyone pressed toward the window to get a peek. The two dozen people had waited for quite a while. A tangible excitement filled the room.

Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Great-grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and friends gathered for the event in Hot Springs. Then there she was! The first grandchild on both sides of the family and first great-grandchild too!

Our son dressed in scrubs and mask held her up to the window proudly. Eventually he handed her off to the nurse to do those newborn things.

What added to the suspense, our son and daughter-in-law had decided not to tell us her name until after she was born.

We saw our son ask the nurse for something. They left the nursery. He came back in with a plain white piece of paper and held it up to the glass.

Quickly-printed big letters spelled, ‘MOLLY MAE.’ An audible joy filled the hallway knowing her name for the first time.

Even with the advanced medical technology and understanding we have of a developing baby in the womb, the birth of a baby is still an extraordinary event!

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God who does all things. Ecclesiastes 11:5 NLT

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

As you celebrate Christmas this year, remember how amazing this birth is. He is God’s Son conceived in the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” are appropriate.

As amazing as any birth is, the birth of the Son of God is even more amazing!

Bethlehem overflowing with those coming for the Roman census afforded little privacy. Born in a place animals rested. A feed trough served as a baby bed. The birth announcement was a sky full of angels. Just some local blue-collar workers out taking care of some sheep pressed their noses to the window that night.

And the Father did all of this knowing full well His perfect Son would be the perfect sacrifice for a world full of sinners – us!!! Oh, and his name, the name that is above all names, “JESUS!”

Press your noses against glass with a fresh amazement this Christmas!

Our Father, we “Oooh” and “Aaah” at the amazing grace you shared with us at the birth of Jesus. We thank-you and praise you!

 

Oh, To Be Young Again!

“If I could go back and live my life all over again, I would ________________.”

“What do I regret?” was one of my first thoughts. If I could re-live my life, what would I change so that I don’t live with regrets today?

The writer of Ecclesiastes had a long life, experienced all of life’s advantages, and God gave him great wisdom.

Now that the results of aging overtook his body and he reflected on his life, what’s his conclusion?

In Ecclesiastes 12:1, he describes the aging process. In verse one he tells those who are still young,

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them.”

The aging process is further described in verses 2-8: eyesight dims, legs and shoulders get weak, the hearing starts to go, fears grow, and friends’ funerals are attended.

But at the end of a life lived weighing many proverbs, reading numerous books, and trying many forms of pleasure, what’s his conclusion? Life is meaningless, all is vanity, EXCEPT for two things!

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV

An ATTITUDE, “fear God” and an ACTION, “obey God” sum up the only things that truly make life meaningful.

Jesus said it just as succinctly,

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV

If a young man or woman is reading this now, you will avoid a thousand regrets if you commit your life to this attitude and action.

First, have an awesome respect, a healthy fear, for your Almighty God and Creator and love His Son Jesus Christ with every fiber of your being.

Second, do what God tells you to do. The Bible, His written, inspired Word reveals His will. Take it seriously and do it.

Our Father, thank-you for the wisdom of your Word that shows us the real meaning of life. Thank-you for Your Son Jesus whom we love with all our being. By the power of your Spirit living in us we commit our lives to translating that love into obedience. Thank-you for your constant presence with us to give us courage and strength.

 

 

Livers and Gizzards

Where’s your heart? Where’s your head? Where’s your feet? Where’s your elbow? Where’s your eyes?

Perhaps you played this game with your grandkids. When I was a kid, I remember adults playing this game with me. Then to throw me off, they would ask, “Where’s your gizzard?”

Of course I didn’t know what a gizzard was or where it was if I had one or that this was a special part of a chicken which human’s didn’t have.

But isn’t the human body amazing?!

The wonderful complexity of the human eye takes light cast on objects and focuses them onto our brain and somehow enables us to visualize what is in front of us.

The human brain has about 90,000 miles of nerve fiber, about 100 billion neurons, and some .15 quadrillion synapses! I like to think of synapses as little sparkplugs in the brain.

The human brain is so amazing and complex that even the brain of a genius medical doctor struggles to comprehend the human brain.

And take the human hand with all of its bones, muscles, and tendons working together to type this sentence you are reading right now by just thinking it in my brain, causing my fingers to type the right keys and then to hit the backspace key, then retype as I struggle to put into words something I can’t quite express!!!

The Psalmist said it was WONDERFUL! That’s a good word for it.  I think I’ll just stop and think about that. My brain has the capacity to meditate. God gave us that ability. So here goes, meditation commencing…

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14