My wife, April, starts her work day early in the mornings. Sometimes, due to the number of pending orders to get out, she has to be there by 4 AM. The other day was one of those mornings. Because I drive her to and from work, I also have to get up early.
“I would like mornings better if they started later.” Garfield
I certainly agree with Garfield. So, as a result, I do not have the best demeanor that early. As is usually the case, now I can’t even recall what April did that I chose to get upset about. I dropped her off without a proper “Goodbye” and proceeded home.
On the drive home, I remember the Holy Spirit whispering, “Watch Steven Furtick.” He comes on a local TV channel at 4:30 AM. I responded with a, “No! I don’t want to.” When I got home, I knew I needed to do as God instructed me, so I did. Sure enough, Rev. Furtick was delivering a message that had to do with attitudes. The word of God ministered to me as well as convicted me. I prayed and asked God for forgiveness and to help catch those situations before they escalated.
Later that morning, April texted me about something going on in our life. I responded with the requested information and included some humor with a “Love you!” After reading my reply, she texted back, “What happened? Your attitude is much better.” I wrote back, “God called a meeting.”
I don’t like it when my attitude gets out of alignment, but when it does, I am so thankful that God is right there and quick to make the necessary adjustments. That’s the work of a loving Father.
19-21 Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. James 1:19-21 (MSG)
I am writing this blog post while at a church. I’m not listening to the sermon, for one is not being given. That’s because today is Thursday. I’m assuming the main doors are closed. The office is probably open, but I have no business inside. Although I would prefer to be inside because it is warm outside and there is not much breeze.
Some churches utilize their buildings all week while others do not. Kind of like people. Some people only have a use for God on Sundays. The rest of the week, they live however they want to. It seems as if I will never be able to forget the shocking statement of one of my classmates when I was in the eleventh grade. That was a long time ago! She said, “I love being (popular religion). I can have my sins forgiven on Sundays and live like hell the rest of the week.” I think I recall almost falling out of my desk after she made that declaration.
Her statement seemed to go against everything I had been taught about God and living for him instead of living for myself. Sadly, a few months later, her life was cut short when her husband put a shotgun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. I have often wondered if she regrets living the way she did.
“Going” to church doesn’t guarantee you will make it into heaven. It comes down to accepting Jesus Christ into your life, asking him to forgive you of your sins and wrongdoings, and then living for him. It’s about the attitude of your heart, and only God can know that. So maybe it doesn’t matter if the “church” is open or not; God is! It never hurts to attend church, though. There you can find people like you, and together you can encourage each other as we all face the challenges of living like God in an ungodly world.
So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. Heb. 10:22-25 (MSG)
I wish this building was open, and I had the nerve to go in and ask to use their bathroom. That is my most significant need right now!
This church’s building is beautiful! I only hope the people who attend here are as well. I know for sure two of them are because they are my neighbors, and this is their church.
(This blog post continues on Friday, July 8th, 2022)
This is my first Christmas in America. My previous ones have been in my home country of the Philippines. People’s attitudes here toward Christmas are a lot different than there. It seems as if some of the people are forgetting the real reason for Christmas. Some even go as far as to remove “Christ” from the word Christmas with “X-mas”. It makes me wonder if they have removed Christ from their hearts as well. I’m not trying to be judging, it would be difficult not to be that way growing up here in America, with constantly being bombarded with TV ads and popular culture.
This season here seems to be more about parties, gifts, and where to spend the holiday. When in the Philippines, where resources don’t flow so freely, Christmas tends to be much simpler, and we are happy to get to see family and share a simple meal, and laugh. There is a lot of laughter back home. I imagine Jesus’s first Christmas was simple as well. Mary and Joseph adoring their new born son, lying still in a feeding trough with some hay, and perhaps an animal’s covering over him. A far cry from a beautiful wooden crib from Ashley Furniture with blankets from Macys!
I think I have been blessed to have my previous life and Christmas’ in the Philippines. I hope in the years to come I do not stray too far from my roots, especially when it comes to the attitude of what Christmas really is, or supposed to be about.
I will enjoy the time spent with my husband and the gifts he has bought for me as well as the other gifts from friends and coworkers, but in my heart I will be in Bethlehem, humming, “Away in the Manger”.
Merry Christmas everyone. May Christ fill your hearts with his love.