It's Not a Fairytale

As a little girl, I remember watching fairytales like Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Dumbo.  The idea that life could be so idyllic was mesmerizing to me.  While I still look forward to the day when I meet my very own Prince Charming, I always knew, even as a child, that pixie dust could not fix every problem and that elephants could not fly.  Even so, it was such an awesome experience to imagine a world of make believe where anything was possible.  That’s why I was captivated when I first heard the words, “With God, anything is possible.”

You see, the best stories I ever heard as a child were not fairytales at all.  For in my very favorite book, there is a non-fiction account of a young boy slaying a giant.  In this book, men survived the lion’s den.  And one individual literally parted the Red Sea.  A few loaves of bread and a handful of fish fed thousands.  And the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was born in a manger and then hung on a cross to die.  At that very moment, my sins were all washed away.  But the best part of all is that He arose from the dead on the third day and sits at the right hand of His Father in Heaven to this very day.  And I can talk to Him whenever I want, no cell phone required!  While the stories in the Bible seem wondrous and awe-inspiring, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that every single one of them is 100% true.

When I watch the news, I can’t help but think how many prophecies in the Bible are coming true today, right before our very eyes.  Just as the Bible predicts, nations are rising up against nation, and there are wars and rumors of wars.  The line between right and wrong is being blurred, as seen in the way millions of babies are losing their lives each year through abortion.  And homosexuality, drugs, alcohol, and other promiscuous behavior are gradually becoming more and more acceptable within our society.  The government is being infiltrated by corruption as well, causing confusion as to who can be trusted.  Children are being influenced by the wrong crowd, and they often lack the parental support that is so crucial to a young person’s transition into adulthood.  Even the weather has turned on its head with record highs and lows in the most unlikely places, as well as an ever-increasing number of earthquakes, snowfalls, tornadoes, and other severe weather around the world.

Let’s face it.  Life is not the same as it was when my parents and grandparents were growing up.  Black and white has turned to gray.  We no longer live in the Donna Reed or Leave it to Beaver society where every neighborhood is ornately manicured and the mother wears pearls to cook dinner for her family every evening.  While wearing pearls is certainly not the criteria for a good mother, it is certain that these shows did promote moral behavior, strong family relationships, and the idea that life is a valuable gift.  Since then, the definition of a family has been altered quite considerably in some homes and many people take life for granted.  The Bible refers to the “gracious gift of life” (I Peter 3:7).  We have been given something that money cannot buy.  We can take our life and use it for the glory of God, treating it like the treasure that it is, or we can throw it away as if it has no value or worth in our eyes.

God’s Word says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)  Jesus Christ did not die so that we would lead an immoral life and throw our lives away.  He died so that we could live a life of abundance, a life of joy, peace, and love.  Jesus Christ loves you more than you could ever possibly imagine.  Your life is valuable.  You have a purpose on this earth.  You matter.  And it is my prayer that you will follow in His footsteps.  I pray that you will ask Him to be the Lord of your life.  I pray that you will begin to enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  If you do, your life will be forever changed.  And your future will get a whole lot brighter!

For centuries, people have talked about the return of Jesus Christ.  Sadly, I’m sure some people have decided that it is just a fairytale.  But one day soon, Gabriel’s trumpet will sound aloud, announcing the coming of the one and only King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  All Christians will rise up to meet Him in the sky.  We will live eternally with Him.  I urge you to please ensure that your heart is right with God and that you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  As the song says, redemption draweth nigh.  Friend, the Bible is true.  There is only one God.  Jesus Christ is real.  And He is coming back for His chosen people any day now.  I pray you are ready.  For the return of Jesus Christ is not a fairytale, but a dream come true for those who are gazing at the Eastern Sky!

In Christ’s Love,

Demonstration Models

Last night, I had the opportunity to experience a performance by Tim Zimmerman and the King’s Brass.  Notice I did not say hear, but instead, I used the word experience.  This 9-piece orchestra is a collection of individuals whose talent is truly phenomenal.  From the opening number titled “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” to their encore performance of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” I was captivated.  Sitting on the second row, front and center, I felt like I had a little glimpse of what Heaven might be like when they played glorious songs of the church like “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” “Shout to the Lord,” and “It Is Well With My Soul.”  While the music was magnificently majestic, the best part of the concert was the fact that they kept Jesus Christ at the center of it all.  These nine talented musicians realize that all of the glory, honor, and praise go to Jesus Christ and Him alone.  They live their lives as demonstration models for Christ.

During the program, they incorporated a few dramatic skits to illustrate a Biblical story such as Noah and the Ark, which was followed by a performance of a medley titled “Arky Arky.”  While all of the dramatic segments were enjoyable, there is one that stood out in my mind.  They told the story of a vacuum cleaner salesman who could not sell vacuum cleaners to save his life.
This vacuum cleaner salesman tried everything.  People told him to be more forward with people, telling them that their floors were filthy to pressure them into buying a vacuum cleaner.  Others told him to use a gimmicky commercial with a lot of pomp and circumstance.  Still, other individuals told him to just be himself.  But he was a soft-spoken gentleman who simply did not have the drive of a true salesman.
One day, he noticed some broken glass on the ground.  With nothing else to do, he decided to clean up the mess.  As he was vacuuming up the glass, an onlooker passed by.  They seemed curious, but the salesman just continued to vacuum.  The passerby said, “That vacuum sure does a good job.”  The salesman said, “Yep.”  The other man said, “Do you know where I could get one of those?”  The salesman said, “Well, I suppose I could tell you where I got mine.”  The soon-to-be-customer said, “Okay.”  And that was how the salesman sold his first ever vacuum cleaner.
You see, his sales pitch wasn’t about some gimmick or fanfare.  It wasn’t even a sales pitch at all.  Someone simply saw him using the product and realized how the vacuum cleaner would improve the quality of their household.  The salesman was using a demonstration model.  When the customer saw the demonstration, they wanted to be able to clean like the salesman.
As I sat there hearing this story, I couldn’t help but think how we should be demonstration models for Christ.  Think about it.  People always try to witness to people through all sorts of methods, from special events to handing out free stuff including the church’s name and address on it.  While these things are certainly worthwhile, the most important tool we have for witnessing to others is ourselves.  God’s Word says to “Be a witness” (Acts 22:15 ESV).  People look at our lives to see how we react in difficult situations.  Just like the passerby watching the salesman to see if the vacuum cleaner effectively cleaned up the mess, people look at us to see if our relationship with Jesus Christ is a valuable part of our lives.  If we live as demonstration models for Christ, they will see that life with Him is priceless.  They will approach us to find out how they can get to know the One whose love radiates from our souls like a beacon in the night.  It doesn’t take any gimmicks.  All it takes is a willing vessel.  Will you be a demonstration model for Christ?
In Christ’s Love,

Adore Him!

The Christmas trees are being taken down, the decorations are being carefully packed away, and the gifts are being put to good use.  All of the Christmas cookies have been eaten.  And many people have likely placed their Christmas music in storage until next December.  That is, of course, unless you are like me.  You may still have one of your favorite Christmas CDs in your car, holding on to the Christmas season as long as you possibly can.  In my SUV, that CD is “A Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas.”

This particular CD reminds me of the wonderful memories I have of sitting in the Brooklyn Tabernacle hearing the angelic voices join together in song to celebrate the Savior’s birth.  Then, I start to recall the overwhelming peace and joy I felt as the congregation sang the words from the beloved carol, “O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”  It was in this moment that I realized once and for all that Christmas is not a season or a holiday.  Christmas is a time to adore Jesus Christ.  Christ is all about adoring Him.
You see, Christmas is not just a day at all.  Christmas is a state of mind.  It’s the way we smile a little bigger, embrace our loved ones harder, and laugh a lot more.  It’s the way we give more, complain less, and maintain a cheerier disposition.  It’s how we sing a little louder and love our family and friends even more.  Ultimately, Christmas is about the moment we realize that Jesus Christ truly is our Lord and Savior, the King of Kings who was born in a manger of hay in a stable.  And Christmas reminds us that He was not only born one Christmas night, but He grew up to be a man.
For the little boy whose birth we celebrate on December 25th each year is the same One who gave His life on a cross for the sole purpose of washing away our sins.  He suffered and died just so that you and I could have eternal life.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  You may be wondering why God sent His only Son to die on a cross.  The answer is simple.  He wanted to give us the greatest gift that has ever been given.  That’s how much He loves you and me, not just on Christmas, but every day of the year.
While I realize there may not be room in our homes for a Christmas tree all year through, I pray that there is always room in our hearts to remember the most miraculous birth ever recorded in the history of mankind.  I challenge you this year to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in your heart every single day.  Do something nice for someone when they least expect it.  Call someone to let them know you were thinking of them.  Write a note to someone to let them know you are praying for them.  Visit a nursing home, volunteer in a school, or donate to a local charity.  Hug your family and tell them you love them even more.  Do something in the spirit of Christmas every day of the year.  Why?  Just because.
Oh, and about that Christmas CD in your car…keep that there, too.  People always say they adore their kids, their husband, or their wife.  They even adore their house, puppy, kitten, car, motorcycle, smartphone, laptop, sweater, jeans, purse, you name it!  While all of this is well and good, I am sure with all of this adoration being spread around that no one will look at you funny if you listen to a song adoring Him, even in the month of January.  So, please join me in raising our voices in unison as we maintain a Christmas state of mind all year through!  “O, come let us adore Him!”
In Christ’s Love,

Can you believe that the first full week of the year 2013 is now history?  Seven days of the New Year have already come and gone.  Either those New Year’s resolutions you and I made are clicking right along or else they have fallen by the wayside.  There are now only 358 days remaining to make a difference in the year 2013.  Only 358 more opportunities to start the day with a smile on your face, make someone’s day brighter, or end the day with thanksgiving to God for blessing you with another day to love, another day to laugh, and another day to live.

Living is what my New Year’s resolution is all about.  Sure, I’ve made resolutions in the past to lose weight, consume less sugar, exercise more, etc.  While I still plan to work on these things, I wanted to make a resolution that I could stick to, one that would make a difference not only in my own life, but in the lives of others around me.  And so, my New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to love life more, love my family and friends more, and love Jesus Christ even more.  Granted, I already love all of these things with all of my heart and soul, but I still know that there is an infinite amount of love in the world, so there is always more love to give.  And that’s what I want to do in 2013: give more love to the ones I love the most!
In life, we get so busy that it is easy to get wrapped up in our daily routines, not even realizing the day-to-day blessings that God bestows upon us.  It could be a hug, a smile, a handshake, or a sweet note, a smiley face, or a cup of coffee.  Even the smallest little things can make a huge difference in our day.  We may even set out to bless someone else in return, thinking we will pay it forward and do something nice for them tomorrow.  365 days later, the year has come and gone, seemingly unbeknownst to us.  We don’t mean to forget, but the year comes and goes so fast that we simply lose track of time.  And so, I urge you to make the most of every single day, even on the busiest of days.
Don’t let one minute sneak by you.  Enjoy every moment of your life, whether you are at the office, sitting in a hospital waiting room, or riding the subway home in the evening.  It doesn’t matter if you are walking down the aisles of the grocery store, driving your son or daughter to soccer practice, or waiting at a red light, there is always a blessing waiting just around the bend.   Sometimes, it comes when we least expect it.  And sadly, there are times when it comes and we don’t notice it at all.  That’s why we need to pay special attention to every day of the year.  Why?  You never know if tomorrow might end up being recorded in your book of memories as the best day of 2013!
What about you?  What are your resolutions for 2013?  What goals do you hope to achieve?  What hurdles do you hope to jump over?  Who can you love more?  How can you enjoy life more?  I would like to give you a little assignment.  I challenge you to post a comment below where you list one resolution you have for the New Year.  Big or small, write one thing down.  You’ll be surprised at how writing it down can be the little nudge you need to watch yourself actually achieve whatever it is you set out to accomplish!  Plus, we’re all in this together.  I’d be happy to pray for you and help encourage you in your journey to success!  May God bless you always and may you always remember to live every moment to the fullest!  There are 51 weeks left of 2013!  What are you waiting for?  Get out there and LIVE!
In Christ’s Love,

A New Year!

I’d like to invite you to think back to the day when you last purchased something new.  Perhaps it was a new car, a new pair of shoes, or even a new bag of potato chips.  Do you remember that “new car smell?”  Or the way your new shoes were so clean and bright?  And it’s always more fun to pull out the first whole potato chip, as opposed to reaching down in the bag for the last few crumbs!

What is it about something new?  It makes us feel happy and at times, it may even bring back fond childhood memories of a new bicycle or a new puppy or kitten to love.  As humans, we are not generally attracted to old, ugly, discarded pieces of merchandise.  While someone once said that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” we can be assured that there are some pieces of trash that are just that: trash.  Still, we continuously find ourselves trying to sell this “trash” at yard sales, flea markets, and the like.  Or we may determine that something we own simply needs to be placed in the infamous “file 13.”  No matter how they get rid of the “junk,” people usually follow the old adage, “Out with the old and in with the new.”

Every 365 days, we are given something new: a new year.  Every year, we virtually are given the chance to hit the reset button.  We have the chance to live a fuller life, love a lot deeper, and laugh even harder.  A new year brings with it the opportunity to make amends with family or friends or spend more time with your parents, spouse, or children.  Yet, in our rush to get through another day, there are times when we simply stick to our old ways.

Likewise, there are times when we keep driving the same car, even though it’s broken down five times in the last week.  God may have even sent the money for the down payment on a new car, but we keep putting it off until next week.  And those new shoes in the closet never get worn because they’re not “broken in” yet.  So, we continue wearing our ragged pair instead.  Then we can hardly finish our work day because of the pain in our feet from the worn out soles that offer no support.

Similarly, you may already be ignoring the New Year.  Instead of using this fresh start as a reset button, you may be continuing to live as before.  You might be living in fear, feeling unloved, or struggling with no hope in sight.  You may have plans to give God your life next week, next month, or next year.  Your old life is “broken in” and while it has its flaws, a life with God may seem even more uncomfortable, much like a new pair of shoes.  Yet, a life with God will be clean and bright, filled with God’s amazing unconditional love and grace.

God often opens doors for us in our lives.  He may open the door to a better paying job, a new home, or a new family.  He may even open the door to a new life with God at the center.  When God opens a door, He gives us the choice as to whether or not we will walk through it.  If we just stand there on the wrong side of the door, nothing will change.  But if we take that first step across the threshold, everything changes.

God’s Word says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).  This is the first day of 2013.  Don’t wait any longer to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He will restore your hope, fill you with joy, and mend your broken heart.  Throw out the old, ugly parts of your life and replace them with new, joyous ones.  Take that first step.  Walk through the door.  Embrace this New Year by beginning a new life in Christ.

In Christ’s Love,