Friday, December 19, 2008

He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good...

That Santa Claus; I don't know about him. You see, he is just like me. He takes note of whether you are bad or good (according to what scale?). If you are bad, you get coal and ashes and soot. If you are good, you get wonderful gifts under your tree.

I, too, judge people on my scale whether they are bad or good. My scale doesn't include soot or gifts, but the good people earn favor and the bad, well, I just don't want to be around them. Even if they're just having a bad day.

But my Savior, Jesus, I love him so much. See, he really does see me when I'm sleeping, and know when I'm awake. He knows if I've been bad or good (and friends, we've all been bad according to his scale - his own perfect life). But he doesn't give me coal.

No, Jesus offers me the gift of eternal life. I don't have to be "good" to earn my gift. The fact is, I could never be good enough to earn it. But Jesus loves me anyway. He has this wonderful gift for me, and all I have to do is believe. I have faith that he is who he says he is (God's Son) and that he died to pay the price for my sins.

I love Jesus so much, that I do try to be good. But like my 4 year old, all the trying in the world still amounts to some bad behavior sometimes. I'm so thankful that my God isn't like Santa Claus. His gift comes even when I'm bad, as long as I believe.

Romans 5:8 -- But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 33:13-15 -- From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

Mark 10:18 -- {Jesus said} "No one is good—except God alone."

Chatty Kelly

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday - 12/18

Five things I am thankful for this week:

1. I'm done Christmas shopping! Hooray!

2. Bloggy friend - Greg sent me the cutest Christmas stuff. Really made my day. (and the girls love 'em too!) Thanks Greg!

3. Encouragement in my writing journey. I signed a contract to write 7 devotions for pay this week. God keeps telling me to keep writing. I really think I've found my gift, and I am so thankful.

4. My Christmas cards finally went out! At long last! That always feels like a huge undertaking. But I got them out. If you don't get one from me, I'm sure it just got lost in the mail. *grin*

5. Jesus' Birthday is in 7 days! I'm so thankful that Jesus was born, so that he could know every thing I experience on this earth, and understand my feelings. He died for me (and you!), so that we can be with him eternally. I'm just so so thankful for that.

So that's my five things this week. How about you? Join Truth 4 the Journey's Thankful Thursday by clicking the Thankful Thursday button, or you can just leave me a comment.
I'm always THANKFUL for comments!!

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Chatty Kelly

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's the Most Overwhelming Time of the Year

Christmas can be a time of frantic frenzy for many. We dash around to find the perfect gifts, perfect wrapping paper, perfect outfit, perfect decor, perfect perfectness. When our house doesn't look like the magazine, or our cookies burn, or our wrapping looks like the kids wrapped it, we become depressed.

This comes back to a heart issue. Are you trying to impress or refresh those who come to your home during the holidays? Because I know my kids don't care if the the tree looks like Martha Stewart's or Charlie Brown's. They don't care if I have beautiful perfect cookies, or slice and bake, as long as they get to add the sprinkles. They don't care if the wrapping is perfect, they just want to open the gift.

I can honestly say I have been set free of worldly expectations for Christmas. I set my expectations of what makes Christmas wonderful for me and my family. I don't put candles in my windows. Even though it's a Virginia tradition, it isn't important to me. I do bake lots of cookies, because I love baking, and my kids love it. But they don't have to be fancy, as a matter of fact, we prefer it if they're not. We're just going to eat them anyway!

All of the commercial trappings of Christmas set a worldly view of things. This Christmas I invite you to let it go. I'm sure Mary would have liked for Jesus to have been born in a nice home with her family and friends there to celebrate. Instead she got a stable with stinky shepherds there.

Jesus called for those who are weary to follow him, his load was light. If your load is too heavy at Christmas, perhaps you are carrying the wrong load? Let go of worldly expectations today, and instead do what will make Christmas enjoyable for you & your family. Even if that doesn't go as planned, remember Mary. Even in a stable, even without her family but with the lowly shepherds, she treasured these things.

May you treasure your Christmas this year, regardless of whether is it House Beautiful or Stable Simple.

Luke 2:16 - 19 -- So they {the shepherds} hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Colossians 3:2 -- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Matthew 11:28-30 -- {Jesus said} "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Chatty Kelly

Monday, December 15, 2008

Advent - Waiting

"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return…. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Luke 12:35-36a, 40

Waiting…what does that word mean to you? Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking, like waiting in line in the grocery store when you're in a hurry, or waiting for that phone call with the test results. Sometimes it can be exciting like waiting for your vacation or birthday. The bible says we should be ready, waiting for Jesus to come again. What exactly does that mean - - waiting? offers several different definitions to the word wait. Which definition expresses how you are WAITING for Jesus to return? The first definition is “to remain inactive until something expected happens.” Like waiting for a bus. So are you inactive, just living your life the way you want, until Jesus comes?

Another definition is “to remain neglected for a time,” like a matter that can wait. Are you neglecting Jesus, not giving a thought to him or his second coming?

The third definition is “to look forward to eagerly.” That is a great definition of the attitude we should have as we wait for Christ.

But, if you dig deeper, you’ll find some archaic or ancient definitions of the word wait. One is “to be in readiness for”…we are to be ready for the return of Christ. Do you think you’re ready? If you knew Jesus was returning tomorrow, what would you do today? Why aren’t you doing it?

Finally comes the definition “attend upon, as a sign of respect.” We should be attentive to Jesus. How? By reading his word (the Bible), praying, and following his will as a sign of our respect. That is the real meaning of waiting for Jesus to come again. So which definition of wait will you use?

And how will it define you?

Dear Lord, most of us don’t like to wait. But how often do we even give a thought to the fact that we are supposed to be waiting for your return to earth? Help change our focus, so that we can be ready and waiting when you return. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Originally published NHPC Advent Devotional - 1997, Kelly Combs, aka Chatty Kelly

Chatty Kelly

Check out my other blog at Chatty Kelly's Kids Say. It publishes every Monday.