At the End


At the end of our lives, do we want to be known for building, or for destroying? For loving, or for hating? For bringing freedom, or bondage? For living to gratify our fading flesh, or to benefit our generation…and generations to come? Because only God knows when we’ll take our final breath.


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A Simple Prayer

blog_snowywoods“Live simply, love generously, serve faithfully, speak truthfully, pray daily. Leave everything else to God.” I saw this quote while sitting in a café the other day. As I consider the direction of my life, these words speak to me about a simple yet profound calling. So often, we’re looking for the big, the extravagant, the noticeably noble. We want to be significant, and we perceive significance as something evident to the masses.

Yet what if greatness has a humbler definition?

And that’s why this has become my prayer, and my desired life-theme. To truly live simply—not bogged down by temporary things, unnecessary work, trivial concerns, or excessive material endeavors. To love generously: that my love for all would be abundant, honest, and overflowing…not in word alone, but in action and in truth.

Father God, remove every ounce of selfishness from within me: my self-centeredness, self-preservation, self-exaltation. Move in my heart to make me someone who thinks of others more than I think of myself.

Let my service be for the motive of honoring you by helping others. Let it be pure and untiring, all-encompassing—infiltrating all I do and done with all my heart, soul and strength. I confess I’ve grown weary in well-doing. Please renew my strength.

Tame my tongue to be still when I need to be silent and to speak truth boldly and always with love. Strip me of the veil of the fear of man.

I’ve been prayerless, so move me to pray. Prayerlessness is the root of all my trials, or my misunderstanding of your purpose in the midst of trials. Release me from bondage to laziness and unbelief, that my prayers may flow unwavering, unhindered, and unceasingly to you.

Build up my faith to know with confidence that when I’ve done all you ask of me, I can be at peace and leave all else to you. I want to live at ease with you, knowing you alone hold my life and I will stand before you alone at the end to give account for my thoughts, words, and actions.

This is my simple prayer.


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Restored and Renewed


God has promised to make all things new. Because of Christmas, broken hearts can be restored, lives can be renewed. When all is lost, everything is gained. It’s then that we find life that is truly life—a hope that can never fade away.

So it’s not really over. Christmas is the beginning of all things new.


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The Old Made New


The message of Christmas breathes life into the surrounding decay. It’s a reversal of things—the old made new, the dying made alive. The hopeless infused with hope. Everything of worth will last.


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The Greater Gift


blog_christmasstockingsEven without the presence of presents or the glow of a tree, it’s impossible to cancel Christmas. It was never about all that stuff to begin with. It’s about a greater gift—one that can never be taken away. Our creator God bringing salvation to a lost, dark, and dying world: a more glorious theme than even the best of Christmas programming.


Photo Credit: Christmas Images – Public Domain Pictures – Page 1

A Cry in the Darkness

Winter park at nightSometimes silence is the only appropriate response to tragedy. But sometimes our hearts cry out louder than the silence…piercing through the darkness, pleading for an answer. Where is God in the midst of all the hate and killing, the evil and the madness? Where are WE?

If God is good and loving, how can He allow horrific things to happen? We question how we can trust a God who allows darkness to prevail over our lives. But how can we NOT trust Him? The other alternative is to trust ourselves, to trust in humanity—but look what we’ve done to ourselves. How can we trust ourselves when we are capable of annihilating one another? Such evils have come at the hands of men intent on following their own selfish intentions. Yet following God’s ways, we would know and be empowered to “do to others as we would have done to us” and to “love others more than we love ourselves.”

We question what has become of God’s peace and provision. Where is His barrier of protection over us? But we are the ones who have erased the barrier. We’ve told God we’d much rather rule ourselves, even to the point of destruction. We’ve told him we don’t want Him in our homes, in our lives, in our schools…in our world, then we look and wonder why He’s not there when tragedy strikes.

God has stepped into the darkness of our world, offering the hope of reconciliation. In Him, we have the shelter of hope in the midst of our storms. There is no guarantee our lives on this dark earth will be safe. Men bent on following their own ways are constantly penetrating the barrier God has offered to provide.

And yet, in God, there is hope even in the deepest depths of darkness—that we were created for something far greater than what we’ve settled for. We were made for a world where there is “no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”

In times like this, we cry out to God in words much like those of this prayer by Max Lucado: “Lord…Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence…

“Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene…

“Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.”

(Originally posted on the Eternal Encounter blog in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy)

When We’ve Lost Everything

Each story in the history of our Savior involves loss, but also reveals how God is able to take the trials of our lives and turn them into testimonies. And each story reminds us that even when we’ve lost everything, we’re never alone.


Photo Credit: Free photo: Winter, Christmas Market, Lantern – Free Image on …