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Precious Prodigal
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There is nothing in the world more devastating
to a parent than to have a prodigal child.

 

 
   
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  December 12, 2014:  Will the right Christmas focus give me back my joy?
#ChristinChristmas #notaboutthestuff
 
 
 
  Colossians 3:2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Black Friday. It’s the day that merchants usually go from being “in the red” to making a profit, and no wonder. That Friday used to mark the beginning of Christmas shopping, and people did and do come out to spend money. The stores have now “kicked it up a notch” by offering Thanksgiving Day specials.

People have responded enthusiastically and are coming out in huge numbers before they’ve had time to digest that Thanksgiving turkey. This year, police and security guards were stationed throughout a local Walmart. Before you ask why, let me add that a riot broke out at another area Walmart, and police had to be called.

I guess it’s important to get an early start if you plan on spending more than $1,000, which is what 25% of Americans plan to do. Another 25% say they plan on spending between $500 and $999. Much of that shopping will be paid with credit cards, and only about half the shoppers expect to pay those charges off by the end of January.

Another 25% or so say they plan on “paying Christmas off” by the end of April. I’m guessing they plan to do that with their tax refund. Yet another 12% will still be paying for this Christmas when next Christmas rolls around. What in the world are we thinking?

Whether we are hoping to receive the “perfect” gift or to give it, our focus is entirely on the wrong thing. Our text verse reminds us to “set our affections on things above” rather than earthly things. The NASB translates that as “…be intent on.” It’s a matter of where we focus our attention.

If we so commercialize this wonderful season, why are we outraged at people who wish us a “Happy Holiday” instead of a “Merry Christmas?” If we really want to “keep Christ in Christmas,” why are we spending money we can’t afford on things people don’t need and usually don’t appreciate? And if it’s not about what we get, then why will $58.5 BILLION in gifts be returned or exchanged?

That we spend so extravagantly or wish we could and think we’re honoring Christ in doing it would be amusing if it weren’t so sad. How does all that relate to the humility of a Savior born in a stable and wrapped in swaddling clothes? This Savior who would grow up and say he didn’t even have a place to lay His head? (
Luke 9:58)

It’s our choice, of course, to focus our attention where we choose. It’s also our choice whether and how we spend our resources. However, if our focus is on what we give or get instead of the Christ of Christmas, we shouldn’t wonder that we’ve lost our joy.

Challenge for Today: What might happen if we, just for today, focused on the real meaning of Christmas?

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Christmas Lost
by Rita Aiken Moritz

What's that in the corner
the presents almost hide?
Could it be a broken toy
the kids have cast aside?

Move aside the presents
chosen with so much care,
the tinsel and the ribbon
and see what's covered there.

Searching fingers found it
And, with a trembling hand,
I held a tiny manger
and tried to understand.

How our values shifted
and we just went along,
forgetting “Silent, Holy Night”
is more than just a song.

 
 
 
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  Accepted, Accountability, adversity, affirmations, Alanon, angels, armor, armour, arrogance, bail, Believing God, bitterness, blame, brothers, building, burden, carrying burdens, chaos, chrysalis, church, circumstances, comfort, compassion, complaining, content, contentment, control, counseling, death, Desperation, devotions, discouragement, Divorce, doing what’s right, dysfunction, dysfunctional, eagle, emergency, enabling, encouragement, enemy, envy, Examine your heart, exhaustion, faint, Faith, family, fear, forget, forgetting, forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving yourself, free will, friends, Friendship, Giving, Giving God first place, God, God’s Sovereignty, God’s love, gold, gossip, gratitude, grief, grieving, grumbling, help, helping, Hezekiah, honesty, hope, humility, hurt, hurting, jumping to conclusions, letting go, loss, love, love mercy, loving mercy, Loyalty, lying, manipulation, Marriage, martyr, meditations, mental-health, mercy, miserable comforters, mount on wings as eagles, mourning, overcoming, poetry, poison, Powerful, Praise, prayer, press on, prodigal, prodigal’s elder brother, quiet time, reaching out, Recovery, rejoice, relationships, religion, remember, remembering, repentance, resentment, Sacrifice, salvation, self care, self will, self-esteem, self-pity, selfishness, Serenity, Serenity Prayer, Service, Serving my generation, setting limits, sharing, sibling rivalry, siblings, sisters, sleep, Sovereignty of God, spirituality, Storms, strength, Survival, taking care of yourself, tale-bearing, thinking, thoughts, trust, trusting God, Unbelief, valley, Waiting, Waiting on the Lord, Why me?, Worry,  
  Accepted, Accountability, adversity, affirmations, Alanon, angels, armor, armour, arrogance, bail, Believing God, bitterness, blame, brothers, building, burden, carrying burdens, chaos, chrysalis, church, circumstances, comfort, compassion, complaining, content, contentment, control, counseling, death, Desperation, devotions, discouragement, Divorce, doing what’s right, dysfunction, dysfunctional, eagle, emergency, enabling, encouragement, enemy, envy, Examine your heart, exhaustion, faint, Faith, family, fear, forget, forgetting, forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving yourself, free will, friends, Friendship, Giving, Giving God first place, God, God’s Sovereignty, God’s love, gold, gossip, gratitude, grief, grieving, grumbling, help, helping, Hezekiah, honesty, hope, humility, hurt, hurting, jumping to conclusions, letting go, loss, love, love mercy, loving mercy, Loyalty, lying, manipulation, Marriage, martyr, meditations, mental-health, mercy, miserable comforters, mount on wings as eagles, mourning, overcoming, poetry, poison, Powerful, Praise, prayer, press on, prodigal, prodigal’s elder brother, quiet time, reaching out, Recovery, rejoice, relationships, religion, remember, remembering, repentance, resentment, Sacrifice, salvation, self care, self will, self-esteem, self-pity, selfishness, Serenity, Serenity Prayer, Service, Serving my generation, setting limits, sharing, sibling rivalry, siblings, sisters, sleep, Sovereignty of God, spirituality, Storms, strength, Survival, taking care of yourself, tale-bearing, thinking, thoughts, trust, trusting God, Unbelief, valley, Waiting, Waiting on the Lord, Why me?, Worry,  
  Accepted, Accountability, adversity, affirmations, Alanon, angels, armor, armour, arrogance, bail, Believing God, bitterness, blame, brothers, building, burden, carrying burdens, chaos, chrysalis, church, circumstances, comfort, compassion, complaining, content, contentment, control, counseling, death, Desperation, devotions, discouragement, Divorce, doing what’s right, dysfunction, dysfunctional, eagle, emergency, enabling, encouragement, enemy, envy, Examine your heart, exhaustion, faint, Faith, family, fear, forget, forgetting, forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving yourself, free will, friends, Friendship, Giving, Giving God first place, God, God’s Sovereignty, God’s love, gold, gossip, gratitude, grief, grieving, grumbling, help, helping, Hezekiah, honesty, hope, humility, hurt, hurting, jumping to conclusions, letting go, loss, love, love mercy, loving mercy, Loyalty, lying, manipulation, Marriage, martyr, meditations, mental-health, mercy, miserable comforters, mount on wings as eagles, mourning, overcoming, poetry, poison, Powerful, Praise, prayer, press on, prodigal, prodigal’s elder brother, quiet time, reaching out, Recovery, rejoice, relationships, religion, remember, remembering, repentance, resentment, Sacrifice, salvation, self care, self will, self-esteem, self-pity, selfishness, Serenity, Serenity Prayer, Service, Serving my generation, setting limits, sharing, sibling rivalry, siblings, sisters, sleep, Sovereignty of God, spirituality, Storms, strength, Survival, taking care of yourself, tale-bearing, thinking, thoughts, trust, trusting God, Unbelief, valley, Waiting, Waiting on the Lord, Why me?, Worry,  
  Accepted, Accountability, adversity, affirmations, Alanon, angels, armor, armour, arrogance, bail, Believing God, bitterness, blame, brothers, building, burden, carrying burdens, chaos, chrysalis, church, circumstances, comfort, compassion, complaining, content, contentment, control, counseling, death, Desperation, devotions, discouragement, Divorce, doing what’s right, dysfunction, dysfunctional, eagle, emergency, enabling, encouragement, enemy, envy, Examine your heart, exhaustion, faint, Faith, family, fear, forget, forgetting, forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving yourself, free will, friends, Friendship, Giving, Giving God first place, God, God’s Sovereignty, God’s love, gold, gossip, gratitude, grief, grieving, grumbling, help, helping, Hezekiah, honesty, hope, humility, hurt, hurting, jumping to conclusions, letting go, loss, love, love mercy, loving mercy, Loyalty, lying, manipulation, Marriage, martyr, meditations, mental-health, mercy, miserable comforters, mount on wings as eagles, mourning, overcoming, poetry, poison, Powerful, Praise, prayer, press on, prodigal, prodigal’s elder brother, quiet time, reaching out, Recovery, rejoice, relationships, religion, remember, remembering, repentance, resentment, Sacrifice, salvation, self care, self will, self-esteem, self-pity, selfishness, Serenity, Serenity Prayer, Service, Serving my generation, setting limits, sharing, sibling rivalry, siblings, sisters, sleep, Sovereignty of God, spirituality, Storms, strength, Survival, taking care of yourself, tale-bearing, thinking, thoughts, trust, trusting God, Unbelief, valley, Waiting, Waiting on the Lord, Why me?, Worry,