Run Run Rudolph
Chuck Berry sang this Christmas Classic song and began with these words Out of all the reindeers you know you're the mastermind! For all you deep thinkers you probably already know where I am going with this, especially at Christmas. Or do you?
First of all, we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year! As we make new plans, new resolutions, the question arises, who is the mastermind of your plans? That's the obvious, and the hope is that it is God. I remember being in a meeting with an extremely successful businessman and he asked me what my Strategic Plan was? My answer was basically, whatever He says? But I can put to words what he says.
My last instructions from Him were read the Book of Proverbs. The reason, it is filled with wisdom, one thing I have had a shortage of in the past. The mastermind of that? Solomon who had virtually everything, was the architect of many massive structures and deals, and somehow kept 900 wives relatively happy. Now that's a guy whose wisdom we should follow.
So, we could conclude that it is good to follow the ultimate mastermind but also to listen to those that follow Him who have understood this concept so that we too could pass it on to others as the ancient Jewish folks passed on the wisdom of scripture by word of mouth. So to speak, the lead reindeer on God's sled is the Bible which has all the instructions to become a mastermind.
Then, we can run with it with the confidence that no matter what obstacles we would face, He will make those plans succeed. Run Run Rudolph you now know what the plan is, that's why you have that red nose.
Thank you Chuck for reminding us in a strange kind of way!
The first thing I put out for Christmas was the nativity set my mom got for us when I was a kid. It is one of the greatest treasures of her memory but also gives me the reminder of what Christmas is really about.
Like everyone else the time of year, the Christmas tree, the exchange of gifts, the myth of Santa, the parties, all of that is something we enjoy, especially watching our little kids be enthralled by the moment when they see and open their gifts. Memories abound of the snow, the family, and the ones no longer with us, and the love we shared with each other.
But I looked around someone's house at the decorations the other day and asked a question, Where's Jesus? With all the pomp and circumstance of Christmas there was no reminder of the birth of Jesus anywhere to be seen. Be sure, it's not that the nativity set is magical, but it is a reminder of what the season is all about and it is something we can look at to remember the greatest gift the world has ever received.
So I pose this question to all of us as I did to them. Where's Jesus in our Christmas this year? My then 9 year old Grandson asked the preacher if he could say something before Church began at Christmas time a few years ago. He said "Without Christ in Christmas all you have is a mas (mess)". He came up with that on his own, no prompting from me.
Theoretically the world is in a proverbial mess right now because the answer to that question is "we're not sure". We have isolated him to a building instead of inviting him into a culture. It has become more important to become politically correct rather than spiritually sound.
I can tell you where he is at right now, looking down at us from heaven, probably shaking his head in wonder at whether we will remember what the cost of that gift he gave us was and whether we will still use it.
Just a thought - and Merry Christ-mas!
We Got Trouble
Not sure about you but I loved The Music Man starring Robert Preston. It was our High School play and I know it was for many others. And of course in it was that famous line "We got trouble, right here in River City. yeah we got trouble..."!
I believe that one of the hardest parts of life is to live in the trouble zone. Tough to endure, and often even tougher to make the difficult decisions in the midst of it. We may also feel like we don't understand why or even what caused it because we were doing the right thing. Understanding that it is going to happen somewhere in our lifetime and probably more than once should prompt us to prepare for it.
Jesus said in John 16:33 that In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world. No doubt that comforts us with words but it should also inspire us with action to know we will get through it if we believe in him. He also confirms what is written in Psalm 46, God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in trouble.
That same Psalm also provides a way to prepare for it. Be still and know that I am God. The key being whether we have first come to know him and secondly have we spent the time to be still enough to speak with him and hear his voice? How long has it been since we have taken the time out to have silence to focus on him and not the thousands of distractions this electronic world provides us? In silence, real silence.
Yeah we got trouble, but when we get to know him and the history of how his people overcame trouble, it becomes a whole lot easier to get through it. Here's a simple prayer request to God to get us in the right frame of mind, Help me God, to make time for silence and solitude to get in touch with my spirit.
Then read the Book of Psalms about how David handled his trouble, it will certainly help us to prepare for our own. And one more thing, Jesus overcame his own fear of the coming trouble by getting on his knees and praying before he faced it - not only did he overcome it, but he changed the world because of it.
Be still, be confident of who your God is and his power to do anything, and lean not on your own understanding, Trust in his wisdom to overcome it as he gives you his instructions how to do so.
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.