The Final Sentence in the Final Paragraph of Chapter 2015

We are all aware that today marks the last day of 2015. Some people I know are spending this day: celebrating with family and friends whom they did not see during the Christmas holiday; sleeping all day to recover from the hectic pace of the past two months of Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations and celebrations; implementing the New Year’s Eve party or celebration they have been planning for weeks; gathering information for their 2015 taxes; hunting; reading the books they received at Christmas; saying farewell to a loved one who died; and myriad other things.

As we go through this day, I wonder how many of us are cognizant that today we write the final sentence in the final paragraph of our life’s Chapter 2015.

As is my practice, I have been reading through this year’s Prayer Journal entries. They always remind me of the depth and frequency of my sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

It would be easy to dwell on my own sin and failure and the disappointments that have come my way. However, I CHOOSE to focus on God’s faithfulness to forgive me and His grace that empowers me to live free from the guilt and bondage of that sin.

Here are some things that always come to mind during this annual journey through my prayer journals:

  • I am so grateful for God’s unchanging and unending grace, mercy, and love, that has undergirded, surrounded, and elevated me in each and every situation I encountered; and thereby propelled and compelled me to honor Him more.
  • I have been grateful for the abundant gift of many family and friends.
  • I have been privileged to observe the “joyful confidence” (a friend’s phrase) of so many Christ-followers as they have walked in and through very dark times.
  • I have been honored to be present as several dear saints have gone home to meet their Savior and Lord!
  • Through tears of grief, I have rejoiced over and celebrated the lives of many saints who are worshiping at the feet of their, and my, Savior and Lord!
  • I have been amused by, and in pain from, the consequences of still being in my awkward adolescent phase at age 57!!
  • I am thankful for the ministry opportunities—counseling, teaching, writing—that the Lord has given me.
  • I have been in awe of the sanctifying work of the Holy-Spirit-inspired Word of God in my life; yet I sigh at all the work to still be accomplished!

I pray that the final sentence in the final paragraph of my Chapter 2015 reads,

This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. – Lamentations 3:21-22 NKJV

 

Put Away the Old … Leaving the Past Behind

We are thrilled that Dr. Bill Hines will be joining us again via Skype for today’s program as we look at how to “put away the old” and “leave the past behind.”

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB

Dr. Hines is the president of Covenant Ministries, a biblical counseling, education and CHristian discipleship ministry in Ft. Worth, Texas. He is the author of Leaving Yesterday Behind and Curing the Heart: A Model for Biblical Counseling (with Dr. Howard Eyrich). He co-authored The Pursuit of Perfection with Dr. Mark Shaw, and edited and is a contributing author of three chapters in Paul the Counselor: Counseling and Disciple-making Modeled by the Apostle Paul.

 

Christmas Candy and the Church

How is Christmas Candy Similar to the Church?

This morning, I was remembering my mom in the kitchen making her Christmas candies. She made divinity (My brother Tim declared it the best in the world!), chocolate, as well as peanut brittle and pecan brittle.

She combined all the ingredients in a pan and stirred them together. At this point you could still differentiate the different ingredients in the pan. Then, she placed the pan on the stove and stirred as the ingredients began melting from the heat. There was a precise point in cooking that the ingredients ceased to be individual parts like chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, nuts, etc. As the heat melted the chocolate and butter, the other ingredients blended with them to make a delicious treat. You could tell the candy was ready to pour out when the candy would look shiny.

In addition to making my mouth water and wishing mom could be here to make candy with me, I began thinking about the similarities between mom’s Christmas candies and the local Body of Christ (the church).

Mom’s candies were made of a wide variety of ingredients, yet they had one common ingredient—sugar. The members of the church are varied and represent myriad socioeconomic, psychographic, sociographic, and demographic segmentations. Yet, they (we) all have in common One ingredient (Person), Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

In the same way the heat causes the ingredients of the candies to blend together, change consistency, and become one treat; the Holy Spirit works in and through the experiences in the lives of the church members to blend them (us) together in unity and to change us into “the shining light,” as Isaiah 60:1 admonishes the church to Arise, shine for the Light has come!

Regardless of the differences among members of the church, the church is to be radiant with the Light of God and the Light of the World in such a way that She (the church) shines with the Light of the Gospel. The church is Christ’s Body through which His glory is to be shown to the world, to make all men see (Ephesians 3:9).

I pray we will all be mindful of our responsibility to shine brighter than any man-made Christmas lights or ornaments!

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

*All Scripture passages are from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible.

Christmas Carols

Those of you who know me, understand how much I love music as an expression of worship. As I play the piano or sing, the notes are my expressions of awe, love and gratitude to the Sovereign God of the Universe. Music is my way of pouring out my heart, in prayer and praise to the Lord.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Today on “Think on These Things” we will looking at “Christmas Carols.” Using Scripture and carols (hymns) we will look at Prophecy and the Fulfillment of Prophecy.

You may be surprised at some of the Scripture and Carols that we include in our discussion!

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB

SUFFERING: The Gift No One Wants

 “The fact that God can bring good out of evil only underscores the power and excellence of His sovereign will.” Tim Keeter

TIM KEETER joins us today at 2:00 PM to discuss, “Suffering: The Gift No One Wants.” You will not want to miss hearing Tim speak about the things the Lord taught him, and continues teaching him, through his cancer.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:

 91.9 FM – Birmingham

92.3 FM – Springville

101.5 FM – Columbiana

106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville

106.1 FM – Jasper

107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47.

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB

 

 

Happy Birthday, Tim!

Today would be my big brother Tim’s 59th birthday. This is one of my favorite pictures of us, taken sometime in late 70’ssjc.tim
In honor of Tim I will re-share this post…

Each Christmas as I unwrap the ornaments and decorations, years of memories flood my mind. I remember countless family and friends with whom I have shared Christmas. I lay out all the ornaments in color groups so I can see each one. Next I put the lights on the tree (even though the tree I have now is pre-lit, I add a bunch of colored lights). Then begins the several night process of putting the ornaments on the tree.

Admittedly there are times since my brother Tim died that I have fussed at him as I decorated the tree. The reason I fuss is because it wasn’t enough for Tim that I have a few lights and a few ornaments on the tree, HIS baby sister had to have the most spectacular tree of all!

My tree must be decorated so that from whatever angle and height you look you see ornaments. Looking all the way through and seeing the trunk is a HUGE no-no!

As you can imagine it takes a lot of ornaments … all kinds of ornaments. Fancy, handmade, expensive, cheap, old, new, pretty, not so pretty, big, little … you name it!! A tree just looks skimpy if I don’t decorate it the way big brother taught me!

As I put the last (well, maybe the last) ornament on the tree, I sat down and just soaked up the beauty of the lights and the ornaments while one of my favorite Christmas music boxes was playing “Joy to the World.” I began thinking of my life, God’s grace and mercy to me, and how the Lord has blessed me throughout the years.

I thought of the tree as representing my life. The white lights represent The Light of the World (Jesus) Who came to this earth to redeem me.

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
I John 1:5

The colored lights represent all the experiences that have given depth and meaning to my life, some bright and cheerful, and others darker and more somber.

18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us … 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance … 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
-Romans 8:18, 25, 28

The ornaments represent the many different family and friends who have added color and dimension to my life through shared worship, laughter, fun, sorrow, encouragement and comfort.

But it was you, … My companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, And walked to the house of God in the throng.
-Psalm 55:13-14

On this day when I miss Tim so much, I thank the Lord for the blessings of all my family and friends and for the wonderful ways each one has enriched my life!!

And, thank you, dear friends, for helping make days such as this a little easier!

 

*All Scripture verses are taken from The New King James Version of the Holy Bible.

The Ultimate Christmas Gift

Today on “Think on These Things” we will be discussing “The Ultimate Gift of Christmas.”

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is THE ULTIMATE                             GIFT—JESUS CHRIST!

We will be discussing the difference the Ultimate Christmas Gift, Jesus Christ, makes in our lives on a day-to-day basis.

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM- Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB