Friday, December 2, 2016

"Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Let me welcome one and all to our little gathering here at the ole blogger ranch. Today we celebrate the day God has given to us. It is Friday, December 2, 2016. It's our privilege to make the very best we can of the day He has granted to us. With His help, of course. I've been around long enough to know that my recollections of the past are not always completely accurate. We can fall into the good old days trap that says everything was so much better way back then. Or, we can do the same by seeing it all as bad. Being aware of these limitations doesn't keep me from remembering. It is one of my favorite things to do. The little town I grew up in was my Mayberry. It wasn't always wonderful but it was my home and I look back with thankfulness for having grown up there. I know others who have to spit when they even think about that same place. That was their home too. They may have good reason to feel that kind of bitterness. I don't. Do I remember some bad stuff? I most certainly do. Do I remember some really, really bad stuff? You betcha! However, when I think of that little town, I see faces and I remember voices and I relive the warmth, kindness, love, and generosity I experienced there. I know. I may have some latent brain injury, but, I think I'll stick with the good stuff that gives me a great time of remembering, especially at this time of year.

I think about how that I had my first professional job as a Santa Claus back in the early 1970's. We were a young couple with young children and it was an opportunity to help buy Christmas. I never dreamed that some 40 years later I would be known by many as the Real Santa. While that's a pretty good story, I do know when I've been one-upped. I saw the photo on the right posted the other day on one of the professional Santa sites. I have to give credit where credit is due. The photo is of one of my fellow bearded Santas. The black and white photo was taken in his Santa outfit when he was in kindergarten. Now isn't that something? I've been trying to remember as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up. I'm almost certain I must have had something in mind, but, it must not have been an overwhelming identity because as much as I try to remember it, I can't think of anything. I do know I am a product of the influence of those in my home. I know my grandfather believed in God's plan and His Sovereignty over all things. I learned the value of work early on. I learned that I should apply myself. Looking back, I suppose my mode of operation was to take advantage of the opportunities that came my way, make the best of them, and to stay tuned for new potentials. I would not necessarily say this is the best approach to making a life, but, it does reflect my experience, and, with God's help, it got me to where I am today where I sport a long white beard and often wear a red suit. Is this a great country or what?

One of the things I am most thankful for is how that God enabled me to be a teacher of His Holy Word. In particular, I know I am privileged to have a calling and to be the recipient of His supplied gift to use in teaching others the Word of God. Yes. I have attended seminary classes. A three-year program. Multiple times. That gave me foundational information but it is not the same as being equipped by God to fulfill the calling He has given. I came to recognize that any effectiveness on my part is due to His working through my teaching, not my ability. He, after all, got the Prophet's attention by speaking to him through a donkey. (Book of Numbers, Chapter 22) Yes. Study is important. Being prepared is always a part of sharing His Word. I've mentioned this many times but I want to say it again. A huge light came on and my approach to this calling changed when He brought to me the insight that my teaching was not to fulfill me personally. I'm not saying it isn't fulfilling work, but, I came to realize the real purpose was to build up others, (edification), through the sharing of God's Word. That may seem like a trivial distinction, but, for me, it totally revolutionized my response to this calling. It did that for me and I believe God has received honor and others have been helped as a result. There's much more to all of this but I think you get the idea. I do have my fair share of regrets in my three score and ten plus years of my sojourn here on the planet. At the same time, I feel blessed beyond measure in the life He has given to me. Room for improvement? I won't even go there and please hold your recommendations on that one for another day. I do hope you have a wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I will do my best to catch back up with you, come next Monday. May God bless. Amen. ....More later.

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