As we wind down 2022 I ran across some additional stuff I wanted to pass on with the chance that it might help someone.  The first entry is a devotional and the second are some comments from our pastor’s Christmas day “fireside chat.”

The devotional is from 2022 Men’s Devotionals by Barbour Publishing – December 28, 2022.  It is titled “Soul-Seeping Acid”

If you’re dumb enough to call attention to yourself by offending people and making rude gestures, don’t be surprised if someone bloodies your nose.  Churned milk turns into butter; riled emotions turn into fist fights.  Proverbs 30:32-33

“The word violence conjures up all kinds of images.  Your mind is probably entertaining some right now.  There is no need for examples because your perspective delivers a more personal experience.

Violence is a natural reaction to a personal shaking.  Someone says or does something that seems disrespectful or rude.  It hurts and you respond in anger, yet a defensive response can open the door to violence—and violence gives birth to more violence.  A rude response generally results in someone willing to play the rudeness game.

Staying away from the bait of violence requires pure bravery.  Taking the bait cause an acid to seep into your soul that screams “Injustice!” and believes that you cannot overlook a wrong.  It believes that forgiveness doesn’t hold someone accountable.  This bitterness often leads to violence.

Stop offending people and stop letting their offenses toward you dictate your response.  Resolve to be unflinching.”   Prayer: God, Your Son could have been justified in exhibiting violence against those who came to destroy His life, yet some of His final words were “Forgive them.”  Help me to remember that a violent response exposes a wound in my soul or in the souls of others.  Bring healing, Lord.  Everyone could use that.”

On Christmas day our pastor, Chris Hodges, delivered sort of a fireside chat.  He started with the three essentials of happiness:

  1. To have something to do. To make a difference or to have some significance.
  2. To have someone to love.
  3. To have something to look forward to.

He summed this up by saying your relationship with Christ delivers those three essentials of happiness.  All of these are choices.  It never ceases to impress me that inside a prison there are people with great joy and there are people with great bitterness.  It’s the same prison.

Pastor Chris then opened the three gifts under the tree that he said were from Jesus and they were addressed to us.  The three gifts are:

  1. Forgiveness from our past.
  2. Peace for our present.
  3. Hope for our future.

So anyway – I thought all of that was neat and wanted to share it with you.

Blessings and Happy New Year Almost!!