"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Effects of “PCDD”?

One of the more serious emotional disorders of life is PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD occurs after an individual sees or experiences something traumatic such as death, threat, or injury. Symptoms of PTSD vary, but all of them are disheartening and critical. It causes vivid flashbacks of the traumatic event. It causes emotional “numbness” to everything and everyone. It can even cause problems in sleeping, eating, and socializing with others. PTSD is very real and troubling!

But do you struggle with PCDD? PCDD is very common this time of year. It can even be seen in some of the happiest people you know. PCDD (Post Christmas Depression Disorder) wears on every festive soul. The Christmas Season brings hype, excitement, a spirit of giving, priceless time with friends and family, and then in a matter of hours, it’s over! All of the presents that took hours to purchase and wrap are unwrapped. All of the food that took hours to cook has been eaten. The roads that carried Christmas travelers become crowded with travelers returning home. We always finish “Merry Christmas” with “…And a Happy New Year”, but New Years really isn’t that special. We simply stay up late and celebrate as another tick of the clock turns another page of the calendar. What’s the cure for PCDD? There’s no therapeutic activity; there’s no powerful prescription. Just give it time! We get back into our daily routines. We endure the cold of winter. Blooming flowers bring us the warmth of spring. Hot sunshine provides the relaxation of summer. Changing of the seasons brings the thanksgiving of fall, and before we know it, “Seasons Greetings” are greeting us again!

But during these next few weeks, instead of fighting this emotional disorder, why don’t we attend to those who crave to feel the symptoms of PCDD! While we try to pick ourselves up and go on with the New Year, many struggle with serious depression. They had no one to spend the holidays with. With tears, they remembered their loved ones who passed from this life. When it should have been the best time of the year, for them it was the worst.

During the next few weeks, you can experience PCDD in two different ways. You can fight Post Christmas Depression Disorder”, or you can “Portray Christ through Devoted Discipleship.” Paul wrote in Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Show your devotion. Show your discipleship. Spread the “Christmas Cheer” one more time and love those who need to be loved!

Learning to Listen

I love the story about the cowboy who came upon an Indian who was lying on the ground with his ear pressed to the earth. The Indian motioned for the Cowboy and said, “Wagon. Two miles off. Drawn by two horses. One black. The other gray. Four people on board; man in a red flannel shirt, his wife, and two kids.” The cowboy was very impressed and told the Indian, “It’s amazing that you can know that just by listening to the earth.” The Indian said, “No. They ran over me thirty minutes ago. Go after them!”

You might be thinking, “What in the world does that have to do with anything?” Well, I haven’t seen any Indians recently lying on the ground listening for a nuance from Nature. Even if I had, I probably wouldn’t trust their testimony. But I do wonder how quick we are to listen to God! God has so much to tell us and there is so much that we must learn! Do you realize that if the apostles had not listened to Jesus, if Paul had not listened to God’s instructions on the road to Damascus, we wouldn’t fully understand Christian discipleship today? They listened, they told us what they heard, and now we reap the benefit of their undivided attention!

Learn to listen to God! You never know what He might tell you! And fortunately, we don’t have to put our ears to the earth to do. Just open His holy word!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Taking “CHRIST” out of...?

It’s the time of year when we strive to spread Christmas Cheer! Malls, banks, and city buildings are adorned with Seasons Greetings. City sidewalks are dressed in Holiday Style. Thousands and thousands of dollars are being spent in Retail Stores across the country, but shoppers continue to swipe their credit cards with a gleam in their eye! Why? People are more thoughtful during the Christmas Season. Well, most of the time…

Last Saturday, Natalie and I made the trek to Lakeline Mall in Austin for twelve blissful hours of Christmas shopping. It was the usual holiday shopping experience—huge crowds, long lines, lack of parking, and “stuffy” department stores. However, I saw something that I had never seen before! Two women got into a heated argument over a parking place. Now, this is not unusual. It was not my first time to witness an argument over parking! Some people think the best way to spread Christmas cheer is to holler for all to hear! But as I was walking past one of the women’s cars, I saw this bumper sticker, “Don’t take CHRIST out of Christmas!” I’m so glad this woman was influenced by her own bumper sticker theology! If she hasn’t already taken Christ out of Christmas, she has a great head start on the task!

Christmas is known for many things, but one of the staple segments of the season is Christian uprisings. Concerned Christians preach, “Don’t take CHRIST out of Christmas!” or “Remember the REASON for the Season!” Before we worry if America takes “CHRIST” out of Christmas, let’s worry if WE take “CHRIST” out of Christian! We wouldn’t be Christians without Christ, and if we really claim to be followers of the Savior, we must live as He lived, do as He did, and lead as He led! Paul informed us how to imitate Christ this Christmas Season in Philippians 2: 5-7, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…”

And that’s not just the “REASON for the Season”; that’s the “MEANING for our Being!”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waiting for a Reward!

The NFL Football Season is throttling along at full force! Each week we get one step closer to deciding who will play in the Super Bowl. Different teams bring different stories to the media marketplace. To the pure disappointment of some, and to the indescribable excitement of others, it has taken the Dallas Cowboys 13 weeks to get 4 wins. We’ve seen College Champions like Colt McCoy rise to the position of Professional Playmakers. Two weeks ago, the Houston Texans’ Wide Receiver Andre Johnson was illuminated by the beam of limelight. He received the game ball from Coach Gary Kubiak. Johnson didn't make a game winning Touch Down. He didn’t break any famous record. Johnson got into a fight and was ejected from the game! What a guy!

It seems like our society constantly rewards bad behavior. Actors receive millions of dollars and distinguished awards for starring in ethically, morally, and sickening roles. The Golf community still envies the golf swing of Tiger Woods, even though he’s a man infested with infidelity. Some of the richest people in the world maximize their bank accounts through questionable, if not detestable, ways. All the while, Christians sit back and wonder, “What about us? When will we get our reward for doing the right thing?”

But I don’t worry, because I KNOW the DAY is coming! I’ll give up the game ball. I’ll give up the Oscar or the Emmy. You can have the monstrous drive and all the money in the world! Just give me a seat at the Lord’s Table. Let me fall down at the throne of God. Let me spend eternity surrounded by heavenly glory!

That’s the REWARD I’m waiting for! I hope YOU will join me!