Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Pics and Memories

We have had an enjoyable and pleasant few days celebrating Christmas. We were able to spend time with family on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day.
I thought I would take a break from my normal posts to share some pics with you!

On Christmas Eve morning the girls and I tried a new peppermint brittle recipe. Little Sister helped smash the candy canes!

After helping to finish the project, Middle Sister helped clean the bowl! ;-)

Little Sister came back to finish off what Middle Sister left behind.

(Notice the short sleeves combined with the winter hat. She is adjusting
to your typical Alabama winter weather. ;-)

Big Brother has been very proud of his "Sergeant York Rifle!"
(Don't you think those poka dots go great with the gun? :-)

Big Brother and Bigger Brother have had a blast with their
remote control tanks!

Big Sister was proud to match one of her dolls on Christmas!
(We're proud she still wants to! KWIM???)

We were also thankful to spend time with great-grandmother!

Thumb wrestling with Paw Paw!

Back home again, Middle Sister and Little Sister were excited to dress themselves and their dolls in matching pajamas.

We enjoyed our Christmas time, being with family and especially our children.

I am especially thankful for the gift the Heavenly Father gave us on that first Christmas night--the Gift of His own Son to be a ransom for many. Without that ransom, we would have no hope. I pray we remember His gift everyday, not just Christmas. *************************************************************

In the Heart of our Home,


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Who's in the Boat?

Tough times come to everyone. They come in all shapes and sizes, and according to James, we should "count it all joy" when they come.

Where we look and where or in whom we place our trust makes all the difference in the world.

In Matthew 14, the disciples were in the boat on the water without Jesus. He had sent them ahead while he sent the multitudes away (Matthew 14:22). However, during the night the water became very rough as they were tossed by waves, "for the wind was contrary" (v. 24).

I notice that Jesus waited until the 4th watch of the night (b/w 3 AM and 6 AM) to go out to their boat. (He did not go running out on the water at the sign of the first big wave.) When He does arrive "walking on the sea," the disciples were afraid because they did not recognize Him. Instead, we see they have mistaken Him for a ghost!

When Jesus spoke, it must have been music to their ears!

"Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid" (Matthew 14:28)!

Of course, it is Peter who immediately responds to the Lord, asking to be called out to Him. Jesus responds with a "Come!"

Many of us know what happens next. Peter is miraculously walking on water with the Lord Jesus Christ, but as soon as he takes his eyes off the Lord and focuses on his circumstances and surroundings, he begins to sink.

Christians through the ages have learned so much from Peter's mistakes. But what grabs my attention this time is found after Jesus saves Peter and after the 2 climb into the boat.

"And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, 'Truly You are the Son of God'" (Matthew 14:33).

We know that we should always keep our eyes on Christ, even when the waves are rising around us. But do we think about how those still in the boat are watching?

Those other 11 disciples were watching and waiting to see what would happen! Notice not one of them followed Peter. They waited to see what would happen to him and what Jesus would do. Even when Peter failed, there is no indication that they criticized him or laughed at him. The entire incident brought glory to Christ! They worshipped Jesus and acknowledged Him as the Son of God!

In my own daily struggles or even when tragic circumstances arise, I pray I can remember not only to keep my eyes on Jesus but also that others are still in the boat. My desire is that I will focus on the Lord and bring Him glory (whether I am walking on the waves with Him or sinking and crying out for His help).

It's all about Him anyway!!!

In the Heart of our Home,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Householders of Treasures

How does it feel to know you have great responsibility of something or even someone? Often we may have a big responsibility, like being in charge of a committee or a team or even an event or large project, and it heaps great mounds of stress on us!

Perhaps we are entrusted with a valuable object, and we know we must take very good care of it (which sometimes adds stress, too!).

Often we are given the responsibility of people, like our own children and family or even someone else's children, even if only for a short time.

Usually with all these scenerios, which we have probably all experienced in some way or another, we feel the weight of the responsibility.

As Believers, we have a great responsibility. Jesus shared a glimpse of this assignment with His 12 disciples:

"Then He said to them, 'Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old'" (Matthew 13:52).

These disciples already knew many "old" truths about the kingdom from their knowledge of the Old Testament. Christ had just been sharing many "new" truths with them through parables: Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Wheat and Tares, Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Leaven, Parable of the Hidden Treasure, Parable of the Pearl of Great Price, and Parable of the Dragnet (Matthew 13).

After asking them if they understood, they answered affirmatively (Matthew 13:51). It is then that He emphasizes their great responsibility.

The Lord points out what they already knew and what they have just learned and then gives them a call to action. They were to be responsible for this understanding and teach it to others "like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old."

Have you considered that we too are such stewards? We have the same valuable treasure with the added benefit of the entirity of the Scriptures! We have the great responsibility of knowing the Good News of Christ and His amazing grace, and we should not hoard it in the treasure house but bring it out to share it!

We have a great weight of responsiblity as a steward of such a treasure, but it is not a treasure to be hidden and saved.

I can't help but notice that the comparison does not say the householder should bring it out or might bring it out. Jesus says he does bring it out. (Reminds me of the use of "shall" in Acts 1:8.) Does this describe you?

In the Heart of our Home,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's our Anniversary!!!

Happy Anniversary
to my
dear hubby!!!
Just as I said in our vows several years back in that familiar church:
"Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me"
(Ruth 1:16-17).
I love you, husband! Happy Anniversary!
In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Health and Wealth vs. Persecutions and Tribulations Part 2

Personally, our family sees it as very important to give our children an accurate understanding of the Scriptures, even in the area of persecutions and tribulations. If we do not, when we are hit with trials, it will possibly burst their bubble of a "prosperous Christian life" and possibly lead to doubts and struggles that would be unnecessary. The Christian walk has enough struggles without adding to it a false idea of that "bed of roses."

And if we think that we are forever safe and secure from religious persecution, we need to wake up. I believe it behooves ourselves and our children to understand the persecution of the prophets and the great tribulation and suffering experienced by the early Christians. We also need to continually remind ourselves and teach our children of the persecuted Christians who are burned, raped, kidnapped, plummaged, arrested, and chased into hiding even this very day. Why? Who is to guarantee it won't be us and our children just a little down the road?

How foolish are we if we continually fill ourselves up with ideas of health and wealth and deserved prosperity and do not study the entirity of the Word to prepare ourselves for tribulations the Scriptures say will come.

Might I add how foolish are we if we do not prepare our children for the same.

To help you understand a little of how Americanized this "prosperity gospel" is, follow me to Central America and promise such things. If this is an accurate view of the Bible then why does it not apply in 3rd world countries?

At a recent pastors' conference my husband was leading in one such country, a faithful pastor who loved the Lord and exhibited a fervor and excitement for the gospel often not seen here would take rice from the lunch table and stuff it into his pockets. Why would he do such a thing? He told my husband he had 15 families in his church who were all hungry and probably wouldn't eat that day. Hmmmmm. . . . .try to take books on health, wealth, and prosperity to them.

What about poverty-stricken countries in Africa? Why are the very ones in persecuted countries of the world who are faithful to the Lord the ones who are martyred?

You see, these false ideas don't hold water when you look outside our culture.

It is the Word of God that stands true and can be applied universally. It is for all who believe, no matter how wealthy or poor or in what environment they live. Even no matter their circumstances.

Last week some friends were sharing struggles they were having with work and with family. Do you know what Scripture popped in my head? I shared James 1:2. Here is the context:

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience [endurance]. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:2-5).

No promises of health and wealth here! Just a promise that the trials are good for us! :-) We should count it joy! It will produce endurance in us!

What would you share with someone struggling? What verses have ministered to you when going through trials? Please share!

In the Heart of our Home,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Health and Wealth vs. Persecutions and Tribulations

I am perplexed.

When visiting some close family members, several times over the past few years a certain kind couple--acquaintances--have dropped by for a visit. Their last visit has had me thinking.

These dear people are very nice and seem to love the Lord very much. During their visit they usually spend much time "speaking" words of prosperity to my close family members. They quote parts of verses that pertain to health, wealth, and other desirable blessings.

I wonder if I should be convicted and be more willing to share such verses with people in their daily struggles. I then wonder if this is another sample of the American version of Christianity--the "prosperity gospel."

I have been reading through the Gospel of Matthew lately and notice how much time Jesus spent healing the sick. He had so much compassion for those down and out, and I do see His desire to heal those in His path.

But then I notice in Matthew 14 when John the Baptist, Christ's own cousin and whom He heralded as "among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11), and who was imprisoned because of his faithful preaching of repentance, was beheaded at the whim of Herod's family.

John's faithfulness did not bring him wealth and health. It brought him death.

I think of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. What a mighty man of the Lord! He was chosen as one of the first seven to serve the widows in the early church, as he was a "man full of faith and the Holy Spirit" (Acts 6:5). Later, he was described as a man "full of faith and power" (Acts 6:8). When falsely accused, Stephen delivered a powerful sermon to the religious Pharisees, but they being "stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears" (Acts 7:51), resisted the Holy Spirit. What happened next?

"But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 4:55-56).

Wow! Jesus is standing for Stephen! Surely, considering he is full of faith, power, and the Holy Spirit, he qualifies and meets the requirements of the prosperity gospel. Surely the Lord is standing to deliver to him the health and wealth many have now come to expect.

But, no. . . . .that is not how the story ends.

"And they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not charge them with this sin.' And when he had said this, he fell asleep (Acts 7:58-60).

Stephen's faithfulness did not bring him wealth and health. It brought him death.

I think of James,the brother of John, who was one of Jesus' first 12 disciples. James was very close to Christ, often described as one of the 3 in the inner circle. He was one of the 3 that Jesus took with him on the Mount when He was transfigured, seeing Moses and Elijah talk to Christ, and even hearing the very words of God spoken from Heaven. James was even one of the 3 whom the Lord took with him into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray on the night of His arrest. Yet, these privileges did not seem to come into play when "Herod the king stretched out his hand to harrass some from the church" (Acts 12:1).

James was killed with the sword.

James' faithfulness did not bring him wealth and health. It brought him death.

I think of Paul. Where would I begin? He shared with the church at Corinth the following testimony:

"From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness--" (2 Corinthians 11:24-27).

Alas, one would think if anyone deserved the award of prosperity it would be Paul!

Nevertheless, Paul's faithfulness did not bring him heath and wealth. It brought him death.

I think of Peter and all the other faithful disciples. I think of the many unnamed Christians in the New Testament and the Old who were faithful yet suffered still.

"Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflected, tormented--of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth" (Hebrews 11:36-37).

Example after example of those whose faithfulness did not bring health and wealth. It brought them death.

So why all this focus on "us?" Why is the focus always on what we want Christ to do for us? Why are most of the books in the Christian bookstores about "us?"

Where are those who will say to their friends and family and teach their children that this life is not about us!? We should be more about dying to self so that we can better glorify Him!

So what is the right response to people who are struggling? Is it words of prosperity, health, and wealth? Or are there other verses in the Scriptures that give us a bigger picture and should also be on our mind and on our tongues?

More next time. . . . . . .

In the Heart of our Home,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Esteeming Others Better Than Yourself?

Little Sister always gives me something to write about. ;-) Of course, all our children are still in need of careful training, and we pay close attention to their behavior and the state of their hearts (which is usually evident by their behavior and/or attitude) because we love them dearly! Every opportunity, no matter how big or small, to train is an opportunity to teach them God's way.

However, Little Sister, who brings more joy to our family than I could describe, is still in a stage that requires careful, careful attention to opportunities for training. (Did I say that nicely? ;-)

Yesterday morning she grabbed a toy Middle Sister was enjoying and immediately fled with it. Fortunately, Daddy grabbed her mid-flight and immediately set her down for a heart-to-heart training session.

What did this heart-to-heart reveal about her own little heart? When he asked why she would grab something someone else was enjoying, she simply answered, "I wanted it."

Hmmmmm. . . .

I thought of Philippians 2:3-4:

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."

Little Sister's honest response reveals the root behind many problems seen throughout our whole culture. So often we want our flesh gratified, so we do whatever seems easiest and fastest to satisfy those desires. This type of servitutde to the flesh leads to financial problems, maritial problems, family relationship problems, and the list could go on and on.

As Believers, we must be willing to deny ourselves (our flesh) so that we can always be able to take up our cross and follow Christ. According to Philippians 2:3-4, we should "consider others better than himself." How easy is this?

Can I consider my husband better than myself? Other family members? The Salvation Army bellringer? The Wal-Mart cashier? The lady about to get in line with me at the grocery store? If I do, how can I show it? The Scriptures says in verse 4:

"Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."

If you have children at home, are you teaching them this principle? If they are going to develop a servant-heart, how much better and easier for them to learn it earlier than later. We see the fruit of this learning in several of our children, but in others around here it is making "slower progress." ;-) Soooo. . . . .we keep teaching, keep training, keep planting the Word, and keep trusting the Lord to bring it all to fruition.

And I keep reminding my own self of the same verses! How about you?

1) How do you teach selflessness to your children???

2) How have you seen this type of self-denial and servant-heartedness lived out (in others or in yourself)???

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Will Give You Rest

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Doesn't rest always sound good, especially at the end of a long day? Last night I lay on the couch thinking, "I could just stay here and not move if they would all let me . . . . ."

Then one of my sweet sons, Big Brother, began to scrach my back. "Ah, now this is the life!" But he didn't stop with a backscratch; he began to sing Silent Night to me! He sang 16 verses of Silent Night while he scratched my back! (He says he was trying to sing me to sleep. It almost worked. ;-)

After about 7 or 8 verses, I began to think, "I sure don't deserve these wonderful kids! Thank you, Lord, for such sweet blessings." Of course, I vowed to myself that I would never become impatient during math with Big Brother again!

Rest and relaxation always sounds good and feels good for a tired body. Yet, I wonder what the Jews thought when they heard Jesus teach them:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

I know those people were much more tired than I am at the end of a day! Imagine their workload compounded with the anxieties and burdens of being a repressed people.

However, I think Christ may have been talking about more than just physical, emotional, or even political problems. Consider the weight of legalism they were under thanks to the priests, Pharisees, and such. Not only did they have the Law of Moses to consider and obey, they had added religious responsibilities laid on them by their religious leaders. Talk about a burden!

People all around the world are carrying burdens of the same nature. So many religions offer hope, eternal life, and paradise to those who carry the burden of good works. In Central America, I spoke with religious people who were so faithful to their religion, but it did not offer them an ASSURANCE of salvation. . . .just a "hope so."

We all at one time were under the burden of sin. Most (Matthew 7:13-14) carry that burden their whole lives.

Why carry that burden when the King of Kings calls out that His yoke is available? His "yoke is easy" and does not require laws and legalism or continual sacrifices or the insecurity of not knowing for sure! His yoke changes us and gives us the power to become more like Him! It enables us to do and be what all those laws show us we cannot be on our own!

Is your burden heavy? Have you taken the yoke of Christ?

In the Heart of our Home,

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Our Trip to the Nursing Home!

Yesterday we went with 2 other families to visit and minister at our local nursing home. Before hand we had made approximately 100 Christmas cards and enough cookies for all the residents.

It was such a joy to see the children preparing to serve others!

They worked about 2-3 months learning Luke 2:1-20 to recite for the residents and share the Good News through the Christmas story.

Several of the children played the piano, and they also shared the Gospel through singing.

Then they mingled with the dear people who live there, passing out the cookies and cards, hugging, and wishing "Merry Christmas." The residents were so excited the children were there. Many said they hardly ever get to see children.

The best part was sharing it all with a very special someone who lives at this particular home.

Our favorite great-grandmother!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Suffering for Christ?????

Persecution for the sake of Christ is common in many (most?) countries around our planet. The relative ease we live out our Christianity in the United States is really quite rare. Many times, we are so unaware of the suffering our brothers and sisters in Christ endure, and this naivity is tragic.

When Paul was in prison and writing the church at Colosse, he reminded them, "Remember my chains" (Colossians 4:18).

Our family is able to remember and educate ourselves through the resources of Voice of the Martyrs. This organization is a tremendous asset to those suffering and to those of us who are not but would like to help and pray.

We should not be surprised that there is great suffering and persecution around the world for His sake but only surprised that we are not experiencing it. Christ prophecied these things were coming and gave counsel to his own 12 disciples on how to deal with it.

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you" (Matthew 10:16-19).

Christ evens warns them, "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake" (Matthew 10:22a).

The disciples would experience rejection from their own Jewish people (which would eventually bring the Gospel to the Gentiles), and we see this same type of persecution all around the world today.

On a personal level, this is one reason why we feel it so important to diligently train our own children in the Scriptures. I want my children to know what they believe, why they believe it, and, hopefully, to have as much as possible hidden in their heart. We are never guaranteed religious freedom anywhere except on a piece of paper that is already being chipped away and disregarded by so many. As a matter of fact, we should not expect it because the Word tells us otherwise.

Let us be encouraged by Christ's own words:

"And he who does not take his own cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:38-39).

Even when not in the face of persecution, we should pick up our cross and follow Him. . . .daily. Only His way will we find true life.

In the Heart of our Home,

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Who is This?

When Christ finished His Sermon on the Mount, He came down from the mountain and spent day after day healing the sick, feverish, paralyzed, blind, mute, demon-posessed, lepers, and even raising the dead.

When He got into a boat with His disciples and a great storm arose on the sea, He showed again His great power by calming the winds and sea with only His words. The disciples were amazed:

"Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him" (Matthew 8:27)?

But the question comes to me: Who are we that we do not?

The demons obey, death and sickness obey, even the elements of the wind and waves obey the Son of God. Yet we have the audacity, even as His own creations, to turn a deaf ear to His Word, to ignore the parts of the Scriptures that we don't like, or to sometimes just put His admonishings off to a more convenient time.

Consider the Scripture in Titus 3:8:

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men."

Prior to these verses, Paul emphasized the mercy by which we are saved and how it is a work of the Holy Spirit. Then just a few verses later, he exhorts Titus to remember to "be careful to maintain good works."

Of course, this is important! If the demons obey the Son of the Living God, who do we think we are to slap down the grace card and just wink at sin?

We often forget Who it is who saved us. We forget His power, His authority, and His place in the universe, and we often forget ours. . . . .

We are just sinful people saved by His grace, and Paul even called Himself a bondservant to Christ. Do you love Him that much? Do you value His grace enough to obey Him? Do you recognize His authority in your life? The wind and the waves do. . . . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Theology in a Child's Favorite Song

Have your children ever had special, favorite songs they wanted to hear over and over? Perhaps there was a special tune or maybe a particular hymn that comforted them when they were sad?

I remember with our first child that "Amazing Grace" seemed to comfort her. I had sung it to her even before she was born, and when she was just a newborn and even older, I could sing it to her and comfort her cries.

Middle Sister seemed to particularly like "Oh, How I Love Jesus." We would rock and go through as many verses as I knew of that song, and she seemed to always love it. (Sometimes at bedtime, she still requests it! ;0)

When Little Sister was a baby, I didn't try any new tricks. I would sing all the old favorites of her brothers and sisters. However, somewhere along the way, she has developed an attachment to "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock." We sing it in the car, as we play, as we work, and especially at bedtime. And it is very important that we perform the accompanying hand motions, you know.

I must admit--I do get tired of it. And just when you are finished singing about the wise man, you have to start on that ol' foolish man! But she likes it, and I know she won't always want to sing this one. Besides, I hope one day she will understand the teaching of Matthew 7:24-27 through this song.

"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall" (Matthew 7:24-27).

The theology in these verses is pretty easy to understand. Follow Christ and His sayings/His Word, and when the storms of life come, you will be able to withstand because you are on the "Rock." For those who do not follow His teachings/His Word, the storms of life will beat you down.

I notice that these verses do not suggest "if" but "when" the rain, floods, and wind come. Life will throw troubles our way. The question is not "what if" but "On what will you be standing?"

In the Heart of our Home,

Monday, December 1, 2008

Little Sister's Pennies

Yesterday morning, as we were about to leave for church, the children were gathering their coats, Bibles, and offering money. Little Sister came around the corner with teary eyes and pouty lips.

When I asked her what was wrong, she held out our fist, unrolled her fingers to reveal 3 little pennies, and cried, "But I need this to buy toys!"

Oh, me. What selfishness our hearts reveal.

I explained how we give because we love Jesus and because we are so thankful for what He has given us. We thought together of all the blessings God has so generously bestowed upon us, while I am thinking, "Did Thanksgiving and all the many lists for what we are thankful just sail right over her head???"

When I reminded her of the importance of a "cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7), she quickly plastered an artificial smile on her face. I think for the 957th time, "Yes, we still have a long way to go with this one. . . . . . "

Of course, is this just 4-year-old thinking? As we begin the Christmas season and the commercialism and consumerism launches their attacks against us all once again, I can't help but see the same greed for "toys" everywhere I turn.

As I sat at my in-laws Saturday watching the Iron Bowl, I couldn't believe the low level to which some commercials stoop, trying to convince us all that life would truly be achieved if we just bought their products. (And perhaps this is not the appropriate post to address the Victoria's Secret previews. . . . )

Here's a news flash: We can't have it all. When we think we have bought what will truly make our hearts content, something new will be on the market. "Things" don't satisy. "Stuff" breaks, wears down, or becomes yesterday's news. It is a neverending game trying to acquire it all and satisfy ourselves with the things of this world.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).

Even with our children, what are we teaching them with the commercialism of Christmas (and all year for that matter)? What message do we send? Are we communicating to them that it is better to lay up treasures on earth or treasures in heaven? What do you communicate?

In the Heart of Our Home,