Don’t Skip the Instructions

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DontSkipThis is the final “Bless Your Heart” post for the year 2013. I can hardly wrap my mind around the volume of correspondence, the number of new friends contacted and the little limbs like “Digging Deep” that have come from this spiritual planting over the past few years. I believe there are around five or six hundred archived posts now (need to check that number when I get a minute).I’m grateful for those who read and for those who occasionally feed through this blog. I’m thankful for the family God has given me in this readership. I’m thankful for the one He has given me in the West Huntsville church. I’m thankful for the little family that gathered around the tree in my living room a few days ago. I’m, most of all, grateful for the worldwide family he has given me in His Son’s body and for the ultimate price that bought my place there.

As I look to 2014, I’m praying for our resolutions. I’m praying for our resolve more than our resolutions. (We usually get the resolutions right.) I believe God’s women in America today can affect the future of His worldwide family. We can nurture His future elders and preachers. We can uphold the hands of His faithful men even in 2014. We can influence those younger than ourselves to choose to be His meek and quiet women of faith (Titus 2: 3-5; I Peter 3:1-6). We can study with our non-Christian friends and we can take them to the waters for baptism into the great Family of God. We can do much with the resolve I about which I am praying. I hope you are on board. May 2014 hold many blessings and spiritual victories for us in Him.

And now…the final winning entry in the “Merry Moments” contest. Thanks to Kristina Odom for this story about a real live Christmas tree.

A child’s first Christmas is always special. You buy them “My First Christmas” outfits, you wrap their presents that you will probably have to unwrap yourself, you take lots of pictures, you hand them to a red suit wearing white bearded stranger to pose for a picture; the stranger smiles, the baby screams, you pay $$$ for this adorable picture.

Ben’s first Christmas was no different. We being first time parents wanted to make it extra special, so that year we decided to buy a real tree. Because we all know kids remember every little detail about their first Christmas. We headed to the hardware store to find the perfect tree. We were young and have never bought a real tree before. The only thing I remembered from my childhood was it’s not wise to lay under one, you’ll end up poking your eye on a needle and get sap on your face and fingers.

Justin knew how to pick the perfect tree and how to take care of it, so we bought one, brought it home, set it up, decorated it, and watched it die two weeks before Christmas. We over looked the little tag attached to the tree. The one that said you need to cut about an inch off the bottom before setting it up. We over looked it because we were young and thought we knew better, because we didn’t own a chainsaw, a hacksaw, a jigsaw, or a rickshaw and a steak knife would take forever, and because we wanted to put it up as soon as we got home. We were excited and didn’t want to wait for the stores to open the next morning to buy what we needed. Thankfully an almost 6 month old can’t read a calendar and didn’t mind opening his presents early so we could throw out our dead tree before it could burn the house down.

The moral to this story… Don’t ignore the instructions no matter how excited you are. Instructions are there for your benefit. Just because we thought we knew better, even though we thought we could get by without the proper tools, and were simply filled with excitement, didn’t stop that tree from dying. Ignoring that one step caused our tree to die before its special day. Ignoring one step from our ultimate instruction book, the Bible, can cause us to die a second death on that special judgment day (Revelation 20:12-15). Thinking we knew better than the tree farmer wasn’t a good idea. Thinking we know how to worship God better than He has planned is a very bad idea. Our thoughts are nowhere near His (Isaiah 55:6-9). Even that wise Proverbs writer has said “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (14:12)”. What seems right can cause more things to die than just trees!

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