Keeping It Real

Happy Monday, All!

Here’s to hoping your weekends went well. One thing I try to do is “change” my topics and titles from day to day or at least NOT use the same one in these e-mails. So, if by chance you’ve seen this title before, I can guarantee you that the content of the message will be different. Just sayin’ ….

Tradition has always played a big part in most families, and I can attest to that fact for my family at Christmas time as I was growing up. Now please don’t take this wrong ’cause I am NOT complaining. Today, for the most part, I am my nuclear family. My only child – a daughter – is all grown up and we don’t stay in touch (I e-mail her but she doesn’t reply), I have not been in contact with any of my ex-wives and there is no “girlfriend” or significant other that I hang around with on a regular basis. This used to cause me a bit of discomfort; yet, I promised myself that I would work on that discomfort, seek understanding and guidance and employ a concept I learned about sometime ago called “acceptance”.

Yesterday, the fourth Sunday of the Advent, I decided to stream the service from Calvary Chapel here in Fort Lauderdale, FL rather than go. I was rushing and probably wouldn’t have found a parking space even if I did arrive on time. So, I had my traditional Sunday breakfast of French toast, bacon, a scrambled egg and coffee with a side of orange juice as I viewed the program on my computer. Pastor Bob was continuing his series on “More Than Just A Word”. This week he focused on giving thanks or being grateful, however you wish to phrase it. He talked about those of us wishing for certain Christmas presents and perhaps even pouting if we don’t get what we want. He also talked about those extra accessories for family pets, like a dog, who sport booties and jackets or sweaters/coats even if the weather is nice. Of course, his delivery was terribly humorous! He is never angry nor judgmental, he just puts it out there for us to “see”, so to speak. He also touched on how some people may wish that they were married for Christmas and others who were married wished they were not …. Of course the final “brush strokes” of the picture dealt with having EXACTLY what we need NOW … but just being grateful for a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep in, some food to eat and hopefully an income.

He closed with a story from the publication “Calvary Connection” called “Jim’s Story” about a man and his wife whose brother came to stay with them for a while after losing his job and battling alcohol and drugs as well as an unhealthy life style of sex and partying. Jim and his wife were worried about the brother and had been trying to help “save” him from self destruction so they decided to give him a Bible and invite him to a Bible study at their house. They had the Bible study …. with just the three of them …. and the brother was able to see some of his behavior and challenges in the pages of the book, which he confessed to his brother and his brother’s wife. Jim was Pastor Bob’s brother …. obviously, the brother was Pastor Bob some 25 years ago.

Do what you’ve got to do to make your life better and acknowledge the love of The Creator who probably would like each of us to be happy along this journey as well. Tomorrow, Hanukkah begins at sundown, so as well in embracing diversity, acknowledge it if you will!


John I. Cook, Director

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