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Have you ever had a friend who dated someone you didn’t like? This has happened to me more than once. I think the reason I didn’t like the person is because they changed my friend into someone they weren’t. You know, one day your best bud who was always up for a ball game or a camping trip starts dating a gal and now all he has time for is watching Sandra Bullock movies and shopping for skinny jeans? Ugh.

This is what happened between God and Solomon. They were best buds. They would hang out in high places, and Solomon even helped God move into his new house. Then Solomon went weird. He started dating all kinds of gals, and become somebody he wasn’t before. He no longer had time for God like he used to, and before long, their relationship was compromised.

Because of Solomon’s dalliances with foreign women and their pagan gods, Israel split in two. This impact was far-reaching and long felt. Before we condemn Solomon, it may be worth looking at ourselves. Solomon wrecked his life by disobeying God’s commands. What are God’s commands for you, and how are you doing at obeying them? Find out Sunday.

Are you at peace this Christmas – or do you feel like Phil Robertson after a GQ interview? If you are stressed out, does believing you should be at peace – but not being at peace - make you feel guilty, and therefore stress you out even more?

If reading that sentence didn’t stress you out, try this. According to the National Institute of Health, there is more depression, incidences of suicide and attempted suicide at Christmastime. One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded this season.

Psychologytoday.com believes the reason we lack peace at Christmastime is unrealistic expectations. In short, we are depending on people to make us happy.

People disappoint.

When Simeon saw the baby Jesus in the temple, he prayed, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation.” Luke 2:29-30.

Peace comes from anticipating the promises of God coming true. Realistic expectations. Certain expectations.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) Anticipate it!

BTW, this week we have child dedications in our Sunday 10:02am service, a children’s Christmas Pageant at 7pm Sunday, and a Christmas Eve service also at 7pm. But, if you can’t come, don’t stress about it, just come back on January 5. And REMEMBER! No service at Cottonwood on Dec. 29.

And as for Duck Dynasty, I saw a part of Phil's explination of the GQ interview on TV. I was disappointed until I realized they only included part of it. I believe this is his complete response - just over 100-words, the beginning of which reads like our 100-word stories. Here it is: "I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."

 

According to Yahoo Music the 10 most downloaded Christmas Songs are…

10. "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby – Not Christian, but cool.
9. "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms – Not Christian, not cool.
8. "Feliz Navidad" by José Feliciano – If I die, and go to the wrong place, this song will be eternally played on 8-track.
7. "Where Are You Christmas?" by Faith Hill – Really? Still, 4 songs, no Jesus mentioned…
6. "The Chanukah Song" by Adam Sandler – Shouldn’t this be in the top 10 Chanukah songs list?
5. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee - Sad
4. "Christmas Canon" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra  - These guys are great. When are they coming to ABQ?
3. "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Ditto
2. "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" by Alvin and the Chipmunks – Really, people pay to download this stuff? This sounds like something we would play in war to scare off the enemy.
1. "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey – Do the guys who download this really believe Mariah is singing to them?

I admit it, it makes me sad that not one of the top-10 Christmas Songs is about Christ. Christmas is all about music – it started with music, with angels leading the way. This week we look at Mary’s song – great stuff. See you Sunday!

Meanwhile…What’s your favorite Christmas Song? Please tell me it’s not sung by in Spanish by Chipmunks.  


Deep honor and bright glory to the King of all time - One God, immortal, invisible, ever and always 1 Ti 1:17

Have you seen our neighborhood? Lights EVERYWHERE, even across the street from one house peak to another. I tried to compete, but JoLynn drew the line at selling a kidney to purchase more lights. The sun goes down, the neighbors lights go on, and we put sunglasses on inside the house. We only go outside at night to tan.

“Tis the season to be gaudy, Fa, la, la, la, la….”

No, that’s not Cottonwood’s song. But I like it. I love Christmas displays. When Scripture says to give God glory, that’s what it’s talking about. Display and glory are the same New Testament word, and it occurs in Cottonwood’s Song, penned by Paul 2000 years ago.

Earlier this year Craig put Paul’s words to music. Taken from 1 Timothy 1:17 the song goes like this:

Now to the King Eternal, Now to the King Immortal, Now to the King Invisible, Now to God alone; Be honor and glory forever and ever amen; Forever amen!

We get to display the Eternal, Immortal, Invisible King God! How cool is that? How do we display God? Find out Sunday. Meanwhile, do you really need that kidney? Buy some lights.

Dan

Am I wrong, or do the first few books in the Bible read more like a Jerry Springer Show than a list of humble, blameless, God-fearing pre-Christians? Why were these people so messed up?


This week ends 12 weeks in The Story. We’ve read about Adam and Eve eating the fruit, and Abraham sleeping with someone he shouldn’t have. David did that too, as did Noah, and Rahab, and Samson, and Joseph went to jail for it, but he didn’t do it. Moses murderd a guy – so did David. Noah got drunk, David got his friend drunk, and why was there all this sleeping around when they had multiple wives to begin with?


The answer is a box. I’ll bring it and explain on Sunday. Meanwhile, give thanks. If God can use Noah and Rahab, He can use you too.


King David, after repentance, wrote a beautiful Psalm of Thanksgiving - Psalm 100. Read and Enjoy.


Dan


Ps 100:1 (NLT) Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. 3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.