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The initial frenzy of our Thanksgiving dinner was past.  Everyone was slowing down from half a day of eating lightly and pouring into the big annual feast.  We laughed, teased and passed the food.

We looked at the table fare after everyone had seconds and started nibbling.  Once again the leftovers were huge.  There were very few items that were over half eaten.

But, that’s part of the plan.  For days when our children fill up our little home they are free to graze.  The microwave will be busy over the next few days.

Now, that everyone was relaxed it was time to forage for information.  “What were some of the highlights of your year?  What do you want me to put into the Christmas letter?”

Everyone looked at each other.  Who would go first?  Looking over the past year is a lot like trying to summarize a great novel into a condensed version for Reader’s Digest.  How is that possible?

But, Christmas letters are great for family and friends.  Yet, they all get loads of letters in the mail and over cyberspace.  To get the letter read it has to have some key features embedded in layout.

I only read the letters that are short, one page is max!  If that is my basis to triage the many letters that come my way then that’s how I write mine too.

One page to describe the lives of seven people over a year is a challenge. But, it is better that one page is read and successfully communicates than multiple pages that are sent but not read.  Brevity is that is representative is both a necessity and art.

Grabbing attention is also important.  Something has to attract the reader to start reading.  At least one family picture serves that purpose.  If I can get our friends and family to pause and smile at a picture, then they might read the letter.

Finally, I enjoy writing with a creative genre.  I use our late family dog Dusty to serve as my amanuensis, my personal scribe.  It’s fun to try to see through my imagination what our lives would look like from our late dog’s perspective.

It is fun and challenging and satisfying all at the same time.  The Lord has blessed all seven of us amazing days filled with His touch.  To share it all with those that are important to us is a treat.

photo credit: brucefong photography

Writing this blog has been a fun personal discipline.  I am grateful that my son suggested it to me.  He and his wife got me started and it has been a great ride.

When he first suggested the idea, I didn’t even know what a blog was.  Naturally, I asked him what he was talking about, wondering if he was pulling my leg.  He sent me to the world-wide web for some familiarity training.

I had entered into an amazing world of words, ideas, opinions, imagination, creativity and fun.  Several blogs captured my attention.  Of course I avoided certain subjects.

Slowly an idea began to take shape in my mind.  The more that I read, the more that I visualized a purpose for a blog that I would write.  With the end in mind, I looked for a means to reach that objective.

My initial efforts at writing were stiff, rigid and hesitant.  I can see those features when I reread my earliest writings.  Slowly, writing became less of my concern and a free-flowing expression of thought began to develop.

Over time I learned and learned and learned.  I paid more attention to the writing of others.  My purpose shaped my writing.

Now, after years of this personal discipline I am amazed.  WordPress noted that on December 1, 2011 this blog reached a historic level.  Overall, this site had received 500,000 hits. 

It is monumental for me.  This is a hobby, a pastime, a personal discipline.  You have blessed me by stopping in for a visit. 

All of us are on a journey.  My interest is in your spiritual pilgrimage.  So many of us travel that road alone. 

While faith is definitely personal, seeking advice of others, counsel from the experienced or encouragement from kind hearts makes good sense.  That is what my goal is with this simple presentation.  Like a cup of cool water and a respite on the journey, I desire to cheer on the spirit, encourage the progress and pass on the wisdom others have given to me.

Thanks for joining me on so many of our forays through life.  Some of you are frequent visitors.  Some have a regular alert for all of my new postings.

Whatever or whenever you can stop by I want you to know that I appreciate you.  It has often surprised me that I cannot NOT write.  May we all see His grace and mercy on our journey with Jesus as our LORD.

photo credit: brucefong photography

Christians are not perfect.  No Christian really believes that they are.  The only ones who try to advance this allegation are the critics of the faith.

Anyone who reads the Scriptures easily sees the human flaws in all of us.  The only difference is that Christians are forgiven.  With their new state of redemption comes the hope of doing things that have eternal value. 

In the church in ancient Corinth, the believers we still immature in their faith.  Paul confronts them with the sin of immorality.  One of the men was “shacking up” with his father’s wife and no one was addressing the problem.

The apostle urges the believers to act decisively with this overtly sinful man.  He should be put out of their fellowship and handed over to Satan.  That is, he is no longer under the protection of the collective church or its spiritual leaders.

Influence is something that affects us all.  When responsibility is shirked, then there are consequences.  One is a desensitization to other sin.  Once we overlook dirt, then we just get more and more dirty.

Paul teaches that overt sin that is arrogantly touted will infect others.  Like a disease unredeemed sin will contaminate the whole church.  As yeast spreads throughout the dough, sin has the same kind of effect.

Jesus Christ is the answer to sin.  He has been sacrificed as payment for our sin no matter how ugly it has been.  Christ died as a payment for our sins, a sacrifice for all who put their faith in Him.

The apostle identifies specific sins that crept their way into the church and may be unchallenged.  Malice is one of those sins.  It is the term used for evil intent, the attitude that we have toward others.  When that attitude turns into some overt as words to deeds then it becomes the sin of wickedness.

Instead, Christians should deliberately pursue sincerity and truth.  Sincerity is genuineness.  This is the vernacular when we live REAL lives of faith, consistent with our character and conduct so that there is a match with our claims.

Christians can be remarkably practical with this passage of Scripture.  When someone calls himself a Christian but is “sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler” don’t even eat with them.  Even if the option of enjoying the best prime rib dinner is the lure, make the choice to refuse.  God is the judge, so let Him have an exclusive on them.

1 corinthians 5.1-13