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December 2016

god conceals and we search out—keep seeking

Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 10.21.12 AMLife is challenging and I need wisdom, so every day I read a chapter out of Proverbs in the Bible. Years ago I learned that Billy Graham reads a chapter a day out of Proverbs, so I thought it would be wise for me to follow his lead. When I wake in the morning I know the chapter I will turn to—I just look at the calendar. There are thirty-one chapters in Proverbs and there are no more than thirty-one days in a month. So, I check the date, and then read the corresponding chapter. 

On Christmas Day, verse 2 of Proverbs 25 jumped out at me. It’s message is so appropriate for the 25th of December. It says,

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;

to search out a matter is the glory of kings. (NIV)

This verse reminds me of the oft used bumper sticker slogan, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” It is a phrase that extends beyond the Biblical Magi—it applies to us all. We are the kings and queens of the earth and it is our privilege, responsibility and opportunity to search out the mysteries that surround us. It is our “glory” to discern and grasp the things that matter—especially God.

From the heights of the furthest star to the depths of the human heart, there is so much to explore, discover and understand. Like a mystery, the answers are there; they simply need to be found. God conceals and we search out. Just like in a loving game of hide and seek between a parent and child, it is the delight of the child to find and be found, and it is the joy of the parent to see the child’s delight. In the midst of that joy and delight resides glory.

At Christmas time mysteries abound. In the form of gifts they surround the tree, concealed with tape, paper and ribbon, and we wonder, “What is in there for me?” In the Christmas Story we read of a star, a virgin birth, angels, shepherds, wise men and a baby lying in a manger, and we add the term, “incarnation” and hear the phrase, “God with us,” and we wonder, “What is in there for me?”

Here it is, December 28, and Christmas is over. The tree stands bare. The presents are opened and the trash can bulges with the tailings of mysteries revealed. The Christmas Story, like a Nativity Set, is boxed up and stored away until next year.

Did you find what you were looking for? I doubt it. But don’t let that empty feeling overwhelm you. If, at any moment this Christmas Season you encountered any good, any joy, any insight, any peace, any love, then hang on to it, for it is a sign—a clue—of God in your midst. God conceals and we search out. In challenge and in mystery, God is there. God wants to be found by you.

Wise men and women still seek Him.

it's dina's birthday!

Dina 2016-17 (1)"What one's life proclaims is a hundred thousand times more powerfully effective than what one's mouth proclaims."      

                                      —Soren Kierkegaard

Today is Dina's birthday. What a joy it is to celebrate her life today! She is a blessing to everyone around her. Dina is a person of few words, but her life of care, commitment, friendship and love speaks volumes. 

A birthday is a time to celebrate a life being well-lived and to thank God for the good gift of that life being lived among us. I thank God for Dina.

She is a precious blessing and I love her with all my heart.—Ryan

good news, worthy of celebration

DSC09917I recently finished reading the book, Joy in the Journey, by Steve and Sharol Hayner and in it I found a piece of writing by Steve Hayner that provides a clear picture of why it is so appropriate to celebrate Christmas. 

In the jumble of the Christmas Season we find Santa Claus, trees, lights, gifts, decorations, Rudolph, family gatherings, carols, Hallmark Christmas shows, a star, wise men, shepherds, an angel, a manger and a baby.  And like last year’s Christmas lights, all of that and more tangle together to make up what many of us currently consider to be Christmas.  I like all that stuff. (OK, since Santa is watching . . . I don’t like the Hallmark Christmas shows—how many ways can you tell the same story?) 

There is a story behind Christmas, and the story is important. Much of the Christmas season, with all of its songs, pageants, and celebration, is built around the following passage of scripture:

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)

These are the words of an angel, announcing the first Christmas.  The defining term used is, “good news.” We live in a world overrun with news, but what makes news good?  Good news is all about context. News that solves a problem, addresses a challenge, meets a need, resolves a dilemma, or gives hope, is good.

In the writing below, Steve Hayner provides the back-story, or context, for the good news of Christmas. Give it a read and find out why Christmas is the good news, worthy of celebration.


A Confession of Faith

by Stephen A. Hayner


When God created the heaven and the earth

When God created all that lives

He crowned creation with humankind

And said, “This is very good.”

The people who walked in Light,

Walked in perfect fellowship with God;

In perfect harmony with each other and with the earth.

They were whole, alive, full of joy, without fear;

They know who they were because they knew whose they were.

But they grew proud in their sufficiency,

In their abundance they forgot God.

They turned within themselves for answers

And the Light flickered out.

The people of the Light became the people of darkness.

Once they were God’s people—now they were no people.

Over the years many proposed that the darkness was normal.

Others tried to dispel the darkness with small glimmerings.

Still others, too proud to admit that something was wrong,

Just pretended that they didn’t notice.

But in the darkness lurked the fears, the sins, the insecurities,

the hurts, the sufferings, the guilt, the loneliness,

and ultimately the death which no one could finally avoid.

The Good News—God’s News—is that he never gave up.

The Author of Light was not content for a moment to watch

His good and perfect creation

Spin worthlessly off toward eternal darkness—

Infinite separation from himself.

So he began to work out his plan.

He sought out people in the darkness who in faith

Would live by the Light which they could not see.

Then, when the time had fully come, God sent his Son.

What the people living in the darkness could never do

God did by sending the One-who-was-Light into the dark.

This Light, this Life, this Lord shone in the darkness

But the darkness could not comprehend.

He came to the world which by virtue of creation belonged to him,

But the world did not recognize him or embrace him.

Yet to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God—

Not because they were good,

Not because they tried hard to please,

Not because they were worthy in any way,

But because in his love, God never gives up.

Few welcomed him at his coming;

He slipped into the world so quietly.

He might have come completely unnoticed had God not been overcome

By his own joy.

To some shepherds who were not accustomed to receiving mail,

God sent a birth announcement

On the wings and songs of a million angels.

He sent another written in the stars to some Gentile astrologers.

While he lived among us, not many believed in him.

There were a few fishermen, who were not really looking for a new job;

A couple of tax collectors, who probably should have been

     looking for a new job;

And a few handicapped folks who had been wishing for years

     that they could get a job.

He called each of them by name.

He brought Light into their darkness;

Wholeness into their lives;

Eternity into their souls.

Jesus Christ who was Light, so threatened the darkness that

humankind did what they had been doing to God for years—

They tried to box him up,

They sentimentalized him,

They tried to explain him away,

And finally they killed him.

But God raised him from the dead.

The Light would never again go out.

The Holy Spirit was sent to burn within those who believed in him.

Ablaze, the no people again became God’s people.

He still brings Light.

As quietly as he slipped into the world,

He now slips into believing hearts—

As surely as he changed the world by his coming,

No person remains the same after meeting the living Christ.

This is the Good News.


29 years . . . a gift

IMG_1341The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.Abraham Lincoln

Today we celebrate 29 years of marriage. Wow, I am thankful for Dina.  She is my best friend, an amazing mom to Becca and Sarah and the very best part of who we are as “Ryan and Dina.”

I thank God for His help and care in our lives over the years, and consider every day we share together, a gift.