Monday, January 30, 2012

The Art of Deception

I've been thinking quite a bit about truth lately. It all started when Jordan and I started listening to one of Odyssey's newest adventures: an album entitled "The Green Ring Conspiracy" (again: I highly recommend). The four-CD adventure tells of a counterfeiting operation taking place in Odyssey. In one of the episodes, when Eugene and young Emily Parker first discover that the backpack Emily found in the woods is full of counterfeit money, Emily comments how real the counterfeit looks. Eugene explains to her that deceptions are difficult to detect because they are often made as close to the truth as possible.

As close to the truth as possible. Isn't that one of the frustrating things about Satan? He "disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). But it doesn't stop there, does it? "Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness" (11:15).

All around us, lies are masquerading as the truth. And Satan loves having us believe his lies . . . lies that seem so close to the truth, we hardly even think to question them. Those lies often come through smooth talking, believable persons. People that sound good, seem smart, and are respected by a large number of people. People that we would never think to doubt or question.

So, my question to us is this: how well do we know the Truth? Do we know and study the Word of God for ourselves so that we cannot be taken in by the lies? Do we take everything we hear from the pulpit, on a podcast, or on the radio and compare it with Scripture? I think as we get closer to the return of Christ, the lies are only going to look better; more and more like the truth. I pray that we would each be so intimately acquainted with the Word and so dedicated to challenging what we hear that we are not taken captive by empty, hollow, false teaching.
"So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'" - John 8:31-32

Sunday, January 29, 2012

You are. Yes. You are.

You are alive today. 
You stand outside of time.

You entered our world as a man.
You remained God, yet became one of us.
You were tempted by the devil.
You did not sin.
You were loved by some, hated by others.
You died the death only sinners deserve.
You rose from the grave, victorious.

You are alive today.
You stand outside of time.

You enter our world as our Helper, Holy Spirit.
You remain God, yet become one with us.
You defeat the devil daily.
You fully forgive sin.
You are loved by some, hated by others.
You break the chains keeping sinners stuck.
You bring us new life, victorious.

You are alive today.
You stand outside of time.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

One Thing

But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41, 42

Many things fill the hours of our day. From the moment we wake, our brain starts making lists. We lay in bed at night, continuing our list-making for tomorrow. The faster we can move and the better we can multi-task = the more we can accomplish = the more productive/profitable our life. Right?

Time at the feet of Jesus is an action item in our schedule. It must fit within the confines of a specified time slot…because many things are waiting to be done. Many things vie for our attention. Many things need our attention, our care, and many good things rob us of physical rest and spiritual peace.

Does your daily time with your Heavenly Bridegroom reveal a travel mug or teacup relationship? Are your conversations with Jesus efficient—like calling a friend when you’re on the road (coffee in one hand, phone in the other) and “have 20 minutes to talk”? Or are they focused, quality moments—more like claiming a sofa with a friend and sharing a pot of tea?

Certainly Martha could have multi-tasked—swept the floor, poured water, and sliced bread, all while listening to Jesus. But it was Mary who Christ commended for setting aside her to do list and giving Him her undivided attention. One thing is necessary—one thing. Will you choose to recline at His feet?

One thing have I asked of the Lord,

that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

Friday, January 27, 2012

saturate well

This past week, I have been challenged with an example of Jesus in mark 2:13-17. I think many times it is easy to get caught up in the “Christian life” that this is put on the back burner. In these verses, it tells about Jesus calling Levi (Matthew), the tax collector, to be His disciple. And then later, Levi invites Jesus into His house with other tax collectors and disreputable sinners, which Jesus and His disciples did accept. Jesus and His disciples are hanging out with the “outcasts.” Jesus Himself said that He didn’t come for those who “think they are righteous, but for those who know they are sinners.” So, if as a disciple of Jesus I am to imitate Him and act like Him, then I really need to think about that statement.

We had the privilege of having Dr. Don Bierle at our church here in Mesa this week to do a seminar on “Thinking like Jesus.” His main statement was “Thinking like Jesus so we act like Him,” as He talked about the importance of saturating ourselves in the Word in order that we may think like Jesus in order that we may act like Him. How many times have we tried to do the “Christian” thing, but fail? How many times has that happened, and we later realize that we tried to do it by our own strength and ability? See, God wants me to be like Jesus, but how can I be like Jesus without learning to Think like Him, and how can I learn to think like Him without knowing Him, and how can I know Him without saturating myself with the Word of God. It can’t be done. We may try, but it can’t. My life is an example of that truth.

So in combining the Bible Study and Seminar teachings, I have realized that I am to not shut out those who are not as “righteous” as I am – really, I am worse that those labeled as “sinners” in today’s qualifications. But, everyone needs Jesus. In working in a church, it is easy to minister to those who know Christ – they may need encouragement, but they already know Him. We tend to avoid those who sleep around, drink, gamble, smoke, etc. But if we avoid them, how can we let them know that the Kingdom of God is for them as well? If we avoid them, how can they know that Jesus loves them – for we are to be the picture of Christ to the world, and I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says love is to avoid. We do need to guard our hearts for sure, but when we saturate our minds with the Word of God, the Spirit will guide us. Will we be willing to go where God leads? And will we be saturated with the word enough that we are thinking like Jesus as we go, and as a result acting like Him?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lift Up Your Face.

Do ever find yourself easily discouraged? Do you ever wish you could draw nearer to God? In church this Sunday our Pastor preached on Jonah. He talked about hearing the voice of God. But how do you know when it's the voice of God? Do you ever doubt if God is speaking to you? Do you ever wonder "how do I hear the voice of God?"

The answer is so simple, it was staring me in the face. Do you know how God speaks to us? When you want to hear the Word of the Lord, when you need to hear the Word of the Lord, when your heart is crying out to hear the Word of the Lord, OPEN UP THE WORD OF THE LORD!

We hear his voice through His Word and as we read His Word it resonates in us. As we read His Word the Holy Spirit is actively working in us revealing God's truths to us. The Lord desires to speak to you.

With this sermon in mind I opened up my Bible on Monday and read James chapter one. Beautiful verse after beautiful verse filled with God's truth for me. 

James 1:22-25 "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."

Jonah's problem was not hearing the Word. Jonah's problem was obeying the Word. But God had something He wanted Jonah to do and one giant fish later Jonah was in Nineveh and because the people heard God's Word, His voice, they repented and were saved. Jonah 3:5 "The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth." Just like James 1 says that do what the Word says brings blessing when the Ninevites heard the Word and repented as they were told they were blessed. 

I heard Third Day's song "Lift Up Your Face" on the way to work this morning and it flooded me with God's reassurance. This may not seem entirely related, but this verse especially "You feel like your life is fading, You’re tired of waiting, for your moment to arrive, But tomorrow will bring a song that you can sing, And your hope is gonna rise, Love is coming and it’s calling out your name" were words I needed to hear this morning.

Sometimes it's so hard for us to step away from our social media, phones, tv shows, to do lists, friends, family and life's distractions to quiet ourselves before the Lord. The most important conversation of our day is the one we have with God. The most important thing we will do all day is to be with Him, to be in His Word, to bow down at His throne, to lift our voices in pray and praise, to lift up our face to God Almighty.

This sermon, Jonah, James and this song have all been ways this week that I have heard God's voice. Not because I've figured out the magic trick or secret, but because when we hear his Word we hear His voice. 

So be in the Word, obey the Word, lift up your face and hear His voice.

God's blessings on your week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Grandpa on the Farm

My grandpa celebrated his 82nd birthday this past week. It would be the last birthday he celebrated here on earth. The Lord called Grandpa on the Farm home to heaven on Friday morning.

Ever since I can remember, Grandpa has seemed "old": he suffered from congenital heart failure and Parkinson's disease; and compared with my Grandpa Tonneson, he definitely had the longer list of health issues. So, his death wasn't necessarily a surprise. As my mom said, he was the man with nine lives - there were so many different occasions when we didn't think that Grandpa was going to live much longer, and yet he did. Except this time.

As I think about Grandpa as I remember him, it's heartbreaking. But, as I think about Grandpa as he is now - in heaven with his beloved Jesus - it's exciting. It's exciting for me to think of what that new body of his looks like . . . is he still well over six feet tall, now able to stand completely erect? I love imagining the youthful joy that's in his face - not the worn, aged look I remember since I was young. I love picturing his enthusiasm and awe as he stands in the presence of the Lord - maybe even dancing with joy before Him!

I don't know the theology of it all - like whether or not Grandpa has this new body now or if he has to wait for Christ's return to earth for the resurrection of his body - but I do know where he is: in Paradise. And I imagine that Paradise with Jesus in an unglorified body is just as amazing as Paradise with Jesus in a glorified body.
"For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on the immoratlity, then will come about the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 15:53-57 (emphasis added)
I am so grateful that Grandpa on the Farm knew Jesus because death has no victory in Him. But my heart goes out to those who do not know Jesus; to those left behind who know their loved ones are not in a place of joy but of torment. Let's not waste the time given to us by the Lord to share the glorious news of His salvation with those around us. After all, He "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours

Pain, pain, and more pain. That just about sums up the past two weeks in the life of Katelyn Gudim.

1. I got a nasty concussion while snow tubing last Sunday. My 5th concussion--pretty impressive, but not fun to recover from.
2. My close friend Bekah Moore left for Nepal for TWO years, with minimal communication possible.
3. Two dear classmates and friends from my small hometown of Rockford, Minnesota were killed as they fell through the ice on a lake while snowmobiling. Both of the boys were buried today.

So as to say, these two weeks haven't been the best ever. As I've sat in such great physical and emotional pain these past few days, I came to wonder what in the world my God is doing. It'd be so great to confess some deep, inspiring meaning that I've found behind all of this in my life, but I can't. The only thing that I can say is that God has a purpose in all of it, and He understands.

As I was listening to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (listening to audio books in the dark became the only thing I could do besides sleeping for a while!), I was shocked by a statement made by Aslan. As he was being led to his death, he stated that he was "alone and sad". For those of you who haven't read or seen anything about Narnia, Aslan represents Christ, so that statement took me aback. I think I forget that sometimes-- Jesus had physical and emotional pain too.

"He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not"--Isaiah 53:3

Jesus had emotional pain, as seen here, and also physical pain, as seen in the Cross.

However, Jesus had perfect communion with the Father. He knew what was going on, and could His plan in all of the pain. We, on the other hand, do not. Often times when I find myself in the midst of some great pain, I question God in why He let it happen in my life. But there is hope in this, because God knows what good He has in all of it.

1. This concussion was more severe than past ones, so the recovery process has not been great. However, as I was not allowed to read, write, watch tv, or use the computer, I had a lot of down time on my hands. This led to plenty of time to think and pray that usually do not have.
2. My friend is going as a missionary dealing with human trafficking, which is awesome! I'm excited to see what He does through her.
3. It's hard to see the good that could come out of my friend's deaths, but I know God is doing something. I'm praying that He calls those in Rockford that are mourning to His comfort and love, and that they would turn to Him with their lives.

Whatever situation you find yourself in at the moment--and I'm sure all of you could share some story about pain in your life as well-- know that God has a purpose in it. He knows exactly how you are feeling, and knows exactly what He's doing with it. The only thing we can do is bring it to Him. Bring Him your hurt, your tears, your pure exhaustion. He knows, He cares, and He isn't finished.

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." --Romans 12:12

Monday, January 16, 2012

Troubled, Distressed & Burdened . . . But Never Alone

Does it ever seem to you like Satan is winning? That the horrible, difficult, and tragic circumstance of this world seem to overtake those that are joyful, encouraging, and positive? Tonight, as I read through a list of prayer requests from my home church and began thinking over the many events this past week that demand urgent, intense prayer, I began to feel this way. Many loved ones in the body of Christ have cancer. Grandparents age - sometimes with pain. Family members are walking in rebellion and heartbreaking sin. Life is full of trouble.

And really, this shouldn't surprise us. Jesus promised His disciples - and us - that we would face troubles. But we only have to look to scripture to remember that we are not alone in the midst of these difficulties and distresses:
"'In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33 
"'Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.'" - Matthew 11:28-30 
". . . He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,' so that we may confidently say, 'The LORD is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?'" - Hebrews 13:5-6 
"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18 
"'Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you by My righteous right hand.'" - Isaiah 41:10
Whatever difficult circumstance you find yourself in, remember the wonderful truth that you are not alone. We have the God of the universe on our side - and last time I checked, He defeated Satan at the cross!

"There will be storms in this life, but I know You will overcome; You have overcome."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


How often do we focus on the I in serving and make it about ourselves?

Take a moment to check out this video:

I was struck by the closing comment at the end "What would it look like to serve these people in the name of Jesus in a way that honored their vulnerability and gave them dignity." Wow.

Far too often my focus in serving is on myself and on my own discomfort. I see how wrong that focus is. My focus in service should be in grace, kindness, gentleness and gratitude to those brave enough to open themselves up, allowing me in and letting me love them in Christ.

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Lesson from Odyssey

I love listening to Adventures in Odyssey. It's safe to say I listen to at least an episode a day, if not more. Listening to an episode or two of Odyssey makes cleaning the bathrooms, washing the dishes, or making supper enjoyable. But I don't just love Odyssey because it's noise to have in the house when I'm home alone - I love Odyssey because, even as a 23 year old, I still learn important lessons and truths from God's Word. 

Today's episode was one of those that truly challenged me. Unfortunately, it cannot be summed up justly in this blog. So, tonight, as you get ready for bed, or tomorrow as you wash the dishes, procrastinate studying, or make a batch of cookies, I encourage you to listen to the episode entitled "Tornado". You can do so by clicking here: Or, you can pay a couple bucks here (and trust me, it'd be well worth it):

May you be challenged and encouraged as you listen to the love of little Mandy. And may we be spurred to share the love of Jesus in the same manner. O Lord, when I see a need around me, may I not harden my heart or turn blindly away from them. Give me Your eyes, Your heart, and Your zeal to accomplish that which You call me to!
"Jesus didn't give us exceptions on who to show His love to." - Chris, Adventures in Odyssey host 
"'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward to you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?'" - Matthew 5:43-47 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Life Is Engaging

Christmas and New Years are two holidays that inundate my mind with memories every year.

This year was no exception.

Being back home in Montana is always a delight. This year was different because of the fact that the doctor ordered me to refrain from any activities which would involve "jumping or jarring." That took skiing and making jelly out of the picture.

So instead of skiing my days away; I read, wrote, and crocheted hats. There is something about unplugging yourself from the computer, curling up on the couch, and spending hours with God in anticipation of Christmas. The weeks that I was dreading became a delight. My heart was readied for the day we remember God's coming in the flesh. I soaked up the hours I spent in silence. Life was simple and full of peace. Conversations with old friends reminded me of a two way street of encouragement. Meals were shared with loved ones and laughter filled the room.

Then everything changed.

On the first day of 2012, the year of our Lord; my life changed forever. With the sun rising over Flathead Lake, I picked through the rocks next to the frigid water with my closest friend. We were hunting for the perfect stones to make jewelry. Interrupting her search, I said "Emily come look at the rocks by me!" The rocks I had would offer her a surprise.

As I crouched close to the ground, I placed a stone on my knee that I had chiseled the words"Will you marry me?" with check boxes next to the words "Yes" and "No." Reaching in my pocket I pulled out a little white box. When I said "Emily look at this rock I found!" she quickly turned in my direction. With eyes locked, I "popped the question" and now this relationship is "set in stone."

The days that followed were a blur.

Phone calls to family and friends became an act of worship. Seeing opportunities to laugh together, cry together, and praise God together; we let those closest to us know that we would be getting married. The moments of our days seems to be more and more vibrant. Our senses heightened and our awareness increased. People coming and going matter. Without taking the time to really think about it, we realize that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives in a mighty way.

I am now back in Minnesota, anticipating the start of my last semester of college. This will be good. Now I look forward to getting a diploma and starting a new life with a wife. Words don't even begin to express the excitement welling up inside me. Each day now presents itself with new challenges. I've got hope that the Holy Spirit will keep me as engaged in life as I am to my future wife.


The sermon was nearly half finished. A loud thump at the back of the room caught my attention. Someone called out for a doctor. My nursing instinct took over and surge of adrenaline sent me to the back of the church. A young, pregnant woman was on the floor, surrounded by medical professionals of all specialties. The most obvious initial response was to treat for low blood sugar. Another member and I went in search of a sugary drink--juice, coke, anything to increase her glucose. After searching various rooms and asking numerous people (and after what seemed an eternity) we finally secured some juice. The sweet liquid was truly life-giving. The unconscious woman awoke almost instantly.

I crept back to my seat. As the service concluded, the pastor made his way to the table before him. White napkins cloaked the ‘body’ and ‘blood’ of our Savior. As ‘the cup’ made it’s way down my row, I could hardly help but chuckle to myself. It was right there, the whole time. The life-giving-giving substance we’d been searching for--the fruit of the vine. There it was--right in front of us! On our Lord’s table.

I wondered to myself, how often do I find myself in desperate and searching. What non-satisfying places do I turn to? When all along, what I needed was directly in front of my face--Jesus.

Christ’s blood purchased us life. We need only allow the cup--His blood--to do it’s miraculous, redeeming work. “And [Christ] took a cup...and gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

How easily we forget that the Power in the Blood doesn't stop with salvation! Following redemption, His blood continues its daily, sanctifying work in our life. In Jesus' blood we find hope, peace, joy, and strength to meet any trial, struggle, burden, or sorrow. “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” John 6:52-56

Look no further--the table is spread before you. Come to Jesus. Drink and be saved. Drink deeply and abide in Him.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


The time of year has come upon us to make resolutions that we aim to keep all year long. The year of 2012 has just arrived and people are busy starting things up again, but at the same time reflecting on the past year and anticipating what the next will bring. As I have been doing just that, I have come up with my own New Year's Resolution.

This year, I'm going to stop.

As humans, we always desire to give back in return for anything given to us. We're extremely bad at accepting gifts without being able to give in return. That is exactly why we have a hard time accepting God's gracious salvation as a gift-- something that does not have a price that we must pay.

Romans 3:21 "But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"

Scripture clearly states that Christ finished everything in the work of redemption on the Cross. However, our human nature tells us we have to contribute to this gift in order for it to truly be our's. We try to be "good" and do our try harder and push forward. We try to be a better Christian, a better witness, a better all around person. We try and try and try! But do we ever get anywhere?

The law is exhaustive. It demands perfection in every aspect of one's life--thought, word, and deed. Without God, we live under the law. We are expected to adhere to every rule and regulation in the Word of God, we are to be holy (set apart, different) as God is holy. But we cannot. It is absolutely impossible to fulfill even one aspect of the law in our own strength, and even if you could manage to keep the law in all areas except one, it will have still been broken. "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it."-- James 2:10.

BUT! The most glorious word in the world. BUT. It signifies that there is more, that the last statement is not the end result. BUT. God has poured out His grace upon us, lavished us in His love, and bought us with the price of His very own blood. BUT! The story isn't finished. He has given us such a glorious, gracious FREE gift that is our very own. We do not have to work to deserve it or even work to keep it. The gift of salvation is our very own. Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and King, we are emerged in His love.

So this year, I'm going to stop. I'm going to stop trying to achieve my salvation. I'm going to "cease striving, and know that [He is] God."--Psalm 46:10.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Keeping Christmas Like Scrooge

I'll be honest: I've never been a big fan of New Years. Maybe it's because January 1 seemed to symbolize that the Christmas season is completely over. Maybe it's because January 1 meant the return to school was only days away. Maybe it's because January 1 appears to be the end of all our Christmas festivities and excitement. And for someone who loves Christmas, it's sad to see it all come to an end.

The other day, I was listening to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I was struck by what was written about Scrooge after his visits from the three ghosts. Dickens writes that Scrooge began to "keep Christmas" better than anyone. Instead of living in contempt of Christmas, Scrooge brought Christmas into everyday life throughout the year. Scrooge was no longer blind to the needs of those around him nor hard to their plight and thence a hoarder of his money; he became a man who generously gave to those in need. He was no longer the grumpy, terrifying old man but became a man filled with joy who was loved by all.

I was greatly challenged by old Ebeneezer's actions. What does it look like in my life to "keep Christmas" throughout the year? It probably doesn't mean that our tree and other decor needs to stay up all year long; and it probably doesn't mean that I have to go Christmas shopping every month. But what about bringing joy to those around me through other means? Maybe it's by baking cookies for a neighbor or inviting others into our home for a meal, games and fellowship. Maybe it's by asking the Lord to soften my heart towards the needy around me and giving generously to them, no matter the cost to myself. Maybe it's intentionally spending more time in His Word, focused on a specific passage like we so often do with the Christmas accounts. Maybe it is simply taking time to sit back and ponder the incredible, miraculous reality of God's love towards us.

As we consider how to "keep Christmas", I think Paul has some good, practical ways that we can bring that Christmas spirit into every month of the year:
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly." - Romans 12:9-16
"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." - Galatians 6:9-10
I don't usually make New Year's resolutions. But this year, my goal is to "keep Christmas" better than anyone, just like Scrooge. By living out those passages of Scripture (and many, many more), I hope to bring the joy of Christmas to those around me every day of the year. Because really, the joy of Christmas is Jesus Himself, and He cannot be contained in a single month. Although I'm not quite sure how it will look, I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for my keeping Christmas throughout 2012.

So. This is Christmas. What have you done? And what will you do?