The Christmas Tree and Three Rusty Nails

Throughout the years that I was privileged to pastor a church, we always started the Christmas season with a special evening service. The Sunday afternoon following Thanksgiving we would take the children of the church to a tree farm and let them choose a Christmas tree for the church sanctuary. When we returned to the church, we would spend the rest of the afternoon putting the tree in the sanctuary and hanging lights on it. Usually we would finish just as the rest of the congregation arrived for the evening service.

We would begin worship that night by singing Christmas hymns and reading the story of Jesus’ birth. Each member had been asked to bring an ornament from home that held a special meaning to them. As an act of worship, we would then take time for everyone to hang their ornaments on the tree. Then I would read a special story about the journey of the Christ Child from the stable to the cross.

As we brought our time of worship to an end, myself as the pastor would hang my special ornament on the tree. My ornament was three spike nails fashioned in the shape of a cross. But I would not hang this cross on the outer branches of the tree. I would hide the cross out of sight on an inner branch. The hidden cross was a reminder that Christ Child whose birth we were celebrating with a Christmas tree had another tree in His future. One day the Son of Man would purchase for us the gift of eternal life by sacrificing His life on that tree shaped like a cross.

So this Christmas season, as we navigate the hubris of flying reindeer, jolly old elves and a little drummer boy, let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas. Let the beautiful lights remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world and the evergreen trees shall symbolize our hope of eternal life. Underneath the trees will be beautifully wrapped gifts, but the greatest gift of all was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The Angels in Heaven will shout these words: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

The Bible is Always Right

The Word of God is always right. It is always right about everything. Now you may have an incredible IQ or you may be abundantly ignorant, however if you say, ” I know what the Bible says but this is what I think.” Be assured of this. God does not care what you think. If you disagree with God you are wrong and He is right! Always!

The Word of God is never wrong. Maybe your circumstances have led you to think you can disregard His teaching, but you are wrong. Perhaps your situation causes you to feel as if His commandments don’t apply to your life. If so, you need to know that your feelings are wrong. Understand this. His ways are higher than your ways and His thoughts are higher than your thoughts. If you disagree with the Word of God, you are wrong and He is right.

God is never wrong! Never!

The Word of God is righteous. Some people have issues with the things the Bible teaches. Their perception of God is that He is cold and heartless. But they don’t know that God is omnipotent or that He transcends time. He was in the beginning and He is in the future. God has seen the actions of men in the past and knows the results of these actions in the future.

Do not trust your own understanding, but take joy in the Lord’s instructions. Meditate on His Word day and night and you will find that His Word is always righteous! Always!

Douglas &Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

The Promise Will Be Kept

People who know Jesus Christ as Lord believe that He is going to come again soon. And He is. We find assurance of this in 2 Peter. Inspired by God, Peter writes to help us remember and understand that the Father will keep His promise. Just as the world was once destroyed by a flood, it will most certainly one day be destroyed by fire. Before this happens however, Jesus will return to receive His bride the church, which is made up of true believers in Christ.

Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t believe this. Some think that it is just not possible, but they don’t understand the power of God. Others say that it has been over two thousand years since Christ was on earth, so therefore Jesus must not be coming back. These people don’t understand that God is the Creator of time and He is not constrained nor controlled by the calendar. The promise that Jesus will return has been made and this promise will be kept.

We in the Church like to say, “Even so Lord come quickly.” And we should look forward to His return. I know I do. But maybe we should stop going into our church buildings, shutting the doors behind us and singing, “The King is coming.” Instead we should be out preparing the way of the Lord because the Kingdom of God is near.

Jesus is patient. That is why He has not returned yet. God does not want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to repent and be saved. Since we know this, what sort of person should we be? The Bible teaches that we should walk in holiness as we go out and tell people The King is coming.

The day of the Lord is coming soon, but we don’t know when. Therefore, we should live every day at peace with God, confessing our sins and living righteously for Him. Understand this, every day that passes without His returning is another opportunity for us to share the Hope of salvation with your neighbor.

The promise was made and the promise will be kept. Jesus Christ will return in all His glory. So let us rejoice. Because soon and very soon we are going to see the King.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

Y’all come to see us some time

Email- pavementendsministry@gmail.com

Anyhow

We are a blessed people. We woke up in a dry and comfortable place this morning. Most of us had a good breakfast, if we wanted it. Indeed, God has given to most of us more toys, stuff and valuable junk than we ever had any right to expect. However, no matter how much stuff God has given us, we always want more. It seems that we are never satisfied.

The world has a way of convincing us that God’s gifts are not enough. Sometimes we accuse God of not being good to us just because we cannot afford the latest gadget. But, as much as we grumble and complain, we cannot deny that God has blessed us beyond anything we ever deserved. The fact is our Father in Heaven has provided our every need according to His riches in heaven.

As for me when I woke up this morning, I was cool, dry and comfortable. I knew I was going to have something to eat. I am healthy, so to God be the Glory. I said thank you Jesus for blessing me so much. However, I know that life can change in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow I may wake up in a cold damp cave. I may wake up hungry and sick. We never know what another day may bring into our lives. But this I do know, the God who is worthy of praise when life is easy, is also worthy of praise when life is hard.

In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul tells us that he had learned to be content in whatever state he found himself. Paul knew that no matter what he faced in life, God was good and greatly to be praised. So let us learn to be content in what ever state we find ourselves. In good times or bad, in comfort or pain, in sickness or health, let us lift our hearts to heaven and praise God anyhow.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

WOW, God Loves Me

“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean.” This is a line from one of my favorite old hymns. Like the writer of this old song I am in awe of the fact that the God of all creation loves me.

This morning as I sit in my study there is a fly buzzing around, and I am determined to hunt it down and swat it. As I think about my place in the history of this earth I know that life is but a vapor. Along with all the billions of people that have lived here before me, I know that I and that fly will soon be nothing but dust. The Word of God tells us this, it says, “from dust you were taken and to dust you will return”.

It is true that your body will return to dust. I know that sounds depressing. But understand this; there is a great and awesome God who is mindful of your soul. You are nothing but a tiny speck of dust on this earth and yet the God of all creation has set His great heart on you. You are the crowning jewel of His creation and He loves you.

It is because of His love for you that He sent Jesus, His only begotten Son as an atoning sacrifice. Jesus the Son of God was crucified for your sins. He died, was buried and rose again so that you can receive forgiveness. In the grand scheme of things, on this earth your life is but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. But if you believe in Jesus and trust Him with this tiny speck of dust that is your life, then you can live forever in Heaven in the presence of God .

That is why I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus my Savior, who took no thoughts for His own life but He shed drops of blood for mine.

Douglas Huff & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

This Old House

This Old House

On April 16,1978 Deborah and I were married. On that day, by God’s Grace the two of us became one . In 1979 we purchased a house and it has been our home every since . In this house we have laughed and cried, we have fought and made up, we have celebrated and mourned. This is were we live. In this house we raised our family and every inch of it is coated with memories. It is our home, but it is not us, it is not our marriage.

This house greatly reflects our personalities. We are familiar with all the creaks and pops and every crack in the walls. There is contentment to be found in its every flaw and we want no more comfortable place than is our house. But if it is taken from us tonite and if tomorrow we are homeless we will still have each other because what God has joined together nothing can put asunder. You see this house is our home, but it is not us, it is not our marriage.

All over this land there are buildings that people call churches. Some are beautiful brick and mortar structures while others look more like metal warehouses. In these buildings church members have laughed and cried, they have fought and made up and they have celebrated and they have mourned. In these buildings the family of God has grown and they are filled with memories. But if all these buildings were destroyed today and we had no place to gather, we would still gather and we would still worship God. These buildings are not the church, they are not our salvation.

The church is the bride of Christ, Jesus is the bridegroom . He loves the church and He gave His life for her. But when Jesus said,” I will build my Church” He was not talking about brick and mortar. No, He was talking about us. Those of us who are His followers, we are His bride, we are His church. We have been chosen by God to be precious, living stones in the spiritual house that Jesus is building.

One day all these buildings that people call churches will rot and burn, they were never meant to be permanent. However The church that is the bride of Christ is built on a firm foundation and will never fail. Christ loves the church and gave Himself for us, He has sanctified and cleanse us and one day we will be presented to Him as a glorious church, holy and without blemish.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Are You Scared

I was twelve years old and it was the opening day of deer season. It was still dark. The sun would not even think about rising for another thirty minutes. I climbed into the deer stand as Daddy’s flashlight illuminated the boards nailed into the tree. He watched as I got settled in then handed my new Winchester 30-30 up to me. Before he walked to his stand he asked me, are you scared? I said no, I’m all right. But I lied.

You see it was dark and my daddy was about to leave me setting on a board in a tree in the dark. I was scared. But I wasn’t going to tell Daddy. Because even though I was scared, I knew that I was going to be all right. I trusted my Daddy and I knew that he would not be far away and he would not leave me in danger. So even when I was just twelve, I knew you could be scared and still be all right.

I have not counted them all for myself, but I have been told that throughout the Bible we are told “do not be afraid, or fear not” 365 times. That is one fear not for every day of the year. I do know that throughout the Bible almost every time angels appear, the first thing they say is “do not be afraid”. Having thought about this a lot, I have come to believe that God is not saying that fear is sinful nor is it a bad thing. Fear teaches us to be careful and seek safety. We learn in Psalm 34:4 that if we seek the Lord He will answer us and deliver us from all our fears. For this reason, if you are in Christ you are going to be all right.

Even now I am often scared. But when I am afraid I trust in God. Because just like my Daddy would never leave me in danger, God will never leave His children in danger and He will never be far away. When He says fear not, He is saying “I know you are scared, but trust Me and I promise you, you are going to be all right.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Email- pavementendsministry@gmail.com

Daddy’s Little Girl

He was a good man, a likable man. He worked hard to provide for his family, because this is what good men do. He had no bad habits. He did not drink, do drugs nor cheat on his wife. He was a good man.

He had a daughter. A precious little girl. Man, he loved that little girl. He would do anything for his princess. They went fishing, they played tea party, anything she wanted. He went were ever she wanted to go. She took ballet lessons, he watched. She played soccer, he watched, she wanted to go to a movie he was happy to go.

He loved his precious little girl. He took her everywhere, except, well, he didn’t take her to church. He just didn’t think church was necessary. Just didn’t care for it. He said, “Church is okay for some men, but not for me, I can do with out it.” He loved his little girl, but he never took her to church.

One day he died, sooner or later everyone dies. He went to hell, that is were you go if you die without Christ in your life. He did not have Christ in his life, so, he went to hell.

Hell did not seem so bad, not near as bad as he had been told. He had been told it would be unbearably hot, but it didn’t seem to be that bad. He said, “I can handle this.” and he thought he could. But then. He heard it. The screaming. The bloodcurdling, agonizing screaming.

He recognized the voice. It was his little girl, his precious little girl.

He ran toward the sound, he saw her. Demons were tormenting her. Imagine the worst things that could possibly be done to a little girl. He ran toward her, he was going to rescue his baby.

But! There was an invisible wall . He could not get through. He could not get to his little girl. And the demons—– and she screamed, and screamed—- He pounded on the invisible wall, and she screamed, and screamed.

Then he heard the voice, the evil voice, laughing at his agony. Satan said, you did not need God, you thought hell was not bad. This is your hell. For eternity, forever, you will watch and listen as your little girl is violated, beaten and tormented by my demons. Forever!!

And then, his little girl saw her daddy. She screamed at him. The little mouth that used to sing for daddy, the little mouth that used to say, “ I love my daddy”. The little mouth screamed at him, “ DAMN YOU, DADDY, you could have took me to church, you could have let me learn about Jesus, I would have believed in Him. I would be in heaven. But you said church was not important, you said we did not need Jesus. I WISH I HAD JESUS! DAMN YOUR ETERNAL SOUL, DADDY!

This is not a true story, it is not about any particular people. I don’t know what hell is like, but I know it is an awful place. I know that it is a place of torment. I know that Jesus died on the cross, so that no one HAS to go there. I know that no one goes to the Father, except through Jesus. I know that a daddy has a tremendous influence on his children. I know that Jesus said, “ let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them.” He also said “Whoever causes one of these little ones to sin, it would be better if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

These things I do know.  I also know that a lot of daddies don’t think they need church or God. But one day——

Douglas Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

More To Come

I saw it on an empty shelf in a store. The merchandise that inhabited that shelf was sold out. In its place was a sign that said, “ more to come”. This was a promise that the empty shelf was only a temporary condition. There was more to come, it would be full again.

“More to come” that is an assurance that the emptiness will not last. This is nice if you are looking for a book in a bookstore. But what happens if it is your life that suddenly has the gaping empty spot? Where is the promise of “more to come” when death takes a loved one. Where is the hope of “more to come” when a crazy disease steals your future? Where is the desire for “more to come” when divorce invades your marriage. Life events like these often leave us feeling empty and thinking that there cannot possibility be any “ more to come.”

However in Jeremiah 29:11, God says “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Now, can you hear the laughter of children and the birds singing? That is God’s assurance that life will go on. Take a deep breath, do you feel the air rushing into your lungs? That means you’re still alive. If you’re still alive, then take the breath that is in your lungs as God’s promise that there is “ more to come”.

Please understand,God never promised His children that every day would be good. But if we trust Him, we will find that everyday God is good. As a child of God, we have only seen the beginning. We don’t know how we will end up. Our eyes cannot see, our ears cannot hear and our hearts cannot understand the fullness that God has for His children. We know that faith is the essence of things hoped for and the certainty of things not seen. It is our faith in Jesus that fills our empty hearts and guarantees us that there is “ More to Come”.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends