After Christmas

Christmas Day has come and gone. With all the excitement and dreams, it was inevitable that some people would be disappointed by Christmas. Some children opened their presents to find underwear and many parents where heartbroken because children and grandchildren could not come home this year. Sometimes the plays and cantatas don’t fulfill your expectations while the family gatherings may have made you wonder how you can possibly be kin to those people. Yes, Christmas has come and gone and left some people disappointed.

However, dissatisfaction started with the very first Christmas. From the very beginning God has promised a Savior, and a Messiah. People were looking for a priest like Melchizedek, a prophet like Moses, a general like Joshua and a king like David. They expected the King of kings to be born in a palace and heralded by royalty. The royal nursery should have been glamorous and the royal bedding should have been fine linen.

But no, this first Christmas was a disappointment to many. The King of kings was born in the insignificant town of Bethlehem. His nursery was a stable, His bedding was old rags and hay. The Child would be raised in Nazareth and everybody knew that nothing good ever came from Nazareth and certainly not the Messiah.

The first Christmas however was exactly as it was supposed to be. If people were disappointed it was because they did not know The Father or His plan. The Savior came the first time as a Suffering Servant to seek and save the lost. The next time He comes it will be as a Conquering King to destroy the destroyer. The first time He came He was wrapped in rags, the next time He comes He will be robed in Glory. The first time He came He saved the sinners, the next time He comes He will claim His bride.

Christmas is a hard time of the year for many people. If that includes you then My heart goes out to you. But be encouraged, you may be disappointed at Christmas time but you will never be disappointed with Christ. As our Savior He gives us hope, as our Messiah He gives us peace, as our Lord He gives us comfort and as our King He gives us the victory. And please don’t forget that Jesus brings joy to the world and joy to you and me.

Douglas Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Pray for Peace

The soldier has a few hours of down time. He spends this time cleaning his weapons and checking his equipment. Christmas is coming. From his pocket he pulls a picture of his family. He kisses his finger and touches his wife’s face. With a smile he thinks about how excited his children will be on Christmas morning. He wishes he could be there to put their bikes together. It is hard to keep the sand out of his equipment. He wonders, “Will there ever be Peace on earth?”

The young mother drives home late at night. The brakes on her car have started making a squealing noise. Christmas is in a week. She thinks about the tip money she received tonight. It won’t buy many gifts for her two children. Her heart still trembled from the fear she felt when that customer was so rude. She had wanted to just run and hide. But that other customer was so kind, he left her that twenty dollar tip with a simple note that said, God Bless you. She thought, “Maybe their will be Peace on Earth after all.”

A policeman sits in the backseat of a mangled car. He leans forward to hold the hand of a young man whose broken body is barely clinging to life. The policeman prays as the young man cries for his mama. As the jaws of life loudly rips the car apart the radio suddenly starts playing. As the radio plays, “Joy to the World, the Lord Has Come” the life of the young man slips away. The officer bows his head with a prayer that the young man has found the Peace that is not of this earth.

An old preacher sits on the back pew of a quiet country church. The worship service is over and the people have all gone home. In his heart, he still hears the choir singing and the children laughing. It was a good service tonight. Christmas plays are always special. His heart had filled with pride when the youngest member playing the part of the angel said, ” For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” When the choir sang they really did sound like a chorus of Angels. Before he leaves for home the old preacher bows his head and prays that there will be peace on earth tonight.

Christmas is about hope. The soldier, the mother, the policeman and the preacher all hope and pray for the same thing. We all hope and pray for the same thing. So like the angels let this be our song, ” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

The Sounds of Christmas

            When God delivered His final message through Malachi, (who wrote the last book of the Old Testament), He stopped communicating with man for nearly 400 years. It was a deafening silence in divine revelation. After 400 years God broke His silence by sending angels to speak to Zacharias, Mary and Joseph. The message they heard was this. The fullness of time had come and the promised Messiah would soon be born. God had broken His silence with the sound of Christmas.

            For us today a long year is winding down. We have celebrated a day of thanksgiving with our families. The shopping season has begun with a vengeance and December has rolled in with a blast of cold air. But listen, the Salvation Army bells are ringing, someone somewhere is singing, “Do you hear what I hear” and the radio is playing, “The Little Drummer Boy”.  Now our hearts have to be lifted because these are the sounds of Christmas.

            I hear the sound of grandchildren saying; let me tell you what I want for Christmas.  There is a sound of laughter as people decorate the tree and a rustling of paper as the gifts are wrapped.  Listen carefully and you can hear the sound of hope, especially if your hope is in Christ. Tune your ears just right and hear the sound of joy that is inexpressible and full of glory. Lift your heart with a song of praise because all around us are the sounds of Christmas.

            I pray that the melody of peace will fill your hearts today. May you have peace within yourself as you put away your past and know that you can face the future without fear.  Let us have peace with each other as our hearts hum the songs of forgiveness, love and charity.  I hope that the song of God’s peace will rule in your heart. I hope you feel His hand on your shoulder as He guides you through life and may you hear His voice as He whispers words of comfort. Be still and listen to the heartbeat of Jesus. It is in His heartbeat that you will truly hear the Sound of Christmas.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Worship

Children, loud and boisterous, running and jumping, they laugh loudly and giggle uncontrollably. Somebody needs to tell them to be quiet they are getting on my nerves. They are marking up the walls and scratching the floor and one of them just spilled his juice on the pew cushion. 

And yet the best clue we have as to what kind of worship style Jesus prefers is found in Mark 10:13–16;  Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13–16)

            We are sending the children out of the room and telling them to be quiet because we are trying to worship, but Jesus is saying, “Hey leave them alone”!  Do you want to know what worship in heaven is like?  Then watch the little children. They crawl all over Jesus. They laugh, they giggle and Jesus tickles them so they will laugh some more. When they get tired, they sit in his lap and cuddle with Him.

            Maybe, just maybe, we can get it through our thick heads that worship is not for our sake. Worship is for God’s pleasure. That is what He tells us in Psalms 149:2-4, Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people.”   

            Let’s learn to worship with joy, laughter and even dancing. Then when we get tired we can climb up unto His lap, lean back and rest in our Savior’s arms. 

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. Families spend time together and there’s always plenty of turkey, dressing and gravy. Thanksgiving comes at the best time of the year. I love the falling leaves, the cool days, the cold nights and the smell of smoke from someone’s fireplace. I love Thanksgiving for many reasons, but most of all I love the fact that grateful people are giving thanks to our good and gracious God.

In First Thessalonians, Paul the Apostle teaches us about thanksgiving. He begins by showing us that we should give thanks always for one another. We should be thankful for our churches, church leaders and our pastors. As we thank God for our friends and loved ones, we should also constantly lift each other up in prayer.

The Word of God tells us that it is His will that we should give thanks in everything. Now, I do not think that God is insisting that we give thanks for all things because there are some things that we are just not going to be thankful for. However, God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. Therefore, no matter what circumstance we are in, we can always give thanks because we know that God is in it with us.

The Bible teaches that we are to rejoice always, because there is always joy to be found in Jesus. We should pray without ceasing, because we have a God who never ceases to listen to our prayers. In everything we can give thanks, because God is victorious over all things.

I love Thanksgiving because on this day and every day, I know that my gracious God is worthy of all my gratitude.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

Set Your House in Order

I once knew a man who became very sick. He went to the doctor for treatment. However, the doctor was unable to help him. He had an untreatable cancer and only a short time to live. What can a man do in this situation other than go home and get his house in order.

This man and his wife of many years had worked hard to build a house, a home and raise a family. As he looked around, he realized the house that he would leave behind was in shambles. Not wanting to leave his wife in such a rundown house he began to make sure it was restored and in good condition. Yes, he was going to be gone and would not benefit from the restored house, but he loved his wife, so he got the house in order.

Society is the house we live in and it is in shambles. It does not matter what your age is, you are not promised tomorrow. If you do not want to leave a broken and rundown house behind, do something to improve society today. Remember your loved ones are going to live in this world you leave behind.

So cover this world and your loved ones with prayer. Then broadcast seeds of the Gospel everywhere you go. Be kind to everyone and lend a helping hand to at least one person today.

Love God with all your heart and let this love be evident in your words and actions. Remember this, if one person has a closer walk with God because of your actions today, then you have made the world a better place for tomorrow. And you will have succeeded in setting your house in order.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

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

Enoch’s Walk

Here is a riddle for you. In the Bible I lived longer than any other man, but I died before my father did. Who am I? Of course most people know that Methuselah is the man who lived the longest. But how is it possible for him to live the longest and yet he dies before his father does? Well, the simple answer is this. His father was Enoch, a man who never experienced death. Enoch was a righteous man. One day as he walked with God, the door of Heaven was open to him so he walked right in and he was never seen on earth again.

When we read the story of Enoch in Genesis 5, we find that he walked with God after the birth of his son Methuselah. Was he a righteous man before the birth of his son? I don’t know, but I do know that he did walk with God after Methuselah was born. I believe the weight of responsibility that came with this seven or eight pound baby boy drove Enoch to his knees. Enoch realized that walking with God was the only way he could ever be the father that Methuselah needed him to be.

The Bible teaches that, “Children are a heritage from the LORD. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” Arrows are made to fly high and fly far. They are also made to fly straight and true. But it is the strength of the archer that bends the bow and launches the arrow. It is the skill of the archer that aims the arrow and hits the target and it is the wise archer who develops arrows to be true and straight.

The Word of God is clear. It is the responsibility of daddy to train up a child in the way he should go. A father should encourage his children to fly high and fly far, but he also must teach them to fly straight and true. This is a terrifying responsibility because the truth is unless he trusts in God no man has the strength, the skill, or the wisdom that children need from their daddy. Therefore the challenge is for every daddy to be like Enoch and to become known as a man who walks with God.

Douglas Huff & Deborah Huff
From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Reconciliation

He walked into the shop early on a Monday morning. With my usual greeting I asked him, “ how are you doing today?” His answer was “ I don’t know yet.” My pastor senses were triggered, telling me that he had some problems on his mind. I said, “ Jesus loves you, so everything is going to be alright.” His face lit up and he said, “ Brother, you know you are right, and I really needed to be reminded of that this morning.”

His name was Harry and he and I immediately became friends. We are about the same age and have a lot in common. Both of us love Jesus, our families and America. In our conversation, we talked about the craziness in the world today. We are both concerned about all the riots and the hysteria over the corona virus. This causes us both to worry about the world that our grandchildren will inherit. Thankfully, we both know that Jesus is in control.

Oh, by the way Harry’s skin is dark and my skin is light. But our different skin color does not matter to us. We became friends because of all we have in common. It is our common prayer that America would return to the God of our salvation and be healed.

In this world we live in, racism is a commodity of small minded and manipulative people. Many politicians, most of the news media and some so called preachers, exist only for the money they make by causing heartache and division. These evil and wicked people thrive most when good people suffer. They hate it when good men like Harry and I ignore our differences and come together over the things we have in common.

Hey, let’s turn this world around. Just turn off the news. Those talking heads on television will only tear us apart. Love God with all your heart and your world will be changed. Love your neighbor as you love yourself and you might change their world. Understand this, you cannot be reconciled with your fellow man until you are reconciled with God. I am paraphrasing Romans 10:12-13 when I say; “ There is no difference between Black and White, because the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:12-13

Let us all call on the name of the Lord and let the reconciliation begin.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

He is My Father and He Loves Me

My daddy is going to kill me! Sixteen years old and he has only had his driver’s license for a month. Driving his daddy’s truck he looks down to change the radio station and does not see the car in front of him slowing down to make a turn. Thankfully no one is hurt, but two vehicles are damaged.

Many teenagers have heard a list of “do nots” from their parents. Don’t hang out with people who do drugs, don’t drink alcohol, don’t look at your phone while driving, and many other do nots. Good parents always give their teenagers freedom with boundaries. However, most young people will mess up sometimes. And like the distracted driver who wrecked his parent’s truck they might think, “ my daddy is going to kill me.”

Of course there will be consequences for the mistakes that have been made. But when the parents arrive on the scene the first thing they do is grab the child and hug him tightly. Mamas and daddies love their children unconditionally and nothing will change that. The most important thing right now is that their baby is safe.

I am a child of God. He is my Father in Heaven. In Christ I am free, but there are boundaries that I should not cross. And yet I often do. This is sin. There are consequences for sin. So I stand heartbroken before God, knowing that I deserve the wages of sin. But a broken and contrite heart my Father will not despise. Because of His unconditional love for me, I am safe in the arms of God.

Borrowing a thought from Job 13:15-16 I say, God might kill me, but I have no other hope. This is what will save me. I am not Godless nor am I Fatherless. I am made righteous by the Blood of Jesus and saved by the Grace of God. He is my Father and He loves me.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

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