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

No Longer Frustrated

I love woodworking but I am not an expert. As a matter of fact I cannot saw a straight line and I seldom measure the same way twice. Recently while working in my shop, I was building a chest and trying to do it perfectly. However, no matter how hard I tried I could not cut the boards correctly. They were either to short, to long, crooked or the angles were wrong. I was getting frustrated.

Then I stopped talking to the wood, and had a stern conversation with myself. I told myself, “ You are doing this because you enjoy it. If you are not enjoying why are you doing it?” With that thought in mind, I decided to just relax and not try so hard.

From then on everything seemed to go smoother. Yes, I still make mistakes. Cuts are often crooked and angles are sometimes wrong. Really my work is full of imperfections. But I no longer stress about it. I choose to let the imperfections be part of the character and beauty of the work. No longer do I concern myself with what others might say. I simply do what I do for the joy of doing it.

Recently my daily Bible reading had me in Numbers chapter 28. As I read, I thought about how frustrated the people must have been as they tried to please God. They had laws to keep that they could never keep. So they had to make many sacrifices to atone for the laws they constantly broke. They were imperfect people trying to be perfect. They lived their lives trying to please God. But they never could no matter how hard they tried.

For many people worshiping God is frustrating and no fun. If this is you, then stop trying so hard. Relax, rest in God. Love Him with all your heart, soul, might and mind. I thank God there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ. The Spirit of life is in Jesus and He has set us free from the laws we cannot keep. In the past we tried to please God, but we are imperfect and cannot. So let us stop trying to please God and simply love Him with the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in us. Then we will no longer be frustrated.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

Email-pavementendsministry@gmail.com

Do It Again Lord

Do it Again Lord

Lord, once there were people who were told by their government how they must worship. They were told who they would serve and what their doctrines would be. But You stirred their hearts and they rose up in defiance of the tyrannical rulers. They bravely risked their lives and sacrificed all they had for religious freedom.

Lord, once again we find ourselves oppressed by a government who would tell us how we must worship, who we will serve and what our doctrines will be. Lord you once stirred the hearts of your people to rise up in defiance of an unjust government, My prayer today is that you will do it again Lord

Lord, this great nation was born when men were stirred to fight for their Independence and freedom. Brave men realized that they were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Lord you stirred the hearts of these brave men to stand up to despotism and demand the right to live in a land of truth, justice and righteousness. Today I beg you Lord, please do it again!

Lord, once you raised up great men to lead this nation. These men were not politicians who could be bought or swayed by vagrant ideologies. No, truly great leaders are valiant statesmen who stand on Biblical principles and refuse to be bought or bullied by ungodly men or entities. Lord you once raised up true leaders to guide this nation, please Lord do it again.

Lord, you once raised up prophetic men who were unafraid to stand before evil and corrupt leaders and proclaim , “Thus says the Lord’. Heavenly Father we once again need a Moses to say, “Let my people go”. Once again we need an Elijah to challenge the false gods and the evil Jezebels of today. Once again we need a Nathan who will stand before the nation’s leaders and say, “be sure you sins will find you out”. Once again we need a Jeremiah who will weep over this broken nation as he boldly proclaims a truth that burns in his bones. Once again we need a man like John the Baptist who will shout loudly, “Repent, because the Kingdom of God is at hand” Lord you raised these men up once, today I beg You please do again.

Lord, in past centuries you stirred the hearts of common people to call out to you and from these stirrings great awakenings were born. During these times of revival, fearless evangelist thundered across this land preaching that you must be born again. They proclaimed the truth of God’s word and did not hesitate to call evil, evil and sin, sin. Lord, we desperately need for You to do it again

Lord, once you made this nation great. But now we wallow in sin. The cesspool of sodomy is forced on us by evil men. Right is called wrong and wrong is called right. Today righteous people are ridiculed and perverted people are celebrated. How long Lord will you strive with wicked men.

Lord, you have told us that we who are your people must humble ourselves and pray, and that if we will turn from our wicked ways, then you will hear from heaven and heal our land.

Lord you once made this nation great; it is my humble prayer that you will please do it again.

Douglas Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

I Believe

I believe that laughter of children is sweet music and the love of a child can put a song in your heart. I believe that the sweat from hard work feels good and the reward of working hard is a good feeling. I believe that reading the Bible while the sun comes up is the best way to start the day. A cup of coffee while talking to God will make the day good to the last drop. The Bible tells us in Romans 15:13 “ The God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus said whoever believes in Him will never die and I know this to be true. I also am convinced that whoever does not believe in Jesus has never lived. Belief is a powerful thing. It can imprint on your life unending hope and it can erase from your life debilitating fear. Belief in the Savior has caused crippled men to walk, blind men to see and dead men to live. I believe that God is good and greatly to be praised. I will praise God in all things, good and bad.

God has promised that with a little faith, we can prayerfully move mountains. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, your prayers can bring healing to the sick, salvation to the lost and hope to the hopeless. This is true for all of us who believe in the power of Jesus our Savior. Sometimes in our human frailties, we struggle to believe this. But if we cry out to Jesus, He will help us in our unbelief.

I believe that my sins are great but God’s forgiveness is greater. I believe that when I fall my Jesus will be there to pick me up. In my weakness, I often stumble but I have this certain assurance that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I know that I am righteous, but only because of the shed blood of Jesus. So for this reason I have firmly planted my feet on the Rock of my salvation. This salvation is found only in Jesus Christ the Son of God. HE is the One in whom I believe.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

The Thunder Rolls

When storms approach, I am always reminded of my God’s might and power. We often stand trembling as storms bear down upon us. We know that they can do great damage, but we can do nothing to turn or stop their fury. However, I know that God is in control. I am convinced that He traces the path of the tempest with His finger. As the thunder rolls, I am reminded of the promise and warning that our God is marching on.

This is a 3 minute video devotion.

Nothing But the Truth

The old man sat in a corner of the church enjoying the worship service. He was the best preacher and teacher in the church, but he seldom spoke anymore. He was old and he was tired so he had passed the baton to another generation. But in recent months, he had begun to be concerned about the things being taught to the congregation. The pure Gospel of Jesus Christ was being changed to appeal to a larger audience. Many were teaching that Jesus was not a real person and that He was not the only way to the Father. The old man determined he must speak out. He would tolerate nothing, but the truth.

With strength in his legs and firmness in his voice which he had not felt in months, he stood and began to speak. This is how his message began “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life” Yes, the old man was John the beloved, the one whom Jesus loved. He was the last of the generation that had eaten fish with Jesus. He had leaned against the breast of the Master. He had watched the Savior die and he saw Him live again. He, the one whom Jesus loved, would never let the Lover of his soul be marginalized by any teaching that was not the truth.

John stood as a wall that was intolerant of false teachers. He proclaimed that Jesus is alive and we can walk with Him and talk with Him. He taught that the Son of God was the only one who could stand for us as an advocate before the Father. John knew that the Holy Spirit bore witness to the Truth. He also knew that the Antichrist had evil spirits speaking through many false prophets. John’s writings teach us, if we are children of God we will be obedient to God. And if we are obedient to God, we will tolerate nothing but the truth about the Savior .

Jesus is the one who was from the beginning. With my ears I have heard His voice and with my eyes I have seen his love. His breath has breathed life into my soul and His touch has guided my steps. Like John, I have been heartbroken when man made doctrines have guided people into hell. Now while many preachers are arguing the finer points of Calvinism and Arminianism, I have determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. Jesus Christ is the living Savior. This is truth. I challenge all who hear and read these words. Stand on the Word of God, accept only the truth and nothing but the truth.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Get Up and Walk

He had been coming to this pool for thirty eight years. He was crippled, unable to move without someone helping him. The legend said that the first one in the pool after the water moved would be healed. Multitudes of sick people surrounded him. Because of his disability, someone else always got there first when the water was stirred

One day Jesus showed up and asked the crippled man , “Do you want to be made well.” Now some people might consider this to be a dumb question. After all wasn’t it evident that this crippled man was there hoping for a miracle. However we don’t know the whole story. But Jesus did. Maybe, the Lord knew that all the man needed to do to overcome his infirmity was to get up, take up his bed and walk.

Jesus is asking us today, “Do you want to be made well?” For as long as I can remember I have heard Christians talk about the need for revival. Myself and other pastors have dreamed of a great spiritual awakening. Congregations all over the world are wondering how they can keep their sick churches from dying. Meanwhile we go into our buildings, pull the doors closed behind us, and hope for a supernatural movement to stir the waters.

Christians, stop waiting for a high powered evangelist to bring revival. Get up, walk into you neighborhoods and turn the world upside down with the Gospel. Pastors let’s stop preaching our puny little self help sermonettes. We must boldly preach the Word of God no matter who it offends. When the people in the pews can no longer ignore their sins, there will soon be a great awakening. Congregations, you need to stop worrying about your church. Jesus said: “I will build My Church”! Your job is to go into all the world and make disciples.

The question is “Do we want to be made well?” If we do, then we have got to get up and walk.The Kingdom of God is at hand. We don’t have any time to waste. Let’s stop waiting for someone else to stir the water and go make a big splash ourselves.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Just Isaac

He is most well known for being the son of Abraham and the father of Jacob. Some commentators have referred to him as a mediocre son of a great father and a mediocre father of a great son. I think this is unfair to Isaac. I believe he admirably fulfilled his place in history. He was not born to be an Abraham nor was he born to be a Jacob. He was just Isaac.

Every where you go you will find men with the spirit of Isaac. Most people unfairly consider them to be just mediocre. For instance, you might see a man at the little league game in grimy clothes. His clothes are dirty because he came straight from work to watch his child or grandchild play. You might also see him in those grimy clothes at church on Wednesday night. He wants to be an example for his children and grandchildren so he also came there straight from work. He will probably never be great in the world’s eyes, but he loves his family, does his job and worships Jesus. He will never be seen as a V.I.P. But neither was Isaac.

On Sunday a bivocational pastor will step into the pulpit to preach a message that God has given him. Many nights he has been up past midnight praying and laboring over the sermon. He pays the bills by working all day. He then rushes home, cleans up, and spends the evening visiting his small congregation. The members of his little church love him but the denominational leaders don’t know him. Although his sermons are better than most of the big shot preachers, he will never be asked to preach to large crowds. He is just a simple man doing what God called him to do. Just like Isaac.

Throughout history a handful of great men have done great things for God, and we all know their names. However the Bible teaches that in Heaven the first shall be last and the last shall be first. By far the men who have done the most for the Kingdom of Heaven are the simple men whose names are not known. On earth they never hear the applause of men, but in Heaven a great cloud of witnesses will greet them with a standing ovation. With dirty hands and calloused knees they are simple but faithful servants who do their jobs well. Just like Isaac.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

We Might as Well Go Home, He’s Dead

In Luke 24 there is a story of two followers of Christ who are walking home to Emmaus. It was Sunday and Jesus had been crucified on Friday. They said “ we might as well go home it’s over.” Some women had gone to the tomb early to anoint the body came back and reported that the tomb was empty. They said something about an angel and Jesus being alive. But the two disciples knew that was foolishness. He was dead and they were going home

Cleopas and the other disciple thought they had found the Messiah. They had heard the great stories and had even eaten some of the fish and loaves. They had seen a cripple man run and heard a mute girl speak. They thought Jesus had to be the Christ, the Son of God. But then He was arrested, tried, beaten and crucified. Soldiers took His dead body down from the cross and buried Him. He’s dead. It’s over.

These two disciples were very disappointed in this Man named Jesus. They thought He was going to use His power to overthrow the Romans, restore the kingdom of David and set them free. But He did not do things the way they thought He should. And now He’s dead. So they said, “ it’s over we might as well go home.

As they walked home to Emmaus, Jesus Himself began to walk by their side. They did not recognize Him. They had eyes to see but could not see. He chastised them because they were foolish and slow of heart. Then using Scripture, He taught them that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and enter into His glory.

As He walked with them, their hearts began to warm. As he taught them their hearts beat faster. His Word was percolating their hearts. Later when He broke the bread, the full blown aroma of salvation enveloped and filled them. All of a sudden they saw Jesus. He’s not dead. He is alive. It’s not over. It has just begun.

Douglas &Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends