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photo: CCO public domain

This has been a hard Christmas. There have been sad events this Christmas, but also I have been saddened to have to face up to personal failure and shortcomings. So often, I like to think that when hard times come, I will be there for the people who need me in the places they need me.

Often, I have been that person for others, but this time I was not there for some of the people I loved the most. That made the experience even more difficult…to see how I failed them when they needed me most!

Once again, I keep being slammed in the face (accurately) with my inadequacy and ineptness. For someone who wanted to be strong and able, competent and ready in times of emergency or need, this is devastating!

Is there room at the manger for a dismal failure like me…or maybe even you? Thankfully, yes, that is the reason Jesus came! An even better place for us is the cross, but at this time of year, we think of the manger. No matter who or where we have failed, Jesus didn’t fail us. He came to our broken, fallen world and redeemed us. It all started at the manger of course, but it culminated at the cross! That was the ultimate reason He came to the manger…to our world!

Once again, I keep being slammed in the face with my inadequacy and ineptness. For someone who wanted to be strong and able, competent and ready in times of emergency or need, this is devastating! Click To Tweet

I need to preach the Gospel to myself, so do my friends!

Our Fall Women’s study was more timely than I realized. I keep having to go back to the truth of the Gospel. That is, Jesus came to the world to pay for all your sins and failures. He has provided salvation and redemption for you and me in times like this. As horrible as it is when you fail those you love, Jesus didn’t. He can forgive even that! Not only can He forgive your not being able to come through for people you love, He has made it possible for you to live like His child in the future, not as an orphan, living and wallowing in this failure, with no resources, never to be able to move forward again. He can make it possible for you to live like His child with all the privileges and resources of that position.

I’m thankful for strong Christian sisters who remind me of the Gospel during times like this. Thankful that they pray with me; remind me that my prayers are important along with my love; remind me that I can be forgiven and move forward; remind me that they are praying for me even when they don’t know every detail of why they need to pray!

Meanwhile, all of us grow in grace. We grow as we worship and listen to GOD’s Word preached each Sunday; pray and sing together in worship; hear Scripture read aloud; gather in community with other believers. Two Sundays ago, we grew in grace (in ways I don’t understand) as we participated in Communion. All these means of grace encourage and grow us in the middle of our brokenness.

Our brokenness keeps us from denial regarding our sin.

It is our brokenness that keeps us from denial. I like to think that my sin is sort of getting under control until times like this…when these new layers of sin are opened up to expose more areas that have been there all along…rotting away. Now, I can no longer live in denial. It is all there. I can no longer deny it. The infection is now draining and exposed for all to see.

It is our brokenness that keeps us from denial. Click To Tweet

It is no longer hidden away under the skin quietly causing damage as the abscess grows. The pain of the lancing has happened. Now it is open. Treatment has begun. The drains are in place so the infection can no longer spread. (Pardon my graphic use of medical terminology. That’s how I think.) Antibiotics have been started so it won’t affect the whole system.

It will take time to change bad habits, to find new ways to depend on Jesus and not live independent of Him, to allow Him to overcome this personal idol of mine…the one that wants to be strong and competent in times of need…in an unhealthy way. No, it’s not a bad goal, but when it takes the place of Jesus or when it is done in my own power without Jesus? It is impossible!

One of GOD's gifts to you will be showing you your personal idols that keep you from growing in grace. Is it painful? Often. But it is a good gift! Click To Tweet

I don’t know what your personal idols are. I can promise that GOD is going to show them up in some way for the inadequate toys they are as He has some of mine! It is His gift to us. It can be very painful. But it is a good gift.

 But when the fullness of time had come,
God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
to redeem those who were under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.

And because you are sons,
God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

So you are no longer a slave, but a son,
and if a son, then an heir through God

Galatians 4:4-7


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17 


 Long ago, at many times and in many ways,
God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,
whom he appointed the heir of all things,
through whom also he created the world.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,
and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
After making purification for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
having become as much superior to angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Hebrews 1:1-4