The Twelve Pathways to Christmas, Chapter 7:  The Way of Warfare

(This is a reprint from a previous post and a chapter in my book The Twelve Pathways to Christmas. See below for how you can purchase the book and help support missions.)

December 23

The first thing Ryan Fisher felt when he awakened was an obnoxious cold wind, pelting his face with sleet.  The searing pain coursing down his legs and across his chest further aroused him.  Opening his eyes, he saw movement outside, but the angle of his SUV in the ditch made it difficult to tell what was happening.  One thing was sure – the distant siren and flashing lights were for him.

Another thing became certain pretty quickly.  Assuming he lived, Ryan Fisher would spend Christmas alone.  There’d be no plane to catch, and nobody boarding a plane back to Birmingham.  Not in this storm.

It was the end of the day from hell, punctuating the week from hell, capping off the year from hell.  And now, freezing and in shock, Ryan Fisher closed a mental door.  He was done. [click to continue…]

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Uh oh…

Somebody lost touch with their “Y.”

When you lose your “Y” something else seems missing, too.

Somebody offers a solution: “What’s missing is a B!”

So your J-O-Y becomes a J-O-B. [click to continue…]

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Jealousy Sucks

…the life out of your days.

…the love out of your heart.

…the fun out of your dreams. [click to continue…]

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It’s been more than 40 years, but the scene hasn’t changed all that much.  Downhill run, dirt road, just north of the family farm.  Back in the day I was driving my Granddaddy’s pickup and my grandmother was in the passenger seat. I don’t remember the occasion, but most likely we had taken Lucy or Dot or some other domestic help back to their house, and we were headed back.

Just as I cruised down the dirt road, flexing my pride in the manly art of driving, the pickup slipped off the road into a shallow little ditch.

“Ditch” is too harsh a word.  More like a little soft trough where rain water would gently ease down the hill. Really wasn’t that big a deal.

“Oh, no, we’re stuck,” Grandmother said immediately.

Ridiculous!  It wasn’t deep, we were doing downhill, and all I had to do was give it a little gas, turn the wheel, and…

Well crud.  We were stuck. [click to continue…]

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It’s one thing to be in shape to be led to still waters and green pastures.

It’s another to be ready to charge the enemy’s camp through the valley of the shadow of death.

We don’t mature to make our lives easier or more comfortable.

We mature to become wiser.

Fight smarter.

Recognize danger before it attacks. [click to continue…]

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Navigating the turbulence and cross-winds, whether in life, work, or play, means mastering the art of the pivot.

To pivot is to change directions quickly in response to a new set of circumstances.

New opportunity? Pivot.

Setback?  Pivot.

The beauty of the pivot is that those do it well make it look as though it were completely planned all along. [click to continue…]

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Woke up this morning thinking about Ethel and Velma. These two ladies, who shared the same last name, lived together. Velma had been married to Ethel’s brother, who had died sometime earlier. Ethel never married. So in their latter years, these two sisters-in-law shared a house, along with a lot of family love and memories.

And quite a love for God.

Whenever I would go see them, it always felt like holy ground.  It was that classic case of going to be a blessing and winding up leaving with the greater blessing. Each was in her own way a marvelous encourager, and each in her own way a hell-stopping intercessor.

As time and age took their toll, eventually death came calling, and Ethel answered the door. I went by to see Velma, who had encouraged me so many times, to try to be an encouragement to her. While I was there, someone else came by, and I’ll never forget Velma’s first words to them. In her beautiful Southern drawl, Velma asked rhetorically, “What we gonna do without Ethel?” [click to continue…]

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They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8)

The nature of the shameful is to hide from God when we sense He’s moving toward us.

The assumption of the fallen is to assume that the Great Unfallen would not pick us up. [click to continue…]

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Growth invites The Resistance.

The Resistance calls for perseverance. [click to continue…]

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Jillian is a successful realtor with a proven track record and dozens of happy clients. She has been with the same national franchise for seven years, but lately is rethinking that relationship. She has received an offer from a competitor and, at the same time, has endured some unwelcome changes in her firm.  Is it time for Jillian to jump ship?

Billy is a young pastor. A firebrand communicator who has led his first church to significant growth in the 18 months he’s been there. But he’s beginning to encounter some resistance there. And at the same time other larger churches are bombarding him for his resume. Is it time for Billy to bail?

Steven works for the local chapter of a national non-profit who boldly advertises the degree to which they care for suffering humanity. But Steven sees a different side – one driven by ruthless management, questionable financial decisions, and huge employee turnover. At what point does he decide there must be a better way to change the world? And how does he know that the next organization won’t just be more of the same? [click to continue…]

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