Category Archives: Devotional

Santa’s Disappointing Gift

Have you ever been disappointed by what Santa brought you for Christmas?  One year, as a small boy, I was disappointed.

Ralphie, the little boy in the movie, “The Christmas Story,” and I had a lot in common. He wanted a BB gun, but not just any BB gun. He knew every detail of the gun he wanted. He wanted a Red Ryder, 200 shot, range model, air rifle.

Like Ralphie, I wanted a bicycle, but not just any bicycle. I wanted the one that was pictured on the back pages of the comic book I was reading. It was the most beautiful bike in the world. It was a red Schwinn with white trim. It had a seat over the rear fender where a friend could sit and ride with you. It had a light on the front fender where you could see when it got dark. The handle bar grips set it off perfectly. They had beautiful red and white streamers coming out of them. That bike was beautiful, and it looked fast. It was my dream that Christmas.

Like Ralphie, I told my parents and anyone else who would listen about it. I even made a trip to the downtown Pizitz department store, and rode the escalator to the third floor to talk to Santa. I stood in a long line until I had my chance to sit in his lap and tell him exactly what I wanted.

When Christmas morning came, I was filled with excitement. My mother came into my room and said, “Come on, Bobby. Get up and see what Santa Claus had brought you.” I rushed into the room, fully expecting to see my dream bike. When I saw the bicycle by the tree, the words flew out of my mouth, “That ain’t no Schwinn!” Disappointment reigned supreme.

What I saw was a big green ugly bicycle with the name “Collegiate” on it. It was definitely not the Schwinn of my dreams. When I tried to ride it, I found that my feet could barely reach the pedals, and I fell over several times. Disappointment reigned supreme.

However, as the years went by, I learned to love that big ugly “Collegiate” bicycle. One of my first jobs was delivering shoes for McClendon’s Shop Repair shop on First Avenue North near Woodlawn High School. I delivered shoes all over Woodlawn, and Woodlawn Highlands. When Mr. McClendon wanted lunch, I had to pedal all the way to Mack’s Barbeque stand on First Avenue North and Sixty-Fifth Street where the railroad tracks crossed the avenue. They had very good barbecue. I did all of this on that big ugly “Collegiate” bicycle.

My second job was delivering newspapers for the Birmingham Post-Herald. My route covered part of Woodlawn, and all of Woodlawn Highlands. Once again, that big ugly bike made it possible for me to work.

I kept that bike until I grew out of the bicycle stage. It never broke down, or needed repair. It was the best bike I ever owned and the only one.

As I look back across the years, I learned several lessons from my disappointing gift from Santa. They are as follows:

  1. Everything doesn’t have to be new, flashy, or as advertised in a comic book to be good.
  2. Parents sacrifice for their children, particularly at Christmas. My parents were poor, but I didn’t know it. They bought a used bicycle from our neighbors, and took it to the Woodlawn Bicycle Shop where it was checked out and painted green. This was the bike they gave me for Christmas. It was all they could afford.
  3. I have regretted my words of disappointment on that Christmas morning. My parents must have been disappointed in my reaction to their gift. However, they must have known that over the year, I came to love and appreciate that bike, and the ones who gave it to me.
  4. As a young adult, I became a Christian, and learned that Christmas was snot really about Santa Claus and gifts. It was, and still is, about God, the greatest gift giver, and His greatest gift—His Son Jesus Christ. No one who receives Him is ever disappointed. Merry Christmas!

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a Christian author, retired minister, and public speaker who lives in the Birmingham area. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net

TRUMP NO! HILLARY YES!

Author Robert G. Wilkerson

front coverI have often wondered where the German Christian Church was when Adolph Hitler was rising to power. Why didn’t they see the evil in the man? Why didn’t they oppose him?

Well, I think I’m beginning to understand some of them. I don’t like losing friends or making enemies, so I have been quiet about Donald Trump. However, I can’t be quiet any longer, regardless of the cost! Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” I believe that is true. If Donald Trump wins the election, it will be disastrous for America for the following reasons:

  1. Trump is not qualified to be the president of the United States. There are basically two qualifications for most jobs in America—education and experience. Trump has neither.
  • Trump has never studied…

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TRUMP NO! HILLARY YES!

front coverI have often wondered where the German Christian Church was when Adolph Hitler was rising to power. Why didn’t they see the evil in the man? Why didn’t they oppose him?

Well, I think I’m beginning to understand some of them. I don’t like losing friends or making enemies, so I have been quiet about Donald Trump. However, I can’t be quiet any longer, regardless of the cost! Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” I believe that is true. If Donald Trump wins the election, it will be disastrous for America for the following reasons:

  1. Trump is not qualified to be the president of the United States. There are basically two qualifications for most jobs in America—education and experience. Trump has neither.
  • Trump has never studied government or politics. He doesn’t have earned degrees in those fields or even a certificate from a correspondence school. Would you want a surgeon to operate on you who had never been to medical school?
  • Trump has no experience in government. He has never served in any office in government. Would you want someone to operate on you who had never performed an operation before, or even assisted in one?
  • That he’s gotten this far without these basic qualifications is why some people call him a con artist.
  1. Trump is a bully. It could be seen clearly in the debates.
  2. Trump is all wrapped up in himself. As someone has said, “When a man is all wrapped up in himself, he makes a very small package.”
  3. Trump thinks he knows all the answers. He doesn’t even know the questions in many cases.
  4. Whether he intended to or not, Trump has stirred up hatred and division in America.
  5. Some have compared Trump to Hitler. I won’t do that, but there are some similarities
  • Hitler was a strong, charismatic leader. According to many, that’s what many Americans want. Hitler led Germany, but he led in the wrong way. I believe the same thing would be true if Trump wins the election.
  • Hitler promised to make Germany great again. Trump promises to make America great again. You can’t restore what has never been lost. America is a great nation! One of the reasons it is, is that we have never elected a man like Trump to the highest public office in the land.
  • Hitler scapegoated minorities (Jews, Poles, and gypsies), and did his best to kill them and destroy their bodies. Trump doesn’t want to kill Mexicans or other immigrants. He simply wants to deport millions living here. Then he wants to build a wall across our southern border to keep them out.
  • Hitler led Germany into war. Trump with all his ignorance, bragging, and loose talk could do the same for America.

Some people say there isn’t any difference between Hillary and Trump—but there is! A very big difference.

Some people have said they won’t vote for Hillary because their insurance premium has gone up. Let’s put the blame where it belongs. The Affordable Care Act has been a great benefit to millions of poor, and middle-income people. If it costs you more, it is because you live in a Republican state that refused to cooperate with the Act and receive the help that was offered to the states. Add to that, the multimillion dollar costs that the insurance companies rake in and huge salaries and bonuses their CEOs are paid.

Wake up, get smart, and vote for Hillary Clinton.

 

The Lord is My Shepherd-Part 1

Psalm 23:1

 When you say, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” you’ve said a lot. David was one of the first to say it. For him, it meant Jehovah the God of Israel is my Shepherd. When God came in the flesh on this earth, he was referred to as Jesus. Jesus did not hide who he truly was. He stated strongly and clearly, “I am the good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

The person who says, “The Lord is my Shepherd” in essence is saying, “The Lord is my owner and manager.” I have a special relationship with him. He loves me and I love him. I belong to him because he has bought me with the price of his blood.

God in Christ is deeply concerned about me and my welfare in particular. Sheep do not just take care of themselves. They require great attention and care. Jesus is the one who provides it. As our Shepherd, He is always guiding us and working on our behalf. Aren’t you thankful you have a Shepherd?

Robert G Wilkerson, D.Min., is a minister, Christian author, and public speaker. www.RobertWilkersonandAssociates.com.  drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net.

FIVE REASONS TO BE A HAPPY CHRISTIAN (PART 2)

“May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and thankful” (Psalm 68:3).

Last week, I shared with you three wonderful reasons why you should be a happy Christian. If you recall, they are:  We have been justified, and that we have peace, and access. Those alone are enough to make us extremely happy, but just in case you’re one of those hard-to-be-happy people, I’ll share two more reasons with you.

  1. We have grace. “We have access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:2a). Grace is wonderful! It is the unmerited favor of God. That means you didn’t do anything to earn it. He saved you because he loves you and he loves you because it is in his nature to love everyone (John 3:16).
  2. We have joy. “We rejoice in the hope of a glorious God” (Romans 5:2b). We rejoice in the gift of God which we have received. We rejoice that we can now live a Godly life. We even can rejoice in suffering (Romans 5:3-5). People can be happy with little and miserable with much. One of the secrets of finding happiness and contentment is to think about all the things you have, not the things you don’t. Learn to be like Paul who said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). If you are a Christian, smile. You’ve got a lot to be happy about.

Robert Wilkerson is a minister, Christian writer, and co-founder of People for the Christian Way. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net   www.PeoplefortheChristianway.com

FIVE REASONS TO BE A HAPPY CHRISTIAN (PART 1)

“May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and thankful” (Psalm 68:3).

 “This looks like a group of talent scouts for a cemetery,” he said, looking at the faces of the Sunday morning crowd. He was a comedian and he was trying to be funny. But in many instances, he was telling the truth, wasn’t he?

I don’t know the reasons people have long faces on Sunday mornings, but I know five reasons all Christians should be happy.

  1. We have been justified. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24).
  2. We have peace. Jesus said to his followers, as he thought about having to leave them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. . . Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 15:27).
  3. We have access. “. . . we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through who we have access by faith into his grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:2).

Access means door. If you’re not happy in Jesus, go through the door, and tell him all about it. He hears and answers prayers.

(To be continued in Part 2)

 

Robert Wilkerson is a minister, Christian writer, and co-founder of People for the Christian Way. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net   www.PeoplefortheChristianway.com

The Book That Kicks

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword . . .” (Hebrews 4:12).
 
“You take. No want,” said the native as he appeared on the edge of the jungle, and gave back the Bible the missionary had given him the week before. The missionary asked him what was wrong. “Me no like book; it kicks me,” he said.
 
Do you know what he meant when he said the Bible kicked him? Has the Bible ever kicked you? What, if anything, did you do about it? Being kicked doesn’t sound good, but when it is by the Bible it is, and it is good for you. When you get kicked, it is by the Holy Spirit working in and through the Bible. God is trying to draw you closer to himself that he might bless and use you in a greater way. But first, there are wrong attitudes and actions that you must part with. He kicks you simply to get your attention because you haven’t seen them before or, if you have, you haven’t rid yourself of them.
 
What should you do if the Bible kicks you? It’s OK to say, “Oh me, I’m, guilty of that. Forgive me, Lord, and help me from this moment to never say, think, or do that again.” Then, thank him for opening your eyes, and pray if there are other areas of your life where you might need it, that he will kick you again.