As we are about to turn the page on our calendars and bring 2009 to an end and welcome in 2010, I have been thinking about this last year. As in every year there is some good and bad. A friend of mine who nearly died due to an acute illness has been counting down for several days – looking forward to getting this year over. I know another couple who had their first grandchild – they don’t want this “perfect” year to end. For me this year has had more than its share of ups and downs, but a moment and the gift of friends stand out as special ones to both Julie and me. We have some dear friends that found out that he was unexpectedly, (and unfairly, I think) losing his job. He was going to have to relocate to find another job in his field. One day he shared with Julie some verses from his devotions that day.

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:13-14)

The part we all focused on was that we would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living – we don’t have to wait until heaven for all of our blessings. We should not lose heart but expect to see the goodness of the Lord. This message from God came at a particularly disheartening time in our lives and we latched onto it.

Even on this last day of the year there remain questions and challenges but I am learning, slowly it seems, but learning in new way to trust in God for every moment of my life. He has sustained me in the past (See post for 11/18/09 for video on this subject: Backing Into the Future) and I know He will do so in the days that lie ahead.

Since these verses have become so precious to us, Julie asked our friend, Sonny, who does wood burning to make a wall plaque (pictured below) for our friends. We made a trip to PA to present it to them in their new home. What I didn’t know was that Julie had Sonny make one for me (above) that she hid away for several months and presented to me on Christmas. It is now proudly on display in our family room as a continual reminder to wait upon the Lord and expect to see His goodness in the land of the living.

Happy New Year Everybody,
Jesse Waggoner

The above is the one for our PA friends

Sonny’s “Signature”

Our new Sunday Morning Bible Study series for January will be “Family Survival Kit” – The stress on all family relationships seems to be greater than ever, but God’s Word has has always been the best guide for family life. Make plans to be part of this study were we will learn together God’s purposes, plans and solutions for your family.

I would appreciate your prayers as I spend time in the Word in order to prepare to communicate God’s truth.

After the fact, teaching audio, video and notes will be available on

The winter session of Bible Center Church’s Life University will begin Wed. Jan 6, I will be teaching a class entitled: The Art of Biblical Leadership. The study will use the life of Nehemiah as a guide. Also students can optionally take this for credit (2hrs) or for a CEU from Appalachian Bible College. If you are in the Charleston area I would encourage you to participate.

Think of the last nativity scene you saw. What if you had no knowledge of the Christmas story and your assignment was to deduce the story from that picture of the circumstances of Jesus birth? Would you conclude that the baby was of some importance since he is surrounded by crowd of shepherds, farm animals and middle-eastern nobles bearing gifts? But if is He has such notoriety why a bed of hay, and why a barnyard maternity ward? I think for the uniformed it would not really make sense. The nativity set would generate more questions than answers.

It is only with the backdrop of the Bibles account does it all make sense. In its pages you learn of the Fathers love, the Sons obedience, the angels worship, Marys wonder, Josephs faith, the shepards diligence, the wisemens persistence and the worlds Savior. I am looking forward to spending the next trio of Sundays to take us all back to the manger and lets be amazed again at what we find.

A few years back at a family Christmas get-together, the house was filled with presents and persons. I am sure you know something of this kind of gathering. It consisted of two grandparents, a couple of great grandparents, several children, a few in-laws, a bunch of grandkids, a trio of pets and some assorted family friends. When the time came the kids began the opening their presents, followed by the adults. Finally, there remained one nicely wrapped box. It had no tag or name listed. It remained unopened until we could figure out what to do with it.

Salvation is also a gift: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). It cannot be purchased or earned through our good deeds; it only can be accepted on the basis of faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ is the only way to open the gift of God.

What of the unopened gift? Finally someone was selected to open it and it was directed to the right recipient. Perhaps this Christmas there is still one gift you have not opened. God is waiting to give you the gift of salvation.