Hallmark and Heaven are in cahoots…

Feliz Navidad, y Prospero Año Nuevo.

We’re seeing the resurgence of the Post Office; this is their big month. Our home mailbox should have a “No Vacancy” sign; Christmas Cards now outnumber new credit card offers in the stack.

Lots of photo cards; we get to see everyone in our relational world, at least once a year. That made the multicultural greeting on one stand out; the expression in Spanish speaks to our changing culture, here in California. Translated: Merry Christmas, and a Prosperous New Year.

Prosperity is a safe invocation; everyone wants God to grant it. It means “flourishing,” and if it could be gifted, it would be on most Christmas wish-lists. Amazon doesn’t sell it… but God offers prosperity as a destination in life’s journey with Him. The Scriptures are like a modern mapping app; they lay out the milestones that mark the path. Will your spiritual GPS take you to Prosperity?

The trip starts at Hopeless: you don’t go anywhere with God until you recognize the fallacy of traveling alone. “Dead” is His diagnosis of the life without Him; until you realize the futility of going without Him, your only destination is deficiency and destruction. You’re well past that starting line…

The next milestone is Surrender: He demands what He deserves, and that’s utter allegiance. He wrote the contract for salvation; we sign on His terms, with no amendments allowed. With no claim of power to challenge His requirements, you must accept His death and resurrection for yourself.

The trip crosses over the border from death to life, and Confidence is the new territory. The guarantees that came with Surrender begin to crystalize: He will never rescind the promise of life – everlasting – with Him, beyond death. There is no U-turn provision in the journey; you will be waved-through the guard gate of Heaven someday. That’s a wow…

But, wait: Heaven is still over-the-horizon. You’re not even close to the end of the road, and there are side roads that present multiple diversions. What’s the best route to take, beyond Confidence?

Too many people miss the long stretch called Faithfulness: that’s the daily exercise: check the map, and follow it explicitly. The life map is the Scriptures, and God gave it as explicit counsel for the moment-by-moment navigation of the adventure. He doesn’t present a buffet of options; rather, a systematic itinerary that points your way to ultimate living. Faithfulness – some call it Obedience – is not an occasional exception… but, rather, a resolute lifestyle. That’s a long parkway…

As life’s road-trip continues – and you set the cruise control on Faithfulness – you see yourself in a new environment. This is new country – called Generosity – and you find yourself making frequent stops to assist people you meet along the way. Fix a flat? Share a gallon of gas? Pass an extra sandwich from your lunch basket? Give directions for the person who looks lost? You no longer look at those requests from a position of deficiency; you feel the wind at your back and the sufficiency of what you packed for the trip. You can share without the risk of going without. A feeling of gratitude – for the Giver – can’t be explained, but it’s sure enjoyed. When you siphon off a gallon – while watching your gauge rise toward “full” – the peace you feel makes the trip a delight. Generosity isn’t just “Giving Tuesday;” it’s the constant, defining outlook of the Faithful…

The road sign confirms the last leg of the jaunt: it’s Prosperity, and when you look out the window, it’s everything you always wanted… but thought impossible. Everything you long for – this side of Glory – surrounds you. The invitation to Prosperity is spread across the Old Testament – mentioned 84 times – as the byproduct of obedience. Follow the map… and you’ll get there.

Merry Christmas… and a Prosperous New Year. What’s your next phase, to get there?

Bob Shank





5 responses to “Hallmark and Heaven are in cahoots…”

  1. Hank R Avatar
    Hank R

    Leonard Nemoy in 2015 reported, “most people to this day still don’t know” the history of the “Live long and prosper” greeting made famous through his character Spock in Star Trek.

    Leonard Nimoy had often enthusiastically shared the origin of the famous Vulcan salute, “live long and prosper,” as it connected to his childhood. Long before “Star Trek” even existed, Leonard recalled from a childhood memory the placement of the hands creating a V-shape to represent a Yiddish letter, of which he learned in an Orthodox Jewish synagogue service in Boston.

    People this day imitate him, often not realizing the connection to Jewish history and this Yiddish blessing.

  2. Bill S Avatar
    Bill S

    Thank you Bob for this Point of View.

  3. Paten M Avatar
    Paten M

    Hope all is well with you and your family. Always enjoy the monday notes.

  4. Eric F Avatar
    Eric F

    “This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…..
    ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭6:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Bless you dear friend. Your flame is beautiful!

  5. Joe C Avatar
    Joe C

    Bob, You’re awesome! Merry Christmas! In God’s love and grace, from the home of Hallmark Cards, Joe Calhoon

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