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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Savior Sent

God's cleansing forgiveness is better than Tide, Oxi-Clean and Shout all put together. For the stain of sin on our souls was worse than any dirt, grease, or earthly grime to ever soil our clothing. We need Jesus!  We are told of in Isaiah 1:18; Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." (ESV)

If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent us an educator,

If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.

If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.

If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need was forgiveness,
So God sent us a Savior.
Amen?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Life’s Storms


The Lord promises to calm life’s storms that rage around us. Sometimes He chooses to calm the storm and sometimes the storm continues but He will calm us. An example of this is found in God's Word that says in Jonah 1:16, "At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to Him."
These men were about to lose their lives and then God calmed the storm. A great lesson is to be learned here - you don't have to wait till things get so out of control to call on the Lord!
He is always there and waiting for us to give Him control. May we release and rejoice at His protection and direction.
Amen?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Be Blessed


If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior you are blessed, and God has promised His presence, protection, and joy. God's Word says in Psalm 5:12, "For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield." A definition of a shield is to protect (someone or something), to serve as a protection for, and to hide or conceal for protection.

Too many people try to fix and “handle” things on their own. When we approach life this way then we shouldn’t be surprised by failure and frustration. Remember this:

1. You are never alone, and the Lord wants to stay in constant communication with you.

2. Believers are in God’s hand, and nothing can remove them.

3. Being joyful always is a command, not a suggestion.



Let’s be serious about accepting God’s promises. Amen?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Restored


Don’t end the year feeling that you have disappointed the Lord, and He’s not listening to you. A child of God can always ask for forgiveness and they will be forgiven. God's Word says in Psalm 6:9, "The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer."
Today ask God to forgive you where you have fallen short. His promise is true for forgiveness and restoration, End this year with a clean slate. Then allow Him to guide you in 2017 in obedience.
Amen?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Celebrate Light


 This winter season has already started out with so many people being sick, and the threat of the disease is very real. We need to remember during these trying and frightening times that Jesus brought forth light into the darkness. Almost 100 years ago we faced similar conditions, but then, as now, we can celebrate Jesus as the light of the world.



 This was plainly seen by thousands of people during the American influenza epidemic of 1918. During the height of that plague, churches and all public gathering places were ordered closed. Yet more than ever, it was then that people needed hope and consolation. Burdened by his inability to reach out to people in their time of need, one resourceful pastor thought of the magnificent stained glass windows that graced his church. Those windows faced a major thoroughfare and were large and commanding in design. He had numerous floodlights placed inside the church; illumination through the glass to the outside world gave passers-by the full effect of the windows story. There for all to see were the matchless portrayals of Jesus: Jesus the good shepherd bearing a lamb on his bosom; Jesus the searching Savior rescuing the lone lost sheep while the ninety-nine rested safely on the fold; Jesus praying in Gethsemane; Jesus on the cross; Jesus triumphant in Resurrection glory. The silent sermons of light and stained glass spoke an eloquent message.

The Gospel of John puts it this way: The true light that gives light of every man was coming into the world. People who passed by the church would stop reverently, silently. They found themselves filled with new resolve and encouragement. They saw ever more clearly in that age of sickness the light of Christ glory which was coming into the world.

 May celebrate Christ every day of the year. Amen?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Returning Joy

The great song of Christmas, Joy to the World was written by English hymn writer Isaac Watts. The song was first published in 1719. We’ve enjoyed singing this song, let’s look at the Word that inspired it out of Psalm 98:



Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing,with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord, the King.Let the sea resound, and everything in it,  the world, and all who live in it.Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy;let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.



Jesus came 2,000 years ago, and He is coming again!



Be ready always for His return. Amen?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

One Solitary Life

This has been around for a long time, and I don’t know who wrote it. It always makes me think about Jesus’ impact on the world. Enjoy!



He was born in an obscure village,

Earthly riches were not important to Him

He did not travel extensively, only once did

He crossed the boundary of the country in which He lived,

In infancy He startled a King, in childhood He amazed Jewish leaders,

He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty.

He then became an itinerant preacher.

He never held office.

He never had a family or owned a house.

He didn’t go to college.

He had no credentials but himself.

He healed multitudes without medicine,

He made no charge for His service,

He never wrote a book, and yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the volumes that have been written about Him,

He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined,

He never founded a College, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students,

He never practiced psychiatry, and yet has healed more broken hearts than all the Doctors far and near,

He was only thirty-three when the public turned against him.

The devil tried to destroy Him, but the grave could not hold Him.

His Name stands highest of the heavenly glory, acknowledged by angels and feared by devils

Nineteen centuries have come and gone,

And today he is the central figure of the human race.

All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed,

All the parliaments that ever sat,

And all the kings that ever reigned

 have not affected the life of man on this earth

As much as that one solitary life.



Merry Christmas! Have a good Godly day.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Real Christmas story

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galileeto Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14  “Glory to God in the highest,

      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke chapter 2



Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Eve's Eve

Tonight we are having a Christmas service at Hopewell church at 7PM. I am really looking forward to it. It may seem at an odd time, but I believe anytime is appropriate to acknowledge, worship, and focus on Jesus. Don't you?



We had an early addition to my family (a granddaughter) at this time last year. She came 18 days early but was such a blessing to all of us. She is my son's first child, and there are a lot of questions and nerves. We know that God will see them through them all.



Just like He did over 2000 years ago to another couple with lots of questions and nervousness - Mary and Joseph. On the original Christmas Eve's Eve they were travelling far from their home, very pregnant, and much "not knowing" - where they would stay, what the future held, bringing up the Son of God! 



God saw them through it all and we now have Jesus to celebrate at Christmas and all year long. Today let's praise God for always being there for us when we need direction, love, and hope.



Share God's Christmas story with someone today. Amen?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Gift


My family has a tradition on Christmas day to be the first to say, Christmas Gift! to another member of the family. It started years ago but it helps us to remember that the greatest Christmas gift is offered to us all by Jesus.
   On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. - John 7:37-39
God made us for an intimate relationship with Himself, and we cannot get our deepest needs met anywhere else but in Him. Jesus offers the only satisfaction for spiritual thirst. In verse 38, from within them refers to the innermost recesses of the body.
Just as it was a miracle of God for water to flow from a rock in the Old Testament (giving life) it is greater miracle of God to have the Holy Spirit flowing from His people and eternal life.
Praise be to God for this gift!
Amen?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Straight Paths


“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”Mark 1:1-3 (from Isaiah 43:1)
John the Baptist was that messenger who proclaimed Christ was coming. He also got to introduce him to the disciples and the world at Jesus’ baptism. Jesus calls on all His followers to be like John. We live in a dark culture who needs the Light and straight paths. We can be conduits to God by proclaiming Jesus and the path to Him for salvation.
This year remember to offer more than a “Merry Christmas” to your family and friends. Give them the gift of Jesus. Amen?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Word Became Flesh


John tells us that Jesus, the Word, has been around forever and in fact is God.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1 This is pretty spectacular, but what happens next is mind blowing. God, in Jesus, became a human!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14 This testimony is made by someone who experienced life with Jesus. John is telling the truth about his real life with Christ.

Those of us who are believers can testify as well. We have felt His glory, grace and truth. We are to share it just as earnestly as one who saw Jesus in the flesh. It will bring your salvation testimony to life for a world so desperately in need of a Savior.

Jesus is real, so is His glory, grace, and love. It’s the truth. Amen?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rejoicing in the Light



 I love this quote. It really speaks to us about perspective. “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”- Abraham Lincoln



I pray that this Christmas may we focus on the positive and not the negative. Let us be known as givers and not as takers. If we are to be Jesus to the world, then let all our actions, words, and thoughts be His as well.



Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” –  Luke 8:16



May this Christmas season be one that we will rejoice that “the Lord has come” and now lives in us.



Amen?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Love Is

This is a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 that I recently was reminded of. Please enjoy and think about it!

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china  and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of LOVE will endure.
-Author Unknown

God so loved the world that He sent Jesus – to you, me, and everyone. It’s not based on what we did, but on how much he loves us. Amen?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Slow Down


It's easy this time of year to get over extended and anxious about many things. Slow down! Take a breath - enjoy a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) and be reminded of Jesus' promise in Matthew 6.



31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.



When we don't trust in God to provide we end up running around and worrying needlessly. You have what you have because of God's faithfulness not by our own devices. Trust in Him who protects, provides, and guides. We just need to be obedient.



Be wise and seek to always live life God's way. Amen?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Everyone

Today let's look a little a closer at the Christmas story as found in
Luke 2:8-20.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The Good News of Christ is personal, and is available to all people. Once you have encountered the living Christ you will never be the same - just like the shepherds! They spread the news and everyone was amazed.

May we be excited to take the Good News to the world just like those on the first Christmas. Amen?


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gifting


The shepherds at the first Christmas (Luke 2:8-20) must have felt like society had cast them out and pushed them down to one of the lowest rungs on the social ladder.  They were considered unclean physically and spiritually, and they must have felt abandoned and forgotten.  They must have felt like nobody really cared about them, but then they found out on that first Christmas night that they were wrong.  Somebody did care!  The One who counts the most did care!  He was there for them!  Of all the people on the face of the earth, the Angel of the Lord appeared to them.  As they made their way to Bethlehem to see the Miracle of Christmas, they discovered in the process: three great gifts that Christmas gives to us; that money can’t buy; and gifts available now to you and me.
I.   The gift of acceptance. - Do not fear - God is with you!
II. The gift of forgiveness. - A Savior is born!
III. The gift of Christ. - Accept and worship him.

Admit your need. Believe in Jesus. Commit your life to Him.
 Receive God's gifts this Christmas and share them with the world. Amen?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Being First

The word “firstborn” can mean first in birth order, but also first in sequence, or first in rank. Matthew 1:25  - Joseph did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

Jesus is “firstborn” in other ways too:

1. He is God’s firstborn. ( Hebrews 1:6 & Psalms 89:27)
2. He is firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15)
3. He is firstborn from the dead (Revelation 1:5)
4. He is firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29)

May Jesus always be first in your life- heart, mind, body, and soul. Amen?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Drinking

If Jesus was never born we would never experience His baptism. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:13 - For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.


Three practical requirements for receiving the Holy Spirit:


1. We must be thirsty Recognize you need more than you already have. Thirst is one of the greatest desires in the human body. If you are really thirsty you can’t think of anything else.


2. Jesus said “come to me”. If you want the baptism then you must come to the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.


3. Then He said you must drink. Drinking is receiving something within you by a decision of your will and a physical response. Depending on what you are drinking it could be a good or bad thing. It is the best thing when receiving the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to "over-flow" in your life and that of others.

Thank you Jesus for coming and giving us the Holy Spirit.
Amen?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Directions


We can learn much about honoring God from Joseph and Mary.

Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. - Matthew 1:19
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. - Matthew 1:24
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.- Luke 1:38
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their throne but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”- Luke 1:46-55
What quality or faithfulness do you see in Joseph or Mary that you can apply to the choices you have to make?

May we always use the hope, truth, and love of Christ when we make choices. Amen? 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Choices

We all have hard choices to make in life but remember: The impossible is what God does best! We sometimes make our own problems and other times they are find us. Mary's fiancé found himself having to make a choice after she told him she was with child.

Joseph had three choices:
1. Expose her pregnancy publicly.
2. “Divorce” her quietly.
3. Marry her and raise the child as his own.

Some choices we have to make are:
Public - everyone is going to know.
Private - people closest to you are affected.

I received counsel a long time ago about "always taking the high road". So when it comes to making choices - they should always be God honoring. Amen?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Sign


The following passages are prophesies of the coming Messiah.
Praise God for His promises and faithfulness.
The Sign of Immanuel - Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
To Us a Child is Born - Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Today and always use God's Word to light your path and lead you in the truth. Amen?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Given


This is a prophetic word from Isaiah foretelling the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.



Isaiah 9:6-7 -    For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.              



What does “unto to us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given” mean?



I think that it is a reminder that Jesus is for everyone and He is a gift from God. Salvation is available for all who call on the Name of the Lord.



If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. - Romans 10:9



If we accept this gift of salvation then we too are reborn, and we are given to the Son. To give Him honor and glory all the days of our lives should be our main focus. 

Amen

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sharing Christmas


Look at what Jesus says in Luke 4:18-19 - “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”



He is announcing that Messiah has come and that the Scripture has been fulfilled. Immanuel – God is with us! He wanted to make sure that the world knew who he was, and the ministry of compassion. Jesus proclaims freedom to the poor in spirit, those imprisoned in sin, and give hope to the hopeless. He healed the sick, lame, and blind to give people a miraculous sign of His power. Jesus shows His love for everyone – regardless of our condition.



This Christmas may we take on His compassion for the world around us. We have many opportunities to show God’s love in a real way.



Are you ready to share Christ and the real meaning of Christmas with someone?



Today can be that day to show your compassion to the world around you.
Amen?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ye Faithful


When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

Luke 2:15-16



We all know the song, O Come All Ye Faithful:



O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,

O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.

Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.



We have that same calling and opportunity to experience Christ.

Remember the last verse?



Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;

Jesus, to Thee be glory given;

Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.



Accept Jesus in every area of your life. It’s the best present you could ever receive. Amen?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Miracle


The miracle of Christ's ministry and mission is seen in John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. God became a human and lived on earth among us!



Further testimony is found in 1 John 1:1-4 - That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.



How is Christ working in your life today?

Have you received this miracle of eternal life?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Mission


We are told of Jesus' mission in the Old and New Testaments. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.John 1:10-13 Some rejected Him. - the world and His own people. Some received Him. - those who believed became children of God.

In Isaiah 40:3 we see the prophesy of Jesus' mission and John the Baptist. A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (also quoted in Mark 1:3)


Do not be confused about Jesus's mission.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. - John 3:17


An impossible mission for a mere man. but with God nothing is impossible. Amen?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fulfilled


We see the facts surrounding Jesus' birth in Matthew 1:22-25.  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.



This passage is a very moving revelation of important truths of God’s plan for the world. Even though He is King of Kings, and all will bow in His honor, he was born in a borrowed room not a palace. Jesus came to show God’s love for people who feel they have nothing. God has known the same sadness.



Jesus alone brings hope and light in to a dark world.



Once each year, Christmas comes along to renew our hope and to remind us that the darkness of this world cannot overcome the light of the world.



Allow Him to light up the dark areas of your life this year. With light comes clarity and direction. Amen?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Decorations


In the past two hundred years, a new element has found its place in our Christmas celebration. It is from the Christian practices and symbols in Mexico that we have adopted this tradition. In the very early part of the 19th century, an American who served the United States as an ambassador spent a tour of duty in Mexico. He admired the dramatic beauty of the bright red poinsettia that grew rooftop high and bloomed profusely at Christmas. He was awed when Mexican Christians told him why the bright red poinsettias were a part of their celebration of the birth and life of Christ. In Mexico, the story goes like this: The Bethlehem star shone over the manger where Jesus was born. Its light so bright the earth responded, reflecting that star light, receiving that star light, mirroring that star light with a beautiful flower. Star shaped, radiant shaped, pure white petals, golden star centers. In Mexican lore, it was always the Flower of the Holy Night. It grew on earth as a creation to glorify and commemorate that Holy Night "For the stars shout forth the glory of God." Then came the tragic day when Jesus dies on the cross and the blossoms changed. Pure white petals remembered the sacrifice of the Christ born when the star was over Bethlehem. Flower of the Holy Night, star shaped, radiant shaped, blood red petals, star flowers for the Holy Night. Now, everywhere, on cards and on trees, in churches and in our homes, the poinsettia takes its place; reminding us of a Holy Night, pointing to a Good Friday.


The star stands out in significance as relevant and vital today as when God hung it in space. The Bible tells us that God commissioned a particular star to serve as a travel guide for a group of men from the East who had developed an interest in looking for a child to fulfill a prophecy that in Bethlehem a ruler to shepherd Israel would be born. They found Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in a house where they fell to their knees, worship the child, and gave Him gifts. The star is a symbol of God’s gift of direction to us. It is His travel guide to seekers who will look and follow. The star led the wise men to Jesus, the Light of world. As we light the tree and the star remember that Jesus is the true Light in a world of darkness, He points the way to God. 


May we remember to honor Jesus this Christmas. Amen?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Tree


The Christmas Tree is widely used in our celebration of Christmas. Some of our fondest memories of Christmas probably revolve around a tree that was placed in our homes during the season. Green trees, blue trees, frosty snow-covered trees, inside a warm room. Lighted trees, living trees, all are trees of Christmas. Our use of Christmas trees is so widespread, we have forgotten the beginning. Martin Luther put lighted candles on his tree to recapture the glistening twigs of the tree in the forest. He had been walking home and was amazed at the beauty of the stars. He also topped his tree with a star to commemorate that star which was in the Bethlehem sky as recorded in scriptures: "Behold, there came wise-men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and we have come to worship Him.'" He said the Christmas tree, with its top pointing up to heaven, was like hands folded in prayer, pointing to the throne of grace, from which we received our Savior. 

David said, But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.
And His (and our) prayer was answered - His name is Jesus.
Amen?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Glory to God


Christmas reminds us that Glory came down from heaven in the form of a baby, Jesus! We must give Him all praise, honor, and glory. Paul writes to the church:  God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! Ephesians 3:20-21(MSG)



How does God show His love, hope, and truth to the world? One way is by sacrificing His life for ours. Prophesy tells us in Isaiah 53 (MSG) 



Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this? 2-6 The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises, we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him. He looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, He took up the cause of all the black sheep.



Give God all the glory at Christmas and throughout the year. Amen?