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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Something to be Shared

O Little Town of Bethlehem is a great carol that tells of Jesus’ birth.

“O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth, The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years, Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary. And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep,
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together, Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King, And Peace to men on earth”

 Did you ever wonder who the first Christian missionaries were? They told everyone they saw about Jesus. It was the shepherds whom the angels appeared and then they went to see the Messiah in Bethlehem.
We are told this in Luke 2:17–18 - 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.The Good news about Jesus' birth was something to be shared!
This Christmas remember, we have someone to share, not only a baby in the manager, but a man on the Cross, and returning King!

       "O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray; cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel."

Monday, December 11, 2017

Greatest Gift


Jesus is offering a gift that can only come from Him.

  37 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. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 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?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Accomplished

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


Isaiah 9:6-7 -   6 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. 7 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 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 focus.
Amen?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Family Ties

Jesus’ birth was planned by God. All details concerning His birth were exactly as they should have been.
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. 17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 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.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
- Matthew 1:16-20
This shows that Jesus was the Son of God. Having no human father, conceived by the Holy Spirit shows His divinity. Born to a human mother shows His humanity.
The Great News is not that we are human, but that Jesus was born, died, and resurrected so that we can have the Holy Spirit living in us.
Are you just human, or holy and human?
Holiness only comes through Jesus. Amen?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Heavenly Sounds


We hear about the first Christmas Cantata or musical in Luke 2:8-15.

 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 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.”

Enjoy the sounds of Christmas this year.  Don’t forget to sing what the angels did 2,000 years ago, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” It doesn’t make any difference if you have a good voice or not. Sing with your heart and your life.

Give God the praise He deserves. Amen?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

It Happened


Matthew 1:22-25 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 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 stable, 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 can bring hope and light in to a dark world.

If you want to give your loved ones a great Christmas present this year, give them the gift of Christian Hope. On page after page of the New Testament we find it: the Good News that God will win, that nothing can defeat Him; that ultimately God and goodness will have the victory and that when we put our hope in Him, nothing, not even death, can separate us from His watch care and His love and His triumph. 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.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Shine On


Lights are a big part of our Christmas decorations. We see them everywhere: in the mall, outside adornments, and inside our homes. John chapter 1 talks about Jesus bringing God’s light in to the world on Christmas Day!

 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (vv. 4-5) 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 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. (vv. 9-14)

Are you any different today than if Jesus was never born?

What difference has Jesus made on your life?

Receive God’s gift of salvation, and all the promises he gives to his children today.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Announcement

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 (announce) Christ with someone?

Today can be that day.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Let Us

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.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Arrival

Today is the first Sunday of advent. We celebrate it the four Sundays before Christmas. “Advent” simply means coming as in Christ is coming, and for us now He has arrived. This is referring to His birth in history and in humanity. It meant the welcoming or the arrival of a special king and for us; it is our King of kings. This is what the Old Testament prophecies foretold concerning Jesus’ Incarnation, the Word made flesh for our hope and Atonement that brought us our deliverance. Advent represents our expectation, anticipation, and preparation for who Christ is and what He has done for us. He arrived into the world as a human being, being fully God and fully man. He came to identify as one of us, as the Son of Man, as a baby born in a manger. He came for us, He came for you and He comes into our lives and into our hearts. He is coming again in great power and glory to bring His Kingdom into fruition.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
Celebrate Christ's arrival - in to your heart and life.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Looking Up

As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward us” (Psalm 103:11)

God’s mercy, grace, and love show the height of His love. He promises us that nothing can separate us – Nothing! Praise God for His enduring love.

Romans 8:35-39 - 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord

Remember God’s love for you this Christmas – His name is Jesus!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hand Up

God reaches down to the most horrid and hopeless sinner. Yes, that includes you, me, and all humanity.

Look at Ephesians 2:1-10 - 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God loves you deeply. Acknowledge it, praise Him for, and be obedient to His call on your life. Amen?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

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?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Open the Floodgates


The last few days I’ve been blogging about tithing and honoring God. The Lord challenges us to "test" Him in this act of faithfulness. Don't miss this blessing! We trust God with our eternity - doesn't it make sense that we should trust Him with our finances?



 Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 3:10-12



 The blessings are out of this world - the floodgates of heaven are opened! You can’t out-give God, and when we rob from God we are actually robbing from ourselves. Don’t rob from yourself the spiritual blessings of God’s provision in His church.

Sounds like God's way is the best way with our finances (and everything else).

Amen?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Honest Giving


The worst offense of how people treated God as reported by Malachi was that they were robbing God (3:6-12). How? By withholding their tithes, by giving the worst instead of the best, by giving the least and not the most. Their attitude was, "How little can I give and still keep God happy?"



“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

The tithe is the minimum - it is what is expected from God's people.  In Hebrew tithe means 10%. The Bible talks of not one but 3 tithes. One for the priests, one for the Temple, and one every three years for the poor. That works out to 23+% annually if you're counting. You see God's tithe (that's what it is) is the floor not the ceiling of giving to the Lord's work. God’s tithe not "my tithe" is in recognition that everything belongs to Him. Anything less than 10% is not to be called a tithe but rather a donation or offering.  It all starts from the heart. 

Who do you trust in?
 

Prepare your heart and engage in an honest conversation with God today about your giving. Amen?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Unfaithful Accounting

After 70 years in exile you would have thought that people would have come to their senses and be faithful to the Lord. The last book of the Old Testament tells us a different story. The people in Malachi's day treated God badly by robbing from him. They had become bored with God. Their worship had turned from relational to ritual. As a result:



They offered blemished sacrifices (1:6-14) They offered God their contempt, defiled food, blind, cripples, and diseased animals. They gave their "leftovers" instead of their best.



The priests had become unfaithful (2:1-9) They did not listen and dishonored God with  false teachings.



Divorce was commonplace and easy (2:10-17) They had broken faith and commitment with God and in their marriages.



Their words wearied God (2:17 read) They desired their own justice, and missed they always had a Just God!



Businessmen were cheating their workers, customers, widows, orphans and aliens (3:1-5).  Defrauded and oppressed those around them. There was no justice.



Before we pass judgment on this group let's look at what the New Testament has to say to us. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25 

Application?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Join In


It is said that a one-legged schoolteacher from Scotland once came to the renowned missionary J. Hudson Taylor to offer himself for service in China. “With only one leg, why do you think of going as a missionary?” Taylor asked. “Well,” the man replied, “I don’t see those with two legs going.” He was accepted for service.

That plucky attitude is something like what Jesus displayed when He looked out over a world that was broken by sin, riddled with disease, and divided by hatred and said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few!” We live in a world that is either hopelessly lost or ripe for salvation—depending on how you choose to look at it. Jesus viewed the world through the eyes of faith and possibility, and He calls us to join Him in the mission of bringing God’s kingdom to earth.

Today at my church, I will share a challenging message with you based on Jesus thrilling call to join in the harvest, Matthew 9:35–38. Let’s pray that the Father will indeed send His workers into the field, and that you and I may do our part in His grand scheme to bring salvation to all mankind.

Amen?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Gospel

Any Gospel presentation should contain three things: 1. Christ died for our sins. 2. He was buried. 3. On the third day He arose from the grave! The world needs to know of God's love and the hope that comes form Christ. Here's the Scripture to back it up.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,  and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. - 1 Corinthians 15:1–5
This same preaching and sharing needs to happen today. Amen? 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Live a Life


God’s Word challenges us to develop a daily worship lifestyle. Colossians 3:23 says, Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men. – Does this verse describe the way you worship? Check out the last psalm in the Bible. It’s all about praise and worship!
Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. - Psalm 150

What does it tell you about praise and worship?
Let’s praise the Lord today and everyday and live a life of worship. Amen?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Giving Thanks


Happy Thanksgiving! Today focus on giving thanks. Share with God and the world your gratitude. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Psalm 100, and I'd like to share it with you.

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. 

Remember we're told "to give thanks in all circumstances", so regardless... Be thankful.



“‘“May the Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

 the Lord turn his face toward you, and give you peace.”’

Amen

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanks to the Lord

At this time of year, let us be truly thankful to the Lord. Consider the “thankful” guidance we are given in God’s Word.


Psalm 50:23 - He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God."

Psalm 100:4 -  Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.

Philippians 4:6 -
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 -
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 106:47 - Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy Name and glory in Your praise!
Today and everyday give thanks to the Lord for He is good! His love endures forever! Amen?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Eight Blessings


Thanksgiving as found in 1 Corinthians 1:4­9:

 4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— 6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We come to God so often with our complaints, requests, or needs that we tend to neglect giving thanks to Him. Consider these things we should be thankful for God’s:

    1. People (v. 4).

    2. Grace (v. 4).

    3. Wisdom (v. 5).

    4. Salvation (v. 6).

    5. Gifts (v. 7).

    6. Protection (v. 8).

    7. Faithfulness (v. 9).

    8. Fellowship (v. 9).

All believers have received these eight blessings; let's give Him thanks. Amen?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Seeking Wealth


John G. Wendel was one of the wealthiest men in America in the early twentieth century, but he lived as if he were poor. Although he and his sisters had received a large inheritance, they spent little of it and hoarded as much of their wealth as they could. Five of Wendel’s six sisters never married, and they lived in the same house on New York’s Fifth Avenue for 50 years. When the last sister died in 1931, her holdings were valued at more than $100 million. Yet she owned only one dress, which she had made herself and worn for many years. Oddly, it was the Wendels’ desire for wealth that drove them to live like paupers.

Jesus gave a similar warning in His Sermon on the Mount. Those who pursue material wealth wind up missing out on the real treasure. Those who place their first priority on things other than wealth will find themselves blessed with all of the riches of their Father in heaven.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

Jesus asks us to examine our hearts to determine where we have placed our ultimate trust—on earth or in heaven, in self or in God.