Today I was reminded of a story about a family on the East Coast who held a party to celebrate Christmas. As the guests arrived, they all threw their coats on a bed, and proceeded to celebrate, eating, drinking, opening gifts, etc. It was later discovered that the guests had actually thrown their coats on top of a baby, who was asleep on the bed, smothering the baby who died. They overlooked, or didn’t see the baby, as they had gotten caught up in their partying.
This was a very sad situation, but is also an eye opener as to how Jesus can get “smothered” during Christmas celebrations, ignorantly or deliberately. Our world is moving more and more in the direction of trying to remove Him from being the center of this holiday. Have you noticed that many, particularly in our work places, are afraid or will hesitate in saying have a “Merry Christmas” ? Instead they will say “Happy Holidays”. Some will call Christmas trees “holiday trees”. In our neighborhoods, instead of Nativity Scenes on front lawns of houses, we see Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and other cartoon or fictitious characters.
Christmas seems to be the only holiday where many don’t want to call it by it’s name, particularly in our work places. In the United States, we seem to have no problem saying any other holiday’s name, like Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, President’s Day, etc. But when it comes to have a “Merry Christmas”, some of us stutter.
Jesus is the reason for this season, and every other season. For all things were made by HIM and for HIM. This holiday is a Christian holiday, set aside to acknowledge the birth of Jesus Christ. “FOR unto us a CHILD is born, unto us a SON is given: and the government shall be upon HIS shoulder: and HIS name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9
Read the following articles and be sure you Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!!
EMMANUEL “GOD WITH US!”
“GLORY to GOD in the HIGHEST, an on earth Peace, Goodwill toward men!” Luke 2.
If there was ever a time to PRAISE the LORD the time is NOW!
Notice that whenever you read, watch or hear the news it is not usually good! There is an overabundance of things going on all over the world. There are many natural disasters all about us the results are devastating… The economy is down and unemployment rate is up! The lives of many are drastically being impacted. Many loved ones have passed on making their transition to eternity! Many corporations have closed, many have lost businesses, careers, jobs, estates, homes, stocks, possessions and yet … Immorality has become acceptable?
Marriage & family is ordained by God! The powers that be and principalities yield much spiritual warfare that seeks to break up many families and put in place a different way of living. Redefining the marital roles… Disloyalty and manipulation, justified, along with works of the flesh and deception slowly but surely intertwining itself in many relationships… Children tossed to and fro. This is not God’s Way! Seemingly harmless it has opened the door for much chaos… Stress levels are constantly being elevated… No wonder; Suicide,divorce, sicknesses, diseases and depression are abounding!
There is also a resurgence of discrimination in many shapes and forms and on a multitude of levels. There is an enormous amount of oppression and loss of freedom as well as invasion of privacy; all due to the overwhelming threat of foreign and domestic terrorism as well as suppression & oppression…
A host of false teachers controlling and leading many astray… Many are living in fear… But look at GOD! “The LORD is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Strength of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27.
It is important to know who you are through Jesus Christ! In HIm you can have the VICTORY!
We are living in a time that anything goes! What God has said is wrong it is accepted as right. What is Good is called evil, evil is called good and many are trying to make what is right in the eyes of the majority rule and become accepted as the norm… Lord help us!
The Word of God is being fulfilled! Truly we are in the last days! “No one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man…” Matthew 24. So it is today!
Begin to prepare each day as though you were to see the Lord face to face! There is ALWAYS HOPE in the LORD!
When Noah was building the ark there were millions and millions of people here on earth. The world had become a place where “anything goes” it was no longer the paradise that God had intended for His people. They allowed themselves to become caught up in the ways of the world. Fewer and fewer listened to the Lord! The spiritual warfare was rampart and satan continued to deceive many! It is a little frightening to see just how quickly God’s principles were laid aside… Imagine it had never rained! It may be hard to fathom or comprehend but in the whole entire world there was only one man and his family that was listening to the Lord. This man was Noah; he was a righteous obedient man and obeyed the Lord in spite of what was going on in the world.
“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creature that move along the ground, and the birds of the air- for I am grieved that I have made them.” Genesis 6.
The world had become flooded with evil and this brought a greater flood upon them that destroyed the world. What God had said not to do had become the norm! Does any of this sound familiar? Look at what is going on today? There is much to learn and ponder in the Word of God! It is Powerful and “ALIVE” it is All True! The Gospel is going forth all throughout the world. Time is winding up! From this magnificent illustration we can learn the importance of listening to the Lord rather than compromising His Word in order to be accepted by the masses. God will Never direct you to do anything that goes against His WORD!
EMMANUEL GOD is with us!
Jesus told us “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to OBEY EVERYTHING I HAVE COMMANDED you. And surely I AM with you ALWAYS to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28.
Know God’s Word for yourself! There is only ONE TRUE CHURCH! We the collective body of believers all around this world that was created through HIM are His Church! We are the body of Jesus Christ! PRAISE GOD!
God is so gracious, loving, kind and Sovereign! He has provided a way back to Him. He has given us a path by which we must travel and Jesus has paved that way! “He is the Way The TRUTH and the LIFE.” It is the Narrow Way that is His way!
Today it is important for us to fully embrace the Truth of His Word! He has given us many examples as to what happens when we ignore, disobey or lay aside His Word! Know just like in the time of Noah many will not understand you. Had you ever thought about where were all those multitudes of people that Jesus healed, fed and saved when He was being crucified? How many sat on the sidelines and said nothing! Just like then many did not really expect the outcome…
We too can expect not to be welcomed, maligned, mistreated, persecuted, misunderstood… But do not become disheartened. Become aware and continue to look to the Lord. Ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment to properly apply His Word to your life! “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In All your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3.
We must learn to honor and esteem God’s Word above the ways of the world. No person, judge, king, prophet, prophetess, pastor, or priest was able to overcome sin in the flesh. Therefore God sent His only Begotten Son to come in the form of sinless flesh and overcome sin in the flesh for us! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever BELIEVES in Him shall not perish but have Eternal Life.” John 3. It within this verse one can gain spiritual acuity and focus on the Power of The Gospel of Jesus Christ! Jesus accepted the punishment for our sins and humbled Himself and was obedient through His death on the Cross! He took back what was lost and redeemed us and He arose with ALL Power! To believe means that you begin to take action and step out on Faith. You are a believer because you have given your life to the Lord and Believe, Trust and Embrace the full Gospel of Jesus Christ!
As you Celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ; Know that Emmanuel means God with us! Know without doubt that as a believer He abides in your heart! We must continually ask Him to fill us with His presence daily…
The GOOD NEWS!
JESUS CHRIST makes all the difference in the world! It is a wonderful, thoughtful, kind, loving gesture to give to others… So ENJOY this seasson of giving… However, make it a point to take time and spend some time with the Lord reflecting on ALL He has done for you! He TRULY is the GREATEST GIFT of ALL! We can ALWAYS find something to be THANKFUL for! REJOICE in HIM! We all continue to exist because of GOD! “For in HIM we live and move and have our being…” Act 17. Christmas is REALLY about JESUS CHRIST and not just the presents; but about HIS PRESENCE in your life! HE is our “KING of kings and LORD of lords! He is our PRINCE of PEACE! No matter what you can ALWAYS FIND LOVE, COMFORT and PEACE in HIM! “Be STILL & KNOW!” EMMANUEL “GOD IS WITH US!”
As we examine the life of Jesus Christ we can see that He encountered an enormous amount of spiritual warfare during His sinless life. We learn that He suffered much! Many of those he helped turned their backs on Him… The birth of Jesus Christ born to The Virgin Mary was a marvelous astonishing miraculous miracle! This glorious occasion changed the world forever! Jesus was dispatched from Heaven to defeat the enemy for us! His spectacular Victory was felt on earth and in Heaven!
We can offer Praise; because of Jesus Christ we can learn to “Worship Him in Spirit and in Truth!” It is because of Him being born in the flesh, living a sinless life, being crucified, then He died and was buried! He became the Holy, Pure, Sacrificial, Consecrated Lamb of God! He redeemed us through His precious blood. There is POWER in the BLOOD! He shed His blood as the ultimate sacrifice so we might have life and have it, more abundantly. Not only on earth, on this side of heaven but through eternity! How amazing! PRAISE GOD!
The GOOD NEWS!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in HIM before the creation of the world to be HOLY and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons (daughters) through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious Grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have the redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s Grace that He lavished on us with all Wisdom and Understanding. And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment to bring ALL things in heaven and on earth together under One Head, even, Christ…” Ephesians 1.
The GOOD NEWS!
There is a wealth of knowledge and security within the depths of the Holy Scriptures! Jesus was the WORD wrapped in sinless flesh! Jesus was born during one of the most difficult eras in history! Much political turmoil going on… From the very beginning there were those who avidly sought to destroy Him! Interesting, they were so intimidated by His extraordinary birth! As time passed He was treated atrociously, beatened, maligned and yet; Jesus fulfilled His earthly mission! This is why we ALL need Him as Savior & Lord! Through Him we are “more than conquerors!” Romans 8. He has provided us with His Holy Spirit to lead, guide and protect us! We can Trust GOD!
God has already BLESSED us with every spiritual blessing! The blessings of God go far beyond material or temporal they are eternal! Before we were ever born God chose us! God does not want us to be unaware or ignorant of the TRUTH of His WORD nor live in denial! He does not want His Word to be a secret! We must warn the people! He wants us to boldly proclaim “The GOOD NEWS!” The GOSPEL of Jesus Christ! The Word of God is His story. God is Sovereign! When we truly belong to Him we are to represent Him! We are to live out the principles of His Word in spite of what is happening in this world. Jesus is coming soon!
As we prepare to CELEBRATE the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ it is spiritually beneficial to keep in mind the many wonderful Blessings of the Lord! Jesus Christ is the most precious “GIFT” ever given by our Creator, Father and Lord! We can REJOICE in this THrOUGH eternity!
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given: and the government shall be on His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9. HALLELUJAH!
When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord we have something to shout about! In every and any situation God will see you through! “God will never leave nor forsake you!” We can Praise Him throughout the year and forever more knowing that JESUS CHRIST is not only the “Reason for the Season” but the reason for LIFE and living through eternity!
GOD BLESS YOU! ~ MERRY CHRISTMAS & Have a Wonderfully Blessed NEW YEAR ~
JESUS Is The WAY! The TRUTH And The Life!
Can I be certain that the Bible is true? How many ways is it to Heaven? Can I get to heaven just by being good? Do I have to believe in Jesus Christ? Do you know where you will spend eternity? What does it mean to say; The Lord is my Shepherd?
These are a few of the multitude of questions that many ask? Many are rather confused? I pray that after you read this you will better understand the answers to the above questions!
What is the point and why all the confusion? The confusion comes and many are bewildered because so few take the time to actually know the Word of God for themselves, nor proceed to develop an ongoing personal relationship with Him. They often take second hand information without considering the source and realizing it just might not be the Word? It is really important to know the Word of God for yourself!
What is also a bit alarming; is that there is so much of the Word that is being pushed aside and replaced by old wise fables and tales by Christians… Many opt to determine what is right for them simply based on how they feel and have been erroneously taught. Much misinformation is passed down and becomes accepted as truth… often reflecting an unfavorable picture of the Lord and His Word! What is popular or the latest trends determine how one lives rather than upon the Word of God…
Did you know that tradition can be anything you decide? There are many traditions that are first-rate and quite beneficial. But whenever the principle it teaches is contrary to the Word of God it should be abandoned. It is always GOOD to be Thankful to GOD! God never intended for Christianity to be reduced to a legalistic list of rules, to a tradition nor just another religion or something practiced on Sunday… Christianity was meant to be an everyday lifestyle. Jesus Christ came to show us the Way!
No wonder so many are lost! Rather than follow His directions, many opt to just do their own thing! Think about this for a minute. If you knew me well and trusted me and I gave you directions how to get somewhere and you are guaranteed to arrive there safely, would you follow them? Or would you say Hmm I’m not so sure I’ll ask someone else or I will find the way myself? You may eventually get there but in the meantime you have chosen the tedious path laden with anxiety and uncertainty rather than… Believe me! Do you really believe the Word?
Jesus Christ is the Son of God! As a matter of fact: “For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever BELIEVES in HIM shall not perish but have everlasting life. For GOD did not send His Son in the world to condemn the world. but that the world may be SAVED!” JOHN 3. He is door to Heaven and there is no other way to the Father!
Jesus has already prepared the Way! But in order to stay on or get on the right path we must follow His directions! “Do not let your hearts be troubled, TRUST in GOD! TRUST also in ME! In My Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would not have told you, I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME BACK and take you to be with ME that you may also be where I am…” John 14. Prepare: JESUS IS COMING BACK!
Let’s allow our spiritual minds to take the forefront and ask the Lord to open our spiritual ears and camp here a moment! Is your heart troubled? Have you made a bad decision? Has someone lied on you? Is your mind confused? Are you or a love one physically or mentally ill? Have you been given some bad news? Are you uncertain about your future?
Well I have some “GOOD NEWS!” Jesus has already prepared a Way! All His Word is true! It is okay to analyze and assess to a degree what is going on and take a look at what is happening in your life… But in order to see your way through or out of a situation clearly you must learn to TRUST JESUS!
No matter how much we plan; things can and will still happen that are beyond our control. Therefore you cannot put all your TRUST in something you see. Upon accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, God has given us an inner compass to guide us! Regardless as to where you are, what is happening or what has happened your way out is through Him! The first place you must turn is to GOD! If you are a believer you have been given His Holy Spirit as a Comforter! Belief in Him and in HIS Word is supremely paramount for safe travel on the narrow road! “Seek first the Lord and HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness and ALL these things will be given to you as well…” Matthew 6. You must seek Him or begin to seek Him above all else!
If you do not know Him start now! If you have grown slack in your commitment to His will in your life recommit! Sincerely confess that you are a sinner and you are sorry for the sin in your life that separates you from Him. Let Him know now you want to turn your life over to Him. You want to draw closer to Him and invite Jesus into your heart! You want your life to be different and you want to learn more about Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation… You want to learn how to trust Him…
Why is that? If you are trusting in something you can see or figure out then it is not FAITH! “Now FAITH is being SURE of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do not see…” Hebrews 11. What is key here is being sure and certain! It is so important that you develop your very own personal and intimate relationship with the Lord! Know God so well that when anyone tells you something, you are able to discern or you can go to the Word and find out for yourself if it is of HIM!
The Greek word for faith is pistis! Faith is being confident in a reliable source!
There is so much spiritual warfare designed to get you off track on to the broad road where there are so many travelers that it appears it is the right direction. Have you ever noticed when there is a lot of traffic you must drive much more carefully! You must pay closer attention to where you are going. If you don’t you can easily miss your turn, or have an accident…
GOD is who He says He is!
When we confess Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we enter the spiritual realm of belief. Not just any belief but we actually profess we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This does not mean we merely join a spiritual social club and are then just indoctrinated to a particular denomination or non – denomination. It goes much deeper than that? Yes it is wise to pursue a place of worship where the Word of God is being taught! You need to fellowship with other Christians who are able to properly spiritually nourish you! It is important to know and understand that you have made a commitment to live God’s way! What are you saying…
The Greek Word for believe is pisteuo. Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. We are saved by Grace through FAITH not works!
When you become a Christian you embark on a spiritual journey that is a lifelong process of spiritual growth. This is just the beginning… Wherever you are in your life you now must begin to go forward in the Lord! You cannot undo anything that has transpired in your life! There is nothing that God is not aware of! Now you must get to know Him as your Creator and Sustainer of life on a personal level. You must become familiar with His voice! You must learn to “Be STILL and KNOW!” You are now to travel on the narrow road that is less traveled!
You have been given the gift of His Holy Spirit that resides within you!
Faith is an action word! You must step out on FAITH! In order to feel the impact of His Spirit’s presence you must sincerely ask to be filled daily by inviting Him into your day to day life. Throughout the day you can actually become cognizant and reconnect when you feel yourself shifting… You must take the necessary steps to develop an ongoing personal intimate relationship with Him.
Wherever you are God knows! Wherever you have been and whatever you have done God knows that too. GOD LOVES YOU! It is important to know that you have entered into a spiritual war zone. The world at large is hostile to believers! Once you become strong in the FAITH you threaten their system of embracing whatever is popular… Thinking outside of the box they have prepared for you is not welcomed… So prepare for opposition! But our weapons are not carnal! Think about Jesus, who was sinless and how they conspired against Him… He was not readily accepted by the very ones He came to help! His motives were always questioned and He was slandered, called everything but a child of God! They even used someone that was supposedly close to Him to betray Him… Jesus as well as His disciples endured harassment, ridicule and undue mistreatment. Yes, we too must go through some things…! So do not be surprised like Peter tells us; “In this greatly REJOICE, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds o trails – These have come so that your FAITH – of greater worth than gold, which perished even though refined by fire – may be proved GENUINE and may result in Praise, Glory, and Honor Jesus Christ when revealed.” I Peter 1.
No need to be afraid, but you must begin to be aware of what is going on. Pray for spiritual discernment! Peter shares with us how important it is to know what lies ahead! He knew you can expect persecution from just about anyone including at times your own family…”If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15. Is it becoming any clearer why you need to know the Word for yourself?
Jesus Christ is the WORD in flesh. He has all power. There is no power principality or anything that is not subject to Him; yet He humbled himself to be an example for us. His purpose was to make us aware of the importance of developing an intimate relationship with God through Him. The Comforter His Holy Spirit will direct you and teach you all things as you grow spiritually. Yet he always gives you the freedom to choose. God loves a cheerful giver.
Today there is much discussion on giving. How much, when to give and to who should it be given. Should you give to missions church or charities? Is the money used to further the gospel or to just maintain the building? Should it matter to you how it is used? Is tithing commanded? Do we tithe our gross or our net? When we give be it our money, material possessions or time it should be done responsibly. I believe in supporting ministries who focus on spreading the “Gospel”. This actually equips others to live victoriously. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof them and they that dwell therein”. We are stewards of whatever God puts in our possession. I also believe when you consult Him HE will direct you how, when, who and who not to give to.
When I read the scriptures I see how Jesus saw that the needs of His disciples were met. The scripture even says they “lacked nothing”. Well, Jesus was poor. Jesus didn’t have a place to lay His head. Did you forget when He was a child He lived with Joseph and Mary. When He became of age His mission was to fulfill the Will of Our Father. “He who was rich became poor so we might become rich”. I don’t think He pulled money out of His pocket to pay the little lad for his lunch he used to feed the multitude. I think it was out of the mouth of a fish that His disciple found money? The point is giving is not just monetary. Money is the system that the world uses to exchange goods or services.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness and everything will be added unto you”. If you put God first in you life He will provide whatever you need. The scripture says if you ask anything in His Will He will give it to you. You don’t have to beg, steal, manipulate, brow beat or coerce anyone. Don’t be envious of others. If you are not content with your blessings; take it up with God. “To whom much is given much is required.” Just remember persecutions come with blessings.
We often make decisions and don’t consult God. Or we consult Him and don’t listen. When we begin to feel the consequences of those decisions we want a fast relief. The problem is we don’t want to seek Him first! We often want something or want somebody to give us something that may not be in God’s will for us. We want the benefits but we don’t want to seek the kingdom first. Since God is omniscient ( all knowing) He knows what we need before we ask. Had you ever thought perhaps I’m not quite ready for what I’m asking for? Or perhaps my priorities aren’t right, or just maybe the time isn’t quite right? I believe when God puts something in your possession He will give you the wisdom how to handle it as well. Is God your source? Well what’s the problem? The “love of money is the root of all evil which while some coveted after, have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” There are people who will do anything for money. Money in itself is not evil. You see you can love money and not have any. You can also have a lot of money and not love it! Just to name a few of many in the Bible, remember Abraham, Solomon, Queen of Sheba, Joseph and Job to name a few? I think they had spiritual and material riches? But they also had the right priorities. It is God that gives the power to be rich.
I can never express enough the importance of having an avid personal prayer, worship and bible study. It will enhance your life tremendously. It will help you be a good steward. It will increase your spiritual discernment. It will also free you when others try to manipulate you to give or do anything out of guilt. When you grow spiritually your desire to give will as well. But you will receive much persecution when you don’t give your time and money when, how, and how much they think you should. Just know that God knows your heart and He will direct you. Be careful who and what you support. It is not necessary for others to understand or see what you do. God knows your heart and your intentions and He really does see everything. It is your obedience to Him that will cause you to reap bountifully.
God truly is a GOOD GOD. He has left no stone unturned to prepare us through His Word instructions for righteous living. When you accept Him as Lord and Savior He WILL supply all of your needs according to HIS riches in Christ Jesus. Begin to give as He instructs. Paul tells us in Corinthians; “But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.