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 saying 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!!
“Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Faith is so important that it is mentioned over three hundred times in the BIBLE. Faith means to have a firm persuasion. Having Faith means much more than just to say you believe. It goes much further! Faith is developed through Prayer, Devotion, Bible Study, and the actual application of God’s Word to your life. Faith is also part of the Lord’s spiritual armor. It is “By Faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible.” Hebrews 11:3. Faith is NOW not after the fact has materialized! “For we walk by Faith not by sight.” II Corinthians 5:7
When you truly trust God your Faith will see you through any and all circumstances or situations. Abel, Deborah, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Rahab, are just a few examples of the many that trusted and had Faith in God. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets beheld many miracles, faced jeers, were stoned, saw walls fall, were persecuted, misunderstood, and mistreated yet accomplished their life purpose by trusting the Lord. Notice how they all sincerely aspired to live in the presence of the Lord. They had a personal and deep intimate relationship with Him. Hebrews commends them all for their Faith; “yet none of them received what had been promised.” It is by Faith we are strengthened inwardly! Jesus Christ dwells in our hearts through Faith.
Faith is NOW!
Hebrew defines Faith as something you cannot see. Faith without works is dead. When your Faith is truly in GOD you trust that in His time He will fulfill whatever it is that He has said or promised. Take a moment to take an open and honest personal inventory of everything that is happening in your life. Guess what God already knows as well! Despite your circumstances; good, bad, or indifferent you can rest assured that your Faith makes all the difference in the world as to how you will now proceed. In order to successfully run the race of life we must keep our focus on the Lord. Laying aside any weight or sin helps us to run with endurance. When life hurdles appear God will impart to you His patience and direction. You can not change anything that has happened “it is what it is” As you fix your eyes on “Jesus, the Author and perfector of our Faith” He will help you arise to the challenges as well as the celebrations of life. Your daily trust and reliance on God is where your true security and significance should reside. This will give you sure footing and strong solid rock foundational spiritual roots to help you withstand the storms of life. Your Joy in the Lord is where you will find strength when you keep your eyes on Him. The joy of the Lord is not contingent on your circumstance. Faith is NOW!
The key to being a Christian is the Faith we have in Jesus Christ. Do you know the importance of His sacrificial death on the cross that atoned for our sins? It was so we could live life to please Him! Did you know our lives, our homes, our marriages, families and our worship should reflect we are His children? How do we do this? Titus tells us that “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self controlled, and sound in Faith, love and in endurance. To teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good…” The natural man or woman does not accept, value, nor understand the things of God. This is why the Word says to “let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” In order to understand the things of God it is crucial that you lay aside your way and your will and let His Word be a “lamp unto your feet and a Light to your path.” Having the proper perspective will teach you how very important it is to live life and study His Word for His approval and not the approval of man. This is why we are told to “Trust in the Lord will all of our hearts and lean not to our own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our path.” Proverbs 3: 5&6. Too often God is an after thought or optional choice when dealing with life. This compromise often has favorable results with man; yet results in moving you away from God. Learn to wait on God and patiently seek His way.
God’s way will give you peace and contentment that surpasses the understanding of man! God wants to be the Primary Force in your life. Being a Christian is really a chosen lifestyle. God does not force His way upon you. Faith produces commitment and faithfulness. It means to sincerely and earnestly attempt to live life to please God. Commence to truly Live, Sing, Worship and Praise Him. It really makes all the difference in the world! “LET the WORD of Christ dwell richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving THANKS to God the Father through Him” Colossians 3: 16&17.
God always has a better way. According to Ephesians He has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. As His child we have been sealed and promised the gift of His Holy Spirit. God truly is faithful you can always count on Him! Now you must trust Him and step out on Faith. Remember Faith is not something that you can see. Always remember, you must exercise patience and your Faith and trust must rely in Him. He tells us if our Faith is “as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” Matthew 17: 20. The key to this is you must desire His will to be done. It is with God we can do the impossible. This way He receives the credit. To GOD be the GLORY! God keeps His promises. You can fully trust God to work everything out for your good.
Always keep in mind that absolutely nothing gets by God. He knows all that is past, current and will be. Be encouraged knowing “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” It is by Faith and patience we inherit His promises. We can patiently endure whatever is necessary because we know that God in His time will work everything out for our good. It is by Faith we accept His precious gift of eternal life. One of the most important elements in life is having Faith in GOD. “Without Faith it is impossible to please Him, for he, who comes to GOD, must believe, that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Romans 1:16& 17.
GOD IS FAITHFUL in His time you will reap the promises and He will give back, restore, refuel and replenish you in His time. God knows when you are sincere. We are living in interesting times. Just keep your eyes fixed on the Author and finisher of your Faith. God is able to “keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great Joy!” You can say Hallelujah anyhow! God is awesome! As I mentioned before Hebrews records in its “Hall of Faith” many Old Testament heroes who trusted in God and displayed their Faith in unique ways. Lay aside every weight and anything that hinders you from going forth in the Lord! When you truly believe; it will be a priority to live your life to please GOD! Faith results in faithfulness! Who or what are you faithful to? “Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” FAITH IS NOW!
Over 2,000 years ago God sent His Son into the world that we might be saved and not condemned. On the profession of our FAITH we are accepted into His Family and become children of God. The Child in the manger has been recognized as TheTraditional Christmas scene down through the ages. It is much more than a tradition it is a True story! As you Celebrate CHRISTMAS with your family, friends and loved ones with your plethora of family Traditions; I would like to take a few minutes to share “The Chronicle of Our Lord and Savior!”
“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
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice highly favored one, the Lord is with you; BLESSED are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His Father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob FOREVER. And of His kingdom there will be no end…….
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David. Which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to registered with Mary his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there was in the same country shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, and angel of the Lord said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is CHRIST the LORD. And this will be the sign to you : You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths in a manger. And suddenly there was an angel a multitude of the heavenly host PRAISING GOD and saying; GLORY to God in the highest, And on earth PEACE , GOODWILL toward men!
So it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when then they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning the child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and PRAISING GOD for ALL the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them.
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb…
This is the greatest event that ever happened in the history of the world! So much so that a choir of Angels sang and the sky was lit with a brilliant STAR! “JESUS is the Bright and Morning Star” He wants to Light your heart and give you purpose and meaning in your life! CHRISTMAS IS WHEN WE CELEBRATE “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” TO JESUS! Jesus lived an amazing sinless life to conquer sin in the flesh for us! So we would not be condemned but saved. He was crucified a shameful death on the CROSS, died for us and then after three days in the grave HE arose victoriously with ALL POWER! When you accept Him into your heart you become God’s child and The COMFORTER His precious HOLY SPIRIT comes to live within your heart and your body becomes a Temple! You are then given the gift of ETERNAL LIFE!!! Jesus then becomes your Messiah, Savior and Lord! Jesus is the GREATEST GIFT that was ever given! JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON! JESUS is the reason for every season. He is your reason for living in Him you will find the true meaning of life! Have a wonderfully, MARVELOUSLY Blessed MERRY CHRISTMAS and a JOYFULLY Blessed NEW YEAR!!! “GLORY TO GOD in the HIGHEST and on earth PEACE to men on whom HIS FAVOR rests….” (St. Luke }