The Reason For The Season!

The Reason For The Season!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 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. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  Luke 2:1-11 NIV

Those of us who understand that being a Christian means we follow Christ know why we celebrate this season. We are not concerned with saying, Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays (specifically for the secular segment of society) but in knowing that at some point in time, over 2000 years ago, we were given the greatest gift that could ever be given, and it couldn’t be purchased in a mall for any amount of money. The birth of a Savior, God coming in the likeness of sinful flesh, to save all who choose to believe in Him. Though He made the sacrifice–giving His life for ours almost 34 years later–we still celebrate His birth for without it–there would not have been a crucifixion or a Resurrection–paving the way for us to enter into Heaven.

Today, on the eve of the celebration for many of us–I just wanted to remind people that we do indeed have a reason to celebrate this season for it had not been for The Lord, where would we be?

Fortunately, for us–He loves us enough to respect our choices in doing whatever we do–whether He approves our choices or not–He respects our right to choose–both what we do and the consequences. I really wish–we who proclaim to be Christians–followers of Christ–not people–could get to that same place of understanding. We don’t have to agree or approve what others choose to do, but we should respect their right to choose–just as God does.

Personally, I’m thankful that God allowed me to choose some of the paths I’ve taken in life–though I know He didn’t approve–He allowed me to make the choices and deal with the consequences and in dealing with those consequences, I learned just how much He loves me. Who are we to get in the way of those who will learn from the consequences of their choices, no matter what they are?

I encourage all Christians (true Believers) to think about how we can best encourage (not command or make) others to believe in the Savior we know. The best sermon–as many have said before me–is the one we live, not the one we talk about. If I never utter another word about how good God is–I would hope that everything I do–says it much louder than I could ever hope to say and more people would turn to Him–not me, because of who He is!

This is the time of year we should think even more about the plight of others and make a commitment to help those who are simply not in a position to help themselves. Thoughtfulness, consideration of others–is one way we can live The Word, instead of just talking The Word.

For tomorrow–I’m spending time with family–as I prepare our dinner–doing things that families do. I’m praying for peace in the world and joy in the hearts in every person and for those who feel abandoned in shape or form, know that there is someone praying for you and if I knew who you were, I’d invite you to share our dinner because we always find room and food for more.

Enjoy this day doing your last minute shopping! Stay safe and alert for the enemy would love to steal your joy by destroying hope and faith in Jesus by influencing someone to do a dastardly act. And then spend tomorrow loving others and enjoying life while we live. Luv2LuvU!

 

 

30 Days of Prayer and Praise–14!

30 Days of Prayer and Praise–14!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory. Psalm 24 NIV

Day Fourteen

Lord, Our Lord,

Thank You for allowing us to see another day, to have another opportunity to celebrate Your arrival in the earth, clothed in flesh like man, but always God.

Thank You for looking upon this land and all of Your people–those who call upon You in times of need and praise You no matter what.

Thank You for loving us enough to be willing to join our fate in the earth, being tempted by sin on every side and yet, not caving; being ridiculed and persecuted and yet, not hating; being scorned, beaten and crucified, and yet–ever forgiving those in their ignorance who sullied Your reputation and good works.

God of heaven and earth, our heavenly Father, we praise You for the mercy and grace You keep showering upon us. We praise You for loving us enough to see beyond our faults and taking care of our needs, and keeping us focused upon You.

Help us this day, O God, to become more like You–seeing beyond the surface of skin color and differences in religious affiliation–to just seeing You and conducting ourselves as You do–without constraints–loving one another.

Who is the King of Glory? The Lord–mighty in battle, gentle in spirit, compassionate and loving, merciful in all His ways, and forgiving–of all who repent when they understand wrongdoing and wrong living, according to His Word.

Who is the King of Glory? The Lord–who chose to come into this world as a baby–experiencing life as all humans do, navigating childhood into adulthood, understanding all we must experience and yet not once failing to observe all His Father in Heaven commanded Him to do.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your love and willingness to sacrifice self for all who willingly come to You, receive Your love and accept You as Lord and Savior of their lives.

We give You praise, glory and honor for there is none like You; no one who deserves our unconditional love other than You for You first loved us and then loved us enough to die for us! Hallelujah to the King of Glory! Ride on King Jesus!

For all You have done, are doing and will do in our lives–we thank You and praise You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

 

ENJOY THIS DAY CELEBRATING WITH LOVED ONES AND REMEMBER THOSE WHO ARE ALONE–CARE ENOUGH TO SHOW THEM SOME LOVE!

Great Joy For All People!

Great Joy For All People!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared unto them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is the Messiah, the Lord: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” Luke 3:8-14 NIV

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Today, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I am so thankful that He was obedient unto the cross, loving me so much that if I was the only person on earth, in need of saving, He still would have died–just for me.

I pray that all will remember the love He has for all and that we all–whosoever will receive Him–will be mindful of the love He has for us and love others as He loves us–unconditionally.

It is easy to set aside one day out of the year to recognize others with gifts and kindness–for some–who have financial means to do so, but what about the others–who have no thing to give, but know how to love?

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with exchanging gifts, but with the gift-giving and tearing off paper wrappings, tossed in the garbage, are we remembering the Gift given wrapped in love, never forsaken and cannot be tossed aside?

For even if some have never received His Gift–of love and sacrifice, it is still accessible–and all they have to do is open their hearts and receive.

The best gift–is priceless–knowing that we are loved without measure and when we receive His love, we can be filled to overflowing–able to love others--even the unlovable–just as Christ loves us–when we are unlovable.

The gift of Love in the person of Jesus Christ is the reason we celebrate today and even if you didn’t get the “things” you wanted, remember His Love is always accessible.

Have a very Merry Christmas Celebrating

The Joy He Gives to All Who Receive!

God With Us!

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”  which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:21 NKJV)

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, remember it is not about the gifts we give to others, but about The Gift He gave to us. And we know that the 25th of December is not the day He was born and it really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that He was born, He lived, He died, He rose and now sits at the right hand of His Father–interceding for us, watching over us, empowering us with His Spirit to accomplish all things and live the abundant life He promised us! Let’s celebrate Him and be thankful for all we have in Him and through Him!

Happy Birthday Jesus Merry Christmas Everyone!

Who Died For You?

“Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (I Corinthians 1:13 NIV)

In the never-ending battle over which religion or denomination is the most important, this question should actually end all discussion. Who died for you that you might have life and that more abundantly?

As great as some of the founders of various denominations may have been–none of them were appointed to die as atonement for man’s sins, but Jesus.

None of the separatists–those who pulled away from the original “doctrine that Jesus promoted” have been able to say, “through their death, mankind is saved” for all eternity.

If we look carefully at each of the “religious dogmas” we find error and confusion and reason to debate.

Peter could not have been the “rock” upon which Catholic doctrine (regarding non-marriage for priests) was established since he was married (Matthew 8:14). The doctrine was established out of need to control and an inability to comprehend what Paul was saying.

Martin Luther did not die for mankind’s sins.

Buddha did not die for mankind’s sins.

Mohammad did not die for mankind’s sins.

John Wesley did not die for mankind’s sins.

This list could go on and on, but the point here is–to make people aware that we must pay attention to who we reverence and why. God has always used “people” to accomplish His will, but that doesn’t mean we should give “the people” the place of honor that does not belong to them.

Though greatness is determined by those who affix the title–none of them–died that we might have life.

And this was the warning Paul was giving–though we have respect for those who do great things, we cannot give them the place of honor that only belongs to Jesus Christ. When we attempt to put “mere men” upon pedestals, chaos and confusion reign since those men (or women) are just as imperfect as the rest of us.

So, rather than argue and debate which religion is greater or which leader is the most revered, let’s focus on the One, True founder of our faith (if we say we are followers of Christ) and give Him the honor and reverence that is due Him and no one else. How can we say we believe in God and not believe that He came down from heaven in the person of Jesus Christ, clothed in flesh, like a mere man in order to save us from ourselves, with the ultimate sacrifice of His life on the cross?

He is the reason for this season–His birth, death, burial, and resurrection–all made possible by His love for us. Who else could make this claim?

In The World, Not of The World!

For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You.

Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

“And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;

“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17: 8-21 NKJV).

The true Lord’s Prayer–the prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden just before He was arrested, says all that needs to be said about those living “in this world, but are not of this world.”

Be encouraged to stay in the faith and walk in God’s Truth (His Word), no matter what people of the world may say or do. When we have a relationship with God, we know we have His Truth and nothing the world does can persuade us to think otherwise.

Have a wonderful season celebrating the birth of our Savior and it is–all about Him!