A CHRISTmas Moment….

Luke 12:15 “And he said unto them, Take heed, and
beware of covetousness: for a man’s life does not consist
in the abundance of the things which he possesses.”

A CHRISTmas Moment!

Getting mauled at the mall, getting paralyzed in traffic,
overheating your credit card. Christmas can sure make
you tired of shopping. Especially if you can’t find what
you’re looking for.  It’s a feeling that’s not unique to
Christmas – many of us are tired of shopping for what will
fill the hole in our heart.

We look for it one relationship after another, one
conquest after another, one experience after another.
There’s this persistent whisper in our heart – “Something’s
missing.” Actually, the something is Someone. That first
Christmas, the wise men’s long search ended when, as
the Bible says, “They bowed down and worshiped Jesus.”
(Matthew 2:11) That’s where your search will end, too.

The Bible says we were “created by Christ and for Christ”
(Colossians 1:16) – which means the hole in your heart is there
until you have Christ. No amount of buying and receiving will fill it.

It took Jesus’ awful persecution and death on the cross to
pay for the sin that’s separated us from God. But now His
love, His peace, His meaning for your life is within your
reach – if you’ll just, “Call upon the Lord for forgiveness.”

You’ve shopped long enough. Come on home.

Acts 16:31 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and you shall be saved, and your house.”

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life.”

Advertisements

The CHRISTmas Pageant…

John 3:16a “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…”

The CHRISTmas Pageant

My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but hadn’t been blessed with a baby. I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.

God answered my prayers with a yes and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son.

The following year, He blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter.  My husband thought we’d been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old. I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, “If you pray for rain make sure you carry an umbrella.”

I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn’t want to disappoint Him. I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to be understanding…when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs.

When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess. In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children.

While I couldn’t keep my promise to be a perfect mother – didn’t even come close…I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God. I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to “wash up” Jesus, too. Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his “last wife.”

My proudest moment came during the children’s Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine. My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, “We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.” But he was nervous and said, “The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes.” My four-year-old “Mary” said, “That’s not ‘wrinkled clothes,’ silly. That’s dirty, rotten clothes.”

A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.

I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, “Mama-mama.”

Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived.

My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, “We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur.” The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation.

“I’ve never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one,” laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes.

“For the rest of my life, I’ll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur.”

“My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing,” I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.

Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.

Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.

Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.

Had no army, yet kings feared Him.

He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.

He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.

He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.

Feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us.

GOD BLESS AND HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS

John 3:16-18 ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

How Cold is Sin…

Heb 12:1a “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”

How Cold is Sin…..?

It was Christmas Eve in Korea. An expectant mother walked through the snow to the home of a missionary friend where she knew she could find help. A short way down the road from the mission house was a deep gully spanned by a bridge. As the young woman stumbled forward, birth pains overcame her. She realized she could go no farther. She crawled under the bridge.

There alone between the trestles she gave birth to a baby boy. She had nothing with her except the heavy padded clothes she was wearing. One by one she removed the pieces of her clothing and wrapped them around her tiny son around and around, like a cumbersome cocoon.

Then, finding a discarded piece of burlap, she pulled it over herself, and lay exhausted beside her baby.

The next morning the missionary drove across the bridge in her Jeep to take Christmas basket to a Korean family. On the way back, as she neared the bridge, the Jeep sputtered and died, out of gas. Getting out of the Jeep she started to walk across the bridge, and heard a faint cry beneath her. She crawled under the bridge to investigate.

There she found the tiny baby, warm but hungry, and the young mother frozen to death.

The missionary took the baby home and cared for him. As the boy grew, he often asked his adopted mother to tell him the story of how she had found him.

On Christmas Day, his 12th birthday, he asked the missionary to take him to his mother’s grave. Once there he asked her to wait a distance away while he went to pray. The boy stood beside the grave with bowed head, weeping.

Then he began to disrobe. As the astonished missionary watched, the boy took off his warm clothing, piece by piece, and laid it on his mother’s grave. Surely he won’t take off all his clothing, the missionary thought. He’ll freeze! But the boy stripped himself of everything, putting all his warm clothing on the grave. He knelt naked and shivering in the snow.

As the missionary went to him to help him dress again, she heard him cry out to the mother he never knew: “Were you colder than this for me, my mother?” And he wept bitterly.

When Christ came, He stripped himself of every royal garment and entered into our world of hatred and cold indifference. Why did He do it? Because He saw centuries of broken lives needing a Savior. And then He died as a sacrifice for sins He did not commit. How could this be?

The sin of human hearts. The long history of men making slaves of other men. Centuries of cannibalism and cruelty. Starvation and suffering. The worship of false gods in temples made with hands. War, bloodshed, crime, and greed, those things broke the heart of Christ. But so did we.

Our coldness broke His heart and now it freezes Him out. We complacent Americans who are saved, satisfied, and sitting! We who pray, “Give us compassion for a lost world,” and then “sacrifice” a dollar for missions. We with our elegant homes and brimming garbage cans. We who have the money, knowledge, and manpower to take the gospel to every creature, and yet we don’t. We who say we love the lost, and neglect to tell a lost neighbor about a loving Savior.

Jesus love lies frozen between trestle lips that ought to be warm to speak for Him. Lord, we take off our garments of pride and self-righteousness, glittering but transparently filthy rags that they are, and lay them at Your feet. In our naked need we cry, “Were you colder than this because of us, Lord?” And we weep bitterly, because we know You were.

by Ruth Seamands

Heb 12:1,2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God.”

The CHRISTian and Fishing…

The CHRISTian and Fishing….

My wife and I were just getting ready to go on a vacation fishing trip. What type of fishing do you enjoy the most? There is fishing for fish and fishing for men. One of them having eternal consequences depending upon which response you gave. In the book of Matthew chapter four verse 19 I am reminded that our Savior Jesus wants us to share about our faith so that others will come to know Him as we have. And hopefully you have. If not, this challenge sounds very foolish.If is does check this out (John 3:16, John 3:3, John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8 and 10:13) and you may see why it seems foolish.

Some including me at times in my life avoid fishing for men by thinking that my life is my testimony and I do not need to speak about the most important Person in my life.  Living a life that reflects Jesus is important but that alone cannot be used as a substitute for sharing our faith. Yes, I know most of us are scared to do so but listen to what our Lord says about fear and about trials and troubles that will occur in this life.

2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

 Mat 4:19 “And Jesus said unto them, follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

By the way, fishing for men is not reserved for the professional fisherman (evangelist or church leaders) only!!!!!  We all can enjoy the ministry of sharing our faith and the blessings that go with it!!!! It is like the spiritual gift of giving and some of the other spiritual gifts. With the spiritual gift of giving some you desire to and will give more than most believers but all believers are to give so that our Lord’s work is properly funded. Witnessing is the same. The person with the spiritual gift of Evangelist or Pastor will have the greatest desire to lead lost folks to a knowledge of Jesus and His sacrifice of our sins but all believers are to share their faith with a lost and dying world. That is why you live, work and play where you do. God knew you before you were born and place you where you live, work and play for a reason. The reason is to be light and salt for His names sake. Those locations and acquaintances are not of your design if you are following God’s will for your life.

Eph 4:1 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:”

Rom 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.”

If I had my life to do over…

James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life?

It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanished away.”

If I had my Life to do over!
by Erma Bombeck

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was
stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the “GOOD” living room and worried
much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the
fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his
youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day
because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it
melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about
grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more
while watching life.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth
would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical,
wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished
every moment realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was the
only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later.
Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you” … more “I’m sorry”… but
mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look
at it and really see it… live it… and never give it back.

I would tell all my friends that I need and love them and that my life would
be empty without them!

So where does sin that causes death come from?

Gen 2:15,16 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, you may freely
eat of every tree of the garden; But of the tree of good and evil and
blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of
it you shall surely die.”

We all partake…
Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And as with all actions there is a result..                                                                                   Rom 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…”

The good news with the rest of the verse…
Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Rom 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved.”

Heaven’s surprise…Guess who…

Rev 20:15 “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Heaven’s Surprise…Guess who…

I was shocked, bewildered and confused when I entered heaven’s door

Not by the beauty, nor the Lights, nor the décor

It was the people in Heaven that made me sputter and gasp.

The sinners, the cheaters, the liars and the trash.

There stood the kid from 2nd grade

That stole my lunch money twice.

Next to him was my neighbor who never said anything nice.

Herb who I thought would be rotting in hell was sitting on cloud 9 doing quite well.

I asked Jesus, “What’s the deal, I’d love to hear your take”

How’d all these sinners get up here must have been a mistake!

And why is everyone so quiet, so somber, please give me a clue. Jesus said,

“It’s because they’re all in shock, they never thought they’d be seeing you!

The poem offers some humor and much truth. The truth is that we are all sinners, yes even believers. Fortunately for the believers our sins have been covered by Jesus blood so we are not accountable for them. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

If you feel this morning that you are so much better than those around you then you are headed for trouble.

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Are you Spiritually Dead or Alive…

Rev 3:1 ““And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

“Are you Spiritually Dead!”

In the book of Revelation or Apocalypse our Lord first tells us about 7 Churches in the first 3 chapters.  God is talking about those professing to be Christians. Remember as you read this that in the Bible the Church refers to the people and not a specific denomination.

I would like us to focus on one of those churches today. That is the church of Sardis mentioned in Chapter 3:1-6. The first 4 Churches mentioned had some level of commendation from God and had rebuke and challenge for what they needed to change to please God. Sardis is the only church with no commendation. They appeared to be religious to the world around them but God told them they were spiritually dead. So, what does it mean to be spiritually dead?  First you must be ‘born again’ to be spiritually alive and to be a member of Jesus Church. If you are depending on the Church you belong to you may be in trouble because no denomination is ever mentioned in scripture as being the only one and true church. So hopefully in your past at some time you have recognized you are a sinner in need of a Saviour and you have asked Jesus to save you from the eternal penalty for those sins. So, how can we know if we are spiritually dead or alive?

Let’s look at 8 questions or ways to evaluate our lives to make sure we are not spiritually dead.

  1. Do I have a lack of willingness to receive correction?
    1. Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction
    2. Where to find correction. II Tim 3:16,17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”
  2. You boast, ‘I only listen to God and not to men!’
    1. II Pet 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
    2. We are to obey the spiritual leaders of our churches and those in government who provide direction that does not contradict scripture.
      1. Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
      2. Heb 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
    3. Are you inclined to watch others and point out their mistakes?
      1. Fault finding is not a fruit of the Spirit but a demon spirit. It is the same spirit that satan had.
        1. Isa 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      2. The following are examples of ‘born again’ believers who made the mistake of focusing on others vs. their ministry for Jesus but to their credit corrected the problem.
        1. John 21:21, 22 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
        2. Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
      3. Do you feel you are appointed to fix other people?
        1. You are not God’s Sherriff.
        2. Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
      4. Do you feel you are closer to God than other people? Pharisees feel that way and their lives reflect it.
        1. Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
        2. Satan had the same issue. Isa 14:14 “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      5. Do you demand recognition for what you do for the Kingdom of God?
        1. See question #5 verses about the Pharisees. They demanded the same.
        2. Knowledge of who God is does not alone set us on the right spiritual coarse. Romans 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
        3. Our purpose in life should be to; I Cor 6:20 “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
      6. Is your prayer life mechanical or do you really feel that you are communicating with and listening to God?
        1. God wants our heart relationship with Him and it is not based on the quantity of our prayers. Mat 6:7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
      7. Do I have a critical spirit when I see the workings of the Holy Spirit? If you are not sure be careful not to condemn another brother or sister. It may be the Holy Spirit at work!
        1. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who sought out Jesus. He did not condemn the work of Jesus and Holy Spirit because it did not line up with his spiritual thinking and religious teachings. Read John chapter 3.
        2. No Holy Spirit in our lives equals…. Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

So, how did your life stack up? Honesty is vital if we are to change. And if we are honest there is not a one of us who does not need to improve on one of those points.

If you are a ‘born again’ believer and some of these questions challenged you there remains hope from our Lord.

Rev 3:11-13 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘

An autopsy of the Sardis church suggests they were not killed by outside sources. They chose the way they went as do we. Outside sources or our worlds values are opposite God’s values for the most part but it is our choice as to which one we will follow and so was it for Sardis.

Joshua 24:14,15 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

God’s directive and our choice!

Heb 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”