Mary, the faithful sinner and CHRISTmas…

 Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

 Luke 1:26-32 “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’s 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.”

Mary, the faithful sinner and CHRISTmas

In the drama of the first Christmas there is a perfect example of walking by faith. God begins in Luke 1:26 – “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary, The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.'” A name above all names! In no other name is salvation found.

God’s request to Mary was that she walk by faith and trust Him. He asked her to take His hand and allow Him to lead her into something amazing. Mary did not insist that she see some piece of evidence before she accept God’s plan. We must understand that in the Jewish culture of those days a woman was stoned to death for having a child out of wedlock. Now think about the faith it took to obey.

God was leading her into a situation where she was suddenly and miraculously pregnant. And who’s going to believe that God is doing this? How about the arguments that may have gone through her head? She has a lot to lose if she walks by faith and goes where God wants to take her. She may lose her reputation as the “nice girl of Nazareth.” She may lose the man she loves when he hears she is expecting and he knows he’s not the father. The wedding she has dreamed about from an early age may never happen. And since, in the Jewish culture of that day, they stoned women for sexual sin, obedience could even cost Mary her life.

But Mary was a woman of faith. Listen to her response, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Those words show her heart. If Mary’s identity is, “I’m Joseph’s girl,” there’s no way she’s going

to do what God wants. If her image as the “nice girl of Nazareth” is her identity, she won’t do this. But Mary bases her identity on one thing and one thing alone. With open hands, open arms,

face looking up, she declares, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said.” And because of that surrendered spirit and surrendered future, Mary carries God’s only Son in her body.

God’s most special assignments are for those who will let go of their fears and begin the walk of faith. When you know that God is asking you do something, and then the choice is; do I serve Jesus or my fears and desires? It may be to share His love with someone who has never heard (Mat 28:19, 20). It may be to develop and use your God given spiritual gift(s) for His glory. It may be to give up something very precious to you for the benefit of another (Agape Love).

It may be to turn the other cheek. It may be to be the salt that lovingly calls sin for what it is even in the face of much opposition. It may be to set aside the occupation the world and family and self gave you and take up the one Jesus has for you.

This Christmas season, take your Father’s hand and with child-like faith, tell Him, “Lord, take me wherever You want me to go.”

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him…”

If you are serious about walking by faith then take the time to check out Eph 2:8,9, Rom 12:1,2, Luke 9:23 and Phil 4:13

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CHRISTmas Geese…

CHRISTmas Geese…..

Luke 2:8-11 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living
out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And
behold, the angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of
the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the
angel said unto them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you
good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For there is
born to you this day in the city of David,
A SAVIOR, WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD!”

The CHRISTmas Geese

There was once a man who didn’t believe in the incarnation or
the spiritual meaning of Christmas, and was skeptical about God. He
and his family lived in a farm community.
His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children
in her faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her faith and
mocked her religious observance of Christmas.

One snowy Christmas Eve she was taking the kids to the Christmas
Eve service at church. She pleaded with him to come, but he firmly
refused. He ridiculed the idea of the incarnation of Christ and dismissed
it as nonsense. ” Why would God lower himself and become a human
like us?! It’s such a ridiculous story!” he said. So she and the children
left for church while he stayed home.

After they left, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned
into a blizzard. As he looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding
snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then
he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window. And
another thump. He looked outside but couldn’t see. So he ventured
outside to see.

In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a
flock of geese! They were apparently flying to look for a warmer
area down south, but got caught in the snow storm.

The snow had become too blinding and violent for the geese
to fly or see their way. They were lost and stranded on his farm,
with no food or shelter.

They just fluttered their wings and flew around in circles
around the field blindly and aimlessly. He had compassion for
them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself,” The barn
would be a great place for them to stay! It’s warm and safe; surely
they could spend the night and wait out the storm.”

So he walked over to the barn and opened the barn doors for
them. He waited, watching them hoping they would notice the
open barn and go inside. But they just fluttered around aimlessly
and didn’t notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.
He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just
moved away from him out of fear. He went into the house and
came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread
trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo
them, run after them, and chase them toward the barn. They
only got scared and scattered into every direction except
toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the
barn where there was warmth, safety, and shelter.

Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, “Why don’t they
follow me? Can’t they see this is the only place where they
can survive the storm! How can I possibly get them into the
one place to save them?” He thought for a moment and
realized that they just won’t follow a human. He said to
himself,” How can I possibly save them? The only way
would be for me to become like those geese.
If only I could become like one of them! Then I could
save them! They would follow me and I would lead them
to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words that he
just said reverberated back to himself in his mind:” If only
I could become like one of them–then I could save them. “
He thought about his words, and remembered what he
said to his wife:” Why would God want to be like us?
That’s so ridiculous! ” Something clicked in his mind as
he put these two together. It was like a revelation, and he
began to understand the incarnation.

We were like the geese– blind, gone astray, perishing.
God became like us so He could show us the way and make
a way available to save us. That is the meaning of Christmas,
he realized in his heart.

As the winds and blinding snow abated, his heart
became quiet and pondered this thought. He understood
what Christmas was all about. He knew why Christ
had come. Suddenly years of doubt and disbelief were
shattered, as he humbly and tearfully bowed down in the
snow, and embraced the true meaning of Christmas.

“The Geese “
– Author Unknown-

Luke 18:17 “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Luke 2:11b” …For there is born to you this day in the city
of David, A SAVIOR, WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD!”

A Friend called Jesus…

Hebrews 4:13-16 “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

A Friend called Jesus!

The song “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” resonates with so many of us because we all need a friend who can empathize with us in every circumstance. Jesus walked among the people whom He died to save in order to relate to individuals and to make those individuals realize that they could approach Him. Joseph Scriven learned he could share his heart with a Savior who knew on a personal level exactly what Scriven was facing. In 1857, Scriven wrote “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

Many Christians know by heart the famous first verse, but few are aware of the powerful words in the second verse: “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful-who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Scriven knew the legitimacy of Christ’s friendship. He knew Christ had suffered, so it was easy for Scriven’s friendship with Christ to deepen when, the night before his scheduled wedding, Scriven’s fiancée drowned.

Scriven in his grief left Ireland for Canada. There, his great hymn itself was born out of anguish. The hymn was a part of a letter that he sent to his ill mother back in Ireland. He simply was reminding her how to get in touch with an old Friend.

Have you made Jesus your Friend?

Hebrews 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 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.”

The Love of God…

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

The Love of God….

The day is over, you are driving home. You tune in your radio. You hear a little blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It’s not influenza, but three or four fellows are dead, and it’s kind of interesting, and they’re sending some doctors over there to investigate it. You don’t think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you hear another radio spot.

Only they say it’s not three villagers, its 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it’s on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb. People are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story. For it’s not just India; it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you’re hearing this story everywhere and they have coined it now as “the mystery flu”.

The President has made some comment that he and everyone are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, “How are we going to contain it?”

That’s when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen. And that’s why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English: “There’s a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu.” It has come to Europe.

Panic strikes. As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don’t know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die.

Britain closes its borders, but it’s too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, and it’s Tuesday morning when the President of the United States  makes the following announcement: “Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been cancelled. If your loved ones are overseas, I’m sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing.”

Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are selling little masks for your face. People are talking about what if it comes to this country, and preachers on Tuesday are saying, “It’s the scourge of God.”

It’s Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, “Turn on a radio, turn on a radio.” And while the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made. “Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu.”

Within hours it seems this thing just sweeps across the country. People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California. Oregon. Arizona. Florida. Massachusetts. It’s as though it’s just sweeping in from the borders.

And then, all of a sudden the news comes put. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It’s going to take the blood of somebody who hasn’t been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: “Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken. That’s all we ask.”

You stand around scared with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on, and that this is the end of the world. Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. “What?” He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says, “Daddy, that’s me.”

Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. “Wait a minute, hold it!” And they say, “It is okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. We think he has got the right type.”

Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another – some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, “Thank you, sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect. It’s clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine.”

As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and you wife aside and says, “May we see you for a moment?  We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor and we need . . . we need you to sign a consent form.” You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty.

“H-h-h-how many pints?” And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades and he says, “We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren’t prepared. We need it all!”

“But – but…” “You don’t understand. We are talking about the world here. Please  sign! We – we need it all – we need it all!”

“But can’t you give him a transfusion?”

“If we had clean blood we would. Can you sign? Would you sign?”

In numb silence you do. Then they say, “Would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?” Can you walk back? Can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?” Can you take his hands and say, “Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?”

And when that old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve – we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying.” Can you leave? Can you walk out while he is saying, “Dad? Mom? Dad? Why – why have you forsaken me?”

And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don’t even come because they go to the lake, and some folks come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care.

Would you want to jump up and say, “MY SON DIED! DON’T YOU CARE?”
Is that what He wants to say? “MY SON DIED. DON’T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.””

Give Thanks to the Holy ONE…

I Thes 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing, In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Give Thanks to the Holy ONE…….

The following is something to ponder:

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof
overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness … you are more blessed than
the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the
agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation… you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death … you
are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married … you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful … you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the
shoulder … you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone
was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people
in the world that cannot read at all.

Have a good day and count your blessings…and more importantly praise the One who
provided them………

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today….
“It’s already tomorrow in Australia!”
Charles Schultz

 

According to scripture we will have a new heaven and new earth after the Millennium period of time. Are you ready…..?

 

Rev 21:1-3 “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

 

 John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Psalm 118:1 “O give thanks unto the Lord for  He is good; because His mercy endures forever.”

Give Thanks to God…

Proverbs 3:21 “My son, let them not depart from your eyes- Keep sound wisdom and discretion.”

Give Thanks to…

“Shall I thank God at this Thanksgiving and all year long? Why was I born at this particular time in the history of the world? Why was I born in a spotless delivery room in an American hospital instead of a steaming shelter in the dank jungle of the Amazon or a mud hut in Africa? Why did

I have the privilege of going to school with capable instructors while millions around the world, without a school book, sit or squat on a dirt floor listening to a missionary?

“How does it happen that my children are tucked into warm beds at night with clean white sheets while millions of babies in the world will lie in cold rooms, many in their own filth and vomit? Why can I sit down to a warm meal whenever I want to and eat too much when millions will know all of their lives the gnawing pangs of hunger? Do I deserve to share in such wealth? Why me and not other millions?

Why was I born in a land I didn’t build, in a prosperity that I didn’t create and enjoy a freedom that I didn’t establish?

Why am I an American sitting comfortably in my own living room this Thanksgiving rather than an Indian squatting in the dark corner of some infested alley in Calcutta, shivering in the cold, or a Cambodian in the rubble of what used to be my home, or a terrified, running Nicaraguan in the jungle, or wondering if I will be alive for tomorrow in Afghanistan or Syria?

Do I deserve it? By what right do I have it?”

I Peter 2:3 “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

GIVE THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rev. 7:12 “Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen.”