Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What If Today Were Your Last? What Would You Do?

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. ~Proverbs 27:1

     This is the last day of 2014.  What big plans do you have for the next year?  What are your New Year's resolutions?  Losing weight?  Quitting smoking or drinking?  More exercise?  Spending more time with family and friends?  Trying out new adventures?  Treating people better?  Now, imagine with me, what would you do today on December 31, 2014, if this was your last day on earth?  I know this is a morbid subject, but no one is promised tomorrow.  We hope for tomorrow, but we may not get there.  So what?  What would you do?  

     So many don't have the chance to say "I love you", before they go.  So many are bitter and hateful and unforgiving.  So many people are alone.  Some suffer many years without help.  Would you tell people you love them?  Would you put away your bitterness, hatefulness, and forgive others?  Would you go to those who are lonely and are suffering?  Would you show them Jesus as you live out your last breath?  Today for many is a celebration of leaving the old year behind, with the trials and triumphs that has gone before, and looking toward a brand new beginning that may or may not come to fruition.

     If I had a chance on my last day, I would visit everyone I could.  If I could, I would do something new that I never tried before.  If I could, I would share Jesus in my actions and not just my words.  I would show love, the love that Jesus showed.  If I could, I would even share Jesus in a letter to the president or maybe even to those who have hurt me or others.  I would even write letters to my favorite celebrities and tell them about the One Who loves them.  If I could, I would hold my kids again.  I would think I would do all I could for the people I love.

     If we do wake up tomorrow on January 1, 2015, and if we are given another year, why not do all those things?  Why wait until it may be too late, because in reality, we don't know when our last day will be.  We need to say "I love you" more.  We need less bitterness and hatefulness, and more forgiveness.  We need to visit the lonely and suffering, while we have the chance!  2015 might just be the year of love, forgiveness and hope.  Or it may just be 365 more dull and dreary days.  It's my choice and yours.  How will you live?  What choices will you make?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What If There Were No Christmas?

And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this 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 the. ~Luke 2:16-20.

     It was the night before Christmas.  Mary and Joseph were anticipating the birth of Jesus.  Waiting for the moment the Savior would come into the world.  Waiting to hold Him and cuddle with Him.  It was the night before Christmas and they were away from their house.  The only creature that may have not been stirring was the donkey Mary was riding on.  The wait was tremendous.  It was almost time.  The labor pains may have started as they were travelling.  They might have wondered where Jesus would be born and hoping it would be comfortable for Mary and Him.  It was the night before Christmas.

     But what if?  What if there were no Christmas?  No promise from long ago?  No hope or chance of redemption from a Child Who would grow up, die for our sins and rise again to live forever?  What if there were no Christmas?  What if God just said in the garden, after the Fall, "Just forget it!  You two have ruined everything and now you be damned!"?  What if no miracles?  What if no healing?  No comfort?  No joy?  What if there were no promise of peace on earth, good will toward men?  What if Mary wasn't pregnant with a Savior, and gave birth to Him?  

     I could not imagine a life without God's promise of a Baby.  God's promise of redemption.  Without God we are nothing.  Like Solomon wrote, everything would be meaningless.  No rhyme nor reason, no right or wrong.  It would be all up to us, who have sinned from the very beginning, to correct the world, and that is scary to think.  The promise through out the Old Testament was that Jesus was coming, and He came as a Child.  It seemed to be an unusual thing, but how else could He have come?  He lowered Himself humbly, to be as one of us, so we could relate to Him.  Thank God He came.  The implications would have been devastating if He didn't come.  Imagine the world now, and how bad it is with His coming.  Now imagine it without a Savior.  Scary?  Yes.

For unto us a Son is given!
Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mary Did You Know?

Did Mary know all this when she said to the angel after the announcement of her pregnancy, in Luke 1:38..."Behold the maidservant of the Lord!  Let it be to me according to your word".?  I believe she believed God, but to what extent I do not know.  She knew He was the Son of the Most High, but did she believe that He would do all this?  This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs because Mary, who carried the Savior for nine months, raised Him, and saw Him work, might have not known the full impact of His coming.  But she did know He was the Savior.

Do you know?

May there be Peace on earth.

Monday, December 22, 2014

When God Stepped Down

     There are several times in the Bible where God stepped down in order to help us see Who He really is.  In Genesis 2:7 He even stooped down, picked up dust and created mankind.  In the Gospels it tells us of how He stepped down to human form, as a baby, so that He could save us from our wretchedness.  In Revelation it tells us He will step down to fight the devil at Armageddon, then create a New heaven and New earth.  From creating the universe, the world and mankind, from coming down as a baby, living in human form, yet still being God, suffering, dying and rising again, giving us a chance of redemption, to fighting the final battle for us and creating all things new in the end, God stepped down.  He did it for us because He loves us.
     There are countless times in the Old Testament where He came down from heaven, and from mountains.  He showed us glimpses of Himself throughout the Old Testament.  Then He came to us in flesh.  Now, if we have faith and believe in Him, He steps down to us, and dwells in us.  What other god would do that?  What other god died and rose again and lives forever?  What other god would come to our level, and chase after us?  No other god would, and cannot, because they are lifeless.
     Jesus was there when God picked up the dust and will be there to create the New heaven and earth.  Christmas can be a time to acknowledge that.  This Christmas, will you acknowledge that He stepped down for you?  Mary's pregnancy was like no other.  Jesus' birth was like no other.  And the way God had all of it played out, with Him lying in a manger, in such a humble way, God had to have stepped and stooped down low enough for us to touch Him.  That's how much He loves us.

May your days be merry and bright!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The True Meaning of Christmas

Luke 2:12
And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.

Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus' birth, with glad tidings, peace on earth, good will toward men, giving and receiving presents, family and food.  We don't even consider the true meaning of Christmas though---Sacrifice.  You ask, "What sacrifice?  Let me explain the story.

God is sitting on His throne in heaven along with His Son and The Holy Spirit.  Then God says to Mary and Joseph that they will have a Son by the Holy Spirit.  Suddenly Jesus has to step down off the throne of heaven and be born on earth.  Not only that but He must be all God and all human.  The worst part is He has no riches, no kingdom, and no place to be born, except in a dirty barn, then He is placed in a stone feeding trough.  That is sacrifice.  In John 3:16 it says "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."  It was a sacrifice also on God to send His Son away to earth.  We think of this verse as we see Jesus on the Cross, but the fact is He sacrificed His heavenly position and he started of in a dirty manger!

What are we sacrificing for Jesus?  We give and receive gifts for each other but what are we sacrificing?  Yes, our American Express and Visa bills will show up in January.  Spending money is not what God looks for.  Are we helping others, in spite how they treat us?  Are we going out caroling to those who can't leave their homes?  Or visiting sick children in the hospitals?  Do we visit our prisons?  We spend so much time on what perfect gift to give to our family and friends that we forget what Christmas means.  Giving beyond what we have.  Making time for the less fortunate.

Give to others with all your being and without expecting anything in return.  Doing all of this, we give back to Jesus for His birthday.  When someone is hurting you, turn and be kind.  When people hate you, love them.  That's the greatest gifts we can give for Christmas, a true sacrificial gift, and do it gladly.  This Christmas, think of how God sacrificed His Son by sending Him as a Baby on earth, where He would feel pain, suffering and endure temptation, and ultimately die for our sins, the most awful sins you can imagine.  Yes, Christmas is a sacrificial love.  

I hope this Christmas brings you a sense of sacrifice and repentance, and will bring you blessings unimaginable!


Friday, December 5, 2014

My Christmas Song

Sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things"

Eggnog and candy canes, cookies and Christmas lights.  Christmas trees with ornaments oh it's such a sight.  Angels and decorative bulbs shining their way.  Oh what a fabulous display.  Shopping lists of food and shopping lists of gifts, going out among the shoppers in their fits, unending Christmas songs filling your ear, this is why I can't wait for the New Year!
Stressed to find the right gift is a comin', unending Christmas commercials is very common, wanting to please all who we know, when I look in the mirror, my wrinkles show.  Thinking of Jesus, the babe in the manger, shopping on Christmas Eve, oh what a danger, knowing Santa and his elves will bring us good cheer, this is why I can't wait for the New Year!
When the kids scream, when the toys break, when ham in the oven is burned, remember the season, and Who it is for, Jesus the babe came to save mankind like no one before, He is the reason we can continue to the New Year!

This was just a funny ditty for you to enjoy.  I hope this Christmas season fills you with Love, Peace, Hope and Joy!