Archives

Why We Celebrate Christmas

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.  She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. The Shepherds and Angels That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.  Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,  but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.  After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.  All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.  The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. (Luke 2:1-20)

Merry Christmas and my prayer is that each of you have the peace of Christ in your hearts this Christmas and in the coming year. Though we live in times of great uncertainty, our beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ never changes and nor do the plans of His Father! Keep looking up. He has promised to appear and take His followers back with Him! Come LORD Jesus!

Be blessed!

Are you feeling confused?

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

Have you noticed how so many people seem confused by what is currently going on around the globe? Are you one of them? Do you wonder what is really happening behind the scenes? Are the governments really telling us the truth about all the current mandates and agendas?

Well I think it’s pretty safe to say that world leader’s are often influenced by much bigger agendas that don’t include you and I or our opinions. We are often kept in the dark and left to wonder why things are rapidly changing in directions we cannot understand. That’s why it is so critical that those of us who follow Jesus continue to read the Bible. It is a love letter to us from our Father. It is also our guide book. In it’s pages we find the answer to so many things, including current events. If you are experiencing stress and confusion right now turn off your tv and phone and get back into the Word of God.

Inside the Word you can find reasons to be hopeful and even excited for the coming days. You can find wisdom on how to navigate your daily life. You can find the prophecies we see unfolding before our very eyes and know that at the end Jesus wins and those of us who are His followers win too!

We all need to make time each day to spend in prayer, seeking the LORD’s will for our lives. Seeking His wisdom through reading His Word and resting in knowing that in a world of lies and confusion, HE is truth. HE is peace. HE is our soon and coming King!

We don’t have to be confused. If we ask Him He will open our eyes to see what is really going on. Not only that but He will give us the peace we need to walk through it, despite the encroaching darkness. Please read the following verses with me and ask the LORD to give you the counsel you need to get through each day in victory.

I will bless the Lord who guides me;
 even at night my heart instructs me.
 I know the Lord is always with me.
   I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
  My body rests in safety.
 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
  or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
 You will show me the way of life,
  granting me the joy of your presence
  and the pleasures of living with you forever.~Psalm 16:7-11

Be blessed brothers & sisters!

Are you looking for help in all the wrong places?

How are you all doing? Are you navigating well through the multiple world calamities we are currently are experiencing? The goods and food shortages, fear of illness, imposed mandates, fear of losing your job, fear of proposed power outages this coming winter, disappearing freedoms and/or liberties and I could go on and on. Are you counting on your government and those in power to come through and somehow fix all these issues and give you back life as you used to know it?

Well my friend, I think it’s time to realize that many of these issues are a direct result of the behaviors and decisions of said governments and powers. We are living in unprecedented times where globally, governments and leaders are all projecting a similar if not same agenda. This agenda is not about to be tossed aside. They are using it to usher in future plans and schemes that the Bible warns us about. What we are experiencing currently is clearly a precursor preparing the world for what is to come. The similarities are blatantly obvious.

He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead.  And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.  Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.~Revelation 13:16-18

Does some of that sound familiar to what we are currently witnessing? It should. I don’t tell you this to discourage you or cause you to fear. You were truly born for a time such as this and though at times it can seem overwhelming, we must NEVER forget God is not surprised nor alarmed at the evil plans of men and neither should we be!

I believe God is showing us that He alone is our source of help in times of trouble! We can’t rely on government plans and programs to get us through the coming difficult days. We will be required to rely on the One that created us. The One that created this world of ours. We will rely on Him. He is faithful to His own! He will never leave us or abandon us. Psalm 146 so beautifully reminds us where are help comes from.

Praise the Lord!

Let all that I am praise the Lord.
     I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
    I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
    there is no help for you there.
 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
    and all their plans die with them.

 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.
 He made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them.
    He keeps every promise forever.
He gives justice to the oppressed
    and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
     The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
    The Lord loves the godly.
 The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
    He cares for the orphans and widows,
    but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

 The Lord will reign forever.
    He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations.

Praise the Lord!~Psalm 146

I hope you let the truth of every word from this Psalm settle deep within your heart. This is the God we serve. This is the God who redeemed us through His precious son, Jesus Christ. He is still on the throne and will forever be! In HIM we can trust. In HIM we can rely. He truly is our help!

Did you notice this Psalm starts with Praise the Lord! and also ends with Praise the Lord? My prayer is that we will start our day and end our day with the same! Regardless of what transpires between the time we rise to the time we bed down let’s remember to praise He who is worthy of our praise and trust He who is trustworthy as a source of help in every time of trouble.

Be Blessed!

You Are More than a Sparrow!

Follower of Christ, when you look around and see the direction this world is going do you ever worry about the future?

When you hear the so called medical experts and politicians spewing more and more fear do you find yourself wondering what next?

Take heart. GOD is not surprised by all that is going on in our world. In fact He warned us that things would get crazy in the end times.

Well those days are here and guess what? GOD is still on the throne! Jesus Christ is still our Savior and LORD and He has no intention of abandoning us. Unlike those that don’t know Him, we can rest knowing He will NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US. He will be with us always, even until the end of the world.

So when fear and anxiety attempt to encroach upon you do NOT let them land on you and take up residence. Shake them off. Rest in knowing that you and I were born for a time such as this. Live your life in service to Him. Rest in His faithfulness and absolute love for you. Share the gospel with others. They desperately need Christ in their lives whether they know it or not.

Ask the LORD for supernatural wisdom. He will give it to you liberally if you ask. Ask Him for discernment. We are going to need it to navigate the days ahead wisely. Most importantly spend time in His presence in prayer and worship and reading His word, the Bible.

Of all peoples, we have the least reason to fret. We know this earth is not our home. We have a heavenly home waiting for us. We have a Savior that loves us more than life itself and He will see us through any obstacles ahead. So don’t put your trust in medical experts or politicians. Put your trust in the Creator of them all, Jesus Christ. He alone is worthy of our trust and faith!

Luke 12:6,7 “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Be blessed!

Time for Trusting

When we look around us today we see so many areas of concern. Freedoms are being eroded. Propaganda is being pushed in all media formats. Financial insecurity is increasing. There are many reasons for people to be concerned, especially those that don’t put their trust in Jesus Christ.

But for those of us who do put our trust in Christ, we do not need to fear the future. This earth is NOT our home. We have a mansion waiting for us that our Savior has gone to prepare! Jesus Himself told us in John 14:1-4 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Let that sink in. Jesus Himself has prepared a mansion for each of us that love Him! I am sure our new home will be so much more beautiful than anything we could ever live in here! And Jesus Himself is coming again to take us up with Him. That is exciting news!

If you find yourself getting heartsick about the current situation turn off the news and open your Bible. Let GOD’s word bring you peace and encouragement. Talk to the LORD. Give your fears and concerns to Him and let His Word wash over you and strengthen your faith. Trust Him. He will see you through the days ahead. You were born for a time such as this because God NEVER makes mistakes.

I’m going to end this message today with words from Psalm 5. Read them aloud and rest in the truth of each line.

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield. (Psalm 5:11,12)

Blessings!

Take Time to Say Thanks

Romans 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

We, followers of Christ, are so incredibly blessed to have a Savior that willingly laid down His life for us while we were saturated in sin. When I read through the books of the Old Testament and realize some of the judgements God’s people received due to their stubborness and rebellion I marvel at the fact that through the blood of Christ, we are made clean! We can never make ourselves clean. We, just as the people of Israel, in the Old Testament, could never be clean enough. Sin is part of our DNA.

Though we didn’t and don’t deserve it, Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price with His shed blood for you and I to be able to become children of the Most High God! Let that sink in today. Let that fact wash over you today. That is how very much our God loves us. Enough to allow His Son to be tortured, abused and killed so that we can have fellowship with Him!

If I live to be 100 plus years, I don’t think I will ever get over the fact that God loves me (and you) that much! Why not spend some time today thanking Him for that lavish love He has poured out on us?

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
     Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come before him, singing with joy.
 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
    He made us, and we are his.
    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
    go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation. (Psalm 100)

Get Things Right

This current time of self isolating can really be a blessing in disguise. It is giving many people, around the world, an opportunity to have time to get their life in order spiritually. Many of us fill our lives with jobs, chores, friends, family and leave very little time to spend with our God in prayer.

God longs to have us spend time with Him. He has created us for fellowship. If you have found yourself out of fellowship with Him lately than why not take this opportunity to turn things around? Why waste another day spinning your own wheels? Cry out to Jesus Christ while He can still be found. No one knows how long they have on this earth and today is the day you have been given!

Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says,
    “Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
    Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
    but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the Lord your God,
    for He is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
    He is eager to relent and not punish.

Instead of filling your day with menial tasks, take some time today in your prayer closet and ask the Lord to forgive you for neglecting Him. Thank Him for every good gift He has given you, including your salvation! Spend time talking to the lover of your soul. Get things right between you. Don’t waste another day or opportunity to be in the presence of Christ!

Are you feeling spiritually dry?

Do you ever feel your spiritual walk has become dry?  I know I have at times and I am sure there will be more.  Those times when we don’t feel His presence when we pray. When God seems to be far away. We are not alone in this experience.  David, a man after God’s own heart experienced it.

We see this in Psalm 13.

Psalm 13 NIV

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?  How long will You hide your face from me?How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.But I trust in your unfailing love;  my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise  for He has been good to me.

So how do we handle dry seasons? I believe the first thing we need to do is be sure we are not the cause. If there is unconfessed sin in our lives we need to confess it. If we are continuing in sin we need to repent and turn from the sin. Unconfessed sin will build a wall between us and our Savior but there is a fix. Confess it and turn from it! The Bible tells us in 1John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness. Not some, but all!

If we have done this and still find ourselves feeling far from God than we perhaps we need to begin to praise God for all the things He has done for us. Praise is such an important part of our walk. Just as in Psalm 13, after David expresses his feelings of abandonment he ends with something He knows is truth, despite his feelings. He says “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise for He has been good to me.”  He speaks truth into the situation regardless of his feelings at the time. He knows that he knows that he knows that God’s love is UNFAILING and that the Lord has been good to him.

We too know that as followers of Christ, His love is UNFAILING and He has been good to us. Begin to praise Him and thank Him daily for every good thing you can remember Him doing in your life and the life of others. Love on Him even when you don’t feel Him loving on you. As you begin to actively do so, it won’t be long before you find yourself enjoying the beauty of His presence again.

I now look at these dry times as times of growth. An opportunity for me to love on my God who is never far from me, despite how I may feel. A time to give Him my praise and thanksgiving despite my feelings! A time to love Him in faith, knowing that despite how I may feel, as the Word says, He will NEVER leave me or forsake me. I can be confident that even without warm and fuzzy feelings my God is ever present!

If you are currently wading through a spiritual dry patch start out by praying and asking God to forgive any sin you have been engaging in. If you are still engaging in it, then it’s time to stop and repent and ask Him for forgiveness. If you daily confess  your sins and don’t believe unconfessed sin to be the cause of the blockage then continue to pray and read the Word and begin to thank and praise God for all He has done in your life and the lives of others you know.  Love on Him as you wait for the dry spell to leave! Put the time to good use!

Waiting Room behavior

Have you been waiting on God for some time for an answer? I have. I have cried out to God several times for a situation to be resolved and I am still waiting. I had initially hoped He would resolve the issue quickly and all would be well. He has not done so, despite many prayers and petitions. Do I think He is ignoring me? NO, I know He hears my cry and I also know He will answer it in His time.

If I am completely honest I must admit in my earlier walk with Christ I used to get very annoyed and sometimes very angry when I didn’t see answers come quickly. Sadly I see many believers still behaving in the same way. If God doesn’t answer them how and when they want Him to, they rebel in their hearts. It’s as if we think by being annoyed or angry we are going to strong arm God into giving us our results when we want them. Manipulation may have worked with others we have dealt with but it will NOT work with our Heavenly Father.  You can’t rebel yourself into getting your way!  I am grateful to God that He has taught me that the hard way! He didn’t give in to my immature demands. Instead, He waited for me to get to the end of my arrogant demanding and when I humbled myself often I would see results that  I had longed for. He requires our love and obedience even when we don’t see things going our way. Even when things seem so wrong! We must never forget that He is the creator of the universe. He knows the beginning from the end. His ways are not our ways!

I am learning to praise Him despite immediate unanswered prayers. I am learning to worship Him and love Him despite difficulties I am facing. I am learning to trust Him despite what I see with my eyes. That is what the word of God tells me to do and that is what I want to do. When I find myself starting to grumble and complain, He reminds me that I am to trust Him with everything. Not just what I happen to understand. It’s called growing up in faith. No longer demanding my way and when I don’t get it withholding my love and affection from the One who NEVER withholds His love from me.  My prayer is that as I journey on through the rest of my life I will do as David says in Psalm 130:5 NIV 5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,  and in His word I put my hope.  And as I wait, I hope I will continue to praise Him and worship Him for who He is, not just for what He does or how quickly He does it.

Lord help us all to   Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

No more moaning or wait like Paul!

In my walk with Christ, there have been many times that I have had to wait on God for direction for the future. Times when things have not gone the way I expected. Times when tragedy has knocked at my door.  I haven’t always waited with the right attitude. I have often moaned and groaned and complained. I am learning however that there is a better way!  Our attitude during the wait says so much about who we believe our God is and how much He loves us!

I believe Apostle Paul gives us a wonderful example of just how we are to wait. Throughout Paul’s life he  went through many things that most of us have never had to endure. He educates us on some of his sufferings in the book 0f 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 NIV16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!

Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about.22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

Thankfully most of us will not endure all the sufferings that Paul did. We will however, have to face our own. No one escapes from life here on earth without enduring some difficulty and suffering. We live in a fallen world and until we see Jesus face to face, there will be things from time to time that we will have to endure.  Instead of complaining and moaning, I believe the Lord has shown us in the book of Acts how we are to wait.  Acts 16:16-34 NIV16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

Many in the church today would have spent the first few days in prison complaining to God that they had been imprisoned unjustly! The focus being on how it was affecting their life! Instead, Paul used every opportunity, no matter how difficult or painful, to allow Christ to use him for His glory. He and Silas prayed and sang hymns and God answered supernaturally! They glorified Christ right there in that prison cell and ultimately many others were saved because of their response!

God wants the same from each of us. He wants us to trust Him completely as we wait on Him for our answer. He wants us to glorify Him in our response and our actions, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. We don’t have to run to everyone else and tell them all of  our woes, we need to run to our Master. He will hear us and answer us and while we wait, we need to pray and sing hymns and glorify Him in our behavior. Just as the jailer watched Paul and Silas, others our watching us and our response during these times  has the ability to make a difference in where they and their families may  spend eternity.

Prayer and praise are the oars by which a man may row his boat into the deep waters of the knowledge of Christ. ~ Charles Spurgeon