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Archive for December, 2013

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.- Luke 2:7 (KJV)

What we know about Joseph and Mary is that they went way out of their way to bring Jesus into this world.  Other couples may not have gone to such lengths.  Long distance travel would have been enough of a problem in and of itself.  Yet, these folks took everything in stride, even the pregnant woman after the long trip on a donkey.

I can imagine how some of would reach for our AAA card or hit up Expedia or Travelocity.  The earthly parents of Jesus accepted his birth in a manger.  Most of us would have a problem if it had been at a HoJo’s or IHOP.

Let’s  consider the trouble that they went through for this to occur as we celebrate.  Joseph could have said let’s turn back.  Mary could have said this just won’t do.  They never balked or flipped out.  Let’s celebrate His coming and how His coming came about.

Merry Christmas!

I need a new t-shirt design, but for the meantime check out what I have done on Zazzle in the past.

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25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man wasjust and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. – Luke 2:25-26

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. – Luke 2:36-38

Several years ago, I was at a conference with some faith-based leaders and clergy, where one of the breakout sessions placed us in small groups.  There some serious big named theologians and pastors in the small group that I ended up with, but I dare not share any names.  As we entered our brainstorming on our given topic, some discussion came up about the Advent.  The term was repeatedly thrown around and discussed by some, but others simply sat and stared in confusion.  Finally, one of the brethren leaned over and whispered in curiosity, “What is this Advent thing?” I smiled and whispered back,”They’re talking upon Christmas and the arrival of Christ on the scene.  That’s what they mean.” He smiled and eventually joined in the brainstorming session with the rest of us.

Christ’s arrival was an anticipated event.  It had been prophesied.  It had been preached.  It had been predicted.  It had been planned.  It had been purposed.

We have given it many names:

  • Advent
  • Birth of the Lord
  • Nativity
  • Christmas

We have come to look for Christmas as a season rather than a fulfillment of God’s plan.  We struggle and fight with the world to put Christ back into Christmas, erasing and eradicating the marketplace of X-Mas.  We have regulated our recognition of Christmas as a time for doing good works for the poor and needy rather than proclaiming the Good News of His arrival and eventual return.

What if we took on the zeal and dedication of a Simeon and Anna?

What if we did as the psalmist instructed and “waited patiently on the Lord?”

How about we change the scenario and flip the script this Christmas season?

Let’s Speak Christ 

We ought to let our words share about Christ.  We should preach and proclaim Him and His redemptive acts over and over again all throughout this season.  Say something about Him and for Him.

Let’s Show Christ

Believers are unique because they act on their belief.  Let’s go there with folks.  Let’s show the world that we are serious about our beliefs and put them into action.  Giving and helping are not seasonal activities for feeling good about what we have done.  We are to practice good works continually.  Let’s be more like Christ like and do more activities like Christ would do while we are on this earth.

Let’s Serve Christ

We do not do good because we are so good.  We do good because we serve a master who has been so good to us that we cannot help but serve Him for our entire lives while covered by the grace of His blood.  He’s been to good to us.  He’s done too much for us.  Serve our Lord with gladness and with fear and trembling.

Everyone wasn’t waiting for the Christ, the Anointed One, or the Messiah, the Anticipated One.  Some folks had just given up hope.  It had been too long to ever happen in their time.  Look at Simeon and Anna.  They held on and held fast.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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Some folks feel that they are entitled. That is just how they see themselves.

It may not be an appropriate attitude, but that is how some of us see ourselves in relation to the church.

Yes, indeed, some of us do.

Look at the parking lot. When all of the other spaces are filled, some entertain the option of parking in visitor or staff spaces, even the handicap section.

Look at the pews.
Some will try to squeeze in on a particular row or section no matter what may be occurring in the worship service.

Let us not belabor the point any further. Some of us have reasoned and rationalized what we deserve since we contribute to the kingdom of God at our local church. It can be an offering or a volunteer contribution of time, but we do it.

Let us simply stop. Let us allow God to humble us somewhat. Let us live free if such a mindset.

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Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”c Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky  – Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

Imagine if you would a place of sanctified bliss where the children of God lived without fault and without grumbling or arguing.  Paul painted the picture that such a state of being for the children of God would make room for them to shine like stars in the sky.  That’s a beautiful picture if you can capture a glimpse of it in your mind.

Now try it on for size.

Let the Lord use you to end disputes, bickering, and complaining, even petty arguments.  How? Just don’t do anything related to those actions.  Take all of your actions without giving cause for such reactions to arise.  Make team members really feel like part of the team.  Adjust your attitude about all things related to the activity prior to taking any action.  Pray for God to cleanse you and purify your spirit as you go into the work that He has set aside for you to accomplish in His name.

Do it like that a live as a child of God, blameless and pure. . . without fault in a warped and crooked generation.  Do it so that no one can say that you have left a bad mark on God’s name.  Do it and do it without any shame on you or God the Most High.

Do it like that so that you can shine like stars in the sky.

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Help Someone Else to See

Paul’s experience was for his eyes to be opened as if scales fell from them.

Bartimaeus experienced it after being summoned by the Savior.

The ageless hymn Amazing Grace says: “Was blind but now I see.”

How beautiful it is for darkness’ shroud to be lifted and eyes becoming opened to see the light.  It is truly amazing that the Lord can do such miraculous things.  Yet, He said that we would do greater works.

If we are but mere reflections of the True Light as John wrote in John 1:9, then how can our little itty bitty lights cause someone else to see?

Jesus said so.

You do not have to take a seminary course or do an exhaustive word study to figure it out.

Jesus said so.

He called us the “light of the world.” He said that we would do greater works.  He died and rose again, then said that His disciples would serve as global witnesses for Him.

Are you ready to serve as the light of the world?

Jesus said so.

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I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. – John 12:46 (KJV)

Jesus came as a light into the world.  He came as light to shed light and so that no one who believes in Him will live in darkness.  He was the Light that men failed to comprehend, according to John’s gospel.

We are followers of the Lord.  He have seen the light and we are to act as the light of the world.

But do we live so?

Are we living like the light of the world or are we hiding it under cover in the midst of darkness?

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