Monday, December 14, 2015

TO SERVE AND SHARE THE JOY-The True Christmas Spirit!

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy...
(Galatians 5:22)
There's a familiar chain of liquor stores in my neck of the woods called, Community Spirits and believe me it has a booming business all year round not just during the holidays!

Wish I could say the same about the real community spirit we ought to be sharing.  Instead, I find that folks are probably at their worst this time of year.  Rushed and stressed with all the expectations and entertainment we have associated with  Christmas, one hardly has time to take a deep breath and reflect on why we have this celebration any way!

It's been a consistent and steady move of another spirit, to take Christ, The Real Reason for the Season, out of our minds and hearts.  Nativity scenes are banned on government properties;  employees are cautioned to say, Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas to make sure they politically correct.  Recently, I even had to dig through mountains of Christmas card selections to find one without a Santa Claus, Reindeer, or Snowman on it! I finally settled on one with a cardinal on a pine tree branch.  The only one that actually had the words, Merry Christmas printed on it.

So as the days grow closer and the store ads become more frequent, it is my hope that perhaps a few of you will take time to read the following.  It's from a wonderful little tract printed by The Tract League of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  If you commit to do one or two of these each day until December 25th, I think you'll discover the True Christmas Spirit!  So go ahead....GET YOUR CHRISTMAS JOY ON!

10 Guidelines For Keeping Christ in Christmas!

TAKE - time to be alone and ponder your relationship with Christ.

READ- the story of Jesus' birth and note how people responded: Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna.

PRAISE - God at Christmas. Join other Christians in celebrations of music and praise.

HELP- those in need at Christmas.  Follow the example of Jesus whose heart was filled with compassion for those who were suffering.

KEEP- your TO DO list as short as possible.  Limit your social obligations so there is time for reflection. 

USE - cash when you buy gifts to avoid holiday debt.  Invite your relatives to support a mission cause instead of giving you a gift.

TELL - others about the Savior.  Find opportunities to give a tract or a Bible. 

REMEMBER- Christ's church around the world.  Some of these churches are enduring great hardship.

LIVE- like Christ in this season.  Be compassionate.  Be forgiving (especially in mall parking lots and with harassed sales staff).  Be sensitive to the people with whom you work and play.

BE JOYFUL - at Christmas! You are celebrating the greatest event in the history of the world - the arrival of God in human form. 

And the angel said unto them,
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you 
good tidings of great joy, which 
shall be to all people.  
For unto you is born this day
in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10, 11)

Merry Christmas and See You in the New Year 2016! (Lord willing of  course!)

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Monday, December 7, 2015


Fear!  What a powerful emotion!  It can drive sane folks crazy; turn the meek into a ferocious beast; make the brave keel over in a faint, and it is pushed daily into our psyches by the shovelfuls!  Every since the tragedy of September 11, 2001 when terrorist breached our supposedly impenetrable security borders, America has been gripped with fear!  It doesn't look as if we'll get any relief from it very soon.

It saddens me that this is the world my grandchildren must grow up in! That this legacy of hate and deception, fueled by anger and self-defined justice is what they can look forward to.  But surprised?  Not really.  We've been spiraling down this path for centuries, it's what has been described in God's Word as the End Times! (Matthew 24:6) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.  Such things must happen, BUT the end is still to come."

I'm a bible dispensationalist, so I'm not attributing what we're seeing in our world today as The Tribulation period described in Matthew's gospel and the book of Revelation.  I hold to the belief that we are still under Grace!  But sometimes, when you've had a week in America, like we had last week, it sure feels real close to it!

Domestic violence: police shootings, gang wars, black on black crime, and the San Bernadino, California massacre killing 14 people and injuring many more, only heightens this thought. They are all rather senseless! We tend to accept tragedy better if there's a plausible motive behind it.  If we can put a neat little label on it, we can move on a bit easier.  But why so many and why now?

So what do you do?  You shut the television off for awhile,  quickly turn to the comics, past the scary front page headliners and sit down to think about how you're going to survive the fear that is just waiting to hijack any sense of security you're feeling!  Some fears like those described above are valid, even reasonable, others are mind games we play on ourselves based on what could happen!

 Imagined or not, we all have to learn how to face our fears in a way that helps us to exercise our faith rather than cave in under the consequences--A life devoid of hope, godly potential, and good will to our fellow man!

Here are some things to remember.  I need to add a disclaimer however.  They only work if your Faith source is in JESUS CHRIST!  READ and find comfort in knowing that GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL!
  • Fear is the opposite of faith...if you deal with your fear your faith will automatically increase because you are properly connected with your Faith Source, God.
  • Prayer and meditation of scripture is essential in changing your fearful attitudes.
  • Remember that God permitting adversities in your life is one way He increases your faith. 
Scriptures to read as you Faith Your Way Through Fearful Times:

1.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear  but of power and love and discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7)

2.  No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.  For He will give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:10-11)

3.  In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me? (Psalm 56:11)

4.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. (Psalm 23:4-5)


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