Let Heaven and Nature Sing

“For this is how GOD Loved the world: He gave His ONE and ONLY Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have Eternal Life. GOD sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. …. And the judgment is based on this fact: GOD’s Light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the Light, for their actions were evil.” – John 3:16‭-‬17‭, ‬19 NLT

Incomprehensible. That’s the best word I can conjure up to explain how I see this.

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him IMMANUEL, which means ‘GOD is with us.’” When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the LORD commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.” – Matthew 1.23-25.NLT

Miraculous, no matter what you think. GOD, Creator, Almighty Jehovah, Yahweh….. left everything to be born into a human family. He went from a place of unimaginable wealth and comfort, to be laid in a manager full of straw, in a stable full of animals. Know any really wealthy people? I do, and the thought of any one of them giving up one of their children to be laid in a stable and raised in poverty….. well, it’s beyond my imagination. They just wouldn’t do it, yet the GOD Who owns the entire universe, the earth, moon, sun, and ALL of the planets and stars, put His Son, His ONLY Son, in just that place. See, it’s incomprehensible. Almost unimaginable, but true.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Birthday, JESUS!!

Advertisements

Mary’s Song

“Oh, how my soul praises the LORD. How my spirit rejoices in GOD my SAVIOR! For He took notice of His lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is Holy, and He has done great things for me. He shows Mercy from generation to generation to all who fear Him. His Mighty Arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped His servant Israel and remembered to be Merciful. For He made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” – Luke 1:46‭-‬55 NLT

What a beautiful song! A young girl, unremarkable, maybe plain looking, and certainly not wealthy, is chosen by the King of the Heavens to bear His Son, Messiah, Emmanuel. I love how He works. He could have chosen an Egyptian princess, or a queen of any place on earth; instead, He chose Mary, a humble young girl in Nazareth of Judea, with a carpenter to stand as His Son’s earthly father. A small town girl, a servant girl, was honored to bear the Son of the Almighty God! Can you imagine? Coming from a small town, I can imagine that the inhabitants of Nazareth were buzzing about this young girl and her claim to be pregnant by the Lord Jehovah! She and her fiancé ignored the whispers and the gossip to follow God’s plan for them, despite the pain and turmoil it must have caused them. Oh, that I could have the Faith and obedience this young girl had!

The question today is, are you obedient to the LORD, even when it causes others to look at you askew and mock you? I confess I struggle mightily with this. We cannot mildly look around us and assume that we don’t need to obey, because He will NOT be mild in His Judgement or punishments. Are you mildly seeking Him, or are you pursuing the LORD with all of energy you can muster?

“For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” – 2 Timothy 4:3 NLT

“But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” – Revelation 3:16 NLT

Like Mary, we need to embrace God’s Truth….

The Blessings of Christmas – Day 3

“Oh, how Great are GOD’s Riches and Wisdom and Knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! For who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exists by His Power and is intended for His Glory. All Glory to Him FOREVER! Amen.” – Romans 11:33‭-‬36 NLT

Celebrate His Power, His Mercy, and His Grace this Christmas season! Give Praise to the Father for His Gift, His sacrifice, and His Glory! Without all of these, there wouldn’t be a holiday season, Or anything to celebrate. What can we give Him; what can we give JESUS during this season to celebrate His birth day? We may be the shepherd, who had nothing to offer the new baby except their homage. We could be like the wise men, the Magi, who brought the little King of Heaven the most precious, most expensive gifts. Maybe you are like the angels and the heavenly host, singing in perfect voices, “GLORY to GOD in highest heaven, and Peace on earth to those with whom GOD is pleased.” (Luke 2:14 NLT) – or the little drummer boy, who had nothing to give except his music.

Whatever we offer the baby boy Jesus, let it be the most important gift of the season. The thing He wants most from us – the ONLY thing He wants from us – is not the most expensive thing we can find. Remember, Heaven is His home, and He already is in the midst of the most beauty and wealth that you can imagine. MORE than you can imagine! Riches don’t impressive Him. All He wants is to know that you love Him above all else; that you accept His sacrifice and let Him into your heart. Then we can worship Him with Thanksgiving and Hope. Gratitude.

The Blessings of Christmas – Day 2

THE ENEMY DECEIVES US – by Billy Graham

Many jokes are made about the devil, but the devil is no joke. If a short time ago I {Billy Graham} had talked about Satan to university students, they would have made light of him, but no longer. Students today want to know about the devil, about witchcraft, about the occult. Many people do not know they are turning to Satan. They are being deluded because, according to Jesus Christ, Satan is the father of lies and the greatest liar of all times. He is called a deceiver. In order to accomplish his purpose, the devil blinds people to their need of Christ. Two forces are at work in our world—the forces of Christ and the forces of the devil—and you are asked to choose. I have chosen to serve You, my Lord Jesus. Give me Your strength to battle the deceptions of Satan. (From the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. For more information, please visit: http://www.billygraham.org )

I know you are asking how in the world this story from Billy Graham relates to the Blessings of Christmas. The enemy deceives us! How many people do you know, including Christians, who get so wrapped up (pun intended!) in the buying of presents and the rounds of holiday parties, that the reason we are even celebrating gets pushed aside? Oh, yes, it’s Jesus’ birthday….. the deceiver, the father of all lies, makes it so easy to forget. We should be focused on the Who, the What, and the Why of the season.

“O Sovereign LORD! YOU made the heavens and earth by Your strong Hand and powerful Arm. Nothing is too hard for You! You show unfailing love to thousands, but You also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the GREAT and POWERFUL GOD, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and You give them what they deserve.” – Jeremiah 32:17‭-‬19 NLT

That last sentence scares me ….. He gives us what we deserve – yikes! I know there are a lot of people, the vast majority, in fact, that hold to the belief that they “deserve” to be happy, they “deserve” that fancy new house/car/toy, they want the bliss of getting. Get the picture? We don’t deserve anything other than punishment and death, and that brings us straight back to the Blessings of Christmas! The focus of our celebration needs to be on the Who, Jesus Christ; the What, His miraculous birth; and finally the Why – He came as a babe to live as a human, and to die, the ultimate sacrifice to save us from the deceiver and what we deserve.

Today, I pray the Blessings of Christmas, Christ’s birthday, on you and your families. Amen.

The Blessings of Christmas – Day 1

“Whatever is Good and Perfect is a gift coming down to us from GOD our FATHER, Who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” – James 1:17 NLT

What a beautiful verse to describe JESUS! HE is The Good and Perfect Gift, the Light of Heaven, given freely to us (thus, the gift) so that we may find salvation from our sinful selves. How cool is that!? Even before you were born, God knew you, and wanted to love on you and have fellowship with you. Before we were even a thought in our parents minds, and before they were born, or their parents, all the way back to Adam and Eve. That’s pretty incomprehensible to me. How could God know me, even before He spoke the universe into being? That is one of the questions I want to ask when I get to Heaven, but it and all the others questions will have to wait until after I get through greeting my Daddy and my Grandma and most especially, my JESUS, Who died for me. I get so excited, thinking of that day!

Oh, what a Blessing He gave us, and what a privilege to be able to say, Merry Christmas!

The First Christmas

The following is from “Prepare Your Hearts: Christmas Devotions,” day 10, available on YouVersion, the Bible, at https://bible.com/bible ….

Your First Christmas

Christ’s first coming surprised everybody.

Zechariah was surprised. Mary and Joseph were surprised, first by the angelic announcements and surprised again at the terribly inconvenient time that Mary’s labor pains began. Third-shift shepherds were surprised by the sound and light show that they alone experienced. As they knelt at the manger and peered in at the little bundle on the straw, their worship of God would never be the same.

I guess you aren’t surprised at the coming birthday celebrations this December 25–you’ve had all year to prepare. But what you may not have expected is the satisfaction that comes from worshiping Jesus as though this were your first Christmas. There before you, wrapped in his little strips of cloth, is the ultimate paradox: God and man, Co-Creator and yet begotten, helper and helpless, frail and mighty, brand-new and ancient. There before you lies your salvation–the One who would put himself, his body, between you and death. How can you not love him?”

Do you think much about how the first Christmas came to be? Before anything else could happen, GOD had to make the momentous decision to walk away from heaven, where angels and celestial beings worshiped Him constantly. He made the choice to leave the perfect place and existence, to become human. He didn’t even come as an exalted son of a king, born into a palace, so that He could be pampered in this life. He came as the child of a poor carpenter, to be born in a stable and facing a life of physical hardships from day one. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t give up luxury to live in poverty if I had the choice….

“Though He was GOD, He did not think of equality with GOD as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to GOD and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, GOD elevated Him to the Place of Highest Honor and gave Him the Name above ALL other names, that at the Name of JESUS every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the Glory of GOD the Father.” – Philippians 2:6‭-‬11 NLT

Just as Jesus surprised everyone by the time and method of His birth, He will surprise us all when He returns, even though we have had millennium to prepare.

“…. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with Power and Great Glory… However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the SON Himself. ONLY the FATHER knows.” – Matthew 24:30‭b,36 NLT

Celebrate His birth with gratitude and thanksgiving, and spread the word that JESUS has come, and that He will return for His people…. soon. Amen.

Go Tell It On the Mountain

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” –
CSLewis

“For we live by believing and not by seeing.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT

Did you grow up singing carols and goimg to Christmas performances? If you did, you are probably familiar with the words of the song “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” but have you ever really thought about it? According to Wikipedia, “Go Tell It on the Mountain” is an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., dating back to at least 1865, that has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers. It is considered a Christmas carol because its original lyrics celebrate the Nativity of Jesus. I’ve sung hundreds of times, and I’m not sure I’ve eve paid attention to the last verse:

He made me a watchman
Upon the city wall,
And if I am a Christian,
I am the least of all.

Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

If I believe this, then God has made me to be a watchman, a crucial role in His Kingdom. The prophet Ezekiel wrote tha God said to him: “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from Me, warn people immediately…..” We are charged to be watchful, and to tell people about God and His Son, Jesus. We are to warn the people away from the temptation posed by the enemy, and the death that awaits when we fall for his charms. We are responsible to share the Good News, from the walls and the watchtowers and the mountaintops. Read Ezekiel’s words closely!

“If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed Me. “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.” – Ezekiel 3:17‭-‬21 NLT

This job is not one that Christians should take lightly. We are celebrating the most momentous gift in the history of mankind. Now is the season for us to take the Good News, and Go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!