Friday, December 30, 2016

God's Will for You This New Year

    God’s Will for You This New Year
                                  
                                    Ephesians 6:6
 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

This New Year has approached so quickly and some of us are most likely still reminiscent of all this past year’s pleasures, as well as it’s disappointments. A few are anticipating what great things God will do in our lives and others are fearful and apprehensive about the will of God for them. In order for Christians to know and do the Lord’s will, they need to understand we are all admonished to give praise and honor to God as true worshippers of Christ. We are to submit ourselves to God as a living and holy sacrifice which is acceptable to God as our spiritual service to Him.

In Romans 12:2, God asks us to prove, test, or discern what the will of God is for us. If we carefully evaluate Scripture, we can see we are to examine ourselves and trust the working of the Holy Spirit in us for direction. God’s Word is an excellent guide in the everyday decisions of life. There are specific examples of the will of God given in Scripture such as, I Thessalonians 4:3,  “abstain from fornication” and 1 Peter 2:15 NASB states, “For such is the will of God, that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

It is important for us to be cautious about the decisions we make because they can cause severe consequences in our lives. God can and does work in matters that seem unimportant to us at the time, but this is where we must trust God at His Word and walk daily in the Scriptures. As you contemplate what the will of God is for your life, remember to thank Christ for all He has done for you this past year and give Him honor due His name.

Lord, may this new year be the very best year of my life as I trust You in Your unsearchable wisdom and unfathomable love for me.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Birth in Bethlehem

               The Birth in Bethlehem
                                     Matthew 2:1-11

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him..."

The little town of Bethlehem was a small village 5 or 6 miles outside the city of Jerusalem.  Wise men, magi, from the East came to worship Him who is called, “King of the Jews.” The exact number is not written but is thought to be three from the idea that there were three gifts given. It is not told how God caused the magi to know that the King of the Jews had been born, only that He gave them the sign of His star in the east.

Herod, the king, asked the wise men to search for the Child diligently and when they had found Him, bring back news so he too, could come and worship Him. Herod didn’t want to worship Jesus but wanted to kill the Child whom he thought was a potential threat to his throne.

Scripture makes it known that the magi fell down and worshipped Jesus and not Mary, giving Him treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold throughout history has always been considered the most precious of metals and a symbol of material value and wealth.  Frankincense was a costly, magnificent smelling incense, that was used only for the most special of occasions. Myrrh was a perfume, not quite so expensive as frankincense, but yet, very valuable and used with other spices in the preparation of bodies for burial, even Jesus (John 19:39).

What life changing events our God designed for the world to behold and embrace. Imagine a star moving in the heavens, guiding men from a far off country to follow this phenomenon, then falling down and worshiping the Child, while presenting Him with costly gifts fit for a King.

Lord, I am amazed  that You orchestrated such a magnificent birth.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Who's Missing Chrstmas?

            Who’s Missing Christmas?

                                          Luke 2:11
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”  
 
There will be many people this year that will miss Christmas for one reason or another. You may ask, “How can this be, with all the advertising and holiday spirit going on?” Even though many are “celebrating” Christmas, they don’t know what Christmas is truly about. For us who are Christians, we too can get caught up in the magic of the moment and forget about the One who came so long ago.

Sometimes, with the hustle and bustle of Christmas we become preoccupied with all the presents, the food and other fun activities. The innkeeper in Bethlehem, said, “There’s no room for you in the inn.” Was he being unsympathetic to Mary and Joseph? No! It was just too busy, too hectic for the innkeeper to take notice of them.

The angel of the Lord came to shepherds the night Jesus was born. Out of all the many people in Bethlehem, they were chosen to hear the angel of the Lord proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  What a marvelous sight to behold! There are times when people miss out on Christmas because of religion, traditions and preoccupation with all the activities. The shepherds didn’t miss Christmas the religious Jews missed the glories of heaven proclaiming the birth of Christ.

There are many ways to miss Christmas, one of which is unbelief. If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in His name, Christmas will become real to you. But, if you don’t know Christ and have never believed in who He is, you will miss out on the true meaning of what Christmas is. I urge you today to put your faith and trust in the Christ of Christmas that you may know and understand the significance of His birth.

Lord, I am trusting in You today and believing You are everything that Scripture says You are.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Lessons Learned from a Godly General

       Lessons Learned from a Godly General
                                     Hebrews 13:6
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. 

One general that has captured my interest and I might add, “my heart”, is the well known, General “Stonewall” Jackson. The love He had for his country was overwhelming though he truly was distraught over the North’s impending invasion. Jackson affirmed his allegiance to the Army of the Shenandoah and vowed to fight for God and country to the bitter end. Duty did not prevent him from acknowledging and proclaiming his religious convictions and many members of his brigade were quickly indoctrinated with Jackson’s infectious faith.

In reading the life of “Stonewall” Jackson, I realized what great conviction he had in serving God with boldness and without the fear of man. Whenever possible, General Jackson held to a strict schedule of Sunday worship, as well as Wednesday prayer meetings, which he would adhered to at all costs. One of the local Fredericksburg preachers routinely led the services, which were often attended by General Robert E. Lee and his staff. Jackson loved God and lived his life in preparation of Christ’s return at any time. He felt he was just as safe on the battlefield as he was sitting in his own parlor–––knowing God was in control of his life and of his death. God’s sovereignty was certain to General Jackson especially during the great Civil War.

As I read through some excerpts of General Jackson’s life, I realized that he was an example of a man who lived his life in pursuit of virtue and godliness. The perfect picture of godly virtue and worthy of all honor is of course, the LORD JESUS CHRIST. I would not want in anyway to take away from Christ’s supreme majesty and give homage due our Lord to a mere man. A life lived out in faith, in the end, Christ will reward.

Lord, may we live boldly, without fear, loving God with all our hearts, and others as ourselves.

Friday, December 2, 2016

In the Storms of Life, Will Your Anchor Hold?

 In the Storms of Life, Will Your Anchor Hold?
                               
                                    Hebrews 6:17-20
 . . .Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and       steadfast . . .

What storms in life are you dealing with at this moment? Are you in the storm of  life-threatening health issues and nothing seems to be going the way you thought it would? Are you in the storm of a marriage relationship so rocky it could come to the point of shipwreck, divorce? Are you in the storm of overwhelming financial loss and there’s no visible hope that you will see relief  tomorrow? Has a child gone astray that you have loved and nurtured in the ways of the Lord and now they have left the faith they were rooted in? How do you find peace in these storms and know that Jesus will never let you go? How do you turn painful memories into blessings and build a solid foundation of faith and trust? How do you receive daily strength and encouragement turning every agonizing heartache into experiencing God’s secure protection? Have you asked yourself these questions and many more like them?

I want to encourage your heart with a powerful tool for surviving daily struggles and temptations in the difficulties of life. No case is too hard for God and no problem to difficult to overcome  when we hope in God and replace fear and doubt with peace (John 14:27). We must realize that a ship that is anchored will not be prevented from being hurled about or those on board from becoming sea sick. Though we may be tossed around, we are safe, for we have an anchor of the soul that is both secure and faithful. As we prepare for a ravaging storm by anchoring valuables to a solid foundation, we are to anchor our hearts in the firm foundation of the Word to help us withstand the testings and trials of life that are certain to come our way.


Lord, help us not to resent the storms of life that come or be fearful of their effects.