A Gift for Jesus


7017522-holiday-gift-present-box-red-tape-ribbon-christmasSeveral years ago my family started a new Christmas tradition. Each of us writes a letter to Jesus, telling Him what we will do for Him in the coming year. It is our gift to Christ. We put those letters in a beautiful box and place the box under the tree after Christmas Eve Services.

After the presents are opened on Christmas morning, that box remains under the tree.  Sometimes we have guests over, and they remark on the unopened box. This is an opportunity to share our faith.

Those letters stay in that box until we begin decorating for Christmas the next year. We can then look at our letters and see if we met our goals in how we were going to serve Christ during the year.

This exercise has been a great way to help my children understand the great gift of Jesus, and the real meaning of Christmas. It also helps me to focus my service for Christ.

Matthew 2:11

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Have a blessed Christmas Season.

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A Glimpse of Heaven


Christmas eve

For me, the climax of the holiday season is not Christmas morning, it’s Christmas Eve. The birth of Christ is such a sacred event that I must be in worship to truly experience Christmas.

Last night’s Christmas Eve service was especially moving. It was not just the music, or the Scripture reading, or even the message, although each of those elements were critical to the experience. What was moving to me is the all the people gathered together to worship and celebrate the greatest gift of all.

In the final moments of the service, the candlelight passed to each person, and the sanctuary began to glow. We sang Silent Night and raised our candles high, worshiping the one who made it all possible. For those few moments I caught a glimpse of heaven.

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:6-7

 May you experience all the peace and blessings of this wonderful day.

Spreading Light Throughout Your World


be-a-light

Here is an excellent piece about believers holding the light of Christ. It’s the daily devotion for December 22, by InTouch Ministries.

Blessings to you all this holiday season!

http://www.intouch.org/magazine/content.aspx?topic=Spreading_Light_Throughout_Your_World_devotional#.&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=itmdevo

Light and Life


This time of year we re-read the Christmas stories (Matthew 1:18-2:12 and Luke 2:1-39) and celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior, as we should. When the light of Jesus Christ penetrates our hearts, we see ourselves and our need for the Savior. We realize this gift is salivation and eternity with God, and we rejoice.

 John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Do we realize the light of Christ will do more than give us eternity? Jesus also gives us life in the present, and gives it abundantly (John 10:10, John 14:6). So what is abundant life?

The word abundant means “in great quantity, more than adequate, richly supplied.” This is the type of life our Lord wants us to have here and now. When we allow Jesus to light up our lives, the darkness is chased away. Then, Jesus will light the way for us to walk in His light all the days of our lives. Walking in his light will give us a rich, full, satisfying life.

Several years ago Debbie Boone recorded “You Light Up My Life.” The song was written as a romantic song, but if you listen to the lyrics you realize this is what Jesus does for us – He lights up our lives, and He is always with us.

 As you enjoy the Christmas lights this holiday season, remember how much more Jesus wants to light up your life, if you let Him.

 

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

 

 

The Season of Light


christmas-lights

I love Christmas lights. Putting lights on our trees and houses brings a special warmth into the season. Public light displays also add to the festive Spirit. One of our favorite traditions is going to look at the Christmas lights after Christmas Eve services. The history of Christmas lights is interesting; and the information is easy to find. But what is more important to my family is what those lights represent. Light is an expression of God’s love toward us.

Throughout Scripture, God uses various forms of light as a metaphor for His love, and to draw us to Himself.

 “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:3-4

 “Then Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.’”  John 8:12

 During this precious Christmas season, when we admire the lights, turn your attention to the creator of light and give Him your full admiration.

An excerpt from Follow The Light:

…Consult several Bible commentaries discussing the creation story and you will find the word light in Genesis 1:3 is the Hebrew word owr. There are eleven meanings of the word, including light of life and Jehovah as Israel’s light.[i] The MacArthur Bible Commentary explains light as meaning, “That which most clearly reveals and most closely approximates God’s glory.”[ii] Use that sentence in place of the word light in Genesis 1:3 and we learn, “And God said, ‘Let there be that which most clearly reveals and most closely approximates God’s glory,’ and there was that which most clearly reveals and most closely approximates God’s glory.” Remember this thought with the following word equation:

Light = That which most clearly reveals and most closely approximates God’s glory.

 What does glory mean? An excellent word picture is found in Exodus 40:34 (GNT). “Then the cloud covered the Tent and the dazzling light of the Lord’s presence filled it.” In this context, glory means “the weight or worthiness of something. It describes greatness and splendor, and it is sometimes translated as ‘honor.’”[iii] Our word equation looks like this:

 Glory = Worthiness, greatness, splendor, and honor.

 In the Strong’s Bible Dictionary, glory also means owr or light.[iv] Now our word equation looks like this:

 Glory = Light.

So in Genesis 1:3 when God said, “Let there be light,” He was providing His glory, or Himself, as the light! This makes sense because God created man to fellowship with Him. There was no reason for God to withhold His very best. We can rewrite our word equation as:

 Light = God.

 In John 8:12, Jesus tells us He is the light of the world. John 14:10 tells us God and Jesus are one. The author of Hebrews tells us, “God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. By His own mighty word, He holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, He sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3 (CEV)

The Greek word for glory is doxa. Doxa means “splendor, brightness, and a most glorious condition or exalted state. It also means “the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that Christians shall enter upon their Savior’s return from heaven.”[v]

 The Son is not just reflecting God’s glory; He is God and radiates His own essential glory.[vi] This glory is sent forth and promised to true Christians after Christ’s return.[vii]

_____________________________________________________________

[i] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ‘owr (Strong’s 216)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 27 Jul 2013. < http:// http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H216&t=KJV >

[ii] MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (2005), Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., Nashville, TN, Page 8

[iii] Ibid, Page 926

[iv] Strong, James, The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, 1996, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., Nashville, TN, Page 112

[v] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for doxa (Strong’s 1391)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 27 Jul 2013. < http:// http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1391&t=KJV >

[vi] MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (2005), Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., Nashville, TN, Page 1836

[vii] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for doxa (Strong’s 1391)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 27 Jul 2013. < http:// http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1391&t=KJV >

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

Our Rock


rock-of-gibraltar-8

 Psalm 18:31

For who is God besides Yahweh? And who is a rock? Only our God.

God is referred to a rock in several passages of Scripture; many Psalms refer to God as a rock, fortress, and salvation. I stopped to ponder on the reason for this word selection. We’ve all touched rocks before, but have you stopped to think how the attributes of a rock compare to our great God?

If you consult a geologist you will get additional information about how rocks are formed, how rocks withstand many forces of nature, and the mineral content of rocks. But let’s keep this simple. I think most people can agree that whether large or small, rocks are heavy, hard, solid substances that are basically impenetrable, and can even provide shelter.

Replace that definition with the word “rock” in Psalm 18:31 (and other passages) and we see an expanded picture of our God. Now one might argue that God is spirit, and a rock is solid. But this verse is symbolic. Consider a passage from the New Testament:

1 Corinthians 10:4

and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 

 

Our rock is Christ. Always has been, always will be.

May you feel His strength and protection today.

Image: Google Images

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com (NIV)

Materialism


I took my daughter shopping yesterday. We are planning her birthday party so we needed to pick a theme. She had no idea what to do, or even what she wanted for her birthday party, until we walked into that store. Christmas was less than two weeks ago, but the shelves are filled to the brim, and marketed with items for children her age.

There were too many choices. She quickly became overwhelmed and frustrated. I had to take control of the situation and narrow down the choices for her.

Teaching a child about making choices is time-consuming but very important. I taught my daughter a life skill yesterday about narrowing down the choices and then had a conversation about our budget. Most eight-year-olds get an allowance so they can begin to grasp the concept of money (and the lack of it.) She pouted when I told her “no” to a certain item for the treat bags, and I knew it was time to remove her from the situation.

Pouting isn’t reserved for children. Our culture has conditioned all of us that more is better, and that we need the newest item on the market. When we don’t get what we want, adults don’t always behave appropriately. At one time or another the “I want it” behavior can affect us all. What do we do?

We have to remove ourselves from overwhelming situations and situations that will cause us to become materialistic, or worse, jealous. Better yet, we should not put ourselves in those positions to begin with. While that is not always possible, the less temptation we have to fight, the easier it will be to appreciate what we have been blessed with.

Count your blessings. Really think about them. If materialism is a problem, consider keeping a gratitude journal for a while. Thank God daily for at least five different things He has given you, but don’t repeat yourself from the day before. Eventually you will find that you are truly blessed, and material things just don’t really matter as much as they once did. You may also find that you are given what you truly need.

1 John 2:16

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

Let’s all enjoy the gifts God has blessed us with.

Scripture: Openbible.info