Every Christmas Eve our church has a gathering in which different people volunteer songs, skits, readings and other things to share with the church family. At the end of the evening we gather in a large circle around the auditorium and sing ‘Silent Night. A great time of fellowship and rejoicing in the birth of Jesus. Below is my contribution to our gathering. I hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful Christmas!
Ever since I was a kid I have had a lot of questions; even about Christmas. Yesterday in the morning service we all sang a couple of songs asking questions;
What Child Is This?
Mary Did You Know?
So I am pretty sure I am not the only one with questions.
Angels seem to get a whole lot of attention at this time of the year.
Two Sundays ago we sang Angels We Have Heard on High; It seems like Gloria gets an awful lot of time in this song. Gloria, Gloria, Gloria but nothing about Suzy, Tom, and for that matter Vernon? Is it just the way the music is written … that it wouldn’t sound right?
Ever since I was a kid I have watched the movie; “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It’s an almost annual tradition. I really enjoy it but; where in the Bible does it ever talk about men dying and becoming angels? Even if it were true, why would a loving and gracious God who gave us eternal life through faith and faith alone; require works before we could “earn our wings”? To this day when I hear a small bell ring I still start thinking about angels, and their wings and Harold Franks.
While we are on the subject of angels and Harold Franks; those of you that have been around Community Baptist for years will remember Harold Franks; I miss him, know he is with the Lord in Heaven and I will see him again. I know Harold isn’t an angel and he is not trying to earn his wings….but what I don’t know is how many angels are called Harold and why are we harking to hear them sing?
On a different note or should I say song; Why is there no L? I can understand the First no L but 2000 years later? This is America…I know we are on the edge of the Fiscal Cliff…. but has our Wheel of Fortune turned so far that we can’t chip in and buy an “L”?
And what about the 3 Kings; you know ….We three kings of Orient are…No where in the Bible does it say that there were 3 kings, yes there were three gifts but any research into historical documents will show that there was undoubtedly a large group of “wise men” from the East and that many servants and others were with them. And they didn’t come to the stable….it was later at least a year or so. Look what the Bible really says about them to get some of those questions answered.
And the gifts they brought….most of us can remember those…. Probably because of the songs we have sung over and over. It might be my age but I can’t remember many of the gifts I have received over the years. I can remember events with grandparents, parents and children. I remember the things we did together much more than any gifts received or given.
If you don’t have much to give to someone this year….give them something they will remember more….your time spent with them. That is really what Christmas is all about anyway. God sent Jesus Christ, as God/Man, as a baby in the manger. He grew into an adult who would die on the cross for all of man kind’s sins Through-out the Gospels it tells of how Jesus took time to stop and share with individuals the Good News.
I still have questions about Christmas and life but I hope you have made time in your life to start that personal relationship with the One who we honor tonight. If not I encourage you to keep asking questions until you find your way to that place where a baby was born in a manger to set all men free!
Good Morning Regular Joes and Janes;
This morning I would like to take a few minutes to talk about choices we make every day that can affect our safety. In the past couple of weeks we have had two high-profile mass shootings and a total of four over the past six months. While the mainstream media has made the focus about gun control, little has really been said about specific things that the average person can do to lower the personal risk.
First what is the risk of being involved in a mass shooting event? According to FBI statistics you are far more likely to be struck by lighting than to be shot by a mass murder. So, don’t put a lot more of your time into this topic than you do to protect yourself from lightning strikes. Also mass murders peaked in 1929 with occasional peaks in the 60’s and 90’s. During the decade of the 2000’s mass murders in America actually declined.
All of the above being said there are specific things you can do to protect yourself.
1. If you are able obtain, train and carry a concealed weapon. This should include having a concealed carry permit.
2. Most mass shooters chose places that are “gun free zones”. No matter how deranged they are they seem to have ability to choose victims and places that they are most likely to find defenseless victims. Many times you have to go into these gun free zones, but when you have the choice; avoid them.
a. You have to go to court houses, schools and other public buildings, but when possible do your business on-line.
3. Voice your opinion to politicians, store owners, friends and neighbors.
a. Work with local and state politicians to eliminate gun free zones. Both Texas and Michigan have recently passed legislation allowing teachers and others to carry firearms in schools
b. Understand that every businessman is free to make rules regarding his property. If he doesn’t want you or others to carry a gun on his property, he has that right. BUT; you have the opportunity to tell him that you will not be doing business with him. (Be polite, you might change his mind.)
c. Urge business owners that do support the 2nd Amendment to post signs. Encourage friends to shop with these business owners.
FACT: Did you know that the Aurora Colorado shooter, James Holmes, had 7 theaters within 25 minutes that he could have chosen? All were showing the He did not chose the closest theater; he chose the only theater of the 7 that had signs posted prohibiting patrons from carrying concealed weapons. Around 250 people filled the theater that night. 4% of Colorado residents have a concealed carry permit which means 6 to 10 of those people could have had a weapon on them if they chose to ignore the law. People who chose to support the other theaters probably were carrying and most likely James Holmes chose accordingly.
I am known, both at church and by others in the community to carry a firearm at all times. This Sunday morning, after church a father with young kids came up to me and thanked me for having a gun. He said it gave him peace of mind after the events of Friday. That is a first!
Hello Joes and Janes;
Each of us affects the world, (pond) we live in. Sometimes events reach far and wide as with the shooter in Newtown last Friday. Creating huge waves, while others create small ripples with a quite hug of a small child. I would submit that our view of the pond is often altered by what the mainstream media chooses to show us and what they choose to keep out of the picture.
My encouragement to you is to make the jump into the pond each and every day. Whether through making a new friend, mentoring someone younger than you or sharing Jesus with someone… you can make ripples that reach out across the pond. Often we will never know what that small effort does to affect the life of the one who receives your gift. I think back over the years of people who affected my life in great ways through small efforts that they probably don’t realize.
Make the effort to make a splash today!
After a long absence from writing due to illness, work overload and various other trivial excuses I have returned to writing on my blog. I hope to write at least several times a week and write much more on the 5 G’s of preparedness while still doing some devotional materials. I hope that you will find my writing useful to you!
Good Morning Joes and Janes;
Are you an action hero? Now right off you will probably say no, but that is the title for today’s devotional that popped into my head.
Today’s text is found in James 2:24-26
24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
Works alone can not save us, but on the other hand what kind of faith do we have if it is not evidenced by works? Rahab, in Joshua chapter 2, recognized that the Israelites were blessed by God because of the miracles that God performed in their lives. This convinced her that she needed to protect the spies that entered her home even though they had come to survey the city for it’s destruction. For the faith of Rahab in protecting the spies she and her family were spared and later became part of the nation of Israel.
When we accept Jesus as Lord of our lives then a difference in what we do, (works) should follow. Not to receive the gift of salvation but rather to show thank’s to our king and savior. The book of James is full of examples of living the Christian life and encouragement in the blessings of doing so.
Deeds can take many forms from helping the less fortunate to changing personal habits that do not glorify the Lord. When we see people in trouble around us we need to be willing to be “an action hero”, and jump into the situation and do what we can to help out. If Christians were true action heroes we could put the government welfare system out of business. Imagine the difference in our nation if people looked to God and Christians for the answers to their needs rather than government.
So go out today and look for opportunities to be an ACTION HERO!
- Rahab the Prostitute: Trophy of Grace (christianreformedink.wordpress.com)