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Orient are…No where in the Bible does it say that there were 3 kings, yes there were three gifts but any research into historical documents will show that there was undoubtedly a large group of “wise men” from the East and that many servants and others were with them.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 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)
Good Morning Joes and Janes;
I recently purchased several books and a DVD on preparedness. Some books were e-books and are on my computer while the others are sitting on my shelf. I believe they all have a lot of good information in them and I hope to share some with you in the months ahead. However if I don’t make the time to actually read them and put the knowledge they contain into action then they are useless. That is what today’s devotional in James is talking about.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
The part about looking in the mirror reminds me of times I walk into a room to get something but then forget what I was after….but I think James has a different point. Sitting in church on Sunday morning, reading a passage of the Bible every day or watching a sermon on TV are all great things to do, but if you never actually take that message and change how you live your life; then really it is just a waste of time. Actually internalizing and putting into practice the Word of God is what changes our lives for the better.
Every morning at least we make a trip to the bathroom, look in the mirror and wash up, shave, brush our teeth and other activities, often not really seeing ourselves. Stopping to really look in the mirror can be a frightening experience! We can see lines that were not there before, wrinkles, blemishes we don’t envision in our minds eye of how we look. James says that listening to the word but not doing it is like looking in the mirror but then just forgetting what we really look like. Going out into the world with that mental image of ourselves, not the true image of what we are.
Self examination in the mirror can be hard. Self examination of our hearts can be even harder; but that is what is required to realize our need for God and our need for changes in our lives.
Have a great day in the Lord and don’t forget to really take a look in the mirror next time you get a chance.
Good Morning Joes and Janes
Yesterday I went on a 4 mile run that turned into a 4 and 1/4 mile run. I had mapped out a route on the winding gravel roads near the house. After running 2 1/4 miles I was getting winded and missed a turn, finding myself up what turned out to be a driveway with a no trespassing sign staring me in the face. When we are tired and not paying attention in life we can get off the path God has for us. Just a thought for today.
Following on in James chapter 1, I thought I would add a couple of more verses:
James 1: 4 & 5
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Perseverance is not something that comes naturally, at least to me. It is continually making the right choice rather than the easy choice, going forward when you want to quit. Having the wisdom to make the right decisions is a big part of walking the Christian walk and persevering. Fortunately for those who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord of their life; we have this great promise of God found in verse 5. God gives wisdom generously to all who ask!
Well, I am off for another day in the hot sun, I hope you are able to enjoy some shade where you are at.
- Irresistible Grace in Sanctification (slaveofchrist.wordpress.com)
Good Morning Joes and Janes;
I am back after a couple of weeks of not posting. My life became rather hectic, not that there were great trials, the topic of today’s devotional, just overly busy and not enough energy and time to accomplish the many tasks of the day. Among the many blessings were the celebration of my 40th wedding anniversary which included a 4 day trip away from the Bitterroot Valley. Now I hope to return to a daily devotional and other topical posts that cover the 5 G’s. I hope that you will find them beneficial.
Today some thoughts on the book of James:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
It can be easy to complain, whether about the heat, or in a few months about the cold, or whatever is affecting us in our daily lives but God tells us through James that we should consider all of our trials pure joy! Why would we want to be happy about our trials and suffering? Because it is these very trials that tests our faith and ultimately strengthens it and develops our ability to persevere or overcome these obstacles.
Yesterday I signed up for a 4 mile run that occurs on August 26th in Missoula. Am I ready to run 4 miles? No, but the challenge of preparing and strengthening my muscles over the next couple of weeks will stretch me in ways that I know will help me to persevere when race day comes. Our muscles, like our spiritual life, will either grow or shrink depending on how much we use them. If we use trials in our life to expand our relationship with God, then we will grow in our faith.
- Talking with God
- Relying on His strength, not ours
- Staying in His Word
- Following His commandments
These are the activities that prepare us for the race of life.
I pray that you go forth today seeking Him, relying on Him and counting the joy of your trials you may run into today; knowing that they will bring you into a closer relationship to Christ Jesus.
I am off to stretch my muscles.