Saturday, December 31, 2011

The BEST Resolution is not

The BEST Resolution is not

Philippians 3:13-15

13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are [a]perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;

This is the time that everyone makes resolutions on how they will be improving during the coming year.  I don't know about you, but how has that worked out in the past? Mine, not so much.

So instead of making a resolution this year I instead want to have an attitude...a mindset. Promises have not worked in the is doubtful they will work in the future.  What I really want to do is wait for God...not just wait, but wait expectantly.  There is a big difference.

Paul said to the Philippians that he is continuing to press on.  He had not attained his goal yet, but he pressed on in order that he might attain God's time. What is we had the same attitude?  What is we forgot the past? What if we realized that we have not attained our goal, and that we can never attain our goal with out God's help? Would that change our attitude? Of course it would!  I might add that it takes the pressure off of us and puts it squarely on God...just where it needs to be!

So clearly, my exhortation to you is to not even make a resolution.  But my all means, keep on pressing forward with the expectancy that Paul had.  Knowing that God is in control and HE will guide you and make you the kind of person HE wants ...the kind of person He needs you to be. Just the kind of person you want to be!

So remember: The best resolution is not...

Happy New Year!

Blessings All!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Faith of a Shepherd

Faith of a Shepherd

Luke 2: 15-18

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

This Christmas eve service, the Pastor used Luke 2:1-7 as the Scripture verse. But I was captivated by what followed. Let me explain.

The Shepherds who were out in the field that night so many years ago were the first people to learn of the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus. At first they were afraid when the angels all appeared to them announcing the birth of the Messiah. But after they were assured by the angels that they were only there to announce them the most amazing thing ever that would be a blessing to all mankind, they overcame their fear and they decided to investigate further and to see this miracle which was born in Bethlehem.

The Scripture says that they hurried off and found Mary, Joesph and the baby, lying in a manger. But they did not stop there, oh no! They then went back and told everyone they could find about the baby and what the angels had told them about Him!  Everyone was amazed at what they said...these simple nomadic sheepherders who normally probably never said a word to anyone, but now no one could stop there exuberance at what they had found. 

It occurs to me this a perfect picture of how God works today.  If we believe that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, then this story about the birth of Jesus is for us today.  Let me draw several parallels in how God works.

1) God is the one who initiates the miracle.
God is the one who made the birth happen in the first place. This was not initiated by man or by any agency.  It was straight from the Holy Spirit.  Our salvation is the same way. It is initiated by God by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It continues (sanctification) throughout our whole lives. But give thanks to God because of His inexpressible gift! The gift of Jesus.  The true meaning and start of every Christian life.

2) God Uses ordinary people.
In the beginning, God used the shepherds who were just going about their business, but filled them with such joy!  This is really good news for us all because if you really think about it, who of us really deserves such a blessing as to be even told about the salvation that God offers. These humble sheepherders knew the significance of that fact. Do we today?

And finally,

3) They could not contain their joy. They HAD to tell everyone about what they themselves were told and what they knew to be true.

Luke 2:-17-18 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

I wonder how many of those people that the sheepherders told actually believed what they said.  I don't think it mattered to the shepherds.  What they did, they had to do.  They were so amazed, so astounded, that they just had to tell someone.  They told everyone they came across. 

How about you? Have you heard the news of Jesus Christ? Has God visited you and told you about the salvation which is offered to you today through faith in Jesus?  If you have, then I assure you you are just like those shepherds so many years ago.  I cannot help but tell what the Lord Jesus means to me, and I bet, you are the same.

You see, God still is the same yesterday, today and forever. He still initiates the miracle; He still uses ordinary people who cannot contain their joy and then tell everyone else about Him and what He has done.  Isn't that comforting now that you know the real meaning of what happened in Bethlehem so many years ago?

Merry Christmas everyone!  Now go out with joy and tell someone about it!

Blessings All!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost a Cent

Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost a Cent
1.   The gift of LISTENING.  But you must really listen.  No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response.  Just listen.
2.   The gift of AFFECTION.  Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds.  Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for your family and friends.
3.   The gift of LAUGHTER.   Clip cartoons.  Share articles and funny stories.  Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you".
4.   The gift of a WRITTEN NOTE.  It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet.  A brief handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.
 5.  The gift of a COMPLIMENT.  A simple and sincere, "You look great in red", "You did a super job", or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.
6.  The gift of a FAVOR.  Every day go out of your way to do something kind.  And, when you know someone has a problem or is hurting, send up a prayer on his or her behalf each day.
7.  The gift of SOLITUDE.  There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.
8.   The gift of a CHEERFUL DISPOSITION.  The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone.  Really, it's not that hard to say "Hello" or "Thank you".
Hope I haven't been too "sappy" but thought some of these would be nice to think of and do sometimes. Another saying I like and live by is:

Blessings All!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who is Like the Wise?

Ecclesiastes 8

 1 Who is like the wise?
   Who knows the explanation of things?
A person’s wisdom brightens their face
   and changes its hard appearance.

Ecclesiastes is turning out to be one of my favorite books in the Bible.  It was hard for me in the beginning because I was looking at it from the wrong perspective. Maybe this has happened to you to. 

It is a difficult book to understand and to appreciate because I first thought it was so negative...that is until I read the whole book.  I then went back with a renewed perspective and re-read the book and pondered on each verse.  It really has made all the difference in the world.

Another thing which has really helped me is studying it with other Christians. We are using the book in our adult Sunday school class.  The wisdom and perspective that other people have brought to the study is amazing.  Try it yourself and see if that truth holds for you as well.  The Holy Spirit peaks through other people and their experiences and bring a fresh look to just about everything.

Who is like the wise?  They are those who embrace the thoughts, words and experiences of other people that God has touched in a special way.  It's not always about us.  It is always about Jesus and what He wants to do with us.

During this Christmas time, I challenge to to ponder on ways you can embrace other people and what they have to say and give. Bring them along on your journey...surround them with the love of Jesus. After all, didn't God do the same for us when He sent Jesus to that manger so many years ago? Didn't HE embrace us?  I did nothing to deserve salvation and yet He thought the world of me.  He brought me along on a womderful Journey...I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!

Blessings All!