Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas "2010"

Today is Christmas...Jesus' birthday!

On Christmas the majority of us think about Christmas dinner, gifts we will give and receive, who we will be with, who we will be without...all important. But, the most important thought we should have is about Who's day this really is! Who's birthday we are celebrating?

She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

That is why we have Christmas. The best gift you could ever receive was born that day. Could you just imagine when the angel showed up at the shepherds camp that night? I'm sure they were startled to say the least! You have to wonder...had they ever even seen an angel before? Did they know immediately it was an angel from GOD? Then, when the "one" angel was joined by...a "vast army" of angels!! WOW!!

 8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
      and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
 15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

What a sight...and sound...that must have been! If they never had seen an angel before I can imagine there would have been "no doubt" that they were angels! I can bet they left that camp in a hurry...probably forgot a few things...and almost ran all the way to Bethlehem!! Then what a sight they beheld...

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Like I said, seeing those angels had to have been something incredible! But couldn't even have compared to seeing baby Jesus that day! The Savior of the world!!! What could a sheep herder have thought?? Would you have believed when you saw baby Jesus that He was the Messiah...the Savior...your Savior?? I have to think that yes...I would have believed! At least I pray I would have.

Most of us don't have "an army of angels from Heaven" come down and visit us. However, the Holy Spirit is here on earth with us. What is so great about that is...if you have asked Jesus to be the Savior of your life He lives inside of you. You can have Jesus with you every second of every day! He will be even closer to you than He was to the shepherds when they saw Him in Bethlehem. He may not be a babe in a manger...and we don't have to travel to a far off city to find Him...Jesus is just right where you are today...wherever that may be. He is waiting for you to celebrate His birthday with Him...right now!

Ask Jesus to come into your heart today! Celebrate His birthday with Him in the best possible way! If you do that today...not only will you someday see those "armies of angels" will see and be forever with the SAVIOR of the world...JESUS CHRIST, God's one and only Son!!

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

1 Corinthians 15:51-57

As a Christian, do you ever wonder why you let satan's schemes take root in your mind? It seems in my life that when ever the LORD does something really amazing for me...there he is! Poking and prodding, just trying to get that little bit of a hold in my thoughts. I have to admit that usually...even if just for a few minutes...I let him start to take over. The question I ask myself is ...Why? Am I so unprepared for an attack that the slightest little thing he whispers in my head has to sway me??!! I don't want to be like that and I don't think any other Christian wants to be either. We need to really stop and say a prayer when old thoughts, attitudes, and feelings just "happen" to pop into our minds. Today I didn't do that and I almost let satan ruin a great morning. But instead...The LORD stepped in and took control of the situation. HE sent someone my way before I could make all the wrong choices. What I learned through this was...

We still have free will. Even when HE steps in and helps, I still had to choose to let the old feelings go. Then there is the surrender part. Once you surrender to HIS will for you there is peace. The one thing I always want to do is surrender but it isn't always easy. In fact for never is...but it does get easier each time. Then later I read a verse that helped me to remember what it's all about...
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (The Message)

51-57But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand. We're not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it's over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

   Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
   Who got the last word, oh, Death?
   Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God! 

JESUS was born...for us! JESUS died...for us! JESUS is coming back...for us!! 

It doesn't matter what you've done in the past. It doesn't matter how many times you mess up in the present...or the future. All that matters is that you ask HIM into your heart. Ask HIM to forgive you of all your sins and help you to live for HIM from this day forward. JESUS will help you when satan starts trying to get in where he doesn't belong. You just have to surrender and let HIM be LORD of your life. Listen to what HE says...even when HE says it through someone else.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just Stuff

As in the last post...I have something to say and I just can't not say it. For me writing this blog is one of the ways I give praise to the LORD. HE has done so much for me that I can't "not" praise HIM. I believe that today HE is giving this to me...not only to share, but...for me.

 Throughout our lives we go through many different things. When I was younger I always heard it said as..."Trials and Tribulations". Now it seems to be pretty much..."Just Stuff". When going through "stuff" you have a tendency to become anxious and to worry...even though as Christians we know we are not supposed to do that. This verse tells us what we are to do instead.

Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)

 6-7Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Sometimes you can let yourself become overwhelmed by things you are facing. The LORD doesn't want us to do that. However, HE knows we are human and  many times we do that anyway. If you read further in Philippians it goes on to tell you how to not be anxious and worry. Where you should let your thoughts go instead of where you have been letting them go.

Philippians 4:8 (New Living Translation)

 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Then...we need to praise HIM! Praise HIM and thank HIM for everything...even the "just stuff". In my opinion if you don't do that you are just letting the devil win. In my life he is the last "thing" I want to let win. In John we are told what satans purpose is in contrast to what JESUS'S purpose is.

John 10:10 (New Living Translation)

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Recently I read in One Minute Of Praise this statement; 

Why do you think satan doesn't want you to get your praise on? Because he knows if he can get your praise, then he has control of your victory and what you focus on. 

I want my focus to always be on the LORD and what HE has for me. The more we worship and praise the LORD, the closer we draw in to HIM. When we are going through "stuff" we need to draw as close to HIM as possible. When we do HE draws close to us. 

James 4:8 (New Living Translation)

8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

That is my goal. Through all of the "stuff" to get closer to GOD so GOD will get closer to me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Symbol Of Faith

The heading on my blog reads,
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent...about things that matter.

I don't ever want the devil to win and keep me from saying what GOD wants me to say.
Due to some eye problems I shouldn't be writing...because of HIM...I am. So, today...The LORD'S day...I just can't keep the words inside anymore. 

All week I have been listening to friends, sermons, and Christian radio, tell me what I need to have to get through the issues I am currently experiencing...and I am "so" grateful for each and everyone. Without my friends words of encouragement and prayers, and the sermons I've listened too, I'm sure I would have had many more pity parties. There has been one main pervading thought in most everything I have heard. have got to have it! GOD moves because of your faith. You just have to believe. All of this reminds me of something...The Wizard Of OZ. I could this have anything to do with GOD?!! Hopefully I can write it the way I'm thinking it...

All you need to do is believe and what ever you need you get...the tin man, a heart...the scarecrow, a brain...the lion, courage. What they didn't know was, they really didn't need the wizard because they already possessed these things. If you watch the movie the lion did act out with courage and strength, and took charge of situations when needed, even though he was fearful. The tin man had a heart or he wouldn't have wanted one nor would he have wanted to love or have felt pain. The scarecrow thought of solutions to the problems the group faced so he obviously had a brain.Yet none of the characters believed it for themselves. They had to have a "symbol" of what they wanted to fully believe...too confirm it within themselves. That's how it reminds me of GOD and faith...

When you're going through a problem sometimes it's hard to believe that everything is going to be okay. However, if you are a Christian you are supposed to have faith in GOD that it will be okay regardless of the outcome. Faith is sometimes hard to have if you are the one with the problem. The characters in OZ were all given a symbol...something tangible for them to help them believe. We have the bible to read to help us with our faith. However there may be times in your life that you can't read it. Right now that is a problem for me so GOD sent other things and people my way to tell me what it says...too build up my faith when I'm having a hard time with it. One friend gave me cd's to listen to, another called and told me a Bible story and talked and listened and prayed, and still another just calls and prays. I am thankful for every friendship and the ways they encourage me. There is one thing they all have in common, lots of faith! One thing I have learned so far through all of this is...

We all have faith inside of us. I just needed to somehow find a way to possess the same kind of faith that each one of my friends have in their lives, what I call...a deep faith. In a way, they all gave me a "symbol". Things that I could hold onto until I found the faith that GOD instills in each one of us when we accept HIM. Without faith we could never have become a Christian.

Hebrews 11:6 (New Living Translation) And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Anytime we come to GOD with anything we have to have faith. Without it why bother to talk to HIM? We can't see HIM so we have to go on faith. One friend reminded me that all we need is the smallest amount...the size of a mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20 (New Living Translation)   “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

So...I'm thinking on all of this and talking to GOD. But...because I'm not seeing any difference in my situation I'm really not believing that HE is even listening. Then this morning happened. No...I can't see any better...but my attitude has changed. I'm watching a Gaither video and who sings but Ronnie Milsap...What A Difference You've Made In My Life. WOW...what a song!! It just hit me...actually I should say, GOD hit me!!! "HE" has made that difference in my life. Ronnie sang the next verse...What a difference you've made in my heart!! Again...WOW...GOD!!! It's true what people say. If you worship GOD when things are bad HE will respond. Your problem might not be resolved right then but GOD will be there with you and you will know it! If I have to have further surgery or my vision never gets any better than it is now...GOD has already made such a difference in me that it's okay. Because of the difference HE has made in me I had to write this.

Faith...I can't honestly say that mine is as "deep" as others, but...maybe this is what GOD is using to help get me there.