Based on Faith
Christianity is a faith-based religion. Basically, Christians believe by grace through faith in Jesus Christ we have been saved from sin and will one day live eternally with Him in Heaven. After we believe in God’s grace through faith in Christ and are saved, we are called Christians. To be a Christian means we are to become Christ-like. And what is Christ-like? Basically, Jesus’ character can be described as loving, merciful, just and true. Jesus displayed these characteristics when He lived on Earth as you and I do today. While on Earth, loving and merciful Jesus did not just sit around and wait on Heaven. We remember all the miracles, the signs, and wonders of Christ our King, but before the first miracle ever occurred Jesus did many things in the first thirty years of His life. He listened. He obeyed. He taught. Jesus was a friend who loved and prayed. In His years of ministry, He served all groups and classes of men who crossed His path. We are to be like Christ. Therefore these are some of the basic things each Christian is called to do on Earth while we are waiting on Heaven. As we look back briefly on the year that has passed, let us look faithfully toward the New Year that is approaching. May this be the year we each get back to the basics of our Christian faith. May we daily become more Christ-like, listening, obeying, teaching, and praying as He did. May we love as He loved and serve as He served. It is time to get back to the basics of Christ. Remember basically faith is what moves mountains. Faith is what makes us whole.
How Time Flies
Has it really been a year since December 2009? Are you sure someone didn’t slip a month or two from the calendar when we weren’t looking? I think we just get busier and busier and don’t appreciate each month, each day, each hour, and each minute. This December 25th we do take the time to slow down and appreciate and celebrate the birth of a tiny precious baby boy. We display manger scenes with shepherds and wise men gathered around His cradle. Oh, what a holy night it was when Baby Jesus was born. Happy Birthday, Jesus! Do you realize in a little over four months we will enter into the Easter Season, a time of remembering the sacrifice of Jesus the man, dying on a cross; and then a time of celebrating the Resurrection from the grave of Jesus the Savior! From Christmas to Easter seems like such a short time, but it is enough time to make a difference in so many lives if we slow down and take the time to pray and fast, submit and serve, give and sacrifice. During this joyous season of celebrating birth may we commit to celebrate Jesus every day during the coming year. May we each realize time is flying by and now is the time to make a difference in today’s world. This difference making cannot be achieved by complacently following yearly rituals and routines. We have been given an awesome opportunity as a Body of Believers to do enormous things for Christ. It takes all of us working together and realizing time is short and there is work to be done. If we do, this time next December when we slow down we will know where the time has gone. We can look back and say 2011 was a year we did make a make the most of the time God gave and achieved His purpose for the year.
Time to Make the Donuts
When Michael Vale retired in 1997 there was a parade in Boston and over six million free donuts were served. When Michael died in 2005 there was a commercial in his honor. Who was Michael Vale? Michael was better known as Fred the Baker in Dunkin Donuts commercials that ran in the ’80s and ’90s. Fred in the darkness of night, through rain and snow, always stayed true to the honorable task that had been bestowed upon him. “It’s time to make the donuts,” were the words he spoke and the phrase these commercials coined that is now defined in the urban dictionary as a time to start work. How much did the job of donut maker pay in the 1980s? I am sure not as much as Michael was paid for portraying the role. I believe those who actually go and make the donuts early in the morning have to have some inspiration other than a paycheck. I believe like the character Fred, they have found a greater purpose in their daily routine. In our lives, we can look at our daily routines as drudgery or opportunity. We can look at a mundane task as misery, or as honorable duties that someone trusts us with and has graciously bestowed upon us. When we take the time to look at our lives from a different point of view; tiresome duties morph into awesome opportunities. There may never be a parade in our honor or free donuts given away because of us, but there will be the satisfaction of knowing we have done the job well that has been set before us. May we all be inspired to make the donuts to the best of our ability. It is time.
The night Jesus was born in a cattle stall Mary found peace when she held her baby in her arms. She had journeyed far literally, physically, and emotionally. One day she was a young girl planning a wedding. The next she found she was chosen to give birth to the Savior of the world. The night Jesus was born shepherds heard angels declare peace on earth. They journeyed to meet the Savior and found peace so great, they didn’t leave the way they came. After that night of peace on earth, confusion soon came. Herod ordered all male babies killed who were two and under. Can you imagine all those mothers holding their babies tightly? In Luke 12:51 Jesus tells us He did not come to bring peace, but division. Is that confusing? No, not if you consider what division He speaks of. Those who believe, and don’t believe in the Christ, in His Gospel, were divided when He was born, and are still divided even now. Those of us who believe must realize that Jesus did not come to bring peace on earth. He is peace. He is our peace in a most confusing world. He is our peace within each of us even when confusion surrounds us in our daily lives. Once we come to Him and tightly grasp His peace, we will not leave the same way we came. Yes, the journey is sometimes long. Yes, we face much division on this earth, but Jesus is our peace within. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Jingle, jingle. It seems bells are not all that are jingling as shoppers rush to buy gifts this Christmas. With the sluggish economy, many are using change that they have saved all year to make their holiday purchases. Who would have thought? A penny for your thoughts I guess. Wait, are thoughts still worth a penny, or has inflation affected those as well? It has certainly affected the price of candy canes which were a dime a dozen when they first became popular in 1847. Speaking of the original canes, they were white with no stripes. One legend depicts the candy cane as a secret symbol for Christianity. It was said that the cane was shaped like a "J" for Jesus. The red-and-white stripes represented Christ's blood and purity. The three red stripes symbolized the Holy Trinity. The hardness of the candy represented the Church's foundation on solid rock and the peppermint flavor represented the use of hyssop, an herb referred to in the Old Testament. Now that is a nice legend to share with someone this Christmas. Jesus certainly doesn’t need to be kept a secret. Yes, why not take some change, probably plenty to jingle, buy some of those striped canes, print the legend on a card, wrap it, and give it as a reminder to someone of how sweet it is to know the Savior. Jingle, jingle.
If You Can’t See “It,” Is “It” There?
I Kings 18:41, 43 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing.
How many times have we read the scriptures that speak of Ahab going to look for rain as Elijah commanded him? He looked and looked and saw nothing, but Elijah insisted it was there. Did Elijah truly hear the rain? Did he see it in the distance when no one else could? Did he smell it hitting the dry parched ground far away? Finally on the seventh trip to look Ahab saw the very small cloud which grew and brought more and more clouds in and finally brought the abundance of rain which Elijah knew was there all the time. What do you need an abundance of in your life today? Get up from where you are. Begin to live again, eat and drink in blessings that are surrounding you that you have been overlooking. Make one more trip, try once more and see if God won’t prove Himself to you. If you listen and look carefully you will see God’s abundance coming. Take a deep breath. It is almost as if you can smell the blessings if you truly believe they are there. During this most blessed of seasons, may we all appreciate the abundance of blessings in our lives that we sometimes overlook. May we also believe more blessings are on the way for all those who believe. Ezekiel 34:26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing, and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
A Cleansing Breath
A teenage girl received Christ as her Savior. She was filled with peace and joy like she had never known. It felt like others had told her it would feel, kind of like taking in a deep cleansing breath, exhaling, and never, ever being the same again. She returned home wanting to share her joy. But at home, her father was lying on the couch surrounded by empty beer bottles. Her mother, still in bed, cursed and wanted to know why she had left home without cleaning the kitchen. The young girl washed dishes but hung on to her joy that she knew no one could take from her. She sang praises. She shared her joy with God. In Luke 2 when the shepherds met the Savior for the first time, they were overjoyed. Like this young girl, they too had to return to their normal life, working, herding the sheep in the field. They sang praises and glorified God. No man could take their joy of seeing Jesus exactly like the angels had told them He would be. Today we sometime get caught up in everyday life and everyday problems. We should never let any situation or anyone take our joy. It is like a deep cleansing breath when we meet Christ. We will never ever be the same again. Praise His name. Glorify Him.
Christmas trees were sold in Alsace in 1531. The trees were sold at local markets and set up in homes undecorated.
The Undecorated Tree
In a corner, it stood alone.
No bright lights from its branches shone.
No colored balls of red and green,
No glittering tinsel was anywhere to be seen.
The tree that stood so incomplete and bare,
Needed some attention and tender loving care.
The undecorated tree seemed such a waste.
Someone must have forgotten it in their haste.
How many lonely people do we see,
Who stand-alone much like that tree?
The incomplete, who heavy burdens bear,
Need our attention and tender loving care.
Those who feel their lives are such a waste,
Should not be overlooked in our haste.
As we hang tinsel and lights that shine,
Let us each remember to take the time,
To show the love of Jesus day and night,
Decorating this world with His marvelous light.
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Isaiah 9:2
Dreams Changing Dreams
A young man had dreams for his future, not unattainable dreams. He wanted to work in the trade he knew, marry, and raise a family. His dreams began to change when he found the young girl he was to marry was with child, one he knew couldn’t possibly be his. What to do now? He had a dream. In the dream, an angel told Joseph to marry Mary. He did. He could now continue on his with his life, his dreams as planned, right? No, there was yet another dream. Joseph was told to take his family and flee. He did. He now continued with his life, even though it was not exactly how he had dreamed it would be. He then had yet another dream with an angel appearing. He told Joseph Herod was dead and it was safe to return home. He did. Some say it is wrong to dream and selfish to dream big dreams for the future. Some say dreams rarely come true. Joseph was an unselfish, caring, obedient dreamer. By following his heart and his dreams; by following God’s direction for his life; by allowing his dreams for his life to be changed by a dream from God, he helped to change the entire history of the human race. Keep on dreaming big dreams. Keep on following God’s direction for your life.
As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream….. Matthew 1:20
The Stillness of Christmas Night
There is a peaceful silence in the air tonight.
Not a sound, not a whisper, underneath the starlight.
No fear, no hate, no confusion, no calamity in sight-
No division, no disagreement, no black, no white-
Only peace, only love, only calm, only quite.
It is as if every creature knows whose birth is celebrated on this night;
A birth that changed the world forever covering darkness with His light.
If only this stillness we could grab and hold on to so tight.
If only peace on earth would continue every single day and night.
What a world it would be if all could love, not hate, and live right.
Into this world God did send His only Son on a very holy, peaceful night;
Giving all a chance to have peace, offering them His holy light.
Shh, listen do you hear the quite?
Not a sound, not a whisper, underneath the starlight-
No fear, no hate, no confusion, no calamity in sight-
No division, no disagreement, no black, no white-
Only peace, only love, only calm, only quite. All is calm, all is bright; all is still on this holy Christmas night
The night Jesus was born in a cattle stall Mary found peace when she held her baby in her arms. She had journeyed far literally, physically, and emotionally. One day she was a young girl planning a wedding. The next she found she was chosen to give birth to the Savior of the world. The night Jesus was born shepherds heard angels declare peace on earth. They journeyed to meet the Savior and found peace so great, they didn’t leave the way they came. After that night of peace on earth, confusion soon came. Herod ordered all male babies killed who were two and under. Can you imagine all those mothers holding their babies tightly? In Luke 12:51 Jesus tells us He did not come to bring peace, but division. Is that confusing? No, not if you consider what division He speaks of. Those who believe, and don’t believe in the Christ, in his Gospel, were divided when He was born, and are still divided even now. Those of us who believe must realize that Jesus did not come to bring peace on earth. He is peace. He is our peace in a most confusing world. He is our peace within each of us even when confusion surrounds us in our daily lives. Once we come to Him and tightly grasp His peace, we will not leave the same way we came. Yes, the journey is sometimes long. Yes, we face much division on this earth, but Jesus is our peace within.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. -John 16:33