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Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Christmas Card For You

Though I'm struggling through each day,  I'm thankful for the Savior coming to earth to die for sins, and that He rose again.
There is much joy ahead, and for now we run the race.
He is our reason for hope, and we must fix our eyes on Him!
I hope you have a great celebration (for those who do celebrate).

If you missed the Grace Community Church Christmas concert, you can find it HERE.

A church in India sings a song from America about the Savior's birth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Dark Before The Dawn - Hope For The Suffering Christian

While the song at the bottom of this post was written about a certain event, the lyrics were meaningful to me.

Some valleys are so dark, that it is difficult to believe that we will ever get out.
We like to imagine that Christians will never go through these valleys.
We should be always filled with joy, right?

Yet Christians can still be tormented physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Jesus still loves us and cares, and in the garden of Gethsemane, He suffered too.
He suffered on the cross agony more than what we could ever bear.
Sometimes we feel that we are at the point where we cannot bear our suffering for even a moment longer, but yet there is little we can do but cry out to God as our Father to have mercy on us as His children.

The darkness may come to believers, but in those times we need to turn to the Lord...not away.
We can look to His promises.  We can bring verses to our minds by our memory or by reading them.

We should redirect our thoughts to what the Bible says to set our minds on (Philippians 4:6-8), and we should remind ourselves about who God is and about His loving care.

Sometimes you may feel that you can't do anything, but then you can still call out to God and wait for Him to answer.
There is hope.  We can trust Him for that.  He either brings relief, or He will bring us the strength to endure.
There is refuge in Him even in your darkness, and there will be a glorious dawn one day.
So, keep fighting the fight of faith, and remember that He knows, that He understands, and that He is right there with you - if you are His.
He is merciful and gracious, and He is patient.
We must be patient in our dark times, and we need to remind ourselves to rest in Him.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

What Is Christmas About?

Jesus was born of a virgin (God let Mary and her intended husband Joseph know what was happening by way of an angel).

After they traveled to Bethlehem due to a census, Jesus was born and was placed in a manger (as there was no room available for them inside the inn).
Shepherds had angels appear and tell them about His birth, and they came and found Him.

Later on, when Joseph and Mary were with Jesus in a house, wise men (we don't know how many) from the east came to offer gifts (after first going to Herod).
Then Herod wanted Him dead, so he decided to have male kids under a certain age put to death.
Joseph was warned in a dream, and they left that area.

Jesus lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 4:21), taught the people, performed many miracles (Acts 2:22), was hated by many religious leaders, and He willingly suffered and died undeservedly on a Roman cross (betrayed by Judas and falsely accused by religious leaders).

He took the punishment of sins of all who would ever believe.
Jesus willingly took God's wrath on the cross for undeserving sinners (Colossians 2:13-14).
He was laid in a tomb, and in 3 days He rose from the grave in victory.
Death and sin were defeated.
He appeared to many who believed, and He ascended to Heaven before many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Those who repent of sin & turn to faith in Christ will be saved from slavery to sin (Romans 6:18; 1 Peter 2:24) and the deserved punishment of eternity in Hell.
They will be forgiven and declared righteous as if they had lived Christ's life....
their sins having been placed on Him.
They are adopted as children of God...born again from above.
They have the Spirit to indwell them.
They will have eternal life, and they will spend eternity with the Lord - happily serving Him.

Those who do not believe will be resurrected, but then they will face the justice of the wrath of God & an eternity in Hell.
They will be held accountable for sins.  They will not be forgiven.  There will be no second chance (Hebrews 9:27).

You can read a clear description of the GOSPEL here.

All who will believe have been chosen before the foundation of the world.
It's amazing!  We don't deserve it!
For those of us who are given faith in Jesus, Heaven will be beyond what we can imagine.
John had a peek.  You can find that in the book of Revelation.
The Bible is where we learn what God has to say to us.  He gave His words to men to write down.
I hope that you will read it!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

To Celebrate Christmas Or Not To Celebrate - For Some That Is The Question

Christmas is about to be observed in many parts of the world this month.
Lately, some of my friends seem to be pulling away from celebrating.
Yes, the Puritans didn't celebrate Christmas, but while the Puritans had a lot right...they aren't a substitute for the Bible.
Perhaps the word "Advent" lessens the offense to some.

Celebrating Christmas as a Christian is NOT a sin.
It isn't mandated to celebrate it in the Bible, but people choosing not to celebrate doesn't make them more spiritual than those who do.
It is good to avoid the false teaching and idolatry of Roman Catholicism, and it's good to not deceive your kids by replacing God with Santa.
It's also good not to be selfish, but then that is an issue of your heart.
For the record, I do celebrate the season and the day...and I'm not ashamed of it.

As I get older, I have more joy in remembering Christ's birth.
For us, gifts are usually given Christmas Eve, and on Christmas we eat a nice meal, hear about Christ's birth, and we sing or listen to carols.
My family usually has a Christmas project we choose before Christmas...meaning we give to missions, missionaries, etc.

I do understand some who have an issue with the name of the day, but then other words we use have origins in false religion as well (including the days of the week).
If it bothers a person's conscience to celebrate, then that person shouldn't.
Still, we need to have our consciences properly informed...that this is not an issue of right or wrong.

The following links may interest you:

Is Christmas Day Rooted in Paganism? - by Nathan Busenitz
Another good article by Nathan Busenitz is about the Controversy of The Incarnation

J.C. Ryle wrote a Christmas tract:
What Think Ye of Christ 

Charles Spurgeon did not see harm in remembering Christ's birth, while decrying the Catholic "mass" and popish origins.
Spurgeon on Christmas

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?  - from Grace To You

Another MacArthur Video on Celebrating Christmas

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Caroling - Missed Opportunities

Have you ever been Christmas caroling? 

I went out at least once with a church group when I was much younger, and we went especially to houses of people of the church.
I think at least one of the places we went to was where there was a shut-in.
We actually went into houses and visited  with people.

 In the old movies, Christmas caroling was quite common, but I haven't heard or seen much of that most of my life.
It seems to be a rare thing least in communities where I've lived.

Wouldn't it be great if Christians not only went out and sang Christian songs about Jesus' birth, but if they combined this with important things like ministering to shut-ins and giving the Gospel out to surrounding communities?
Are not many solid Biblical churches missing opportunities to shine the light of the Gospel at a time of year when people are celebrating something they don't even understand?
I realize some churches use concerts, but not everybody will make the effort to go to one or is able to go to one.

making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 
Ephesians 5:16 NASB

Ray Comfort shared an interesting video about combining singing and giving the Gospel.
"Amazing Grace" is a great song, and why not do something like he suggests?

Perhaps a group could choose to sing the song "It's About The Cross" as an alternate choice (or whatever song with good Gospel lyrics that you can think of).

If you try doing something like this, I'd love to hear about it!

I would pick different tracts, but I like the idea of people handing out tracts and singing in combination with evangelism...even alongside street preachers!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Who Is Jesus?

(For disclosure, I'm a female, and this is a personal blog.)

Jesus' birth was foretold and He was referred to as God.

There is so much in both the Old and New Testaments that makes it clear that Jesus is God the Son.  From His virgin birth, to His death on a cross, etc.,  it was all foretold in the Old Testament and made manifest in the New.

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.   Isaiah 7:14 NASB
(Immanuel means God with us or "With us is God.")

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6 NASB

"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity."  Micah 5:2 NASB

Isaiah 53 prophesies His death ...that He bore the sin of many.

Son of God

God the Father sent His Son to take on flesh:

John 3:16-18 refers to Jesus as the only (unique) begotten Son of God.
Since Jesus is eternal, and He was involved in Creation, we know that this helps us to understand that He is a Son different than believers who are adopted children of God.
Cults try to twist this into making people think that He was created rather than being one of the Trinity involved in Creation.

In John 1:1-3, Jesus was called the Word, and the world was created through Him.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14 NASB

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,  Romans 8:3 NASB

He was referred to by John the baptist as the true light coming into the world:

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.  John 1:9 NASB

Jesus Himself talked about having come down out of Heaven.

"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."  John 6:33 NASB   (In John 6:35 He says that He is the bread of life.)

Jesus' equality with the Father....He is not the Father as some twist things into a schizophrenic confused deception - not accepting that God doesn't have to meet our finite understanding.
This is about unity and equality of two of the Trinity.

Jesus announced that He and the Father are one in John 10:30.

God  referred to Himself to Moses as the I AM,.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”  John 8:58 NASB

So, the Jews wanted to kill Him when Jesus said this,, because He was making Himself equal with God.

The Bible also says:

For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  Colossians 2:9 NASB

In Philippians 2:6-7 it is said that He existed in the form of God, but He took the form of a bondservant "being made in the likeness of men."

Old Testament passages and New Testament passages connect things together:

Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know!  Proverbs 30:4 NASB

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”  John 8:56 NASB

Confession of who Jesus is - is necessary:

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
1 John 4:15 NASB

Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23 NASB

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 
1 John 4:2 NAS

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Matthew 16:15-16 NASB

🔗 Who do you say that Jesus is?

Do you celebrate Christmas?   Find out more of why He came:
🔗 Understanding Why Jesus Came To Earth To Be Born

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tornadoes, Wildfires, & Christmas Music

Tennessee has been having a lot of fires (with some storms this week), and some other southern states (Alabama and Georgia) also were affected by recent storms this week.

A club was recorded singing at a Georgia high school while they were taking shelter (this video was published on November 30th).
They showed a clip of it on TV, and I wanted to share it with you!
Music is a blessing from God, and it's always good when the lyrics honor the God who gave us the ability to sing!
I don't know whether these people are actually Christians or not, but I would love it if they are!


Christians, please continue to pray for people in Tennessee. 
Many in the tourist town of Gatlinburg (which is right at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) have lost businesses and homes.
 At least 14 people have died related this fire which it seems was intentionally set by 2 juveniles.
So much has been donated for the people of Gatlinburg, that they don't have enough room for it all at this point!
They are still taking money though.
Like with the flooding in other parts of the U.S., we know that recovery takes a lot longer than a couple of days