NO SANTA CLAUS>?

NO SANTA? WHAT A THOUGHT! WE HAVE WRAPPED OUR CULTURE AROUND GIFTS BROUGHT BY THIS JOLLY OLD BEARDED MAN IN A RED VELVET SUIT. STORES HAVE OPENED FOR THE LAST 100 CONTINUOUS HOURS IN ORDER THAT WE CAN SPEND THE LAST OF OUR MONEY BUYING SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE THEY WILL OFTEN CAST ASIDE IN A SHORT TIME. NO SANTA? WHAT ABOUT NO CHRIST? FIRST, THERE WOULD BE NO CHRISTMAS AT ALL. THE GIFT HE GAVE US WOULD NOT EXIST. GOD, THRU HIS SON, GAVE US THE OPPORTUNITY FOR ETERNAL SALVATION…ETERNALLY, TO LIVE WITH HIM FOREVER IF WE CHOOSE TO TRUST AND BELIEVE IN THE SON HE SENT TO SAVE US FROM A LIFE OF ETERNITY IN HELL. IT CAN’T BE BOUGHT WITH ‘THE LAST OF OUR MONEY’ AND JESUS WILL NEVER ‘CAST US ASIDE IN A SHORT TIME’. PROPHESIED FOR CENTURIES, IT ALL CAME TO BE REAL IN JESUS, THE SON OF GOD. TODAY BEFORE YOU OPEN ALL THE GIFTS AND EAT TOO MUCH; REMEMBER THE REAL ‘REASON FOR THE SEASON’…..JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR. TAKE THE TIME TO OPEN YOUR BIBLES TO LUKE, CHAPTER 2, VERSES 1-20 AND SHARE THE REAL STORY OF CHRISTMAS WITH THOSE YOU HAVE GATHERED. THOSE WITH YOU NEED TO HEAR IT AS MUCH AS YOU DO! “THE VIRGIN WILL CONCEIVE AND GIVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND THEY WILL CALL HIM IMMANUEL (WHICH MEANS “GOD WITH US”. MATTHEW 1:23...

CHRISTMAS PANIC.

ARE YOU ANXIOUS ABOUT GIFTS TO BUY, CARDS TO WRITE, DECORATIONS TO PUT UP AND MEALS TO PREPARE WITH ONLY A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS? WHEN WILL WE DO ALL THAT WE BELIEVE WE NEED TO DO? WE HAD A YEAR TO PREPARE AND WE STILL FIND OURSELVES STRESSED WITH ALL THE LAST MINUTE ACTIVITIES. WHY SHOULD ANXIETY BE A PART OF THE CELEBRATION OF CHRIST’S BIRTH? TO APPRECIATE THE SEASON, WE NEED TO GET OUT OF THE WORLDLY CONCEPTS. JESUS BROUGHT THE MESSAGE OF PEACE…. NOT A WORLDLY PEACE…BUT PEACE WITHIN OURSELVES IN CONCERT WITH GOD. WHEN WE HAVE A PEACE WITH GOD, WE WILL MORE EASILY HAVE A PEACE WITH OURSELVES AND OTHERS. STOP. SLOW DOWN. PUT CHRIST BACK IN CHRISTMAS. DON’T PANIC OVER THE ALL THE THINGS ON YOUR ‘TO DO’ LIST. LET’S CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS FOR THE RIGHT REASON WITHOUT THE ANXIETY! JESUS IS THE REASON! THE ONLY REASON! “DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING, BUT IN EVERY SITUATION, BY PRAYER AND PETITION, WITH THANKSGIVING, PRESENT YOUR REQUESTS TO GOD.” PHILIPPIANS 4:6...

OVERFLOWING GENEROSITY, OVERFLOWING LOVE.

YEARS AGO AN ADMIRED PASTOR TOLD OF HIS VISIT TO THE HOLY LANDS, AS I RECALL, HE WAS INVITED INTO THE HOME OF A RABBI. THE RABBI POURED WINE INTO TWO SMALL WINE GLASSES WHICH SAT ON A TRAY. THE RABBI CAREFULLY POURED THE WINE INTO ONE GLASS UNTIL IT OVERFLOWED ONTO THE TRAY. THE OTHER GLASS WAS INTENTIONALLY NOT COMPLETELY FILLED. THE PASTOR DID NOT DRINK ALCOHOL IN ANY FORM, BUT FELT A RESPECTFUL OBLIGATION. HE DID INQUIRE OF THE RABBI’S ACTION OF POURING THE WINE TO OVERFLOWING IN ONE OF THE GLASSES WHILE NOT FILLING THE OTHER. THE RABBI EXPLAINED HIS CUSTOM. THE GLASS NOT COMPLETELY FILLED WAS FOR THE HOST. THE GLASS THAT OVERFLOWED WAS FOR THE GUEST. THE OVERFLOWING WINE WAS A SYMBOL OF A COMPLETE GIFT. WHEN THE WINE OVERFLOWED, NONE COULD QUESTION THE GIFT BEING SHORTED OR LESS THAN FULL. GOD’S LOVE IS LIKE THIS. THERE IS NO QUESTION OF GOD’S COMPLETE LOVE. IT OVERFLOWS. NO MATTER WHO WE ARE OR WHAT WE HAVE DONE, GOD GIVES US MORE THAN WE DESERVE. STOP FOR A MINUTE AND THANK GOD FOR HIS OVERFLOWING GENEROSITY….HIS OVERFLOWING LOVE WHICH HE GIVES FREELY AND ABUNDANTLY. “FOR IF, BY THE TRESPASS OF THE ONE MAN, DEATH REIGNED THROUGH THAT ONE MAN, HOW MUCH MORE WILL THOSE WHO RECEIVE GOD’S ABUNDANT PROVISION OF GRACE AND OF THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS REIGN IN LIFE THROUGH THE ONE MAN, JESUS CHRIST!” ROMANS 5:17...

MATERIALISM . . . SATAN’S BOUNTY.

CYBER MONDAY, BLACK FRIDAY, GREY THURSDAY? MORE PEOPLE MADE AN EFFORT TO ATTEND THESE EVENTS THAN WENT TO CHURCH THIS PAST SUNDAY IN THE U.S.. RETAILERS FORCED EMPLOYEES TO ABANDON THEIR FAMILIES AND WORK INSTEAD ON A DAY MEANT TO GIVE THANKS. OUR LARGEST RETAILER CLAIMED OVER 20 MILLION CUSTOMERS ON THANKSGIVING DAY ALONE. THOSE SHOPPERS SELFISHLY WERE NO MORE CARING ABOUT THE EMPLOYEES FORCED TO ABANDON THEIR OWN FAMILIES AND TIME TO GIVE THANKS THAN THE EMPLOYERS. A DAY OF TRADITION TO BE THANKFUL FOR ALL GOD HAS GIVEN US WAS LITERALLY TRAMPLED. TV NEWS REPORTED OF FIGHTS BETWEEN SHOPPERS ACROSS OUR NATION. A STUN GUN WAS USED BY ONE FEMALE SHOPPER ON ANOTHER LADY, WHILE A MAN WAS PUNCHED IN THE STOMACH FIGHTING FOR A 29 CENT TOWEL. WERE YOU IN THE CROWD SELLING YOUR INTEGRITY FOR 29 CENTS? PUSHING AND SHOVING WERE THE NORM TO PURCHASE AN ITEM THAT IN A SHORT TIME WILL BE THROWN OUT. PEOPLE CAMPED OUT OVERNIGHT IN THE COLD BEHIND BARRICADES TO BE THE FIRST IN LINE. A DAY THE PILGRIMS SET ASIDE AFTER THEIR HARVEST TO GIVE THANKS WAS MOSTLY FORGOTTEN ABOUT. DID YOU SPEND THE DAY GIVING THANKS TO GOD FOR THE BOUNTY GOD HAS GIVEN YOU OR DID YOU ABANDON GOD AND FAMILY FOR THE CHANCE OF SATAN’S BOUNTY? SADLY, NOT ONE NEWS STORY TOLD OF CROWDS CAMPING ON A SIDEWALK OR PUSHING AND SHOVING TO GET INTO A CHURCH OR TEMPLE… ARE YOU WORSHIPING AND GIVING THANKS TO OUR LORD OR SATAN’S BOUNTY? “FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO.” LUKE 12:34 NIV...