“GIVE AND TAKE?”

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?'” Mark 10:17 NIV Read: Mark 10:17-31 Have you spent this last year giving a lot more than you received? Has someone else taken the glory and left you with the garbage? Welcome to the world Satan controls through his evil ways. You may know one of those ‘takers’. They may work with you and even be a family member. A well respected pastor told me after years of guiding churches, it is no different. Even in our churches we have givers and takers. He described the givers as always giving. They always give. The givers donate their money, their time and their talents without being asked. Usually, those who tithe and give special offerings are the same who take part in the leadership of the church. The head committees, teach Bible study, visit the sick and help with maintenance and clean up. The takers take. In general they are full of opinions and will tell you what the church should or should not do. They are ready to condemn but will not normally donate money, time or talent unless being asked and usually have an excuse for not doing even then. On rare occasion, they will assist but you cannot depend upon them to help on any consistent basis. You probably know someone like this. JESUS met such a man. He was ready to follow JESUS as long as he did it his way, not GOD’S way. When...

“WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME?”

“Come, let us bow down in worship,let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;” Psalm 95:6 NIV Read: Psalm 95:1-11 There are lot of last times in our lives. Some are more memorable than others and some are very much more important than other last times. We can be thankful that some things were really the last times and we don’t have to go through those times again. For other things, the last time was much too long along ago. When was the last time you physically went to your knees in prayer…a real one on one with GOD? As the old chili commercial said; ‘well, that’s been too long’. GOD is waiting to hear from you. We just celebrated the birth of JESUS. How many times during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day did you take time to find a quiet place, kneel on your knees and thank HIM for all HE has done for you? If you are like most of us, you have not gone to your knees often enough. The JESUS whose birth delivered HIM to us will deliver you today from all your sins. HE is waiting for you. Now would be a good time to go to your knees. Thank HIM for all HE has done for you, ask HIM for those things you need and for the salvation of others. Start today and set up a time when you can go to your quiet place everyday and have a one on one prayer with GOD. Make it part of your day…everyday. Find peace and blessings untold when you have your own private prayer...

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.   (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)   And everyone went to their own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.   While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” ...

“THREE WISE MEN?”

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magia from the east came to Jerusalem” Matthew 2:1 NIV Read: Matthew 2:1-7 Do you have a Nativity displayed for Christmas? How many ‘wise men’ or ‘kings’ do you have displayed? Do you know how many wise men actually came to worship the newborn KING? If you think three…you might be right…or not. While their coming to bow to JESUS is well documented in scripture, the number of kings from the east are really not known. We know of the three gifts they brought, but not of how many came. There was likely a caravan of several very educated men who were familiar with the Old Testament and well aware of Jewish teachings. This caravan could have been quite large, with helpers to bring the riches loaded upon upon camels, numbering perhaps a dozen or more travelers. The number of three is not detailed anywhere in the Bible. It was not until the sixth century this number was discussed and then several hundred years later until there were additional writings of these three wise men’s journey. All in all, it does not really matter if there were two, three or more. We also hold in tradition the names of these three wise men. But, check your Bibles; there is no Biblical record of the names of the wise men. What is important is they came to worship GOD’S SON as prophesied. What other things do we associate with Christmas that are pure tradition and not part of the real reason for the season? We put...

“THE FIRST WRAPPED PRESENT!”

“and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:7 NIV Read: Luke 2: 1-21 One more roll of wrapping paper and a little more cello tape and you might be done! You have the kids’ gifts all wrapped. Your spouse, mom and dad, Aunt Julie, a couple of co-workers and of course your boss are all taken care of with special paper and cards. With a little doubt and a little fear, you think; “Who did I forget?” With planning Christmas dinner, decorating, assembling toys, and running hear and there, it is easy to forget someone. If you are feeling stressed at this time, it is no wonder. But, it is wrong. There is no reason to be stressed. Christmas is a time of celebration…a time of joy and peace. We are to celebrate the birth of JESUS, our SAVIOUR. We have no reason to put our worldly customs ahead of the real reason of Christmas. Take a moment to relax and remember your Bible’s account of CHRIST’S birth. From the angel coming to Mary to the wise men from afar, everything about your LORD’S birth is special. So, when presents are opened and someone is screaming open mine first, remember the Christmas story and who wrapped the first present. So, who did wrap the first Christmas present? Mary, of course! As a new mother she wrapped the first Christmas present, the gift from GOD, in swaddling cloths and laid HIM in the manger’s crib. JESUS, the...